Daily Current Affairs - 31st Jul 2020

50 lakh people marooned in 31 districts of Bangladesh as several rivers continue to rise

  • More than 50 lakh people have been affected by the devastating floods in 31 districts of Bangladesh as several rivers continued to rise in the country. 19 rivers in the country are flowing above the danger level as on Thursday morning. The northern and central areas of Bangladesh are facing the major brunt of floods. Thousands of people have taken shelter at flood relief centres and other safe places. The official death toll due to floods has gone up to 41.
  • The floods this year are being the most prolonged one over the last two decades. Many areas near the capital city Dhaka have also been affected by floods.

A third of the world’s children poisoned by lead, new groundbreaking analysis says

  • Lead poisoning is affecting children on a massive and previously unknown scale, according to a new report launched by UNICEF and Pure Earth. The report, the first of its kind, says that around 1 in 3 children – up to 800 million globally – have blood lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), the level at which requires action. Nearly half of these children live in South Asia.
  • Childhood lead exposure has also been linked to mental health and behavioural problems, and to an increase of crime and violence. Older children suffer severe consequences including increased risk of kidney damage and cardiovascular diseases in later life, the report says.
  • Childhood lead exposure is estimated to cost lower- and middle-income countries almost USD $1 trillion due to lost economic potential of these children over their lifetime.

Anand finishes ninth

  • Viswanathan Anand signed off his dismal campaign in the chess24 Legends of Chess with a 2-3 loss to fellow veteran Vassily Ivanchuk in the ninth and final round. Eight defeats in nine rounds pushed Anand to the ninth position in the league standings, ahead of Hungary’s Peter Leko. China’s Ding Liren defeated Leko to occupy the eighth spot.
  • Meanwhile, Magnus Carlsen posted his ninth successive win after dominating Vladimir Kramnik 3-1 and topped the league table.

Ashoke Mustafi passes away

  • Ashoke Mustafi, was a first Class cricketer and one of the first coaches of former India captain and current BCCI president Sourav Ganguly. Ashok Mustafi will have a long lasting legacy as a coach, having produced as many as 20 first class cricketers. But one that stands out was none other than former India captain Sourav Ganguly.

Cagliari stuns Juventus

  • Juventus crashed to a humiliating 2-0 defeat at Cagliari, days after sealing its ninth consecutive Serie A title. First-half goals from Luca Gagliano and Giovanni Simeone gave Cagliari a deserved 2-0 victory over Serie A champions Juventus.

Donald Trump suggests delay to 2020 US presidential election

  • Donald Trump has suggested November's presidential election be postponed, saying increased postal voting could lead to fraud and inaccurate results. There is little evidence to support Mr Trump's claims but he has long railed against mail-in voting which he has said would be susceptible to fraud. US states want to make postal voting easier due to public health concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Mr. Trump tweeted out his suggestion shortly after news broke that the U.S. economy had experienced a record level of contraction in the second quarter of this year.

FMCG industry growth may remain flat in 2020: Nielsen

  • Market researcher Nielsen now projects India’s packaged consumer goods sales to shrink or remain little-changed from last year, slashing its 5-6% growth estimate made on April 30 on optimism that the sector would better withstand the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, considered relatively immune to economic recessions, in India is now expected to shrink 1% in the worst-case scenario, Nielsen said in its report. At best, it will grow 1% in 2020 as the Covid-19 lockdown has crimped demand and severely disrupted trade channels.
  • Nielsen expects the festive season to boost demand and help FMCG companies report growth in the December quarter. But the outlook for these companies remains dim as widespread unemployment and a depressed economy may weaken consumer demand, it added.

Gandhi-King initiative passes U.S. House committee

  • A Bill authored by American civil rights leader and lawmaker John Lewis, which seeks to establish an exchange programme between India and the U.S. to study the work and legacies of Mahatma Gandhi and civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., passed an important committee in the U.S. House of Representatives, days after Mr. Lewis’s death.

