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Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 09 April 2017

Q1 - Nomadic Elephant is a joint military excercise between which of the following countries?

A. Russia and Mangolia
B. Russia and China
C. Mangolia and China
D. India and Mangolia

Q2 - Which of the following is correct regarding the solar system?

1. Mercury is smallest planet in the solar system
2. Venus is hottest planet in solar system
3. Asteroid belt is between mars and Saturn
A. 1,2
B. 1,3
C. 2,3
D. All

Q3 - Which of the following are correct:

(i) The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change.
(ii) It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
A. Only i
B. Only ii
C. Both
D. None.
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Answer  1-D,2A,3-C

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 08 April 2017

Q.1- Consider the following pair:

Community sometimes mentioned in the news
1. Kurd : Bangladesh
2. Madhesi : Nepal
3. Rohingya : Myanmar
Which of the pairs given above is/are correctly matched?
A. 1 and 2
B. 2 only
C. 2 and 3
D. 3 only

Q.2- Which of the following is correct regarding Forest advisory committee?

1. It is an executive body
2. Director general of forests is the chair of committee
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.3- Indian Veterinary Research Institute is situated at which of the following places?

A. Bareilly
B. Nagpur
C. Pantnagar
D. Kolkata.
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 Answer 1-C,2-B,3-C

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 07 April 2017

Q.1- Teesta river does not flow through which of the following state?

A. Sikkim
B. West Bengal
C. Assam
D. Flows through all of the above

Q.2- Which among the following are the works of Rail Development Authority?

1. recommending passenger fares,
2. setting performance standards for rail operations
3. creating a level playing policy for private sector participation
A. 1,2 only
B. 2,3 only
C. 1,3 only
D. All

Q.3- An increase in the Bank Rate generally indicates that the

A. market rate of interest is likely to fall
B. Central Bank is no longer making loans to commercial banks
C. Central Bank is following an easy money policy
D. Central Bank is following a tight money policy.
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Answer 1-C,2-D,3-D

Cement industry misses deadline for new pollution norms (downtoearth,)

Almost a year ago, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) introduced new pollution norms, but the Indian cement industry, which accounts for the world’s second largest production of cement, is still struggling to meet the norms, the deadline for which was 31st March 2017.

This is when the norms have been relaxed in accordance with various consultations with members from the Cement Manufacturing Association and regulators. The new pollution limits were notified on 9th and 10th May 2016 with the condition the cement plants will comply with them by 31st March 2017. From 50-150 milligrams per cubic metre (mg/Nm3), the new norms reduced the limit for particulate matter (PM) emissions to 30 mg/Nm3. This limit depends upon the age and location of the plant.

An industry official, who refused to be named, complained of “limited availability of technology suppliers and that technological and process-related change required at least two years to comply.” But …

The number of new flu viruses is increasing, and could lead to a pandemic (downtoearth,)

Influenza has affected humans for over 6,000 years, causing pandemics at regular intervals. During the 1918 Spanish flu, it was thought to be a bacteria, until an American physician Richard Shope identified the virus in 1931. The Conversation

So how is it this pathogen has managed to stay around for so long, and why haven’t we beaten it yet? The answer is that influenza is a virus that changes rapidly and regularly.

New flu vaccines are required every year due to these changes and mutations of the virus. While all flu viruses which infect humans are similar, a pandemic virus (which is easily transmitted between humans) is significant because humans have no immunity to it, and so are vulnerable to severe infection and death. Seasonal viruses which we see year after year were once pandemic strains, but humans have now been exposed to these viruses and have some background immunity to them.

We have found that the last decade has seen an acceleration in the number of flu strains infectin…

Odisha gets GCF-approved climate change project (downtoearth,)

India’s first project to deal with the impacts of climate change has been approved. The project worth US $ 34 million (Rs 1.4 billion) with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development aims to enhance groundwater recharge in community ponds.

The approval was given at the sixteenth meeting of the Green Climate Fund (GCF) board held at its headquarters last week in Songdo, South Korea.

