Daily Current Affairs - 24th Sep 2020

17-year-old girl from Surat appointed as Regional Ambassador for UN Environment Programme

  • A 17-year-old girl from Surat has been appointed as Regional Ambassador for India by the United Nations Environment Programme - Tunza Eco-Generation. The honourable appointment will give Khushi a platform to spread awareness about the safeguard of environmental treasures and discuss India’s contribution to environmental conservation. She will also have the opportunity to discuss the subject with other ambassadors around the world.

Belarus president sworn in at unannounced inaugural ceremony

  • President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus was sworn in Wednesday to his sixth term in office at an inaugural ceremony that was not announced in advance amid weeks of huge protests of the authoritarian leader’s reelection, which the opposition says was rigged. Several European countries reiterated that they don’t recognize the results of the election and refuse to regard Lukashenko as the legitimate president.

CAMS IPO subscribed 47 times

  • Computer Age Management Services’ initial public offer had been subscribed 46.85 times on the final day of bidding. The Rs 2,242-crore IPO of Warburg Pincus-backed CAMS received bids for 60,09,50,796 shares against the offer size of 1,28,27,370 shares. The initial public offer consists of an offer for sale of over 1.82 crore shares and is in the price range of Rs 1,229-1,230 apiece.
  • CAMS is a technology-driven financial infrastructure and services provider to mutual funds and other financial institutions. Headquartered in Chennai, the company is co-owned by NSE Investments, Warburg Pincus, Faering Capital ACSYS Investments and HDFC Group.

Centre retained Rs. 1.1 lakh cr. of cess receipts

  • The Centre retained in the Consolidated Fund of India (CFI) more than Rs. 1.1 lakh crore out of the almost Rs. 2.75 lakh crore collected in 2018-19 through various cesses, instead of transferring the receipts to the specified Reserve Funds that Parliament had approved for such levies, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India observed in a report.
  • Furthermore, Rs.1,24,399 crore collected as cess on crude oil during the last decade had not been transferred to the designated Reserve Fund - the Oil Trade Growth Board and had been retained within the Centre’s coffers, the CAG reckoned.

China vows to go carbon neutral by 2060

  • The leader of the world's biggest polluter of greenhouse gases Chinese President Xi Jinping has pledged to go carbon neutral by 2060. Speaking via video link to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a "green revolution" and said their country will scale up its targets under the Paris climate accord -- a pledge by 187 countries to reduce their carbon emissions.
  • Xi said China aims to reach peak carbon emissions by the end of the decade and achieve carbon neutrality in 40 years. It is the first time that China has issued concrete plans to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions. China is the world's largest contributor of planet-warming gases and uses more coal than the rest of the world combined. But the country is also a world leader in renewable energy and in recent years has taken a stronger public stance on climate action.

Colombian journalist wins Golden Pen of Freedom award

  • Colombian journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima, who was abducted, tortured and sexually assaulted on her way to interview an infamous paramilitary warlord in Bogota in 2000, was awarded the Golden Pen of Freedom by the World Association of News Publishers (Wan-Ifra).
  • Ms Bedoya Lima was investigating reports of alleged arms sales between the paramilitaries and state officials for her newspaper, El Espectador, in 2000 when she went to the notorious La Modelo prison in Bogota, for the interview.

DPIIT permits PESO to introduce ISO Tank Containers for movement of Liquid Oxygen for domestic transport

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, DPIIT has given permission to the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization(PESO) to introduce ISO Tank Containers for movement of Liquid Oxygen for domestic transport. The necessity to give permission to ISO containers to move liquid oxygen for domestic transport was felt in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The movement of oxygen within the country through the ISO containers shall greatly enhance the translocation of safe and fast movement of oxygen through road network.

DRDO conducts second successful flight-test of missile target vehicle Abhyas

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted successful flight-tests of the indigenously designed Abhyas High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) in Balasore. This is the second time that the target vehicle was flight-tested successfully. The first successful test was in May 2019.
  • Designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of DRDO, Abhyas is capable of fully autonomous flight and runs on a gas turbine engine. Its inertial navigation system is based on micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and it uses a flight control computer for guidance and control.

