Current Affairs Headlines

S. No.Headlines
1 13-10-2020 - Environment and Ecology – Rare butterflies, moths flit again in U’khand – A junior research fellow (JRF), Ambika Agnihotri, working with the Uttarakhand forest department spotted papilio alcmenor — a species of swallowtail butterfly, commonly known as the redbreast — in July this year in Mukteshwar area of Nainital district. The butterfly, which is generally found in the eastern-Himalayan region, was discovered in the western Himalayas for the first time after 110 years. At almost the same time, Arun Gour, resident of Devalsari near Mussoorie, spotted a day-flying moth — achelura bifasciata — in the Devalsari area. The moth, too, was spotted for the first time after 1893.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
2 13-10-2020 - Covid-19 Updates – Fresh cases at 63-day low, toll least in 77 days – India recorded its lowest Covid-19 cases in 63 days and the lowest casualties in 77 days as the dip from the peak levels seen in September continued. Monday’s (Oct 12) 53,082 infections are the lowest since August 10, when 51,296 cases were logged. The 696 deaths were the lowest since July 27’s 638. While experts have attributed the dip in Monday figures to fewer testing on Sundays, data from covid19.org showed that nearly a million tests (9,94,851) were conducted in India this Sunday (October 11). 
(Healthcare and Medicine)
3 13-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – Andhra HC orders CBI to probe social media posts about judges – The Andhra Pradesh HC ordered a CBI inquiry into objectionable comments made about the court and its judges on social media by some individuals, including those in prominent positions. The bench observed that persons occupying high posts were waging war against the judicial system in AP. CM Jagan Mohan Reddy’s principal advisor Ajeya Kallam held a press conference where he released the CM’s letter to CJI S A Bobde complaining about a senior SC judge and some HC judges. In the annexure, Jagan had alleged that the “august institution of the high court is being used to destabilise and topple the democratically elected government”. 
(Constitution and Law)
4 13-10-2020 - Economy – Factory output shrinks for sixth month – India’s industrial output fell for the sixth month in a row this August, even as consumer price inflation surged past the 7% mark, hitting 7.34% in September, with food price spikes reaching 10.68% compared with 9.05% in August. The index of industrial production (IIP) shrank 8% in August on a year-on-year basis, quick official estimates suggest, marking a marginally improvement compared with July when output contracted 10.8% as per revised estimates. Earlier quick estimates had pegged July’s contraction at 10.4%. August’s output does mark the lowest contraction since factory production began falling in March. Output had shrunk 18.7% in March, followed by contractions of 57.3% in April and 33.4% in May. Between April and August, industrial output has now shrunk 25%.
(Indian Economy)
5 13-10-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Sri Lanka in talks to secure $500 mn in Chinese loans – On the heels of a top Chinese delegation’s visit to Sri Lanka, Colombo is negotiating a $500 million loan with Beijing as it gears up to repay a daunting $4.5 billion of its outstanding debt next year. The Chinese Embassy tweeted on Sunday that “a $500 million concessional loan” requested by Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Finance to a “China financial institute” is under negotiation, but yet to be finalised. This is in addition to Beijing’s $90 million grant to Sri Lanka, announced days after a visit by a Chinese delegation led by Yang Jiechi, a top foreign policy official in the Beijing administration. If sanctioned, the loan will take Sri Lanka’s total borrowings from China over $1 billion, after the $500 million “urgent financial assistance” that Beijing extended in March to help Sri Lanka cope with the economic impact of the pandemic.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
6 13-10-2020 - Economy – Govt. moves to spur demand – Hoping to spur fresh demand of about rupees one lakh crore in the second half of the year, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday unveiled a mini-stimulus of sorts, comprising incentives for the government and public sector employees to spend more on consumer durables and services, and interest-free loans of ₹12,000 crore to the States for a 50-year tenure to finance capital expenditure. Ms. Sitharaman also enhanced the Centre’s own capital expenditure plans by ₹25,000 crore, from the earlier allocation of nearly four lakh crore, for spending on roads, urban development, water supply, defence infrastructure, and domestically-produced capital equipment for defence infrastructure.
(Indian Economy)
7 13-10-2020 - Business World – 34 producers move HC to restrain TV channels – Four Bollywood industry associations and 34 leading producers have moved the Delhi High Court seeking to restrain Republic TV, Times Now and other social media platforms from publishing irresponsible and defamatory remarks against Bollywood as a whole. The suit has been filed in the wake of these channels using highly derogatory expressions for Bollywood such as “dirt”, “filth”, “scum”, and “druggies”. The producers who moved the High Court include Dharma Productions, Aamir Khan Productions, Ad-Labs Films, Ajay Devgn Ffilms, Yash Raj Films, Salman Khan Films, Ashutosh Gowariker Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra Pictures, Reliance Big Entertainment, Rohit Shetty Picturez, Vinod Chopra Films, and Kabir Khan Films.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
8 13-10-2020 - Defence – India, China discuss border disengagement – India and China held the seventh round of Corps Commander talks at Chushul on the Indian side to work out a schedule for disengagement and de-escalation along the disputed border in Eastern Ladakh. The talks were still on at the time of going to print. These are the first senior military-level talks following Beijing’s comments that it has “not recognised” the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh. After the sixth round of talks on September 21, both sides, for the first time, issued a joint statement, in which they agreed to “stop sending more troops to the front line” and “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground” but on Sept 29, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said it “did not recognise” the UT of Ladakh and that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was “clear” and “that it is the LAC of November 7, 1959”.
(Defence and Military)
9 13-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – Hathras victim’s family records statements in HC – The family members of the ninteen-year-old Dalit woman in Hathras, who died days after she was brutally assaulted and allegedly raped, appeared before the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday and recorded their statements. While a detailed written order was still awaited, lawyers for the victim and the Uttar Pradesh government said the court had listed the next hearing for November 2, when the State has been asked to file a response. A division bench of the court was hearing a PIL petition listed by it in the matter after taking suo motu cognisance of the incident and the events leading up to the hurried and alleged forced cremation of the victim. Uttar Pradesh Advocate General V. K. Shahi said the government had filed an affidavit in the court. 
(Constitution and Law)
10 13-10-2020 - Awards and Honors – American duo win Economics Nobel – U.S. economists Paul Milgrom and Robert Wilson won the Nobel Economics Prize for work on commercial auctions, including for goods and services difficult to sell in traditional ways such as radio frequencies. The duo was honoured for improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted that the discoveries by Mr. Milgrom, 72, and Mr. Wilson, 83, have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers around the world. Mr. Wilson, a professor at Stanford in the U.S., was spotlighted for developing a theory for auctions with a common value, “a value which is uncertain beforehand but, in the end, is the same for everyone.”
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
11 12-10-2020 - Corporate World  – Razorpay 6th to reach unicorn status in 2020 – Payments startup Razorpay’s valuation has more than doubled to $1 billion with its latest $100-million fund-raise, co-led by Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and marquee venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. With this, India has seen the addition of half-a-dozen unicorns (those valued at over $1billion each) this year, in the midst of a pandemic. For Razorpay, the pandemic accelerated its journey to the coveted unicorn club. The Bengaluru-based company saw five times growth in transaction value to $25 billion as compared to last year and business quickly recovered past pre-Covid levels.

(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
12 12-10-2020 - Economy – Fruit, veggie sellers avail of 46% of vendors’ loan – The finance ministry asked banks in a meeting with the lenders to speed up disbursement of loans under the PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme. As part of this, any street vendor registered with an urban body is eligible for a collateralfree loan of Rs 10,000. The govt has put in place an online platform where it can get a view on the status of all loans disbursed under the scheme. Although the PM SVANidhi - aimed at benefiting 50 lakh street vendors - was announced by the finance minister, it is being operationalised through a tie-up between the housing & urban affairs ministry and Sidbi. As against the targeted 50 lakh, only 21 lakh applications have been collected, 9 lakh loans sanctioned and 2.7 lakh disbursed.
(Indian Economy)
13 12-10-2020 - Covid-19 updates – States not ready to unlock schools, will take a call after festive season – The Union education ministry has paved the way for re-opening of schools from Oct 15 under Unlock 5.0, but most states are not willing to throw the school gates open yet. While some states are still deliberating on when to open schools, many are waiting for the festival season to get over even as parents in most states are not willing to send their children to school. Hectic consultations are on within various government departments in the states, with many even taking up the issue in their cabinet meetings. Meetings are also on with stakeholders, especially parents. Many states have set up panels to review the situation. 
(Healthcare and Medicine)
14 12-10-2020 - World – S. Korea urges North to stick to its pledges – S. Korea urged N. Korea to commit to its past disarmament pledges while expressing concerns over the North’s unveiling of a suspected new long-range missile during a military parade. During celebrations marking the 75th birthday of its ruling party in Pyongyang, N. Korea paraded a variety of weapons systems, including two missiles that were disclosed for the first time to a foreign audience. One is what appeared to be an intercontinental ballistic missile that is larger than any of the North’s known ICBMs, and the other would likely be an upgraded version of a missile that can be fired from submarines. While some experts say they could be mock-ups of missiles under development, their disclosures suggest North Korea has been continuously pushing to boost its weapons capability amid a stalemate in nuclear diplomacy with the United States.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
15 12-10-2020 - World – China grants $90 million to Sri Lanka after visit by official – China announced that it was providing a $90 million grant to Sri Lanka, two days after the island nation’s President sought help from a visiting Chinese delegation in disproving a perception that China-funded megaprojects are “debt traps.” Calling the financial assistance a “timely grant,” the Chinese Embassy in Colombo said that it would be used for medical care, education and water supplies in Sri Lanka’s rural areas. and that it would “contribute to the well-being of (Sri Lankans) in a post-COVID era.”  The announcement follows a visit to the Indian Ocean island nation on Friday by a Chinese delegation led by Yang Jiechi, a Communist Party Politburo member and a former Foreign Minister.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
16 12-10-2020 - World – China backs Iran nuclear deal, calls for new West Asia forum – China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for a new forum to defuse tensions in the West Asia after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart where he reiterated Beijing’s support for Tehran. Mr. Wang and Javad Zarif also reaffirmed their commitment to Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, an implicit rebuke of the U.S. for abandoning the accord during their Saturday meeting in China’s southwestern Tengchong city. Iran has been locked in an acrimonious relationship with Saudi Arabia, the other major West Asian power, over the war in Yemen, Iranian influence in Iraq and Saudi support for Washington’s sanctions on Tehran.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
17 12-10-2020 - Covid-19 Effects – School closure may cost India dear – The extended closure of schools amid the COVID-19 pandemic could dent India’s future earnings by anywhere between $420 billion and $600 billion, as depleted learning levels of students will translate into poorer productivity going forward. Warning that as many as 5.5 million students could drop out of schools across South Asia, the bank has said dropouts, combined with substantial learning losses for those who remain enrolled in schools, would cost South Asia as much as $622 billion in future earnings and gross domestic product. This figure could climb further to $880 billion, as per a more pessimistic scenario envisaged by the bank on the lifetime impact of school closures on the productivity of this generation of students.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
18 12-10-2020 - Environment and Ecology – ‘Blue Flag’ tag for Kasarkod, Padubidri beaches – Two beaches in Karnataka are among the eight in India that have bagged the coveted eco-label ‘Blue Flag’ from the international agency, Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark. The two are Kasarkod beach near Honnavar in Uttara Kannada and Padubidri beach near Udupi. Earlier, the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had embarked upon a programme for ‘Blue Flag’ certification for 13 beaches in the country. A ‘Blue Flag’ beach is an eco-tourism model to provide tourists clean and hygienic bathing water, facilities/amenities, safe and healthy environment and sustainable development of the area. The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based agency based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads: environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management and conservation and safety and services in the beaches.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
19 12-10-2020 - India Society – CBI files gangrape, murder FIR, reaches Hathras for case file – Just hours after posting an FIR and a press statement on taking over the investigation into the Hathras gang-rape and murder of a Dalit woman, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) removed the same from its website. The CBI formally took over the case after the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) issued a notification authorising the agency to investigate the case, and registered an FIR early on Sunday under Sections 307 (attempt to murder), 376 (D) (gang-rape), and 302 (murder) of the IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989. The Anti-Corruption Branch of the CBI’s Ghaziabad unit mentioned “rape, attempt to murder, gang rape and murder (other)” as suspected offences in the case. Though the FIR and a press release were published on the agency’s website, the FIR was later removed.”