The project entails the construction of a groundwater recharge system, as a concrete adaptation measure to ensure water conservation. There is also the plan to use solar pumps as part of a low emission development strategy, thereby ensuring water and food security as well as enhance the resilience of 15 vulnerable districts in Odisha. These 15 districts constitute the most food- and water-insecure and climate sensitive areas of the state. The project is likely to benefit 1.54 million vulnerable households.

Although this project marks a step in the right direction, the funding provided by inter…

Similar patterns of antibiotic resistance found in animals, humans and their envir( onment: study (downtoearth,)

In a study published recently, Indian and Swedish scientists found that genes for antibiotic resistance were shared between humans, animals and the environment in rural communities in Ujjain. Published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, the study was led by scientists from India and Sweden.

The scientists examined commensal E.coli isolated from different samples. Commensal bacteria is that which lives on or within another organism without harming the host. For the study, these samples were analysed from a single village in Ujjain district - stool samples from children aged one to three years, drinking water samples from their households, stool samples of cattle, hen, dog, goat, and horse; samples of common drinking water and waste-water. These were analysed for antibiotic resistance in E.coli and for the causative genes.

The study found that the pattern of antibiotic resistance and the genes causing resistance were similar in E. coli isolated fr…

Globally, over 15 per cent of all tree species face extinction threat (downtoearth, )

The world’s first global list of tree species is out and it’s touted as a major step towards effective forest conservation.

During Paris climate change negotiations in 2015, conservation of trees and sustainable management of forests were recognised as crucial activities for addressing climate change. However, until now, there has not been any global list of tree species around the world. Our knowledge of the number of tree species was sparse. But effective forest conservation needs species-specific information and action.

The Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has recently created a database called GlobalTreeSearch to "support global research, conservation, and botanically-based interventions, including forest landscape restoration".

Facts about tree species

Based on the analysis of published data sources and experts’ input, the number of tree species currently known to science is 60,065.
Nearly half of all tree species (45 per cent) are found in just ten fa…

Satellite study finds ammonia hotspots over agricultural areas (downtoearth,)

A satellite study of airborne ammonia gas has revealed four major hotspots over productive agricultural regions across the world. Increased atmospheric ammonia is linked to poor air and water quality.

Using data from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder satellite instrument, researchers led by the University of Maryland (UMD), discovered increased ammonia concentrations from 2002 to 2016 over agricultural centres in the US, Europe, China and India. The study was published last month in the journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

Harmful effects

Increased ammonia is linked to fertilizers, livestock animal wastes, changes in atmospheric chemistry and warming soils that retain less ammonia.

Gaseous ammonia is a natural part of the Earth’s nitrogen cycle, but excessive ammonia is harmful to plants, the study adds. Ammonia gas can also fall back to Earth and waterbodies, where it contributes to harmful algal blooms and “dead zones” with dangerously low oxygen levels.

“To control ammonia-rel…

Satellite study finds ammonia hotspots over agricultural areas (downtoearth,)

A satellite study of airborne ammonia gas has revealed four major hotspots over productive agricultural regions across the world. Increased atmospheric ammonia is linked to poor air and water quality.

Using data from NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder satellite instrument, researchers led by the University of Maryland (UMD), discovered increased ammonia concentrations from 2002 to 2016 over agricultural centres in the US, Europe, China and India. The study was published last month in the journal, Geophysical Research Letters.

Harmful effects

Increased ammonia is linked to fertilizers, livestock animal wastes, changes in atmospheric chemistry and warming soils that retain less ammonia.

Gaseous ammonia is a natural part of the Earth’s nitrogen cycle, but excessive ammonia is harmful to plants, the study adds. Ammonia gas can also fall back to Earth and waterbodies, where it contributes to harmful algal blooms and “dead zones” with dangerously low oxygen levels.

