Daily Current Affairs - 25th Aug 2020

Army Chief honours 51 SAG of National Security Guards with 'Chief of Army Staff Unit Appreciation'

  • Indian Army Chief General MM Naravane has honoured the 51 Special Action Group (SAG) of the National Security Guard in recognising its achievements in combating terrorism across the country. The ‘COAS (Chief of Army Staff) Unit Appreciation’ was conferred on the elite group for its “outstanding achievements” in anti-terror operations.
  • The group draws 100 per cent of its manpower from the Indian Army and has established itself as an elite Counter-Terrorist Force earning many Gallantry Awards including three Ashok Chakras.

China launches warship for Pakistan Navy

  • China has launched first of the four advanced naval warships it is building for Pakistan, amid deepening defence ties between the two all-weather allies. The launching ceremony for the first warship was held at the Hudong Zhonghua Shipyard in Shanghai.
  • The Type-054 class, equipped with the latest surface, subsurface, anti-air weapons, combat management system and sensors will be one of the technologically advanced surface platforms of the Pakistan Navy fleet. Pakistan signed a contract with the China Shipbuilding Trading Company Ltd. (CSTC) for the delivery of two Type-054 A/P frigates in 2017.

DRDO lists 108 defence items for Indian firms

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has indentified a list of 108 components and systems that will now be designed and developed by the Indian industry. The list includes unmanned aerial vehicles, bridges and mine mapping and marking equipment.
  • The DRDO will also provide support to industries for design, development and testing of these systems on requirement basis. The aim is to encourage domestic defence hardware manufacture, reduce dependence on foreign equipment manufacturers and save valuable foreign exchange.
  • At present, the DRDO collaborates with 1,800 MSMEs besides defence public sector units, ordnance factories and others.
  • India is one of the largest buyers of military hardware consistently figuring in the list of top five countries worldwide.

First female golfer from Germany Sophia Popov wins Women’s British Open

  • World number 304 Sophia Popov became the first female golfer from Germany to capture a major title after winning the Women's British Open by two strokes at Royal Troon in Scotland. Popov, who went into the final round with a three-shot lead, bounced back from bogeying the first hole by making five birdies in her 3-under 68.
  • Thailand's Jasmine Suwannapura was the runner-up after shooting 67.

Golf: Johnson is new No. 1

  • Dustin Johnson seized the World No. 1 ranking in an emphatic style, firing an eight-under final-round 63 to win the US PGA Northern Trust by 11 strokes. Johnson finished with a 30-under 254 at TPC Boston, with Harris English a distant second on 265 after a closing 69.

Govt announces Tax exemptions for businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh

  • The Ministry of Finance said that businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh are GST exempt. Initially, this limit was Rs 20 lakh. In a tweet, the Finance Ministry said, additionally those with a turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore can opt for the Composition Scheme and pay only 1 per cent tax.

Govt extends validity of Motor Vehicle documents till Dec 31

  • The Road Transport and Highways Ministry has decided to extend the validity of Motor Vehicle documents till the 31st of December. The Ministry had earlier issued advisories on 30th March and 9th June this year regarding extension of validity of the documents related to Motor Vehicles Act and Central Motor Vehicle Rules. It was advised that the validity of Fitness, Permit, License, Registration or any other concerned documents may be treated to be valid till 30th of September.
  • Enforcement authorities have been advised to treat such documents valid till 31st of December. This step is likely to help out the citizens in availing transport related services.

ICICI Bank introduces use of satellite data to power credit assessment of farmers

  • Private Sector lender ICICI Bank announced the usage of satellite data-imagery from Earth observation satellites-to assess credit worthiness of its customers belonging to the farm sector.
  • The Bank is the first in India and among few globally to use satellite data to measure an array of parameters related to the land, irrigation and crop patterns and use it in combination with demographic and financial parameters to make expeditious lending decisions for farmers.
  • This use of innovative technology helps farmers with existing credit to enhance their eligibility, while new-to-credit farmers can now get better access to credit.

