Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Oct 4, 2017

1)   When was the Nobel prize for science, literature and peace first awarded?

a. 1901
b. 1903
c. 1907
d. 1910
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 1901

US scientists Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne won the 2017 Nobel Prize for Physics for their pioneering role in the detection of gravitational waves.

Ripples in the fabric of space-time first predicted a century ago by Albert Einstein, gravitational waves sparked a revolution in astrophysics when their first detection was announced early last year.

The teams involved in the discovery quickly emerged as favourites for the prize.

They are receiving the prize for the discovery of the gravitational waves released by violent events in the universe such as the mergers of black holes.

The first time this was detected was on September 14, 2015, by the LIGO-VIRGO collaboration. Since then three more detections have been made, the latest one on September 28, 2017.

The discovery is due to an extremely delicate experiment. Gravitational waves were predicted by Einstein almost 100 years ago.

After about 50 years of experimentation the waves were detected for the first time in September 2015.

The 2016 prize went to three British-born researchers who applied the mathematical discipline of topology to help understand the workings of exotic matter such as superconductors and superfluids.

The 2017 Nobel medicine prize went on October 2 to three Americans studying circadian rhythms, better known as body clocks- Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young.

Physics is the second of this year's crop of Nobel Prizes.

The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of Swedish business tycoon Alfred Nobel, who bequeathed much of the fortune he generated from his discovery of dynamite.

LIGO Research: Know More

  • The discovery and the repeated detection (four times now) has made the possibility of gravitational wave astronomy very real.
  • Gravitational wave astronomy is a way of mapping out some of the most violent processes in the universe such as black hole or neutron star mergers that cannot be detected with light or the conventional methods.
  • The discovery can pave the way for proving the general theory of relativity, so that we can look deeper and deeper into the universe. It also throws up the possibility of detectors that can look at the beginning of the universe.
  • The scientists in the collaboration are from five continents, over 1,000 in number.
  • In the 1970s, Dr. Weiss designed a laser-based device that would overcome background noise that would disturb measurements of gravitational waves.
  • He, Dr. Thorne and Dr. Barish “ensured that four decades of effort led to gravitational waves finally being observed,” the Nobel announcement said.
  • Einstein was convinced that gravitational waves could never be measured. The laureates used laser devices “to measure a change thousands of times smaller than an atomic nucleus,” it said.
  • Triggered when super-dense black holes merge, the waves were detected using laser beams at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).

2)   Who has been appointed the Deputy DG of the WHO on 3rd Oct 2017?

a. Dr. Soumya Swaminathan
b. Dr. Anarfi Asamoa-Baah
c. Mina Swaminathan
d. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Dr. Soumya Swaminathan

Soumya Swaminathan, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), will be the deputy director-general, World Health Organization (WHO), in Geneva.

This is the second-highest position at the UN’s health agency.

Currently, she also holds the post of secretary of the department of health research in India.

The new WHO leadership team was announced by the director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who was elected to the post in May 2017.

The team represents 14 countries, including all WHO regions, and is more than 60% women.

Every WHO member state gets a chance to nominate a candidate for the deputy’s post and it was India’s turn this year. Dr Swaminathan was India’s nominee.

Dr Swaminathan will replace Dr Anarfi Asamoa-Baah from Ghana, who joined WHO as a senior policy adviser to the director-general and had served as the assistant director-general of the communicable disease programme and the HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria programme.

Dr. Soumya Swaminathan: Know More

  • Dr. Swaminathan, 58, is a paediatrician and clinical scientist. She is known for her work on tuberculosis.
  • She did her MBBS and MD from the Armed Forces Medical College and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), respectively.
  • She is one of the three daughters of Dr MS Swaminathan, who is known as the father of green revolution in India.
  • Her mother, Mina, is an educationist, and as chairperson of the study group on the development of pre-school children, had submitted a report that formed the basis of the Integrated Child Development Services.

3)   Global cotton output is set to rise by what percent in 2017-2018 according to ICAC?

a. 15 percent
b. 12 percent
c. 13 percent
d. 10 percent
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: 10 percent

Global cotton output is likely to rise 10 per cent to 25.4 million tonnes in 2017-18 marketing year on expected production increase in India and the US, a global body has said.

The production may go up mainly because of expansion in acreage by 3 million hectares to over 32 million hectares across the world, according to International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC).

The worldwide output of the cash crop stood at 23.05 million tonnes(MT) last year.

India's marketing year runs from October to September.

The acreage has increased due to better cotton prices in 2016-17 and higher cotton price ratio to other competing crops during this year, ICAC said in a report.

China, India and the US are the world's top three cotton producing countries.

As per ICAC, the global cotton consumption is projected to increase 2.7 per cent to 25.22 MT this year from 24.56 MT last year.

