Daily Current Affairs - 13th Aug 2020

Asia’s FIFA WC Qualifiers postponed

  • The Indian football team's remaining qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar have been postponed as FIFA and AFC announced that the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup and the 2023 Asian Cup have been pushed to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The matches were originally scheduled to be held during October and November this year.
  • India was slated to host reigning Asian champion Qatar on October 8 and then take on Bangladesh away on November 12, before playing host to Afghanistan five days later.

Bangladesh to get largest ever dollar 3.1 billion loan package from Japan

  • Japan has signed its largest ever loan package worth dollar 3.1 billion for Bangladesh. The loan under its Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be given for seven projects of Bangladesh under concessional terms. The loan will cover the construction of Jamuna railway bridge in parallel to the existing Bangabandhu Bridge, expansion of the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Projects and Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Highway improvement project among the seven projects.
  • The loan carries an interest rate of 0.65 percent with a repayment period of 30 years including initial 10 years as grace period. Japan has been the single largest bilateral donor for Bangladesh since 2012. The total amount of its aid as Yen Loan has reached USD 22 billion (commitment base).

Belarus leader wins sixth term with over 80% of votes

  • Election officials in Belarus said that the country’s longtime authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko has won his sixth consecutive presidential term, taking over 80% of the votes, while his main opposition challenger Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya had only 9.9%.

Centre Forms Committee For Procurement, Administration Of COVID-19 Vaccine

  • The Centre has constituted a committee to consider the logistics, ethical aspects of procurement, and administration of COVID-19 vaccine. The committee titled National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration has been formed under the chairmanship of Dr VK Paul, who is member (health) at the NITI Aayog.
  • The committee will also consider other issues related to logistics of the vaccine like cold chain, inventory, how to arrange resources to procure vaccine and how to address the equity issues linked to vaccination.

Federal Bank chooses Fiserv to support launch of first independent credit card

  • Federal Bank, a leading private sector bank in India, has chosen Fiserv, Inc., a leading global provider of payments and financial services technology solutions, to enable the digitization of the bank’s end-to-end card issuance and processing cycle, and support the launch of the Federal Bank credit card. The bank will also outsource associated operational processes to Fiserv.

Govt distributes over 3 Cr N95 masks, 1.28 Cr PPE kits to states, UTs, Central Institutions

  • Government has distributed more than three crore N95 masks and one crore 28 lakh PPE kits to States, Union Territories and Central Institutions. The Union Health Ministry said, Government has been providing medical supplies free of cost to the State and Union Territory governments to supplement their efforts. Most of the products supplied by the Centre were not being manufactured in the country in the beginning.
  • With the combined efforts of the Ministry of Health, Textiles and Pharmaceuticals, DRDO and others, the domestic industry has been encouraged and facilitated to manufacture and supply essential medical equipment like PPEs, N95 masks and ventilators.

Hockey camps to restart from Aug. 19

  • The Sports Authority of India (SAI) has decided to go-ahead with both the men’s and women’s hockey camps, despite the COVID-19 positive tests among men, from August 19 after completion of the mandatory 14-day quarantine period, observing the SOP and social distancing norms.

IEX wants to introduce trading in liquid LNG, petroleum products

  • India’s premier energy exchange, IEX, wants to introduce trading in petroleum products, especially LNG in liquefied form. On July 15, IEX opened a platform for trading in natural gas, mainly for imported LNG. This was close on the heels of the exchange bringing in ‘real time market’ for trading in electricity, in June — where buyers and sellers of electricity could place bids for purchase or sale of electricity after just one hour.

Indians having any valid visa can now fly to the UAE

  • As part of the Central government’s Vande Bharat Mission, Indian workers holding any valid visa now can travel to UAE as the country has established Individual bilateral air bubbles with the Emirate. The Air Bubble with the UAE is valid till August 31. Earlier, Indian workers having residency visa were only allowed to travel to the UAE.
  • Under the ‘Air bubble’ scheme, India is planning to connect 16 Indian cities to Dubai, Sharjah, and Abu Dhabi in the UAE.

Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals: Carlsen leads Liren in Set Four

  • Magnus Carlsen continued his remarkable run by taking the first game of the fourth set against a fighting Ding Liren to inch closer to a place in the title-clash of the $300,000 Magnus Carlsen Chess Tour Finals. Having beaten Liren 2.5-0.5 for the second successive day to take a 2-1 lead, Carlsen faced the desperate Chinese who opted for a dynamic opening line.

