Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Oct 31, 2017

1)   Which badminton player from India won his 4th Superseries title of the year at the French Open 2017?

a. Prannoy Kumar
b. Sourabh Verma
c. Sameer Verma
d. Kidambi Srikanth
e. Ajay Jayaram
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kidambi Srikanth

India’s Kidambi Srikanth succeeded in claiming his fourth Superseries title of the year from five entries into the finals of the French Open 2017.

The fourth-ranked ranked Srikanth’s comfortable 21-14, 21-13 triumph on Sunday over the 40th-ranked Japanese player Kenta Nishimoto, who had fought his way to the final from the qualifying rounds, turned out to be a near-mirror image of the 21-12, 21-11 win that the Indian had notched in the Singapore Open in April this year.

Meanwhile, in the other finals that were decided at the Stade Pierre de Coubertin on 29th Oct, the World’s No 1 female player and top seed, Tai Tzu Ying, scored a facile 21-4, 21-16 win over Japanese Akane Yamaguchi, the No 5 seed.

There was a maiden Superseries title for the recently formed Indonesian pairing of Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu (Polii played with Krishinda Maheswari until recently), as they notched a comfortable 21-17, 21-15 triumph over South Korea’s Lee So Hee and Shin Seung Chan, another new combination (Lee had won the 2017 All England title Premier with Chang Ye Na).

The Indonesians simply combined better than the Koreans in the long-drawn 54-minute encounter, the longest on the day of the finals.

The fourth-seeded Indonesians have been world champions in 2013 and 2017, and also won the Olympic gold in Rio in 2016.

Natsir has had a much longer and illustrious career, winning the 2005 and 2007 world titles with the since-retired Nova Widianto, and has also been a silver medalist with Widiyanto at Beijing in 2008.

The concluding match on the card, the men’s doubles, was one in which the seventh-seeded Chinese Taipei combination of Lee Jhe-huei and Lee Yang scored over the Danish pairing of Carsten Mogensen and Mathias Boe, silver medalists at the 2012 London Olympics, by a 21-19, 23-21 verdict.

2)   Scientists have identified the oldest recorded solar eclipse on which date?

a. Oct 30, 1207 BC
b. Oct 31, 1208 BC
c. Oct 29, 1205 BC
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Oct 30, 1207 BC

Scientists have identified the date of the oldest recorded solar eclipse - an event that occurred on October 30 in 1207 B.C.

Using a combination of material from the Bible and an ancient Egyptian text, researchers were able to refine their understanding of when the Egyptian pharaohs ruled, in particular the reign of Ramesses the Great.

Lines from the Old Testament book of Joshua state that after Joshua led the people of Israel into Canaan - a region that covered modern-day Israel and Palestine - he prayed:

“Sun, stand still at Gibeon, and moon, in the Valley of Aijalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, until the nation took vengeance on their enemies.”

Modern English translations, which follow the King James translation of 1611, usually interpret this text to mean that the sun and the moon stopped moving.

Going back to the original Hebrew text, we determined that an alternative meaning could be that the sun and moon just stopped doing what they normally do: they stopped shining.

In this context, the Hebrew words could be referring to a solar eclipse, when the moon passes between the earth and the sun, and the sun appears to stop shining.

This interpretation is supported by the fact that the Hebrew word translated ‘stand still’ has the same root as a Babylonian word used in ancient astronomical texts to describe eclipses.

Independent evidence that the Israelites were in Canaan between 1500 and 1050 B.C. can be found in the Merneptah Stele, an Egyptian text dating from the reign of the Pharaoh Merneptah, son of the Ramesses the Great.

The large granite block, held in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, says that it was carved in the fifth year of Merneptah’s reign and mentions a campaign in Canaan in which he defeated the people of Israel.

3)   Scientists have created which fastest shortest pulse with a duration of 43 attoseconds?

a. X-ray laser pulse
b. Gamma ray pulse
c. Alpha ray pulse
d. Electromagnetic radiation pulse
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: X-ray laser pulse

Scientists have successfully created the world’s shortest X-ray laser pulse with a duration of just 43 attoseconds, an advance that will allow us to observe electrons in slow motion.

In order to fully understand the dynamics during a chemical reaction, scientists must be able to study all movements of atoms and molecules on their basic time scale.

Molecules rotate in the range of picoseconds, their atoms vibrate in the range of femtoseconds, and the electrons move in the range of attoseconds.

