Daily Current Affairs - 06th Aug 2019

Asia stocks hit around 7-month lows

  • Asian shares slid to around seven-month lows and the yuan slumped to a more than a decade as a rapid escalation in the Sino-U.S. trade war sent investors stampeding to traditional safe harbours including the yen, bonds and gold.
  • China's Shanghai Composite index plunged 1.6 per cent and Hong Kong's Hang Seng tanked 2.9 per cent. South Korea's KOSPI fell heavily by 2.6 per cent, Singapore's Straits Times declined 1.9 per cent and Japan's Nikkei-225 ended down 1.7 per cent.
  • European stocks were also down in intra-day trade. London’s TSE-100 plunged two per cent, France's CAC declined 2.1 per cent and Germany's DAX fell 1.6 per cent when reports last came in.

Australia beat England by 251 runs to win first Ashes Cricket Test

  • Australia beat England by 251 runs to win the first Ashes Cricket Test at Edgbaston. England, set a target of 398 to win, collapsed to 146 all out on the last day, with Australia off-spinner Nathan Lyon taking six wickets giving 49 runs and fast bowler Pat Cummins four for 32.
  • This Victory gave Australia a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

Bill to increase number of SC judges passed in Lok Sabha

  • The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha that proposes an increase in the number of judges in Supreme Court from 30 to 33 excluding the Chief Justice of India. It seeks to address the rising pendency of cases in the apex court. The Judges will also be entitled to the use of the rent-free official residence.
  • Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

Gogoi-led Bench to hear Ayodhya case

  • A Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi will commence hearing on Ayodhya appeals from August 6 on a day-to-day basis. The Bench decided to hear the appeals after it declared that the efforts to mediate a final settlement between rival Hindu and Muslim parties in the Ayodhya title dispute cases have failed.

Government unveils draft e-com norms

  • To protect the interest of online shoppers, the Department of Consumer Affairs has released draft guidelines on e-commerce that state that an e-commerce entity cannot directly or indirectly influence the price of the goods or services.
  • The draft ‘e-commerce guidelines for consumer protection 2019,’ also adds that e-commerce firms need to ensure that personally identifiable information of customers is protected.
  • These guidelines will apply to business-to-consumer e-commerce, including goods and services.
  • It added that every e-commerce entity needs to publish the name and contact details of the grievance officer on their website along with the mechanism by which users can lodge their complaints.
  • As per the draft, an e-commerce firm cannot falsely represent themselves as consumers or post reviews about goods and services in their name.
  • Besides, it proposed to make it mandatory for firms to display terms of contract with the seller relating to return, refund, exchange, warranty/guarantee, delivery/shipment, mode of payments and grievance redressal mechanism to enable consumers to make informed decisions

Hinako Shibuno wins Women's British Open on debut

  • Japan's Hinako Shibuno hit a gutsy 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win a thrilling women's British Open. She fired five birdies on her back nine to hold off America's Lizette Salas by one shot. World No.1 Ko Jin-young of South Korea was two shots adrift in third.

Indian Bank profit rises 74.56%

  • Public Sector Indian Bank has posted a 74.56% growth in its standalone net profit for the first quarter ended June 2019 to Rs. 365.37 crore on lower provisioning and higher income.
  • During the period, the bank’s total deposits grew by 15% and advances by 12%. Total income rose by 14% and other income by 58% respectively.
  • Gross non-performing assets increased to 7.33% from 7.20% of gross advances. In rupee terms, it grew from Rs.11,828 crore to Rs.13,511 crore.
  • The bank had an exposure of Rs.5,489 crore through 64 accounts of which provisions were made for 83.6% of the total exposure.
  • MD and CEO, Indian Bank: Padmaja Chunduru

J&K loses its special status, divided into two UTs

  • The Union government has announced the repealing of Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The resolutions in this regard were adopted by the Rajya Sabha.
  • The Upper House also passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019 by voice vote. The Bill seeks to make Jammu and Kashmir a Union Territory with the legislature and Ladakh Union Territory without legislature.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill 2019 having provisions of 10 per cent reservation for Economically Weaker Sections of upper caste in the state was also passed by the Rajya Sabha.
  • The BJP government extended all provisions of the Constitution to the State in one go, downsized the State into two Union Territories and allowed all citizens to buy property and vote in the State.

Lalit Kala Akademi celebrates 65th Foundation Day

  • National Academy of Art, Lalit Kala Akademi, celebrated its 65th Foundation Day in New Delhi. The event was inaugurated by Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel.
  • Lalit Kala Akademi or National Academy of Art was established in New Delhi in 1954 by the government to promote and propagate understanding of Indian art, in and outside the country.The Academy provides scholarships, fellowship programmes and organizes art-related exhibitions in India and overseas.

