Daily Current Affairs - 29th Jun 2020

Axis Bank clarifies downgrade by S&P is an ‘editorial error’

  • Axis Bank has clarified that global rating agency Standard and Poor had made an error by inadvertently mentioning that the bank was on CreditWatch and that it is on Stable outlook.The private sector lender in a notification to stock exchanges had clarified that S&P had made an editorial error.
  • As per the rating action letter by S&P Global Ratings Axis Bank’s current issuer ratings stands at BB+/Stable/B from previous BBB-/Negative/A-3 rating.

Banks report higher demand for car, consumer-durable loans

  • Loans for cars and consumer durables and credit card spends are slowly inching back to pre-Covid levels, bankers say. However, non-banking finance companies claim that credit demand from their borrowers is still weak and could see recovery only from next month.
  • There have been a lot of demand for car loans, especially from Tier 2 and 3 towns where many people are buying entry-level cars to avoid using public transport.

Carlsen makes it to semi-finals

  • Magnus Carlsen and Ian Nepomniachtchi got past Fabiano Caruana and Vladislav Artemiev on their way to the semifinals of the $150,000 Chessable Masters.Carlsen and Nepomniachtchi recorded their second successive 2.5-0.5 victories over their rivals to clinch the best-of-three match quarterfinals 2-0.

Centre unveils new rules to regulate exotic animal trade

  • The Environment Ministry’s wildlife division has introduced new rules to regulate the import and export of ‘exotic wildlife species’.Under the new rules, owners and possessors of such animals and birds must also register their stock with the Chief Wildlife Warden of their States.
  • Officials of the Wildlife Department will also prepare an inventory of such species and have the right to inspect the facilities of such traders to check if these plants and animals are being housed in healthy conditions.
  • The advisory, issued earlier this month, also says ‘exotic live species’ will mean animals named under Appendices I, II and III of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of Wild Fauna and Flora.It will not include species from the Schedules of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.

Fourth phase of 'Vande Bharat Mission' to commence from 3rd July

  • Under the fourth phase of 'Vande Bharat Mission' scheduled to commence from 3rd July, Air India will operate 170 flights and bring back Indian Nationals from 17 countries. Starting from 3rd of next month till 15th, within a span of 13 days, passengers from United States, UK, Canada and Gulf countries will be brought back under the fourth phase of 'Vande Bharat Mission'.
  • 'Vande Bharat Mission' world's largest repatriation programme, initiated by the Central Government has brought back nearly 1,50,000 Indian nationals till date through nearly 700 flight operations from foreign countries.
  • Foreign Ministry has said that over 5 lakh people had registered to return via sea, land and air and 3,60,000 people have already returned under this programme.

FPIs pump in a net Rs 21,235 crore in domestic markets between June 1 and June 26

  • Reversing the three-month selling streak in June, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) pumped in a net Rs 21,235 crore in domestic markets amid increasing liquidity and gradual opening up of the economy.According to data from depositories, FPIs invested Rs 22,893 crore into equities but pulled out Rs1,658 crore from the debt segment, taking the total net investment to Rs 21,235 crore between June 1 and June 26.Prior to this, foreign investors remained net sellers for three consecutive months.

Global coronavirus cases exceed one-crore mark

  • Global Coronavirus cases have surpassed the one-crore mark, with over five lakh fatalities. According to Johns Hopkins University in the US, more than 500,000 people worldwide have lost their lives as a result of the pandemic. Half the world's cases have been in the United States and Europe.
  • The US has reported a total of 25 lakh cases and 125,000 deaths with Covid-19 so far - more than any other country.The country with the second-highest number of recorded cases is Brazil, with a total of 13 lakh, and more than 57 thousand deaths. Russia reported 6 lakh 633 thousand 542 cases and more than nine thousand deaths so far.

Govt extends deadline to bid for Air India till August 31

  • The Union government has again extended the deadline to bid for Air India by two months till 31st August. This is the third time the deadline has been extended.The divestment process for the national carrier was initiated on 27th of January this year.
  • The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management said the deadline has been extended in view of the request received from the interested bidders due to the prevailing situation arising out of COVID-19. Besides, the date for intimation to Qualified Interested Bidders has also been extended till 14th of September, 2020.
  • The government in January this year restarted the divestment process and invited bids for selling 100 per cent equity in the state-owned airline, including Air India's 100 per cent shareholding in AI Express Limited and 50 per cent stake in Air India SATS Airport Services Private Limited.

Mining experts of IIT-ISM Dhanbad provide technical assistance to BRO officials for construction of border roads at Indo-China's LAC

  • Technology and expertise have come hand in hand providing technical assistance to officials of Border Road Organisation (BRO) by mining experts of IIT-ISM Dhanbad, Jharkhand for construction of border roads at the Indo-China's Line of Actual Control.
  • The IIT-ISM mining experts from Dhanbad are giving technical training to the BRO officials for construction of major connecting link till Badrinath and Arunachal Pradesh on the Indo-China border and Dharsula on Indo-Nepal border.

