Daily Current Affairs - 01st Feb 2020

75,000 in Wuhan got infected, says study

  • More than 75000 persons in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel Coronavirus outbreak, could have been infected by the virus, the prestigious medical journal Lancet said, adding that many major cities in the country could also be primed for localised epidemics.
  • It estimates that in the early stages of the Wuhan outbreak-- from December 1, 2019 to January 25, 2020-- each person infected with 2019-nCoV could have infected up to 2-3 other individuals on average, and that the epidemic doubled in size every 6.4 days. During this period, up to 75,815 individuals could have been infected in Wuhan, the report says.
  • Additionally, estimates suggest that cases of 2019-nCoV infection may have spread from Wuhan to multiple other major Chinese cities as of January 25, including Guangzhou (111 cases), Beijing (113), Shanghai (98), and Shenzhen (80). Together these cities account for over half of all outbound international air travel from China,” the study added.

Australian Open: Garbine Muguruza to take on Sofia Kenin in title clash

  • In Australian Open tennis, Spaniard Garbine Muguruza will take on American Sofia Kenin in the women's singles final at Melbourne. Muguruza stormed into final defeating Simona Halep in a tough 7-6, 10-8, 7-5 semi final fight.
  • Sofia stunned world number one and local hope Ashleigh Barty 7-6, 8-6, 7-5 to reach her first Grand Slam final.
  • In Men's singles Final between Serbian Novak Djokovic and fifth seed Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Bank of India Q3 results: Logs net profit of Rs 138 crore

  • Bank of India reported a consolidated net profit of Rs 138.20 crore for December quarter 2019-20.
  • The state-owned lender had posted a net loss of Rs 4,643.71 crore for the year-ago period. Total income during the quarter under review rose to Rs 13,430.53 crore from Rs 11,791.16 crore in the same period a year ago.
  • Provisioning for bad loans and contingencies was reduced to Rs 4,028.03 crore during the quarter as against Rs 9,123.65 crore earlier. Of this, provisioning for bad loans stood at Rs 3,779.37 crore, down from Rs 9,201.55 crore in the year-ago period.
  • Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) were at 16.30 per cent of the gross advances at December-end 2019 from 16.31 per cent by the same period a year ago.

Britain officially leaves European Union

  • The UK has officially left the European Union membership, more than three years after the referendum in favour of Brexit. Now that the country is no longer in the European Union, UK citizens will notice few immediate changes. Most of the EU laws will continue to be in force, including the free movement of people, until 31st December, when the transition period comes to an end.
  • The UK is aiming to sign a permanent free trade agreement with the EU, along the lines of the one the EU has with Canada.

Core sector grows at 1.3% in Dec. 2019

  • Growth of eight core industries recovered to 1.3 per cent in December 2019 after remaining in the negative zone in the previous four months helped by expansion in production of coal, fertiliser and refinery products. Production of crude oil, natural gas, and electricity contracted in the month under review.
  • Sectors which recorded growth are coal, refinery products and fertiliser. However, growth rate of steel and cement sectors slowed down to 1.9 per cent and 5.5 per cent respectively.
  • The eight core sectors recorded negative growth in the four months to November 2019.

Defence Ministers of nearly 40 countries to participate in Defence Expo 2020 in Lucknow

  • Defence Ministers of nearly 40 countries will participate in the biennial Defence Expo 2020 which begins in Lucknow. Defence Ministers of Czech Republic, Mexico, South Korea, United Arab Emirates are among those participating including ministers from the 14 African countries. For the first time India-Africa Defence Conclave will be held during the DefExpo.
  • The number of companies registered for participating in DefExpo 2020 has increased to 1,000 from 702 in the last edition held in Chennai.
  • Nineteen technical and business seminars are planned during the DefExpo20 and 15 of these would be organised by various Industry Chambers, including CII, PHD Chamber of Commerce, The Associated Chamber of Commerce of India.
  • Some of the seminar topics include discussions on artificial intelligence, robotics, Internet of Things (IoTs), drones, wired warrior among others.