(Constitution and Law, Social Issues)
20 12-10-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Paper-strip virus test to be out soon: Vardhan – Union Health Minister said his Ministry would soon roll out the FELUDA paper-strip test for SARS-CoV-2 diagnosis. This has been developed by the CSIR-IGIB and approved by the Drug Controller General of India for a commercial launch. The test showed 96% sensitivity and 98% specificity. This compares favourably to the ICMR’s current acceptation criteria of RT-PCR kit of at least 95% sensitivity and at least 99% specificity, however, that “an exact date on the availability cannot be specified yet”.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
21 10-10-2020 - World – Pakistan bans Tik-Tok over immoral content – Pakistan’s telecom regulator blocked TikTok on Friday for failing to filter out “immoral and indecent” content, another blow to the social media app that has come under increasing scrutiny as its popularity has surged across the globe. The ban comes in view of “complaints from different segments of the society against immoral and indecent content on the video sharing application,” said the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).  The PTA said it would review its ban, subject to a satisfactory mechanism by TikTok to moderate unlawful content.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
22 10-10-2020 - World – Armenia-Azerbaijan talks begin in Moscow – Armenia and Azerbaijan held their first high-level talks on Friday after nearly two weeks of fierce clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with hopes rising that a ceasefire could be brokered in Moscow. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who has repeatedly vowed to use his military to retake the breakaway province, said the talks represented a historic opportunity for Armenia. Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his country was “ready for the resumption of the peace process” led by international brokers. France, which along with Russia and the U.S. is mediating to end the conflict, said there was a chance of a breakthrough at the talks but it was far from certain.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
23 10-10-2020 - Economy – RBI forecasts end to contraction by Q4  – The Reserve Bank of India reiterated its resolve to revive growth impulses in the economy and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic’s worst impacts by extending its accommodative policy stance for the rest of this year as well as 2021-22, even as it held key policy rates unchanged in the face of high inflation. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said growth may “break out of contraction” mode by the January-March 2021 quarter as “silver linings” are visible from September’s economic indicators as well as the COVID-19 caseload curve. However, real GDP (gross domestic product) for the full year is expected to decline by 9.5%, “with risks tilted to the downside”.
(Indian Economy)
24 10-10-2020 - World – China slams Quad as a ‘closed clique’ – China on Friday said it was opposed to “organising closed and exclusive cliques”, underlining its wary response to this week’s ministerial meeting of the Quad grouping, or India, Australia, Japan and the U.S. At ministerial meet in Tokyo, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo singled out China as a threat to the region, although the three other Foreign Ministers, including External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, did not directly mention China. They did, however, express broad concerns about maintaining a rules-based order, freedom of navigation and the peaceful resolution of disputes in the region.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
25 10-10-2020 - Economy – Interest rates on home loans above ₹30 lakh likely to drop – Interest rates on home loans above Rs 30 lakh will become cheaper, with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) making it less expensive for banks and finance companies to extend big-ticket home loans. The biggest reduction is expected in home loans of over Rs 75 lakh. At present, home loan rates are linked to loan size. Rates are lowest for loans up to Rs 30 lakh and rise with the size of the loan. For example, SBI charges 7% on loan up to Rs 30 lakh and 7.25% on loan between Rs 30 lakh and Rs 75 lakh. The interest rates on loan above Rs 75 lakh is 7.35%. Similarly, Punjab National Bank has kept it at 7.15%, 7.25% and 7.30%-7.40% in the three slabs of loans. HDFC Limited also charges differential rates of 6.95% on loan up to Rs 30 lakh and 7.05% on above that.
(Indian Economy)
26 10-10-2020 - Defence – DRDO tests anti-radiation missile – A new-generation anti-radiation missile, RudraM-I, was successfully flight-tested by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). This is the first indigenous anti-radiation missile. An anti-radiation missile can locate and target radiation-emitting sources such as enemy radars, communication sites and other radio frequency-emitting targets. They can play a key role in neutralising any jamming platforms of the enemy or take out radar stations, thereby clearing a path for fighter jets to carry out an offensive and prevent own systems from being jammed. The RudraM-I was successfully flight-tested onto a radiation target located on Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. The missile was launched from an SU-30 MkI fighter aircraft.
(Defence and Military)
27 10-10-2020 - Miscellaneous – Citizen poll throws up three contenders for national butterfly tag – A citizen poll to identify the national butterfly has concluded with three species garnering the highest number of votes. Krishna Peacock (Papilio krishna), Indian Jezebel (Delias eucharis), and Orange Oakleaf (Kallima inachus), the frontrunners, have unique features such as ability to camouflage as a dead leaf, exhibit iridescence to stave off predators, and aid farmers in getting rid of pests. The organisers will submit the names of the top three to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The onus is on the Centre to choose one among them to join the ranks of the Bengal Tiger, Indian Peacock, Indian Lotus, banyan tree, and mango as yet another national symbol, says Kalesh Sadasivan, one of the core members of the organising group. The nationwide poll organised by the National Butterfly Campaign Consortium, a collective of 50 butterfly experts and enthusiasts, from September 10 to the midnight of October 8 yielded 59,754 votes.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
28 10-10-2020 - Covid-19 Updates – Active COVID-19 cases drop below 9 lakh after a month  – The number of active COVID-19 cases in the country has fallen below the nine lakh mark after a month, the Union Health Ministry said. The country registered 8.93 lakh active cases on Friday. On September 9, it was 8.97 lakh, the Ministry said in a release.Presently, the active cases stand at 8,93,592 and comprise 12.94% of the total cases, demonstrating a steady falling percentage of the total cases. The declining trend of the percentage active cases is commensurately supported by the rising percentage of recovered cases. The total recovered cases stand at 59,06,069. The gap between recovered cases and active cases has crossed 50 lakh (50,12,477).
(Healthcare and Medicine)
29 10-10-2020 - Polity and Governance – Bhima Koregaon: NIA files chargesheet – The National Investigation Agency (NIA) filed a second supplementary chargesheet against seven accused and one absconding accused in the 2018 Bhima Koregaon case. The central agency has named Father Stan Swamy, 83, Prof. Anand Teltumbde, 70, Gautam Navlakha, 67, Prof. Hany Babu, 54, and three members of the cultural group Kabir Kala Manch — Sagar Gorkhe, 32, Ramesh Gaichor, 38, and Jyoti Jagtap, 32. The absconding accused is the brother of Mr. Teltumbde — Milind Teltumbde. According to a NIA press release, “All these accused conspired with other accused persons to further the ideology of terrorist organisation CPI (Maoist) and abetted violence, brought into hatred and incited disaffection towards the government established by law and promoted enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, caste and community. The absconding accused Milind Teltumbde also organised training camps for imparting weapons training to other accused persons.”
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions)
30 10-10-2020 - Awards and Honors – UN’s World Food Programme wins 2020 Nobel Peace Prize – The United Nations’ World Food Programme (WFP) won the Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to combat hunger around the world and improve conditions for peace in areas affected by conflict. The Rome-based organisation says it helps some 97 million people in about 88 countries each year, and that one in nine people worldwide still do not have enough to eat. WFP runs a logistics service that has dispatched medical cargoes to over 120 countries throughout the pandemic to help governments and health partners fighting COVID-19. It also has provided passenger services to ferry humanitarian and health workers where flights were unavailable.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
31 09-10-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Pandemic dominates Harris-Pence debate – Against the backdrop of a raging pandemic that has claimed more than 2,10,000 lives across the country, Vice-President Mike Pence and Democratic vice-presidential pick Kamala Harris faced off in the only V-P debate of the season in Salt Lake City, Utah. With acrylic sheet barriers beside their desks — a reminder of the public health crisis the nation faces — the candidates sparred on the Trump administration’s pandemic response, the economy, climate, China and Ms. Harris’s prosecutorial record. Ms. Harris described the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic as “the greatest failure” of any administration in U.S. history and said — citing investigative journalist Bob Woodward — that the President knew about the viral threat at the end of January (weeks before a public emergency was declared). She said the administration still did not have a plan to tackle the pandemic.

(World Politics)
32 09-10-2020 - USA-China – High-powered Chinese delegation visits Sri Lanka – In what is said to be the first outbound visit by top Chinese officials to South Asia since the outbreak of COVID-19, a senior Chinese delegation will meet Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in Colombo. A “high-powered Chinese delegation”, led by senior Chinese leader and top foreign policy official Yang Jiechi, who is a member of the Communist Party of China’s Politburo and the director of the Central Committee’s Foreign Affairs Commission, the top policy-making body, will arrive in Colombo on Thursday night, the Foreign Ministry in Colombo said in a statement.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
33 09-10-2020 - World – Nigerian and Korean candidates face off to lead WTO – A woman will become director-general of the World Trade Organization for the first time, after the race narrowed down to candidates from Nigeria and South Korea and contenders from Kenya, Saudi Arabia and the UK were eliminated. Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and South Korea’s Yoo Myung-hee will contest the final run-off and the winner will be announced in early November after a final few weeks of campaigning. The outcome was largely expected after one of the early favourites, Kenya’s Amina Mohamed, faltered when the EU supported her rivals and opposition emerged from other big countries.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
34 09-10-2020 - Environment and Ecology – 6% drop in SO2 emission, but India still top polluter – India has recorded a 6% decline in emission of hazardous sulphur dioxide (SO2) in 2019 compared to 2018 - the first decline in four years. But by contributing 21% of global anthropogenic emissions of sulphur dioxide, India continues to be at the top in the list of big emitters for the fifth year in a row. The overall SO2 emissions fell for all the top three big emitters - India, Russia and China – for only the second time on record. The declining trend continues, so far, even in 2020 thanks to a 10% drop in consumption of coal during the January-August period. 
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
35 09-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – SC raps Centre for ‘nonsensical’ affidavit on news about Tablighi – The SC pulled up the Centre for allowing a junior I&B ministry officer to file a “nonsensical” affidavit informing it that it was impossible to act on the basis of the Jamiat Ulama I-Hind’s plea to gag the media from reporting that the Tablighi Jamaat congregation in Nizamuddin had led to the spread of coronavirus in many parts of India. Jamiat, through advocate Ejaz Maqbool, had petitioned the SC saying false propaganda had been unleashed by circulating fake news about the Tablighi Jamaat on social media, and TV and print media to target the Muslim community and alleged that the government had remained a mute spectator instead of taking action under law against those circulating the fake news to spread communal hatred.
(Constitution and Law)
36 09-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – Assam jails cannot be detention centres: HC – The Gauhati High Court has said that people declared as foreigners cannot be kept in jails that serve as detention centres, depriving them of basic human rights and human dignity. The court has also issued a notice to the Assam government to submit a report on the steps taken to set up detention centres outside jail premises and “hire any private premises” if “suitable government accommodations are not available for the purpose”. Hearing a cluster of petitions filed on behalf of persons lodged in Assam’s six detention centres and their kin, the High Court referred to a Supreme Court case involving 37 “Pakistani prisoners” while issuing the order on October 7. These prisoners “not required under Indian laws” were kept in jail despite completing their sentence by 2009 because the Pakistan High Commission did not confirm their nationality.
(Constitution and Law)
37 09-10-2020 - Polity and Governance – Republic TV, 2 others in TRP racket: police – Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said that a racket involving Republic TV, Box Cinema and Fakt Marathi that manipulated Television Rating Points (TRPs) had been busted by the Crime Branch. Owners of Fakt Marathi and Box Cinema have been arrested and charged with Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 409 (criminal breach of trust by public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent) of the Indian Penal Code, he told presspersons.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
38 09-10-2020 - Economy – Q2 records 107% surge in fresh investments – Fresh investment proposals surged sharply in the second quarter of this year, rising 107% over the first quarter, with 2,219 new projects entailing an investment of ₹2.19 lakh crore. Private sector investments also recovered significantly, rising 87% from the previous quarter when an extensive lockdown triggered a 23.9% contraction in the economy. On a year-on-year basis, fresh investments between July and September were still 11.32% lower but marked a sharp recovery from investments in the first quarter that were nearly 73% lower. Among the States, Chhattisgarh received the most investments in the second quarter followed by Tamil Nadu, which topped fresh investments in the first quarter, according to Projects Today’s latest report on investment announcements in the July to September quarter. Karnataka was third on the list, followed by Gujarat and Maharashtra.
(Indian Economy)
39 09-10-2020 - Indian Politics - Obituary – Ram Vilas Paswan passes away – Union Minister for Food and Consumer Affairs Ram Vilas Paswan passed away due to prolonged heart ailment at the Fortis Escorts Hospital in New Delhi. He was 74. Mr. Paswan was a Minister under six PMs — from the United Front government of Deve Gowda and the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance government to the current Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government. A stalwart of the socialist movement, who later emerged as Bihar’s foremost Dalit leader with a following across the country, Mr. Paswan was instrumental in the implementation of the Mandal Commission report in the 1990s.
(Indian Politics)
40 09-10-2020 - Awards and Honours – American poet Louise Gluck wins Nobel Literature Prize – American poet Louise Gluck has won the 2020 Nobel Prize in Literature for “her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”. Academy Permanent Secretary Mats Malm said Gluck was “surprised and happy” at the news despite receiving it in the early morning North American time. A professor at Yale University, Gluck, 77, made her debut in 1968 with “Firstborn”, and is seen as one of the most prominent poets in American contemporary literature. Her poetry is characterised by “a striving for clarity”, the Academy said, with a focus on childhood, family life, and close relationships between parents and siblings. In her poems, the self listens for what is left of its dreams and delusions, and nobody can be harder than she in confronting the illusions of the self. The literature prize has been dogged by controversy over the past several years. In 2019 the Academy exceptionally named two winners after postponing the 2018 prize in the wake of a sexual assault scandal involving the husband of one of its members.
