Daily Current Affairs - 27th Apr 2020

Chemicals, Petrochemicals industry becomes top exporting sector for 1st time

  • India's chemical exports rose by 7 per cent to 2.68 lakh crore rupees during April-January period of the last fiscal, and became the top exporting sector in the country for the first time. During April 2019-January 2020, the export of chemicals grew by 7.43 per cent over the corresponding period of the previous fiscal. Total export of chemicals during this period reached 2.68 lakh crore rupees. This constitutes 14.35 per cent of the total exports.
  • Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers DV Sadananda Gowda

Coronavirus claims more than 2 lakh lives across the world so far

  • More than two lakh people worldwide have died due to novel Coronavirus so far. According to the tally compiled by Johns Hopkins University, there are over 2.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 around the world. More than 210 countries and territories have reported cases.
  • Five countries have now reported death tolls above 20,000. The US, Italy and Spain have seen the highest number of reported fatalities.

Govt allows 29 insurance,9 securities entities to use Aadhaar Authentication Services

  • The Union Government has allowed 29 insurance and 9 securities entities to use Aadhaar Authentication Services under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act. Department of Revenue has given permission to them to undertake Aadhaar Authentication services of UIDAI subject to their complying with standard security and privacy measures as per Aadhaar Act and to the satisfaction of their respective regulatory authorities.
  • This decision will help these entities to perform in real time, do e-KYC and will also reduce their cost of transaction.

Govt appoints new Secretaries in different Ministries and Departments

  • The Union Government has appointed new Secretaries, Special Secretaries and Additional Secretaries in different Ministries and Departments. Information and Broadcasting Secretary Ravi Mittal has been appointed as the Sports Secretary.
  • Secretary, Higher Education Amit Khare will hold additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
  • CBSE Chairperson Anita Karwal has been appointed as Secretary School Education and Literacy.
  • Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, who was to retire this month, has been given three month extension.
  • Vice Chairman of Delhi Development Authority Tarun Kapoor will be Secretary in Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas .
  • Tarun Bajaj will be Secretary Department of Economic Affairs in Ministry of Finance.

hyca0aaaaChina approves its third coronavirus vaccine for clinical trials

  • China has approved its third coronavirus vaccine for the second phase of clinical trials as it reported 12 new COVID-19 cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 82,816. An inactivated vaccine developed by Wuhan Institute of Biological Products under the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) has started its clinical trials.
  • An inactivated vaccine consists of virus particles, bacteria, or other pathogens that have been grown in culture and then lose disease producing capacity. In contrast, live vaccines use pathogens that are still alive.

ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Q4 results: Net profit down 31 per cent

  • Private sector ICICI Prudential Life Insurance registered a 31.3 per cent drop in its net profit to Rs.179.49 crore in the fourth quarter of the fiscal 2019-20, as against Rs.261.37 crore in the same period a year ago. Its net premium income grew marginally to Rs.10,475.12 crore in the quarter ended March 31, 2020 as against Rs.10,056.32 crore in the same period a year ago. However, the net income from investments declined to a negative of Rs.18,940.21 crore for the quarter.
  • The company’s net profit for 2019-20 fell 6.3 per cent to Rs.1,068.75 crore as against Rs.1,140.65 crore in 2018-19.

Indian-American lawyer Seema Nanda to step down as CEO of Democratic Party

  • The first Indian-American to reach the helm of either of America’s two federal parties has stepped down after two years. Seema Nanda has announced to step down as the CEO of the Democratic Nation Committee. She became the first Indian-American to be appointed as the CEO of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in June, 2018.
  • She, however, did not give reasons for leaving the top position in the party.

IRDAI asks insurers to refrain from dividend payouts for FY20

  • As part of the financial prudence measures in the wake of Covid-19 pandemic, the insurance regulator IRDAI has directed insurers not to pay dividend for the financial year 2019-20. The regulator will take a review of its postion on dividend payments after the September quarter financial results this year.

Kharif and rabi seasons rechristened as Vanakalam and Yasangi in Telangana

  • Kharif and rabi, the common names for monsoon and summer crops across the country, will now be called ‘Vanakalam’ (rainy season) and Yasangi (summer) seasons in Telangana. TheTelangana Government has decided to rechristen the names of the agricultural seasons, picking the popular Telugu names ‘Vanakalam’ and ‘Yasangi’.
  • While the two names are popular among the farmers. The government has decided to change the names in order to remove the confusion, and make it easier for the farmers and ground-level extension officers to communicate with one another.
  • The official nomenclature of kharif and rabi are being used in the official communications, agricultural action plans, agricultural academic and research institutes.

London Marathon may now be for elite only

  • This year's delayed London Marathon may now be restricted to elite runners only, race organiser Hugh Brasher has said. The 2020 edition of the race through the British capital was meant to take place on Sunday but has been postponed until October 4 because of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • But with no certainty as to when British government lockdown restrictions banning mass gatherings will be lifted, a race that featured nearly 43,000 runners last year may now follow the lead of last month's Tokyo Marathon, which went ahead with elite runners only.
  • The Berlin Marathon, along with London one of the sport's six 'majors' will not go ahead as planned on September 27 after Germany extended a ban on large-scale gatherings until October 24.

