Current Affairs Current Affairs - 28 January 2015 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 28 January 2015

India ready to join Apec
  • NEW DELHI: India is ready to join Apec ( Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) and the US has committed to facilitating an Indian membership. 
    This, say Indian and US sources, is key to India's economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region and build Indian dominance of the Indian Ocean region. India's Apec membership should be seen with the US-India decision on Sunday to cooperate in building aircraft carriers for India. 
    This is the more important strategic vision outlined on Sunday, where it says seemingly innocuously, "US welcomes India's interest in joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, as the Indian economy is a dynamic part of the Asian economy." India was invited to the Apec summit in Beijing in 2014 by the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, but no invitation to join the grouping was made by the Chinese president. India had said then a membership would have to be supported by the US. On Sunday, the US agreed to help India's case. 
    India missed the Apec bus initially and thereafter membership was closed until 2011. It was believed that India would have to undertake tough domestic reforms to bring its systems up to speed to join a high-power economic grouping of this nature. 
    Meanwhile, the US unveiled Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which took economic integration among countries (other than China) to the next level. By committing to joining Apec, India has indicated it was willing to undertake domestic reforms. 
    More important, India has signed up to the US vision first outlined by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton that India would be the linchpin of US' "rebalancing" in Asia. In the Asia-Pacific, India and US will focus on the East Asia Summit. 
    In the Indian Ocean, India will work more closely with US and Japan to build its maritime footprint. The decision to cooperate on building aircraft carriers comes months after the US agreed to provide cuttingedge technology and avionics for India's naval vessels.

UN halts Gaza house repairs
  • GAZA CITY, Palestinian Territories: The UN agency for Palestinian refugees said on Tuesday that it cannot afford to repair Gaza homes damaged in last year's war with Israel because donors have failed to pay. 
    "The agency has exhausted all funding to support repairs and rental subsidies," the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said in a statement. 
    "$5.4 billion was pledged at the Cairo (aid) conference last October and virtually none of it has reached Gaza. This is distressing and unacceptable. 
    "It is unclear why this funding has not been forthcoming," it added. UNRWA said that the homes of more than 96,000 Palestine refugees were destroyed or damaged during the conflict. 
    They made up the vast majority of the more than 100,000 homes that were hit during the 50-day conflict between Israel and Gaza's Islamist de facto rulers Hamas. 
    UNRWA said: "Some funds remain available to begin the reconstruction of totally destroyed homes." 
    But it added that cutting subsidies to displaced residents currently renting alternative accommodation could force large numbers back to UN schools and centres which are already sheltering 12,000 people. 
    "UNRWA in Gaza has so far provided over $77 million to 66,000 Palestine refugee families to repair their home or find a temporary alternative," it said. 

UN head calls for partnership with India to shape new future
  • A strong partnership between India and the UN based on shared Gandhian values is critical to "shape a new future" that embraces sustainable development, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said in a Republic Day message.
    "Mahatma Gandhi was a champion of peace, a defender of human rights, and an advocate for the empowerment of the poor," Ban said in the message Monday on India's 66th Republic Day, adding: "These are the same values embodied in the United Nations Charter."
    As the UN sets its agenda in its 70th year "to shape a new future" by adopting a fresh set of sustainable development goals and forging a new climate change agreement, "India is critical to success across this ambitious agenda", he said. "That is why I began this crucial year with a visit to India just two weeks ago."
    "At the vibrant Gujarat Summit," he said, "I saw India's vision to lead on development."
    "India's Republic Day is a chance to reflect on how a strong India-UN partnership can build a better future," he said noting that 2015 marked milestones for both India - 66th anniversary of its Constitution - and for the UN - the 70th anniversary of its founding He thanked India for its "many contributions - to peacekeeping, democracy, development and more".
    Ban's message was read out by his special adviser on Myanmar, Vijay Nambiar, at a Republic Day Reception hosted by India's Permanent Mission as New York City battened down for a severe blizzard. It is rare for the Secretary General to issue a personal message for a country's national day.
    Mentioning his recent visit to Mahatma Gandhi's Sabarmati Ashram, Ban said, "I also reflected on our collective responsibility to carry on his legacy."
    He noted that the values Gandhi stood for are shared by the UN, and said. "It is no wonder that I feel so at home in India."
    Striking a personal note, he added, "Of course India used to be my home many years ago when I was posted there. I still remember my phone number from my old house. I even went during my recent trip to see my late landlord's widow in C Block, Vasant Vihar. I brought back wonderful memories."
    Ban's first foreign posting in South Korea's diplomatic service was in New Delhi. His son, Woo-hyun, was born in India and his daughter, Hyun Hee, is married to an Indian, Siddharth Chatterjee.