(People and Personalities)
41 08-10-2020 - India and its neighborhood – Pakistan to keep top suspect in Daniel Pearl murder in jail – A British-born Pakistani man who has been on death row over the 2002 killing of American journalist Daniel Pearl will remain in jail for another three months despite his acquittal by a lower court earlier this year. The development was announced by prosecutors during a brief hearing of the high-profile case at Pakistan’s Supreme Court, which was to decide whether the key suspect in Pearl’s slaying, Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, should stay in jail following his acquittal.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
42 08-10-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Pence, Harris to clash in VP debate amid Covid-19 outbreak at White House – VP Mike Pence and Democratic vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris were set to face off in their only debate, as President Donald Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis and the pandemic continue to roil the U.S. presidential contest. The televised encounter in Salt Lake City, Utah, comes after the Republican president announced last Friday that he had tested positive for the coronarivus amid a White House outbreak. Former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee, is leading Trump in national polls, including an advantage of 12 %  points in the latest Reuters/Ipsos survey of likely voters, with less than four weeks until the Nov. 3 election. Polls show the race to be closer in some of the election battleground states that could determine the winner.
(World Politics)
43 08-10-2020 - Central Asia – Kyrgyz opposition groups make rival power grabs after toppling government – The Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan slid deeper into chaos as rival opposition factions jostled for power, a day after they stormed government buildings, forcing the prime minister to quit and a parliamentary election to be annulled. Left isolated by the resignation of Prime Minister Kubatbek Boronov’s government late on Tuesday, President Sooronbai Jeenbekov called for all-party talks in a statement on Wednesday, reiterating his willingness to mediate. Representatives of eight parties gathered at government headquarters on Wednesday evening to try to iron out their differences, but several large factions were absent while two rival candidates for the premiership emerged. Two presidents have been overthrown in Kyrgyzstan in the past 15 years, and longtime ally Russia expressed concern as protests spread across the country in the wake of latest vote.
(World Politics)
44 08-10-2020 - World – Greek neo-Nazi party a criminal group: court – A Greek court found the leaders of neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn guilty of running a criminal organisation on Wednesday at the end of a historic trial that was hailed by the PM as a victory for democracy. The judgment in an Athens court came as police and anti-fascist demonstrators clashed outside the courthouse, on the sidelines of a large protest of some 15,000 people. After a trial lasting over five years, presiding judge Maria Lepenioti said Golden Dawn founder and leader Nikos Michaloliakos and other senior members were guilty of running a criminal organisation. The prosecutions were sparked by the late-night murder of 34-year-old anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas in Sept 2013. 
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
45 08-10-2020 - International Relations – India-Japan cyber security pact to promote cooperation in 5G, AI – The thirteenth India-Japan foreign ministers’ strategic dialogue on Wednesday saw the two sides finalising the text of a cyber security agreement that promotes cooperation in 5G, Internet of Things (IoT) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) apart from security and resilience in the areas of Critical Information Infrastructure. While details of the cooperation on 5G technology are not clear yet, the agreement is still significant coming as it does in the middle of the international backlash against China’s telecom major Huawei and as Japanese companies prepare to roll out 5G services ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. According to a statement issued by the MEA, recognising the increasing role being played by digital technologies, India and Japan highlighted the need for “robust and resilient’’ digital and cyber systems.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
46 08-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – SC: public places cannot be occupied indefinitely – The Supreme Court found the indefinite “occupation” of a public road by the Shaheen Bagh protesters unacceptable. The court said the protest, considered an iconic dissent mounted by mothers, children and senior citizens of Shaheen Bagh against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, became inconvenient to commuters. The thirteen-page judgment upheld the right to peaceful protest against a law but made it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied, and that too indefinitely. The court suggested that the outcry may have even gone out of hand for the women protesters. It referred to reports about how women were ensconced inside a tent while a “huge periphery” of “male protesters, volunteers and bystanders”, who wanted the blockade to continue, milled around.
(Constitution and Law)
47 08-10-2020 - USA – In sudden strike, US tightens H-1B wages and ‘speciality’ norms – A month before the elections, the Trump administration has conducted a surgical strike on the H-1B visa programme, a popular work visa which helps many Indian aspirants, especially in the technology sector, to fulfil their American dream. It has hiked the minimum wage requirements across all four levels (from entry level to experienced) and tightened norms - the definition of speciality occupation, which determines H-1B visa eligibility, is now narrower. However, it is the IT services/consultancy sector that will bear the biggest brunt of the new rules. The visa tenure in cases where H-1B workers are to be placed at client sites will be for a maximum of one year only. For companies in this sector, the new rules reimpose the need to submit customer contracts and itineraries of H-1B workers. Officials have also been given more powers to conduct site visits, including at third-party client sites.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
48 08-10-2020 - Bihar Elections – BJP gives eleven of its seats to VIP – The Bharatiya Janata Party gave eleven seats from its quota to Mukesh Sahni-led Vikashil Insaan Party, the new entrant to the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar. Earlier, the two major alliance partners had shared the 243 Assembly seats between themselves: the JD(U) 122 and the BJP 121. The three-phase elections to the Assembly are scheduled to begin on October 28. The JD(U) allocated seven seats from its quota to another alliance partner, the Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular), led by former Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi..”

(Indian Politics)
49 08-10-2020 - Indian Politics – Palaniswami is AIADMK CM candidate – Edappadi K. Palaniswami will be the ruling AIADMK’s candidate for Chief Minister in the 2021 Tamil Nadu Assembly election. This was announced by Deputy Chief Minister and party coordinator O. Panneerselvam at the party headquarters in the presence of senior leaders and Ministers. The announcement ended the unease in the party over the issue since Aug 15. As an indication of his agreeing to Mr. Panneerselvam’s principal demand for an 11-member steering committee, the Chief Minister made public the composition of the panel that would guide the organisation in all matters. 
(Indian Politics)
50 08-10-2020 - Awards and Honours – Makers of gene ‘scissors’ win Chemistry Nobel – Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer Doudna of the U.S. won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for the gene-editing technique known as the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping “scissors”, the first time a Nobel science prize has gone to a women-only team. Using the tool, “researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision,” the Nobel jury said. “This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.” The technique has been tipped for a Nobel nod several times in the past, but speaking to reporters, Ms. Charpentier said the call was still a surprise.
(People and Personalities)
51 07-10-2020 - Economy – Services PMI shows slump easing, but job losses swell – According to a business survery, the pace of contraction in services sector activity eased considerably in Sept after the govt lifted some COVID-19 restrictions, but demand continued to shrink, prompting firms to cut more jobs. Signs of stabilisation in services are likely to provide more comfort to policymakers after a sister survey last week showed India’s manufacturing expanded at its fastest pace in over eight years, suggesting business conditions were gradually returning to normal in Asia’s third-largest economy.
(Indian Economy)
52 07-10-2020 - South Asia – Ahmed Adeeb jailed twenty years for corruption – Maldives former Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb has been sentenced to twenty years in prison after pleading guilty to graft, money laundering and abuse of power. Adeeb was a close ally of ex-President Abdulla Yameen until Adeeb was jailed for allegedly trying to assassinate the strongman former ruler with a bomb on board his yacht in 2015. The Criminal Court in an overnight decision also imposed a fine of two million rufiyaa ($129,000) for Adeeb’s role in siphoning money from the state tourism promoter during the former administration. He was accused of causing a loss of about $260 million to the state in leasing islets for resort development and receiving kickbacks from tourism companies.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
53 07-10-2020 - Central Asia – Kyrgyzstan cancels poll result after night of chaos – Kyrgyzstan’s electoral body said it was cancelling the results of a disputed parliamentary vote that plunged the Central Asian nation into violence and political chaos. The ex-Soviet nation’s Central Electoral Commission said in a statement that it had “invalidated the election results” which saw parties close to pro-Russian President Sooronbay Jeenbekov score big wins amid accusations of mass vote-buying campaigns. The results sparked a tumultuous night of protests and clashes in the capital Bishkek, with protesters seizing government buildings and freeing high-profile politicians, including ex-President Almazbek Atambayev. The clashes left dozens injured. Opposition politicians said they had formed a “coordination council” to restore stability and “return to the rule of law”.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
54 07-10-2020 - International Relations – Quad will discuss vaccine, 5G – External Affairs Minister will meet his counterparts in the Australia-India-Japan-United States Quadrilateral or Quad in Tokyo, which is seen as a significant turning point for the grouping, led by growing concerns over China in the region. Cooperation on 5G connectivity, cybersecurity, a supply chain initiative for manufacturing, maritime cooperation and infrastructure and connectivity, as well as distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine are all areas where alternatives to Chinese initiatives will be discussed. Beijing has already criticised the meeting, making it clear it will watch the outcomes closely, even as its tensions with each of the Quad countries grows. The meeting will begin with a “regional assessment”, including developments in the South and East China Sea, the six-month stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Hong Kong and Taiwan, where China’s aggressive moves have been most marked. 
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
55 07-10-2020 - Armenia-Azerbaijan – Pressure builds for ceasefire as Karabakh fighting rages – Battles raged between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, with both sides vowing to pursue the conflict despite increasing international pressure for a ceasefire. Western powers are urging Turkey, a long-standing ally of Azerbaijan, to use its influence with Baku to restore calm after 10 straight days of clashes that have claimed more than 260 lives. Russia, the US and France called for an “unconditional” halt to the fighting. The battles began on September 28 in a long-simmering territorial dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s but Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu downplayed the need for a ceasefire and called for the world to back Azerbaijan in the conflict.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
56 07-10-2020 - Education – Top IITs see 50% rise in seats in 5 yrs – The premier IITs have seen an over 50% jump in seats in just five years. From 10,572 seats in 2016-17, aspirants now have a larger pool of 16,053 to choose from. The older institutes, including IIT-Bombay and IIT-Delhi, have seen a 40-50% increase in seats during the period. Around 43,200 students who qualified in JEE (Advanced) will be vying for these seats over the next few weeks. Even as third-generation IITs continue to ramp up their infrastructure, the total pool of seats will see a further increase over the next few years, said IITDelhi director V R. Rao.
(Education)
57 07-10-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Positivity rate drops to 6.8% amid 80 lakh tests in a week – In keeping with the moderation in India’s Covid curve, the average daily positivity rate has dropped over the last 3 weeks (week-on-week) from 9.2% during Sept 16-22 to 6.8% between Sept 30-Oct 6, driven by a decline in average daily new cases even as testing increased.  Over eight crore tests have been conducted so far, with around 80 lakh tests in the last week, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan said. More recoveries than new cases have also helped keep active cases under check. Active cases have remained below ten lakh for the last two weeks even as officials cautioned against complacency, particularly during the approaching festival season and onset of winters. The all India growth rate of confirmed cases has turned negative on a few days recently and on Oct 6, it stood at 0.9%. 
(Healthcare and Medicine)
58 07-10-2020 - Bihar Elections – Nitish is leader of NDA in Bihar: BJP – After several rounds of talks, the major NDA partners in Bihar — JD(U) and BJP — announced a seat-sharing formula for the upcoming Assembly election. The JD(U) will contest 122 seats while the BJP will fight on one seat less in the 243-member Assembly. “The JD(U) will contest on 122 seats and give seven seats out of it to alliance partner Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (secular) and the BJP will contest on 121 seats while accommodating the Vikashil Insaan Party from its own quota,” JD(U) president and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar announced at a crowded joint press meet along with BJP leaders. BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi reiterated remarks made earlier by the party’s State chief Sanjay Jaiswal, who said, “Those who do not accept Nitish Kumar’s leadership will not be a part of NDA in Bihar.”
(Indian Politics)
59 07-10-2020 - Socio-political – Will ensure smooth probe into Hathras gang rape, says SC – The Supreme Court said it would ensure that the investigation into the alleged gang-rape and torture and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl by upper caste men in Hathras would be conducted smoothly. “We will ensure the investigation part is smooth,” Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde, heading the three-judge Bench, said. The court ordered the Uttar Pradesh government to file an affidavit and place it on record that the witnesses in the case are protected. The Chief Justice said there was no doubt what transpired with the victim was “horrible” and “shocking”. There was no doubt that the case is “extraordinary”, the court said. The court is hearing a petition filed by Satyam Dubey to transfer the case to the CBI or form a special investigation team to probe the case under the supervision of the Supreme Court.
