Current Affairs Questions & Answers - Oct 5, 2017

1)   Which country is building the world's tallest giant power supply pylon?

a. China
b. Japan
c. Dubai
d. India
Answer  Explanation 


China builds world's tallest pylon in east Zhejiang province

China's Zhejiang Electric Power Company said the construction began on a giant power supply pylon, believed to be the world's tallest, in the country's east Zhejiang Province.

The 380-metre tall pylon will be four times the height of London's iconic Big Ben.

The pylon will carry power cables between Zhoushan's Jintang and Cezi islands, a distance of 2,656 metres, the power company's Zhoushan branch said in the announcement.

It is set to break the world record for the tallest power pylon currently held by China's Damaoshan pylon which stands at 370 meters, also in Zhoushan.

The pylon is a part of a new ultra-high voltage power line project between cities of Zhoushan and Ningbo.

The project is expected to completed by the end of 2018, and will be put into use in 2019, Xinhua said.

2)   Who proposed the Choppiness index?

a. DF Tobin
b. EW Dreiss
c. George Soros
d. Jay Gould
Answer  Explanation 


This refers to an index used by traders in financial markets to determine whether prices are trending in a particular direction, either upward or downward, or are moving sideways in a choppy manner.

The choppiness index was created by Australian commodity trader E.W. Dreiss to determine the strength of a trend in any market.

Traders generally prefer to trade in the direction of the trend, buying when prices trend up or selling short when prices trend down, and use the index to find the right entry and exit points for a profitable trade.

The choppiness index is used in combination with other technical indicators to identify a change in the prevailing market direction.

3)   Which is the third prize in the Nobel series to be announced?

a. Physiology
b. Physics
c. Medicine
d. Chemistry
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Chemistry

The Nobel Prize for Chemistry rewards researchers for major advances in studying the infinitesimal bits of material that are the building blocks of life.

Recent prizes have gone to scientists who developed molecular “machines” with controllable motions and who mapped how cells repair damaged DNA, leading to improved cancer treatments.

The 2017 prize, worth 9 million kronor ($1.1 million), is being announced on October 4 by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing cryo-electron microscopy, which simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules.

This method has moved biochemistry into a new era.

Researchers can now freeze biomolecules mid-movement and visualise processes they have never previously seen, which is decisive for both the basic understanding of life's chemistry and for the development of pharmaceuticals.

Chemistry is the third of this year’s Nobel Prizes

The medicine prize went to three Americans studying circadian rhythms - Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young.

The physics prize went to Rainer Weiss, Barry Barish and Kip Thorne for detecting gravitational waves.

The literature winner will be named on October 5 and the peace prize will be announced on October 6.

Moving Past Electron Microscopy: Know More

  • For many years - in the 1970s, the electron microscope was the only way to look into the cell and observe the minute beings that play such an important role in our lives such as viruses.
  • However, the powerful beam of the electron microscope would destroy biological material, so it was believed that such microscopy could only reveal images of dead cells and dead organisms.
  • Also it was then impossible to view solutions as water would evaporate under the microscope’s vacuum.
  • That was until this year’s laureate Richard Henderson came on to the scene.
  • Finally, in 1990, 15 years after he had published the first model, Prof. Henderson achieved his goal and was able to present a structure of bacteriorhodopsin at atomic resolution.
Cryo Electron Microscopy
  • “Cryo”, short for cryogenic refers to very low temperatures.
  • Though the actual temperature is not well defined, it is below minus 150°C.
  • In the context of electron microscopy, it refers to the fact that the object to be imaged is frozen to such low temperatures to facilitate being studied under the beam of the electron microscope.
  • This method is so effective that even in recent times, it has been used to image the elusive Zika virus: When researchers began to suspect that the Zika virus was causing the epidemic of brain-damaged newborns in Brazil, they turned to cryo-EM to visualise the virus.
  • Over a few months, three dimensional (3D) images of the virus at atomic resolution were generated and researchers could start searching for potential targets for pharmaceuticals.
Scientific Contributions in This Field
  • Prof. Frank had long worked to find a solution to just that problem.
  • In 1975, he presented a theoretical strategy where the apparently minimal information found in the electron microscope’s two-dimensional images could be merged to generate a high-resolution, three-dimensional whole.
  • Between 1975 and 1986, Prof. Frank succeeded in merging two fuzzy images of a molecule to get a three-dimensional image.
  • In 1978, Prof. Dubochet was recruited to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg to solve another of the electron microscope’s basic problems: how biological samples dry out and are damaged when exposed to a vacuum.
  • The solution he envisaged was to freeze water rapidly so that instead of solidifying into a crystalline solid, it freezes into a disordered state, which is like a glass.
  • Though a glass appears to be solid, it is actually what is called a supercooled liquid in which individual molecules are arranged at random instead of a periodic crystalline solid structure.
    Prof. Dubochet realised that if he could freeze the water to form a glassy state, what is known as vitrified water, it would not dry up when excited by the beam.
  • In the early 1980s, Prof. Dubochet cooled water so rapidly that it solidified in its liquid form around a biological sample, allowing the biomolecules to retain their natural shape even in a vacuum.
  • In 1984, he published the first images of a number of different viruses, round and hexagonal, that are shown in sharp contrast against the background of vitrified water.

