Saturday, April 9, 2011


The EU's foreign policy: The test for Ashton and Europe
Foreign affairs is back at the forefront of the European Union, for the moment at
least. The euro crisis is in a chronic rather than an acute phase, and no big
decisions on the euro are expected at summit. Time, then, to consider the
political crises around the EU’s rim, from Belarus’s rigged election and violent
suppression of opposition protests, to unrest in Albania and, of course, the spread
of the anti-government protests—the “jasmine revolution”—across North Africa
and the Middle East.
These represent a big test of the ability of the External Action Service, the EU’s
“foreign ministry” headed by Catherine Ashton, to respond to unexpected events.
Twice, the baroness spoke before the cameras. On the way to a meeting for
foreign ministers in Brussels, she made no mention of the need for Egypt to hold
“free and fair elections”. Only at the end of the meeting did she come forward
with this exhortation.
One draws two lessons from this. First, for a foreign minister Baroness Ashton is
strangely allergic to the media, especially what her officials call the “Brussels
bubble". She has reluctantly had to step into its the limelight because of the
pressure of events and because of complaints about her lack of visibility. French
papers have resumed the stream of criticism of the baroness, whether for
allegedly stitching-up top jobs (in French) in favour of Britain and its allies, or
because of her alleged lack of vision. “Mme Ashton est nulle” (“Mrs Ashton is
useless”), Le Monde reports (in French) one senior French official as saying.
Second, she is averse to sharing leadership with her fellow foreign ministers.
Even as the Americans had shifted their position at the weekend to call for an
orderly transition to democracy in Egypt, and even after the leaders of Britain,
France and Germany issued a joint letter calling for elections, Mrs Ashton was
reluctant to call for a free ballot. Diplomats say this is because she feared she did
not yet have consensus among the 27 states. Is this admirable respect for
smaller member states, who had not yet expressed themselves, or is it a
worrying timidity?
The statements issued at the end of the meeting offer some intriguing contrasts.
The foreign ministers announced a visa ban and asset freeze against senior
Belarussian officials and confirmed similar measures against the Ivory Coast’s
president, Laurent Gbagbo, and his entourage. They announced their intention to
impose “restrictive measures” on members of Tunisia’s former regime. Officials
say this means a freeze of assets, starting with those of ex-president Zine al
Abidine Ben Ali and his wife, Leila Trabelsi. “The council salutes the courage and
determination of the Tunisian people and its peaceful struggle for its rights and
democratic aspirations,” said the ministers.
The words for Egyptian demonstrators were more guarded. “The council
recognizes the legitimate democratic aspirations and grievances of the Egyptian
population. These should be listened to carefully and addressed through urgent,
concrete and decisive measures.” There were no sanctions imposed on President
Hosni Mubarak, even though scores of protesters have been killed by his security
forces and even though his rule has been far from democratic.
Why the difference? In part, this is because Tunisia’s leader has fled and the
current government has asked for the seizure of his assets, while Mr Mubarak
remains in office. In part, also, the reason is that Tunisia is seen as much more
secular than Egypt. There is an unmistakeable worry that the main beneficiaries
of a genuinely free and fair election in Egypt would be the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Egyptian wing of the movement today proclaims itself to be peaceful and
democratic, but the Brotherhood has in the past produced violent jihadist
offshoots. The Palestinian branch of the Brotherhood, Hamas, turned violent in
the 1990s and popularised the use of suicide bombings—and then won Palestinian
elections. It still runs the Gaza strip, despite Israel’s blockade.
Israel is plainly alarmed by the prospect of Islamists taking power on their
border, even though its prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was once a loud
advocate of democracy in the Arab world, calling it a precondition for peace.
