Daily Current Affairs – Feb 26, 2020

Egypt’s former President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, who ruled country for 30 years passes away
Egypt’s former President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years, passed away. He was 91. After almost three decades in power, Mubarak, was forced to resign on February 11, 2011, following 18 days of protests around the country.
Mubarak’s ouster came in the heady Arab Spring days, soon after Tunisians overthrew their leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.

Elections for 55 Rajya Sabha seats to be held on March 26
Biennial elections for the 55 Rajya Sabha seats from 17 states will be held on 26th March. Election Commission announced that these seats are falling vacant in April this year due to retirement of Rajya Sabha members. Notifications for the biennial elections will be issued on 6th March and 13th March is the last date of filing nominations.
Maximum seven seats are falling vacant in the Maharashtra followed by six seats in Tamil Nadu.

Famous NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson Has Died Aged 101
Katherine Johnson, a ground-breaking black NASA mathematician whose life was portrayed in the movie Hidden Figures, died aged 101. Johnson’s calculations helped put the first man on the Moon in 1969, but she was little known until the Oscar-nominated 2016 movie that told the stories of three black women who worked at NASA.
Johnson and a colleague were the first to calculate the parameters of the suborbital 1961 flight of astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American in space. Her math talents later helped determine the trajectory of the Apollo 11 flight that landed Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the Moon in July 1969.
US president Barack Obama presented Johnson with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the country, in 2015.

Gold prices soar to 44,472 rupees per ten grams
Gold soared 953 rupees, to 44,472 rupees per ten grams at Delhi’s bullion market, on weaker rupee and rise in global prices. Silver climbed 586 rupees, to 49,990 rupees per kilogram. In the international market, gold traded higher at 1,682 dollars per ounce.

India and United States finalise defence deals worth three billion dollars and sign three agreements, including in health and oil sectors
India and the United States have finalized defence deals worth three billion dollars and signed three agreements, including in health and oil sectors. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on mental health between the health departments of the two countries.
Another MoU on the safety of medical products was signed between the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization with the US Food and Drug Administration.
A Letter of Cooperation was signed between Indian Oil Corporation Limited and Exxon Mobil India LNG Limited and Chart Industries Inc, US.

J&K bags gold in 6th National Ice Stock sports Championship at Ice Rink in Gulmarg
Jammu and Kashmir bagged gold medal in the 6th National Ice Stock Sports Championship organized at Ice Rink in Gulmarg. Two hundred participants from 18 different states across the country participated in the three-day event.
During the competition in team target event, J&K bagged gold, Haryana bagged silver while Maharashtra and Bihar bagged bronze medals.
Similarly, in the team game competition Daman and Diu bagged gold, J&K won silver and Madhya Pradesh and Chandigarh got bronze medals.

Mauritius FPIs can continue to invest in India, says SEBI
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered their biggest one-day percentage losses in two years after a surge in coronavirus cases outside China fanned worries about the global economic impact of a potential pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked 1,032 points, or 3.6 percent, to close at 27,960. The S&P 500 tumbled 112 points, or 3.4 percent, to end at 3,226. And the Nasdaq Composite plummeted 355 points, or 3.7 percent, to 9,221. All the 11 major S&P sectors ended lower, led by the energy sector, plunging 4.7 percent, followed by a 4.2 percent drop in technology stocks.

MP becomes first state to launch unified vehicle registration card
Madhya Pradesh has become the first state in the country to introduce the unified registration card and the second state to launch the unified driving license after Uttar Pradesh. The unified smart cards for driving license and vehicle registration will each have a QR code that will help in verifying authenticity of the data printed on the cards.

NABARD sanctions over Rs 400 cr to boost infrastructure in J&K
National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned an amount of 400.64 crore rupees to UT of J&K during the current financial year for giving boost to the infrastructure in the rural areas. The funding is a part of the NABARD’s ‘Rural Infrastructure Development Fund (RIDF) – Trench XXV’ which aims at augmenting rural infrastructure. The schemes will benefit over 3.54 lakh people across 86 villages in 17 districts of UT of J&K.

RBI announces 2 LTROs early next month
The Reserve Bank of India announced two long-term repo operations (LTROs) for three-year tenors worth Rs 25,000 crore (Rs 250 billion) each to be conducted on March 2 and March 9. The reversal date of LTRO on March 2, 2020 is March 1, 2023 while for LTRO to be conducted on March 9, 2020, it will be March 7, 2023.
LTROs are aimed at helping banks to reduce their lending rates, thereby quickening the monetary policy transmission.

RBI lifts ban on Bandhan Bank network expansion
The Reserve Bank of India has allowed Bandhan Bank to expand its branch network after considering the efforts made by the private lender to comply with the licensing conditions. The central bank in September 2018 had barred Bandhan Bank from expanding its network as the lender failed to reduce the promoters’ stake to 40 per cent from close to 82 per cent within the stipulated three-year time frame of commencing operations.
Currently, the promoters’ holding in the bank is 62 per cent.
The bank said RBI has lifted the regulatory restriction on branch opening, subject to the condition that the bank ensures that at least 25 per cent of the total number of banking outlets opened during a financial year are opened in unbanked rural centres.
According to RBI’s bank licence norms, a private sector bank’s promoter will need to pare holding to 40 per cent within three years, 20 per cent within 10 years and to 15 per cent within 15 years.

