Daily MCQ
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25 August 2019 MCQs Test

10 Questions 20 Minutes

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

CLOUDED LEOPARD
A recent research paper published on clouded leopards by over 20 researchers from across the globe has helped understanding the habitats, migration corridors and laid out the conservation strategies.
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About: 

  • Sub Species: Classically considered a single species, the Clouded Leopard has recently been split into two species.
    • Neofelis Nebulosi: It is restricted to mainland Southeast Asia.

    • Neofelis Diardi: It is found on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo.



  • Physical description:
    • Clouds: It is named after the distinctive 'clouds' on its coat - ellipses partially edged in black, with the insides a darker colour than the background colour of the pelt.

    • Legs: It has relatively short legs and broad paws which make it excellent at climbing trees.



  • Range:
    • Historically, their range covered most of Southeast Asia from Nepal and southern China through Thailand, Indonesia, and Borneo. It is regionally extinct in Singapore and Taiwan.’

    • In India, it occurs in north-east and West Bengal. It is the state animal of Meghalaya. 
      • Dampa tiger reserve in Mizoram has one of the highest population densities.





  • Habitat: Subtropical/Tropical Moist Forests.

  • Conservation status: Both the species are listed as Vulnerable in IUCN red list.

  • In 2018, India added clouded leopards to its Recovery Programme for Critically Endangered Species to aid more research and strengthen conservation efforts.

Important Info :

The Clouded leopard is one of the big cats occurring on the Indian subcontinent, apart from the Asiatic lion, Bengal tiger, snow leopard and Indian leopard. 

Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

MESOVELIA
Scientists of the Zoological Survey of India have discovered seven species of water treaders, semi-aquatic insects that can walk or run on the surface of water.
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About: 

  • The newly described species belong to the genus Mesovelia whose size ranges from 1.5 mm to 4.5 mm and are equipped with hydrophobic setae (bristles) on their legs. The combination of hydrophobic setae and water surface tension prevents them from sinking.

  • These bugs are hemimetabolous insects without having larval stage i.e., they go from egg to nymph to adult.

  • They are found on freshwater bodies such as ponds, lakes, pools, streams, rocks with moss and sometimes on estuaries.

  • There are 12 species of genus Mesovelia found in the country.

Mesovelia vs water striders:

  • Other than the size, there are morphological features that make these pond-weed insects different from water striders.

  • The claws of Mesovelia are placed apically (tip or extreme end of legs), whereas in water striders, they arise from the pre-apex (just before the tip) of legs.

Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

GREENLAND
U.S. President Donald Trump wanted to buy Greenland, an autonomous province of Denmark. Upon being told that Greenland was not, in fact, for sale, Trump promptly cancelled a planned state visit to Denmark for what he termed the Danish PM’s “nasty” remarks.
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About: 

  • Location: Greenland, an autonomous province of Denmark, is located to the north east of Canada.

  • Demography: Most of its inhabitants are Inuit whose ancestors migrated from Canada.

  • Capital: Nuuk. 

  • Governance: The autonomous Danish dependent territory has limited self-government and its own parliament. While its government decides on domestic matters, foreign and security policy is handled by Denmark.

  • Economy: Denmark contributes two thirds of Greenland's budget revenue, the rest coming mainly from fishing. 

Significance:

  • The US President wants to buy the Danish territory as it is in a crucial strategic location in case tensions with Russia rise - but admits it's not a No1 priority.

  • Potential oil, gas and rare earth mineral reserves have also attracted prospecting firms.

Legal Obstacles To Sale

  • Any sale would require a change to Greenland’s legal status through an amendment to Denmark’s constitution. Since 2009 Greenland has held the right to declare independence from Denmark. If Greenland do so, it could choose to become associated with the United States.

  • But few Greenlanders see independence as viable given their economic dependence on Denmark, part of the affluent European Union.

Important Info :

Territories earlier purchased by USA? 

  • In 1803, the US struck a land deal with France to buy 827,000 square miles of land called the Louisana Purchase. It massively expanded the US' territory. 
  • In 1819, the US bought Florida from Spain. 
  • The US bought Alaska from Russia for $7.2m in 1867. 
Source : The Hindu
International

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

ASIA/PACIFIC GROUP ON MONEY LAUNDERING
The Asia Pacific Group (APG) of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has put Pakistan in the Enhanced Expedited Follow Up List (Blacklist) for its failure to comply with terror funding standards.
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Recent decision: 

  • it has also found that Pakistan was non-compliant on 32 of the 40 compliance parameters of terror financing and money laundering. 

  • On 11 effectiveness parameters of terror financing and money laundering, Pakistan was adjudged as low on 10. 

  • While the placing does not bring any new punitive measures on Pakistan, it will mean quarterly reporting to the group on improvement in its financial safeguards. 

  • Now, Pakistan has to focus on avoiding the blacklist in October, when the 15-month timeline ends on the FATF's 27-point action plan. 

Important Info :

Asia/Pacific Group On Money Laundering? 

  • What is it? The Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering is an inter-governmental organisation, consisting of 41 member jurisdictions.
  • Purpose: To ensure that its members effectively implement the international standards against money laundering, terrorist financing and proliferation financing related to weapons of mass destruction.
  • Type: It is a part of global network of similar bodies, referred to as Financial Action Task Force-Style Regional Bodies (FSRBs) and is the largest in terms of membership numbers and geographical size.
  • Secretariat: Sydney, Australia
  • Established in: 1997. 
Source : All India Radio
Defence & Security

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

AMAZON FIRES
Over the last several days, the Amazon rainforest has been burning – mostly caused by farmers clearing land – at a rate that has alarmed environmentalists and governments worldwide.
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Trend this year: 

  • There have been more than 72,800 fires in Brazil this year, with more than half in the Amazon region -- an 80% increase compared with the same period last year -- according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE). 

