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Showing posts from April 19, 2017

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 13 December 2016

Q.1- Which of the following statements are correct regarding The Aadhaar Bill,2016?

1. Every citizen is entitled to obtain an Aadhaar number.
2. To verify the identity of a person receiving a subsidy or a service, the government may require them to have an Aadhaar number.
3. Biometric informationwill not be shared with anyone even in the interest of national security.
A. 2 only
B. 1,2
C. 2,3
D. All

Q.2- Which of the following countries has maximum Muslim population in the world?

A. Pakistan
B. India
C. Indonesia
D. Saudi Arabia

Q.3- Which of the following is correct regarding European Union?

1. All members of European Union use Euro as Currency
2. European Parliament is elected every five years by European council members
3. EU has developed an internal single market
A. 1,2
B. 2,3
C. 3 only
D. 1,3
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 Answer   1-A,   2-C,  3-C

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 12 December 2016

Q.1- Which of the following is/are correct regarding vardah cyclone?

1. It originated near Maldives
2. In India it first hit at the Andaman and Nicobar coast
A. 1 only
B. 2 only
C. Both
D. None

Q.2-Which of the following is correct regarding the Parliamentary standing committees?

1. Committee consists of 22 members with 15 from Lok Sabha and 7 from Rajya Sabha
2. Committee consider demand for grants
3. They also examine the bills referred by chairman Rajya Sabha and speaker Lok Sabha.
A. 1,2 only
B. 1,3 only
C. 2,3 only
D. All

Q.3- Which of the following is correct regarding India’s renewable energy targets.

1. India plans to make 175 Gigawatts by 2022
2. Of the target capacity, 100 GW would be from solar power.
3. 60 GW from biomass
A. 1,2
B. 2,3
C. 1,3
D. All
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Answer  1-B,   2- C,   3- A

Current Affairs MCQ for UPSC Exams – 16 April 2017

Q.1- Consider the following statement and mark the correct answer.

A) GST is a tax regime to separate state taxes from central taxes.
B) GST will have no impact on cascading effect of taxes.
C) All major Central and State taxes will get subsumed into GST which will reduce the multiplicity of taxes, and thus bring down the compliance cost.
D) None of the above

Q.2- GBU-43/B Massive Ordnance Air Blast has been in news recently, which of the following is correct about it?

A. It is a missile defence system developed by Israel
B. It is a aeroplane safety feature
C. It is a large-yield bomb, developed for the United States military
D. None of the above

Q.3- Which of the following is known as love hormone?

A. Melatonin
B. Thyroxine
C. Calcitonin
D. Oxytocin
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 Answer    1-C,   2-C,  3- D

Cholera cases reported in India this summer (downtoearth)

Incidents of cholera being reported across India this summer

Cholera also raising its head globally, most notably in Africa

Experts predict cholera would get more frequent due to climate change

Cholera, hitherto a rarely-reported disease in India, is raising its head this year in the country.

Odisha’s Ganjam district has reported an outbreak of the disease on April 14. The consumption of  contaminated “Pana”, a ritualistic drink drunk on the occasion of  the “Dandanata” festival observed on April 14, has led to the death of three persons in Kadua village of the district and many more have receivedtreatment at different medical centres. An inquiry by medical authorities and statements of victims have revealed that the “Pana” was prepared with water from a village pond being used for cleaning of body after defecation.

Other than Odisha, 36 other cases of cholera have been recorded in Hyderabad city limits. According to health workers, the disease could have been contracted because of m…

Sikkim is 100% organic! Take a second look (downtoearth)

In January 2016, Sikkim became India’s first “100 per cent organic” state. Today, all farming in Sikkim is carried out without the use of synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, providing access to safer food choices and making agriculture a more environment-friendly activity. But when Delhi-based non-profit Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) visited 16 farms spread over the four districts of the state—North Sikkim, South Sikkim, West Sikkim and East Sikkim—in November 2016, it found that the farmers’ experience of organic farming was far from satisfactory. The findings of this survey hold lessons for the rest of the country.

In Poklok-Denchung gram panchayat near Namchi, the headquarters of South Sikkim district, 85-year-old Nar Bahadur Rai is a disappointed farmer. With his son, Rai grows maize, ginger and cardamom on their two-hectare (ha) farm. Since 2011-12, when they stopped using synthetic chemicals, their ginger production has plunged to only a third of the amount they us…

NGT orders closure of industrial units in Bellandur Lake area (downtoearth,)

In a hearing on the Bellandur Lake fire case, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday ordered the closure of all industries situated in the vicinity of the lake. This was done to prevent industrial units from dumping treated or untreated waste into the lake.