Delhi court postpones execution of death warrants of convicts in Nirbhaya case

  • A Delhi court postponed execution of death warrants of the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gangrape and murder case till further order. Additional Sessions Judge has passed the order on plea by the convicts seeking a stay on their execution on February 1.
  • Earlier the Supreme Court dismissed the plea filed by one of the four death row convicts in the Nirbhaya case, Pawan Gupta, seeking review of its order rejecting his juvenility claim.

Economic Survey 2019-20 projects growth at 6 to 6.5 per cent for next fiscal

  • The Economic Survey 2019-20 has projected economic growth at 6 to 6.5 per cent in the next fiscal. The Survey, tabled by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament, emphasises on entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation at the Grassroots. It has also suggested that the industrial sector performance is a key to achieve the target of a five trillion dollar economy.
  • The survey said for India to achieve a five trillion US dollar economy depends on promoting pro-business policies, strengthening the invisible hand of the market and ease of doing business.
  • The Economic Survey gave a detailed analysis of the trends in India’s infrastructure sector which is necessary for growth as power shortages, inadequate transport and poor connectivity affect overall growth performance. To achieve GDP of five trillion dollar by 2024 - 25, India needs to spend about 100 lakh crore rupees on infrastructure.
  • Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian

Flame-Throated Bulbul 'Rubigula' official mascot for Goa 2020 National Games

  • 'Rubigula', Flame-Throated Bulbul, has been unveiled as the official mascot for the Goa 2020 National Games in Panaji, Goa. The Flame-Throated Bulbul is the state bird of Goa. Goa will be hosting the 36th edition of the National Games from 20th October to 4th November 2020.
  • The event will see participation by 36 states and union territories, 12,000 athletes, officials and will host 37 sports disciplines across 24 venues in Goa.
  • Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant

GST collection past Rs. 1.1 lakh cr. in January

  • GST collections have crossed the Rs 1 lakh crore mark for the third month in a row in January with improved compliance and plugging of evasion. Domestic GST collection during the month so far is around Rs 86,453 crore while Rs 23,597 crore has been collected through IGST and cess collection.
  • The total collection of GST revenue in December has come at Rs 1.03 lakh crore. The number of GSTR 3B returns filed till Thursday was 82.8 lakh.
  • The government this month set an ambitious target of Rs 1.1 lakh crore monthly GST revenue for the remaining part of the current fiscal and asked taxmen to step up efforts to achieve the goal.

IBM picks Arvind Krishna as next chief executive

  • Indian-origin technology executive Arvind Krishna has been elected chief executive officer of American IT giant IBM, succeeding Virginia Rometty. The IBM Board of Directors have elected Krishna as company CEO and member of the Board of Directors effective April 6. Krishna is currently IBM Senior Vice President for Cloud and Cognitive Software.
  • Rometty will retire after almost 40 years with the company at the end of the year.

India bans exports of all kinds of personal protection equipment

  • India has banned exports of all kinds of personal protection equipment, including clothing and masks used to protect people from air borne particles. This move assumes significance as there could be a spurt in demand for such products due to outbreak of novel Coronavirus that has claimed more than 200 lives in China while the number of confirmed cases reached near 10 thousand.
  • The Directorate General of Foreign Trade, DGFT in a notification said, export of all varieties of personal protection equipment including clothing and masks used to protect the wearer from air borne particles or any other respiratory masks or any other personal protective clothing including coveralls and N95 masks is prohibited with immediate effect.

India beat New Zealand in 4th T20 International at Wellington

  • India beat New Zealand via Super Over in the fourth T20 International after a second successive tie at Wellington. Chasing the target of 166 set by India, New Zealand were coasting at one stage before the hosts were restricted to 165 for 7.
  • In the Super Over, New Zealand made just 13 runs, a target which the Indians achieved with one ball to spare. India had earlier defeated New Zealand in the Super Over in the third T20 in Hamilton. The Indians now lead the five-match series 4-0.

