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Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare 2017 observed

29 April: Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare
The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare 2017 was observed on 29 April 2017 by the United Nations (UN).
This commemoration will provide an opportunity to pay tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons.
The Third Review Conference of States Parties to the Chemical Convention held in April 2013 in the Hague, the Netherlands, adopted a political declaration that confirms the unequivocal commitment of the States Parties to the global chemical weapons ban.


Background
The United Nations' Conference of the States Parties at its Tenth Session on 11 November 2005 decided that a memorial Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare would be observed on 29 April, the day on which the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force in 1997.
Today, the OPCW Member States represent about 98 per cent of the global population and landmass, as well as 98% of the worldwide chemical industry.

'Iceball' Planet discovered through Microlensing

NASA scientists have discovered a new planet- OGLE-2016-BLG-1195lb- that has the same mass as Earth and orbits its star from the same distance as Earth orbits the sun.
The findings were reported in a study published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The discovery adds to the scientist’s understanding of the types of planetary systems existing beyond Earth.

Key Highlights
• The newly discovered planet is nearly 13,000 light-years away and orbits a small star.
• According to scientists the planet is likely to be too cold to sustain life, as its star is so faint.
• The planet, referred to as ‘iceball’ due to its probable cold state, is the lowest-mass planet ever found through microlensing.
• It would help scientists figure out the distribution of planets in Milky Way.
• The planet is located in the disk of our galaxy, on its fringe like two planets detected previously through microlensing by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.
• This discovery was made through the Korea Microlensing Telescope Network (KMTNet), which is operated by both the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute and Spitzer.
• The KMTNet consists of three wide-field telescopes, one in Chile, one in Australia and one in South Africa.\
What is Microlensing?
• It is a technique that aids the discovery of distant objects by using background stars as flashlights.
• When a star crosses from the front of a bright star, the gravity of the star in the front focuses the light of the background star, making it appear brighter.
• So, a planet orbiting the foreground star may cause a glitch in its brightness.
• The technique has helped in the discovery of the most distant known exoplanets from Earth.
• It can also help detect low-mass planets that are considerably farther from their stars than Earth is from the sun.
• In the case of this discovery, the blip lasted only for a few hours.

Trump wants to send men to Mars

The President of United States, Donald Trump announced on 25 April 2017 that he wants to send men to Mars during his first term.

Trump made the announcement while video conferencing from his Oval office with two NASA astronauts at the International Space Station.
He stated that he wanted to send men to Mars during his first term or at max during his second term. He said for that they will have to speed up the process a bit. Trump also expressed how proud he was about signing a bill committing NASA to the aim of sending America astronauts to Mars and claimed that they will do it sooner than planned. 

Key Highlights
• NASA has currently scheduled to conduct its manned mission to Mars in 2030.
• Trump during the call asked the two American astronauts if they were ready to go to Mars.
• The astronauts, Peggy Whitson and Jack Fisher showed great eagerness for the mission and promised to give their best.
• Whitson recently broke the previous US record for most time spent in space. The record was set by NASA astronaut Jeff Williams who had completed 534 days, 2 hours and 48 minutes in space.
Further, Trump stressed that the youth of America needed to recognise that real steps towards realising the goal are going to be taken in a few years and so, by studying math, science, engineering, any kind of technology they are also going to have a part in it.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka Trump and American astronaut Kate Rubins were also present in the Oval Office during the conference call.

China bans ‘Muhammad’, ‘Jihad’, and ‘Medina’ as baby names

The Chinese government in April 2017 prohibited parents from choosing baby names like Islam, Medina, Jihad and Quran for their children, thereby strengthening its hold on Muslims living in western China.
The ban is a part of the government’s effort to curb religious fervor in the region. Western China or the western region of Xinjiang is home to over 10 million Uighurs, a Muslim minority group.