4)   Where is a Turtle sanctuary being built to protect the biodiversity of River Ganga?

a. Allahabad
b. Lucknow
c. Mirzapur
d. Patna
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Allahabad

In order to protect the rich aquatic biodiversity of river Ganga from escalating anthropogenic pressures, development of a Turtle sanctuary in Allahabad along with a River Biodiversity Park at Sangam have been approved under Namami Gange programme.

The project at an estimated cost of INR 1.34 crore would include development of River Biodiversity Park at Sangam (confluence of Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Sarasvati), establishment of a Turtle Rearing Centre (Permanent nursery at Triveni Pushp and makeshift annual hatcheries) and awareness about the importance of river Ganga and imperativeness of its conservation has been approved.

This project will provide much needed platform to make the visitors aware of their place in the ecosystem, their roles and responsibilities, improve their understanding of the complexity of co-existence with the environment and help generate awareness for reducing the impact of human activities on critical natural resources.

The task of dissipating knowledge about river Ganga will be taken up ardently in this project, which is 100% centrally funded.

River Ganga's Diversity: Know More

  • The sustenance of more than 2000 aquatic species including threatened gharials, dolphins and turtles in river Ganga exemplifies the rich biodiversity of this lifeline to over 40 per cent of the country’s population.
  • Rivers Ganga and Yamuna at Allahabad are home to some of the most endangered fauna like turtles (Batagur kachuga, Batagur dhongoka, Nilssonia gangetica, Chitra indica, Hardella thurjii etc.), the National Aquatic Animal - Gangetic dolphin (Platanista gangetica), the Gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) and numerous migratory and resident birds.

5)   Jalal Talabani was Iraq's first ________ president.

a. Kurdish
b. Baghdadi
c. Shia
d. Sunni
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kurdish

Jalal Talabani, the first Kurdish president of Iraq died on 3rd Oct 2017.

Only a week earlier, Kurds voted overwhelmingly in a referendum in support of breaking away from Iraq to form an independent state, sending tensions spiralling with the central government in Baghdad and with Iraq’s neighbours, who fear similar Kurdish separatist sentiment on their soil.

At the time of the vote, Talabani had been out of politics for nearly five years after a 2012 stroke left him debilitated and permanently hospitalized.

The referendum vote, which was led by his long-time Kurdish rival, regional President Masoud Barzani, is not expected to lead to a Kurdish state anytime soon and has further isolated the small land-locked region. Iraq and its neighbours have rejected the vote, and Baghdad has banned international flights and threatened to take control of the autonomous Kurdish region’s borders.

Talabani came from a generation of Kurdish leaders, who spent decades fighting for self-rule and whose people were often brutally repressed by the central government.

Born in a tiny village north of the city of Irbil on November 12, 1933, Talabani was in his early teens when he joined the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, the main Kurdish political force at the time trying to carve out an autonomous homeland for Iraq’s Kurds.