Mill use in China is projected to grow 1.5 per cent to 8.1 MT. Cotton mill use is also projected to grow moderately in India, Pakistan, Turkey, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Brazil.

As far as cotton trade is concerned, it is likely to be stable at 8 MT in 2017-18 marketing year.

The US will remain the largest exporter accounting for 40 per cent, or 3.1 MT of the world's shipments.

Bangladesh will remain the largest importer in 2017-18 accounting for 18 per cent, or 1.4 MT of the global imports.

Since global production is projected to edge over mill use during 2017-18, ending stocks could increase moderately and reach 18.7 MT with stocks to use ratio remaining little changed at 75 per cent.

"However, ending stocks in China are projected to decline by 1.7 MT during 2017-18, while outside China stocks are projected to increase by 1.85 MT," the report noted.

ICAC is an association of governments of cotton producing and consuming countries.

4)   Who is the rock superstar known for classics like “American Girl,” “Free Fallin'” and “Learning to Fly”?

a. Tom Petty
b. Metallica
c. Pearl Jam
d. Lyle Lovett
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Tom Petty

Tom Petty, an old-fashioned rock superstar and everyman who drew upon The Byrds, The Beatles and other bands he worshipped as a boy and produced new classics such as “Free Fallin,’ “Refugee” and “American Girl,” has died.

He was 66.

Petty passed away on Oct 2, 2017 at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles a day after he suffered a cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu, California, .

Petty and his longtime band The Heartbreakers had recently completed a 40th anniversary tour, one he hinted would be their last.

Usually backed by the Heartbreakers, Petty broke through in the 1970s and went on to sell more than 80 million records.

The Gainesville, Florida, native with the shaggy blond hair and gaunt features was loved for his melodic hard rock, nasally vocals and down-to-earth style.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted Petty and the Heartbreakers in 2002, praised them as “durable, resourceful, hard-working, likeable and unpretentious”.

Petty’s albums included “Damn the Torpedoes,” “Hard Promises” and “Full Moon Fever,” although his first No. 1 did not come until 2014 and “Hypnotic Eye”.

As a songwriter, he focused often on daily struggles and the will to overcome them, most memorably on “Refugee”, “Even the Losers” and “I Won’t Back Down”.

By his early 20s, Petty had formed the group Mudcrutch with fellow Gainesville natives and future Heartbreakers (guitarist) Mike Campbell and (keyboardist) Benmont Tench.

They soon broke up, but reunited in Los Angeles as the Heartbreakers, joined by bassist Ron Blair and drummer Stan Lynch.

Their eponymous debut album came out in 1976 and they soon built a wide following, fitting easily into the New Wave sounds of the time.

The world changed more than Petty did over the past few decades.

In 2014, around the time he received an ASCAP Founders Award, he told The Associated Press that he thought of himself as “kind of a music historian”.

5)   Which eminent Marathi writer and journalist was known as Ha Mo?

a. Hanumant Moreshwar Marathe
b. Namdeo Dhasal
c. BS Mardhekar
d. GA Kulkarni
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Hanumant Moreshwar Marathe

Eminent Marathi writer and journalist Hanumant Moreshwar Marathe passed away on Oct 2, 2017 owing to prolonged illness, said doctors operating him.

The 77-year-old writer, popularly known as ‘Ha Mo’, breathed his last at Dinanath Mangeshkar Hospital where he was undergoing heart-related treatment and had difficulty in breathing.

According to his relatives, Marathe was admitted to the hospital few days ago.

Born on March 2, 1940, Marathe wrote many books. Of them, ‘Nishparna Vrukshavar Bhar Dupari’ became very popular.

He started his career with teaching at a college in Kolhapur. He also worked in Tarun Bharat and Kirloskar magazine.

6)   What is the weekend effect?

a. Returns by investors on stocks are lower on Monday than the previous Friday
b. Returns by investors on stocks are lower on Saturday and Sunday
c. Returns by investors on stocks are lower on Friday as against Monday
d. All of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Returns by investors on stocks are lower on Monday than the previous Friday

The “weekend effect” refers to a phenomenon observed in financial markets wherein the returns that investors earn on stocks on Mondays is lower than what they earned on them on the previous Friday.

There are many theories that have been proposed by market experts to explain the prevalence of the weekend effect.

Some attribute lower returns on Mondays to the fact that companies usually release bad news on Fridays after the market closes, so the news has its negative impact on the stock price on Monday rather than on Friday.

Others have disputed the validity of the weekend effect arguing either that it never existed or that its impact has tended to fade over the years.

7)   Why has there been a 10 percent decline in summer monsoon rainfall over Central India between 1950-2015?

a. Weakening of summer monsoon winds
b. Increase in extreme weather events
c. Less supply of moisture to Indian subcontinent
d. Only a and c
e. All the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Only a and c

There has been an average 10% decline in summer monsoon (June to September) rainfall over central India between 1950 and 2015 as a result of weakening of the summer monsoon winds.

