13 December 2016 Current Affairs

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13 Dec, 2016

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vardah-storm-2016

1) What is the name of the severe cyclonic storm that made a landfall in Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh on 12 December 2016 and severely affecting Chennai? – ‘Vardah’

Explanation: ‘Vardah’ is the name of the severe cyclonic storm that hit northern Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh on 12 December 2016. It developed over the southeast Bay of Bengal region around 5 days back as a low pressure area and upgraded into a severe cyclonic storm.

‘Vardah’ was initially expected made landfall in Andhra Pradesh and cross the coast between Nellore and Kakinada. But later it changed direction and targeted Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh instead. Heavy rainfall and gusty air lashed Chennai, Kanchipuram and Thiruvalluvar due to the storm. Chennai bore the brunt of the cyclone with suburban rail services completely suspended, runways shut and very limited buses plying on roads. At least 2 persons died as thousands of tree fell all over the city.

The name ‘Vardah’ is given by Pakistan as per cyclone naming conventions and stands for red rose in Urdu.

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gotthard-tunnel-2016

2) Normal commercial traffic through the 57-km long Gotthard Base Tunnel, the world’s longest rail tunnel, was commenced from 11 December 2016. This tunnel, which took 17 years to build, is situated in which country? – Switzerland

Explanation: The Gotthard Base Tunnel (GBT) is situated in the Swiss Alps and connects Zurich to Lugano. The tunnel took 17 years to build, at a cost of over 12 billion Swiss francs. It was officially opened in June 2016 but regular passenger services have been started from 11 December.

The GBT has surpassed Japan’s 53.9 km Seikan tunnel as the world’s longest train tunnel. The 50.5 km Channel tunnel connecting Britain and France has been bumped into third place.

The ambitious GBT project has been praised across Europe for its pioneering efforts to improve connectivity from Rotterdam to the Adriatic.

The Swiss-funded tunnel was largely made possible by technical advances in tunnel-boring machines, which replaced the costly and dangerous blast-and-drill method.

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3) What is the number of a soon-to-be-commissioned nationwide toll-free helpline to educate people and provide support related to cashless mode of transactions? – 14444

Explanation: Union Government is in the process of commissioning a new nationwide toll-free helpline number that will seek to educate people and provide support related to cashless mode of transactions. The Govt. has sought leading IT services and software association Nasscom’s help in providing support on a mass scale to people.

The number 14444 has been assigned by the Department of Telecom (DoT). This toll-free number will thus be the latest addition to various tools already launched by the government to promote digital payments. The Government has already launched a TV channel (‘Digishala’) and a website (‘CashlessIndia’) to promote the cause of digital transactions.

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4) What is the name of the 5-month long initiative launched by the Madhya Pradesh Government on 11 December 2016 that aims at turning the Narmada river pollution free by seeking public participation and creating awareness? – ‘Narmada Seva Yatra’

Explanation: ‘Narmada Seva Yatra’ (NSY) is the name of the new initiative launched by the Madhya Pradesh Government. The initiative seeks to turn the Narmada into a pollution free and unceasing river. NSY was launched by MP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan at Amarkantak on 11 December 2016.

The NSY will create awareness about the conservation of the river and will cover more than 1,900 kilometres in 16 districts of the state. Under the initiative trees will be planted along the banks of the Narmada and sewage water will be treated before it flows into the river.

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nz-pm-bill-english-2016

5) Who was sworn-in as new Prime Minister of New Zealand on 12 December 2016 to replace John Key? – Bill English

Explanation: Bill English, who was Finance Minister till now, became the new Prime Minister of New Zealand on 12 December 2016. He replaced the much-popular John Key, who shocked the nation by resigning due to family reasons a few days ago.

The centre-right National Party caucus unanimously backed English at a meeting on 12 December. Hours later he was administered the oath of office. State Services Minister Paula Bennett was named as deputy leader.

English has been in parliament since 1990 and was previously leader of the National Party in 2002 when it suffered its worst election defeat.

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6) According to media reports, which Scandinavian country is facing the unique problem of running out of its garbage and is now importing it to run its recycling plants? – Sweden

Explanation: Sweden has run out of garbage and is being forced to import it from other countries to keep its state-of-the-art recycling plants going. The garbage is needed in large quantities as the country sources almost half of its electricity from renewables.

Sweden was one of the first countries to implement a heavy tax on fossil fuels in 1991. The country’s recycling system is so sophisticated that only less than 1 per cent of its household waste has been sent to landfill last year. However, the need of garbage import is just of temporary nature.

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