William Hague, Britain’s foreign secretary, concedes that the situation is “fraught
with danger” but argues that, in the end, the outside world had to show “faith in


Climate change and evolution
Despite a frenzied last-minute drive involving snowstorms in Europe and the
eastern United States, planet Earth failed to save itself from another last-place
finish in 2010: once again, it was the least cold year on record. The World
Meteorological Organization announced its finding last week that global mean
temperatures for the year were 0.53°C above the 1961-1990 mean, 0.01°C
warmer than 2005 and 0.02°C above 1998. With the comparison having a margin
of uncertainty of 0.09°C, the three years are considered tied for the hottest year
on record. That followed results the previous week from NOAA, which found 2010
and 2005 tied as the hottest years ever, and NASA, which found the same thing.
(They both think 1998 was a bit colder.)
The fact that every one of the twelve hottest years on record has come since
1997 is a little harder to wave away. 2010 was also the wettest year ever,
corresponding to the expectation that higher heat means more water vapour.
More countries set national high-temperature records in 2010 than ever before,
including the biggest one, Russia. Arctic sea ice in December was at its lowest
level ever, temperatures across a broad swathe of northern Canada have been
20° C higher than normal for the past month, the record temperatures are
coming despite the lowest levels of solar activity in a century and a La Nina effect
that should be making Canada colder rather than warmer, and so on. It is of
course possible that global warming plateaued this year; it's also possible that it
plateaued this morning. One can always hope! For now, though, this is the basic
shape of things:
There have been tons of new feather-bearing fossils unearthed over the past 15
years, and scientists can now use microscopic analysis and knowledge of how
modern feathers work to actually figure out what color some of the feathers on
these dinosaurs were. It's pretty clear that the development of feathers came
long before they had anything to do with flight, but it's still not so clear whether
feathered dinosaurs evolved into birds or whether they (and feathered protocrocodiles!)
shared a common feathered ancestor. Anyway, towards the
beginning of the article comes this:
The origin of this wonderful mechanism is one of evolution's most durable
mysteries. In 1861, just two years after Darwin published Origin of Species,
quarry workers in Germany unearthed spectacular fossils of a crow-size bird,
dubbed Archaeopteryx, that lived about 150 million years ago. It had feathers
and other traits of living birds but also vestiges of a reptilian past, such as teeth
in its mouth, claws on its wings, and a long, bony tail. Like fossils of whales with
legs, Archaeopteryx seemed to capture a moment in a critical evolutionary
metamorphosis. "It is a grand case for me," Darwin confided to a friend.
Think about how that must have looked to contemporaries. Darwin publishes his
theory that species develop through evolution from other species. Many people
think, wild idea, but can one species really change so deeply over time that it
becomes a different species? Wolves into dogs, sure, but fish into lizards and so
forth? Then, two years later, a fossil is discovered that suggests dinosaurs
evolving into birds. To first have a theory presented that suggests these
outlandish transformations, and then to have an example turn up that perfectly
describes the theory's most improbable consequences, with no possibility of prior
knowledge—this is an extremely convincing sequence of evidence.
But if you grew up, say, 150 years after "The Origin of Species" was published,
you didn't experience that remarkable sequence of evidence. You get the theory
of evolution and the fossil background presented at the same time. So if you
want to be an evolution sceptic, the fossil record just becomes another set of
data you can poke holes in, along with the theory. After all, nobody understands
what function feathers served before they were used for flight. If they were for
mating displays, why did they turn out to be perfect for aerodynamics? How come
nothing has feathers anymore that doesn't fly, or isn't descended from something
that did? Darwin's theory can't explain it! And so on.
Now, back to global warming. The thesis that rising global temperature data were
due to a greenhouse effect produced by industrial emissions of CO2 and other
gases, and that this might lead to environmental disaster, was something we first
encountered as a mind-bending idea being thrown around by scientists in the
mid-1980s. If, after 1988, global temperatures had stopped rising, or had started
to exhibit a lot of volatility. Instead, for a decade and a half, global mean
temperatures kept going up and up. They bounced around a bit in the mid-2000s,
and have now resumed rising again.