S&P500, Dow Jones suffer biggest one-day percentage losses in two years on fears of coronavirus
The S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered their biggest one-day percentage losses in two years after a surge in coronavirus cases outside China fanned worries about the global economic impact of a potential pandemic.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tanked 1,032 points, or 3.6 percent, to close at 27,960. The S&P 500 tumbled 112 points, or 3.4 percent, to end at 3,226. And the Nasdaq Composite plummeted 355 points, or 3.7 percent, to 9,221. All the 11 major S&P sectors ended lower, led by the energy sector, plunging 4.7 percent, followed by a 4.2 percent drop in technology stocks.

SBI Card IPO to open on March 2
The initial public offer (IPO) of SBI Cards and Payment Services Ltd. (SBI Card) will open on March 2 with the shares priced in a band of Rs. 750 to Rs. 755, pegging the overall offer size at more than Rs. 10,000 crore. At the higher end of the price band, the SBI Cards IPO is expected to raise around Rs 9,000 crore, making it the fifth-largest IPO so far.
The issue will open for subscription on March 2 and close on March 5. The IPO comprises a fresh issue of Rs 500 crore, while the offer for sale would see the promoters offload 13 crore shares.
SBI Cards, the credit card unit of the country’s largest lender SBI, is the second-largest credit card issuer in India, with an 18 percent market share.

Togo President Faure Gnassingbe wins fourth term in landslide
Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe has been re-elected for a fourth term, the national electoral commission has declared, extending his 15-year rule and a family dynasty that began when his father took power in a 1967 coup. The incumbent leader took 72 percent of the vote share in the first round of the presidential election, ahead of his closest rival and former prime minister Agbeyome Kodjo with 18 percent.

UNSC renews its sanctions regime on Yemen for another year
The UN Security Council has renewed its sanctions regime on Yemen for another year, after tense negotiations between Britain and Russia.
The sanctions plan includes the extension of the mandate of UN experts who monitor the arms embargo imposed in 2015. The resolution also extends the measures that provide for the freezing of assets and travel bans on targeted officials.

World ‘simply not ready’ for COVID-19 spread: WHO-China mission chief
The head of a joint WHO-China mission of experts has said that the world is simply not ready to rein in the new virus Covid-19 outbreak. Bruce Aylward told reporters in Geneva that countries have to learn from China’s expertise and be ready to manage this at a larger scale.
World Health Organization announced that the epidemic had peaked at its epicentre in China, where it has killed more than 2,600 people and infected over 77,000 others. At least 12 people have died from the new coronavirus in Iran.

3,000 kilometre long power grid from Myanmar-Thailand to India: BIMSTEC
Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is working on connecting about 3,000-kilometre long power grid from Myanmar-Thailand to India. The grid connectivity would ensure better capacity utilization by complementing member country’s demand and supply situation.
BIMSTEC is a regional grouping with seven countries from South and Southeast Asia including Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. It aims to promote regional cooperation for rapid economic development.

ADB lists masala bonds on India INX
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has listed its 10-year masala bonds worth Rs. 850 crore on the global debt listing platform of India INX. The proceeds would be used to support local currency lending and investment in India
India INX is the country’s first international exchange, located at International Financial Services Centre, GIFT City in Gujarat. Asian Development Bank’s masala bonds are dual listed at both Luxembourg and India INX.
ADB’s bonds were distributed to investors in the US (21 per cent) and Europe (79 per cent), with 28 per cent placed with banks and 72 per cent with fund managers.

AITA selection committee keep Leander Paes in playing squad against Croatia
The All India Tennis Association (AITA) Selection Committee decided to keep veteran Leander Paes in the five-member playing squad for the upcoming Davis Cup tie against Croatia, making Divij Sharan the reserve member. Sumit Nagal, Prajnesh Gunneswaran and Ramkumar Ramanathan are the singles players in the squad while Paes and Rohan Bopanna will do the doubles duty.

Bangladesh to invite Pranab Mukherjee to special parliament session
Bangladesh will invite former president Pranab Mukherjee to address a special Parliament session on March 22 and 23 to mark the Mujib Year, coinciding with its founder Sheikh Mujibur Rahman”s birth centenary. Nepalese President Bidhya Devi Bhandari will also be invited along with Mukherjee. The Mujib Centenary year will kick off on March 17 in Dhaka.
Sheikh Mujibur Rahman served as the first President of Bangladesh and later as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from April 17, 1971 until his assassination on August 15, 1975.
He is the driving force behind the independence of Bangladesh. He is popularly dubbed with the title of “Bangabandhu” (Friend of Bengal) by the people of Bangladesh. His daughter Sheikh Hasina is the current Prime Minister of Bangladesh.

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