Key Highlights
• The government fears the region to breed Islamic extremism, violence and separatist thought.
• The minority group on the other hand states that it is the government’s restrictions and strict limits imposed on speech and worship that have led to the rise of tension in the region.
• The list titled “List of Banned Ethnic Minority Names” includes over two dozen names including Mujahid, Arafat, Muhammad, Quran, Mecca, Jihad, Imam, Saddam, Hajj and Medina.
• In the case of defiance, the parents would risk losing critical benefits for their children including education and health care.
The advocates fighting for the rights of the minority group state that the ban shows the length to which the Chinese government would go to limit the civil liberties of Uighurs in the name of fighting terrorism.
According to Dilxat Raxit, a spokesman for the World Uyghur Congress (a group that advocates self-determination for Xinjiang), the Chinese policies are becoming increasingly hostile and the Uighur have to be extremely cautious if they want to give their children the names chosen by them and avoid punishment from the government at the same time.
Prior to this on 1 April 2017, the Xinjiang authorities had imposed new rules that prohibited people from sporting abnormal beards or veils in public places and also imposed punishments for refusing to watch state television or radio programmes.

Indian Cultural centre holds seminar to strengthen ties with Egypt


The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) in Egypt organised a seminar titled 'Cultural Festivals - Bridge between India and Egypt" on 26 April 2017 to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations.
The seminar is a part of the cultural centre’s monthly seminar series that involve culture lovers, academicians, youth and the civil society and encourage them to discuss issues of bilateral interest. 
Speaking on the occasion, India’s ambassador to Egypt, Sanjay Bhattacharya stated that the culture of any country plays an important role in deepening the bilateral relations between two countries.



Key Highlights
• The seminar saw eminent speakers from diverse backgrounds share their thoughts, ideas and experiences.
• The dignitaries appreciated the role played by Indian cinema in promoting relations between the two countries. They also gave suggestions for further development of relations in all fields.
• Sherif Amasha, an Associate Professor in the Higher Institute of Cinema, stressed on the role of culture and cultural festivals in deepening the bilateral relations between the two nations.
About the Indian cultural centre
• The Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture was established in 1992, as a part of the Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP).
• Located in Cairo, it is the only Indian cultural centre in the region.
• It was named after Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the founder of Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) and scholar who had close links with the Arab world.
• The centre since its inception has been spreading different aspects of Indian culture in Egypt by holding a host of exhibitions, events and other programmes.
• The centre also plays host to some of the activities of ‘India by the Nile’, which is Egypt’s largest cultural festival.

German lawmakers approve package of security measures, partially ban burqa

The lawmakers of Germany on 27 April 2017 approved a package of security measures that aims at preventing extremist attacks. In this regard the lawmakers also partially banned the full-face burqa, the Islamic veil.
 

The new law on facial coverings falls short of a total ban in public places demanded by right-wing parties, like that in effect in neighbouring France since 2011.
Key facts of the new laws
· The prohibition will apply to public servants -- including election officials, military and judicial staff -- performing their duties.
· People will also be required to remove facial coverings in order to match them with their identity papers.
· It talks about the use of electronic ankle bracelets, if approved by a judge, for people deemed a security threat, in federal police cases – like known Islamic radicals considered potentially violent by security services.
 
Under another new measure, Germany will implement EU rules on the exchange of flight passenger data to counter terrorism and serious crime. And physical attacks on police, emergency services and military personnel on duty will in future be punished more severely, with up to five years' jail.
Why the new laws came into existence?
The new laws follow several jihadist attacks, including a truck rampage through a Berlin Christmas market that claimed 12 lives, and come ahead of September elections. The incident that occurred on 19 December 2017 was claimed by the Islamic State group

El Salvador becomes first country to ban metals mining

El Salvador in April 2017 became the first country in the world to ban metal mining. The El Salvador unicameral legislature passed the ban with support from a sweeping coalition. The law was favoured by nearly 80 percent of the El Salvadorian population.
The law bans "prospection, exploration, exploitation, extraction or processing of metallic minerals in El Salvador."
The law entered into force after being signed by President Salvador Sanchez Ceren.


