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Showing posts from February 19, 2017

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 19 February 2017

Q.1- Which of the following has/have been accorded ‘Geographical Indication’ status

1. Banaras Brocades and Sarees
2. Rajasthani Daal-Bati-Churma
3. Tirupathi Laddu

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

(a) I only
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Q.2- Which of the following is correct regarding Dhanush artillery gun system?

1. It has a maximum firing range of 38 km
2. It is developed in collaboration between Russia and India

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.3- Which of the following statements are correct?

1. National waterway 1 which is in between Allahabad and Haldia is largest waterway in India
2. Buckingham canal is on National Waterway 5

A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Ans. 1.C 2.A 3.A

Oceans are fast losing oxygen, putting marine habitat at greater risk (downtoearth)

The oxygen content in global oceans has reduced by more than two per cent since 1960, with large variations in oxygen loss in different ocean basins and at different depths, finds a new study by researchers at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany.

This oxygen depletion, the study shows, is mostly a result of climate change.

Published in Nature Journal, the study gives more teeth to previous arguments about deadly consequences of the ocean's declining oxygen levels on marine life. The three co-authors: Sunke Schmidtko, Lothar Stramma and Martin Visbeck looked into the data dating back to 1960.  By using information on oxygen, temperature and other factors relating to the oceans, they estimated the overall oxygen loss.

"We were able to document the oxygen distribution and its changes for the entire ocean for the first time. These numbers are an essential prerequisite for improving forecasts for the ocean of the future," said Schmidtko.

While the…

Production of milk, meat and eggs increased in 2016 rainy season (downtoearth,)

The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare has released the Integrated Sample Survey for the period of July 1 to October 31, 2016 claiming that production of some key livestock-related goods like milk meat and eggs has increased. The production of wool in the same period has declined by over 2 per cent.

The survey reported that the total milk production has increased from 52.21 million tonnes (MT) to 54.50 MT for the rainy season in the period, registering a growth 4.38 per cent. In the two seasons, summer and rainy, the government had targeted to increased production to0 163.74 MT. The sample survey finds that production has increased to 105.42 MT.

Top five milk producing states for the rainy season were Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh.

The average yield rates of exotic and crossbred cows are estimated to be as 10.85Kgs and 7.40 Kgs per animal per day respectively and the average yield rates of indigenous cows are estimated to be as 3.56 Kgs…

New treatment against drug-resistant TB successful (downtoearth,)

A simple and new treatment has proved successful against drug-resistant XDR tuberculosis, which kills more than 70 per cent patients. This “may represent an enormous breakthrough,” according to Richard Chaisson, who heads the Johns Hopkins University Center for Tuberculosis Research in Baltimore, Maryland.

The unique treatment, known as Nix-TB, was used on 34 people in South Africa. The trial used the combination of three antibiotics that have never been combined before to treat the disease. These are bedaquiline, pretomanid and linezolid. South Africa is one of the countries with the highest burden of TB. The disease continues to be the leading cause of death in the country. Also, 80 per cent of the population of South Africa is infected with TB bacteria, the vast majority of whom have latent TB rather than active TB.

After six months of the trial, the TB bacillus could not be cultured from anyone’s sputum, a sign that the infection was cleared. Also, 20 people stopped taking drugs …

Galapagos giant tortoises make a comeback, thanks to innovative conservation strategies (downtoearth,)

The Galapagos Islands are world-famous as a laboratory of biological evolution. Some 30 percent of the plants, 80 percent of the land birds and 97 percent of the reptiles on this remote archipelago are found nowhere else on Earth. Perhaps the most striking example is the islands’ iconic giant tortoises, which often live to ages over 100 years in the wild. Multiple species of these mega-herbivores have evolved in response to conditions on the island or volcano where each lives, generating wide variation in shell shape and size.

Over the past 200 years, hunting and invasive species reduced giant tortoise populations by an estimated 90 percent, destroying several species and pushing others to the brink of extinction, although a few populations on remote volcanoes remained abundant.

Now however, the tortoise dynasty is on the road to recovery, thanks to work by the Galapagos National Park Directorate, with critical support from nonprofits like the Galapagos Conservancy and advice from an…

How to fend off bouncers (Hindu.)

The BCCI’s Committee of Administrators will need to speed up on challenges on many fronts

It has been just a couple of weeks since the Supreme Court appointed the four-member Committee of Administrators (CoA) to oversee the overhaul of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), and some significant developments have already taken place. Having been set a four-week window to observe and initially calibrate the roadmap for the wholesale adoption of the Lodha Committee’s far-reaching recommendations, the newly anointed CoA has been busy, having just concluded its third meeting on February 17.

The mandate for the CoA is clear, but its implementation will be complicated. It needs to achieve the following: oversee the adoption and implementation of the Lodha Committee directives by the BCCI and the State associations, ascertain and consolidate Indian cricket’s standing in and leverage with the International Cricket Council (ICC), make major decisions related to the Indian Premier Le…

Upsetting a very fine balance (Hindu.)

Three recent instances invite disturbing questions about the transformation of the Supreme Court

Sixty-seven years ago, the framers of our Constitution made a simple — yet radical — choice. They decided to trust the Indian people. The Indian Constitution, with its guarantee of universal adult suffrage, transformed colonial subjects into free and independent citizens, who were to use their own reason in governing themselves.

Our Constitution’s framers also made another important choice. Having fought so long against a repressive government, they were aware of how easily power is used to crush free thought, open discussion, and civil rights. While they trusted the Indian people, they did not trust their rulers. And so, in the Constitution, they guaranteed to all citizens fundamental rights, including the fundamental right to the freedom of speech and expression, subject only to specified restrictions.

Two layers of safeguards
The framers were careful about the language they used: restr…

Return to frontpage Speak in our own voice(Hindu.)

Why India must keep charge of its bilateral engagement with its largest neighbour

In mid-January, a week before he resigned as U.S. Ambassador to India, Richard Verma held an unusual dinner at his residence, inviting the Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju as well as the Sikyong, or Leader of the Tibetan ‘Government in Exile’. It was a small sit-down event, and was clearly no ‘accidental meeting’. The Ambassador could hardly have been working without the approval of the government, and if he had, the Ministry of External Affairs has chosen not to comment in the weeks that followed. What’s more, the dinner follows a series of interventions by American officials on India-China issues in the past few months.

Mr. Verma made waves by becoming the first U.S. envoy to visit Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh in October 2016, a visit that drew a sharp response from the Chinese Foreign Ministry about “third parties” interfering.

His visit followed comments by U.S. Consul General Craig Hall, duri…

Smoke on the water (Hindu)

Weak official response to the pollution of Bengaluru’s wetlands threatens public health

The extraordinary sight of a lake in Bengaluru on fire, with a massive plume of smoke that could be seen from afar, is a warning sign that urban environments are crashing under the weight of official indifference. If wetlands are the kidneys of the cities, as scientists like to describe them, Karnataka’s capital city has entered a phase of chronic failure. No longer the city of lakes and famed gardens, it has lost an estimated 79% of water bodies and 80% of its tree cover from the baseline year of 1973. Successive governments in the State have ignored the rampant encroachment of lake beds and catchment areas for commercial exploitation, and the pollution caused by sewage, industrial effluents and garbage, which contributed to the blaze on Bellandur lake. The neglect is deliberate, since some of the finest urban ecologists in the city have been warning that government inaction is turning Bengaluru …