Daily Current Affairs : 1st May 2020

50 % of COVID-19 patients improve with 5-day dosage of ‘Remdesivir’: US Pharma Co.
In United States, the phase three clinical trial of the antiviral drug Remdesivir, led by a team of investigators, including an Indian-American physician Aruna Subramanian, for the treatment of the Corona virus patients has shown positive results. The California-based pharma company Gilead Sciences said that the preliminary results showed that 50 per cent of the COVID-19 patients treated with a five-day dosage of Remdesivir improved and more than half were discharged from the hospital within two weeks.
A phase three clinical trial is said to be the final step in the process of the drug approval. Remdesivir, like other anti-virals, is designed to target the system the virus uses to replicate, acting as a cap that prevents the virus from making new copies of itself or infecting other cells.

Anti-apartheid activist Denis Goldberg dies
Veteran South African, anti-apartheid activist Denis Goldberg, who stood trial alongside late President Nelson Mandela, has died. He was 87 years old. He was considered a stalwart of the South African liberation struggle and was the only white member of the African National Congress’s (ANC’s) military wing, Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK), to be arrested and sentenced for armed resistance to white-minority rule.
Goldberg spent 22 years in prison for his involvement with the ANC’s fight against apartheid, the racist system of oppression imposed by the white minority government.

Bollywood actor Rishi Kapoor, 67, dies of cancer
Indian actor Rishi Kapoor has died in a hospital in Mumbai after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 67 years old. Kapoor belonged to Bollywood’s most famous film dynasty with several generations of actors. His father, Raj Kapoor, was one of India’s most revered filmmakers.
Rishi Kapoor debuted as a child actor in 1970 in his father Raj Kapoor’s film, Mera Naam Joker. He played the romantic lead in dozens of films for over two decades. Several of his films in the 1980s and 90s – Khel Khel Mein, Karz and Chandni – became massive box office hits.

Cases in Russia cross 1,00,000
COVID-19 cases in Russia surged past 1,00,000 on Thursday, the government said, with an increase of 7,099 confirmed infections in the last 24 hours. Russia has so far recorded 1,06,498 cases and 1,073 deaths from the virus.
Russia recently surpassed Iran and China in the total number of confirmed infections and is now eighth in the world in virus cases. With the number of infections on the rise, President Vladimir Putin warned this week that the situation remained very difficult.
Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Mishustin has tested positive for corona virus. He is temporarily stepping down as PM of the Russian Federation while he recovers from coronavirus.

Cases in Russia cross 1,00,000
COVID-19 cases in Russia surged past 1,00,000 on Thursday, the government said, with an increase of 7,099 confirmed infections in the last 24 hours. Russia has so far recorded 1,06,498 cases and 1,073 deaths from the virus.
Russia recently surpassed Iran and China in the total number of confirmed infections and is now eighth in the world in virus cases. With the number of infections on the rise, President Vladimir Putin warned this week that the situation remained very difficult.
Meanwhile, Russian Prime Minister Mishustin has tested positive for corona virus. He is temporarily stepping down as PM of the Russian Federation while he recovers from coronavirus.

Covid-19 pandemic could lead to 4 per cent loss of real GDP for India: CRISIL Research
CRISIL Research has stated that the current coronavirus pandemic could lead to a four per cent permanent loss to real Indian gross domestic product (GDP) and said that more fiscal stimulus will be required. Most economies across the globe are unlikely to see normal conditions until 2022 due to the current coronavirus pandemic and the containment measures.
It said that the base case GDP growth expected at 1.8 per cent for fiscal 2021. Risks tilted towards the downside scenario of zero GDP growth. GDP growth may go towards 0 in 2020-21 if lockdown is extended.

England And Wales Cricket Board Delays The Hundred Until 2021 Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
English cricket’s controversial new Hundred competition has been delayed until 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. The new 100-balls-per-side format, to be played by eight franchises rather than the established 18 first-class counties, had been due to start in July.
But with the English season delayed until at least July 1 and matches after that likely to be played behind closed doors, the England and Wales Cricket Board has decided to hold the Hundred over until next year.

Fitch downgrade viability ratings of SBI, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and BoB
Fitch Ratings has downgraded by one notch the viability ratings (VRs) of four large banks — State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Bank of Baroda (BoB). The credit rating agency said its rating actions are driven by rapid deterioration in the operating environment for banks in India following the coronavirus pandemic and measures to contain its spread.
Fitch, said the VRs of SBI, ICICI Bank and Axis Bank have been downgraded from ‘bb+’ to ‘bb’. The VR of BoB has been downgraded from ‘bb’to ‘bb-’.

Freedom Fighter Hema Bharali Passes Away in Guwahati
Assam born freedom fighter and Padma Shri Hema Bharali passed away in Guwahati. Hema Bharali is an Indian freedom activist, social worker, Sarvodaya leader and Gandhian, known for her contributions for the empowerment of women and efforts towards the upliftment of the socially and financially challenged sections of the society.

