International Economy - Current Affairs Questions and Answers

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1)   US Federal Communications Commission has voted _____ net neutrality.
- Published on 15 Dec 17

a. For
b. Against
c. Neither for nor against
d. 50-50 For and Against
Answer  Explanation 


The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted along party lines on December 14 to repeal landmark 2015 rules aimed at ensuring a free and open internet, setting up a court fight over a move that could recast the digital landscape.

The approval of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's proposal marks a victory for internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon Communications and hands them power over what content consumers can access.

Democrats, Hollywood and companies like Google parent Alphabet and Facebook had urged Mr. Pai, a Republican appointed by U.S. President Donald Trump, to keep the Obama-era rules barring service providers from blocking, slowing access to or charging more for certain content.

Consumer advocates and trade groups representing content providers have planned a legal challenge aimed at preserving those rules.

Mr. Pai has argued that the 2015 rules were heavy handed and stifled competition and innovation among service providers.

The FCC voted 3-2 to repeal the rules.

Consumers are unlikely to see immediate changes resulting from the rule change, but smaller startups worry the lack of restrictions could drive up costs or lead to their content being blocked.

FCC: Know More

  • The Federal Communications Commission is an independent agency of the United States government created by statute to regulate interstate communications by radio, television, wire, satellite, and cable.
  • Chairperson: Ajit Pai(2017)
  • Director: Ajit Pai (2017)
  • Headquarters: Washington, D.C.
  • Founded: June 19, 1934
  • Jurisdiction: Federal government of the United States
  • Tag: US, Net Neutrality, Facebook

2)   Where has the world's biggest automated container terminal been set up?
- Published on 13 Dec 17

a. Shenzen
b. Shanghai
c. Sichuan
d. None of the above
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Shanghai

China started trial operations of world's biggest automated container terminal at Yangshan Deep Water Port in Shanghai, the country's commercial hub.

The terminal is located at south of Donghai Bridge, phase 4 of Yangshan Port and covers 2.23 million square metres and has a 2,350-metre shoreline.

The automated management system is also used at port to maintain safety and efficiency.

Key Facts

  • The project uses automated handling equipment designed and manufactured in China. The machinery used in loading and unloading, including bridge crane, automated guided vehicle (AGV) and rail-mounted gantry crane, are all made in China by Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries Company.
  • Initially, automated terminal will have capacity to handle 4 million TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) and later it will be expanded to 6.3 million TEUs at later stage.
  • The automated terminal not only increases the port's handling efficiency, but also reduces carbon emissions by up to 10%.

3)   Which group has been given the go ahead to trade with bitcoin for the first time on Wall Street?
- Published on 08 Dec 17

a. CME Group
b. GE Group
c. GM Group
d. Edelweiss Investments
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


NEW YORK: A federal regulator gave the go ahead on Dec 8, 2017 to the CME Group to start trading bitcoin futures later this month, the first time the digital currency will be traded on a Wall Street exchange and subject to federal oversight.

The CME Group, which owns the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, will start trading bitcoin futures December 18.

The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the primary regulator for exchanges like the CME, gave approval for the exchange to create bitcoin futures after six weeks of discussions.

The CME Group is using a process known as "self-certification'', which is when an exchange pledges that the new instruments will not break any federal securities laws.

The price of bitcoin futures will be based on the price the digital currency is going for on four major bitcoin exchanges- Bitstamp, GDAX, itBit and Kraken. Due to its volatility, bitcoin futures will be subject higher margin levels and intraday price limits, the CME said.

The move will subject some of the bitcoin market to federal regulation for the first time. It will also open up bitcoin trading to a larger group of investors and traders, who have been reluctant to purchase the virtual currency on the private exchanges.

Bitcoin has gained more mainstream attention lately as its price has soared on the private exchanges. It was trading Friday at around $10,500, after being worth roughly $1,000 at the beginning of the year.

4)   UAE has announced a new partnership group with which Arab nation on Dec 5, 2017?
- Published on 07 Dec 17

a. Saudi Arabia
b. Dubai
c. Qatar
d. Pakistan
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Saudi Arabia

The UAE on Dec 5, 2017announced it has formed a new economic and partnership group with Saudi Arabia, separate from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a move that could undermine the council amid a diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

The new "joint cooperation committee" was approved by the UAE's ruler and President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nayhan.

Saudi Arabia did not immediately comment on the new partnership.

