Daily Current Affairs – Feb 15, 2020

Adani arm, AAI ink pact for 3 airports
Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL) signed concession agreements with Airports Authority of India (AAI) for operating, managing and developing three airports — Lucknow, Mangaluru and Ahmedabad — under public private partnership.

BioAsia 2020 announces Genome Valley Excellence Award to Dr Carl H June and Dr Vas Narasimhan
BioAsia, organised by the Government of Telangana, has announced that the Genome Valley Excellence Award will be bestowed upon Dr Carl H June, CAR-T Cell Therapy Pioneer, Richard W Vague Professor in Immunotherapy, Dept of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, USA and Dr Vas (Vasant) Narasimhan, CEO, Novartis.

DoT asks telcos to clear Rs 1.4 lakh crore dues by midnight
The Telecom Department has withdrawn its order that asked for no coercive action against telecom companies defaulting on statutory dues payment after the Supreme Court of India took a strong view of non-compliance with its order.
The DoT, which faced the ire of the Supreme Court for putting on hold recovery of dues from telecom companies, started issuing circle or zone-wise demand notices to firms. The order asked telcos to clear dues by 11.59 p.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, Bharti Airtel committed to deposit a part payment of Rs. 10,000 crore as part of its adjusted gross revenue-related dues by February 20, 2020, and promised to clear the remaining dues ‘well before’ March 17, the next date of the court hearing on the issue. The company’s total dues are Rs.35,586 crore.

Exports decline 1.66% in January
The country’s exports dropped 1.66% to $25.97 billion in January, the sixth straight month of contraction, on account of a significant fall in shipments of petroleum, plastic, carpets, gems and jewellery, and leather products.
Shipments of petroleum products, plastic, carpet, gems and jewellery, and leather products contracted by 7.42 per cent, 10.62 per cent, 5.19 per cent, 6.89 per cent, and 7.57 4 per cent, respectively, in January.
Imports also fell for the eighth consecutive months, down 0.75 per cent to $41.14 billion in January, widening the trade deficit to a seven-month high of $15.17 billion. Gold imports shrunk by about 9 per cent to $1.58 billion during the month under review.

Gandhinagar railway station to be 1st in India with 5-star hotel above tracks
In a first of its kind in India, the Indian Railways is going to build a five-star hotel above the Gandhinagar railway track. The five-star hotel, which will be run by the Leela Group, is expected to be completed by December this year.
The 5-star hotel will have over 300 rooms with the ground floor 22 metres above the ground. The entire Gandhinagar station will have 3 towers that will give the impression of petals from an aerial view.

Govt clears Rs 540 cr investments in stuck residential properties
Union Government has cleared investments of over 540 crore rupees in some stuck residential properties that will benefit 1,800 home buyers. In November last year, the government had announced a 25,000 crore rupees fund to help complete over 1,500 stalled housing projects.
The Finance Ministry stated that a preliminary clearance has also been given for due diligence to 14 projects with capital commitment of 2,500 crore rupees that will provide relief to 10 thousand home buyers. Another 40 more transactions are under active consideration.

Indian men’s team to take on Indonesia in semi-final of Badminton Asia Team Championships
In Badminton, Indian men’s team will take on defending champion Indonesia in the semi-final of the Badminton Asia Team Championships in Manila. Indian men’s team assured itself of a medal registering 3-2 win over Thailand.
After star shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and B Sai Praneeth faced reversals in the first two singles ties, India fought back to win the next three ties, which included a single and two doubles rubbers, to prevail over Thailand in the quarterfinals and set up a last-four meeting with Indonesia.
The Indian men’s team had won bronze in 2016 and bowed out in the quarters in 2018.

Lakshmi Vilas Bank needs up to Rs. 2,000 cr. to stay afloat: CEO
S. Sundar, interim managing director and CEO, Lakshmi Vilas Bank, has stated that fund-starved Lakshmi Vilas Bank Ltd. (LVB) requires up to Rs.2,000 crore to keep itself afloat in order to improve its loan book and operations.

LIC Housing Finance identifies 14 projs for alternative investment fund
Mortgage lender LIC Housing Finance has identified 14 projects to be referred to the alternative investment fund (AIF), set up by the government for last-mile funding. The housing finance company is the sole lender to these 14 real estate projects and has a total exposure of Rs 1,400 crore to them.
The government said the AIF will act as a ‘special window’ to provide loans to over 1,600 incomplete affordable and middle-lower income housing projects.

