Daily Current Affairs - 18th Aug 2020

Bharti AXA Life, SBM Bank India enter into bancassurance partnership

  • Bharti AXA Life Insurance has entered into bancassurance partnership with SBM Bank India for distribution of life insurance products through the latter’s network. Under this agreement, Bharti AXA Life Insurance will offer its comprehensive suite of life insurance products, including protection, health, savings and investment plans, to the esteemed customers of SBM Private Wealth, the private retail banking arm of SBM Bank India.
  • Bharti AXA Life Insurance, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises, one of India’s leading business groups, and AXA, one of the world’s largest insurance companies.

Bollywood director passes away in Hyderabad

  • Nishikant Kamat, known for his films Drishyam and Madaari, passed away. The 50-year-old had been admitted to the intensive care unit of AIG Hospitals in Hyderabad for the treatment of chronic liver disease. Kamat made his directorial debut with the Marathi film Dombivali Fast in 2005. His Bollywood debut was the 2008 movie Mumbai Meri Jaan, starring Irrfan and R Madhavan. Kamat also played the negative role in John Abraham-starrer Rocky Handsome in 2016.

Elon Musk gains $8 billion to become world’s fourth-richest person

  • Elon Musk is now the world’s fourth-richest person after Tesla Inc. shares surged 11 per cent on Monday, closing at a record high and boosting Musk’s net worth by $7.8 billion. The rise vaulted the Tesla co-founder past French luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault, the wealthiest non-American on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Musk’s $84.8 billion fortune puts him within $15 billion of Mark Zuckerberg, number three on the ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
  • Tesla shares are up 339% this year, fueled by growing anticipation that the company will be included in the S&P 500 Index. Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, is poised to potentially pad his fortune further.
  • Musk’s fortune has grown by $57.2 billion this year, the second-biggest increase on the index. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos is this year’s biggest gainer, up $73 billion.

Elon Musk gains $8 billion to become world’s fourth-richest person

  • Elon Musk is now the world’s fourth-richest person after Tesla Inc. shares surged 11 per cent on Monday, closing at a record high and boosting Musk’s net worth by $7.8 billion. The rise vaulted the Tesla co-founder past French luxury tycoon Bernard Arnault, the wealthiest non-American on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Musk’s $84.8 billion fortune puts him within $15 billion of Mark Zuckerberg, number three on the ranking of the world’s 500 richest people.
  • Tesla shares are up 339% this year, fueled by growing anticipation that the company will be included in the S&P 500 Index. Musk's Space Exploration Technologies Corp., or SpaceX, is poised to potentially pad his fortune further.
  • Musk’s fortune has grown by $57.2 billion this year, the second-biggest increase on the index. Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos is this year’s biggest gainer, up $73 billion.

England-Pakistan second Test drawn

  • The second cricket Test between England and Pakistan ended in a draw on Monday. England were 110-4 in reply to Pakistan's first innings 236. The second test match was constantly interrupted by rain.
  • England, who enjoyed a three-wicket win in the first Test at Old Trafford earlier this month, remain 1-0 up in a three-match series ahead of Friday's finale, also at Southampton.

European Council President calls emergency summit on Belarus elections

  • European Council President, Charles Michel has convened an emergency summit of EU leaders to discuss the situation arising out of the presidential election in Belarus. In a tweet Michael has said that the meeting would take place on Wednesday through video conference.
  • Belarus has been mired in protests since the results of the presidential election in the country were announced. Incumbent President, Alexander Lukashenko won over 80 percent vote in the election held on 9th of this month.
  • Over 6,700 people have been detained during the post-election protests that have been going on for more than a week.

Global COVID-19 tally over 2.12 Cr

  • Globally, there have been two crore 12 lakh 60 thousand seven-hundred sixty confirmed cases of COVID-19. Seven Lakh 61 thousand 18 deaths have been reported to WHO. Two lakh seventy-six thousand six hundred forty- four news cases were reported in the last 24 hours.

Govt launches e-portal on tribal health & nutrition

  • Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda has inaugurated the e-portal on tribal health and nutrition named 'Swasthya'. The portal provides all health and nutrition related information of the tribal population of India on a single platform. Swasthya will also curate innovative practices, case studies, and best practices collected from different parts of India to facilitate the exchange of evidence, expertise and experiences.

HRD ministry officially renamed as Ministry of Education

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the change in name of the Ministry of Human Resource Development as Ministry of Education. A gazette notification published and the President had given his nod to change the name of the Ministry.
  • The name change was among the key recommendations of the draft new National Education Policy, NEP which was cleared by the Union Cabinet last month.

Israel, UAE inaugurate direct phone links after normalisation of relations

  • Israel and UAE have inaugurated direct telephone services between the two countries following their agreement to normalise relations. The countries' foreign ministers called each other and exchanged greetings following the historic peace accord.

Legendary Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj passes away

  • Legendary Indian classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj passed away at his home in New Jersey, USA. He was 90. Pandit Jasraj was in the US when the coronavirus-led lockdown happened and decided to stay back there. Pandit Jasraj has lent vocals to Oscar winning movie 'Life of Pi'. He was honoured with Padma Shri in 1975, Padma Bhushan in 1990 and Padma Vibhushan in 2000. He was given the Sangeet Natak Academy award in 1987.
  • The musical career of Pandit Jasraj spanned over eight decades. Although he belonged to the Mewati gharana, a school of music known for its traditional performances of khayals, he sang khayals with some flexibility, adding elements of lighter styles, including the thumri.