(Constitution and Law, Social Issues)
60 07-10-2020 - Awards and Honours – Physics Nobel for 3 who cast light on black holes – Three scientists who unravelled some of the deep mysteries of black holes, the awe-inspiring pockets of the universe where space and time cease to exist, have won the 2020 Nobel in Physics. Britain’s Roger Penrose, professor at the University of Oxford, won half the prize of 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.1 million) for his proof that black holes are a direct consequence of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. German Reinhard Genzel, of the Max Planck Institute and University of California, Berkeley, and Andrea Ghez (University of California, LA), shared the other half “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
61 06-10-2020 - World – Jewish student attacked outside German synagogue – German investigators said that they were probing an attack on a Jewish student outside a synagogue in Hamburg as attempted murder with anti-Semitic intent, a case condemned by Chancellor Angela Merkel as a “disgrace”. The 26-year-old student was badly injured on Sunday by a man who repeatedly struck him on the head with a shovel outside the synagogue where the Jewish community was celebrating Sukkot, also known as the Feast of the Tabernacles. The assault came a year after two people were shot dead by an extremist who tried and failed to storm a synagogue in the eastern German city of Halle. Jewish leaders and top politicians led condemnation of the latest attack, which Ms. Merkel’s spokesman described as a “repulsive” assault.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
62 06-10-2020 - World – Mali frees over 100 jihadists – Insurgency-hit Mali has freed over 100 alleged or convicted jihadists to secure the release of a top politician and a French charity worker. This is a rare mass release of prisoners in the fragile West African country, which is struggling with an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency. Soumaila Cisse, a former opposition leader and three-time presidential candidate, was abducted on March 25 while campaigning in his home region of Niafounke ahead of legislative elections. Sophie Petronin, a French charity worker, was abducted by gunmen on December 24, 2016, in the northern city of Gao. She is presently the last French national held hostage in the world.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
63 06-10-2020 - Covid-19 Updates – WHO: 10% of world’s people may have been infected – The head of emergencies at the WHO said that its “best estimates” indicate that roughly 1in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the coronavirus. Michael Ryan, speaking to a meeting of the WHO’s 34-member executive board, said the figures vary from urban to rural, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk”. The estimate — which would amount to over 760 million people based on current world population of 7.6 billion — far outstrips the number of confirmed cases as tallied by both WHO and Johns Hopkins, now over 35 million.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
64 06-10-2020 - International Relations – Quad will discuss vaccine, 5G – External Affairs Minister will meet his counterparts in the Australia-India-Japan-United States Quadrilateral or Quad in Tokyo, which is seen as a significant turning point for the grouping, led by growing concerns over China in the region. Cooperation on 5G connectivity, cybersecurity, a supply chain initiative for manufacturing, maritime cooperation and infrastructure and connectivity, as well as distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccine are all areas where alternatives to Chinese initiatives will be discussed. Beijing has already criticised the meeting, making it clear it will watch the outcomes closely, even as its tensions with each of the Quad countries grows. The meeting will begin with a “regional assessment”, including developments in the South and East China Sea, the six-month stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC), Hong Kong and Taiwan, where China’s aggressive moves have been most marked.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
65 06-10-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – New guidelines out for schools – The Union Education Ministry issued detailed guidelines for the reopening of schools after Oct 15 in a graded manner, in accordance with the Union Home Ministry’s directions. No student will be forced to attend school without parents’ consent, said Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal. The Ministry has ordered thorough cleaning and disinfecting of all areas, furniture and equipment on the campus, and ensuring air flow in the indoor spaces. Schools have to form task teams for emergency care support and response, commodity support, hygiene inspection and allied responsibilities.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
66 06-10-2020 - Defence – India successfully tests new SMART torpedo system – India tested a new weapon for antisubmarine warfare that involves a supersonic missile assisted release of torpedo (SMART), which has a far greater range than conventional torpedoes. The SMART was “successfully” flight-tested from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. “It is a game changing technology demonstration in anti-submarine warfare,” said DRDO chief Dr G Satheesh Reddy.    
(Defence and Military)
67 06-10-2020 - Education – Pune boy tops JEE (Advanced) but will drop IIT seat for MIT – Pune boy Chirag Falor, already a student of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has topped the Joint Entrance Examination (Advanced) 2020. The qualifying aggregate marks for the JEE (Advanced) common rank list reduced to 69 - a five-year low. The entrance results for the 23 IITs were announced where the number of candidates qualifying increased to 43,204. Falor scored 352 marks out of 396 to top the list, followed by Gangula Bhuvan Reddy and Vaibhav Raj for the AIR second and third ranks, respectively. Kanishka Mittal (AIR 17) is the topper in the female category with 315. Meanwhile, girl topper Kanishka Mittal from the IIT-Roorkee zone is in good company as the gender ratio is the best in five years. In 2016, just 847 (18.5%) of qualified female candidates were offered seats, 1,852 (44.3%) in 2018, and 2,432 (45.4%) in 2019. “Right now, every sixth student at the undergraduate level in our IIT is female,” said V Ramgopal Rao, director, IIT-Delhi.
(Education)
68 06-10-2020 - Socio-political – U.P. police allege bid to trigger caste violence – Under fire for mishandling the Hathras case, the UP police claimed that there was a “conspiracy” by some groups and individuals to instigate caste and communal violence in the State in the aftermath of the alleged gang-rape and subsequent death of a Dalit girl. At least six FIRs have been lodged in Hathras, including one invoking sedition and criminal conspiracy, against persons and parties for allegedly trying to instigate the victim’s family, violating COVID-19 and Cr.P.C. Section 144 norms through illegal assemblies in and around the affected village, and for trying to spread caste discord through misleading statements. Additionally, thirteen FIRs were lodged and five persons were arrested in Bijnor, Hathras, Saharanpur, Bulandshahr, Prayagraj, Ayodhya and Lucknow on charges of posting offensive statements over the incident on social media.
(Social Issues)
69 06-10-2020 - Economy – GST Council split on borrowing options – The Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council on Monday failed to iron out differences between States ruled by non-NDA parties and the Centre over a plan to get the States to borrow from the market to meet an estimated ₹2.35 lakh crore shortfall in compensation cess collections this year. Following a “long-drawn”, fractious seven-hour meeting, Union Finance Minister asserted that she did not take “anybody for granted” as alleged by some State representatives in the Council during Monday’s discussions. The Council did agree to extend the levy of compensation cess under the GST regime beyond the five-year period up to June 2022 as originally envisaged. The cess collections will be used to repay borrowings to be made this year for meeting the compensation shortfall, and will remain “for such period as may be required to meet the revenue gap”. 
(Indian Economy)
70 06-10-2020 - Awards and Honours – Three share med Nobel for Hep-C virus discovery – Americans Harvey J Alter and Charles M Rice and British-born scientist Michael Houghton jointly won the Nobel Prize for medicine on Monday for their discovery of the hepatitis C virus, a major source of liver disease that affects millions worldwide. Announcing the prize, the Nobel committee noted that the trio’s work identified a major source of blood-borne hepatitis that couldn’t be explained by the previously discovered hepatitis A and B viruses. Their work, dating back to the 1970s and ’80s, led to sensitive blood tests for the virus which have helped saved millions of lives, it said. The prize carried particular significance this year due to the Covid pandemic, which has highlighted the importance medical research has for societies and economiesand the damage that a single virus can wreak.
(Healthcare and Medicine, People and Personalities)
71 05-10-2020 - India and its neighborhood – Maulana to lead Pak. anti-govt. front – Pakistan’s firebrand cleric-cum-politician Maulana Fazlur Rehman has been unanimously appointed as the first president of the Opposition’s newly-formed anti-government alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM). The decision was taken on Saturday during a virtual meeting of the Opposition parties attended by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, BNP chief Sardar Akhtar Mengal among other senior politicians. According to PDM’s steering committee convener Ahsan Iqbal, deposed Prime Minister Sharif proposed Rehman’s name as the alliance president and it was endorsed by PPP chairman Bilawal and others, the Dawn newspaper reported.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
72 05-10-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Afghan woman leader makes it to Nobel front-runner list – Afghanistan’s first women Deputy Speaker in Parliament and member of the team of negotiators engaging the Taliban in talks in Doha, Fawzia Koofi has been named one of the “favourites” among nominees for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, due to be announced on Oct  9. Ms. Koofi, who has survived at least two assassination attempts, including one just two months ago before talks began, said the nomination itself was a “recognition” for the peace process, and would “empower” the role of Afghan women at Doha in particular.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
73 05-10-2020 - World – Azerbaijan says Armenia hit second city, threatens retaliation – Azerbaijan said that Armenian forces had fired rockets at its second city of Ganja, killing one civilian and wounding 32, and threatened to retaliate by destroying military targets inside Armenia. The developments marked a sharp escalation of the clashes in the South Caucasus that broke out one week ago. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev later on Sunday demanded that Armenia set a timetable for withdrawing from the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azeri territories, and said Azerbaijan would not cease military action until that happened.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
74 05-10-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Xi pitches for closer ties with Bangladesh, seeks BRI push – Chinese President Xi Jinping said he stands ready with Bangladesh leaders to better align the two countries’ strategies and jointly promote the construction of his multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to take the strategic partnership of the two countries to new heights. Mr. Xi made the remarks in an exchange of congratulatory messages with his Bangladesh counterpart, Mohammad Abdul Hamid, on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the bilateral diplomatic relationship. In his message, Mr. Xi hailed the steady and long-term friendship, saying he is ready to work with Mr. Hamid to better align development strategies with Bangladesh, step up cooperation under the framework of the BRI and push forward the China-Bangladesh strategic, cooperative partnership to a new level.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
75 05-10-2020 - World – Trump doctors say president's oxygen dropped twice but insist he's improving – Donald Trump’s doctors have said his oxygen levels had dipped suddenly twice in two days and he was on medication normally prescribed for severe coronavirus cases, but they insisted his condition was improving and he could be discharged as early as Monday. The mixed messages delivered outside Walter Reed hospital in the Washington suburbs, added to the confusion over the president’s condition as well as suspicions that the medical team were providing a deceptively rosy account, on White House instructions. Trump posted a video message saying he was “getting great reports from the doctors” and later drove past a crowd of his supporters at the hospital gates in his motorcade.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
76 05-10-2020 - Defence – Next round of military talks with China to take place on Oct 12 – India will once again demand ‘complete de-escalation’ by China at troop face-off sites as well as along the entire frontier in eastern Ladakh, in accordance with the first in, first out’ principle, during the seventh round of military talks now slated for Oct 12. But with China yet to show any real intent on the ground for de-escalation with a clear-cut de-induction timetable, India remains prepared with ‘high operational military readiness’ to deal with any contingency. The next two months are decidedly crucial because once the harsh winter fully sets in eastern Ladakh, it will willy-nilly bring to an end the ‘military campaigning season’ for either side to launch any full-scale operation in the high-altitude region.
(Defence and Military)
77 05-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – Half of HCs are yet to take first step towards e-courts – Filing of cases electronically, or e-filing, is the first step in migrating to a virtual court (e-court) system, which has become a necessity in the pandemic-hit world. A recent status report submitted by the government before a parliamentary committee, however, showed 11 of the 25 high courts in the country are yet to adopt the e-filing system. In about half of the states, e-filing is still in the trial stage, both in the high courts and the subordinate courts. Bengal, Telangana, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, Karnataka and J&K are among states with high pendency of cases where the HCs are yet to implement the very basics of the judicial reforms, either in the HC or in the subordinate courts under them. And this only means further delaying the process of digitisation, making the reality of virtual courts a distant dream.
(Constitution and Law)
78 05-10-2020 - Polity and Governance – Upper caste group holds meet in support of Hathras accused – Oct. 4 saw a large gathering of upper caste men in Hathras in support of persons accused in the gang-rape and murder of a Dalit woman despite prohibitory orders under Section 144. Police lathicharged Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) vice-president Jayant Chaudhary and his associates, who were on their way to meet the family of the victim. The Hathras police said RLD workers had broken police barriers and manhandled personnel on duty, adding that “light force” was used against the crowd to bring the situation under control. In a massive show of strength, men from the dominant caste gathered at the home of former BJP MLA Rajvir Singh Pehalvan amid heavy police deployment, some 6 km from the victim’s village Bulagarhi.
(Governance and Institutions)
79 05-10-2020 - Bihar Elections 2020 – LJP quits NDA in Bihar, but will support BJP after polls – Citing ideological differences with CM Nitish Kumar, LJP quit NDA in Bihar, clearing the way for JD(U) and BJP to apportion the 243 seats for the polls. LJP wouldn’t put up any candidate against BJP, but would fight JD(U), it said. Its decision caused few surprises as it had already snapped ties with JD (U), rendering its presence in the Bihar alliance untenable. Though LJP chief Chirag Paswan emphasised his faith in PM Modi, BJP, which has declared Nitish to be its CM choice, found it impossible to meet Paswan’s demand for 30 seats solely at its expense. JD(U) may now ask BJP to consider removing LJP from the alliance nationally, saying LJP’s presence at any level in NDA will send a wrong signal to the electorate. 
