Daily Current Affairs - 19th May 2020

Amphan intensifies into Super Cyclone

  • Cyclone Amphan intensified into a super cyclone as it moved further North-Northeastwards over West Central Bay. The Met Department of Bangladesh forecast that that the cyclonic storm is likely to move in a North-Northeasterly direction.
  • Amphan is the first super cyclone to hit the region in the last two decades since a super cyclone hit Odisha in 1999 causing widespread damage and loss of life.

Bayern blanks Union Berlin

  • Robert Lewandowski bagged his 26th league goal this season as leader Bayern Munich resumed its Bundesliga title chase with a 2-0 win at Union Berlin behind closed doors in its first match in two months.

Bharti Airtel reports net loss of Rs 5,237 crore in Q4

  • Bharti Airtel has reported a consolidated net loss after exceptional items of Rs 5,237 crore in the fourth quarter ended March 31, as compared to a net profit of Rs 107 crore in the corresponding period last year. However, consolidated revenues during the quarter grew by 15 per cent year-on-year (YoY) to Rs 23,723 crore, as against Rs. 20,602 crore in the January-March quarter last year.
  • The company undertook a capex investment of Rs 25,359 crore on a consolidated basis during the year to ensure seamless services during the ongoing pandemic.

Carlsen and Lagno win FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial

  • Kateryna Lagno and Magnus Carlsen won the FIDE Online Steinitz Memorial in the women's and open sections respectively. Lagno defeated Lei Tingjie in the Armageddon tiebreaker after both finished the tournament on 12 out of 18.
  • Carlsen scored the same amount of points, but in his case that was enough to secure tournament victory with a round to spare.

COVID-19 recovery rate improves to 38.73 pct

  • Health and Family Welfare Ministry said that a total 39,174 patients have cured from the Corona virus and the recovery rate reached to 38.73 per cent in the country. During the last twenty four hours, two thousand 350 patients have recovered and four thousand 970 fresh cases of COVID-19 have been reported taking the total number of cases to one lakh one thousand 139. A total 134 deaths have been registered in last 24 hours taking the nationwide toll to three thousand 163.

FSS launches eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0

  • Digital payments player FSS (Financial Software and Systems) has announced the launch of eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0, which is expected to strengthen last-mile banking services. FSS eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0 is aimed at enabling digital financial service providers offer secure, low-cost financial tools that expand the usage of digital banking products across diverse customer groups, and moderate and low-income segments in particular.

Full economic recovery is unlikely in 2021, warns IMF chief

  • The global economy will take much longer to recover fully from the shock caused by the new coronavirus than initially expected, the head of the International Monetary Fund said, and she stressed the danger of protectionism.
  • Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the IMF was likely to revise downward its forecast for a 3 per cent contraction in GDP in 2020, with only a partial recovery expected next year instead of the 5.8 per cent rebound initially expected.

Government implements Shekatkar Committee recommendations related to creating border infrastructure

  • Union Government has implemented Lt. General D B Shekatkar Committee's recommendations related to creating border infrastructure. These were related to speeding up road construction leading to socio-economic development in the border areas.
  • The Centre has implemented recommendation to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organization. It has been made mandatory to adopt Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) mode for execution of all works costing more than 100 crore rupees.
  • The other recommendation relating to introduction of modern construction plants, equipment and machinery has been implemented by delegating enhanced procurement powers from 7.5 crore rupees to 100 crore rupees to BRO, for domestic and foreign procurements.

Government withdraws order making wage pay mandatory during lockdown

  • The Union government has withdrawn its order directing employers to pay wages to workers, even with units remaining shut during lockdown. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued a fresh set of guidelines which will be applicable from Monday. It has repealed the order dated March 29, 2020 which had talked about compulsory wage payment to workers during lockdown.
  • Though, the government has not given any explanation for its move, , with the Supreme Court barring the government from taking any coercive action against companies not following the Home Ministry’s order on wage payment, it decided to withdraw it.

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan participates in 73rd World Health Assembly online session

  • Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has participated in the 73rd World Health Assembly through video conference and highlighted the timely, graded and proactive measures taken by India towards COVID management. He said India is playing a key role in fostering bilateral and regional partnerships. He stated that under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's leadership, India has supplied essential medicines to 123 nations as an expression of solidarity.