World Media Summit highlights rising clout of Global South
  • An award ceremony marshalled by China’s Xinhua news agency has showcased the rise of cutting-edge journalism in South Asia and the Global South, recognising compelling stories that highlight some of the most urgent developing country problems — water scarcity, communal violence, and the fall-out on ordinary people of major political transitions.
    P. Sainath who received the award at the World Media Summit for his contributions in The Hindu under the category of Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries, zeroed on the stark contrasts in the consumption and access to water between the rich and poor to illustrate the alarming trend of inequalities in India and abroad. He also pointed to the media’s diffused focus on “the predicament of rural communities”.
    The judges also recognised the contribution of Surendra Paudel, senior correspondent with the Nepal Republic Media group, in highlighting human trafficking of Nepali nationals from their home country to the United States via Qatar and Latin America. Meera Srinivasan, the Sri Lanka correspondent of The Hindu was also commended for her compelling stories on the plight of ordinary fishermen, who may transgress maritime boundaries.
    Besides, the adjudicators — a renowned panel of international journalists — also lauded Sreenivasan Jain, who anchors the “Truth versus Hype” programme and is the Managing Editor of the NDTV, for portraying the problems of communal violence in India.
    Krishna Prasad, Editor-in-Chief of Outlook, represented the magazine, which was commended for its role in public welfare.
    The Qatar-based Al Jazeera television bagged the award for Exemplary News Teams in Developing Countries for the coverage in the channel’s programme “101 East”, of Myanmar’s ongoing political transition from military to civilian rule.
    The Media Innovation award went to USA Today for its thematic series, “Behind the Bloodshed”, while Global Post received the prize for New Media Reporting.

Swarm of microprobes to head for Jupiter
  • A swarm of tiny probes each with a different sensor could be fired into the clouds of Jupiter and grab data as they fall before burning up in the gas giant planet’s atmosphere, scientists say.
    The probes would last an estimated 15 minutes, according to planetary scientists writing in the International Journal Space Science and Engineering.
    Transmitting 20 megabits of data over fifteen minutes would be sufficient to allow scientists to get a picture of a large part of the atmosphere of the planet.
    Orbiting and flyby probes have provided astronomers with a lot of information about the “surface” of the outer planets and the moons that orbit those planets.
    However, probing deep within their atmospheres requires penetrating the dense clouds to obtain meaningful data. Spacecraft weighing more than 300 kilogrammes fall too slowly, which has the net effect of reducing how much data they transmit because the relay needs to be further away.
    Much smaller probes, made possible by the miniaturisation of electronics, cameras and other instruments, would survive the fall through Jupiter’s atmosphere for much longer without a parachute, according to John Moores of the Centre for Research in the Earth and Space Sciences (CRESS), at York University, Toronto.
    “Our concept shows that for a small enough probe, you can strip off the parachute and still get enough time in the atmosphere to take meaningful data while keeping the relay close and the data rate high,” Moores said.
    Tiny satellites that weigh less than one kilogramme, known as micro, nano and cube satellites, are already used in Earth orbit for a wide range of applications.
    There are limitations to how much solar power such small satellites can gather and regulations preclude the use of plutonium-powered thermoelectric generators.
    Micro satellites also require substantial infrastructure to gather their data signals.
    The team suggests that the presence of the European Space Agency (ESA) JUICE orbiter in the Jovian system set to begin in 2030 might facilitate a tandem mission to carry micro satellites to the planet.
    The mission platform has been named SMARA for SMAll Reconnaissance of Atmospheres and gets its name from the wind-borne fruit of the maple tree, the samara.