“To control ammonia-rel…

Stirring up the nuclear po t ( Hindu )

The nuclear genie may take a new form in view of changing threat perceptions and global uncertainties

A picture of the globe under the hood of a cobra was a familiar symbol of the precarious state of international security till recently. Accidental or deliberate pressing of the nuclear button was the nightmare that haunted humanity. At the same time, using the nuclear genie and harnessing it for prosperity was the best dream. Today, both the nightmare and the dream have become jaded. Nuclear weapons have ceased to be viable as instruments of war because of the unpredictability of the consequences of a nuclear war. No one can trust even the use of tactical nuclear weapons without collateral damage for the user. Today, nations can be destroyed with mobile phones and laptops without killing a single human being, making the “humaneness” of cyberwarfare the biggest danger.

The theories of deterrence of nuclear stockpiles have also been discredited after 9/11 brought the most formidable nu…

Stepping up to a shared potential (.hindu )

As liberal democracies, India and Australia can encourage free trade and help safeguard the Indo-Pacific, writes Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull

India is the world’s most populous democracy and will, by 2030, be the most populous country, overtaking China. And it is young — there are more Indian 10-year-olds than there are Australians.

With more than a dozen distinct languages, scripts and religions, India is multiculturalism on the grandest scale; unlike China, its only rival for scale, it had never existed as a single nation prior to its independence in 1947.

And to sustain a vibrant modern democracy, surely India is one of the greatest political achievements of our times.

Once you appreciate its size, you see its potential. Think of all those 10-year-olds who will one day be voting in India’s elections and who will also, one day, belong to India’s middle class, the engine of its booming economy.

Put all that together and it’s easy to understand why India will play a cen…

Clarity and facts on the ground (.hindu )

Why it’s essential that the Supreme Court speedily hears the Aadhaar petitions

There are several conflicting accounts of precisely what transpired when senior advocate Shyam Divan made a request late in March for an early hearing of a batch of petitions that question the validity of the unique identification scheme, implemented through the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 — or the Aadhaar Act. The next morning’s newspapers each produced their own versions: in the narration of some, the court made it clear that Aadhaar ought not to be made mandatory for welfare schemes; others reported that the court had also expressly clarified that Aadhaar could, in fact, be imposed in relation to certain state directives.

“Let us take Income Tax returns. Is this a benefit? No, we don’t think so,” the Chief Justice of India, J.S. Khehar, sitting along with Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and S.K. Kaul, said, according to The Indian Express. “You…

US missile attack on Syria: A reckless intervention (.hindu)

The American air strikes on Syria raise questions of legality and purpose

The U.S. missile attack on a Syrian airbase, which President Donald Trump ordered after civilians in the rebel-held Idlib province were hit with chemical weapons causing the deaths of at least 80 people, marks a departure in American policy towards the war-ravaged country. Though President Barack Obama had repeatedly said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad should go, he resisted calls for military action in this regard, primarily for two reasons: he wanted the U.S. to stay focussed on the campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and was wary of dragging the U.S. into a direct confrontation with Russia, which is backing the regime. Even Mr. Trump’s Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, had said that Mr. Assad’s future was up to the Syrians. But then came the chemical attack on Khan Shaykhun, leading Mr. Trump to launch Tomahawk cruise missiles on the al-Shayrat airbase in Homs. On the face of it, it appe…

SC order on liquor ban: None for the road (.hind )

The SC should examine the consequence of its order on the liquor trade — and amend it

The liquor trade, as the Supreme Court has emphasised, is indeed res extra commercium, something outside the idea of commerce. It exists solely at the discretion of policymakers without any concomitant fundamental right that other businesses enjoy. The point was cited by the court while ordering that liquor sales be prohibited within 500 metres from national and State highways. In a different sense, it only underscores how much the executive is, and ought to be, involved in policy-making on the subject. Imposing restrictions on the location of liquor outlets, applying them in a differential manner to vends, hotels and standalone bars is undoubtedly an executive decision. It is possible to argue that the executive will be lax in enforcement, corrupt in licensing or too revenue-centric to worry about the social costs of its decisions. However, is that reason enough for the judiciary to impose norms wi…