Daily Current Affairs - 07th Feb 2020

All 645 evacuees from Wuhan tested negative for Coronavirus: Govt

  • Union Health Ministry said that all 645 evacuees from Wuhan in China have tested negative for Novel Coronavirus. In addition, 510 samples have been tested by Indian Council of Medical Research network laboratories of which all have tested negative except for three already reported positive. Nearly one lakh 38 thousand 750 passengers from 1,265 flights have been screened for the illness. Till now, no new case has been detected.
  • Community surveillance and contact tracing are going on by the Integrated Disease Surveillance Program for 6,558 persons across 32 States and Union Territories.

Around 5,70000 inhabited village including gram panchayats covered by mobile service: Govt

  • The Union Government has informed that around five lakh 70 thousand inhabited village including gram panchayats have been covered by the mobile service. In a written reply in the Rajya Sabha, Electronics and Information Technology Minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad said, mobile coverage in remaining villages is being provided by the government and telecom service providers in a phased manner.
  • He said, around four lakh nine thousand kilometer optical fiber cable have been laid down till the last month and around one lakh 33 thousand-gram panchayats have been made service ready.

Bangladesh defeat New Zealand to enter finals of Under 19 World Cup Cricket

  • Bangladesh sailed into the finals of the U-19 Cricket World Cup with a powerful century scored by Mahmudul Hasan Joy in the semi-finals against New Zealand at Potchefstroom in South Africa. Bangladesh will now play against India in the final scheduled for Sunday at the same venue in South Africa.
  • New Zealand were restricted to 211 for 8 wickets. Bangladesh moved into the finals with an easy six-wicket victory over New Zealand. It is the first time Bangladesh has reached the finals of the U-19 WCC.

India pitches as reliable defence supplier to Africa

  • The first ever India Africa Defence Ministers Conclave was held at Lucknow in conjunction with DEFEXPO INDIA with aim of exporting India made equipment to African continent in keeping with long standing defence partnership since 1950s.
  • A Joint Declaration - "Lucknow Declaration”, was adopted after the conclusion of India-Africa Defence Ministers' Conclave, IADMC 2020.
  • Over 154 delegates from Africa including Defence Ministers from 14 African countries, Member of Parliament well as 19 Defence and Service Chiefs from 38 African countries participated in this Conclave attesting to the high priority accorded to India-Africa engagement in defence and security.
  • India have had defence partnerships with Zambia, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia. Botswana, Uganda, Namibia and Mozambique and is seeking to expand this to include more countries across the vast continent

India slips to 40th position on International Intellectual Property Index

  • India’s slipped to 40th position on the International Intellectual Property (IP) Index, which analyses the IP climate in 53 global economies, this year, according to a report of US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center. Last year India was ranked at 36th position out of 50 countries.
  • The US, the UK, Sweden, France and Germany remained the top five economies on the intellectual property index in 2019 retaining their spots from the last year.

IOC signs first term contract for importing Russian crude oil

  • State-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) signed first term contract for importing Russian crude oil as the world's third largest energy consumer looks to diversify its sources away from the volatile Middle East. IOC signed the contract to import up to 2 million tonne of Urals grade crude oil from Rosneft of Russia.
  • India is 83 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs. Two-thirds of the imports come from the Middle East, Iraq being the biggest supplier followed by Saudi Arabia.

Jeff Weiner becomes Executive Chairman of LinkedIn

  • After 11 years, Jeff Weiner is stepping down as CEO of LinkedIn and stepping into the role of executive chairman. Ryan Roslansky, who is currently product chief at Microsoft-owned LinkedIn, will become CEO on June 1 and will report to Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella.
  • Founded in 2002, the platform has over 645 million users in more than 200 countries. Its revenue has risen by roughly 25% year over year in the past two years.
  • LinkedIn company was acquired by Microsoft in 2016 for $26 billion in cash.

Kohli most-valuable celebrity 3rd time in a row; Akshay, SRK in top 5

  • For the third consecutive year, Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli has retained the top position of being the most valuable celebrity brand in the Duff & Phelps’ celebrity brand valuation report.
  • With a 39% jump, Kohli’s brand value has gone up to $237.5 million in 2019. Bollywood star Akshay Kumar, who was at third place in the last year’s report, has jumped to second position with a 55.3% increase in his brand value to $104.5 million, while Bollywood power couple, Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone, claimed the third spot with a brand value of $93.5 million each.
  • Padukone has also retained her most valuable female celebrity status for the second consecutive year.

NASA astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after record-setting stay in space

  • NASA's astronaut Christina Koch returned from space to Earth safely. Koch returned after an 11-month mission, breaking the world record for the most time spent by a woman in space. Koch has spent 328 days on International Space Station ISS, surpassing the previous record of 289 days held by fellow American Peggy Whitson.
  • Koch's medical data will be especially valuable to NASA scientists as the agency draws up plans for a long-duration manned mission to Mars.