6)   Who has replaced Arundhati Bhattacharya as the SBI chairman?

a. Dipankar Gupta
b. Rajnish Kumar
c. B Sriram
d. Pravin Kumar Gupta
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Rajnish Kumar

Rajnish Kumar was on Oct 4, 2017 appointed chairman of the largest public sector bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), replacing Arundhati Bhattacharya, who completes her one-year extended term on Friday.

Mr. Kumar, who is now the managing director of the SBI, faces the daunting task of addressing the issue of huge non-performing assets (NPA) of the bank.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved Mr. Kumar’s appointment for three years from the date of taking charge on or after October 7, said an order issued by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT).

Mr. Kumar, aged 59, joined the SBI board on May 26, 2015.

Prior to this appointment, he was Managing Director — Compliance and Risk, and Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Capital Markets Limited, the merchant banking arm of the SBI, according to his official biodata.

Mr. Kumar has also worked as Chief General Manager, Project Finance and Leasing Strategic Business Unit, it said.

He has held several key assignments across various business verticals, including two overseas assignments in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Ms. Bhattacharya became the first woman chairperson of the SBI in 2013. She was given a year’s extension in October last to ensure continuity, as the SBI was then in the process of absorbing five associate banks.

State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur, State Bank of Hyderabad, State Bank of Mysore, State Bank of Patiala, State Bank of Travancore and Bharatiya Mahila Bank merged with the SBI on April 1, 2017.

Gross NPAs of the public sector banks rose to ?6.41 lakh crore at the end of March 2017, against ?5.02 lakh crore a year ago, according to a Finance Ministry data.

The SBI and its erstwhile associates alone wrote off ?27,574 crore NPAs in 2016-17, according to an RBI data.

7)   Param Shah will succeed whom as the Director for UK operations at FICCI?

a. Pratik Dattani
b. Rajiv Vastupal
c. Pankaj Patel
d. Harshvardhan Neotia
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Pratik Dattani

Param Shah is Director, UK operations at FICCI

The apex industry body, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) announced appointment of Param Shah as the new Director for the United Kingdom (UK) operations.

Shah will succeed Pratik Dattani whose tenure with FICCI ended recently.

Shah has more than 15 years of experience, which includes working for Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) as Deputy Secretary General.

He held responsibility of head of FICCI – Gujarat State Council before being appointed for the overseas role.

Biju Namboothiri will be the new head of FICCI Gujarat State Council.

8)   Which ministry has been judged the best department for contributing to the Swachchta Pakhwada?

a. Ministry of Women and Child Development
b. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
c. MoEF
d. MoD
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has been adjudged as the best department for its contribution during Swachhta Pakhwada, an inter-Ministry initiative of Swachh Bharat Mission of Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

The Health Ministry observed the Swachhta Pakhwada from 1st February, 2017 to 15th February, 2017. The award was presented to the Ministry on 2nd October, 2017, the third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission.

Swachhta Pakhwada activities were organized and observed within the Ministry offices, in Central Government Hospitals and in public health facilities of the states across 36 States/UTs.

More pertinently, in addition to the envisaged activities, some of the key contributions include mass awareness generation initiatives through rallies, street plays, painting competitions etc., leveraging the participation and support of public representatives, NGOs, school children and the community.

These activities are considered critical for sustaining the swachhta movement.

During the Swacchta fortnight, all hospital/clinics were also directed to install waste bins for segregating waste and massive cleaning drives were undertaken in all the hospital wards and hospital premises.

Doctors, nurses and medical staff along with patients and visitors carried out sensitization drives on the importance of safe sanitation and hygiene.

The Swachhta Pakhwada culminated with inspection and special sanitation drive undertaken by the Minister for Health and Family Welfare Shri J P Nadda on 15th February 2017.

Swachchta Pakhwada: Know More

  • Swachhta Pakhwada started in April 2016 with the objective of bringing a fortnight of intense focus on the issues and practices of Swachhta by engaging GOI Ministries/Departments in their jurisdictions.
  • An annual calendar is pre-circulated among the Ministries to help them plan for the Pakhwada activities.
  • The Ministries observing Swachhta Pakhwada are monitored closely using online monitoring system of Swachhta Samiksha where action plans, images, videos related to Swachhta activities are uploaded and shared.
  • For the Pakhwada fortnight, observing ministries are considered as Swachhta Ministries and are expected to bring qualitative Swachhta improvements in their jurisdictions.