Mortality rate of COVID-19 patients in India is 3.1%, compared to 7% at global level: Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan

  • Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that the mortality rate of COVID-19 patients in India is 3.1 per cent, compared to seven per cent at global level. He said, five thousand 913 people have been cured till date resulting in recovery rate of around 22 per cent, which is also better than most of the countries.

NTPC invites Global EoI to provide 10 Hydrogen FC based electric buses and cars in Leh and Delhi

  • National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has invited Global Expression of Interest (EoI) to provide 10 Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) based electric buses and an equal number of Hydrogen Fuel Cell based electric cars in Leh and Delhi.
  • The EoI has been issued by NTPC's wholly owned subsidiary, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam LIMITED. The move to procure Hydrogen Fuel Cell based vehicles is first of its kind project in the country, wherein a complete solution from green energy to the fuel cell vehicle will be developed.|
  • The move to launch hydrogen powered vehicles aims at decarbonizing mobility segment.

Pakistan test-fires series of anti-ship missiles

  • The Pakistan Navy has successfully test-fired a series of anti-ship missiles in the North Arabian Sea. The missiles were fired from surface ships, fixed and rotary-wing aircraft. The Navy did not divulge more details of the drill which has taken place amidst the continued chill in the Indo-Pak relations.

RBI extends Madhavan Menon's term as part-time Chairman of CSB Bank

  • CSB(Catholic Syrian Bank) said the Reserve Bank of India has extended the term of appointment of Madhavan Menon as the part-time Chairman of the Bank till July 21, 2020. Menon was appointed as part-time Chairman of CSB Bank for a period of one year with effect from April 22, 2019. He is Chairman and Managing Director of Thomas Cook (India) Ltd.

RBI likely to revisit prudential norms

  • The Reserve Bank of India is likely to take a long, hard look at banks’ request to allow restructuring of loans without asset classification downgrade and temporarily increase the 90-day non-performing asset (NPA) recognition norm to 180 days.

Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging as punishment

  • Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a form of punishment, the country's supreme court has announced. Convicts who have been sentenced to the lash will from now on receive fines or prison terms instead. Court-ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia - sometimes extending to hundreds of lashes - have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups.
  • The Saudi supreme court said the latest reform was intended to bring the kingdom into line with international human rights norms against corporal punishment.

SC delivers judgements in 215 of 593 matters heard through video-conferencing during lockdown

  • The Supreme Court of India heard 593 matters through video-conferencing and delivered judgement in 215 of them in a month during the unprecedented nationwide lockdown. As COVID-19 infections spread in the country, the Supreme Court has stopped in court hearings on March 23, two days before the lockdown came into force, but opened up to a virtual new way of functioning, but with a reduced strength.
  • A total of 87 benches heard 593 cases on 17 working days between 23rd of March and 24th of April. In normal times, the apex court disposes of nearly 3,500 cases on an average a month.

There is no evidence that recovered patients are immune to COVID-19 infection: WHO

  • World Health Organization (WHO) has said that there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection. WHO said no study has evaluated whether the presence of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 confers immunity to subsequent infection by this virus in humans.
  • According to the UN agency, laboratory tests that detect antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 in people, including rapid immunodiagnostic tests, need further validation to determine their accuracy and reliability.

Timeline for DHFL insolvency process may be extended to June 30

  • The date of closure of the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP) of the financially distressed Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Ltd (DHFL) is expected to be extended to June 30 from May 31. This will give more time to the investors (resolution applicants) who participated in the Expression of Interest (EOI) to submit their resolution plans. With the new development, the sale of DHFL may be possible only by August-September.

Total number of COVID-19 cases in country surges to 26,917

  • The number of COVID-19 cases in the country has climbed to 26,917 while the death toll rose to 826. Health Ministry data said, the number of active COVID-19 cases stood at 20,177. As many as 5,913 people have been cured or discharged.
  • Maharashtra has the highest number of 7,628 cases followed by Gujarat 3,071 and Delhi with 2,625 cases. Highest number of 323 people have lost lives in Maharashtra. Gujarat has reported 133 deaths, Madhya Pradesh 99 and Delhi 54 deaths.

U.N. pushes for virus vaccine as Trump disinfectant theory sparks uproar

  • The United Nations launched a global push for a coronavirus vaccine as President Donald Trump triggered an uproar by suggesting patients be treated with disinfectant. With effective medical treatments still far away, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said defeating the pandemic will require global organizations and world leaders joining forces with the private sector to develop and distribute a novel coronavirus vaccine.
  • The U.N. chief's appeal came a day after the U.S. president prompted an outcry with his suggestion that industrial cleansers be used to treat patients.