Background
• After the Salvadoran Civil War (15 October 1979 to 16 January 1992), the government began trying to rebuild the large-scale mining industry.
• The country received a flurry of exploration permit applications, when global gold prices began to climb in the early 2000s.
• The Pacific Rim Mining Corporation proposed plans for a mine named El Dorado to be built in the basin of the Rio Lempa–El Salvador’s primary source of drinking water.  
• In the 1990s, rapid industrialization and population growth in the country caused extreme environmental degradation.
• By the early 2000s, more than 90% of the country’s ground water was chemically contaminated and no amount of boiling, filtering or chlorination would make it potable.
• Later, anti-mining movement began in the country which resisted the El Dorado mine and mining in general. Local and international groups united to form The National Roundtable Against Metal Mining in El Salvador.
• In May 2007, the El Salvadorian Catholic Church joined the country’s anti-mining movement. The Catholic Church publicly denounced mining, claiming “no material advantage can be compared to the value of human life.”
• In March 2008, NRA President Antonio Saca instituted a nationwide moratorium on metal mining permits.

PM Narendra Modi launches UDAN scheme, flags off first UDAN flight on Shimla-Delhi route


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 27 April 2017 launched air regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Har Nagarik) during his day-long visit to Shimla. Under the scheme, the first UDAN flight was flagged off on Shimla-Delhi route.


Simultaneously, PM Narendra Modi also launched the inaugural UDAN flights on Kadapa – Hyderabad and Nanded - Hyderabad routes.

Prior to the launch of this UDAN flight, Kingfisher was the only airline that operated regular flights between Delhi and Shimla till September 2012.
Highlights of the UDAN flight on Delhi -Shimla route
• This UDAN flight will be a regular flight, which will operate five days in a week. 
• The flight will depart at 6.10 a.m. from Delhi and will arrive Shimla at 7.25 a.m. On the same day itself, the flight will depart at 7.45 a.m. from Shimla and will return to Delhi at 8.45 a.m.
• The airfare for this 1-hour journey of around 500 km or the airfare for 30 minute journey on a helicopter will be capped at Rs 2500.

Highlights of the UDAN Scheme
• The UDAN Scheme is a key component of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP) which was launched in June 2016.
• UDAN is a first-of-its-kind scheme which aims to stimulate regional connectivity through a market-based mechanism.
• Under the scheme, 24 airports in the western region, 17 in the northern region, 11 in the southern region, 12 in east and six in north-eastern parts of the country will be connected under this scheme.
• The government will also connect 45 unserved and under-served airports with the scheme.
• The operators are Air India subsidiary Airline Allied Services, SpiceJet, Air Deccan, Air Odisha and Turbo Megha. They would be operating 19-78 seater aircraft.
• Operators will have to provide 50 per cent of the flight capacity with a cap of Rs 2500 per hour and a minimum of five and a maximum of 13 people on helicopters with the same price cap.

Comment
With the regular plying of UDAN flight on Delhi - Shimla route, the tourism industry of the state is expected to get a boost.

Presently, the annual tourist arrival in Himachal Pradesh crosses 1.8 crore (18 million) in a year. The tourism sector contributes approximately seven per cent to the State Gross Domestic Product.

Uma Bharti has launched Water Conservation Programme for Bundelkhand


Uma Bharti, the Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation launched 'Jal Sanrakshan Karyakram- Bundelkhand’, an extensive water conservation programme on 28 April 2017 at Bandri, Sagar in Madhya Pradesh.


The program aims to focus on the drought-prone areas of Bundelkhand, Kalahandi, Bolangir, Marathwada and Koraput in Odisha.