G4 countries call for decisive push for UN Security Council reforms

  • Foreign Ministers of the G4 countries - India, Brazil, Japan, and Germany have highlighted the urgency of reforming the United Nations and updating its main decision-making bodies, in order to better reflect contemporary realities. They expressed disappointment at attempts to derail this process and committed to addressing the issue in a meaningful way and with increased urgency at this 75th anniversary of the UN.
  • External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar, and his counterparts from Brazil, Japan and Germany met virtually during the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Govt raises limit for use of SDRF funds by states from 35 per cent to 50 per cent to tackle COVID situation

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that the limit of using the State Disaster Response Fund for COVID specific infrastructure has been increased from 35 per cent to 50 per cent. He said, the decision will help States have more finances at their disposal to fight the virus. Interacting with Chief Ministers of six states and one Union Territory through video conference, Mr Modi said, there is a need to further strengthen health infrastructure to tackle COVID. These States and UTs are Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi.
  • More than 63 per cent of the active cases of the country are concentrated in these six States and a Union Territory.

India says, Turkish President's remarks on J&K are completely unacceptable

  • India has said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's remarks on Jammu and Kashmir constitute gross interference in India’s internal affairs and are completely unacceptable. Permanent Mission of India in New York at UN said in Written Right to Reply that Turkey should learn to respect the sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply.
  • The Turkish President, in his pre-recorded video statement to the General Debate at the 75th session of the UN General Assembly, had made a reference to Jammu and Kashmir.

Indian economy to contract 5.9% in 2020 due to Covid-19 disruptions, says UN report

  • Impacted by disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, India’s economy is forecast to contract by 5.9% in 2020, the UN has said in a report, warning that while growth will rebound next year, the contraction is likely to translate into a permanent income loss. The Trade and Development Report 2020 by UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said that the world economy is experiencing a deep recession amid a still-unchecked pandemic.
  • It said the global economy is expected to contract by 4.3 per cent this year, hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, which will wipe out global output worth over USD 6 trillion.

IPL Cricket: Mumbai Indians defeat Kolkata Knight Riders by 49 runs

  • Mumbai Indians defeated Kolkata Knight Riders by 49 runs, at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Mumbai Indians, powered by a Rohit Sharma 80 and a quickfire knock of 47 by Suryakumar Yadav, set a 196-run target.

Kineco flags-off India’s first commercial Sonar Dome for Indian Navy

  • Goa-based Kineco Limited, a leading composite technology provider for defence, aerospace, railway and industrial sectors, flagged off India’s first-ever commercial Sonar Dome. The Sonar Dome is a critical component of a warship as it houses the Sonar (Sonar Navigation and Ranging) Array - which is used for detection, navigation, and ranging. The Sonar Dome, manufactured by Kineco was flagged off to its esteemed customer Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited Mumbai (MDL), where it will be mounted on the Indian Navy’s P15 Alpha Warship.

KKR to add RIL retail unit stake for Rs. 5,550 crore

  • Investment firm KKR has decided to buy a 1.28% stake in RIL’s Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. (RRVL) unit for Rs. 5,550 crore.The U.S.-based company’s investment, its second in an RIL subsidiary, values the retail arm at a pre-money equity value of Rs. 4.21 lakh crore.
  • Reliance Retail runs supermarkets, India's largest consumer electronics chain store, a cash and carry wholesaler, fast-fashion outlets and an online grocery store JioMart. The acquisition of Future Group's retail business added about 1,700 large stores to RIL's 11,806 stores in its retail segment and increased its organised retail revenue market share by around 5 per cent.

Lewandowski, Neuer and de Bruyne nominated for UEFA player prize

  • Bayern Munich duo Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer have been nominated alongside Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne for the UEFA Men’s Player of the Year prize for last season, European football’s governing body announced. The winner will be named – along with the UEFA Women's Player of the Year and UEFA Champions League positional award winners – during the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League draw ceremony in Nyon on Thursday 1 October.

