Daily Current Affairs - 14th Jul 2020

AIIMS Patna starts human trial of Corona virus vaccine

  • In Bihar, AIIMS, Patna has started human trial of Corona virus vaccine on 10 volunteers selected by hospital authority. Several people offered to take part in trial, but only 10 people were selected for the process. The first dose has been given to selected people and after interval of 14 days, second dose will be given. Doctors are keeping strict vigil of the those people who have taken dose of vaccine.
  • The vaccine jointly developed by the National Institute of Virology, Pune and Hyedrabad - based Bharat Biotech International Limited in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research. It is the first indigenous vaccine developed in India.
  • AIIMS - Patna is one of the 12 medical institutes in the country to have been shortlisted by ICMR for conducting human trial of the indigenous vaccine .

Dept of Pharma finalizing guidelines for selecting locations of bulk drug & medical devices parks: Gowda

  • Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister DV Sadananda Gowda has said that Department of Pharmaceuticals is finalizing guidelines which will form basis for objectively selecting locations of upcoming three bulk drugs parks and four medical devices parks in the country.
  • In order to encourage domestic production of critical Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient (APIs) and KSM and medical devices, Union Cabinet has approved a scheme for development of three bulk drugs and four medical devices parks in which Central Government will extend Grants-in-Aid to States with a maximum limit of Rs.1000 crore per bulk drug park and 100 crore rupees per medical device parks.
  • In addition, the Centre also announced a Production Linked Incentive scheme for promoting domestic manufacturing of key critical Starting Materials(KSM) and Drug Intermediates and APIs as well as medical devices across the country.

Dr. Vidhu P. Nair appointed India's next Ambassador to Turkmenistan

  • Dr. Vidhu P. Nair has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Turkmenistan. Dr Nair, who is a 2002 batch IFS officer, is presently Director in the External Affairs Ministry. He is expected to take up the assignment shortly.

Google to invest Rs. 75,000 crore in India over next 5 to 7 years

  • Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai has announced an investment of 75,000 crore rupees in India through Google for India Digitisation Fund to help accelerate country's digital economy. Addressing the sixth annual edition of the "Google for India" virtual event, Mr. Pichai said the fund would be used over the next five to seven years through equity investments and tie-ups. He said the investments will focus on four key areas of India's digitisation.

Govt aims to increase public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2025

  • The Union Health Ministry has pushed for an increased expenditure on public health. In a meeting with the 15th Finance Commission, the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, highlighted that the government aims at gradually increasing the public health expenditure to 2.5 per cent of the nation's GDP by the year 2025.
  • The Minister asserted that the outlay for primary health expenditure will also be made nearly two third of the total public health expenditure in the country.
  • The Health Ministry apprised the Finance Commission of the need to further strengthen the public health sector, surveillance and public health management, preventive and promotive health care system in the country. The Health Ministry has also revised its requirement of around 4.9 lakh crores to 6.04 lakh crores in view of the COVID pandemic.

Gurbux and Palash to get Bagan Ratna

  • Hockey Olympian Gurbux Singh and former Bengal cricketer and coach Palash Nandi would be honoured with the Mohun Bagan Ratna, the club’s highest order of merit, while another hockey Olympian Ashok Kumar is to get the lifetime achievement award.

IIT Kanpur develops UV sanitizing device 'SHUDDH' to make your room COVID free

  • Imagineering Laboratory department of IIT Kanpur has developed an Ultraviolet (UV) sanitizing product named SHUDH. Smartphone operated Handy Ultraviolet Disinfection Helper(SHUDH) has six UV lights of 15 Watts each that can be individually monitored from a distance. Initial testing has proved that the device at its full operation can disinfect a 10x10 squared feet room in about 15 minutes.
  • SHUDH can assist in killing the spread of corona virus at the highly prone places such as hospitals, hotels, malls, offices and schools.

India hands over outdoor fitness equipment for 61 islands across Maldives

  • India has handed over outdoor fitness equipment for 61 islands across Maldives under a cash grant of 8 million US dollars. The equipments were formally handed over by Indian High Commissioner to Maldives Sunjay Sudhir in a ceremony at Male. He said the installation of equipments would involve participation of all 61 island councils and further strengthen the idea of decentralization and a cherished ideal for President Ibrahim Solih’s government.

Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project, cites funding delay

  • The Iranian government has decided to move ahead with the construction of rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan, on its own as it cited delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project four years after an agreement was signed. The entire project would be completed by March 2022, and the Iranian Railways will proceed without assistance from India and will use approximately $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund.
  • Iran’s move to drop the partnership with India comes as it finalises a sweeping 25-year economic and security partnership with China worth $400 billion. The partnership would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects.

ISRO Chief Sivan Named As 2020 Von Karman Award Recipient By IAA

  • ISRO chief Dr Kailasavadivoo Sivan has been named as the recipient of the 2020 Von Karman Award of the International Academy of Astronautics. The award, which is the highest distinction of the Academy will be conferred in March 2021 in Paris.
  • Charles Elachi was the previous recipient of the award which has been named after Theodore von Karman who was an aerospace engineer and notably known for his key advances in aerodynamics.
  • The International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) was also founded by von Karman who was the first President of the organization which is committed to expanding the frontiers in space. The von Karman award was established in 1982 and is the premier award of the Academy.