Prez Ram Nath Kovind presents International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy

  • President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, presented the International Gandhi Awards for Leprosy to Dr N.S. Dharmashaktu under the Indian nomination (individual) category and the Leprosy Mission Trust under the institutional category.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind has said that in the fight against Leprosy, India has achieved a lot over the years and successfully accomplished levels of leprosy elimination defined as less than one case per ten thousand population.

Prince Charles sets up children's protection fund for India, announces Katy Perry the ambassador

  • Britain's Prince Charles has unveiled a new children's protection fund for India as part of British Asian Trust, the charity founded by him in 2007 to fight poverty in South Asia. The heir to the British throne announced popular American singer Katy Perry as the ambassador of the new fund, which will be focussed on reducing the exploitation of children by 50 per cent in India over 10 years.
  • The main areas of focus for the British Asian Trust's Children's Protection Fund will cover child sexual abuse, child labour and trafficking, and its aim would be to develop school safety nets through child-friendly village models.
  • Indian philanthropist Natasha Poonawalla has made a multimillion-pound pledge in support of the fund, which she will chair, and the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIIF) is set to fund upto GBP 25 million to develop the largest anti-trafficking fund in South Asia.

RBI extends deadline for one-time debt recast for MSMEs

  • In a relief to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) sector, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the deadline for one- time debt recast for these firms that are in default but have not been classified as non-performing.
  • This will benefit the eligible MSME entities which could not be restructured under the provisions of the circular dated January 1, 2019 as also the MSME entities which have become stressed thereafter.
  • Stating that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector plays an important role in the growth of the Indian economy, contributing over 28 per cent of the GDP, more than 40 per cent of exports , while creating employment for about 11 crore people, RBI said the sector is very important for the economy.

RBI keeps repo rate unchanged at 5.15% amid accelerating inflation

  • The six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) has decided to keep its short-term lending rate repo rate rate unchanged at 5.15 per cent and the reverse repo rate at 4.9%. in the sixth bimonthly policy review of the ongoing financial year.
  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das has said that the Monetary Policy Committee’s decision to maintain status quo on policy rates for the second time in a row, must not be viewed as a pointer for future action.
  • While stating that inflation outlook remains uncertain, the RBI Governor informed that a spike in onion prices last year, was alone responsible for a hike of 328 basis points in food inflation.
  • To encourage banks to lend more to productive sectors of the economy, the RBI Governor announced that it will soon start conducting long-term repos of one-year and three-year tenors of appropriate sizes for up to a total amount of 1,00,000 crore rupees.

Rohit Rajpal to continue as India's Davis Cup captain

  • Rohit Rajpal will continue as India's non-playing Davis Cup captain while veteran Leander Paes, too, has retained his place in the six-member squad picked for the tie against Croatia next month. Zeeshan Ali will be the coach. India are scheduled to travel to Croatia for their next tie from 6th to 7th of March.
  • The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has asked Rajpal to lead the side in the 2020 season. Prajnesh Ganneswaran, Sumit Nagal and Ramkumar Ramanathan are the other singles players in the six-member squad.

SAI, Hockey India launch High Performance Centres

  • Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India have announced the establishment of the High Performance Centres in seven places across the country to provide state-of-the-art facilities to Junior and Sub-Junior players. The move is aimed at grooming young talent in view of 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games.
  • While the National Hockey Academy at Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi along with SAI at Sundergarh, Bhopal and Bengaluru will be active within the next three months, the remaining three centres will be developed over the next one year. The remaining three High-Performance Hockey Centres will be established at SAI, Takyel, Imphal in Manipur, Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune in Maharashtra, SAI Centre, Ranchi and Gomke Jaipal Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium.
  • These seven centres will be set up under the Khelo India scheme and will have expert professional training, utilization of sports science and education of the youngsters.

WHO calls for USD 675m in donations to fight novel coronavirus

  • The World Health Organization has called for 675 million US dollar in donations for a plan to fight the novel coronavirus, mainly through investment in countries considered particularly "at risk". WHO chief Tedros Adhanom said that they are launching a strategic preparedness and response plan and requesting 675 million dollar to fund the plan for the next three months.
  • Mr Tedros said 60 million US dollar of the funds would be for WHO operations while the remainder would go to countries requiring assistance to guard against the deadly virus.
  • He said WHO was sending 500,000 masks and 40,000 respirators to 24 countries from its warehouses in Dubai and Accra.
  • Meanwhile, China has started clinical trial for remdesivir medicine in coronavirus treatment in Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital.

World Bank Chief Economist Pinelopi Goldberg Announces Resignation

  • World Bank chief economist Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg has announced resignation in a letter written to her colleagues. Goldberg, who was appointed the chief economist at the World Bank in 2018. Research director Aart Kraay would take over Goldberg's position until a new permanent chief economist is hired by the bank.