Lok Sabha adjourned sine die

  • Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die after passing the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020. Speaker Om Birla announced the culmination of the 4th session of the 17th Lok Sabha. Mr. Birla highlighted that the productivity of Lok Sabha in the 10-day session has been recorded to be the highest till date at 167 per cent. He said, the session was held for 60 hours whereas the allocated time was 37 hours.
  • The session was scheduled to go on till 1st October but it was curtailed due to COVID concerns.

MoS Railways Suresh Angadi dies of COVID-19

  • Minister of State for Railways Suresh Angadi, who had tested positive for coronavirus, passed away at AIIMS, New Delhi. The National flag will be flown half mast today in all Government offices in Delhi due to the demise of Angadi.
  • Angadi, a four-time MP from Belagavi in Karnataka and a first-time Union minister, was considered a party heavyweight, with his influence cutting across North Karnataka.

Over 380 whales dead in mass stranding

  • At least 380 whales have died in a mass stranding in southern Australia, as hopes faded of saving more than a few dozen of those creatures still trapped. Despite two days of a difficult and dangerous rescue attempt, nearly the entire pod of 460 long-finned pilot whales stuck in Macquarie Harbour, on the rugged and sparsely populated west coast of Tasmania, has now perished.
  • While experts still don't know for certain why mass beachings occur, one key factor appears to be whales' tight social cohesion. The bond between them is so strong that even once they are rescued, many turn around and beach themselves again.

Parliament passes Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill

  • Parliament has passed the Bilateral Netting of Qualified Financial Contracts Bill, 2020 with Rajya Sabha approving it. The bill provides a legal framework for bilateral netting of qualified financial contracts. Netting refers to offsetting of all claims arising from dealings between two parties to determine a net amount payable or receivable from one party to another. The bill allows for enforcement of netting for qualified financial contracts.
  • The provisions of the bill will apply to Qualified Financial Contracts between two qualified financial market participants where at least one party is an entity regulated by the specified authorities RBI, SEBI, IRDAI, PFRDA or the IFSCA.

Parliament passes three labour code Bills

  • Parliament has passed the three labour code Bills for the welfare and protection of the workers. Rajya Sabha gave its nod to these bills while the Lok Sabha had already passed it. The Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code 2020, seeks to amend the laws regulating the occupational safety, health and working conditions of the persons employed in an establishment. The second bill, The Industrial Relations Code 2020, aims at amending the laws relating to Trade Unions, conditions of employment in industrial establishment or undertaking, investigation and settlement of industrial disputes. The third bill, The Code on Social Security, 2020 seeks to amend the laws relating to social security of the employees in the country.

Rajya Sabha bids farewell to 11 members retiring in November

  • Rajya Sabha bid farewell to its 11 members who will retire in November this year. They include Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri, Neeraj Shekhar and Arun Singh of BJP, Samajwadi Party leaders Prof. Ram Gopal Yadav and Javed Ali Khan, Raj Babbar of Congress, Veer Singh of BSP.

UN, Britain to co-host a global climate summit on Dec 12

  • United Nations and Britain will co-host a global climate summit on December 12, the fifth anniversary of the landmark Paris Agreement. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will co-host the event to rally much greater climate action and ambition. National governments will be invited to present more ambitious and high-quality climate plans at the summit, which would involve government leaders, as well as the private sector and civil society.
  • The summit is intended to increase momentum ahead of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

World's workers lost $3.5 trillion in wages amid pandemic

  • The coronavirus pandemic is taking a heavier toll on jobs than previously feared, the UN said, with hundreds of millions of jobs lost and workers suffering a "massive" drop in earnings. In a fresh study, the International Labor Organization (ILO) found that by the mid-year point, global working hours had declined by 17.3 percent compared to last December – equivalent to nearly 500 million full-time jobs.
  • ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in a virtual briefing, pointing out that global labor income had shrunk by 10.7 percent during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2019. That amounts to a drop of some 3.5 trillion U.S. dollars, or 5.5 percent of the overall global gross domestic product (GDP), the ILO said.