Taking a suo motu cognisance, the NGT ordered that no industry would be allowed to operate in the area unless effluent emissions are under permissible limits. Industries found violating the order will be sealed.

The green bench order also prohibits dumping of municipal solid waste as well as construction and demolition waste into the lake or in the buffer zone. Individuals, industries and builders found violating the order will be fined Rs 5 lakh.

The Karnataka pollution control board, the Bangalore development authority and the lake development authority will be personally responsible for implementing the orders.

These authorities will have to nominate a member each not below the rank of additional secretary in the Karnataka g…

Watch those triggers (hindu)

Learning to manage anger begins with understanding our own personality

ANGER

What causes road rage?

Why does one get angry?

What is behind domestic violence?

Can it be controlled?

Why do people make a public display of their emotions?

These are the questions that run through my mind when I see street fights or a badly bruised child in the classroom or my maid with a black eye or simply a duo having a verbal spat in the middle of the road!

Recently when both print and electronic media bombarded us with the visual of Sena MP Gaikwad, face contorted with anger hitting an Air India employee, what I found more shocking was that he showed no remorse on his action. He actually believed that he had done the right thing! I am sure, like me, most people wondered what makes people behave this way. People who get angry have a low threshold for tolerance. But apart from that, one cause may be genetic or psychological.

Mental health professionals talk about the evidence that some children are born…

Soon, doctors can ‘see’ a fever ( hindu,)

Team at IGCAR makes visual monitoring of body temperature possible

Visual, non-invasive monitoring of body temperature of patients without using a thermometer may become a reality soon, thanks to the work carried out by a team of scientists led by John Philip, head of the smart materials section at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, near Chennai.

The concept is based on ferrofluid emulsion contained in a thin film that changes colour with rise in temperature within a narrow range — 30-40° C. The study was published in the journal Optical Materials.

The emulsion has iron oxide nanoparticles containing oil droplets dispersed in water. “Till now ferrofluid was used as a magnetic stimuli-responsive material. We now found that in the presence of a temperature-sensitive polymer — poly(N-isopropylacrylamide), also known as PNIPAM) — the ferrofluid emulsion can be used as a thermally tunable grating to produce different colours,” says Dr. Philip.

“Recently, we w…

‘Indian firm’s Zika virus vaccine 100% efficient in animal trials’ (hindu)

Study shows that it works against both Asian and African strains of virus

The Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech’s ‘killed Zika virus vaccine’ using an African strain has shown 100% efficacy against mortality and disease in animal studies, a study has shown. A ‘killed virus vaccine’ or ‘inactivated vaccine’ contains virus that has been grown in culture and then killed using physical or chemical processes.

The results of the study has been published in the Nature group journal Scientific Reports. Two doses (5 and 10 microgram) of the vaccine given through intramuscular route on days 0 and 21 to mice were found to protect the animals against Zika virus seven days after the second vaccination.

The vaccine was found to confer 100% protection against infection caused by an Asian Zika virus strain as well as by the African Zika virus strain.

All the animals that were not vaccinated died eight days after infection by the African strain and 12 days after infection by the Asian strain.

While all …

Our ancestors wiped out HIV-type virus 11 million years ago (hindu, )

Evidence of defence mechanism that involved manipulating the function of one of the virus’s genes, turning virus against itself.

Our ancestors may have eliminated a primordial Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) type virus around 11 million years ago, according to a new study that examined fossil DNA to find out when ancient viruses were at their peak.

Researchers from The Rockefeller University in the United States suggest that our primate ancestors evolved a defence mechanism that involved manipulating the function of one of the virus’s genes, turning the virus against itself.

Providing a wealth of insight

“Analysing viral fossils can provide a wealth of insight into events that occurred in the distant past,” said Paul Bieniasz, from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the U.S.

“This study is an example of how viruses themselves can provide the genetic material that animals use to combat them, sometimes leading to viral extinction,” said Dr. Bieniasz.

Retroviruses, a class of vir…

Gamers going beyond the realms of the game: war for the world (hindu,)

How a community of Ingress gamers is going beyond the realms of the game with real location mapping, social interactions and teamwork

In the shadows of skyscrapers, amid the oblivious masses, there’s a secret virtual war being fought between two factions for control of territory. This is not a war of swords and guns, but rather of phones, GPS and gaming inventory.

Welcome to the world of Ingress, the location-based mobile game developed by Niantic Labs, a start-up company that spun off from Google.