For people my age or older who were paying attention over the past couple of
decades, that really ought to be convincing. But for people who just joined the
conversation when "An Inconvenient Truth" came out, things are different. For
them, the evidence of global warming was presented at the same time as the
theory. And so they're susceptible to people trying to poke holes in the data or
the theory. The temperature rise from 1998-2008 isn't statistically significant,
tree ring data is unreliable, and so forth. Give them another two decades, and
they'll probably come around. Unfortunately, by that time an enormous amount
of damage will already have been done.


Good and bad in Infosys Q3
Country's second-biggest IT company, Infosys Technologies, raised fresh
concerns over the pace and depth of recovery in the IT sector by reporting lowerthan-
expected third quarter earnings due to wage costs, currency fluctuations
and sluggish European economic growth.
However, Infosys also revised its revenue guidance for the year upwards, as it
hopes that customers will give more outsourcing orders after the Christmas
vacation. Since April 2010, Infosys has revised its revenue guidance every
financial quarter.
So, here's looking into all that is good and not-so good in Infosys third quarter
US revenue share declines
The software services provider said that it derived 65 percent of its revenues
from companies in North America, down from 67 percent a year earlier.
Customers in Europe accounted for 22 percent of sales, little changed from the
prior period. Infosys added 40 clients during the quarter, ending with a total of
612 customers.
Dip in company's cash chest
Second biggest IT company in India said that its cash and cash equivalents
declined by nearly 4 percent to Rs 14,819 crore for the quarter ended December
31, 2010.
As on December 31, cash and cash equivalents stood at Rs 14,819 crore, as
against Rs 15,401 crore on September 30, 2010, the software exporter said in a
filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
5,756 quit Infosys in Q3
Infosys seems to be continuing to face challenge on attrition front. The company
hired 11,067 employees in the quarter, but 5,756 left the company, so the net
addition was 5,311. Net hiring during Q2 was 7,646, and in Q4 of last year, it was
The attrition rate on an annualised basis has gone up to 17.5% this quarter from
11.6% a year ago, and 17.01% in the preceding quarter. As on December 31, the
company had an employee strength of 1,27,779, as against 1,22,468 a quarter
ago and 1,09,882 a year ago.
Infosys BPO's strength declined to 17,978, from 18,560 at the end of the
previous quarter.
Back on campus
Infosys is back at campuses in a big way. The company plans to hire 26,000
freshers from over 200 campuses this fiscal against last year's 20,000. "We have
already given offer letters to 18,000 people. Some 11,000 people are under
training in Mysore and they will move into production in the next 3 to 4 months,"
said TV Mohandas Pai, head HRD head and Education and Research Infosys.
Client additions
Infosys added 40 new clients (many of them Fortune 500 companies) during the
third quarter, taking its active clientele to 612. The company’s client list includes
BT Group, BP and Goldman Sachs.
The first half of the year also saw Infosys bag nine big contracts in the $100
million range.
Narayana Murthy's successor
The big question that who will be replacing NR Narayana Murthy as chairman of
Infosys when he retires in August this year still remains with no answer from the
company. An Infosys top executive said that the issue was not touched upon in
the board meeting held prior to the company's earnings announcement. "Murthy
is retiring only in August, so we have another couple of quarters to decide," he
Reworking employee composition
The company is reportedly reworking on its employee composition. According to
TV Mohandas Pai, head HRD head and Education and Research Infosys, almost 80
percent of the company's current talent pool consists of technologists. Infosys
aims to bring this down to 60 percent to accomodate a larger pool of employees
with 'business management acumen'. The company sees the transition taking
about 3-4 years.
Growth in high-margin business
The Q3 saw Infosys increase its contribution from the products business to 5.3
percent of revenues, up from 4.2 percent in the previous quarter.
The quarter saw the share from high-margin services such as consulting and
package implementation too going up. The growth suggests a revival in
discretionary spends of clients.