Researchers from ETH Zurich in Switzerland succeeded in generating the world’s shortest laser pulse with a duration of only 43 attoseconds.

This laser pulse is the shortest controlled event that has ever been created by humans.

The researchers can now observe in high detail how electrons move within a molecule or how chemical bonds are formed.

Attosecond spectroscopy could contribute to the development of more efficient solar cells since it is now for the first time possible to follow the process of excitation through sunlight up to the generation of electricity step by step.

A detailed understanding of the charge transfer pathway could help optimizing the efficiency of the next generation of photosensitive elements.

Attosecond laser spectroscopy is not only suitable for mere observation. Chemical reactions can also be directly manipulated.

Using a laser pulse can alter the course of a reaction - even chemical bonds can be broken by stopping the charge shift at a certain location in the molecule.

Such targeted interventions in chemical reactions have not been possible until now, since the time scale of electron movement in molecules was previously unreached.

4)   MHA is set to take over which MoCA bureau?

a. Airport Authority of India
b. Pawan Hans
c. Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Udaan Akademi
d. Bureau of Civil Aviation Security
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Bureau of Civil Aviation Security

Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is set to move a proposal before the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) for taking over the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS), currently under the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA).

The move, initially opposed by MoCA, was proposed on the ground that security at airports is provided by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which reports to the MHA.

BCAS is responsible for laying down standards, policies and measures with regard to security of all commercial flights.

Multiple agencies working at airports, including the Intelligence Bureau, immigration officials, security personnel, local police, are bound by regulations passed by BCAS.

The decision is based on a security audit conducted by a team of experts from the MHA, IB, CISF and BCAS, which had recommended the change.

Another reason cited for taking control of BCAS is the issue of security clearances for airlines and airports, granted by the MHA.

The move may result in an increase in passenger security fee since the CISF will be deployed at all the 98 airports across the country,.

Set up as a cell in the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in 1978, after an Indian Airlines flight was hijacked in September 1976, BCAS was reorganised as an independent department under the MoCA on April 1, 1987, as a follow-up to the Kanishka bombing in June 1985.

It is currently headed by a commissioner of security.

In 2012, the then UPA government moved a proposal to set up an exclusive Aviation Security Force (ASF), under the control of BCAS, to replace CISF at airports, following the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s recommendation.

However, the proposal was rejected by the NDA government, which decided to strengthen the CISF instead.

5)   Which Kenyan won the presidential elections in Oct 2017?

a. Uhuru Kenyatta
b. Raila Odinga
c. Jomo Kenyatta
d. Mwai Kibaki
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta was on 30th Oct 2017 declared the winner of the country’s deeply divisive elections, taking 98% of the ballots cast in a poll boycotted by his rival Raila Odinga.

Despite his crushing win, the turnout of just 38.8% among 19.6 million registered voters is set to raise questions about the credibility of an election that has plunged East Africa’s most stable democracy into its worst crisis in a decade.

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati said Mr. Kenyatta had received 7,483,895 votes to Mr. Odinga’s 73,228 - less than one percent of votes cast - in a sign the boycott had held.

A total of 7,616,217 cast ballots in Thursday’s protest-hit election.

The vote was the chaotic climax of two months of political drama after the Supreme Court overturned Mr. Kenyatta’s victory in August 8 polls over widespread irregularities and mismanagement by the IEBC.

Mr. Odinga refused to take part in the re-run, accusing the IEBC of failing to make sufficient reforms to ensure it would not be flawed.

6)   India and Italy have inked which of the following pacts?

a. Joint Declaration of Intent of Cooperation for Safety in the Railway sector between India and Italy
b. MoU on cooperation In the field of Energy between India and Italy
c. MoU on cooperation in environmental conservation between India and Italy
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

India and Italy today inked six pacts, including on boosting cooperation in the energy and trade sectors, after extensive talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Italian counterpart Paolo Gentiloni on key issues such as terrorism and cyber crime.

The two leaders also discussed ways to strengthen the bilateral political and economic relations, apart from deliberating on strategic international and regional issues.

After the Modi-Gentiloni meeting, the two sides signed six pacts to deepen cooperation in the fields of railways sector safety, energy and promoting mutual investments, among others.

Italy is India's fifth largest trading partner in the EU with a bilateral trade of USD 8.79 billion in 2016-17, as per official figures.

India's exports to Italy were at USD 4.90 billion, while its imports were at USD 3.89 billion, resulting in a trade imbalance of USD 1 billion in favour of India. In the first four months of fiscal 2017-18, bilateral trade has reached USD 3.22 billion.