ICMR tests 24,04,267 coronavirus samples so far; crosses 1 lakh mark in 24 hours

  • Coronavirus testing in India crossed the one lakh mark. The Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has said that a total one lakh one thousand 475 samples of corona virus were tested in the last 24 hours. The figure of total number of tests reached to 24,04,267 in the country.
  • Meanwhile, ICMR is continuously scaling up its testing facilities for COVID-19 by giving approval to government and private laboratories. As of now, 385 government laboratories and 158 private laboratory chains have been given approval to conduct the test for COVID-19.

MoneyGram sees 81% increase in online remittances in April

  • Payment services firm MoneyGram saw an 81 per cent increase in its online remittances in April this year compared to a year ago and now plans to focus more on digital initiatives to help its customers.
  • In India, MoneyGram also has tie ups with EbixCash, Thomas Cook, Unimoni, Supreme Securities and Muthoot Fincorp, which has given it presence in over 40,000 locations.
  • Globally, MoneyGram has 48 million users and is present in over 200 countries.

PSBs sanction Rs.6.45 lakh crore loans from March 1 to May 15

  • The Finance Ministry said that Public Sector Banks ( PSBs) have sanctioned loans worth over Rs.6.45 lakh crore during May 1-May 15. The approved loans pertained to 54.96 lakh accounts from MSME, Retail, Agriculture and Corporate sectors. This sanctioned level of Rs.6.45 lakh crore as on May 15 is a notable increase compared to the Rs.5.95 lakh crore sanctioned as of May 8, the Finance Ministry office said.

Rajiv Gauba chairs National Crisis Management Committee meeting, discusses preparedness and requirements for Super Cyclone

  • Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba has chaired a National Crisis Management Committee meeting and discussed the preparedness and requirements for upcoming Super Cyclone. Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has also spoken to Chief Secretaries of West Bengal and Odisha regarding Cyclone ‘AMPHAN’. As per state's request, 13 teams of NDRF have already been pre-positioned in West Bengal. Four teams are enroute and four teams are on standby.

Remaining CBSE examination for class 10th and 12th to be held from 1st July

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education has released date sheet for Class 12th board examinations for the remaining papers. It also released date sheet for the re-scheduled board examinations of Class 10th for North-East Delhi. The examinations will be conducted between 1st of July to 15th July this year.
  • The Class 10th examinations were postponed due to violence in North Eastern part of National Capital and then due to lockdown and Class 12th examinations in view of the lockdown imposed in the country to combat COVID-19.

Saliva ban recommended

  • The International Cricket Council Cricket Committee, chaired by former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble, recommended a ban on the use of saliva to shine the ball, to mitigate the risk posed by the coronavirus. Apart from recommending a ban on saliva, the committee also proposed the appointment of non-neutral match officials for all international matches.
  • With international travels taking a hit due to the coronavirus pandemic, the committee proposed that the ICC should consider appointing non-neutral umpires and referees for all international matches.

Tata Consumer Products to buy PepsiCo’s stake in NourishCo Beverages

  • Tata Consumer Products Ltd (TCPL) said that it will acquire PepsiCo’s stake in NourishCo Beverages Limited (NourishCo/Company), a 50:50 JV between the two companies. Over the last decade, NourishCo has focussed on building brands in the healthy hydration space and has Himalayan mineral water, Tata Gluco Plus and Tata Water Plus in its portfolio.

Trojans found attacking Indian Co-operative banks using Covid-19 spear-phishing: Report

  • Seqrite, a specialist provider of cybersecurity products and services, has detected a new wave of Adwind Java Remote Access Trojan (RAT) campaign targeting Indian co-operative banks using Covid-19 as a bait. Researchers at Seqrite warned that if attackers are successful, they can take over the victim’s device to steal sensitive data like SWIFT logins and customer details and move laterally to launch large scale cyberattacks and financial frauds.
  • According to the researchers, the Java RAT campaign starts with a spear-phishing email which claims to have originated from either the Reserve Bank of India or a nationalised bank. The content of the email refers to COVID-19 guidelines or a financial transaction, with detailed information in an attachment, which is a zip file containing a JAR based malware

WHO to initiate independent review of its handling of coronavirus pandemic

  • World Health Organization (WHO) has said it will initiate an independent review into its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO is committed to transparency and will therefore facilitate an independent review of its response to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • More than 100 countries including India backed a resolution drafted by the European Union calling for an independent inquiry into the pandemic, which has claimed more than 3 lakh lives globally so far.
  • US President Donald Trump has fiercely questioned the WHO’s performance in handling the pandemic and led international criticism of China’s handling of the early stages of the crisis.