GI tag to Manipur black rice, Gorakhpur terracotta
Chak-Hao, which is a black rice variety of Manipur, and Gorakhpur terracotta have bagged the Geogrphical Indication (GI) tag. Chak-Hao, a scented glutinous rice which has been in cultivation in Manipur over centuries, is characterised by its special aroma. It is normally eaten during community feasts and is served as Chak-Hao kheer.
The terracotta work of Gorakhpur is a centuries-old traditional art form, where the potters make various animal figures like, horses, elephants, camel, goat, ox, etc. with hand-applied ornamentation. The entire work is done with bare hands and artisans use natural colour, which stays fast for a long time.

HUL Q4 profit down 3.4% at Rs.1,520 crore
Hindustan Unilever Limited posted a 3.43 per cent decrease in consolidated net profit to Rs.1,520 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2020. The performance during the quarter was impacted by disruptions due to the coronavirus. The FMCG major had posted a consolidated net profit of Rs.1,574 crore in the year-ago period.
Due to Covid disruptions, HUL’s domestic consumer growth declined by around 9 per cent during the quarter, with the underlying volume growth declining by 7 per cent.
Overall domestic consumer growth for FY20 was 2 per cent. Net profit for FY20 was Rs.6,764 crore, an 11.6 per cent increase from Rs.6,060 crorein FY19.

India 53rd in budget transparency, accountability in IBP survey
India has been placed at 53rd position among 117 nations in terms of budget transparency and accountability, according to the Open Budget Survey. The survey, conducted by International Budget Partnership (IBP), has provided India’s Union Budget process a transparency score of 49 out of 100, which is higher than the global average of 45. New Zealand tops the chart with a score 87.
Some of the other large developing countries, with the exception of China, have got much higher transparency scores compared to India. South Africa (87), Mexico (82) and Brazil (81) are among the top six countries providing extensive information to public for scrutiny.

India to hold COVID-19 management course for Bangladesh health professionals
India will hold a course on COVID-19 management course on May 12-13 for health professionals, health workers and administrators from Bangladesh. The course has been designed under the under the Indian Technical & Economic Cooperation (ITEC) framework by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhubaneshwar.
It is the first course to be conducted in Bangla. Registration has been invited from the interested persons from Bangladesh for the online course.

India’s Gold demand falls 36 % between January-March: WGC
Gold demand in India fell 36 percent in the January to March quarter of this year, to 101.9 tonnes due to volatile prices, economic uncertainties and coronavirus-induced nationwide lock down towards the end of the quarter, according to a report by World Gold Council.
According to the World Gold Council’s Quarter-1 Gold Demand Trends report, India’s first quarter gold demand, in terms of value, fell 20 percent, to 37,580 crore rupees.Meanwhile, in value terms, jewellery demand saw a drop of 27 percent, to 27,230 crore rupees.

Legendary footballer Chuni Goswami passes away at 82
Legendary Footballer Chuni Goswami died in Kolkata after prolonged illness. He was 82. Chuni Goswami was the captain of gold medal winning Indian football team of Jakarta Asiad held in 1962. He was awarded Arjun , Padmasree and several others prestigious awards for his outstanding contributions in the field of Sports.
He received Mohunbagan Ratna awards in 2005 . The West Bengal Government conferred him the highest civilian award Banga Bibhusan in 2013 .

Maharashtra crosses 10,000-mark in COVID-19 positive cases
With the addition of 583 new positive patients, Maharashtra crossed 10,000-mark in Covid 19 positive cases. The total tally of infected patients now stands at 10,498. With 27 more patients succumbed to the disease, taking the toll to 459. Mumbai is the leading contributor to the COVID- 19 positive cases in the state.
As many as 417 new cases were reported from the Mumbai city alone taking the total tally of positive cases to 6875.

Manipuri doctor Thangjam Dhabali Singh conferred ‘Order of Rising Sun’ by Japan
A doctor from Manipur named Thangjam Dhabali Singh has been conferred the ‘Order of Rising Sun’ by the Japanese government for promoting a better understanding of Japan in India and deepening ties between the two countries.
Thangjam Dhabali Singh, an allopathic doctor by profession and founder of the Manipur Tourism Forum (MTF).
The ‘Order of the Rising Sun’ is conferred on persons with achievements in international relations, promotion of Japanese culture, environmental preservation, welfare or achievements in their fields. It was constituted by Japanese Emperor Meiji in 1875.

NHB provides liquidity boost through Rs.10,000-cr special refinance facility
The government-owned National Housing Bank (NHB) has put together a Rs.10,000-crore special refinance facility (SRF) of up to one-year tenor for housing finance companies (HFCs) to partially mitigate their liquidity risk and improve liquidity in the overall housing finance system. The eligibility criteria for the SRF suggests that it is meant exclusively for HFCs.