(Indian Politics)
80 05-10-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – One in five Indians may be vaccinated by July 2021: govt. – The govt. indicated that about 25 crore individuals are likely to be inoculated with a double dose of the COVID-19 vaccine by next July. The States have been asked to prepare a list by month-end of “priority population groups” for vaccination. These would include frontline health workers - both government as well as private sector doctors, nurses, paramedics, sanitary staff, ASHA workers, surveillance officers and others involved in the tracing, testing and treatment of patients.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
81 03-10-2020 - World – On China’s National Day, dozens held in Hong Kong – Dozens of democracy supporters were arrested in Hong Kong for defying a protest ban as the city marked China’s National Day and its leader hailed Beijing’s new security law for restoring stability to the restive finance hub. The People’s Republic of China celebrates its founding on October 1 with a holiday and carefully choreographed festivities. But in Hong Kong, it has become a day of grievance for those worried about authoritarian Beijing’s intensifying crackdown against its opponents.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
82 03-10-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Pakistan's Media Watchdog Bans Speeches Of 'Proclaimed Offenders' – Pakistan's electronic media watchdog has banned the broadcast and rebroadcast of any speech, interview or public address of absconders or proclaimed offenders, days after ailing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif made blistering speeches from exile in London targeting the powerful Pakistani Army. The move by Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) came as it took cognizance of 70-year-old Sharif's repeated attack on the Pakistan Army, with the latest being on Thursday during which he in a televised speech said that the military had rigged the 2018 vote that brought the country's current prime minister to power.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
83 03-10-2020 - World – Macron to launch crackdown on ‘Islamist separatism’ in Muslim communities – France President Emmanuel Macron pledged to fight “Islamist separatism” which he said was threatening to take control in some Muslim communities around France. France has struggled with homegrown Islamist militancy for years but Mr. Macron’s government is increasingly worried by broader signs of radicalisation — often non-violent — within Muslim communities. They cite the refusal of some Muslim men to shake women’s hands, swimming pools that impose alternate time slots for men and women, girls of as young as four being told to wear full-face veils, and a proliferation of ‘madrassa’ religious schools. More than 250 people have been killed on French soil over the past five years in attacks by Islamist militants or individuals inspired by jihadist groups.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
84 03-10-2020 - Environment and Ecology – Three-fold increase in leopard capture, translocation: study – A study conducted across Karnataka indicates that the policy guidelines brought out by the government to mitigate human-leopard conflict and discourage translocation of the animal have had little impact on the ground. The number of leopards captured per month increased more than threefold (from 1.5 to 4.6) after the human-leopard policy guidelines were brought out in 2011. Similarly, there was a threefold increase in the number of leopards translocated per month (from 1 to 3.5). These findings have been published in a paper, ‘Policy to on-ground action: Evaluating a conflict policy guideline for leopards in India’, in the Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy. Sanjay Gubbi of the Nature Conservation Foundation is authored the report with Aparna Kolekar and Vijaya Kumara.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
85 03-10-2020 - World – Trump and wife test positive – US President Trump, 74, who for months dismissed and downplayed the pandemic—sneering at and smearing those promoting measures to combat the disease - and tempted fate with close-contact political rallies and meetings, has tested positive for Covid-19. Democratic challenger Joe Biden, who was on stage for the presidential debate with Trump on Tuesday, has tested negative.
(World Politics)
86 03-10-2020 - Economy – Govt plans to list LIC abroad – The govt is evaluating the option for an overseas listing of LIC, the country’s largest insurer, in what many believe will be a powerful signal to global investors. The govt has already announced its intent for an initial public offer (IPO) by the insurance giant, while also amending the Companies Act to allow Indian companies to directly list on foreign bourses. Following the budget announcement, the government has appointed Deloitte and SBI Capital Markets as transaction advisors for LIC, while also initiating the process to amend the LIC Act as the Centre is the sole shareholder under the law. The LIC is in the process of appointing an actuarial firm to arrive at the corporation’s embedded value — a valuation measure used by life companies to determine the present value of earning that will continue to flow in the future from policies that have already been sold.
(Indian Economy)
87 03-10-2020 - Covid-19 Updates – India third country to cross one lakh Covid deaths, but CFR is lower than most – The toll in the US is more than double that of India at over 2.1 lakh, while Brazil, with far fewer cases, has recorded over 1.4 lakh deaths. However, in the past two months, India has reported the highest number of fatalities in the world, with nearly 63% of all deaths in the country coming during this period. India reported 33,255 Covid-19 deaths in Sept, at a daily average of over 1,100. While the toll has been mounting, India is still far below the world’s worst-hit countries in terms of deaths per lakh population and case fatality rates (CFRs). At 7.5 deaths per lakh population, India is in the 18th position among the 20 worsthit. India’s CFR, at 1.6, compares well with most countries, notably the US (2.8), Brazil (3), Mexico (10.4), the UK (9.2) and even Pakistan (2.1). 
(Healthcare and Medicine)
88 03-10-2020 - Economy – Centre ready to waive interest on interest during moratorium – In a big relief for individual and MSME borrowers, the Centre on Friday informed the Supreme Court that it has decided to waive “interest on interest” on loans of up to Rs 2 crore during the six-month repayment moratorium — with the benefit also available to those who were clearing their dues on a range of loans between March and August. This category of borrowers, in whose case the compound interest will be waived, would be MSME loans and personal loans up to Rs 2 crore of the following category — MSME loans, educational loans, housing loans, consumer durable loans, credit card dues, auto loans, personal loans to professionals and consumption loans.
(Indian Economy)
89 03-10-2020 - Bihar Elections 2020 – LJP will go it alone in Bihar but back Modi – It is almost certain that the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) will contest 143 seats outside the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), with the slogan “Modi se bair nahi, Nitish teri khair nahi.” LJP president Chirag Paswan met BJP president J.P. Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah. It will be a friendly alliance, with the BJP offering not to contest in the seats that will fall in the LJP’s kitty. The LJP also assured the BJP that in the post-poll scenario, it will back the BJP’s candidate for Chief Minister. A formal announcement is likely over the weekend. A senior LJP leader said the party was in the NDA at the national level but not at the State-level. Technically, therefore, it is not formally walking out of the NDA. With party patriarch Ram Vilas Paswan seriously ill and undergoing treatment at a Delhi hospital, his resignation from the Cabinet post is completely ruled out.
(Indian Politics)
90 03-10-2020 - Polity and Governance – Trinamool MPs stopped outside Hathras village – Political pressure on the UP govt continued over its handling of the Hathras gangrape and the rushed late night cremation of the victim. The State government suspended Hathras Superintendent of Police Vikrant Vir and four other officials for negligence over the incident. The action was taken on the basis of the first report submitted by the Special Investigation Team. With the Hathras administration continuing to bar the entry of outsiders, the situation at the victim’s village of Bulgaddhi remained tense. A delegation of Trinamool Congress MPs, which tried to reach the village to meet the victim’s family, was manhandled and Rajya Sabha MP Derek O’Brien pushed to the ground by the police about 1.5 km from the village.
(Governance and Institutions)
91 01-10-2020 - Economy – Core Sector Shrinks for 6th Straight Month – India’s core infrastructure sector shrank for the sixth straight month in August with slightly bigger contraction than the month before, confirming flattening of recovery in the month. According to data released on Wednesday, output of eight core infrastructure sectors – coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity – dropped 8.5% in August compared to 8% contraction in July. The July number has been revised upward from 9.6% contraction estimated earlier. During the April-August, the core sector contracted 17.8%. The eight core industries together have a 40% weight in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), suggesting somewhat comparable contraction in industrial production.
(Indian Economy)
92 01-10-2020 - Economy – Govt. retains Rs. Twelve lakh crore borrowing plan – India’s fiscal deficit soared to 109% of the Budget target in just the first five months of the year, with revenues remaining muted but the Centre stuck to its Rs. Twelve lakh crore borrowing plan for the year with the Finance Ministry exuding confidence that it would manage to meet its expenditure commitments within this plan. The Centre had already enhanced its borrowing target for the year by ₹4.2 lakh crore to ₹12 lakh crore in May this year as the initial adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the national lockdown became apparent. 
(Indian Economy)
93 01-10-2020 - World – Sheikh Nawaf takes oath as Kuwait Emir – Kuwait’s Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah was sworn in before Parliament as the ruling Emir of the tiny oil-rich country, propelled to power by the death of his half-brother after a long career in the security services. Sheikh Nawaf, 83, is not expected to deviate from the diplomatic path charted by his predecessor, the late Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah. But his accession touched off speculation about who will become the next Crown Prince in the country known for its lively elected Parliament and relative independence in the neighbourhood of Gulf Arab monarchies. The late Sheikh Sabah, 91, made his final journey to Kuwait later on Wednesday, his remains flying back to Kuwait City from Rochester, Minnesota, where he had been receiving medical treatment after surgery.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
94 01-10-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Trump, Biden clash in chaotic first debate – President Trump and his opponent, Democratic nominee Joe Biden, clashed in their first presidential debate on Tuesday night — an interaction characterised by chaos and acrimony, not seen before in recent debate history. This was caused primarily by Mr. Trump repeatedly talking over Mr. Biden, interrupting him and attempting to commandeer the debate from the moderator. During the debate, Mr. Trump failed to denounce White supremacists when provided an opportunity to do so and sought to undermine the legitimacy of the November elections, in which an unusually high number of Americans are expected to vote by mail, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 
(World Politics)
95 01-10-2020 - Covid-19 Updates – Sept was worst as India added 41% of cases & 34% of deaths – Active Covid-19 cases went up in India after registering a decline for two straight days even as September turned out to be the worst period for the country during the pandemic, accounting for the highest number of deaths in any month. With 1,173 fresh deaths on Wednesday, India’s Covid-19 toll went up to 98,628. As many as 33,255 of these deaths — or 33.7% of the total casualties — were recorded in September. This surpassed the previous worst month, August, when 28,859 deaths were recorded. July accounted for 19,122 deaths and June and May for 11,988 and 4,267 casualties, respectively. With 86,768 fresh cases, India’s Covid-19 caseload went beyond the 63-lakh mark to 63,06,802. Sept accounted for more than 41% of the caseload with 26,24,179 new infections. In contrast, 19,87,705 cases were recorded in the August, the previous worst month. 
(Healthcare and Medicine)
96 01-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – SC seeks to reopen land acquisition case – Six months after a five-judge bench settled issues relating to land acquisition, the SC sought to reopen the matter relating to time period for payment of compensation to land owners, saying the bench had not settled this. A bench of Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and Justices A. S. Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said the larger bench had held that land acquisition would lapse if the government had neither taken possession of the land nor paid compensation. But the three-judge bench had an issue with the ruling that if the government had taken possession of the acquired land, but not paid compensation, then the land acquisition would not lapse. As of Sept 2, more than 8.6 lakh candidates have downloaded their admit cards.
(Constitution and Law)
97 01-10-2020 - Constitution and Law – SC refuses to shift civil services exam from Oct. 4 – But the SC asked the authorities to consider a possible concession for aspirants unable to take their last shot at the exam due to the pandemic. The examination is scheduled to be held at 72 centres (2,569 sub-centres) across the country. A Bench led by Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said security and health protocols should be followed strictly. It agreed with the Union Public Service Commission that any further delay in the conduct of the exam would have a “cascading effect” on future ones. The Bench asked the authorities to ensure that candidates with admit cards are able to find suitable accommodations near the exam centres/sub-centres. UPSC, through advocate Naresh Kaushik, said that its logistical arrangements were complete and has already spent approximately ₹50.39 crore on the preparations.
(Constitution and Law)
98 01-10-2020 - Covid-19 updates – Guidelines for reopening - Cinema halls, theme parks allowed to open – The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued “guidelines for reopening”, permitting cinema halls, entertainment parks and swimming pools for sportspersons to open, and gave the States the flexibility to decide if they wanted to open schools from Oct 15. Higher education institutions in the science and technology stream, where research scholars and post graduate students need to access the labs, will be permitted to open from Oct 15. The guidelines that will come into effect on October 1 have removed restrictions from all activities except “international air travel”. Only limited international flights under the air bubble scheme and the Vande Bharat Mission allowed by the government are operating currently. 
(Healthcare and Medicine)
99 01-10-2020 - Crime – Hathras rape victim cremated without consent – The family of the victim of gang rape, brutal assault and murder in Boolagarhi village of Hathras has said that the authorities did not take their permission before cremating their daughter. District officials denied the charge and said the last rites had been performed after the consent of the father had been obtained, and that some close members of the girl’s family attended the funeral. The 19-year-old rape victim passed away in New Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital after a prolonged battle at Aligarh’s J.N. Medical College and Hospital earlier. The Dalit girl was allegedly assaulted by four men of the upper caste on Sept 14, when she went to collect fodder with her mother, leading to a fracture in her spinal cord.
(Social Issues)
100 01-10-2020 - Socio-political – Advani, 31 others acquitted in Babri case – A special CBI court in its 2300 pave verdict in Lucknow acquitted senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, former UP CM Kalyan Singh and 30 others in the Babri Masjid demolition case, almost 28 years after the Dec 6, 1992 incident, for lack of credible evidence. The court rejected the charges of criminal conspiracy levelled by the CBI against the accused, observing that the chargesheet did not have any evidence to show that they “got together in common intent” with a group of “hooligan kar sevaks” to bring down the mosque. It observed that a group of “arajak” (hooligan) kar sevaks from the main crowd “suddenly got agitated” and indulged in violence even as senior VHP leader Ashok Singhal appealed to them to retreat that fateful day.