Gentiloni's visit is the first prime ministerial trip from Italy in more than a decade.

The India-Italy diplomatic ties were hit badly after two Italian marines - Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone - on board a ship named Enrica Lexie, were arrested for allegedly killing two Indian fishermen off the coast of Kerala in 2012.

List of MoUs/Agreements signed during the visit of Prime Minister of Italy to India (October 30, 2017)

S. No.Name of MOUItalian SignatoryIndian Signatory
1.Joint Declaration of Intentof Cooperation for Safety in the Railway sector between India and ItalyMr. Renato Mazzoncini, CEO & General Manager, ItalianRailwaysMr. Ved Pal Additional Member (Planning), Railway Board
2.MoU on 70 years of diplomaticrelations between Indian Council of Cultural Relations and Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Government oftheRepublic of ItalyMr. Lorenzo Angeloni, Ambassador of Italy to IndiaMs. Riva Ganguly Das, DG ICCR
3.MoU on cooperation In the field of Energy between India and ItalyMr. Lorenzo Angeloni, Ambassador of Italy toIndiaMr. Anand Kumar, Secretary, MNRE
4.Executive Protocol on Cultural Cooperation between India andItalyMr. Lorenzo Angeloni, Ambassador of Italy to IndiaMs. Reenat Sandhu, Ambassador of India to Italy
5.MoU between the Training Unit of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Government of theRepublic of Italy and the Foreign Service Institute of the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of the Republic of IndiaMr.Lorenzo Angeloni, Ambassador of Italy to IndiaMr. J. S. Mukul, Dean, FSI
6.MoU for promotingmutual investments between Italian Trade Agency and Invest IndiaMr. Michele Scannavini President, Italian Trade AgencyDeepak Bagla. CEO, Invest India

7)   Union Minister of State launched which MSME delayed payment portal?

a. MSME Samadhaan
b. MSME Matdaan
c. MSME Sujhaav
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: MSME Samadhaan

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Shri Giriraj Singh launched MSME Delayed Payment Portal - MSME Samadhaan ( empowering micro and small entrepreneurs across the country to directly register their cases relating to delayed payments by Central Ministries/Departments/CPSEs/State Governments.

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Development (MSMED) Act, 2006 contains provisions to deal with cases of delayed payment to Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs).

As per the provisions, the buyer is liable to pay compound interest with monthly rests to the supplier on the amount at three times of the bank rate notified by Reserve Bank in case he does not make payment to the supplier for the supplies of goods or services within 45 days of the day of acceptance of the goods/service or the deemed day of acceptance.

The Portal will give information about the pending payment of MSEs with individual CPSEs / Central Ministries, State Governments, etc.

The CEO of PSEs and the Secretary of the Ministries concerned will also be able to monitor the cases of delayed payment under their jurisdiction and issue necessary instructions to resolve the issues.

The portal will greatly facilitate the monitoring of the delayed payment in a more effective manner. The information on the portal will be available in public domain, thus exerting moral pressure on the defaulting organisations.

The MSEs will also be empowered to access the portal and monitor their cases.

8)   GoI and World Bank have signed a USD 200 million loan agreement for which state's agribusiness and rural transformation?

a. Assam
b. Meghalaya
c. Manipur
d. Nagaland
Answer  Explanation 


The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $200 million Loan Agreement for the Assam Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project.

The Project will support the Government of Assam to facilitate agri-business investments, increase agriculture productivity and market access, and enable small farm holders produce crops that are resilient to recurrent floods or droughts in the state.

Assam is simplifying several regulatory procedures related to doing business, agricultural marketing, and fisheries amongst others.

The project will help the State increase agricultural productivity by strengthening the farming systems, raise private sector investments to promote agri-enterprises which will create better job opportunities for the youth in the State.

The Project will be implemented in over 16 Districts of Assam. Over 500,000 farming households will directly benefit from the Project.

At least 30 percent women are expected to participate in project activities. Specific focus will be given to women-led enterprises and their participation in the decision-making process of farmer producer organizations.

The focus on geographic clustering of the production base for certain commodities will help agri-enterprises take advantage of existing and future market opportunities that they may not necessarily achieve alone.

The cluster approach will allow for combining efforts, making use of synergies, and pooling resources to increase the competitive advantage of these products, while at the same time share the risks involved in introducing improved products or entering previously untapped markets.

Successful clusters will also continuously innovate and adapt ‘best practices’ across agricultural value chains.

