Daily Current Affairs - 08th Jul 2020

AICF chief selector R.B. Ramesh resigns ahead of Online Olympiad

  • The All India Chess Federation (AICF) suffered another blow when chief selector Grandmaster R. B. Ramesh resigned from the post. Widely considered a sane voice in the midst of all the confrontation within the federation, it is learnt that Ramesh found it impossible to continue in the highly-politicised environment.
  • Meanwhile, Viswanathan Anand and K. Humpy have confirmed their participation in the Online Olympiad.

Amit Phangal ranked world no.1, Mary Kom secure third spot as per latest AIBA release

  • Amit Phangal has been ranked no.1 in the men’s 52kg weight category as per the latest rankings released by the Amateur Indian Boxing Association (AIBA). Manju Rani was the highest-ranked women’s boxer, securing the second spot in the 48kg category, while Mary Kom was placed third in her category.
  • Asian silver-medallist Kavinder Bisht was placed at the fourth position in the 56 kg category, while Deepak earned the sixth position in the 49kg slot. Manish Kaushik secured the sixth spot in the 63kg category.

Army pulls back 1.5 km from clash site

  • Indian troops have moved back 1.5 km from the site of the June 15 clash at the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh, creating a buffer zone, which will be off-limits for foot patrolling by them for the next 30 days.
  • The two armies have already created a 4km buffer zone in Galwan Valley, the site of a deadly clash which left 20 Indian and an unconfirmed number of Chinese soldiers dead on June 15. The creation of buffer zones will temporarily restrict the patrolling activities of both armies in the region.

CBSE reduces syllabus by 30%

  • The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has rationalised the syllabus for classes 9 to 12 for the academic year 2020-21 by up to 30 per cent to make up for academic loss caused due to COVID-19, Union HRD minister Ramesh Pokhriyal announced. However, the reduced syllabus will not be part of the topics for internal assessment and year-end board examination.
  • For classes 1 to 8, the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) has already notified an alternative calendar and learning outcomes.

CPSEs have very important role in giving push to growth of economy: FM Sitharaman

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had held review a meeting with CMDs of 23 Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) to boost expenditure in the economy. Secretaries of Ministries of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Power, Coal, Mines and Atomic Energy also attended the meeting. In 2019-20, the capital expenditure (CAPEX) by the 23 CPSEs stood at one lakh 66 thousand 29 crore against the target of one lakh 64 thousand 822 crore rupees, which is 101 per cent.

ECLGS: Loan sanctioned touch Rs.1.14-lakh crore

  • The finance ministry said banks have sanctioned loans of about Rs 1,14,502 crore under the Rs 3-lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for MSME sector reeling under the economic slowdown caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As of 4 July 2020, the total amount sanctioned under the 100% Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme by PSBs and private banks stands at Rs 1,14,502.58 crore, of which Rs 56,091.18 crore has already been disbursed. The loan amounts sanctioned by PSBs increased to Rs 65,863.63 crore, of which Rs 35,575.48 crore has been disbursed as of July 4.
  • At the same time, private sector banks have sanctioned Rs 48,638.96 crore and disbursed Rs 20,515.70 crore.
  • The business units of Maharashtra have got the highest cumulative sanction of Rs 6,856 crore from banks, while disbursement was to the tune of Rs 3,605 crore as of July 4. It is followed by Tamil Nadu, with sanction of Rs 6,616 crore loans and disbursements of Rs 3,871 crore.

ED files preliminary money laundering case against GVK Group

  • The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has filed a preliminary money laundering case against Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL), its parent company GVK Holdings, and its promoters among others. This case has been registered to probe alleged financial irregularities to the tune of Rs.705 crore alleged by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in its FIR filed on June 27.

Google Cloud, Deutsche Bank Agree on Multi-Year Strategic Partnership

  • Deutsche Bank said it has agreed a strategic, multi-year partnership with Google to give the German lender access to cloud services and drive innovation in technology-based financial products for clients. The deal is part of a EUR 13 billion (roughly Rs. 1.09 lakh crores) technology investment Deutsche has planned up to 2022 as it restructures to recover from years of losses.
  • Google and Deutsche have now signed a letter of intent and plan to sign a multi-year contract within the next few months, the bank said.

Govt appoints Injeti Srinivas as IFSC Authority chairman

  • The Union government appointed retired IAS officer Injeti Srinivas as chairman of the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA). His appointment is for a period of three years from the date of assuming charge or until further order, whichever is earlier. Srinivas retired as the corporate affairs secretary on May 31.
  • Gujarat-headquartered IFSCA will regulate all financial services in international financial services centres (IFSCs) in Gandhinagar.

India ranks 34th in JLL's Global Real Estate Transparency Index

  • India's Global Real Estate Transparency Index ranking has improved by one notch to 34 on the back of regulatory reforms, better market data and green initiatives, according to property consultant JLL. India was ranked 35th in the index during 2018 bi-annual survey, while the country was at 36th position in 2016 and 39th in 2014.
  • The country's real estate market is currently placed in the 'semi-transparent' zone.
  • The United Kingdom (UK) ranks first in the list of 99 countries, followed by the United States, Australia, France, Canada, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Ireland, Sweden and Germany.
  • Top 10 countries are categorised as highly transparent, while those in the 11th position to 33rd are termed as transparent.

India, US hold Foreign Office Consultations

  • Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and the US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs David Hale held virtual Foreign Office Consultations where they reviewed the entire gamut of engagements under the India-US Comprehensive Global Strategic Partnership, including political, economic, commercial, regional and international cooperation. In the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, they agreed to further strengthen the bilateral health partnership, including on pharmaceuticals and vaccine development.
  • India and the US have reaffirmed their commitment to work towards ensuring a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific.
  • They agreed on the need to deepen cooperation in the United Nations, especially during India's membership of the United Nations Security Council for the period 2021-2022.

Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for COVID-19

  • Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said he has tested positive for the new coronavirus after months of downplaying its severity while deaths mounted rapidly inside the country. The right-wing populist who has been known to mingle in crowds without covering his face confirmed the results.
  • Brazil, the world's sixth-biggest nation, with more than 210 million people, is one of the outbreak's most lethal hot spots. More than 65,000 Brazilians have died from COVID-19, and over 1.5 million have been infected.

MCA extends term of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat as acting chairperson NCLAT by three months

  • The ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) extended the term of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat as acting chairperson of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) by three months.
  • The extension was applicable from June 15, the order said, or until a regular chairperson was appointed.
  • He took over the appellate tribunal as acting chairperson on March 15, after Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya completed his term in the office.
  • Currently, the NCLAT has suspended all court work including virtual hearings and filings till July 10, as two staffers tested positive for Covid-19.

Mining giant told to pay $2 bn for Arctic spill

  • Russia’s state environmental watchdog said that metals giant Norilsk Nickel should pay an unprecedented $2 billion in damages over a huge Arctic fuel spill. The amount of the fine is equal to a third of its net profit in 2019.
  • A national-level state of emergency was announced after 21,000 tons of diesel fuel spilled from a reservoir that collapsed in May outside the Arctic city of Norilsk, polluting huge stretches of river in remote tundra with bright red patches visible from space.
  • Norilsk Nickel, controlled by Russia’s richest man Vladimir Potanin is the world’s largest producer of nickel and palladium.

New era for cricket as England-West Indies Test series begins on Wednesday

  • International sport finally returns to Britain when England plays the West Indies in the world’s first cricket test match since the start of March because of the coronavirus pandemic. England host West Indies in a three-match Test series starting on 8 July. The Wisden Trophy series, as it is known, will be played inside a bio-secure bubble amid new COVID-19 guidelines set-up by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

Sijo Kuruvilla George Appointed to Centre’s Committee on Science and Tech Policy

  • The first CEO of Startup Village and founder of Re-think Foundation, Sijo Kuruvilla George, has been selected as the member of central government’s expert committee on the science and technology policy. He is the only person from Kerala to be the part of the eight-member panel.
  • The Department of Science and technology and the principal scientific advisor of the Government of India jointly formulate the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020.
  • The expert committee team is tasked with updating the 2013 policy with thrust on scientific innovations. The expert committee on Science and Technology Policy is led by Harkesh Mittal, who also heads the Department of Science and Technology.

UK imposes sanctions on Myanmar Army Chief, Deputy

  • The United Kingdom has announced sanctions against the Commander in Chief of Myanmar Army General Min Aung Hlaing and his Deputy Soe Win for their alleged involvement in human rights violations against the Rohingyas and other ethnic communities. The sanctions freeze all the assets of the two top Army Generals. It also prohibits them from obtaining visas for the country.
  • This was the UK’s first autonomous human right’s sanctions regime that allows the government to impose sanctions on those involved in human rights abuses around the world.

US Awards $1.6 Billion To Novavax For COVID-19 Vaccine

  • The US has announced that it was providing $1.6 billion in funding for the development and manufacture of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate produced by biotech firm Novavax, the largest amount awarded under Operation Warp Speed.
  • Under the terms of its agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense, Novavax agrees to deliver 100 million doses of its vaccine, potentially by the end of the year. The final stage Phase 3 trial of its vaccine, called NVX-CoV2373, is set to take place this fall.
  • Separately, the US also said it was providing $450 million to Regeneron for its experimental COVID-19 treatment and prophylaxis, a combination of two antibodies.

US new visa rule may deport tens of thousands of Indian students

  • Tens of thousands of Indian students face the possibility of coming back to India or getting deported as the US has unveiled new visa rules for foreign students which discourages international students to stay back to continue their ongoing education via online mode due to Covid-19 disruptions.
  • India and China comprise a lion share of foreign students in the US. While US is home to some 202,000 Indian students, there are almost 369,000 Chinese students pursuing education in the US institutions, according to US government data.

US notifies UN of decision to withdraw from WHO

  • The US has formally notified the United Nations (UN) of its decision to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO). The US has accused the WHO of siding with China on the outbreak of the virus, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. The US alleged that WHO misled the world resulting in deaths of over half a million people globally, including over 1 lakh 30 thousand in America.
  • The US is the largest funder to the world health, contributing more than 450 million dollars per annum, while China's contribution to the health body is about one-tenth of that of the US. The United States has been a party to the WHO Constitution since June 21,1948.

WHO Acknowledges "Emerging Evidence" Of Airborne Spread Of Coronavirus

  • The WHO pointed to "emerging evidence" that the coronavirus might spread by air further than previously thought, and warned the pandemic was still accelerating. The World Health Organization said it would put out a new scientific brief within days, after an international group of scientists concluded the virus could travel far beyond two metres (yards).
  • Earlier, a group of 239 international scientists said exhaled droplets under five micrometres in size that contain the virus can become suspended in the air for several hours and travel up to tens of metres.
  • Meanwhile, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic was showing no signs of slowing down, after 400,000 new cases were reported over the weekend.

YES Bank plans FPO to raise capital

  • Yes Bank Ltd has filed the offer document for its proposed follow-on public offering (FPO) with the registrar of companies, and is expected to soon launch the public offering, Yes Bank was planning to raise around Rs,10,000 crore through an FPO.
  • Investment banks Axis Capital, Kotak Mahindra Capital, Citi and Bank of America are advising Yes Bank on the FPO.