(Constitution and Law, Social Issues)
101 30-09-2020 - World – Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone widens as Turkey denies downing Armenian war plane – Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused one another of firing directly into each other's territory, while Turkey has denied shooting down an Armenian fighter jet as the worst regional fighting in the area since the 1990s raged for a third day. Fuelling tensions, Armenia said an F-16 fighter jet belonging to Azerbaijan's close ally Turkey had shot down one of its warplanes over Armenian airspace, killing the pilot. Armenia provided no evidence of the incident. Turkey and Azerbaijan called the claim "absolutely untrue".
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
102 30-09-2020 - Obituary – Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al-Sabah dies at 91 – The architect of the nation’s modern foreign policy and mediator in some of the worst crises to grip the Gulf, died on Tuesday at the age of 91, the royal court announced. Sheikh Sabah had earned a reputation as a shrewd, unshakeable leader who helped steer his country through the 1990 Iraqi invasion, crashes in global oil markets and crises in Parliament and on the streets. The Emir, who has ruled the oil-rich Gulf state since 2006, had his appendix removed in 2002, two years after having a pacemaker fitted. Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad Al-Sabah (83), an elder statesman who has held high office for decades including the defence and interior ministries, is now expected to be appointed the new ruler. The 15th leader in a family that has ruled for over 250 years, Sheikh Sabah weathered Kuwait’s crises with shrewd judgement and an iron fist.
(People and Personalities)
103 30-09-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Sri Lanka bans cattle slaughter – The government announced at the moment that it would take steps to import beef. Earlier this month, Prime Minister Rajapaksa made a proposal to the parliamentary group of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP, or People’s Front) on banning cattle slaughter. For some years now, reactionary Sinhala-Buddhist groups, many of whom are supporters of the Rajapaksas, have been demanding a ban on cattle slaughter. Sri Lanka is a Buddhist majority country, those following the religion constitute 70% of the country’s population. Most of them do not eat beef, as they consider cows sacred, while minority Muslims, who make up about 10%, Christians and a section of Hindus consume beef.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
104 30-09-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Biden takes lead in battleground State – As the presidential candidates prepared to make their way to Cleveland, Ohio, for the first presidential debate, a new poll in the crucial State of Pennsylvania showed Democratic nominee Joe Biden with a “sizeable but not definitive” lead over the incumbent - President Donald Trump. The Washington Post-ABC poll shows Mr. Biden leading Mr. Trump 54% to 44% among registered voters and 54% to 45% among likely voters, the Post reportedbut the margin of error for each candidate’s level of support is 5%, making this significant lead less than definitive. As per the Post’s reporting of the poll results, 53% of registered voters in Pennsylvania approve of Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy but 57% disapprove of how he has handled the coronavirus. Overall, 55% of registered voters disapproved of how Mr. Trump was handling his job.
(World Politics)
105 30-09-2020 - Society/Constitution and Law – SC: Sex workers too have right to live with dignity – SC ordered all states and UTs to provide dry ration to female sex workers without insisting on identity proof and help them overcome starvation-like situation caused by the pandemic. The SC also asked the Centre to respond to a proposal for Rs 1,500 monetary assistance to sex workers that can help tide over the tough times, along the lines of a scheme for transgenders. There are nearly a million female sex workers in India. The court mentioned the good work done by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Bengal in reaching out to sex workers during the pandemic.
(Constitution and Law)
106 30-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Amnesty shuts India ops, alleges govt witch hunt – Amnesty International India said it was halting its activities in the country due to freezing of its accounts by the government in what the NGO described as the latest in an “incessant witch hunt” of human rights organisations over unfounded and motivated allegations. The crackdown over the last two years and the complete freezing of bank accounts, it said in a statement, “was not accidental”. The constant harassment by government agencies, including the ED, is a result of our unequivocal calls for transparency in the government, more recently for accountability of Delhi Police and the government of India regarding the grave human rights violations during the Delhi riots and in J&K,” Kumar said.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
107 30-09-2020 - Constitution and Law – How long will Mehbooba be under detention, asks SC – The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Jammu and Kashmir administration to clarify how long they intend to detain former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Ms. Mufti’s daughter, Iltija, represented by advocates Nitya Ramakrishnan and S. Prasanna. Ms. Mufti was detained on August 5 last year amid the scrapping of provisions of Article 370, which accorded special status to the erstwhile State, and bifurcation of the State into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. On February 5, the Srinagar District Magistrate ordered her detention under Section 8 of the PSA. She has been in custody for six months.
(Constitution and Law)
108 30-09-2020 - Society  – UP gang-rape victim dies in Delhi hospital – A ninteen-year-old Dalit woman from Hathras village in UP, who was brutally gang-raped by four upper caste men, succumbed to injuries in Delhi’s Safdarjung Hospital. The incident occurred on Sept 14 when the woman went to collect fodder from a field with her mother. She was allegedly gang-raped, and later strangulated and dragged with her dupatta. The victim was shifted to Delhi from Aligarh’s J.N. Medical College Hospital (JNMCH) on the request of her father. The Hathras police have arrested the four accused — Sandip, Ramu, Lavkush and Ravi — under Sections pertaining to murder and gang rape.
(Social Issues)
109 30-09-2020 - India-China Standoff 2020 – India rejects China’s unilateral claims on LAC – India and China exchanged sharp statements, blaming each other for the continuing border tensions, with New Delhi describing China’s Line of Actual Control (LAC) claims as “untenable”, and Beijing saying it “did not recognise” the Union Territory of Ladakh. The LAC of 1959 was first referenced in a letter from then Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai to Jawaharlal Nehru — an idea rejected by Nehru and subsequently never accepted by India.
(Defence and Military)
110 30-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates: Second nationwide Sero-Survery – 60 mn Indians may have been exposed to virus: ICMR survey – According to the second national sero-survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), around 7% of India’s adult population may have been exposed to the novel coronavirus till the last fortnight of August. This is roughly a 10-fold jump in numbers from the first sero-survey conducted across 70 districts in 21 States that in early May. The people tested in the second survey were drawn from the same villages and clusters as the first, in which the scientists said that 0.73% of adults -or about 6.4 million — across the country were likely infected. Sero-surveys are conducted by drawing blood samples and checking for a specific class of antibodies called IgG that appear within two weeks of an infection. Because it is yet unclear how long antibodies detectably persist in the body, their presence only indicates past exposure to - and not presence of - the virus.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
111 29-09-2020 - Economy – RBI postpones policy meeting – The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has postponed the announcement of its monetary policy scheduled for Oct 1. The tenures of the three external members of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) will end on September 30, a day before the policy is announced. The MPC, which must have a quorum of four, cannot meet unless the Centre appoints new independent members. This is the first time that the bimonthly policy announcement has been deferred since the establishment of the MPC in 2016 through the RBI Act. The three external members appointed by the government — Chetan Ghate, a professor at Indian Statistical Institute; Pami Dua, director at Delhi School of Economics; and Ravindra Dholakia, professor at Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad — are not eligible for reappointment. The rest of the members of the MPC come from the RBI.
(Indian Economy)
112 29-09-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Shehbaz Sharif arrested ahead of protest launch – Pakistani anti-corruption officials arrested the country’s opposition leader on Monday, days after he vowed to help lead efforts to dislodge Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government. Shehbaz Sharif — who heads the Opposition in the country’s National Assembly — was arrested in Lahore after the eastern city’s high court rejected a bail plea in a money-laundering case. Mr. Sharif is the brother of three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was ousted over corruption allegations in 2017 and is currently residing in Britain after being released from prison earlier this year for medical treatment.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
113 29-09-2020 - World – Armenia-Azerbaijan clashes enter second day, toll rises – Fierce fighting raged between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces, sparking bellicose rhetoric from regional power Turkey despite international pleas for a halt in fighting between the longtime enemies. Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a territorial dispute over the ethnic Armenian region of Nagorny Karabakh for decades, with deadly fighting flaring up earlier this year and in 2016. The region declared its independence from Azerbaijan after a war in the early 1990s that claimed 30,000 lives but is not recognised by any country — including Armenia — and is still considered part of Azerbaijan by the international community.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
114 29-09-2020 - USA – Trump’s tax returns show chronic losses – President Donald Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750. He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made. As the President wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.
(World Politics)
115 29-09-2020 - Defence – Offset policy to reinvest 30% in India abolished in defence deals – India’s new defence acquisition procedure (DAP) abolishes offsets in government-to-government and single vendor deals, enables leasing military equipment, emphasises on realistic technical parameters for weapon systems and simplifies cumbersome trial procedures. The new DAP, which comes into force from October 1, seeks to empower the domestic defence industry through the ‘Make in India’ initiative with the eventual aim of turning India into a global manufacturing hub. The 15-year-old offsets policy, under which at least 30% of the total contract value had to be ploughed back into India as re-investments, “loaded extra costs” into contracts while failing to bring critical military technology into the country. Foreign companies are known to increase the contract price by around 8-10% to cater for their offsets commitments.
(Defence and Military)
116 29-09-2020 - Constitution and Law – SC seeks to reopen land acquisition case – Six months after a five-judge bench settled issues relating to land acquisition, the SC sought to reopen the matter relating to time period for payment of compensation to land owners, saying the bench had not settled this. A bench of Chief Justice S. A. Bobde and Justices A. S. Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian said the larger bench had held that land acquisition would lapse if the government had neither taken possession of the land nor paid compensation. But the three-judge bench had an issue with the ruling that if the government had taken possession of the acquired land, but not paid compensation, then the land acquisition would not lapse.
(Constitution and Law)
117 29-09-2020 - Health – Covid deaths top 1m, but 15 diseases kill more every year – Even as recorded Covid deaths across the globe crossed a million, medical professionals called for balance in the treatment of Covid and non-Covid cases, pointing out that every year cardiovascular diseases kill about 18 million, cancers over 9.6 million and chronic respiratory diseases almost four million. According to the medical journal Lancet’s report, Global Burden of Diseases, there are at least 15 diseases that kill over a million people every year. While the 2009 swine flu pandemic is estimated to have killed about half a million in one year, the 1918 Spanish flu is estimated to have killed about 50 million people but Covid has stretched the capacity of health systems as no other pandemic in recent history as an unprecedented number of patients required hospitalised care.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
118 29-09-2020 - Health – Ideal weight up 5kg now: 65 for men, 55 for women – The National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has added another 5kg to the ideal weight of Indians. While the weight of an ideal or reference Indian man was 60kg in 2010, it has now increased to 65kg. In case of women, it has gone up to 55kg from 50kg a decade ago. Along with this, the earlier height for a reference Indian man was 5 feet 6 inches and a woman was 5 feet. It is now revised to 5 feet 8 inches for a man and 5 feet 3 inches for a woman. NIN scientists said this was because nutritional food intake had gone up. Also, data from rural and urban areas was taken into account this time as against only urban data 10 years ago. A premier nutrition research body of the ICMR, NIN has also revised its recommended dietary allowance and estimated average requirement of nutrition for Indians in its 2020 report. The definition for reference Indian adult man and woman with regard to age was changed to 19-39 years instead of 20-39 years, which was fixed in 2010.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
119 29-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Will fight new farm Acts legally, says Punjab CM – Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said the Congress would fight the Centre’s new agriculture sector Acts constitutionally and legally. Talking to journalists here and earlier at Khatkar Kalan, where he participated in the party’s sit-in against the new legislation, Capt. Singh said he would consult lawyers to work out the legal course of action for challenging the “unconstitutional” laws in the Supreme Court. “Agitation and legal recourse will have to be undertaken simultaneously to force the Union government to rethink its decision.”.
(Governance and Institutions)
120 29-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – COVID vaccine likely in early 2021: Vardhan – Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said the first vaccine for COVID-19 is likely to be available in the first quarter of 2021. The Minister was speaking at the launch of a dedicated online vaccine portal by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) that details research studies, COVID-19 vaccine development in India as well as abroad and a history of vaccine development in India. The three leading COVID-19 vaccine candidates in India — Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D — are mentioned in the portal with information on the underlying technology used to make them, the trials that have so far been completed and current progress on the trials.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
121 28-09-2020 - Economy  – CAG moots probe over cess accounting dodge – The CAG of India has mooted an investigation against the Central government’s accounting officials for incorrectly recording ₹10,250 crore of cess receipts from additional excise duties on petrol and diesel, as non-tax receipts for the exchequer in 2018-19. This was done through a journal entry made after the end of the financial year, which the CAG said was done ‘primarily for the purpose of artificially inflating revenue receipts of the year’. The national auditor also dismissed the finance ministry’s explanation and rebuttals on the matter as ‘untenable.’ Cess collections from petrol and diesel are to be routed to the Central Road Fund (CRF), created by the Parliament as a dedicated non-lapsable Reserve Fund to be used only for designated purposes. The CRF was replaced with a Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF) through amendments introduced in the Union Budget for 2018-19.
