Current and Corporate Affairs as on 23 October 2020

Current and Corporate Affairs as on 23 October 2020


Brazil’s President Bolsonaro rejects purchase of coronavirus vaccine from China:

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has decided on Wednesday to cancel the purchase of Coronavac, a COVID-19 vaccine in phase-3 clinical trials by Chinese firm Sinovac. A day before, on Tuesday, Health Minister Eduardo Pazuello had confirmed that Brazil would buy the vaccine developed by Sinovac to include it in the immunization program, in addition to one developed by the UK-based AstraZeneca and Oxford University. Bolsonaro said on social media, For sure, we will not buy the Chinese vaccine, because
it is unjustifiable to pay billions for a vaccine that has not been through its testing phase. He also said, that it would be a betrayal to buy Chinese vaccine. Brazil has been among the world’s hardest-hit nations by the pandemic, with more than 5 million infections and more than 150,000 COVID-19 deaths.

EU Council Chief announces informal video conference over COVID-19:

European Council President Charles Michel on Wednesday announced an informal video conference on the fight against the coronavirus pandemic scheduled for October 29 amid a deteriorating epidemiological situation in a number of countries, calling for stepping up joint efforts. Michel in a Twitter wrote that inviting leaders for an informal video conference on October 29, 2020, on COVID-19. We need to strengthen our collective effort to fight COVID-19. Europe has been among the regions experiencing a sharp
resurgence of new infections since early September, setting new single-day record highs.

India continues to report one of the lowest cases per million population: Health Ministry:

Health Ministry today said that on the global scale, India continues to report one of the lowest cases per million population. In a tweet this morning, the Ministry said, with consistently falling case fatality rate which is presently 1.51 per cent, it also has one of the lowest COVID-19 mortality. It said, given the size of India’s population, these are testimony of the positive results of test, track, trace, treat, strategy being implemented effectively by the States and Union Territories.

ICMR validates efficacy of COVIRAP for detection of COVID-19:

The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has validated the efficacy of COVIRAP for the detection of COVID-19. The diagnostic technology has been developed by researchers at Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur.This COVID-19 diagnostic testing method has been designed to be fairly easy to conduct and affordable as well and can produce results within one hour. The new testing method implements a highly reliable and accurate molecular diagnostic procedure that can be conducted in an ultra – low-cost portable device unit developed by the IIT, Kharagpur research team. The test results are rendered via a custom-made mobile application for dissemination without requiring manual interpretation. The novel diagnostic platform, developed by IIT, Kharagpur researchers has been subjected to rigorous testing protocols as per ICMR guidelines, at ICMR-NICED, an Institute authorized by ICMR. Various commercial units have already approached IIT, Kharagpur for technology licensing to enable a rapid reach of this innovation to the common people.


AYUSH Minister inaugurates Regional Raw Drug Repository at AIIA:

AYUSH Minister Shripad Yesso Naik inaugurated the Regional Raw Drug Repository today at All India Institute of Ayurveda in New Delhi through a virtual function. This RRDR is the second in the series of repositories proposed by National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB). AYUSH Ministry has said that there is an increased demand for the natural healing and herbal products across the globe which has been further pushed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In order to document the diversity in the genetics and chemistry of medicinal plants, eight RRDR and one NRDR have been proposed by Ministry of AYUSH. Out of them, three Regional Raw Drug
Repositories have already been developed.

New series of CPI for industrial workers released with 2016 as base year:

Labour Minister Santosh Gangwar today released the new series of Consumer Price Index for industrial workers (CPI-IW) with 2016 Base Year in New Delhi. Mr Gangwar said, the CPI-IW is used primarily for measuring Dearness Allowance payable to workers in the organized sector including Public Sector Undertakings, Banks and Insurance companies besides government employees. He said, earlier the base year for the CPI-IW was 2001.

Indigenously built ASW Corvette -‘Kavaratti’ commissioned into Indian Navy by Army Chief:

INS Kavaratti, an Anti-Submarine Warfare stealth corvette was commissioned into the Indian Navy today by Army Chief General Manoj Mukund Naravane at a ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The event marked the formal commissioning of the last of the four Anti-Submarine Warfare Corvettes into the Indian Navy. INS Kavaratti is an indigenously designed, Kamorta class Anti Submarine Warfare stealth Corvette built by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited. The Army Chief dedicated the ship to the nation. Named after the capital of the Lakshadweep group of islands, INS Kavaratti has been constructed using high-grade DMR 249A steel produced in India and is one of the most potent Anti-Submarine Warships to have been constructed in the country.

Culture & Tourism Minister virtually launches Life in Miniature project:

Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel virtually launched Life in Miniature project today. The project is a collaboration between the National Museum, New Delhi, Ministry of Culture, and Google Arts and Culture. From today, several hundred miniature paintings from the National Museum can be viewed online on Google Arts and Culture by people around the world. The project uses technologies like machine learning, augmented reality and digitization with high-definition robotic cameras, to showcase these special works of art in a magical new way. Mr Patel commended Google for its leadership in the technology sector and its focus on product innovation, stating that Google’s commitment to driving social empowerment and inclusion is a true asset to India.