Telecom vertical lags
The telecom vertical continued to be a laggard. The segment declined marginally
during the quarter.
Files for 17 patents
During the third quarter, Infosys applied for 17 patent applications in India and
US. With this, Infosys has an aggregate of 270 patent applications (pending) in
India and the US. The company has been granted 18 patents by the US Patent
and Trademark office.
"We have been increasing our global footprint and diversifying into new areas. We
invested in research on new products and services which have been successfully
adopted and implemented by our clients," the company said.


Computing services are both bigger and smaller than assumed
Clouds bear little resemblance to tanks, particularly when the clouds are of the
digital kind. But statistical methods used to count tanks in the second world war
may help to answer a question that is on the mind of many technology watchers:
How big is the computing cloud?
This is not just a question for geeks. Computing clouds—essentially digital-service
factories—are the first truly global utility, accessible from all corners of the
planet. They are among the world’s biggest energy hogs and thus account for a
lot of carbon dioxide emissions. More happily, they allow firms in developing
countries to leapfrog traditional information technology (IT) and benefit from
advanced computing services without having to build expensive infrastructure.
The clouds allow computing to be removed from metal boxes under desks and in
firms’ basements to remote data centres. Some of these are huge, with several
hundred thousand servers (high-powered computers that crunch and dish up
data). Users pay for what they use, as with electricity. As with electricity, they
can increase their usage quickly and easily.
The “cloud of clouds” has three distinct layers. The outer one, called “software as
a service”, includes web-based applications such as Gmail, Google’s e-mail
service, and, which helps firms keep track of their customers.
This layer is by far the easiest to gauge. Many SaaS firms have been around for
some time and only offer such services. In a new study Forrester Research, a
consultancy, estimates that these services generated sales of $11.7 billion in
Going one level deeper, there is “platform as a service”, which means an
operating system living in the cloud. Such services allow developers to write
applications for the web and mobile devices. Offered by Google,
and Microsoft, this market is also fairly easy to measure, since there are only a
few providers and their offerings have not really taken off yet. Forrester puts
revenues at a mere $311m.
The most interesting layer—the only one that really deserves to be called “cloud
computing”, say purists—is “infrastructure as a service” (IaaS, pronounced eyearse).
IaaS offers basic computing services, from number crunching to data
storage, which customers can combine to build highly adaptable computer
systems. The market leaders are GoGrid, Rackspace and Amazon Web Services,
the computing arm of the online retailer, which made headlines for kicking
WikiLeaks off its servers.
This layer is the hardest to measure. It is growing rapidly and firms do not report
revenue numbers; nor are they very forthcoming with information, arguing
unconvincingly that this would help their competitors. Amazon, for instance, only
reveals that it now stores more than 200 billion digital “objects” and has to fulfil
nearly 200,000 requests for them per second—impressive numbers but not very
useful ones (an object can be a small file or an entire movie).
This reluctance to share information has inspired analysts and bloggers to find
out more, in particular about Amazon. That is where the tanks come in. During
the second world war, the allies were worried that a new German tank could keep
them from invading Europe. Intelligence reports about the number of tanks were
contradictory. So statisticians were called in to help.
They assumed that the Germans, a notoriously methodical lot, had numbered
their tanks in the order they were produced. Based on this assumption, they used
the serial numbers of captured tanks to estimate the total. The number they
came up with, 256 a month, was low enough for the allies to go ahead with their
plans and turned out to be spot-on. German records showed it to be 255.
Using this approach, Guy Rosen, a blogger, and Cloudkick, a San Francisco startup
which was recently acquired by Rackspace, have come up with a detailed
estimate of the size of at least part of Amazon’s cloud. The results suggest that
Amazon’s cloud is a bigger business than previously thought. Randy Bias, the
boss of Cloudscaling, a IT-engineering firm, did not use these results when he put
Amazon’s annual cloud-computing revenues at between $500m and $700m in
2010. And in August UBS, an investment bank, predicted that they will total
$500m in 2010 and $750m in 2011.