It wasn't immediately clear how the development could affect the six-member GCC meeting, which is expected to focus on the Qatar issue. Half of the GCC members are boycotting Doha.

The Emirati Ministry said the new "committee is assigned to cooperate and coordinate between the UAE and Saudi Arabia in all military, political, economic, trade and cultural fields, as well as others, in the interest of the two countries."

The UAE and Saudi Arabia have cultivated even-closer ties in recent years.

Emirati troops are deeply involved in the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Abu Dhabi's powerful Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nayhan, also is believed to have a closer relationship with Saudi Arabia's young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

The Emirati announcement did not say whether any other Gulf Arab countries would be invited to join the new group.

GCC: Know More

  • The Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf or Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf, except for Iraq.
  • Its member states are Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
  • The Charter of the Gulf Cooperation Council was signed on 25 May 1981, formally eslishing the institution.
  • All current member states are monarchies, including three constitutional monarchies (Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain), two absolute monarchies (Saudi Arabia and Oman), and one federal monarchy (the United Arab Emirates, which is composed of seven member states, each of which is an absolute monarchy with its own emir).
  • There have been discussions regarding the future membership of Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen.

5)   Venezuela has launched its own cryptocurrency called __________?
- Published on 05 Dec 17

a. Pedro
b. Petro
c. Diesel
d. Venecoin
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


Venezuela has launched its own cryptocurrency called Petro to circumvent US-led financial sanctions. It will be backed by the country's vast natural resource reserves.

In this regard, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has approved the creation of BlockchainBase observatory to oversee development and rollout of new cryptocurrency.

Petro: Know More

  • The cryptocurrency (in Spanish, criptomoneda) could help Venezuela evade international sanctions.
  • Venezuela will create a petromoneda cryptocurrency to advance the matter of monetary sovereignty as it will help defeat the financial blockade and move toward new forms of international financing for the economic and social development of the country.
  • The petro will be backed by strategic reserves of oil, gold, gas and diamonds - tangible support that the government hopes will help it fight both sanctions and Venezuela's high inflation rate
  • Questions remain about how the new cryptocurrency will be rolled out and whether it might be linked to established digital currencies such as bitcoin or Ethereum.
  • Economist Jean Paul Leidenz warned via Twitter that the system could merely reinforce hyperinflation - which could then disproportionately harm Venezuelans who use only the bolivar currency
What is a Cryptocurrency?
  • A cryptocurrency is a digital or virtual currency that uses cryptography for security.
  • A cryptocurrency is difficult to counterfeit because of this security feature.
  • A defining feature of a cryptocurrency, and arguably its most endearing allure, is its organic nature; it is not issued by any central authority, rendering it theoretically immune to government interference or manipulation.

6)   The first phase of the Chabahar port on the Gulf of Oman was inaugurated today by which country's president?
- Published on 04 Dec 17

a. Iran
b. Iraq
c. Afghanistan
d. Pakistan
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques


The first phase of the Chabahar port on the Gulf of Oman was inaugurated today by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, opening a new strategic route connecting Iran, India and Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan, and reflecting growing convergence of interests among the three countries.

The port in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the energy-rich nation's southern coast is easily accessible from India's western coast and is increasingly seen as a counter to Pakistan's Gwadar Port, which is being developed with Chinese investment and is located at distance of around 80 kms from Chabahar.

7)   Multi-lateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that it will increase annual funding to India to up to __________.
- Published on 29 Nov 17

a. $4 billion
b. $2.7 Billion
c. $3 Billion
d. $5 Billion
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: $4 billion

Multi-lateral funding agency Asian Development Bank (ADB) announced that it increase annual funding to India to up to $4 billion from existing $2.7 billion from next year to accelerate inclusive economic transformation.

As part of ADB's Country Partnership Strategy 2018-22, the multi-lateral funding agency will provide loans up to $4 billion on annual basis including non-sovereign or private debt during 2018-22.

Cumulatively, India which is the largest recipient of ADB will get about $20 billion over a period of 5 years.

8)   Which country has agreed to give details on Indians with black money stashed in accounts in Nov 2017?
- Published on 21 Nov 17

a. Switzerland
b. Germany
c. France
d. United Nations
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Switzerland

Paving the way for India to get instant access to details on Indians with Swiss accounts, a key parliamentary panel in Switzerland has approved an automatic information exchange pact between the two countries.