The minister had revealed earlier while making the announcement in New Delhi that her Ministry has prepared a master plan for the artificial discharge of ground water in the Bundelkhand region.
Key Details
• The Water Resources Ministry has identified around 1100 percolation tanks, 14000 small check dams or Nala bunds and 7200 Recharge pits/shafts in Bundelkhand.
• It has also proposed the construction of 234 wells in five districts of Bundelkhand in UP including Hamirpur, Jalaun, Banda, Mahoba and Chitrakoot and 259 wells in six districts of Bundelkhand in MP, as a part of ground water exploration.
• Besides this, the Ministry has also adopted new initiatives under National Ground Water Management Improvement Schemes (NGMIS) to improve ground water conditions in stressed blocks and ensure sustainability of the resource both quantitatively and qualitatively.
• Six districts covering an area of 11851 sq km in UP’s Bundelkhand region and five districts covering an area of 8319 sq km in MP’s Bundelkhand region have been considered under the initiative.
Further, the Ministry would be preparing an Incentivization Scheme for Bridging Irrigation Gap (ISBIG) scheme to complete Command Area Development and Water Management (CADWM) works and to correct the system deficiencies in the canal network to bridge the gap between Irrigation Potential Created and Irrigation Potential Utilised and to provide assured supply of water to every farm field among other things.
The scheme is expected to benefit Jhansi, Jalaun, Hamirpur, Lalitpur and Banda districts in UP’s Bundelkhand region and Tikamgarh and Datia districts in MP’s Bundelkhand region.

CURRENT AFFAIRS QUIZ APR 29 2017 for UPSC BANKING PSC EXAMS


1. B S Sandhu was appointed as the new Director General of Police of which state?

a)    Uttar Pradesh
b)    Punjab
c)    Haryana
d)    Himachal Pradesh

2. Who of the following was recently appointed as the President of Coca-Cola India?

a)    T K K Krishnakumar
b)    Venkatesh Kini
c)    Vamsi Mohan
d)    None of the above

3. Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently unveiled translated volumes of Vachana in New Delhi. The Vachana was penned by

a)    Ramanuja
b)    Nathamuni
c)    Allama Prabu
d)    Basavanna

4. The Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare is observed annually on which of the following dates?

a)    28 April
b)    29 April
c)    27 April
d)    26 April

5. Who of the following was declared Man of the tournament in 2017 T-20 Deaf and Dumb Asia Cup?

a)    Gurinder Singh
b)    Amritpal Sharma
c)    Yashwanth Naidu
d)    Manjinder Singh

6. Who of the following became the first Indian actor to deliver a speech at the TED Talks?

a)    Shahrukh Khan
b)    Amir Khan
c)    Rajnikanth
d)    Amitabh Bachchan
7. What is the theme of the 2017 World Immunization Week?

a)    Close the immunization gap
b)    Vaccines Work
c)    Are you up-to-date?
d)    Protect your world – get vaccinated

8. What is the theme of the 2017 World Day for Safety and Health at Work?

a)    Optimize the collection and use of OSH data
b)    Workplace Stress: a collective challenge
c)    Join in building a culture for prevention on OSH
d)    Safety and health in the use of chemicals at work

9. Sultan Azlan Shah Cup International Hockey tournament 2017 recently began in which of the following cities?

a)    Kuala Lumpur
b)    Penang
c)    Ipoh
d)    None of the above

10. As per the Randstad Survey, which company is India's most attractive employer?

a)    Amazon India
b)    Flipkart
c)    E & Y
d)    Google India

11. Union Government recently launched the Test and Treat policy for providing treatment to patients suffering from which disease?

a)    Tuberculosis
b)    Human Immunodeficiency Virus
c)    Pneumonia
d)    Jaundice

12. India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves have increased by how much amount to reach $371.13 billion?

a)    $1.35 billion
b)    $2.25 billion
c)    $1.75 billion
d)    $1.25 billion
13. Which city recently conducted India’s first-ever transgender one-day athletic meet?