9)   What is the repo rate?

a. Rate at which central bank lends short term money to banks
b. Rate at which central bank lends long term funds to banks
c. Rate at which central bank borrows short term money from banks
d. Rate at which central bank borrows long term funds from banks
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Rate at which central bank lends short term money to banks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Oct 4 kept the key interest rates unchanged, as was widely expected.

Repo rate - the rate at the which the central bank lends short-term money to banks- thus continues to stay at 6 per cent. The RBI had cut repo rate by 25 basis points (bps) in August.

RBI has also cut the economic growth forecast for the current fiscal to 6.7 per cent from earlier projections of 7.3 per cent.

The decision of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is consistent with a neutral stance of monetary policy in consonance with the objective of achieving the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4 per cent within a band of +/- 2 per cent, while supporting growth.

SLR or statutory liquidity ratio was, however, cut by 50 basis points to 19.5 per cent with effect from October 14.

Banks are required to invest certain percentage of their deposits in specified financial securities like Central Government or State Government securities.

This percentage is known as SLR. However, with adequate liquidity in the system, the SLR cut is unlikely to have much impact on banks.

The announcement which came at the end of a two-day meeting of the MPC of the RBI, is in sync with what the experts had predicted.

Inflation, which in August reached a five-month high of 3.36 per cent, is being billed as the reason behind RBI's decision to maintain status quo.

The RBI decision of increasing inflation forecast from 4 per cent to a range of 4.2 to 4.6 per cent for the October to March half backs this proposition.

Analysts expect inflation could continue to quicken, given food prices tend to rise during the winter.

Reverse repo rate - the rate at which the central bank borrows money from commercial banks- was also left unchanged at 5.75 per cent.

Industry body CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) had pitched for a rate cut of 100 bps while Assocham too had written to the MPC.

The slowing down of private investments being one of the major reasons behind the slump in growth, industry was hopeful of a rate cut, in order to provide a booster shot to the economy.

The central bank said it is imperative to reinvigorate investment activity which, in turn, would revive the demand for bank credit by industry as existing capacities get utilised and the requirements of new capacity open up to be financed.

10)   Which country is set to retain its position as the top nation for receiving remittances, according to World Bank?

a. Pakistan
b. Nepal
c. Bangladesh
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: None of the above

India is expected to retain its position as the top remittances receiving country, with its diaspora set to pump in a whopping USD 65 billion in the year 2017.

Ahead of the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, a report issued by the global lender said that remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 3.9 per cent to USD 596 billion.

After India the other top five remittances receiving countries are China (USD 61 billion), the Philippines (USD 33 billion), Mexico (USD 31 billion), and Nigeria (USD 22 billion).

However, as a share of gross domestic product (GDP) for 2017, the top five recipients are smaller countries—the Kyrgyz Republic, Haiti, Tajikistan, Nepal, and Liberia.

Remittances growth to the South Asia region, the bank said will be moderate at 1.1 per cent to USD 112 billion this year, due to continuing impact of lower oil prices and 'nationalisation' polices leading to constrained labor market conditions in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

Remittances to India, the world’s largest remittance recipient, will grow by 4.2 per cent in 2017 to USD 65 billion, following a decline of nine per cent in 2016.

India, in 2016, received remittances amounting to USD 62.7 billion.

Flows to Pakistan are expected to remain flat this year, while Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Nepal will see a decline.

Remittances to the region will grow by a weak 2.6 per cent to USD 114 billion in 2018, the bank said. India’s remittances in 2018 is expected to grow at 2.5 per cent.

According to the bank, the economic slowdown in the GCC has adversely impacted migrant worker flows from the South Asia Region.

For Pakistan, registered migrant workers in Saudi Arabia dropped from 522,750 in 2015 to 462,598 in 2016; those in the United Arab Emirates fell from 326,986 in 2015 to 295,647 in 2016.

With only 89,624 registered for Saudi Arabia up to July 2017, a steep fall in Pakistani migration to that country is anticipated.