India and Uzbekistan hold virtual meeting to monitor implementation of mutually agreed projects

  • Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan has co-chaired the first India-Uzbekistan National Coordination Committee meeting virtually with Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Investments and Foreign Economic Relations Sardor Umurzakov. The meeting was held for monitoring implementation of mutually agreed projects between India and Uzbekistan, constituted under the directions of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev.
  • Both sides comprehensively reviewed the ongoing and planned activities of bilateral economic and trade cooperation, including the status of negotiations for concluding a Bilateral Investment Treaty, Preferential Trade Agreement and mutual market access for agricultural produce of both countries.

RBI announces OMO worth Rs.20,000 crore to tame G-Sec yields

  • The Reserve Bank of India has decided to conduct simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities (G-Secs) under open market operation (OMO) for Rs.10,000 crore each on August 27 and September 3 in a bid to tame G-Sec yields, which jumped almost 24 basis points in the last six trading sessions.
  • The Reserve Bank of India said it will continue to monitor evolving liquidity and market conditions and take measures as appropriate to ensure orderly functioning of financial markets.

Rohan Bopanna, Denis Shapovalov lose opening round of Western and Southern Open men's doubles event

  • Rohan Bopanna and Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov lost in the opening round of the Western and Southern Open men's doubles event against Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos in New York. Bopanna and Shapovalov lost 4-6, 6-7 to 2019 US Open runners-ups in the first round match of the hard court tournament, which is a build-up to the US Open.
  • The US Open starts in New York on 31st of this month.

Saudi Arabia's state oil company Aramco suspends 10 bn dollar China oil refinery project

  • Saudi Arabia’s state oil company Aramco has suspended a deal to build a 10 billion dollar refining and petrochemicals complex in China. Aramco decided to stop investing in the facility in China’s Northeastern province of Liaoning due to uncertain market outlook.
  • The oil-price crash and Corona’s impact on energy demand have changed the calculations for energy companies’ projects around the world. Aramco plans deep cuts to its capital spending as it tries to maintain a 75 billion dollar dividend amid low crude prices and rising debt.
  • The joint venture was signed when Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was in Beijing in February last year.

Sonia Gandhi to continue as interim chief till AICC session is convened

  • Over a year after it chose Sonia Gandhi as interim president of the party, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) has again unanimously requested her to continue to lead the Indian National Congress until such time as circumstances will permit an AICC session to be convened. The meeting was attended by senior CWC members including Dr. Manmohan Singh, Ashok Gehlot, Captain Amarinder Singh, Bhupesh Singh Baghel, P. Chidambaram, A.K. Antony and Priyanka Gandhi among others.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari says, public transport may be modernised with biofuels, CNG and electricity

  • Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has said that public transport may be modernised which is based on biofuels, CNG and electricity as fuel. Mr Gadkari said, most of the State Road Transport Undertakings are incurring huge expenditure on conventional fuels which are expensive. He called for moving on to biofuels, CNG and Electricity as transportation fuel.
  • He said, this will not only save on fuel bills but also contribute to the economy and pollution reduction.

US: FDA announces emergency authorization of blood plasma treatment against Covid-19

  • The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced an emergency authorization for doctors to use blood plasma from recovered coronavirus patients as a treatment against the disease. The plasma is believed to contain powerful antibodies that can help fight off the disease faster and help protect people from being seriously hurt by it.

Wabag Wins Prestigious Global Water Award For Project In Chennai

  • Water technology major Va Tech Wabag has won the prestigious Global Water Award for its 45 million litres a day tertiary treatment reverse osmosis (TTRO) plant at Koyambedu in Chennai. The plant bagged the distinction award under 'wastewater project of the year' category.
  • The TTRO plant is one of the largest and technologically most advanced water reuse plants in India designed and built by a consortium comprising Wabag and IDE Technologies for Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board.