a)    Kerala
b)    Tamil Nadu
c)    New Delhi
d)    Mumbai

14. Kazakhstan recently opened its honorary consulate in which of the following cities?

a)    Thiruvananthapuram
b)    Bengaluru
c)    Chennai
d)    Kolkata

15. Which of the following countries recently supported India’s bid for membership in the UN Security Council?

a)    Germany
b)    Poland
c)    Italy
d)    Japan


ANSWERS

1. (c) Haryana
2. (a) T K K Krishnakumar
3. (d) Basavanna
4. (b) 29 April
5. (c) Yashwanth Naidu
6. ((a) Shahrukh Khan
7. (b) Vaccines Work
8. (a) Optimize the collection and use of OSH data
9. (c) Ipoh
10. (d) Google India
11. ((b) Human Immunodeficiency Virus
12. (d) $1.25 billion
13. (a) Kerala
14. (c) Chennai
15. (b) Poland

CURRENT AFFAIRS QUIZ APR 28 2017 for UPSC BANKING PSC EXAMS


1. What is the theme of the 2017 World Press Freedom Day that will be celebrated by the UNESCO in Jakarta, Indonesia?

a)    Access to Information and Fundamental Freedoms 
b)    Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality, and Safety in the Digital Age 
c)    Media Freedom for a Better Future
d)    Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies

2. Which of the following shorts films has been selected by UNESCO to screen as a part of the World Press Freedom Day celebrations in Indonesia?

a)    Positive
b)    Dying to be Me
c)    Azaad
d)    Makhmal

3. Which country became the first in world to ban metals mining?

a)    Australia
b)    El Salvador
c)    Peru
d)    New Zealand

4. Name the Oscar-winning director of the movie The Silence of the Lambs who passed away recently.

a)    Jonathan Demme 
b)    Roger Corman
c)    Martin Scorsese
d)    None of the above

5. Name the Indian city that has bagged the Pierre L'Enfant Planning Excellence and Achievement Awards-2017 that was instituted by the American Planning Association (APA).

a)    Mumbai
b)    Chennai 
c)    Bhubaneswar
d)    Kolkata

6. NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has entered into which planet’s unexplored region?

a)    Mars
b)    Saturn
c)    Jupiter
d)    Venus

7. Who of the following won the UNESCO’s Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize?

a)    Giuseppe Bottai
b)    Giuseppina Nicolini
c)    Alfredo Siniscalchi
d)    Francesco Camero Medici

8. Which of the following Indian Navy Ships is currently undertaking a hydrographic survey of Weligama Bay along with Sri Lankan Navy?

a)    INS Darshak
b)    INS Arihant
c)    INS Rajput
d)    INS Shardul

9. What is the theme of the 2017 International Mother Earth Day?

a)    Trees for the Earth
b)    It's Our Turn to Lead 
c)    Green Cities
d)    Environmental & Climate Literacy

10. Name the country whose lawmakers had approved package of security measures, partially ban burqa.

a)    Scotland
b)    Germany 
c)    Britain
d)    China

11. President Pranab Mukherjee conferred the 52nd Jnanpith Award to eminent poet Sankha Ghosh on 27 April 2017. He belongs to which state?

a)    West Bengal
b)    Odisha 
c)    Assam
d)    Tripura

12. The person was conferred by the CII President’s Award for Lifetime Achievement by the President Pranab Mukherjee.  

a)    Rahul Bajaj
b)    Sankha Ghosh
c)    Ratan Tata
d)    Anil Ambani

13. Uma Bharti has launched a new water conservation scheme for which region in India?

a)    Gird
b)    Bundelkhand
c)    Malwa
d)    Rohilkhand 

14. The Indian cultural centre located in which country recently organised a seminar to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two nations?

a)    United Kingdom
b)    Egypt
c)    Australia
d)    Canada

15. Which country has become the first country to open an honorary consulate office in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City (GIFT City)? 

a)    Norway
b)    Georgia
c)    Belgium 
d)    Spain


ANSWERS
1. (d) Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies
2. (c) Azaad
3. (b) El Salvador
4. (a) Jonathan Demme
5. (c) Bhubaneswar
6. (b) Saturn
7. (b) Giuseppina Nicolini
8. (a) INS Darshak
9. (d) Environmental & Climate Literacy
10. (b) Germany
11. (a) West Bengal
12. (a) Rahul Bajaj
13. (d) Rohilkhand
14. (b) Egypt
15. (c) Belgium

