Daily Current Affairs - 10th Mar 2020

Anti-HIV drugs used against COVID-19 for the first time in India

  • India for the first time used Lopinavir and Ritonavir combination to treat Italian patients in India infected with COVID-19. The couple were on a tour to India and are currently being treated in Jaipur.
  • The Indian Council of Medical Research has been authorized to research on COVID-19 drugs. Also, the council has been approved to use the above HIV drug combination during public health emergencies.
  • Currently, 70% of HIV positive patients in India are on first line drugs. These medicines are manufactured in India mainly for export purposes.
  • The First-line drugs are of minimum dosages and are given to patient during the initial stages of a treatment. The second line drugs are prescribed when the first line drugs are not responding. The second line drugs have higher side effects than first-line drugs.

Ashraf Ghani Sworn in for Second Term as Afghanistan President

  • Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in for a second term as his rival Abdullah Abdullah held a parallel inauguration that could plunge the country deeper into crisis ahead of peace talks with the Taliban.
  • The oath-taking ceremony of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was attended by hundreds of people, including visiting foreign dignitaries, diplomats, and senior political figures. Ghani was declared as the winner of the election held in September 2019.

ATP, WTA tennis tournament cancelled over coronavirus concerns

  • The ATP and WTA tennis tournament in Indian Wells, California, has been cancelled amid new coronavirus outbreak, making it the first major sports event to be scrubbed due to health concerns. The tournament, one of the biggest outside the four tennis Grand Slams, was cancelled just days before it was due to begin.

Delimitation Commission set up for Arunachal, Manipur, Assam, J&K, Manipur

  • A Delimitation Commission was formed under former Supreme Court judge Ranjana Prakash Desai.
  • The Delimitation for the state of Jammu and Kashmir is to be carried out according to Jammu and Kashmir reorganization act. The previous delimitation for the state of Jammu and Kashmir was done in 1995. The state was under President’s rule when the last delimitation was done.
  • For other parts of the country, delimitation is to be done based on the census 2031. The previous delimitation for rest of India was done based on 2001.

Fuel Cell Technology for Disaster Management

  • The scientists of ARCI (Advanced Research for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials) recently developed PEMFC (Polymer Electrolyte Membrane Fuel Cells). The technology is to be used to manage Natural Disasters.
  • The PEMFC is a system with 10 KW capacity. They have operational advantage to operate at low-temperature in decentralized systems of power generation. The technology was developed at Chennai centre of ARCI.
  • The system is to be used to operate early warning systems using phones, ethernet, computers, FAX, etc.

Gujarat has highest number of Solar Rooftop Installations

  • Gujarat has topped solar roof top plants across the country. The state government has taken up dedicated schemes in order to achieve renewable power goals.
  • There are more than 50,915 rooftop solar plants set up in the state today. The state government has adopted the scheme called “Surya Gujarat” in order increase the use of solar energy at domestic level. The scheme aimed to cover more than 8 lakh domestic consumers by 2022.
  • After Gujarat, Maharashtra topped with solar rooftop power plant installation with more than 5,513 installations.

HAL to set up logistics bases in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka

  • The Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is to set up logistics bases in Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. This is to entice them towards buying India’s military helicopters and Light Combat Aircraft Tejas.
  • The HAL is working towards increasing defence exports and help India achieve its 5 billion USD defence target. It will also help India achieve its Defence target of Rs 35,000 crores by 2024. Currently India is exporting Defence products of worth Rs 17,000 crores.

Iraq closes border crossing with Iran amid Coronavirus spread

  • In Iraq, Shalamcha border crossing with Iran has been closed due to concerns over rapid spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 194 people and infected 6,566 others in Iran.
  • Iraq's overland trade with Kuwait and Iran is to be suspended between 8th to 15th March. Iraq also shut its Safwan border crossing with Kuwait to travellers and trade. Iraq reported eight new coronavirus cases in Baghdad, 2 in Sulaimaniya and one case in Karbala.

Moody’s cuts G-20 growth outlook to 2.1%

  • Moody’s Investors Service stated that G-20 countries are expected to grow by 2.1% in 2020. Moody’s cuts 0.3 percentage points lower than its previous forecast, as the global spread of the coronavirus, is resulting in simultaneous supply and demand shocks. It cautioned that global recession risks have risen.
  • The global credit rating agency is expecting these shocks to materially slow economic activity, particularly in the first half of this year (2020).

Oil Prices plunge by 20% as OPEC fails to make a deal

  • The prices of crude oil plunged by 20% after OPEC failed to make a deal in making production cuts.
  • The Saudi Arabia and its major allies like Kuwait, Iraq and UAE initiated to make a deal at the OPEC to reduce production of oil. This was proposed predicting reduction in oil prices due to spread of Corona Virus in the world. However, Russia the major member of OPEC refused to make the deal.
  • The Saudi has taken up new strategy targeting Russia and US shale oil firms. These firms will lose money greatly when oil prices fall below 50 USD per barrel for more than few months.