These numbers give at least an estimate of the size of the market for IaaS.
Amazon is by far the market leader with a share of between 80% and 90%.
Assuming that Cloudkick’s and Mr Bias’ numbers are correct, revenues generated
by computing infrastructure as a service in 2010 may exceed $1 billion.
So how big is the cloud? And how big will it be in, say, ten years? It depends on
the definition. If you count web-based applications and online platforms, it is
already huge and will become more huge. Forrester predicts that it will grow to
nearly $56 billion by 2020. But raw computing services, the core of the cloud, is
much smaller—and will not get much bigger. Forrester, reckons it will be worth
$4 billion in 2020 (although this has much to do with the fact that even in the
cloud, the cost of computer hardware will continue to drop.


Pliosaur- The Sea Monsters
The innermost secrets of a colossal “sea monster” skull are being revealed by one
of the UK’s most powerful CT scanners.
The X-rays are helping to build up a 3D picture of this ferocious predator, called a
pliosaur, which terrorized the oceans 150m years ago.
The 2.4m-long (7.9ft) fossil skull was recently unearthed along the UK’s Jurassic
coast, and is thought to belong to one of the biggest pliosaurs ever found.
The scans could establish if the giant is a species that is new to science.
Pliosaurs are aquatic reptiles belonging to the plesiosaur family. Paddle-like limbs
would have powered their huge bulky bodies through the water, and they had
enormous crocodile-like heads, packed full of razor-sharp teeth.
Pliosaurs were the top predators of the oceans
The skull, which was unearthed by a local fossil collector and then purchased by
Dorset Country Council using Heritage Lottery Funds, would have belonged to one
of the most fearsome beasts the seas have ever seen.
International Space Station
The International Space Station (ISS) is a research facility developed
internationally are currently located in low Earth orbit. On-orbit construction of
the station began in 1998 and is scheduled for completion in 2011, with
operations continuing at least until 2015. Just like the moon, the station can be
seen from Earth with the naked eye, this is the largest man-made orbiting ever in
ISS serves as a long-term research in the laboratory, and is the site of daily
experiments in the fields, including biology, human biology, physics, astronomy
and meteorology, conducted in the microgravity environment. The station
provides a safe location for testing the efficient, reliable spacecraft systems that
will be needed for long-term missions to the Moon and Mars.
New Planet named Qatar-1b!!
Qatar astronomer Dr Khalid Al Subai has become instrumental in the discovery of
a new alien planet, working in collaboration with scientists from the UK and the
US. This hot Jupiter, now named Qatar-1b, adds to the growing list of alien
planets orbiting distant stars, or exoplanets.

Qatar-1b is a gas giant 20 percent larger than Jupiter in diameter and 10 percent
more massive. It belongs to the hot Jupiter family because it orbits 3.5 million km
from its star – only six stellar radii away. The planet roasts at a temperature of
around 1100 degrees Celsius.
Khalid, leader of the Qatar exoplanet survey and a research director at Qatar
Foundation teamed up with scientists from Universities of St Andrews, Leicester
and Keele in the UK and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA)
in the US to discover a new alien world.
Building on UK technology developed for the SuperWASP exoplanet survey, the St
Andrews and Leicester teams worked with Al Subai to establish the computer
systems used to process raw images from the Al Subai cameras, extracting and
sifting through data from hundreds of thousands of stars.
The team has submitted their results to the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal
Astronomical Society.
The National Green Tribunal Act 2010
The Union Government is to set up a National Green Tribunal for effective and
expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, conservation
of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right
relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages.
The World’s Biggest Bank
Paris-based BNP Paribas has become the world’s biggest bank, with assets rising
34 per cent in last three years, reaching $3.23 trillion.
Indian Oil Corporation regain its position as India’s biggest refiner
State-owned Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has surpassed Reliance Industries to
regain its position as India’s biggest refiner. This was achieved after completion
of expansion of its Panipat refinery.
Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. is India’s largest company by sales with a turnover of
Rs. 271,074 crore and profit of Rs. 10,221 crore for the year 2009-10.
IndianOil is the highest ranked Indian company in the latest Fortune ‘Global 500’
listings, ranked at the 125th position. IndianOil’s vision is driven by a group of
dynamic leaders who have made it a name to reckon with.
IOC Distinctions
Indian Oil tops the Fortune India 500 Rankings
Indian Oil in top five in Business India’s Super 100
Indian Oil is India’s Biggest Company: ET 500
Indian Oil in Platts ‘Top 250 Global Energy Company’ Rankings
Indian Oil in top ten of BT 500 PSU rankings
Indian Oil: India’s largest PSU and Highest Revenue Earner in BW Real 500
Indian Oil: One of ‘India’s Most Valuable Brands 2010’


Germany and the euro: We don't want no transfer union
“Wherever there’s a fire in the euro zone, the financial firefighters rush
to the scene. That’s us,” jokes Oliver Welke, Germany’s version of Jon
Stewart, an American comedian. Although the IMF and European Union
are acting as co-rescuers of Ireland and Greece, Germans see
themselves as rescuers-in-chief—and they resent it.
Other Europeans see Germany as an arsonist. Angela Merkel, the
chancellor, has twice dithered, arguing about conditions for a rescue
even as the flames took hold. Her demand that creditors must share in
the losses triggered what is now being called the “Merkel crash”, which
threatens to engulf not just Ireland but Portugal, Spain and even Italy.
Luxembourg’s Jean-Claude Juncker, leader of the euro group of finance
ministers, frets that the Germans “are losing sight of the European
common good”. Spain’s problems start in Germany, wrote a Spanish
analyst in the Financial Times. Joschka Fischer, a former German foreign
minister, accused Mrs Merkel of bowing to “German domestic politics”.
There is more than a grain of truth in this. Germans were loth to give up
the D-mark in 1999 and have never warmed to the euro. In 2008, some
56% of Germans wanted the mark back, according to Allensbach, a
pollster. Despite the panic about Greece, that share was down to 47% in
April, but only a third of Germans had “great faith” in the euro. Mrs
Merkel, whose coalition government has so far disappointed voters, wins
plaudits when she takes a tough line against errant euro members and
scorn when she seems soft. Her Christian Democrats fear that a
demagogic D-mark party might emerge to steal votes.
German behaviour is guided by more than petty politics. In adopting the
euro the Germans thought they were joining a condominium, in which
every member would keep order on their own property, and not a messy
commune. Now the crisis threatens that understanding. The Greek bailout
and the €750 billion ($980 billion) war chest created in May to
defend the euro look to many Germans like a violation of the “no-bailout
clause” in the Maastricht treaty that created the euro. The
government insists it is not, because the aid is voluntary and temporary.
The constitutional court is evaluating this claim. The proposed successor,
a permanent facility plus procedures to impose losses on creditors of
insolvent countries, needs a treaty revision to pass constitutional
Mrs Merkel is struggling to balance demands for European solidarity with
German notions of responsible behaviour. Aid to Greece was coupled
with fierce budget cuts. Ireland will pay higher interest rates than
Greece for its €85 billion. “We still have the feeling that others have
done everything wrong, and we have done everything right,” says Peter
Bofinger, one of the five wise men who advise the government on
economic matters. Germany wants the remedy “to hurt so next time
they don’t do it again.”
Some measures proposed to calm the markets seem unthinkable to
many Germans. Mr Bofinger wants outstanding euro-zone public debt
converted into “Eurobonds” with collective responsibility. Yet rumours
that the government was contemplating a Eurobond drew rebukes from
the Free Democrats, the junior partner in the coalition. Holger
Schmieding, chief economist of Berenberg Bank, thinks governments
should guarantee the debt of any country that submits to an adjustment
programme approved by the EU and IMF. That looks like another nonstarter.