Greece's first radical left prime minister sworn in
  • ATHENS, Greece: Tieless and eschewing the traditional religious swearing-in ceremony, but with a surprise coalition deal in the bag and a sanguine international reception, radical left leader Alexis Tsipras took over Monday as austerity-wracked Greece's new prime minister. 
    Hours earlier, the 40-year-old's Syriza party trounced the outgoing, conservative government in Sunday's national elections, on a platform of easing social pain and securing massive debt forgiveness. 
    Although Syriza fell tantalizingly short of a governing majority in the 300-seat parliament, Tsipras moved quickly Monday to secure the support of 13 lawmakers from the small, right-wing populist Independent Greeks party, raising his total to 162. 
    "We have the required majority," Tsipras told Greek President Karolos Papoulias, shortly before being sworn in as prime minister, the youngest Greece has seen in 150 years and the first incumbent to take a secular oath rather than the religious one customarily administered by a Greek Orthodox official. 
    Initial reactions from international markets and officials from Greece's bailout creditors were markedly unflustered. 
    "We stand ready to continue supporting Greece, and look forward to discussions with the new government," International Monetary Fund director Christine Lagarde said. 
    Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutchman who chairs eurozone finance ministers' meetings, said that even though "there is very little support for debt write-offs," there is room to "come back to debt sustainability issues" in the future— if necessary. 
    His views were echoed by the prime minister of Finland, a country that has long been among the most unmovable on austerity issues. Alexander Stubb said that even if he opposes forgiving Greece's debts outright, he would be prepared to discuss extending loan repayments. 
    In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki congratulated Syriza and Tsipras, and said the U.S. looked forward to working with the new government on "domestic reforms and international efforts to foster Greece's economic recovery." 
    "There's no question, Greece has made significant progress on a very difficult economic adjustment and reform program," Psaki said. "There are indications that the economy is poised for renewed growth, but many challenges remain." 
    The alliance between Syriza and the Independent Greeks — two ideologically opposed parties who share only their opposition to the bailout — boosted stock markets across Europe that had fallen on news of the uncertain election results and fear of a second election. After a topsy-turvy session in Athens, stocks closed 3.2 percent down. 

Ocean warming melting one of largest Antarctica glaciers
  • SYDNEY: One of the largest glaciers on the planet, Totten, is melting due to ocean warming, a phenomenon that demonstrates the vulnerability of East Antarctica and its role in increasing the level of the oceans. 
    The Totten glacier, 120 km long and 30 km wide, is one of the largest glaciers on the planet and also one of the least understood glacier systems, Steven Rintoul, head of a scientific expedition that is measuring the waters below the ice cap, told Efe news agency. 
    The Australian scientist clarified that these are the first measurements of temperatures of the waters that surround Totten, located about 3,200 km south of the Australian island of Tasmania, and it therefore would be premature to imagine a link with climate change. 
    Rintoul said that "East Antarctica is potentially more vulnerable to changes in the ocean driven by climate change than we used to think", and can contribute to the rise in the level of oceans in a manner still unknown. 
    Satellite images had already proved that Totten was melting, but the study led by Rintoul demonstrated the hypothesis that warm waters are melting it from its foundations. 
    "We used to think the glaciers in East Antarctica were unlikely to be affected by the ocean because they were a long way away from the warm ocean waters," said Rintoul, referring to the expedition that was able to reach the front of the glacier for the first time to measure submarine waters. 
    Totten, moreover, sits on a bedrock well below the sea level, exposing it more to the warm waters, in a similar process that occurs in Antarctic areas south of South America and which cannot be reversed. 
    The temperatures of the water off the Totten at the time of the measurements was about four degrees below zero, but the temperature much closer to the water base was three degrees warmer than the freezing point, which depends on the depth of the ocean, said the scientist. 

Indian Diaspora Investment Initiative would create jobs: USAID
  • The Indian Diaspora Investment Initiative announced by US President Barack Obama in New Delhi to encourage Indian-Americans to invest in the development of India would help create jobs and train a new generation of local entrepreneurs, USAID Administrator Raj Shah has said.
    “By creating a transparent investment vehicle, any investor can contribute to sustainable, social businesses that create jobs and train a new generation of local entrepreneurs,” Shah said in statement here.
    His remarks came after Obama announced in New Delhi a new partnership among the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Calvert Foundation and several private financial institutions in India to develop an Indian Diaspora Investment Initiative.
    “We’ll match the diaspora community’s immense passion and resources to the small businesses that form the backbone of India’s economy,” said Shah, who is part of the US delegation to India.
    As per the announcement made, US-based retail investors will be able to support this initiative by purchasing Community Investment Notes offered by Calvert Foundation.
    USAID will provide a Development Credit Guarantee to support Indian financial institutions lending to social enterprises, enabling them to raise critical investments from both Indian and US investors.
    By purchasing these specially marketed and branded Notes, which will become available in late 2015, Indian-Americans and other investors will be able to fund the growth of social enterprises in India while earning a financial and social return.
    The Note is an established security with a 20-year track record of performance, and is currently held by more than 5,000 investors.
    Investors can expect fixed interest payments every six months, and can select investment tenors from 1, 3, 5, 7 and even 10 years, a media release said.