Lok Sabha passes bill to ban commercial surrogacy

  • Lok Sabha has passed the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2019 that prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy. The purpose of the Bill is to ensure effective regulation of surrogacy and to prevent exploitation of surrogate mothers and children born out of surrogacy.
  • It defines surrogacy as a practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an intending couple with the intention to hand over the child after the birth to the intending couple.
  • A child born out of a surrogacy procedure will be deemed to be the biological child of the intending couple. The offences under the Bill include undertaking or advertising commercial surrogacy, exploiting the surrogate mother and abandoning, exploiting or disowning a surrogate child.
  • India has emerged as a hub for surrogacy in recent years. As there are 2000 to 3000 surrogacy clinics running illegally in the country.
  • Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vadhan

McCullum calls time on career

  • Former New Zealand international Brendon McCullum has announced he will retire from all forms of cricket upon the completion of the Global T20 Canada tournament.
  • McCullum is representing Toronto Nationals in the 20-over tournament in Canada, retired from international cricket in 2015 and has gone on to play in franchise leagues across the world, including stints in the IPL with Chennai Super Kings and Royal Challengers Bangalore, Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash, Lahore Qalandars in the PSL and Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL.

RBI penalises 11 banks for violations

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed monetary penalty on 11 banks for non-compliance with certain provisions on fraud classification and reporting norms.
  • The fines, ranging from Rs.50 lakh to Rs.1.5 crore, were imposed by the central bank on Bank of Baroda, Corporation Bank, Federal Bank, Indian Overseas Bank, Jammu & Kashmir Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce, Punjab and Sind Bank, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India, UCO Bank, and United Bank of India.

South African pacer Steyn quits Tests

  • South African Dale Steyn, one of the great fast bowlers of the modern era, has announced his retirement from Test cricket in a bid to extend his longevity in the shorter forms of the game. He played 93 Tests for the Proteas, taking 439 wickets at an average of 22.95 to become his country's most potent bowler of all-time in cricket's longest format.

Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill passed in Lok Sabha

  • Lok Sabha passed the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill, 2019. This Bill prohibits the discrimination against a transgender person, including denial of service or unfair treatment in relation to education, employment, healthcare, access to, or enjoyment of goods, facilities, opportunities available to the public.
  • The Bill defines a transgender person as one whose gender does not match the gender assigned at birth. The Bill provides every transgender person shall have a right to reside and be included in his household.
  • Minister for State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Kishan Pal Gurjar

U.S., South Korea defy North’s warnings, begin joint drills

  • South Korea and US have began annual joint military exercises on Monday, defying warnings from North Korea that the war games will jeopardize nuclear negotiations between the United States and North Korea.
  • The two allies will stage drills with a command-post exercise mostly involving computer simulations, not mobilization of troops or military equipment, for about two weeks, while also testing South Korea’s capabilities in retaking operational control over its forces from the United States during wartime.

UN calls for boycott of Myanmar companies with military links

  • A UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission has urged foreign businesses and governments to sever ties with more than 140 companies owned or controlled by the Myanmar military Tatmadaw.
  • In the report released by the UNHRC, it said these companies help the Myanmar army to avoid public scrutiny and carry out human rights violations with impunity.
  • The report accused the military of carrying out extensive human rights violations against civilians in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine provinces, including the forced deportation of more than 700,000 ethnic Rohingya to Bangladesh.
  • It also called for the immediate imposition of targeted sanctions against companies run by the military.
  • Last month the US had imposed sanctions on top generals of the Myanmar army for their role in the atrocities carried out against the Rohingyas.

United States designates China a "currency manipulator"

  • The United States has designated China a "currency manipulator", a move that could escalate the tense trade relations between the two nations.
  • During the 2016 presidential elections, Donald Trump had promised to label China as a currency manipulator, but the Department of Treasury kept the country on its watchlist, declining to take the step.
  • The US treasury department alleged that China has a long history of facilitating an undervalued currency through protracted, large-scale intervention in the foreign exchange market.

Yuan, J&K push rupee to highest fall in 6 years

  • The rupee plummeted 1.6% on Monday — the highest in six years after the Chinese Yuan tumbled to the weakest level in more than a decade, and the Jammu and Kashmir issue compounding it. The rupee, which breached 70 a dollar on Monday, ended the day at a four-month low of 70.73 a dollar.
  • The central bank RBI has intervened in the currency market to stem the depreciation. RBI has always maintained that it would intervene to curb volatility and does not target any levels.