Indian Grand Masters bowed out of title contention in the Gibraltar Chess Festival

  • All the four Indian Grand Masters including teen sensation R Praggnanandhaa have bowed out of title contention in the Masters category of 18th Gibraltar Chess Festival in Gibraltar. Grand Master Aryan Chopra secured the best finish among the Indians, taking the 11th place while Karthikeyan Murali was 13th. The experienced K Sasikiran took 18th spot while Praggnanandhaa was 20th.

International Children’s Film Festival ends in Dhaka

  • The 13th International Children’s Film Festival of Bangladesh concluded in Dhaka with an award giving ceremony in which 11 awards were conferred in various categories.
  • The Best Feature Film award in the international section was given to the Dutch film Romy’s Salon, directed by Mischa Kamp.
  • The Finnish director Merja Maijanen bagged the best director award for her film Good Girl. German film Day X, directed by Katharina Rivilis won the Best Short Film Award.
  • A total of 179 films from 39 countries were screened at five venues in Dhaka during the Children’s Film Festival which started on 24th January.

ISRO readying low-cost launch vehicles

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has announced that it is preparing low-cost satellite launch vehicles costing around Rs 30-35 crores each, which can put into orbit satellites weighing 500 kgs. The first such launch is expected to take place in the next four months from the country.
  • ISRO has earmarked USD 1,600 million for launch vehicles of which USD 870 million will be for PSLV and the remaining for GSLV. ISRO planned some 500 PSLV launches in the next five years.

Prez Kovind says abrogation of Article 370, Article 35A pave way for equal development of J&K, Ladakh

  • President Ram Nath Kovind said abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A related to Jammu and Kashmir, has paved way for equal development of the regions and people in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh have got rights on par with the rest of the country. He was addressing the joint sitting of both the houses the Parliament at the Central Hall.
  • Mr Kovind highlighted several works done by the government at the ground level in the last five years which has helped India's ranking on several International ranking indices. Lauding the contributions of farmers, the President said that bringing about a change in their lives is the priority of the government.

Rani Rampal becomes first ever hockey player to win World Games Athlete of the Year' award

  • Indian women's team captain Rani Rampal became the first-ever hockey player to win the prestigious 'World Games Athlete of the Year' award. The World Games announced the winner after 20 days of polling in January this year by sports fans worldwide.
  • The World Games said with 1,99,477 votes, she is the clear winner of the Athlete of the Year race. All in all, over 7,05,610 votes were cast during the poll.

SBI posts highest ever net on Essar Steel recovery

  • State Bank of India (SBI), the country’s largest lender, reported its highest quarterly profit as it wrote back provisions on bad loans owing to recovery of Rs.11,000 crore from the resolution of bankrupt Essar Steel. Net profit rose 41% to Rs.5,583 crore in the December quarter from Rs.3,954 crore in the year earlier.
  • Net interest income, the difference between interest earned and expended, stood at Rs.27,778.79 crore in the three months ended December, an increase of 22.4% from the year-ago period and its other income increased 13.3% to Rs.9,106 crore.
  • Gross non-performing assets (NPAs) as a percentage of total advances stood at 6.94%, down 177 bps on a year-on-year basis and 25 bps sequentially.
  • Chairman Rajnish Kumar

Wipro CEO and MD Abidali Neemuchwala quits

  • Wipro chief executive Abidali Neemuchwala is leaving the company after four years at the helm, a period when the Bengaluru-based IT services provider lagged rivals and lost the tag of the third-largest software exporter to HCL Technologies.
  • Wipro said that Neemuchwala had resigned due to family commitments. Neemuchwala will continue to head the company till it finds a successor. His term at Wipro was to end in January 2021