Asteroid that flew past Earth has small moon
  • NEW YORK: The asteroid that flew past the Earth Jan 26 has its own small moon, Nasa said. 
    In the first radar images of asteroid called 2004 BL86, scientists working with Nasa's Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, California, show that the primary body is approximately 325 metres across and has a small moon approximately 70 metres across. 
    The 20 individual images used in the movie were generated from data collected at Goldstone. 
    The flyby was the closest approach the asteroid will make to Earth for at least the next two centuries. 
    It is also the closest a known asteroid this size will come to the Earth until asteroid 1999 AN10 flies past our planet in 2027. 
    In the near-Earth population, about 16% of asteroids that are about 200 metres or larger are a binary (the primary asteroid with a smaller asteroid moon orbiting it) or even triple systems (two moons). 
    In 2016, Nasa will launch a robotic probe to one of the most potentially hazardous of the known near-Earth objects (NEOs). 
    The OSIRIS-REx mission to asteroid (101955) Bennu will be a pathfinder for future spacecraft designed to perform reconnaissance on any newly discovered threatening objects.


  • 1. Who was elected the President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
    (FICCI) on December 20, 2014?
    1) Jyotsna Suri
    2) Harshavardhan Neotia
    3) Pankaj Patel
    4) Nainalal Kidwai
    5) None of these
  • 2. Which country's Parliament approved a bill to abandon its non-aligned status on December 23,
    1) Switzerland
    2) Ukraine
    3) Japan
    4) Pakistan
    5) North Korea
  • 3. Who was honored with the Yash Chopra Memorial Award in Mumbai on December 26, 2014?
    1) Dilip Kumar
    2) Asha Bhonsle
    3) Amitabh Bachchan
    4) Lata Mangeshkar
    5) Gulzar
  • 4. Who was sworn in as the first non-tribal Chief Minister of Jharkhand on December 28, 2014?
    1) Louis Marandi
    2) Neelkanth Singh Munda
    3) Chandra Prakash Choudhary
    4) Raghubar Das
    5) C.P. Singh
  • 5. The Eurasian Economic Union will come into force on?
    1) January 1, 2015
    2) April 1, 2015
    3) January 1, 2016
    4) April 1, 2016
    5) None of these
  • 6. Antonis Samaras called for an early election on 2015 January 25. He is the Prime Minister of?
    1) Spain
    2) Poland
    3) Greece
    4) Slovenia
    5) Serbia
  • 7. Arsia Mons is a volcano situated on the planet?
    1) Saturn
    2) Venus
    3) Jupiter
    4) Mars
    5) Mercury
  • 8. Peace Angel 2014 is a joint military exercise concluded recently between?
    1) China and India
    2) China and USA
    3) China and Pakistan
    4) China and Japan
    5) China and North Korea
  • 9. Sadbhavana Divas is celebrated on?
    1) August 9
    2) August 20
    3) August 29
    4) August 6
    5) August 25
  • 10. Chapchar Kut Festival is a spring festival celebrated in?
    1) Tripura
    2) Nagaland
    3) Sikkim
    4) Mizoram
    5) Arunachal Pradesh
  • 11. SIAM is the apex industry body associated with?
    1) Automobiles
    2) Software
    3) Textiles
    4) Shipping
    5) Fertilizers
  • 12. What is the full form of SFIO?
    1) Securities Fraud Investigation Office
    2) Serious Fraud Investigation Office
    3) Systematic Fraud Investigation Office
    4) Severe Fraud Investigation Office
    5) None of these
  • 13. Which country transferred the sovereignty of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997?
    1) USA
    2) Belgium
    3) UK
    4) France
    5) Japan
  • 14. Which of the following institutions was set up with the aim of overall rural development in India?
    1) IDBI
     2) SIDBI
    3) NHB
    4) DICGC
    5) NABARD
  • 15. Which of the following deals with the compilation of Index of Industrial Production?
    1) National Development Council
    2) Central Statistical Office
    3) FICCI
    5) Reserve Bank of India
  • 16. India has emerged as the second largest textile exporter in the world in 2013. Which country is in top position?
    1) China
    2) Italy
    3) Germany
    4) Bangladesh
    5) USA
  • 17. Garuda-V is a joint Air Exercise between India and?
    1) Indonesia
    2) France
    3) Malaysia
    4) Russia
    5) Germany
  • 18. FPI is a route for overseas investors to invest in an economy. The letter 'P' denotes?
    1) Participatory
    2) Preferred