“Save Our Money!” a new book by the former head of the Federation of
German Industries, Hans-Olaf Henkel, suggests splitting the euro zone
into a hard-currency union led by Germany and a French-led southern
group that could devalue to regain lost competitiveness. But the notion
that Germany is poised to stalk out of the euro is far-fetched. Germans
may say they want the D-mark back, but fewer than a tenth see this as
a realistic possibility, says Allensbach. “People know what they have in
the euro and in Europe,” says Nikolaus Blome, Berlin bureau chief of
Bild, the loudest media voice of German disgruntlement. “Unlike in
England, there is no Europhobia in Germany.”
The Irish rescue has sparked little of the populist ranting directed at
lazy, early-retiring Greeks, who were told to sell their islands and the
Acropolis. Ireland had a dynamic economy and (at first) a balanced
budget. Its problems were caused by a burst property bubble and can be
solved, the Germans hope, by export-led growth. When Greece was the
lone outcast, it was easier to contemplate evicting delinquent countries
from the euro, as Mrs Merkel fleetingly proposed. It is harder to
envisage a mass expulsion of Ireland, Belgium and much of the
Mediterranean, whatever Mr Henkel may say. Although fewer than a fifth
of Germans backed a Greek bail-out in April, almost half now support the
Greek and Irish rescues, according to another poll.
The economy may be steadying German nerves. GDP is expected to
grow by 3.5% or more this year and by at least 2% in 2011. With
unemployment falling and wages expected to rise, consumption is at last
starting to pick up. Retail sales jumped by 2.3% in real terms in
October, suggesting that domestic demand may provide more thrust to
an economy that is overly dependent on exports. That should help the
rest of the euro zone. When the economy is strong it is easier to believe
the politicians’ mantra that Germany is the euro’s main beneficiary. Little
as they like fighting fires, Germans do not want their own economy
consumed in the flames.


A quiz on GK & Current affairs
1. Which of the following countries is a land locked country in south
(A) Ecuador (B) Peru
(C) Uruguay (D) Bolivia
2. Canary Islands belongs to
(A) Norway (B) Spain
(C) New Zealand (D) Portugal
3. Titan is the largest natural satellite of planet
(A) Mercury (B) Venus
(C) Saturn (D) Neptune
4. Which of the following planets rotates clock wise?
(A) Pluto (B) Jupiter
(C) Venus (D) Mercury
5. A difference of 1 degree in longitude at the Equator is equivalent to
(A) 101 km (B) 111 km
(C) 121 km (D) 125 km
6. The earliest known Indian script is
(A) Mori (B) Devanagari
(C) Brahmi (D) Kharosti
7. How many times the preamble was amended
(A) once (B) twice
(C) thrice (D) four times
8. The term socialist was added in the Preamble by the...amendment
(A) 40th (B) 42nd
(C) 44th (D) 49th
9. The state with the lowest population in India is
(A) Goa (B) Tripura
(C) Mizoram (D) Sikkim
10. Which person or organisation received the Nobel Prize three
times so far?