Government permits entry of all international travelers except on tourist visa to enter by air or water routes:

The government has decided to permit all OCI and PIO card holders and all other foreign nationals intending to visit India for any purpose, except on a Tourist Visa to enter by air or water routes through authorized airports and seaport immigration check posts. This includes flights operated under Vande Bharat Mission, Air Transport Bubble arrangements or by any non-scheduled commercial flights as allowed by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. All such travelers will, however, have to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare regarding quarantine and other COVID-19 matters. Under this graded relaxation, Government of India has also decided to restore with immediate effect all existing visas (except electronic visa, Tourist Visa and Medical Visa). If the validity of such visas has expired, fresh visas of appropriate categories can be obtained from Indian Missions concerned. Foreign nationals intending to visit India for medical treatment can apply for a Medical Visa including for their medical attendants. This decision will enable foreign nationals to come to India for various purposes such as business, conferences, employment, studies, research and medical purposes.

DRDO successfully conducts final trial of Nag anti-tank guided missile in Pokhran range:

India today successfully carried out the final trial of the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO)-developed Nag anti-tank guided missile with a warhead. The test was carried out today morning at the Pokhran field firing ranges in Rajasthan. The trial of Nag antitank guided missile comes after the DRDO tested the helicopter launched Stand-off Anti-Tank Missile (SANT) with a range beyond 10 km from Balasore testing range in Odisha on 19th October. The Nag anti-tank missile is ready for induction in the Indian Army. It has completed 10 successful user trial as it finds the target and then hit it. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has congratulated DRDO and Indian Army for the successful trial of NAG Anti Tank Guided Missile. Secretary, Department of Defence Research and Development and Chairman DRDO, Dr G Satheesh Reddy also appreciated the efforts of DRDO, Indian Army and industry in bringing the missile up to the production phase.

Information & Technology Secretary writes to Twitter CEO; conveys strong disapproval of government over misrepresentation of India’s map:

Information and Technology Secretary, Ajay Sawhney has written to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey conveying strong disapproval of Government over misrepresentation of India’s map. Mr Sawhney mentioned that such attempts not only bring disrepute to Twitter but also raise questions on its neutrality and fairness. He asked Twitter to respect sensitivities of Indian citizens. Mr Sawhney said any attempt by Twitter to disrespect sovereignty and integrity of India, which is also reflected by the maps, is totally unacceptable and also unlawful. In response to the letter, Twitter spokesperson said that Twitter remains committed to working with the Government of India and respects the sensitivities involved. The spokesperson said that the Twitter has duly acknowledged the letter.


Dhaka-Siliguri passenger train planned to start in March 2021: Bangladesh Railway Minister:

Passenger train services from Dhaka to Siliguri are planned to be started from 26 March next year. The Railway Minister of Bangladesh Md. Nurul Islam Sujan said on Wednesday that the Chilahati-Haldibari line is also expected to be inaugurated on the occasion of the Victory Day celebration in December this year. In the beginning freight trains would run on this route. The statement was made after the newly appointed High Commissioner of India Vikram Doraiswami made a courtesy visit to the Railway Minister of Bangladesh in Dhaka on Wednesday. The Minister said that the work on the Bangabandhu railway bridge would start next month. The bridge would improve rail connectivity between the two countries immensely. According to the government press release, construction of a container terminal depot at Sirajganj and construction of a new coach factory at Syedpur was also discussed during the meeting between the Railway Minister and the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh.

Former US President Obama criticises Trump for his handling of Covid-19 pandemic:

Former President of US Barack Obama criticised President Donald Trump for his handling of the Covid-19 pandemic and also targeted him for his business dealings in China. In his first campaign for Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, Obama urged Americans to vote for Biden and Kamala Harris, saying they would bring character and leadership back to government. Obama is scheduled to hold several rallies for the Democratic candidates in the run up to the November 3 election. Meanwhile, Trump and Biden will faceoff in their second and final debate tomorrow in Tennessee.


SEBI Chairman says, recovery being seen in capital markets, across the board:

Securities and Exchange Board of India Chairman Ajay Tyagi has said that recovery is being seen in capital markets, across the board. Virtually addressing the CII Financial Markets Summit, Mr. Tyagi said, not just large-caps and heavyweight stocks but midcap and smallcap stocks have recovered. He said, the regulator’s timely decisions to contain volatility during the pandemic helped the markets, adding that the board will continue to remain vigilant to all eventualities.

Global trade likely to fall by 7 to 9% in 2020: UNCTAD:

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development has said that the value of global trade is set to fall by seven to nine per cent in 2020 from the previous year. The report added that if the pandemic resurges in coming months that could lead to a deteriorating environment for policy-makers and sudden increase in trade restrictive policies.

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