Lewis Hamilton Claims Record 156th Podium Finish With Win At Spanish GP

  • Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton claimed his record 156th podium finish after winning the fifth Spanish Grand Prix and fourth race of the season at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
  • Hamilton claimed his 88th Formula One career victory. Red Bull's Max Verstappen came second ahead of the sister Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas.

National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration meets domestic manufactures

  • The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration had met leading domestic vaccine manufactures. During the meeting, the officials of Serum Institute of India, Pune, Bharat Biotech, Hyderabad, Zydus Cadila, Ahmedabad, Gennova Biopharmaceuticals, Pune and Biological E, Hyderabad were present.
  • The manufacturers provided the inputs to the Group about the present stage of various candidate vaccines being developed indigenously as well as their expectations from the Union Government.

New Zealand: PM Ardern postpones general election amid new COVID-19 outbreak

  • New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, has postponed the country's general election by a month after the re-emergence of coronavirus cases in the country last week. The vote was due to take place on 19 of September but will now be held on 17 October instead.
  • The announcement that new cases had been discovered shocked the country, which had recorded no locally transmitted cases of COVID-19 for more than three months. A cluster of new coronavirus cases continued to spread through the city of Auckland despite a lockdown.

Over 500 patents filed by IIT Delhi faculty & students in last 5 years

  • Over 500 patents have been filed by IIT Delhi faculty and students in the last 5 years in addition to publishing over 10000 research papers in peer reviewed international journals in the same period.
  • IIT Delhi Research Project funding from competitive research grants has also grown four times in the last 5 years, from 100 crore rupees per year in 2016 to over 400 crore rupees in 2019.
  • IIT Delhi alumni have created close to 800 start-ups, the highest in the country as compared to alumni of any other institute. Of the close to 30 unicorns created by Indians, 15 of them are by IIT Delhi alumni alone.

PM Modi chairs meet to review preparations for master plan for multi-modal connectivity to economic zones

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had chaired a meeting to review the preparations for National Master Plan For Providing Multi- Modal Connectivity to various Economic Zones. In a tweet, Mr Modi said it is an important endeavour that will boost productivity, infrastructure, economic progress and opportunities for our youngsters.

PM Modi to inaugurate First World Solar Technology Summit to be held on Sept 8

  • The First World Solar Technology Summit will be organized by International Solar Alliance, ISA on a virtual platform on 8th of September. Sharing details of the summit, President of the ISA Assembly and New and Renewable Energy Minister R. K. Singh said Prime Minister Narendra Modi will deliver the inaugural address of the First World Solar Technology Summit and it will be graced by Ministers from member countries from across all ISA regions.
  • He said, High-level dignitaries from the world of Scientific Research and Development and a CEO’s conclave will set the tone of the deliberations on low cost, innovative and affordable solar technologies.

Project Dolphin to be launched in next 15 days: Prakash Javadekar

  • Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that his Ministry will launch a holistic Project Dolphin in another 15 days for the conservation and protection of Dolphins in the rivers and in oceans of the country. Addressing a Virtual meeting with Forest Ministers of all States and Union Territories, Secretaries and other senior officials, Mr Javadekar said, in his Independence Day speech Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the Project Dolphin and Project Lion.

Rakesh Asthana appointed DG of Border Security Force

  • An Indian Police Service Officer belonging to 1984 batch of Gujarat cadre Rakesh Asthana has been appointed as the Director General of Border Security Force, BSF. According to a Personnel Ministry order issue, he will be in the post up to 31st July, 2021, the date of his superannuation.
  • Mr Asthana is presently working as the Director General of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, BCAS. He will continue to hold the additional charge of DG, Narcotics Control Bureau.
  • Another IPS officer belonging to 1986 batch of Andhra Pradesh cadre, V. S. K. Kaumudi will be Special Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry.

RBI lifts regulatory restrictions imposed on Bandhan Bank

  • Bandhan Bank Ltd. said the Reserve Bank of India has fully withdrawn the restrictions imposed on the private sector lender for high promoter holding, nearly two years after imposing them. The restrictions included seeking prior approvals for network expansion, and also freezing managing director and chief executive Chandra Shekhar Ghosh's remuneration.
  • Earlier this month, the bank's promoter Bandhan Financial Holdings sold shares worth $1.4 billion or over Rs 10,500 crore at a discount to reduce its stake by over 20% to 40%, the level acceptable for the regulator.

SC dismisses petition seeking postponement of postponement of JEE, NEET exams

  • The Supreme Court of India has dismissed a petition seeking the postponement of the National Eligibility Cum Entrance Test (NEET) and Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) scheduled to be held amid the ongoing pandemic.
  • The Court went on to dismiss the plea observing that the career of students cannot be put under jeopardy for long. The engineering entrance will be held as per schedule from September 1 to September 6 while the medical entrance is slated for September 13th.
  • A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari was hearing a petition seeking postponement of the NEET and JEE filed by 11 aspirants across various States.

Sumit Nagal progresses to pre-quarters of Prague Challenger

  • Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal cruised into the pre-quarterfinals of the Prague Challenger tennis tournament after a win over Britain's Jay Clarke. Nagal was enjoying a 6-3, 5-7, 4-1 lead in the match when his opponent was retired hurt. In the round of 16, Nagal will compete against the Czech Republic's Jiri Lehecka.