Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Oct 18, 2017

1)   Which of the following refer to clouded leopards?

a. Kelral
b. Sanghar
c. Marbled cats
d. Only a and c
e. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: All of the above

Mizoram's Dampa Tiger Reserve now holds the distinction of housing the highest number of clouded leopards in Southeast Asia.

The density of population of clouded leopards, locally known as 'Kelral', is 5.14 per 100 sq km in the reserve, situated along the Mizoram-Bangladesh-Tripura.

The area of the reserve is around 80 sq km, the release said, adding, the density of population of marbled cats, also known as 'Sanghar', is 5.03 per 100 sq km.

The state's environment, forests and climate change department placed several camera traps at different places across the Dampa Tiger Reserve, which captured the clouded leopards 84 times and the marbled cats 36 times.

2)   What are waterwheel plants?

a. Rootless plants
b. Floating plants
c. Mountain plants
d. Aquatic plants
e. Only a, b and d
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a, b and d

Researchers have found a large number of an endangered species known as waterwheel plants, in a wetland in China's Heilongjiang province.

Researchers from the Qixinghe National Nature Reserve identified more than 5,000 waterwheel plants scattered in an area of over 600 sq.metres in the reserve during an observation tour between September 20 and 23.

Waterwheel is a rootless and free-floating plant, like an aquatic Venus flytrap.

It was under class one national protection in 1999 and listed as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Waterwheel plants have strict requirements for water, which needs to be shallow, warm and extremely clean.

China has 577 nature reserves and 468 wetland parks. The push for preservation has gone as far as becoming part of the criteria for assessing local government officials in some regions.

Waterwheel plants are found in Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

3)   Which type of whale has a brain six times larger than that of human beings?

a. Killer Whale
b. Blue Whale
c. Humpback Whale
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

Cetaceans - whales and dolphins - are among the brainiest of beings.

In terms of sheer brain size, the sperm whale is top on Earth, with a brain six times larger than that of a human being.

Now, scientists have identified key differences among cetaceans linked to brain size.

A study of 90 cetacean species found that those with larger brains exhibit greater complexity in social structures as well as behaviours, with species like the killer whale and sperm whale leading the way.

Dolphin and whale societies are at least as complex as what we have observed in primates.

They are extremely playful, they learn from each other, have complex communication.

One problem for understanding just how smart they are is how difficult it is to observe them and to understand their marine world.

Therefore, we have only a glimpse of what they are capable of.

The researchers created a comprehensive database of brain size, social structures and cultural behaviours across cetacean species.

The group of species with the largest brain size relative to body size was the large whale-like dolphins such as the killer whale, the similar-looking false killer whale and the pilot whale.

Killer whales have cultural food preferences, have matriarchs that lead and teach other group members, and cooperatively hunt.

In terms of intra-species food preferences, certain killer whale populations, also known as orcas, prefer salmon whereas others prefer seals or other whales or sharks depending on their group’s culture.

Other big-brained cetaceans also demonstrate sophisticated behaviours.

Mother sperm whales organise babysitting duties using other members of their pod to protect their young while they hunt for food down deep.

The distinctive vocalisations sperm whales use to communicate sometimes differ depending upon where they live, much like regional dialects in human language.

4)   American author George Saunders won the Man Booker Prize for fiction for which novel?

a. Lincoln in the Bardo
b. Tenth of December
c. In Persuasion Nation
d. The Brain Dead Megaphone
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Lincoln in the Bardo

American author George Saunders won the prestigious Man Booker Prize for fiction on Oct 17, 2017 for Lincoln in the Bardo, a polyphonic symphony of a novel about restless souls adrift in the afterlife.

It is the second year in a row an American has won the £50,000 ($66,000) prize, which was opened to US authors in 2014.

The book is based on a real visit President Abraham Lincoln made in 1862 to the body of his 11-year-old son Willie at a Washington cemetery.

By turns witty, bawdy, poetic and unsettling, Lincoln in the Bardo juxtaposes events from Lincoln’s life and the US Civil War through passages from historians both real and fictional with a chorus of otherworldly characters who are dead, but unwilling or unable to let go of life.

In Tibetan Buddhism, the bardo is the transition state between death and rebirth.

Baroness Lola Young, who chaired the Booker judging panel credited that the novel stood out because of its innovation, its very different styling, the way in which it paradoxically brought to life these almost-dead souls.

Saunders was awarded the prize by Prince Charles’ wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, during a ceremony at London’s medieval Guildhall.

The author said he resisted telling the story of Lincoln, an American icon, for 20 years.

But the novel, which took four years to write, turned out to be pointedly timely in a divided United States.

Lincoln in the Bardo is the first novel by the 58-year-old Saunders, an acclaimed short story writer who won the Folio Prize in 2014 for his darkly funny story collection Tenth of December.