The Commission for Economic Affairs and Taxes of the Council of States-a key panel of the Swiss Parliament's Upper House-approved the proposed pact with India as also with 40 other countries, but suggested strengthening the provisions for individual legal claims.

How It Works

  • The Commission for Economic Affairs and Taxes of the Council of States approved the proposed pact with India as also with 40 other countries, but suggested strengthening the provisions for individual legal claims.

  • It has asked the Swiss government to submit to Parliament an amendment "to strengthen concrete individual legal protection and to ensure that no exchange of information can take place for individual cases where a violation of essential legal claims is likely".

  • The pact will help provide a continuous access to details about alleged black money hoarders in once-all-secret Swiss banks.

  • The information that could be exchanged under this framework would include account number, name, address, date of birth, tax identification number, interest, dividend, receipts from insurance policies, credit balance in accounts and proceeds from sale of financial assets.

  • The exchange will work like this-If an Indian has a bank account in Switzerland, the bank concerned will disclose the financial account data to authorities there; the Swiss authority will forward the information to its peer in India who can then examine the person's details.

9)   India has contributed USD 100 million to which fund in Nov 2017?
- Published on 09 Nov 17

a. India-UN Development Partnership Fund
b. India-WHO Development Partnership Fund
c. India-FAO Development Partnership Fund
d. India-UNESCO Development Partnership Fund
Answer  Explanation 

ANSWER: India-UN Development Partnership Fund

India has pledged to contribute $100 million to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund to help the poorest nations achieve the world organisation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to reduce poverty and raise the quality of life.

The multi-year contribution at the 2017 UN Pledging Conference for Development Activities was announced on 4th Nov, 2017.

This contribution would be in addition to $10.582 million India is contributing to various other UN programmes, he said.

A total of $398.98 million was pledged by about 20 countries during Monday's conference session.

The Fund launched on June 8 is managed by the UN Office of South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and focuses on the least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).

The utilisation of India's contributions will be flexible and attuned to the needs of the receiving countries.

The first project from the Fund is being executed in partnership with seven Pacific Island countries.

The Fund has since then identified 15 more projects.

Of the $5 million India contributed to the Fund this year, $2 million would be utilised for reconstruction in Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda, which took a big hit from hurricanes.

The Fund project currently underway is an early warning system for extreme weather conditions for the Cook Islands, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, the Solomon Islands and Tonga.

When the Fund was launched in June, it was yet another example of India's contributions to shaping a better world and its notable leadership and drive towards ensuring that no one is left behind, both in India and worldwide.

Contributions From India to UN

  • The $100 million contribution pledged to the Fund and $10.582 million to other programmes are in addition to the annual dues of about $35 million mandated by the General Assembly as India's contributions towards the UN's regular budget, the peacekeeping operations and the tribunals.
  • The contributions totalling $10.582 million are for the UN Development Programme ($4.5 million), World Food Programme ($1.92 million), UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinians ($1.25 million), UN Women ($1 million), Unicef ($862, 000), UN Population Fund ($500,000), UN HABITAT ($150,000), UN Environment Programme ($100,000), UN Office on Drugs and Crime ($100,000) and Voluntary Fund for Technical Cooperation ($200,000).
  • India will also be making contributions to the trust funds for victims of torture and modern slavery, and to the programme for UN Volunteers.

10)   A financing agreement for IBRD loan was signed with the World Bank for which Odisha project?
- Published on 08 Nov 17

a. Odisha Primary Education Programme for Excellence and Equity
b. Odisha Higher Education Programme for Excellence and Equity
c. Odisha Secondary Education Programme for Excellence and Equity
d. Odisha Education Programme for Excellence and Equity
Answer  Explanation  Related Ques

ANSWER: Odisha Higher Education Programme for Excellence and Equity

A Financing Agreement for IBRD loan of US$ 119 million (equivalent) for the "Odisha Higher Education Programme for Excellence & Equity (OHEPEE) Project" was signed with the World Bank.

The Objective of the project is to improve the quality of 'students' equitable access to selected institutions and enhance governance of the higher education system in Odisha.

Project Component:

Result Areas are:
(I) Improved quality of and students' equitable access to selected institutions of higher education: Institutional Development Plan (IDP) Grants (performance – based Financing)

(II) Enhanced governance of the higher education system: (i)Improvement of governance in colleges (ii)Improvement of financial and procurement management and accounting in all government and government-aided colleges.

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