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Showing posts from February, 2014

Q.1247

Matteo Renzi became the youngest Prime Minister (age 39) of Italy in Feb 2014 and comes to the job with no Parliamentary experience, but with the intent to 'clean up the system'. He first shot to national prominence a couple of decades ago, by winning a fair bit of money on the Italian version of an American game show, appearing several times on the programme.

Lucky or not, which TV show did Renzi appear on?

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This day last year: Q.882

Q.1246

"Fandry" is a 2013 Marathi film that achieved theatrical release in early 2014, after winning awards at several Indian film festivals. The film is about adolescent love, caste, and local fauna.

The name "Fandry" comes from a slang word for an animal (the protagonist's father catches this kind of animal, and this forms the basis of the film's climax). Which animal (which thus connects this film to Govind Nihalani's "Tamas", where the same type of animal features in the opening?)

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This day last year: Q.881

Q.1245

"Alone, Not Yet Alone" is a 2013 American film about two German girls who were kidnapped. The film's title song was nominated for a 2014 Academy Award for Best Song. What happened next, makes this song similar to the music score of the 1972 Oscar-winning film "The Godfather".

What?

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This day last year: Q.880

Q.1244

Guest question by Lokesh Gurunathan | contribute questions

Mohammad Chaman, a trader in Sadar Bazaar in Delhi was irritated with his customer during their first encounter (in May 2013). His customer had wanted 300 units of an item at a discounted price. From December 2013, the item has become a rage and Chaman sold as many as 3 lakh units. There is also a YouTube video detailing how to make this item. What is this item and who was the customer?

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This day last year: Q.879

Q.1243

In July 2014, Sachin Tendulkar will be back playing a international limited overs match. He will captain an MCC side in a fifty-over match against a Rest of the World team, to be captained by Shane Warne.

The match has been arranged to celebrate two hundred years of which iconic part of the game?

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This day last year: Q.878

Q.1242

Based on a guest question by Udbhav Bhatnagar | contribute questions

Name the former Ambassador for the United States in this picture, who passed away in February 2014.



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This day last year: Q.877

Q.1241

A messy way of describing this early 2014 newsmaker or his role in his company is as 'a lead analyst'. In one of his interviews, while talking about his hobbies, he compared Test cricket to Russian novels because of their similarity in length and 'sub-plots'.

Who?

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This day last year: Q.876

Q.1240

In February 2014, the actor Charlie Chaplin's only known written book was published, based on papers found in his archive. The novel shares roughly the same story as his film "Limelight" (one of his last), about an old comic and a ballerina.

What was the name of this novel, which comes from a device that can be said to be grounded, compared to other flashier lights?

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This day last year: Q.875

Q.1239

The "Torre de Vidro" is a new addition to the architectural landscape of the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro. An observation tower whose name in English is given as "The Crystal Tower", it has become popular with tourists. Many of whom who visit it in early 2014 typically do so to observe what?

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This day last year: Q.874

Q.1238

In February 2014, the Indian MP Ladagapati Rajagopal made headlines for letting off a pepper spray can inside the Lok Sabha, during a protest to defeat the tabling of a bill on the new state of Telengana. This incidentand a lack of an immediate punishment for Rajagopal and others like him, brought back debates of how such errant MPs were to be penalised.

Among the many ideas in the past has been a proposal to dock MPs involved in disruptions of their daily allowance - this was introduced via a Private Member Bill. Who proposed this bill?

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This day last year: Q.873

Q.1237

The French athlete Renauld Lavillenie broke this long-standing world record, 21 years after it was set. The new mark now stands at 6.16m. This record was set in a place called Donetsk, which is also the hometown of the former world record holder, who was in the audience watching.

Which record and who was the former record holder?

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This day last year: Q.872

Q.1236

"The Crunchies" are a set of annual awards by technology websites such as TechCrunch and GigaOm for achievements by Silicon Valley companies. Awards are given away in various categories, such as "Founder of the Year", "Best Design", and "Founder of the Year".

The award for "Biggest Social Impact" was given to the work of someone in the technology world but not from the Valley; he couldn't even make it to the awards to receive the award. Who?

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This day last year: Q.871

Q.1235

In December 2013, the hawkish Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe made a controversial visit to the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo, which among others, honours people considered 'war criminals' by countries such as China. This sparked off a war of words via a series of newspaper articles and media statements between Japanese and Chinese officials.

These statements heavily made references to a famous book series, which started because of an op-ed (in Jan 2014) by the Japanese Ambassador to Britain. An excerpt:

If militarism is like the haunting [something] of Japan, the Yasukuni Shrine in Tokyo is a kind of [related to something], representing the darkest parts of that nation's soul.
Which series?

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This day last year: Q.870

Q.1234

The actress Scarlett Johansson found herself involved in two minor controversies in early 2014, both involving her endorsement of "SodaStream", a soda drink maker that a consumer can use to prepare carbonated soft drinks.

In the first case, a Super Bowl ad for the product featuring Johansson was edited as a result of Fox TV refusing to air it in its original form. Why the censorship? (note: this involved a business reason, and nothing to do with Johansson's performance in this ad).