(A) Medame Curie
(B) Linus Pauling
(C) Alexender Flemming
(D) International Committee of the Redcross
11. The Finance Commission is appointed for every... year
(A) 3 (B) 4
(C) 5 (D) 6
12. Under which five year plan did agriculture show a negative growth?
(A) 1st plan (B) 2nd plan
(C) 3rd plan (D) 4th plan
13. Who is the founder of the Capital city of Agra?
(A) Akbar (B) Babar
(C) Sikinder Lodi (D) Mubarak Shah Sayyad
14. The first tide generated electricity project was established at
(A) Vizhinjam, Kerala
(B) Mangalore, Karnataka
(C) Paradeep, Orissa
(D) Vishakapattanam
15. National Institute of Oceanography is located in :
(A) Calcutta (B) Chennai
(C) Mangalore (D) Panaji
16. The 2010 winter Paralympics were held in:
(A) Bangkok (B) Rome
(C) Canada (D) Nagasaki
17. Who headed the committee appointed on Kargil War ?
(A) Gen. V. P. Malik (B) Gen. S. K. Sinha
(C) K. Subramanyam (D) K. C. Panth
18. The C. K. Nayudu Trophy is related to the sport of
(A) cricket (B) Hockey
(C) Football (D) Chess
19. New York is situated on the river
(A) Hudson (B) Thames
(C) Danube (D) Tigris
20. "The Woman of the Millennium" selected by the British Broadcasting
Corporation (BBC) is
(A) Margaret Thacher (B) Hillary Clinton
(C) Chandrika Kumaratunga (D) Indira Gandhi
21. The General Assembly of United Nations meets
(A) Once a year (B) twice a year
(C) thrice a year (D) Once in five years
22. All India Radio commenced operations in
(A) 1926 (B) 1936
(C) 1945 (D) 1947
23. The "Killer Instinct" is written by
(A) Sulakshan Mohan (B) M.K.Santanam
(C) O.P.Sabharwal (D) Subash Jain
24. The Secretary-General of UN is appointed by the
(A) Security Council (B) Trusteeship Council
(C) General Assembly (D) World Bank
25. Postal Voting is other wise called:
(A) external voting (B) secret voting
(C) plural voting (D) proxy voting
26. The Common Wealth of Independent states (CIS) consists
(A) 10 (B) 11
(C) 12 (D) 13
27. Which of the following harbours is considered as the world's finest
natural harbour?
(A) Sydney harbour (B) Toronto harbour
(C) New Jersy harbour (D) Singapore harbour
28. Who invented Radar?
(A) Henrey Backquerel (B) Max Planck
(C) Robert Watson Watt (D) Humphrey Davy
29. Sandal Wood trees are mostly found in...
(A) Trophical Evergreen Forests
(B) Tropical most Decidous
(C) Alpine forests
(D) Trophical Thorn Forests
30. The first country to legalise medically assisted suicide is
(A) Switzerland (B) New Zealand
(C) USA (D) Netherlands
31. The tomb of Babur is at
(A) Kabul (B) Lahore
(C) Multan (D) Larkhana
32. The joint session of the two houses is presided by
(A) the speaker (B) the president
(C) chairman of Rajyasabha (D) none of these
33. The Gandhara school of Art was influenced most by the
(A) Greeks (B) Shakas
(C) persians (D) Kushans
34. The Simon Commission was appointed in
(A) 1927 (B) 1928
(C) 1929 (D) 1930
35. Sikkim became a full fledged state of the Indian Union, in the year ?
(A) 1972 (B) 1973
(C) 1974 (D) 1975
36. Who is the founder of Mahabalipuram ?
(A) Rajaraja Chola (B) Mahendra Varman
(C) Narsimha Varman (D) Narsimha Chola
37. The 189th member of United Nations is
(A) Palau (B) Tuvalu
(C) Soloman Islands (D) Nauru
38. When was Burma separated from India
(A) 1947 (B) 1942
(C) 1937 (D) 1932
39. Which of the following country has more than 55,000 lakes?
(A) Poland (B) Denmark
(C) Finland (D) Norway

1.(D) 2.(B) 3.(C) 4.(C) 5.(B) 6.(C) 7.(A) 8.(B) 9.(D) 10.(D) 11.(C) 12.(C)
13.(C) 14.(A) 15.(D) 16.(C) 17.(C) 18.(A) 19.(A) 20.(D) 21.(A) 22.(B)
23.(C) 24.(C) 25.(D) 26.(C) 27.(A) 28.(C) 29.(D) 30.(D) 31.(A) 32.(A)
33.(A) 34.(C) 35.(D) 36.(C) 37.(B) 38.(C) 39.(C)