    3) Portfolio
    4) Preferential
    5) Priority
  • 19. Which of the following terms is not related to Banking/Finance?
    1) CRR
    2) CAR
    3) SLR
    4) SAR
    5) BPLR
  • 20. Which of the following countries has scrapped HidroAysen project plan on environmental grounds?
    1) Argentina
    2) Brazil
    3) Chile
    4) Uruguay
    5) Paraguay
  • 21. Baker and Pascua rivers are in which of the following countries?
    1) Venezuela
    2) Mexico
    3) Cuba
    4) Chile
    5) Canada
  • 22. Who is the author of the book 'The Prince of Gujarat'?
    1) Rajmohan Gandhi
    2) Arundhati Roy
    3) Amalesh Tripathi
    4) Mahesh Rao
    5) Sipra Das
  • 23. Identify the mismatched pair?
    1) SHG - Self Help Group
    2) TARC - Trade Administration Reform Commission
    3) AMC - Asset Management Company
    4) EMI - Equated Monthly Installment
    5) IPO - Initial Public Offering
  • 24. The Prime Minister Narendra Modi described the bilateral relations between India and which of the following countries as 'B2B'?
    1) Bangladesh
    2) Brazil
    3) Bhutan
    4) Belgium
    5) Belarus
  • 25. Which of the following comes under Services sector?
    1) Construction
    2) Mining
    3) Agriculture
    4) Dairying
    5) Banking
  • 26. India is now a permanent member of Washington Accord. Membership means global recognition of Indian?
    1) Agriculture degrees
    2) Doctor degrees
    3) Journalism degrees
    4) Engineering degrees
    5) None of these
  • 27. The Washington Accord was established in?
    1) 1989
    2) 1997
    3) 1981
    4) 1995
    5) 1985
  • 28. Open Market Operations mean?
    1) Issuance of bonds
    2) Giving loans to banks
    3) Auction of precious metals
    4) Sale or purchase of government securities
    5) None of these
  • 29. Identify the mismatched pair with regard to international financial institutions and their heads?
    1) World Bank - Jim Yong Kim
    2) IMF - Christine Lagarde
    3) ADB - Takehiko Nakao
    4) OECD - Jose Angel Gurria
    5) WTO - Pascal Lamy
  • 30. Banking Ombudsman is appointed by the?
    1) SBI
    2) Finance Ministry
    3) IBA
    4) Supreme Court
    5) RBI
  • 31. Which of the following international organizations/institutions is not located in the United States of America?
    1) UNDP
    2) UNICEF
    3) World Bank
    4) IMF
    5) UNESCO
  • 32. What is the highest denomination banknote that the Reserve Bank of India can issue?
    1) Rs. 1000
    2) Rs. 2000
    3) Rs. 5000
    4) Rs. 10000
    5) Rs. 20000
  • 33. The leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha should be from a party whose members constitute at least what per cent of the total strength of the House?
    1) 15 %
    2) 5%
    3) 10%
    4) 7%
    5) 20%
  • 34. The Shompen are the indigenous people of?
    1) Kavaratti
    2) Agatti
    3) Amini
    4) Great Nicobar
    5) Minicoy
  • 35. The Bharatiya Janata Party became the first political party to get a majority in the General Election on its own since the Indian National Congress had done so in?
    1) 1952
    2) 1991
    3) 2004
    4) 1989
    5) 1984
  • 36. The fourth Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) Summit was held in 2014 in?
    1) Istanbul
    2) Shanghai
    3) Astana
    4) Antalya
    5) Ankara
  • 37. The Secretariat of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) is located in?
    1) Beijing, China
    2) Manila, Philippines
    3) Almaty, Kazakhstan
    4) Kyoto, Japan
    5) Antalya, Turkey
  • 38. Which of the following financial institutions is the last to be established in India?
    1) IFCI
    2) RBI
    3) ICICI
    4) SBI
    5) NABARD
  • 39. Phycology is a branch of science that studies?
    1) Algae
    2) Fungi
    3) Virus
    4) Bacteria
    5) Insects
  • 40. Which of the following statements is not correct?
    1) Under CRR a certain percentage of the total bank deposits has to be kept with the Reserve Bank of India
    2) Banks do not earn any interest on CRR
    3) The current CRR is 4 percent
    4) SLR is determined by the RBI
    5) The present SLR is 23 percent
    1) 1 2) 2 3) 3 4) 4 5) 1 6) 3 7) 4 8) 3 9) 2 10) 4
    11) 1 12) 2 13) 3 14) 5 15) 2 16) 1 17) 2 18) 3 19) 4 20) 3
    21) 4 22) 1 23) 2 24) 3 25) 5 26) 4 27) 1 28) 4 29) 5 30) 5
    31) 5 32) 4 33) 3 34) 4 35) 5 36) 2 37) 3 38) 5 39) 1 40) 5.

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