Secondly, she and a Britain-based non-profit organisation ended their association with each other because SodaStream operates in the disputed West Bank area in Israel-Palestine, which the charity is opposed to. Which non-proft is this?

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This day last year: Q.869

Q.1233

The magazine Sports Illustrated has a (not surprisingly) popular annual swimsuit edition - 2014 marks fifty years of this theme. For the 50th anniverary edition in Feb 2014, the magazine controversially put someone on the cover, who has, like the magazine itself, been constantly criticised for the unrealistic impact she has on girls and women.

Featured in a design inspired from her original swimsuit and accompanied by a campaign that reads "#unapologetic", who is this young cover girl?

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This day last year: Q.868

Q.1232

In early 2014, several hundred volunteers in countries in Europe and North America took part in an art 'edit-a-thon' that centred around artists such as Dorrit Black, Eve Andree Laramee, and Zarina Hashmi, among others.

The aim of this project was to redress an imbalance that has been spotted on which world-wide platform?

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This day last year: Q.867

Q.1231

This writer is also an amateur flier. In 2012, he nearly died after a plane he was piloting touched a power line. This prompted him to write a sequel to his 1977 book "Illusions", which was released in 2014. It also inspired him to publish 'Part Four' of the 1970 novella that made him famous in book shop windows around the world.

Who is this author, who sounds like he's back, or what was the famous novella?

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This day last year: Q.866

Q.1228

Based on a guest question by Rajib Phukan | contribute questions

Massoumeh Ebtekar was a former Iranian student revolutionary who played a prominent role in the 1979 American hostage crisisthat prompted the severing of diplomatic ties between Tehran and Washington. She was the first woman to serve as Iran's Vice-President in the earlier government of President Khatami.

In Jan 2014, she was all set to make history to be the first woman in Iran to speak at something, which was cancelled, not surprisingly, at the last moment. What was she to do?

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This day last year: Q.863

Q.1227

The design of the official torch for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics represents a feather of the firebird, a bird from Russian fable. The red colour on the torch represents Russian sport. There is another version of the torch, in which the red is replaced by blue.

For which other, related event to be held between Feb-March 2014 is this the official torch?

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This day last year: Q.862

Q.1226

Guest Question by Vaibhav Bajpai | contribute questions

Mike Lee, a Republican senator from the American state of Utah, received critical appreciation for his response to President Barack Obama's State of the Union Address in Jan 2014. He gave the speech representing a California-based group founded in the summer of 2009 to support a political movement. The movement is primarily known for advocating reduction of US government spending and taxes, which took its name from an iconic historical event in the late 18th century.

What political movement does Mike Lee support?


Based on an idea by Abhishek Nagaraj | contribute questions

This Summer Olympic silver medalist is a correspondent for NBC during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Part of her role will be to talk about Sochi's history and culture - she's been associated with the city since she lived there between the ages of 2-6. Who is this?

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This day last year: Q.861

Q.1225

"The Grand Budapest Hotel" is a film directed by Wes Anderson, which will open the 2014 edition of the Berlin International Festival. The film follows the story of a concierge (played by Ralph Fiennes) at the titular hotel through the first half of the 20th century.

The question: why did the director, known for his recognisable and quirky style of film-making, choose to shoot the film in three different aspect ratios?

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This day last year: Q.860

Q.1224

The cover of the 3rd Jan 2014 edition of the music magazine 'Rolling Stone' featured these people, who first appeared on that magazine's front on Dec. 14, 1967. The reason for the latest cover story was to mark fifty years of what famous television appearance?

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This day last year: Q.859

Q.1223

The legendary American folk singer-musician Pete Seeger passed away in January 2014. Comiing from a family which was academically and artistically involved in folk traditions, he was known around the world for popularising several folk anthems.

Perhaps his most famous contribution was to make one of these anthems a household name, which included the memorable replacement of the word 'will' by another word. What song, and what was the replacement?

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This day last year: Q.858

Q.1222

In late 2013 (and continuing in early 2014), Ukraine has witnessed deep political and civil unrest over the issue of integration with the rest of Europe. The government has moved away from Europe and towards Russia, which has upset many people in the country.

The term used for this set of protests is "Euro____", which is literally translated into English as "Eurosquare". The missing word is usually a reference to the central Independence square in Kiev, but is also tied closely to civil protest in the country (with links to the 1991 Independence movement).

What Ukrainian word, meaning 'open place' is this, which would also be very familiar to Indian and other Asian ears?

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This day last year: Q.857

Q.1221

Since 1998, only two people have had this honour. One was Neha Ahuja who did so in 2006. The other person did so in 1998, 2002, and 2010.

The next time (which will be in February 2014), no Indian will have the opportunity. Who is the other person, and why will no one have an opportunity?

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This day last year: Q.856

Q.1220

Procter and Gamble, the consumer goods company, announced in January 2014 that it was launching a new set of three flavoured toothpastes under the brand name "Crest Be". While two of these flavours are "Lime Spearment" and "Vanilla Mint", the third flavour caused a lot of public ripples with some people wondering if this was the right thing to put next to your teeth.

Which flavour?

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This day last year: Q.855