A former oil industry engineer who teaches creative writing at Syracuse University in New York state, Saunders is probably best known outside literary circles for a commencement speech he gave in 2013 with the key message “Try to be kinder.”

Saunders beat five other finalists- New Yorker Paul Auster’s quadruple coming-of-age story 4321; US writer Emily Fridlund’s story of a Midwest teenager, History of Wolves; Scottish author Ali Smith’s Brexit-themed Autumn; British-Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid’s migration story Exit West; and British writer Fiona Mozley’s debut novel Elmet about a fiercely independent family under threat.

Saunders is the second American in a row to win the prize, founded in 1969 and until 2013 limited to writers from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth.

The 2016 winner was Paul Beatty’s The Sellout.

The move to admit all English-language writers spurred fears among some British writers and publishers that Americans would come to dominate a prize whose previous winners include Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri, Margaret Atwood and Hilary Mantel.

Prize organizers said 30 percent of the 144 books submitted by publishers for consideration this year were American, a figure slightly down from last year.

5)   Which Maltese investigative journalist was at the helm of the Panama Papers?

a. Daphne Caruana Gazilia
b. Adrian Delia
c. Will Fitzgibbon
d. Bastian Obermayer
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Daphne Caruana Gazilia

Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, who exposed her island nation’s links to offshore tax havens through the leaked Panama Papers was killed on Oct 17, 2017 in a bomb explosion in her car.

Ms. Galizia, 53, had just driven away from her home in Mosta, a town outside Malta’s capital of Valletta, when the bomb went off, sending the vehicle’s wreckage spiraling over a wall and into a field.

Mr. Muscat says Galizia’s death resulted from a “barbaric attack” that also amounted to an assault on the freedom of expression.

Politico magazine named Ms. Galizia as one of 28 Europeans who are “shaping, shaking and stirring” Europe.

She revealed that Mr. Muscat’s wife, Michelle, as well as Muscat’s Energy Minister and the government’s chief-of-staff held companies in Panama by looking into the 2016 document leak.

Mr. Muscat and his wife have denied that they held such companies.

Opposition leader Adrian Delia called the killing a “political murder.”

Ms. Galizia was sued for libel because of various articles she wrote on her blog “Running Commentary,” and she had filed a report with the police two weeks ago that she was receiving threats.

The Oct 17 evening’s Parliament session was scrapped, except for briefings about the bombing scheduled to be given by Mr. Muscat and Mr. Delia.

In June, Mr. Muscat was sworn in for a second term as Prime Minister following snap elections he had called to reinforce his government as the Panama Papers’ leak indicated his wife owned an offshore company.

6)   Which online campaign is the Ministry of Women and Child development initiating to end gender bias?

a. Beti Bachao Beti Padhao
b. #IamThatWoman
c. #UshaKiran
d. Jyoti
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: #IamThatWoman

In an attempt to end Gender bias in women against women, the Ministry of Women and Child Development is undertaking an online campaign #IamThatWoman.

Through the campaign, the Ministry seeks to highlight the various aspects of women standing 'by' and 'for' women.

Ministry of WCD has urged people to shun stereotypes associated with women harming other women.

Twitter and Facebook users have been encouraged to tag and share stories of women helping women with a photograph and post online with the hashtag #IamThatWoman.

#IamThatWoman' campaign aims to spread the message that a woman can move mountains for another woman.

7)   Ministry of WCD hosted the largest festival of organic products by women farmers and producers called ______.

a. Women of Bharat Organic Festival
b. Indian Women Organic Festival
c. Women of India Organic Festival
d. Bharatiya Women Organic Festival
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Women of India Organic Festival

The Women of India Organic Festival organized by the Ministry of Women & Child Development came to a successful close on 15th October, 2017.

The festival was organized at Dilli Haaat, INA, New Delhi as the largest festival of organic products by women farmers and producers.

The Women of India Organic Festival has now become an annual event and exhibits/offers for sale most varied range of organic products including food, kitchen products, spices, pure fabric to wellness, personal care among others.

The total sales by the women farmers and entrepreneurs who came from 25 States was INR 1.84 Crores in this year’s women of India Organic Festival.

Women participated from as far as Ladakh, Manipur, Sikkim and Pudduchery along with other states of the country.

The festival saw footfall of around 2.35 lakhs visitors.

The Women of India Organic Festival 2017 was inaugurated at Dilli Haat, INA by the Union Minister of Women and Child Development, Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi and Minister of State, Dr. Virender Kumar on 1st October, 2017.

Organic food has been proven to contain far more vitamins, minerals and nutrients than similar foods produced with chemical fertilizers, pesticides and preservatives.