CURRENT AFFAIRS QUIZ APR 27 2017 for UPSC BANKING PSC EXAMS



1. NITI Aayog, the think tank of the Union Government, in April 2017 came up with a vision document 2031-31 that envisages a new India. Consider the following statements in context to the document 
I. It envisages that every Indian will have houses with toilets, vehicles and power in next 15 years, i.e. by 2032.
II. It says that the per capita income would go up by three fold to Rs 3.14 lakh in 2031-32 from Rs 1.06 lakh in 2015-16. 
III. It also talks about India where the gross domestic product or whose economy would rise from Rs 137 lakh crore level in 2015-16 to Rs 469 lakh crore in 2031-32.

Which is/are correct?
a) Only III
b) Only I and II 
c) Only I and III
d) I, II and III 

2. This High Court in recent past said that Hospitals can't hold patients hostage for unpaid bills.
a) Delhi High Court 
b) Madras High Court 
c) Bombay High Court 
d) Allahabad High Court 

3. Which of the following places are NOT included in the 10 Swachh Iconic Places of the Phase II of Swachh Iconic Places initiative?
a) Gangotri
b) Mahakaleshwar Temple, Ujjain
c) Church and Convent of St. Francis of Assissi, Goa
d) Red Fort, Agra

4. Who of the following was crowned the Miss Teen Universe 2017?
a) Srishti Kaur
b) Nieveles Gonzalez
c) Nicole Obando
d) Xirelle Agustin

5. Who of the following was recently appointed as the Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force?
a) R. K. Pachnanda
b) Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar
c) Krishna Choudhary
d) None of the above

6. Who of the following was recently appointed as the Director General of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police?
a) Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar
b) Krishna Choudhary
c) R. K. Pachnanda
d) None of the above

7. The Supreme Court has pulled up drought-hit states for not appointing state food commissions or making them operational. Which of the following is not part of the states that was pulled by the court for not appointing food commissions?
a) Andhra Pradesh
b) Madhya Pradesh
c) Maharashtra
d) Tamil Nadu 

8. Which country appointed Hana Khatib as first female judge in its Muslim Sharia Court system? 
a) Israel 
b) Iran
c) Palestine
d) Iraq 

9. When is the World Lab Animal Day (WLAD) observed globally? 
a) 22 April 
b) 23 April 
c) 24 April
d) 25 April  

10. NASA recently successfully launched its heavy-lift super pressure balloon (SPB) from which country?
a) Maldives
b) Australia
c) New Zealand
d) Fiji

11. 
India recently notified conformity to the UN resolution of imposing sanctions on which country?
a) Iraq
b) Syria
c) Iran
d) North Korea

12. Name the Tennis player who in April 2017 made a winning comeback to the sports after her 15-month ban from the sport due to doping.
a) Maximilian Abel
b) Maria Sharapova
c) Kristina Antoniychuk
d) Mariano Puerta

13. Which state’s government cancelled 15 public holidays in educational institutions?
a) Uttar Pradesh 
b) Bihar 
c) Maharashtra 
d) Telangana

14. The newly discovered planet by NASA scientists is being referred to by which popular name?
a) Fireball
b) Iceball
c) Gasball
d) Great ball

15. 
Which cricket body stands to lose more than half of its revenue share in ICC with the approval of the new revenue model?
a) Cricket Australia (CA)
b) Cricket South Africa (CSA)
c) Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)
d) England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

ANSWER.
1. (d) I, II and III 
2. (a) Delhi High Court 
3. (d) Red Fort, Agra
4. (a) Srishti Kaur
5. (b) Rajiv Rai Bhatnagar
6. (c) R. K. Pachnanda
7. (d) Tamil Nadu 
8. (a) Israel 
9. (c) 24 April 
10. (c) New Zealand
11. (d) North Korea
12. (b) Maria Sharapova
13.(a) Uttar Pradesh 
14.(b) Iceball
15.(c) BCCI