Current Affairs

Prelims spotlight (31-10-2016)

Scientists turn pollution back into green fuel

  • Scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US have discovered a way to reverse the combustion process, turning CO2 back into fuel
  • Complex nanotechnology techniques were used to turn the dissolved gas into ethanol
  • The solution of CO2 dissolved in water was turned into ethanol, with a yield of 63 to 70%
  • If this experiment is successfully scaled-up, CO2, being a greenhouse gas can be retained from going back into the atmosphere

Food for thought

  • What is bio diesel?



2 billion children breathe toxic air worldwide, UNICEF says


  • A United Nations (UN) programme headquartered in New York City
  • Created by the United Nations General Assembly on 11 December 1946
  • Provides humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries

Food for thought

  • What are the gases/pollutants included in the national air quality index?
  • What is acid rain? What are the constituents of acid rain?



PM pays tributes to former Prime Minister of India Smt. Indira Gandhi, on her death anniversary

Indira Gandhi

  • Indira Priyadarshini Gandhi was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru and to date the only female Prime Minister of India
  • Second-longest-serving Prime Minister after Jawaharlal Nehru

Key historical happenings under her reign:

o   Support of the independence movement and war of independence in East Pakistan

o   State of emergency from 1975 to 1977

o   Rule by decree

o   Storming of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar to counter the Punjab insurgency

Awarded:  Bharat Ratna,  Bangladesh Freedom Honour (Bangladesh Swadhinata Sammanona )

Food for thought

  • Operation Blue star – It was conducted by Indian army to free golden temple occupied by Sikh militants.
  • Smiling Buddha – Code name used during first nuclear test when indira Gandhi was PM



Ease of Doing Business: A.P., Telangana top in 2016 all-India ranking

  • Report on State-wise Ease of Doing Business rankings released by Commerce and Industry Minister
  • Rankings are on the basis of 340-point business reform action plan and their implementation by the States
  • The submissions were reviewed by a World Bank team
  • The report is validated by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion's (DIPP’s) team.


Food for thought

  • Ease of doing business report is released by World Bank.
  • Can you recall who releases Global financial stability report? World development report? Multidimensional poverty index?



Russia invites India to join fast reactor research project


Fast-neutron reactor

  • A category of nuclear reactor where the fission chain reaction is sustained by fast neutrons
  • This reactor needs no neutron moderator
  • But it requires a fuel that is relatively rich in fissile material when compared to that required for a thermal reactor


  • Can reduce the total radio-toxicity of nuclear waste,
  • Dramatically reduce the waste's lifetime
  • More neutrons per fission are produced from fissions caused by fast neutrons than from those caused by thermal neutrons


  • Costly to build and operate
  • Critical mass in a fast reactor is much higher than a thermal reactor, thus significantly higher enrichment:  enrichment is required


Food for thought

  • Recall commonly used nuclear fuels? Types of nuclear reactors?
  • Recall what is moderator, coolant in a nuclear reactor.



Chinese stealth fighter to shed cloak of secrecy

Chengdu J-20

  • A stealth, twinjet, fifth-generation fighter aircraft
  • Developed by China's Chengdu Aerospace Corporation for the Air Force (PLAAF)
  • Swift, stealthy, and armed with long-range missiles
  • Represent a leap forward in China’s ability to project power in Asia and compete in capabilities with the United States.

Food for thought

  • AURA is an Indian version of autonomous unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV),
  • It is developed by the Defense Research and Development Organization for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.