Ocampos is Sevilla’s hero

  • Sevilla midfielder Lucas Ocampos headed a late goal to snatch a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers as it reached the Europa League semifinals after the English side paid the price for an early penalty miss.

Over One Lakh loans sanctioned under PM SVANIDHI scheme

  • The number of applications received under PM Street Vendor’s Atmanirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme has crossed the five lakh mark within 41 days of commencement of lending process. The number of loans sanctioned under the scheme has crossed one lakh.
  • The PM SVANidhi scheme has generated considerable enthusiasm among the street vendors, who have been looking for access to affordable working capital credit for re-starting their businesses post COVID-19 lockdown. The scheme aims at facilitating collateral free working capital loans upto 10 thousand rupees of one year tenure, to about 50 lakh street vendors in the urban areas, including those from the surrounding peri-urban/ rural areas.

Paytm Money launches stock broking with free delivery trades, intraday trades at Rs 10

  • Digital payments major Paytm has launched stock trading feature on its wealth management subsidiary — Paytm Money. Currently, the offering is in a beta testing mode. Paytm Money is offering a low price on trades, for intraday trades to be at Rs 10 and a completely digital KYC process for customer onboarding.
  • This new addition will benefit experienced as well as first-time investors to seamlessly invest and trade in stocks in a completely digital & secure environment, the company said.

PMC Bank to reduce salary cost by 30 per cent

  • Scam-hit Punjab & Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank’s management has decided to reduce the salary cost by 30 per cent. This move comes 10 months after the bank was put under all inclusive directions by the Reserve Bank of India.

Pranab’s health continues to be critical

  • The condition of former president Pranab Mukherjee continues to be critical and he remains on ventilator support, the Army's Research and Referral Hospital said. He was admitted to the hospital in Delhi Cantonment on August 10 and underwent a surgery for removal of a clot in his brain. The 84-year-old had also tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the surgery.

RBI to implement system-based asset classification in urban co-operative banks

  • The Reserve Bank of India has asked large urban cooperative banks (UCBs) to undertake the system-based asset classification from June 30, 2021, to improve efficiency and transparency. The UCBs having total assets of over Rs 2,000 crore as on March 31, 2020, will be required to implement the system-based asset classification from June 30, 2021.
  • UCBs having total assets of over Rs 1,000 crore but less than Rs 2,000 crore as on March 31, 2020 and having self-assessed themselves as being under Level III or Level IV on the Comprehensive Cyber Security Framework will be required to implement system-based asset classification from September 30, 2021.

Skyroot India’s first private company to test upper-stage rocket engine

  • Aerospace startup Skyroot Aerospace has successfully test fired an upper-stage rocket engine, becoming the first Indian private company to demonstrate the capability to build a homegrown rocket engine. The 3-D printed rocket engine – Raman, named after Nobel laureate CV Raman – has fewer moving parts and weighs less than half of conventional rocket engines with a similar capacity.
  • Founded by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka, both former scientists at the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro), Skyroot plans to build a family of rockets. The first rocket, which can hurl satellites of 250-700 kgs into a lower earth orbit, is expected to be launched by end-2021.
  • The company has designed in-house software for launch vehicle guidance, navigation, and control functions, and is testing onboard its avionics modules.

Sri Lanka: New Cabinet sworn-in under Mahinda Rajapksa as Prime Minister

  • In Sri Lanka, the swearing-in ceremony of new Cabinet and State Ministers was held with the 28-member Cabinet administered oath of office by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Dinesh Gunewardena will continue as Foreign Minister of the country as well as several other Ministers from the previous Cabinet.
  • President Rajapaksa kept the Defence Ministry with him while his elder brother and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa retained Finance and Urban Development.

‘Mega labs’ to boost COVID-19 testing

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is working on developing “mega labs” to increase testing for COVID-19 as well as improve the accuracy rate.The CSIR has partnered with the U.S.-based Illumina, a company that specialises in the manufacture of NGS machines. Five such sequencers, costing Rs. 4 crore each, are currently available in India.
  • The labs will be repurposing large machines, called Next Generation Sequencing machines (NGS), which are normally used for sequencing human genomes, to sequence 1,500 to 3,000 viral genomes at a go to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.