  • Brazil’s Amazon has lost more than 344,500 hectares (1,330 square miles) of forest cover between January and June, according to INPE. 

Reason: 

  • Forest fires are common in the Amazon during the dry season, which runs from July to October. They can be caused by naturally occurring events, such as by lightning strikes, but also by farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing.

  • However activists also blame Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has encouraged such tree-clearing activities for agriculture and mining.

Concern:

  • The Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, is roughly half the size of the United States and produces 20 per cent of the oxygen in the Earth’s atmosphere.

  • it is a repository of rich biodiversity and is also home to indigenous communities whose live is now under threat.

  • Carbon intake by the Amazon basin matches the emissions released by nations in the basin. The burning of forests, therefore, implies additional carbon emissions.

  • Amazon rainforest influences the water cycle not only on a regional scale, but also on a global scale. The rain produced by the Amazon travels through the region and even reaches the Andes mountain range.

Source : Indian Express
Environment & Ecology

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

AKADEMIK LOMONOSOV
Russia launched the world’s first floating nuclear reactor, sending it on an epic journey across the Arctic, despite environmentalists warning of a “Chernobyl on ice.”
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About: 

  • Loaded with nuclear fuel, the Akademik Lomonosov with a crew of 69 left the port of Murmansk to begin its 5,000 km voyage to Pevek in Siberia. The reactor's trip is expected to last between 4 and 6 weeks. 

  • When it arrives in Pevek, it will replace a local nuclear plant and a closed coal plant. It is due to go into operation by the end of year, mainly serving the region's oil platforms as Russia develops the exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic. 

  • It follow the examples of submarines, icebreakers and aircraft carriers, which have long used nuclear power, and are intended for isolated areas with little infrastructure. 

  • But environmental groups have long warned of the dangers of the project, dubbing it a potential "Chernobyl on ice" and a "nuclear Titanic." 

Source : Livemint
Science & Tech

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

GLOBAL COAL CONSUMPTION
According to the findings of International Energy Agency (IEA) and 2019 BP Statistical Review, Asia is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, accounting for 75 % of global demand.
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About: 

  • Asia is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal, accounting for 75 % of global demand. 

  • China is the world’s largest consumer of Coal, followed by India, Japan and South Korea. China continues to emit more carbon dioxide than any other country. 

  • Global coal consumption peaked in 2013 at 3,867 billion tonnes of oil equivalent, but that demand last year had declined merely 2.5 % below the peak. 

  • South-East Asia was the only region in the world in which coal’s share of power generation grew last year. 

Source : Graphic News
Economy

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

BIG DATA AND DISASTER MANAGEMENT
According to a report by the U.N.’s Asia-Pacific social agency (UNESCAP), use of big data can better predict increasingly complex disasters in the Asia-Pacific region.
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Key findings of report: 

  • Since 1970, natural disasters in the Asia-Pacific region have killed two million people — 59% of the global death toll for that period. 

  • Disasters also cause more damage in Asia and the Pacific, measured as a percentage of GDP, than the rest of the world, and this gap has been widening. 

  • However, big data innovations reveal patterns of complex disaster risks which helps to understand and predict the risk of extreme and slow-onset events. 

  • Flood and cyclone forecasting now relies on computer simulations. Sensor webs and the Internet of Things have enabled efficient earthquake early-warning systems. Remote sensing via satellites and drones provide quick assessments of damage and people affected, and help in relief efforts. 

Big Data? 

  • Big data refers to the analysis of very large data sets to reveal patterns, trends and associations. 

  • The data can come from a range of sources, including satellite imagery, drone videos, simulations, crowdsourcing, social media and global positioning systems. 

Important Info :

UNESCAP? 

  • The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) serves as the United Nations’ regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. 
  • This regional intergovernmental platform with 53 Member States and 9 associate members. 
Source : The Hindu
Disaster Management

Current Affairs
Aug. 25, 2019

MICROPLASTICS IN DRINKING WATER
The World Health Organization (WHO) released its first report into the effects of microplastics on human health.
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Key findings of the report:

  • In this report, WHO looked into the specific impact of microplastics in tap and bottled water.

  • The level of microplastics in drinking water is not yet a health risk for humans. Microplastics larger than 150 micrometres are not likely to be absorbed by the human body but the chance of absorbing very small microplastic particles, including nano-sized plastics, could be higher.

  • WHO has called on researchers to conduct a more in-depth evaluation into microplastics and the potential impact on human health. 

Important Info :

What are microplastics (view of WHO)?

  • As a category, microplastics encompass a wide range of materials composed of different substances, with different densities, chemical compositions, shapes and sizes.
  • There is no scientifically-agreed definition of microplastics, although they are frequently defined as plastic particles < 5 mm in length.
  • However, this is a rather arbitrary definition and is of limited value in the context of drinking-water since particles at the upper end of the size range are unlikely to be found in treated drinking-water.
  • A subset of microplastics < 1 µm in length are often referred to as nanoplastics.

How do microplastics get into drinking-water?

  • Microplastics may enter drinking-water sources in a number of ways: from surface run-off (e.g. after a rain event), to wastewater effluent (both treated and untreated), combined sewer overflows, industrial effluent, degraded plastic waste and atmospheric deposition.
  • Plastic bottles and caps that are used in bottled water may also be sources of microplastics in drinking-water. 
Source : The Hindu
Environment & Ecology
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