NBFC ratings cut at S&P as Covid-19 pandemic worsens liquidity woes

  • Credit scores of several non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) were downgraded by S&P Global Ratings due to liquidity risks amid the pandemic-induced economic downturn.The rating company cut state-owned Power Finance Corp and Bajaj Finance Ltd into junk territory. Shriram Transport Finance Co Ltd and Manappuram Finance Ltd were lowered deeper into non-investment grade.
  • Liquidity stress could be high for wholesale lenders with large exposure to property developers, companies without a strong parent, or companies with perceived weak governance, S&P analysts said. Credit risks remain very high for finance companies in India.

SC dismisses review petitions challenging verdict on adultery

  • The Supreme Court of India has declined to entertain two review petitions filed against its verdict decriminalising adultery by quashing down the Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code. On September 27, 2018, a bench comprising of then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices Khanwilkar, Nariman, Chandrachud and Malhotra held that the penal provision violated a woman''s right to dignity, which leads to the infringement of Article 21 of the Constitution.

Sri Lanka completely lifts the curfew imposed after COVID outbreak

  • In Sri Lanka, the curfew imposed after COVID outbreak has been completely removed as the country has not seen any case of community infection for over two months. Previously, the curfew imposed on the whole country since March 20 was partially lifted with the country returning to normalcy.
  • The curfew was in effect from 12 midnight until 4 am daily which has been lifted from today. The country is fast recovering from the crisis with only 361 active cases of COVID under treatment.
  • The count of recoveries stands at 1,661 cases among 2,033 infections while the country has seen 11 deaths.

Tamilnad Mercantile Bank records 58% increase in FY20 net profit

  • Tamilnad Mercantile Bank Ltd has reported an impressive performance for 2019-20 with growth in profits and improvements in asset quality.The bank recorded a 58 per cent increase in its net profit at Rs.408 crore for the year ended March 31, 2020 when compared with Rs.259 crore in the previous fiscal, on the back of higher operating profit.
  • The operating profit grew 13 per cent to Rs.995 crore (Rs.884 crore in Q4 of FY19). The net interest income was higher at Rs.1,320 crore (Rs.1,230 crore).

Teenager Aashi shortlisted for FIA project

  • Mumbai's rising racing star AashiHanspal has been shortlisted for FIA's ambitious 'Girls on Track - Rising Stars Project', the Federation of Motor Sports Club of India (FMSCI) announced. Aashi, 13, has been selected along with 19 others in the age group of 12-16 out of 70 entries from five continents. As the first step, she will take part in the Shoot Out' at the Paul Ricard Circuit in France on 12 and 13 October.
  • If she performs well, she could become first female driver to obtain a partnership agreement with Ferrari Driver Academy including chance to take part in the Formula 4 season.

UK plans localised lockdowns as COVID-19 deaths among Indian-origin people remain high

  • The UK government said it is planning to impose localised lockdowns in some regions showing a spike in coronavirus infections, as latest figures showed that Indian-origin people remain in the category of those hardest hit from the deadly virus among Britain's ethnic minorities.
  • Meanwhile, the latest NHS England statistics revealed that 763 people identifying with Indian heritage have died so far in the pandemic.This continues to reflect three per cent of the total deaths officially recorded by the National Health Service (NHS) from coronavirus, first reported in April at the peak of the pandemic, followed by those of Pakistani and Caribbean heritage as the second-hardest hit ethnic groups at two per cent each.
  • The UK has so far reported 311,739 coronavirus cases and 43,598 fatalities due to the disease.

UN warns of ‘intensified fighting’ in Rakhine state of Myanmar

  • The United Nations has called for ‘urgent measures to spare civilians’ in the Rakhine province of Northwest Myanmar in the midst of a military crackdown on Arakan Army announced by the government. The UN expressed concern over reports of intensified fighting in the Rakhine states’sRathedaung township.
  • The UN call comes in the backdrop of the local authorities issuing a call last week to evacuate more than 40 villages for ‘clearance opertions’ by the Myanmar military. The Arakan and Chin provinces have been witnessing intensified conflict between the Myanmar military and the separatist ArakanArmy (AA) since January last year. Both Arakan and Chin provinces have been placed under internet blockade by the government.

Union Ministers pay tribute to Professor PC Mahalanobis on National Statistics Day

  • Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar and Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has paid tributes to Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis on National Statistics Day.
  • National Statistics Day is celebrated on June 29 across the country. The day is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis who is a world-renowned statistician whose invaluable contributions led to the establishment of National Statistical System in India.

Ushenina wins

  • Anna Ushenina of Ukraine won the first Grand Prix leg of the FIDE Women’s Chess.com Speed Chess, beating Russia’s Valentina Gunina 7-4 in the final.In the final, she scored a comfortable 7-4 win over Russia’s Valentina Gunina.
  • The second Grand Prix leg will begin on July 1. Vaishali will be playing in it along with fellow-Indian Dronavalli Harika.