Economically too, organic farming is preferable since it ultimately reduces cost of cultivation by 20-40% and increases the incomes of farmers by improving quality of production as well as the quality of soil.

Above all, children are particularly vulnerable to the harmful effects of pesticide exposure.

A concerted effort is needed to promote this sustainable alternative, thereby boosting the financial well-being of farmers as well as the health and longevity of consumers especially children.”

The main aim of the Festival was to support and encourage women and women-led groups that promote organic farming, thus supporting their local community’s economy, creating jobs and keeping farmers thriving, in addition to spreading proper awareness about the benefits of organic products.

The participants of Women of India Organic Festival 2017 also enrolled themselves in Mahila E-Haat, another initiative of the Ministry of Women & Child Development to meet the aspirations and needs of women entrepreneurs.

This unique e-platform exponentially strengthens the socio-economic empowerment of women beyond the Festival.

8)   Paris City Hall is planning to ban gas powered cars by which year?

a. 2020
b. 2030
c. 2040
d. 2050
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 2030

In its latest initiative to reduce pollution, Paris City Hall is planning to ban gas-powered cars by 2030.

The controversial move follows Mayor Anne Hidalgo's plan to ban all diesel cars from the city by 2024, when Paris will host the Summer Olympics.

Parisians have planned the end of thermic vehicle use, and therefore of fossil energies, by 2030."

Hidalgo has angered many Parisians with her efforts to make Paris a greener city, notably by adding cycling paths that have slowed vehicle traffic along the Seine River.

9)   Which program saw the launch of CSR for river rejuvenation through an interactive web page?

a. Namami Gange
b. National Mission for Clean Ganga
c. National Mission for Clean Yamuna
d. Yamuna Bachao
e. Only a and b
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and b

Facilitating private companies to undertake Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities for Ganga rejuvenation, the government on 18th Oct 2017 launched an interactive web page on the National Mission for clean Ganga (NMCG) online platform.

The exclusive web page, launched by Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkari, carries all details of projects and activities which can be taken up by corporate houses under the CSR funds.

It will enable them to apply works online on the NMCG website's interactive page.

Launching the web page, Gadkari called upon the private sector to join the herculean task of Ganga rejuvenation with their resources, reach and experience by taking up projects of 'Namami Gange' under CSR activities.

Once a private company applies for works online under CSR policy, the NMCG will consider and approve the activities which contribute to cleaning and rejuvenation of the river Ganga and its tributaries.

Corporate houses may select one or more of these project activities by clicking on the appropriate tab provided on the web page.

Companies may also select other project activities of their choice if such projects contribute to the objectives of the 'Namami Gange' programme.

Project activities may be selected through proper field survey and feedback by engagement with the residents of the area wherein the project is proposed to be executed.

According to the NMCG, the project activities to be executed by the corporate houses as part of their CSR activities under the Namami Gange programme should provide due visibility, be effective and sustainable.

A monitoring mechanism has been integrated with the CSR website to reply to the technical queries and feedback received from corporate.

CSR: Know More

  • Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, requires companies having net worth of INR 500 crore or more and turnover of INR 1,000 crore or more during any financial year to spend at least 2% of the average of the net profits made by the company during the three immediately preceding financial years in pursuance of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy.
  • Activities in the CSR policy as detailed in Schedule VII to the Companies Act, 2013 include activities relating to ensuring environmental sustainability, ecological balance, protection of flora & fauna, animal welfare, agro-forestry, conservation of natural resources and maintaining quality of soil, air and water.
  • The government had through a notification on October 24, 2014 brought activities relating to rejuvenation of river Ganga within the ambit of CSR activities.

10)   Which veteran filmmaker directed the iconic film Amrapali?

a. Kundan Shah
b. Lekh Tandon
c. Ashoke Pandit
d. Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Lekh Tandon

Veteran filmmaker Lekh Tandon, who directed iconic film like "Amrapali", has died, it was announced on Oct 15 2017. He was 88.

Tandon passed away at his residence on Oct 14.

Born in Lahore in 1929, Tandon directed many Bollywood stalwarts like Shammi Kapoor ("Professor", 1962; "Prince", 1969), Rajender Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Shabana Azmi, Rekha, Rajesh Khanna to name a few.

His "Amrapali" (1966), featuring Sunil Dutt and Vyjayanthimala, that was selected as Indian entry for the best foreign language film at 39th Academy awards.

He also bagged Filmfare Best Screenplay Award for his movie "Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Man Bhaye", along with Vrajendra Gaur and Madhusudan Kalekar in 1978.

He directed his first television serial "Dil Dariya" in 1988 through which he was also credited for discovering Shah Rukh Khan.

Tandon also acted in films like "Swadesa, "Chennai Express", "Rang De Basanti" among others.