(Indian Economy)
122 28-09-2020 - World – Lebanon PM-designate quits over Cabinet picks – Lebanon’s PM-designate Mustapha Adib quit after trying for almost a month to line up a non-partisan Cabinet, dealing a blow to a French bid aimed at rallying sectarian leaders to tackle the worst crisis since the nation’s 1975-1990 civil war. Mr. Adib, former Ambassador to Berlin, was picked on August 31 to form a Cabinet after President Emmanuel Macron’s intervention secured a consensus among various political factions. Mr. Adib, a Sunni Muslim under the sectarian power-sharing system, announced he was stepping down but said Lebanon must not abandon the French plan or squander Mr. Macron’s goodwill.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
123 28-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Akalis quit NDA, say Centre ignored farmers’ sentiments – The BJP’s oldest alliance partner, the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), on Saturday announced that it was ending its ties with the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as farmers’ protests continued across Punjab over the new farm sector Bills. SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal announced the decision which, he said, was ‘unanimously’ taken at the party’s core committee meeting here. “The Central government completely ignored the sentiments of farmers and pushed the agriculture sector Bills with force. The SAD becomes the third major NDA ally to pull out of the grouping after the Shiv Sena and the TDP.
(Agriculture, Governance and Institutions)
124 28-09-2020 - World – PM pitches for larger role in UN – Articulating an inclusive vision for the world and India’s role in manifesting it, PM Modi asked the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) how long India would be kept out of the top UN decision making bodies. He assured the world of the adequate supply of vaccines and highlighted India’s contribution to the UN peacekeeping missions and its non-exclusive foreign policy, making the case for India playing a leading role in the world body. Mr. Modi, who spoke in Hindi and delivered the first speech at the UNGA debate, said the problems and solutions of the world in 1945 were quite different from today. 
(Governance and Institutions)
125 28-09-2020 - India and its neighbours – Mahinda statement on Modi meet silent on 13-A – Hours after India and SL issued a joint statement referring to PM Modi’s call to the Sri Lankan government to address the Tamil minority’s aspirations, with the implementation of the 13th Amendment, PM Rajapaksa’s office released a statement, making no mention of Mr. Modi’s call, or the constitutional provision on power devolution. Mr. Rajapaksa’s statement, following the leaders’ virtual meet, focused on Sri Lanka’s response to the coronavirus pandemic that has drawn international praise.
(Regional Politics)
126 28-09-2020 - World – Clashes erupt between Armenia, Azerbaijan – Clashes erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the volatile Nagorno-Karabakh region, reigniting concern about instability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines transporting oil and gas to world markets. Both sides, which fought a war in the 1990s, reported fatalities. Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that is inside Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians, declared martial law and mobilised their male populations. Armenia said Azerbaijan had carried out an air and artillery attack on Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan said it had responded to Armenian shelling and that it had seized control of up to seven villages, but Nagorno-Karabakh denied this. Sixteen fighters were killed in Nagorny Karabakh.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
127 28-09-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Senate push to confirm Trump’s SC pick – U.S. Senate Republicans prepared a concerted push toward quickly confirming President Trump’s third SC nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, despite strenuous objections by Democrats who appear powerless to stop them. In a White House Rose Garden ceremony  Mr. Trump announced Judge Barrett, 48, as his selection to replace liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on September 18. Judge Barrett said she would be a justice in the mold of the late staunch conservative Antonin Scalia. Her confirmation would result in a 6-3 conservative majority on the court. Mr. Trump urged Republicans, who hold a 53-47 Senate majority, to confirm Judge Barrett, a federal appeals court judge and a favourite of religious conservatives, by the November 3 election. He has said he expects the justices to have to resolve the election in which he faces Democratic challenger Joe Biden.
(World Politics)
128 28-09-2020 - Defence – India, Japan navies match skills in northern Arabian Sea – The fourth edition of the biennial India and Japan naval exercise is under way in the borth Arabian Sea, the Navy said. This is the first exercise following the conclusion of the mutual logistics support agreement early this month. The maritime cooperation has significantly increased between the two sides with focus on information sharing and Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and Indo-Pacific. Stating that naval cooperation has increased in scope and complexity over the years, the Navy said advanced level of operations and exercises planned during JIMEX-20 are indicative of “the continued upswing in Indo-Japanese defence relations and continued efforts by both governments to work closely for a more secure, open and inclusive global commons, in accordance with international regulations.”
(Defence and Military)
129 28-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – Invisible killer threatens country’s sandalwood forests – India’s sandalwood trees, the country’s pride — particularly of Karnataka — are facing a serious threat with the return of the destructive Sandalwood Spike Disease (SSD). The infection has resurfaced in the aromatic tree’s natural habitats in Karnataka and Kerala. According to a study by scientists R. Sundararaj and R. Raja Rishi of the Bengaluru-based Institute of Wood Science & Technology (IWST), the natural population of sandalwood in Marayoor of Kerala and various reserve forests in Karnataka, including MM Hills, are heavily infected with SSD for which there is no cure as of now. Presently, there is no option but to cut down and remove the infected tree to prevent the spread of the disease, caused by phytoplasma — bacterial parasites of plant tissues — which are transmitted by insect vectors. With between 1 and 5% of sandalwood trees lost every year due to the disease, scientists warn that it could wipe out the entire natural population if measures are not taken to prevent its spread. Also, they fear that any delay in arresting the trend may result in the disease spreading to cultivated sandalwood trees.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
130 28-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – India still far from herd immunity, says Vardhan – Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan cautioned that the Indian Council of Medical Research’s first COVID-19 sero-survey should not create a sense of complacency among the people with regard to the virus. Speaking in his social media interaction, Samvaad-3, Dr. Vardhan said indications from the upcoming second sero-survey “are that India is far from having achieved any kind of herd immunity”. He said people should continue to follow COVID-19 appropriate behaviour. The first sero-survey from May had revealed a nationwide prevalence of novel coronavirus infection of only 0.73%. In a reversal, the Minister said the Health Ministry has advised against the wide usage of investigational therapies such as Remdesivir and plasma therapies.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
131 26-09-2020 - Business  – Vodafone wins $2 bn tax case – Vodafone Group has won an international arbitration case against the Indian government, ending one of the most high-profile disputes in the country involving a $2 billion tax claim. An international arbitration tribunal in The Hague ruled that India’s imposition of a tax liability on Vodafone, as well as interest and penalties, were in a breach of an investment treaty agreement between India and the Netherlands. India had claimed a total of ₹27,900 crore ($3.79 billion), including about $2 billion in tax, as well as interest and penalties. It also directed India to pay £4.3 million ($5.47 million) to the company as compensation for its legal costs.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
132 26-09-2020 - World – China aims to make 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses a year – A Chinese health official said that the country’s annual production capacity for novel coronavirus vaccines will top 1 billion doses next year, following an aggressive government support programme for construction of new factories. Capacity is expected to reach 610 million doses by the end of this year, Zheng Zhongwei from the National Health Commission said. American pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Moderna aim to produce a billion doses each in 2021 as well. Mr. Zheng said distribution of the vaccines would prioritize groups such as medical workers, border personnel and the elderly before they are made available to the general public. China has promoted the construction of vaccine testing facilities and manufacturing plants, and assigned independent monitors for their assembly.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
133 26-09-2020 - World – Terror probe opened after two stabbed in Paris – French terrorism authorities are investigating a double-stabbing outside the former Paris offices of a satirical newspaper where a dozen people were killed in 2015, and two suspects have been arrested in Friday’s violence. France’s counterterrorism prosecutor said authorities suspect a terrorist motive because of the place and timing of the stabbings- in front of the building, where Charlie Hebdo was based until the Islamic extremist attack on its cartoonists and at a time when suspects in the 2015 attack are on trial across town. Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said that the chief suspect in Friday’s stabbings was arrested, along with another person. Mr. Ricard said the assailant did not know the people who were stabbed, two workers in a documentary production company who had stepped outside for a smoke break.
(Terrorism)
134 26-09-2020 - World – Kim Jong Un offers South Korea rare apology for killing of official – North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong Un, offered a rare apology Friday for the killing of a South Korean government official at sea by soldiers from the North. Kim’s prompt apology to the South, the first issued in his name since he took power nearly a decade ago, appeared to have headed off what could have been another serious crisis in relations between the Koreas. South Koreans across the political spectrum had expressed outrage since Moon’s government announced the official’s killing. 
(World Politics)
135 26-09-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Sanders warns about transfer of power – Former contender for the Democratic nomination, Senator Bernie Sanders, jointed a host of voices that expressed alarm at U.S. President Donald Trump’s refusal to commit to peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November election. Mr. Sanders said Mr. Trump is to be taken seriously. Mr. Sanders’s remarks came a day after Mr. Trump, when questioned at a press briefing, said he would not commit to the peaceful transfer of power. Again, after Mr. Sanders’s speech, Mr. Trump called into question the integrity of the November elections while talking to reporters at the White House.
(World Politics)
136 26-09-2020 - Education – 40% more OBC aspirants in JEE (A) than open category – The JEE (Advanced) will see around 40% more OBC candidates take the entrance exam than general category students. There will be almost 15,000 fewer open category students than the OBC candidates, a rare instance since OBC reservation was introduced in 2008. While 41,067 general category students will give a shot at the entrance exam, competing against them will be 56,643 from the OBCNL for 27% reserved seats (about 3,780 seats). While 3.9 lakh open category students took the JEE (main), the first level of the entrance exam, there were 4.02 lakh OBC-NL candidates. Not just boys, even more girls from the OBC category sat for the Mains.
(Education)
137 26-09-2020 - J&K – DNA tests show 3 slain ‘foreign ultras’ from J&K – Forensic tests have found a DNA match between the exhumed bodies of three unidentified “foreign terrorists” killed in an encounter with security forces in south Kashmir on July 18 and samples taken from the families of three Rajouri labourers reported missing after leaving home for Shopian to look for work, J&K Police said. The confirmation from Kashmir IGP Vijay Kumar came within days of an Army inquiry finding “certain prima facie evidence” of the 62 Rashtriya Rifles “exceeding” powers vested under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act during the disputed encounter at Amshipora in Shopian.
(Defence and Military, Science and Technology)
138 26-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Nearly seven crore COVID-19 tests conducted in India – India has recorded a high of nearly 15 lakh COVID-19 tests in a day. With 14,92,409 tests conducted in the last 24 hours, the cumulative tests have touched nearly 7 crore (6,89,28,440). The surge in the daily testing capacities demonstrated the determined escalation of the testing infrastructure in the country. The last one crore tests were conducted in merely 9 days. The tests per million (TPM) stand at 49,948 as of today. Evidence has revealed that higher numbers of testing subsequently led to lowered positivity rate. The States that were testing the highest numbers were also reporting a gradual decline in the positivity rate. With the expansion of testing infrastructure, the daily testing by States/UTs has also increased. Twenty-three States/UTs have better tests per million than the national average (49,948).
(Healthcare and Medicine)
139 26-09-2020 - Economy – CAG: 40% of cess diverted from specified funds – The Comptroller and Auditor General has pulled up the government for diverting a large chunk of the money it collected as cess to the general pool, making it difficult to ensure that the funds were used for the intended purpose. It also said the Centre had overstated its revenue and transferred a lower share of GST to states than it should have. A CAG report on government finances tabled in Parliament found that the Centre did not transfer nearly 40% of the cesses to the designated funds. “…Out of the Rs 2,74,592 crore received from 35 cesses, levies and other charges in 2018-19, only Rs 1,64,322 crore had been transferred to reserve funds/ boards during the year and the rest was retained in the CFI (Consolidated Fund of India),” the report observed.
(Indian Economy)
140 26-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Bihar poll to be held in 3 phases from Oct. 28 – The Bihar Assembly election will be be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7, followed by the counting on November 10, the Election Commission of India (ECI) announced. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said the number of phases as well as the duration of the conduct of the poll had been reduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the first phase, election will be held in 71 of the 243 constituencies, while the second phase will cover 94 seats and the third phase 78. With 7.29 crore electors, the poll could be the largest held during a pandemic in the immediate future.
(Governance and Institutions)
141 25-09-2020 - Business  – Harley shuts India factory, sales – Harley-Davidson Inc. has announced that it will discontinue its sales and manufacturing operations in India and shed about 70 jobs in the country as part of a global strategic restructuring plan ‘The Rewire’. Harley’s decision to exit one of the world’s largest markets for two-wheelers — domestic motorcycle and scooter sales in the 12 months ended March 2020 exceeded 17 million units — follows a struggle to find takers for its bikes, including the Street, which saw it register sale of less than 2,500 units in the last financial year. The U.S. company’s decision to exit manufacturing also undermines the government’s efforts to attract and retain global manufacturers as it aims to woo investment from firms looking to exit China.
(Indian Economy, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
142 25-09-2020 - World – Trailblazing journalist Harold Evans dead at 92 – Sir Harold Evans, a British-American Editor whose 70-year career as a hard-driving investigative journalist, magazine founder, book publisher and author made him one of the most influential media figures of his generation, died at the age of 92. Evans died of congestive heart failure in New York. A former editor of Britain’s Sunday Times and, at his death, Reuters editor-at-large, Evans put a unique stamp on investigative journalism. Championing causes either overlooked or denied, he and his team uncovered human rights abuses and political scandals, and advocated for clean air policies. Evans received one of the highest honours of the British monarchy when he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2004 for his services to British journalism. He penned several books, including The American Century and its sequel They Made America, as well as an ode to good writing called Do I Make Myself Clear?