Mainak resigns as CARE Ratings chief after Sebi asks for his removal
S.B. Mainak has resigned as chairman of CARE Ratings, the company has said in a stock exchange notification. The well-known credit ratings agency said that Mainak, a former managing director of Life Insurance Corporation of India, resigned due to personal reasons.
But the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) had asked for his resignation over the IL&FS controversy.
According to the ET report, the EY forensic report allegedly said that Mainak had asked staff to hold back ratings – and in some cases, not change the assessments – of the defaulting IL&FS.

Renowned Feminist Scholar Gita Sen Wins Dan David Prize
Feminist scholar and activist Gita Sen has won the prestigious Dan David Prize for her expansive work in the fields of population policies, reproductive and sexual health, women’s rights, poverty, labour markets and global governance.
Sen will be splitting the $1 million prize in the present category for this year with Debora Diniz who is the deputy director of the rights and justice unit for the International Planned Parenthood Federation-Western Hemisphere Region.
The Dan David Prize annually awards three prizes of $1 million each to globally inspiring individuals and organisations. It is endowed by the Dan David Foundation and headquartered at Tel Aviv University.

RK Pachauri, who led Nobel-winning climate panel, dies at 79
Indian environmentalist Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, under whose leadership a U.N. climate change panel shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, has died. He was 79. The IPCC and former US Vice President Al Gore were awarded the 2007 peace prize for their efforts to expand knowledge about man-made climate change and lay the foundations for counteracting it.

Rohan Bopanna, Denis Shapovalov pair to play in men’s doubles semi-finals of ABN AMRO world tournament
India’s Rohan Bopanna and his Canadian partner Denis Shapovalov will clash with the pair of Jan-Lennard Struff and Henri Kontinen in the semifinal of the men’s double ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament.

SC refuses to extend BS-IV deadline
The Supreme Court of India has refused to entertain a plea by automobile dealers for permission to sell and register vehicles following the Bharat Stage-IV standard emission norms beyond April 1, 2020. Following this, industry body Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA) has asked auto dealers to sell remaining stocks of BS-IV vehicles by March 31, 2020.
On October 24, 2018, the Supreme Court had ruled that no motor vehicle conforming to the older BS-IV emission norms can be sold or registered in the country from April 1, 2020
Bharat Stage (BS) emission norms are standards instituted by the government to regulate output of air pollutants from motor vehicles. The Centre had announced that India would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020.

Shri Amit Shah inaugurates two-day BIMSTEC ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’, in New Delhi
The Union Minister for Home Affairs, Shri Amit Shah inaugurated the two-day BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) ‘Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking’, in New Delhi.
In pursuance of the commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the 4th BIMSTEC summit held at Kathmandu in 2018, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is organizing the conference.
Delegations from each BIMSTEC Nation have been invited to participate in the conference. Various Central and State drug law enforcement agencies of India and other stakeholders have also been invited.

Six health workers dead, over 1,700 infected from coronavirus in China
In China, six health workers have died and more than 1,700 have been infected from the novel coronavirus. The health officials underscored the risks doctors and nurses have taken amid shortages of masks and protective suits.

US Senate votes to restrain President Trump from attacking Iran
The US Senate voted to restrain President Donald Trump from attacking Iran. The resolution, which requires Trump to seek explicit authorization from Congress before further hostilities with Iran, was passed in similar form in the Democratic-led House of Representatives.

Vinay Dube appointed as GoAir CEO
GoAir has appointed Vinay Dube, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of Jet Airways, as its new CEO. Till now, Dube was serving as an advisor to the carrier, a role which he took up after quitting the defunct Jet Airways in May last year. The budget airline did not have a CEO since the departure of Cornelis Vrieswijk in March last year.

Will move back towards 2015 nuclear deal if EU provides meaningful economic benefits, says Iran
Iran has said it is willing to move back towards the 2015 nuclear deal if Europe provides meaningful economic benefits. Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif said Iran is prepared to slow down or reverse their nuclear programme commensurate to what Europe does. He said they have received irreversible harm because of US sanctions; however, they will reverse the steps if Europe takes steps that are meaningful.
The European parties to the Iran nuclear deal Britain, France and Germany have been battling to save it since US President Donald Trump withdrew from it and reimposed tough sanctions on Tehran.

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