Lewis Hamilton wins Styrian GP from pole after Ferraris collide on first lap

  • Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton cruised to a comfortable victory in the Styrian Grand Prix. Hamilton led from pole position, headed only at the pit-stops, as team-mate Valtteri Bottas overtook Red Bull's Max Verstappen late on for second. The Ferraris retired early after colliding with each other on lap one.

NHAI to collaborate with IITs, NITs, reputed Engineering Colleges for improving highways

  • National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has approached all IITs, NITs and reputed Engineering Colleges to collaborate and adopt nearby stretches of National Highways on voluntary basis as part of Institutional Social Responsibility. The objective is to leverage the intellectual prudence of students and faculty towards improvement of road infrastructure ecosystem of the country.
  • Large number of IITs, NITs and Engineering Colleges have opted to join the scheme and NHAI officers have started mutual consultation with Directors of the interested Institutes.

Poland's Duda narrowly beats Trzaskowski in presidential vote

  • Poland's incumbent President Andrzej Duda has narrowly beaten challenger Rafal Trzaskowski in Sunday's presidential vote. The National Electoral Commission said Mr Duda had won 51.2% of the votes.
  • Mr Duda is a social conservative allied with the government led by the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, while Mr Trzaskowski is the socially liberal mayor of Warsaw.

Retail inflation rises by 6.09% in June

  • Retail inflation rose by 6.09 percent in June, mainly on account of higher prices of food items. The government data showed that food price inflation in June stood at 7.87 percent. In April, CPI data were not released due to difficulty in data collection.In March, CPI inflation stood at 5.84 percent.
  • Meanwhile, the wholesale price-based inflation declined 1.81 per cent in June due to decline in prices of fuel and power, even as food articles remained expensive. Inflation in food articles during June stood at 2.04 per cent, as against 1.13 per cent in May. In fuel and power basket, deflation stood at 13.60 per cent in June, against 19.83 per cent in the previous month.

SC gives ex-royals right to manage deity’s property

  • The Supreme Court of India has upheld the rights of Travancore’s erstwhile royal family in managing the affairs of Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, resolving a decade-old dispute over the administration of one of the richest temples in the world.
  • A bench of Justices U.U. Lalit and Indu Malhotra overruled a 2011 Kerala High Court order to hold that the family will continue to exert its shebait rights.
  • Shebait is a person who serves a Hindu deity and manages the temple.

Sri Lanka: Postal voting for upcoming parliamentary elections begins

  • The postal voting for over 700,000 Sri Lankan officers, who will be on duty on August 5 for the parliamentary polls, began on Monday amidst special security measures, following a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases in the country. The voting will go on for 5 days with two days reserved next week for those who fail to cast their vote this week. While polling for 225 member parliament is scheduled for 5th of next month.

Veteran Gujarati journalist, columnist, writer Nagindas Sanghvi passes away at 100

  • Veteran Gujarati journalist, columnist, writer and political analyst Nagindas Sanghvi passed away in Surat. He was 100 . Mr. Sangvi was conferred Padma Shri award in the year 2019. He had written many books on Mahatma Gandhi, Gujarat and other subjects.

Virus immunity may disappear within months of recovery: study

  • Recovered COVID-19 patients may lose their immunity to the disease within months, suggested new research, indicating that the novel coronavirus could reinfect people who have had it in the past, much like the common cold. A team from King’s College in London found that the amount of antibodies in recovered COVID-19 patients’ blood was significantly down after three months, meaning they could be vulnerable to reinfection. The study confirmed a growing body of evidence that immunity to COVID-19 is short-lived,

Visa partners with Federal Bank for rolling out Visa Secure for e-commerce

  • Visa has announced its partnership with Federal Bank to roll out Visa Secure to the bank’s cardholders. Visa Secure is a global authentication program that uses the latest standards of the EMV 3DS (3D Secure) protocol. Besides providing additional layers of authentication for issuers and merchants to combat online frauds, the upgraded technology provides a quicker and frictionless checkout experience to consumers.
  • Visa will deploy Visa Secure and further enhance the bank’s focus on customer-centric digital solutions that make online shopping experiences seamless.

VNIR Biotech launches fluorescence probes & PCR mix for RT-PCR detection of COVID-19

  • Bengaluru based, VNIR Biotechnologies, a spinoff by Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) has launched indigenous fluorescence probes and Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) mix for RT-PCR detection of COVID-19. The molecular probes developed by VNIR Biotechnologies will be used in COVID-19 test kits in the country.
  • PCR based test kit has three critical components, the oligos, enzymes and molecular probes. The molecular probes used in COVID 19 tests, are currently, only imported.

WHO calls upon countries for comprehensive strategies to deal with Covid pandemic

  • World Health Organization has warned that the pandemic is worsening globally and that there will be no return to the old normal for the foreseeable future. The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the virus' spread is worsening in many countries.
  • He called for countries to come up with comprehensive strategies to deal with the pandemic and noted that roughly half of all new cases are in the Americas. His remarks came a day after Florida shattered the record among US states for the largest single-day increase in new confirmed cases, with more than 15,000.