Output of eight core infrastructure industries shrank by 6.5 % in March
The output of eight core infrastructure industries shrank by 6.5 percent in March due to fall in production of crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizer, steel, cement and electricity amid the coronavirus lockdown. The eight core sectors had expanded by 5.8 per cent in March 2019. During the April-March 2019-20 period, core industries recorded 0.6 percent growth, against 4.4 percent in 2018-19.
Production of crude oil dropped 5.5 percent; production of natural gas tanked 15.2 percent; growth of refinery products slipped 0.5 percent; fertiliser production dropped 11.9 percent, steel production declined 13 percent, cement production slumped 24.7 percent and electricity generation plunged 7.2 percent. Coal production fell 4.1 percent in March, from 9.1 per cent in March 2019.

RBI extends regulatory benefits under SLF-MF scheme to all banks
The Reserve Bank of India has extended regulatory benefits to all banks including those deploying their own resources to extend liquidity support to the mutual funds under the Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds SLF-MF scheme. The scheme was announced in the backdrop of Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund deciding to shut several schemes.
The RBI further said banks meeting the liquidity requirements of MFs by extending loans and undertaking outright purchase of and/or repos against the collateral of investment grade corporate bonds, commercial paper , debentures and certificates of deposit held by MFs, will be eligible to claim all the regulatory benefits available under the scheme.
Earlier in the week, the Reserve Bank had announced Rs 50,000-crore SLF-MF scheme to bailout the mutual funds facing redemption pressure.

RBI extends regulatory benefits under SLF-MF scheme to all banks
The Reserve Bank of India has extended regulatory benefits to all banks including those deploying their own resources to extend liquidity support to the mutual funds under the Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds SLF-MF scheme. The scheme was announced in the backdrop of Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund deciding to shut several schemes.
The RBI further said banks meeting the liquidity requirements of MFs by extending loans and undertaking outright purchase of and/or repos against the collateral of investment grade corporate bonds, commercial paper , debentures and certificates of deposit held by MFs, will be eligible to claim all the regulatory benefits available under the scheme.
Earlier in the week, the Reserve Bank had announced Rs 50,000-crore SLF-MF scheme to bailout the mutual funds facing redemption pressure.

Research firm Nielsen slashes FMCG growth forecast for 2020
Nielsen has slashed its annual growth forecast for India’s FMCG sector to mid-single digits in the range of 5-6 per cent for the calendar year 2020, as the world grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic. It had earlier predicted growth to be in the range of 9-10 per cent for India’s FMCG sector for the full year of 2020.

RIL’s profit plunges 37% to Rs.6,546 crore in Q4
The consolidated net profit of Reliance Industries Ltd, the oil to telecom conglomerate, plunged 37.2 per cent to Rs.6,546 crore in the January-March quarter primarily due to disruption in its petrochemicals business following the Covid-19 lockdown. RIL took an exceptional loss of Rs.4,267 crore during the quarter due to weak business conditions.
RIL said the Covid-19 outbreak disrupted businesses across manufacturing and services sectors during the quarter. The Q4 revenue fell 2.5 per cent to Rs.1,51,209 crore from a year ago. The consolidated net profit was Rs.10,427 crore on revenue of Rs.1,55,151 crore in Q4 of FY19. The drop in revenue was due to a 10.1 per cent decline in refining and petrochemicals revenues.
Meanwhile, Reliance Jio Infocomm (RJio) posted a net profit of Rs.2,331 crore in Q4 ended March 31, a 177.5 per cent rise from Rs.840 crore during the same period a year ago.

Sania nominated for Fed Cup Heart award
Indian tennis star Sania Mirza became the first Indian to be nominated for the Fed Cup Heart Award from the Asia/Oceania zone along with Indonesia’s Priska Medelyn Nugrorho. Six players have been nominated for the three regional Group I Fed Cup Heart Awards in recognition of their BNP Paribas performances in 2020. Voting for the award opens on May 1 and will end on May 8.
The other nominees are: Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit and Luxembourg’s Eleonora Molinaro from Europe/Africa; Fernanda Contreras Gomez of Mexico and Paraguay’s Veronica Cepede Royg from the Americas;

Special leave for disabled bank staff
The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry said persons with disabilities (PwD) employed by the public sector banks and insurance companies would be given special leave without loss of pay for the duration of the lockdown imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This move comes after it came to know that SBI was treating their absence as sick leave.

US Navy to host world’s largest maritime exercises in Hawaii again this year
The United States Navy has said that it will host the world’s largest maritime exercises in Hawaii again this year, but the drills will only be held at sea because of the Corona virus. The Navy has held the Rim of the Pacific exercises in Hawaii every two years since the early 1970s. This time RIMPAC- 2020 would not include social events on shore.
The drills will also be held over two weeks, from 17th to 31st August , instead of the usual five weeks of events from late June to early August.

US records 2,502 coronavirus deaths in last 24 hours
The United States recorded 2,502 coronavirus deaths in the past 24 hours, according to the latest real-time tally reported by the Johns Hopkins University. At least 60,853 people have now died in the country, according to the Baltimore-based university.

Virus was not manmade: U.S. agencies
The U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that the new coronavirus was “not manmade or genetically modified” but say that they are still examining whether the origins of the pandemic trace to contact with infected animals or an accident at a Chinese lab.

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