Hardik Shah to be Private Secretary to PM

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has picked a Gujarat-cadre Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer, Hardik Shah, as his new Private Secretary in place of Rajiv Topno, who has earlier been appointed Senior Adviser to the Executive Director of the World Bank in Washington DC.

Hong Kong bars 12 opposition candidates from election

  • Hong Kong’s government said 12 pro-democracy candidates had been disqualified from running for election to the legislature, citing opposition to a new national security law imposed by Beijing, but denied infringing civil rights. Among those barred are high-profile activists Joshua Wong and Lester Shum. The government said the candidates were not fit to run for office.
  • Opposition legislators had hoped to obtain a majority in the Legislative Council (LegCo) in September's poll after Beijing's imposition of a highly controversial national security law.

ICMR symposium: India pvt sector has key role in manufacturing vaccine, says Dr Fauci

  • Anthony Fauci, top infectious disease specialist and senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump on COVID-19 has said that India would play a critical role in supplying the world with a COVID-19 vaccine. Dr Fauci was speaking at an online symposium organised by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which was also attended by several other internationally acclaimed epidemiologists and vaccinologists.
  • Over half of the world's vaccines were manufactured in India by companies such as the Serum Institute of India, Bharat Biotech, Biological E.

In highest-ever attrition, Cognizant loses over 11,000 employees in June quarter

  • The $17-billion Cognizant Technology Solutions lost over 11,000 employees (net) in the June quarter — the highest ever net employee attrition in a single quarter for the company. The US-based company is the second largest software company in India after Tata Consultancy Services.

India has fifth highest COVID-19 fatalities globally

  • With 779 new coronavirus deaths in 24 hours, the health ministry put total fatalities at 35,747, giving India the world's fifth-highest death toll behind the United States, Brazil, Britain and Mexico. Total infections in the world's second-most populous country are now 1.63 million, surpassed only by the US and Brazil, both of which have much smaller populations.
  • The seven day rolling average for deaths in India is now 735, next only to the U.S. (1,075) and Brazil (1,052). The case fatality rate in the country is now 2.18%, which is among the lowest in the world.

LIC reports 12.42% increase in total premium income in FY20

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India reported a 12.42 per cent increase in total premium income in 2019-20 to Rs.3.79 lakh crore as against Rs.3.37 lakh crore in 2018-19. LIC said new business premium in pension and group superannuation business increased by 39.46 per cent to Rs.1.26 lakh crore.

RBI extends directions for three Maharashtra urban cooperative banks

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended its directions for three urban cooperative banks – the Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank, the Kapol Cooperative Bank and the Maratha Sahakari Bank – all from Maharashtra.
  • For the Vasantdada Nagari Sahakari Bank in Osmanabad, which closed in November 2017, the RBI has extended period of directions by two months to September 30, 2020 from August 1, 2020 – subject to review.
  • For The Kapol Cooperative Bank in Mumbai, which closed in March 2017, the RBI has extended validity of directions by six months till January 31, 2021 from August 1, 2020. For the Maratha Sahakari Bank in Mumbai, which has been under RBI directions since its closure in August 2016, the period of directions has been extended for five months from August 1, 2020 till December 31, 2020.

SABIC Chemical Plant in Spain Will be the 1st to Operate on 100% RE

  • The polycarbonate facility of SABIC in Spain is all set to become the world’s first large scale chemical production plant to run entirely (100 percent) on renewable energy after it agreed to a major new deal with Spanish utility Iberdrola to secure power from a (currently under development) solar power project. The plant is expected to be completely operational by 2024 and is expected to help SABIC reach it’s 2025 clean energy target.
  • SABIC is a global diversified chemical company, headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

SHISHU Loans: BoB rolls out 2% interest subvention scheme

  • Bank of Baroda (BoB) has rolled out a scheme for two per cent interest subvention for 12 months for SHISHU category of borrowers under MUDRA scheme. This scheme will be available to such category of borrowers whose accounts were standard as on March 2020.
  • Under MUDRA scheme, loans up to 50,000/ comes under Shishu category.