However, the frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall (more than 150 mm per day for two-three days covering an area of 250 by 250 km) events during the same period over central India (from Gujarat in the west to Odisha and Assam in the east) has been on the rise.

There has been a three-fold increase in widespread extreme events over central India during 1950-2015. In the 1950s, there were two extreme rainfall events per year, while in recent years the number of events has increased to six per year.

Models suggest further increase in extreme events over most parts of the Indian subcontinent by the end of the century.

The weakening of the monsoon winds has resulted in less supply of moisture to the Indian subcontinent.

The warm ocean temperatures in the northern Arabian Sea result in large fluctuations in the monsoon winds leading to occasional surges of increased moisture transport.

These sudden surges of the monsoon winds bring in plenty of moisture and that is what is causing extreme rainfall events across the central Indian belt.

While the central Indian Ocean has warmed up, the Indian peninsular region has not warmed up compared to other regions in the tropics leading to reduced land-sea temperature difference.

Probably the cooling caused by aerosol and the reduced land-sea temperature difference in recent years is what is causing the weakening of the monsoon winds and decline in monsoon rainfall.

At the same time, the northern Arabian Sea is becoming increasingly warm leading to more moist air over the Arabian Sea.

In addition, the northern Arabian Sea gets warmer (1-2 degrees C) 2-3 weeks prior to extreme events. As a result, there is 20-40% more evaporation and increased moisture levels over the Arabian Sea before an extreme event.

This gets transported over central India resulting in extreme rainfall events.

“The Arabian Sea supplies more moisture to the extreme rainfall events than the Bay of Bengal and the central Indian Ocean combined.

The study found that the Arabian Sea contributes 36% of the total moisture to central India, while the Bay of Bengal’s is 26% and the Indian Ocean’s is 9%.

Interestingly, land evotranspiration contributes 29% moisture, which is much more than even the Bay of Bengal. Moisture from land evotranspiration is often neglected in monsoon studies.

8)   Who has been chosen as the first non white party leader for a major Canadian political party?

a. Naheed Nenshi
b. Jagmeet Singh
c. Harjeet Sajjan
d. Navdeep Bains
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Jagmeet Singh

While Canada has long promoted multiculturalism, it took until this week for a major Canadian political party to choose a leader - Jagmeet Singh - who was not a white man or woman.

But Mr. Singh's decisive win in the race to be the leader of the New Democratic Party, the furthest to the left of Canada's mainstream parties, is far more than a symbolic victory for minority groups in the country

Mr. Singh's election underscores the already prominent role that Sikhs, who make up about 2 per cent of Canada's population, play in Canadian politics.

Four members of Mr. Trudeau's cabinet, including his defence minister, are Sikhs.

Other Sikhs are prominent in provincial offices. Mr. Singh himself, who lives in the Toronto area, was the New Democrats' deputy leader in Ontario's legislature.

The New Democratic Party is the third-largest party in the federal Parliament.

During the leadership race, Mr. Singh's campaign signed up 47,000 new members, according to party figures.

But he now faces several significant challenges, not least of which is to get elected to the Parliament, most likely through a special election to fill a vacant seat.

Most of the seats the New Democrats hold in Parliament are from Quebec, where Mr. Singh's wearing of symbols related to his faith, including a turban, are seen as an affront to a widely held belief that politics should be secular.

Mr. Pierre Nantel, one of the New Democrats from Quebec, was particularly critical of Singh's religious practice during the leadership campaign.

Mr. Singh will also have to swiftly gain greater recognition outside of Ontario and communities with large Sikh populations, like Burnaby, British Columbia.

Mr. Singh, whose father was a psychiatrist in Windsor, has repeatedly said that he was bullied as a child.

The situation became so severe that his family sent him across the international border to Michigan to attend the elite Detroit Country Day School for his middle and high school education.

A degree in biology and then legal studies at the Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto followed.

Mr. Singh's career was to become entwined with that of his older brother Gurratan.

The two were involved with the Sikh Activist Network, a youth group co-founded by Mr. Gurratan Singh.

While intended as a group to fight for social justice, it also became a meeting place for Sikh performing artists.

By many accounts, it was also the foundation of Mr. Jagmeet Singh's political career.

The brothers were not the family's first political advocates.

Their great-grandfather Sardar Sewa Singh Thikriwala was the founder of a rebel movement against British rule in Punjab State in India.

As an elected politician, Mr. Singh's agenda has been more focused on domestic issues.

Like most New Democrats, he speaks out about income inequality, housing disparities, the cost of education, the need for job opportunities and efforts to reconcile relations with indigenous people.

Mr. Singh noted that he has taken on issues that were deeply divisive among Sikhs, including his support for gay, transgender and lesbian rights.