Another key component of the project will be to promote market-led production that can deal with the vagaries of climate change.

Assam’s agriculture sector is highly vulnerable to climate variability and the state experiences recurrent floods and droughts.

Currently, more than 50 percent of the paddy growing areas are prone to flooding, submergence and drought. A market-led production system will take advantage of the rapidly changing market, introduce crops that are resilient to climate change, increase production and manage risks for farmers.

The $200 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 7-year grace period, and a maturity of 16.5 years.

9)   Clean Ganga mission saw which move to clean the river implemented?

a. Sewage treatment plans
b. Bacterial bioremediation techniques
c. No plastic policy
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

As urgency grows to show results for its Clean Ganga mission, the Centre is turning to bacterial bioremediation techniques to cut down the time lag in commissioning of Sewage Treatment Plants (STP).

While STPs typically take two to three years to come up, large-scale application of bioremediation using 'sewage-eating microbes' quickens the process of improvement in the quality of river water, though only to an extent.

Under bioremediation technique, the activated microbes eat up contaminants such as oil and organic matter.

The bacteria play a vital role in treatment of sewage without causing any release of foul odour.

The process thus also reduces stench from raw sewage.

During the process of treatment, pollutants like heavy metals and toxic chemicals are reduced.

The microbial dosing under the technique is done as per requirement assessed in terms of organic pollutants (microbial food) content in sewage.

Referring to the long gestation period of STPs, bioremediation techniques are significantly less costly and require much shorter time duration of 6-8 months for commissioning and showing results. Implementing these techniques prevent degraded quality of water from flowing directly into river Ganga and its tributaries.

The cost of the NMCG's identified projects ranges from INR 7 lakh to 17 crore, depending on sewage flow into the drain.

Drains for Bioremediation

  • Some of the drains identified by the NMCG for application of bioremediation techniques include Golaghat, Ranighat and Budhiyaghat drains in Kanpur;
  • Sasurkhaderi and Mavaiya drains in Allahabad; Nagwa and Rajghat drains in Varanasi;
  • Saklichand drain in Bhagalpur and
  • Ramkrishna Mullick Ghat and Telkal Ghat drains in Howrah among others.

10)   Amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere in 2016 has the potential to do which of the following?

a. 20 metre rise in sea levels
b. 3 degrees rise in temperature
c. 2 degrees rise in temperature
d. Both a and b
e. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Both a and b

Carbon dioxide grows at record rate in 2016!

The amount of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere grew at record rate in 2016 to a level not seen for millions of years.

This potentially fuelling a 20-metre rise in sea levels and adding 3 degrees to temperatures according to the UN.

Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main man-made greenhouse gas, hit 403.3 parts per million (ppm), up from 400.0 in 2015, the UN World Meteorological Organization's annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin indicated.

That growth rate was 50 per cent faster than the average over the past decade, driving CO2 levels 45 per cent above pre-industrial levels and further outside the range of 180-280 ppm seen in recent cycles of ice ages and warmer periods.

Today's CO2 concentration of ~400 ppm exceeds the natural variability seen over hundreds of thousands of years.

The latest data adds to the urgency of a meeting in Bonn next month, when environment ministers from around the world will work on guidelines for the Paris climate accord backed by 195 countries in 2015.

The agreement is already under pressure because US President Donald Trump has said he plans to pull the United States out of the deal, which seeks to limit the rise in temperatures to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.

Human CO2 emissions from sources such as coal, oil, cement and deforestation reached a record in 2016, and the El Nino weather pattern gave CO2 levels a further boost, the WMO said.

As far as scientists can tell, the world has never experienced a rise in carbon dioxide like that of recent decades, which has happened 100 times faster than when the world was emerging from the last ice age.

Scientists know prehistoric levels from tiny air bubbles found in ancient Antarctic ice cores, and they can derive even older data from fossils and chemicals trapped in sediment.

CO2: Record Levels

  • The last time carbon dioxide levels reached 400 ppm was 3-5 million years ago, in the mid-Pliocene era.
  • During that period, global mean surface temperatures were 2-3°C warmer than today, ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica melted and even parts of East Antarctica's ice retreated, causing the sea level to rise 10-20 m higher than that today.
  • Since 1990, the global warming effect of CO2 and other long-lived greenhouse gases has risen by 40 percent.
  • The two other main gases - methane and nitrous oxide - also grew to record concentrations last year, although at a slower rate of increase than carbon dioxide.