While Niantic Labs’ newest project Pokémon Go will ring some bells, their original venture Ingress is where the company perfected its skills. From the time it was launched in late 2012, Ingress has steadily gained a dedicated following, with the game downloaded more than 11 million times.

From lawyers, engineers, doctors, journalists, cops, and students, to even housewives and cab drivers, Ingress offers a rare avenue for players to go beyond the realm of the game itself and make it part o…

India likely to vote for Ethiopian candidate in WHO Director General elections (hindu,)

India likely to vote in favour of Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in the upcoming election of the next Director General of global public health body World Health Organization.

The crucial election will decide the fate of the public health body which has suffered after gross mishandling of the Ebola outbreak, where WHO was too slow and ineffective to respond the outbreak, leading to 11,000 preventable deaths.

After closed door sessions at the WHO Executive Board meeting in January, WHO released names of three director-general nominees: Ethiopia’s Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Pakistan’s Sania Nishtar, and Britain’s David Nabarro.

Dr. Ghebreyesus is the former foreign affairs and health minister, Ethiopia. David Nabarro, was the special advisor to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on sustainable development, United Kingdom and third candidate Dr. Nishtar is the former health minister of Pakistan.

The WHO DG election is an important geo-political race as it comes at a time when there is…

CERN sees “indications” of new physics (.hindu )

The European organisation for nuclear research (CERN) on Tuesday came out with a news that has more than raised an eyebrow among particle physicists. The LHCb experiment in CERN has shown a feeble but persistent sign of physics that contradicts a basic assumption of the Standard Model, indicating that this theory which has ruled the roost may not be complete in itself. The cautiously worded news update on the CERN website mentioned that this result, which has a statistical significance of 2.2-2.5 sigma “in two bins,”is not conclusive in itself and needs support from further investigations. However experts feel that this is a very big discovery. Dr. Rahul Sinha, a faculty member at The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai, and who has done pioneering work in this sector, says, “It is a giant step towards discovering new physics. The effect is big and people around the world will work to explain this.”
So what is it that LHCb has found? At the subatomic level, there are two types…

Gauging the Trump effect (.hindu )

Keeping interlocutors off-balance cannot become the staple of a superpower’s interactions

With the recent U.S. missile attacks on a Syrian airbase, U.S. President Donald Trump rewrote much of the foreign policy script of his campaign.

Fulfilment of campaign promises was emphasised in Mr. Trump’s first executive orders: banning immigration from some Muslim-majority countries, reversing Obama-era climate change policies, withdrawing the U.S. from Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations, building a wall along the Mexican border and ordering replacement of the “Obamacare” health insurance scheme.

The sobering reality, however, was that almost every order was challenged in the courts or required Congressional review, or needed further definition before implementation. The course of the failed legislative effort to repeal and replace Obamacare received real-time coverage on television.

Reversing changes

He also encountered fierce domestic opposition to many of his tweets, words and actions.…

IMD forecast: Clouds of prosperity (.hindu)

The monsoon forecast should galvanise the country to make the most of a good season

The ‘normal’ monsoon forecast of the India Meteorological Department brings the promise of a year of growth and good health for India’s economy and ecology. If correct, India will have a second consecutive year of normal rainfall, after two years of drought. The prospect that 2017 will be a good year boosts the prospects of enhanced agricultural output, healthy reservoir levels, more hydropower and reduced conflicts over water. It will also test the efficacy of the expensive water management initiatives launched during 2014 and 2015 by the Centre and the State governments to harness rainfall and build resilience for future drought cycles. As the IMD’s experience shows, forecasting the all-India summer monsoon rainfall is fraught with uncertainties and has often gone off the mark. The dynamic model that it is using this year to make a forecast that includes an assessment of two phenomena — a possible l…

The case for mediated settlements (.hindu )

To reduce NPAs, creditors and debtors need sufficient immunity to hammer out sound commercial solutions

The country’s banking sector is severely stressed with one-sixth of the gross advances of public sector banks (around ₹7 lakh crore) being non-performing assets (NPAs). Existing statutory remedies of insolvency, restructuring of companies, securitisation of debts yield much litigation but insufficient recoveries. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) brought out a Corporate Debt Restructuring scheme for resolution of dues from the larger companies which account for 70% of the debt portfolio; despite it being a well-structured system, it has failed to deliver substantially. It, however, omitted from attention the smaller borrower with loans less than ₹10 crore.

Now attention is focussed on the concept of a “bad bank”, which would purchase the large loans from the holding banks. The latter would then have better-looking balance sheets; however, the former will find recovery no less difficu…