Protected Area Permits stopped in Arunachal to prevent Corona Virus

  • With the number of infections raising in India to 34, the Ministry of Home Affairs recently stopped issuing Protected Area Permits (PAPs) in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Protected Area Permits in India are in parts of Himachal Pradesh, Ladakh, Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Arunachal Pradesh. Currently, only touristic visit is allowed through Protected Areas limits in India. Even a person from these protected areas who is married to a non-Indian cannot settle permanently in these areas.
  • The Foreign (Protected Areas) Order 1958 has guidelines about using the Protected areas and issuing Protected Area Permit.

Ranchi University launches its own Community Radio Station

  • Ranchi University will launch its own Community Radio Station - RADIO KHANCHI 90.4 FM Aap Sabka Radio.
  • This Radio Station is dedicated to all Women who have always remained the driving force behind every man.
  • Radio Khanchi under Ranchi University remains to be the first-ever University in the Eastern Zone to be gifted with a Community Radio Station by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and sponsored by Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Jharkhand.
  • The radio would provide help to university students which is spread over a campus of more than 15 kms.
  • Students will be able to receive information about academic, cultural, examination, important datelines and placement related activities and programs.

Shafali Verma loses the top spot in the ICC women's T20 International rankings

  • Indian batting sensation Shafali Verma today lost the top spot in the ICC women's T20 International rankings as she slipped to third after managing only two runs in the World Cup final against Australia in Melbourne.
  • Australia opener Beth Mooney, who hit 78 not out in the final, jumped two spots to number one with 762 points to her kitty.
  • New Zealand's Suzie Bates with 750 points remained in second position while India vice-captain Mandhana moved down a spot to be ranked seventh, Rodrigues remained static on ninth.
  • Deepti, Radha Yadav and Poonam Yadav occupied the sixth, seventh and eighth spots in the bowlers ranking led by England's Sophie Ecclestone.
  • Australia's Megan Schutt got the second spot while South African Shabnim Ismail secured third place among bowlers.

Sri Lanka to host 5th BIMSTEC Summit in September

  • Sri Lanka will host the next Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in September,2020. Sri Lanka is the Chair of BIMSTEC from 2018 to 2020.
  • Sri Lanka will lead the science, technology and innovation sector in the BIMSTEC and a facility for technology transfer is planned to be opened in the future.
  • Bangladesh will lead Trade and Investment, Bhutan on Environment and Climate Change, Myanmar on Agriculture and Food Security, India on Security, Nepal on People-to-People Contact and Thailand on Connectivity.

Stockholm International Report: India is the second largest importer of arms

  • The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) recently released its report on “Trends in International arms transfers 2019”. According to the report, India is the second largest arms importer in the world.
  • The report says that Russia is the largest supplier to the Indian market between 2015-19. Russia has remained the top supplier in spite of the fact that Indian Weapons market declined from 72% to 56%.
  • The report also says that the top 5 arms importers in the world include Saudi Arabia, India, Egypt, Australia and China. These 5 countries accounted to 36% of world arms imports.

Tamil Nadu tops in Poshan Abhiyan’s participants list

  • Tamil Nadu tops the list of the states in terms of the number of participants in the programme. The Integrated Child Development Scheme has been in force for long in the southern state that has got rejuvenated with the Centre’s Poshan Abhiyaan mission.
  • The programme is revitalizing India by reaching out to the children and mothers across the nation.
  • The Central Government is implementing the flagship programme Poshan Abhiyan for improving the nutritional status of Indian citizens. This programme helps children, adolescents, pregnant women, and lactating mothers by leveraging technology.

TIFAC under Ministry of Science and Technology launches Vigyan Jyoti

  • TIFAC operating under Ministry of Science and Technology launched Vigyan Jyoti.
  • The Technology Information Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) launched Vigyan Jyoti in order to encourage women to take science as their career. Under the scheme, selected qualified women from more than 500 women are to be provided opportunities to attend science camps at NITs, IITS and other leading institutions in the country.

United Nations adopts political declaration on women's rights

  • United Nations has adopted a stripped-down political declaration on women's rights that seeks to preserve gains under threat but does not advocate new ways to ensure progress toward equality.
  • The declaration was adopted during the 64th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which has been drastically reduced from a two-week affair to a single hours-long meeting because of the global coronavirus outbreak.
  • The adopted text follows the main lines of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995, which sought to promote women's emancipation and advancement around the world.
  • The declaration expresses the UN's concern that "overall, progress has not been fast or deep enough, that in some areas progress has been uneven, and that major gaps remain." A UN declaration on women is approved every five years.

United Nations Development Programme releases Gender Social Norms Index

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has released the Gender Social Norms Index. It measures the social beliefs that obstruct Gender Equality.
  • The report consists of data collected from more than 75 countries covering 80% of world population. According to the report, half of the world population believe that men are better political leaders. It also says that more than 40% of the world population believe that men have more rights to get a job when jobs are scarce. Today, only 24% of parliamentary seats are held by women.