The number of Indian workers emigrating to Saudi Arabia dropped from 306,000 in 2015 to 162,000 in 2016; those going to the United Arab Emirates decreased from 225,000 in 2015 to 159,000 in 2016.

Total Indian worker outflows fell from 781,000 in 2015 to 506,000 in 2016, the bank said.

Bangladesh, on the other hand, bucked the trend somewhat given earlier Saudi plans for recruitment of 400,000 workers (half of them female) from Bangladesh.

11)   Germany has passed a law on hate speech via which media?

a. Social media
b. Mass media
c. TV
d. Magazines
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Social media

Germany's law combating hate speech on social media is now live.

It's the country's attempt to get social networks to remove offensive posts within 24 hours (or seven days, if the content is difficult to evaluate).

Those that fail to comply may be fined up to 50 million euros ($58 million) by the country's Ministry of Justice, though they'll get a grace period until January 1st, 2018, to prepare.

Germany proposed the legislation back in April, which was later named the Network Enforcement Act (Netzwerkdurchsetzungsgesetz in German, abbreviated as NetzDG).

Facebook fired back, claiming the bill would simply encourage sites to simply take down content to avoid the fines.

It should be noted that Germany seriously cracks down on hate speech, and police raided 36 homes earlier this year while investigating users who had posted such.

Those who are charged with inciting racial hatred can be imprison for up to five years.

The NetzDG law applies to any site that meets the legal definition of social network regardless of size, according to Spiegel Online.

Germany isn't alone in threatening internet titans with serious penalties if they don't swiftly take down hate speech: The EU just approved a law enabling it to threaten legal action against social media companies that don't take down such content.

12)   France's lower house of parliament has approved which law to bring an end to two year long emergency?

a. Anti terrorism
b. Anti dumping
c. Anti hoarding
d. Both a and c
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Anti terrorism

Anti terrorism laws passed in France

France's lower house of parliament has approved a new anti-terrorism law intended to bring an end to a nearly two-year-long state of emergency.

The law will incorporate several measures first authorised under the emergency arrangement.

They include easier searches of homes and confining individuals to their home towns, without judicial approval.

Most people in France approve of the move, but it has been criticised by rights groups.

A state of emergency was first introduced after the attacks of 13 November 2015, when militants from so-called Islamic State (IS) killed 130 people in gun and bomb attacks in Paris.

It has since been extended six times, but there was a consensus that to continue with the state of emergency indefinitely would be undemocratic, the BBC's Hugh Schofield reports from Paris.

The bill was approved by 415 votes to 127, with 19 abstentions, and is expected to become law before the latest state of emergency extension expires on 1 November.

The new law will allow members of the government - rather than judges - to approve the confinement of individuals to their home towns, requiring them to report to police once a day.

The authorities will be allowed to mount security perimeters around places deemed at risk - such as railway stations and airports - within which people and vehicles can be searched.

Mosques or other places of worship can be shut down if preachers there are found to be promoting radical ideology.

13)   Which is Japan's biggest nuclear power plant?

a. Kashiwazaki-Kariwa
b. Higashi Dori-1
c. Shika
d. Hamaoka
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: Kashiwazaki-Kariwa

Japan's nuclear regulator has given an initial approval for the reactivation of two nuclear reactors that were shut down after the catastrophic Fukushima nuclear plant disaster in 2011.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority voted unanimously Oct 4 that the two reactors at the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear plant, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company, had met new stricter safety standards imposed after the Fukushima disaster.

The Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant, located in Niigata prefecture, is one of the world's largest nuclear plants, and the biggest in Japan.

A powerful 9.0 magnitude earthquake in March 2011 triggered a massive tsunami that killed 20,000 people and caused the meltdown of Fukushima's three nuclear reactors in northeastern Japan, making it the world's worst nuclear crisis since the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

The Fukushima disaster forced the closure of all of Japan's nuclear plants, and there remains widespread public opposition to restarting the plants.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has been pushing for a gradual return to nuclear power.

TEPCO is aiming to restart the plants to raise the funds needed to compensate hundreds of thousands of residents displaced by the Fukushima accident.

It will likely take several months before TEPCO gets final approval to restart the Kashiwazaki-Kariwa plant.