(People and Personalities)
143 25-09-2020 - World – Navalny out of German hospital – Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released from a Berlin hospital after over a month’s treatment for poisoning, with doctors now believing that a complete recovery from the Soviet-era nerve agent is possible for him. Mr. Navalny spent 32 days at Berlin’s Charite hospital, 24 of them in intensive care, before doctors deemed his condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care. After his release, Mr. Navalny, in an Instagram post, took a swipe at Russian President Vladimir Putin, scoffing at reported comments by the Russian leader, suggesting that Mr. Navalny might have intentionally poisoned himself.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
144 25-09-2020 - World – Enormous divisions on UNSC expansion reforms need package solution, says China – China, which has been stonewalling India’s entry into the UN Security Council, on Thursday said there were “enormous divisions” on reforms to expand the premier body of the United Nations and expressed its willingness to work for a “package solution” that can accommodate interests and concerns of all parties. The G4 grouping comprising India, Japan, Germany and Brazil on Wednesday expressed their concern over lack of any “meaningful” forward movement on long-pending reform of the UN Security Council (UNSC) and demanded “urgency” on the issue. The foreign ministers of the G4 countries, including EAM, held a virtual meeting coinciding with the 75th session of the UNGA.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
145 25-09-2020 - World – 380 ‘detention camps’ in Xinjiang: report – China is running hundreds of detention centres in northwest Xinjiang across a network that is much bigger than previously thought, according to research presented on Thursday by an Australian think tank. The Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) said it had identified more than 380 “suspected detention facilities” in the region, where China is believed to have held more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking residents. The number of facilities is around 40% greater than previous estimates, the research said, and has been growing despite China's claims that many Uighurs have been released. Using satellite imagery, eyewitness accounts, media reports and official construction tender documents, the institute said “at least 61 detention sites have seen new construction and expansion work between July 2019 and July 2020”.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
146 25-09-2020 - Defence  – IAF bought uncertified UAV engines at inflated prices: CAG – The Comptroller and Auditor-General (CAG) has recommended an investigation into the purchase of five Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) engines in 2010 by the Indian Air Force, noting that the same engines were purchased by a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) laboratory at almost one-third the price two years later, resulting in an undue gain for the vendor of ₹3.16 crore. The CAG recommended “fixing of responsibility for wrongful supply and acceptance of mislabelled engines by the IAF”. “Israel Aircraft Industries [IAI] Ltd. gained an undue benefit of ₹3.16 crore as it supplied five UAV engines at more than three times the market price.”
(Defence and Military)
147 25-09-2020 - CAA Protests and Violence – Eminent people call for Umar Khalid’s release – A group of eminent academics, writers, filmmakers and artistes from around the world, including Noam Chomsky, Salman Rushdie and Mira Nair, on Thursday called for the release of former JNU students’ leader and activist Umar Khalid, who was arrested in connection with the February riots in Delhi. Mr. Khalid had been charged with sedition, conspiracy to murder, and under sections of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
148 25-09-2020 - Awards and Honours – Jnanpith presented to Malayalam ‘Mahakavi’ Akkitham – Malayalam literature witnessed a golden moment when the Jnanpith award announced in November last year was handed over to poet Akkitham Achuthan Namboothiri at a special function held at his house at Kumaranallur in the district. Minister for Cultural Affairs A.K. Balan presented the Jnanpith, the country’s highest literary award, to Akkitham. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the function through videoconferencing. Kerala and Malayalis across the world had celebrated it when Akkitham became the sixth writer to bring Jnanpith to Malayalam literature in November last year. The COVID-19 lockdown delayed the award ceremony.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
149 25-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – As daily tests drop, active cases fall but positivity rate rises – The seven-day average growth rate in active cases of Covid-19 in India has slipped into the negative, helped by recoveries exceeding daily new cases for last six consecutive days. It indicates a decline in the actual caseload of the infection, even as a drop in average daily tests through the week has raised concerns. The seven-day average growth rate in active cases was -0.6% for the Sept 17-23 period. However, active cases in the country rose again on Thursday, breaking a sixday declining trend. Lower testing numbers have also resulted in a rise in the positivity rate — the percentage of positive cases in total tests. The positivity rate in the first three days of the week was 9.3%, as opposed to 8.7% in the previous two weeks, pointing to the need to ramp up testing.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
150 25-09-2020 - Defence – ‘If PLA comes close, our troops can fire’ – Shots have been fired in the air on multiple occasions on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh recently, and the Chinese have been given a clear message that pushing back Indian soldiers physically will not work any more, a senior government official said. Stating that once a melee happens, like the Galwan clash on June 15, opening fire was not possible, the official pointed out, “Now, we said, if you come close we will fire. Distance is dependent on the conditions like day or night, location and so on... If they are about to be overrun or in self-defence, troops are authorised to fire.”.
(Defence and Military)
151 24-09-2020 - World  – Malaysia’s Anwar claims ‘strong majority’ to form new government – Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim said he had secured a “strong majority” from lawmakers to form a new government, seven months after a power grab within the ruling coalition brought down the administration elected in May 2018.  Anwar said he had been “approached by a number of MPs from various parties” who were unhappy with the existing leadership of Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
152 24-09-2020 - World – Embattled Belarusian dictator sworn in for new term in office in complete secrecy – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko took the oath of office at a secret ceremony in a move his opponents attributed to his desire to avoid crowds of demonstrators who have held historic protests against his disputed re-election. Lukashenko has faced massive demonstrations against his rule since claiming victory with more than 80 percent in a presidential election on August 9, with tens of thousands marching at the latest protest in the capital Minsk.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
153 24-09-2020 - World – Navalny out of German hospital – Russian Opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been released from a Berlin hospital after over a month’s treatment for poisoning, with doctors now believing that a complete recovery from the Soviet-era nerve agent is possible for him. Mr. Navalny spent 32 days at Berlin’s Charite hospital, 24 of them in intensive care, before doctors deemed his condition had improved sufficiently for him to be discharged from acute inpatient care. After his release, Mr. Navalny, in an Instagram post, took a swipe at Russian President Vladimir Putin, scoffing at reported comments by the Russian leader, suggesting that Mr. Navalny might have intentionally poisoned himself.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
154 24-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – China vows to go carbon neutral by 2060 – The U.S. is guilty of “obstructing” the global fight against emissions, China said, as Beijing seized the climate agenda by vowing to go carbon neutral by 2060, a target welcomed by environmentalists despite its patchy detail. The goals, which include a pledge to reach peak emissions in 2030, are the most concrete ones yet announced by China, which is the world's biggest polluter and accounts for a quarter of the planet's greenhouse gas emissions. They also open a new divergence in relations with the U.S., which are already pinched by squabbles over trade, tech, defence and human rights. Under President Donald Trump, the United States, the world's second-largest polluter, pulled out of the agreement, blaming China for the stalled momentum on tackling global emissions.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
155 24-09-2020 - World – Turkey rakes up J&K at UNGA, India hits back – India asked Turkey not to meddle in its internal affairs after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised the Kashmir issue at the UNGA. Erdogan said Kashmir was a burning issue and scrapping of J&K’s special status had complicated the problem. Calling the remarks unacceptable, India said, “Turkey should learn to respect the sovereignty of other nations and reflect on its own policies more deeply”.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
156 24-09-2020 - Achievements  – Kashi girl Shivangi Singh to become first IAF woman fighter pilot to fly Rafale – Kashi girl Shivangi Singh, the Rafale squadron’s first woman fighter pilot, is set to make history by flying the multi-role air dominance aircraft amid escalating border tensions with China. Commissioned in 2017 in the second batch of women fighter pilots, Flight Lieutenant Shivangi Singh is currently undergoing conversion training and will shortly become a part of 17 Squadron, the Golden Arrows, in Ambala. She has been flying MiG-21 Bisons since her commissioning.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
157 24-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Assess use of local lockdowns, push to reopen economy: PM – PM Modi indicated his scepticism over “local lockdowns” imposed for a day or two in combating Covid-19 and asked high focus states to assess if such steps are hindering restoration of economic activities while proving to be of little use. Urging states to weigh the impact of local lockdowns, Modi, in his interaction with the CMs and health ministers of seven high burden states, including Maharashtra, stressed the need to focus on “micro containment zones” to curb Covid spread and allow usual activities to go on. With arbitrary lockdowns in July and August seen to have hurt the economy, the Centre had told states to avoid such steps unless cleared by MHA. Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Delhi and Punjab, account for more than 63% of active cases. These states also account for 65.5% of cumulative cases and 77% of total deaths.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
158 24-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Labour Bills passed amid boycott – Parliament passed three Bills that complete the government’s codification of 29 labour laws into four codes, with the Rajya Sabha passing the Industrial Relations Code, 2020, the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020 and the Social Security Code, 2020. The Upper House passed the three Bills after less than two hours of discussion, while the Opposition continued its boycott that started on Tuesday over the passage of two agriculture Bills. The three Bills that merge 25 laws were passed by the Lok Sabha earlier. The first of the four codes, the Code on Wages, was passed by Parliament in 2019.
(Governance and Institutions)
159 24-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Monsoon session ends in a flurry of protests – Opposition parties held three rounds of protests in Parliament on the last day of the monsoon session, and Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad met President Ram Nath Kovind, urging him not to give his assent to the three farm Bills passed by both the Houses. In a silent protest, over 75 Rajya Sabha MPs belonging to the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Rashtriya Janata Dal, Aam Aadmi Party, Samajwadi Party and Nationalist Congress Party marched from the Gandhi statue to the Ambedkar statue within the Parliament complex. On last day of session, Parliament passed three Bills — the Industrial Relations Code, 2020; the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, 2020; and the Social Security Code, 2020 — while the Opposition continued its boycott that started on Tuesday over the passage of the three agriculture Bills.
(Governance and Institutions)
160 24-09-2020 - Defence – CAG: Rafale vendors yet to confirm tech transfer – French aerospace major Dassault Aviation and European missile maker MBDA have till date “not confirmed” the transfer of technology for the indigenous development of engine for the Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), under the offset contract relating to the ₹60,000 crore deal for 36 Rafale fighter jets, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) said in a report tabled in Parliament. The report on offset clauses in defence deals observed that in October 2019, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) informed that the vendor had not yet been able to confirm their capability for doing the requisite upgradation. Thus, it is not clear if this technology transfer will take place, and there is need for MoD/DRDO to identify and acquire the right technologies in order to comply with the directions of Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) given in September 2016.
(Defence and Military)
161 23-09-2020 - Corporate World  – Mistrys seek to sell Tata stake, but valuation seen as challenge – The Pallonji Mistry family announced its decision to exit Tata Sons—the holding company of India’s largest conglomerate in which it is the largest minority shareholder with almost 18.4%— after a bitter and protracted four-year battle in courtrooms and outside. In a 700-word-plus statement accusing the Tatas of “value -destructive business decisions” and of “oppressive” and “vindictive” actions aimed at “suppressing and inflicting irreparable harm to the SP Group”, the Mistrys said “the family believes a separation of interests would best serve all stakeholder groups”, and it was “crucial an early resolution is reached for a fair and equitable solution reflecting the value of the underlying tangible and intangible assets”. But separation will be far from easy—chiefly because the Mistrys peg their stake’s worth at around Rs 1.78 lakh crore, while a 2016 valuation of Tata Sons by renowned CA Y H Malegam estimated it at about a third—Rs 57,600 cr.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
162 23-09-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Pak Army ISI had secret meeting with Oppn leaders ahead of multi-party conference Report  – Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI head Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed held a secret meeting with the key Opposition leaders just days before a multi-party conference and asked them to refrain from dragging the military’s name into their political differences with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Mr. Bajwa and Hameed held the meeting on September 16 in which about 15 politicians, including Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, were present. According to the ground rules set for the session, the meeting was not to be publicly disclosed, the report said.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
163 23-09-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Sri Lankan govt. tables 20th Amendment Bill – Sri Lanka’s Justice Minister Ali Sabry tabled the contentious 20th Amendment Bill in Parliament, as Opposition members protested by raising slogans against the move. “We don’t want 20,” members of the main Opposition party Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB, or United People’s Front) chanted in chorus. The party is mulling moving the Supreme Court, according to political sources, to challenge the draft Amendment that greatly enhances the powers of the Executive President, while replacing the preceding 19th Amendment of 2015 that sought to clip them. In addition to strengthening the ambit and power of the President’s office, the Bill envisages a diminished role for the Prime Minister and Parliament.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
164 23-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – LS passes 3 labour code bills, RS to take them up today – Amid boycott from major opposition parties, including Congress, Lok Sabha passed three important labour code bills — the Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions Code, the Industrial Relations Code, and the Code on Social Security. The bills provide for social security to workers in organised and unorganised sectors while consolidating 39 labour laws under four codes. The bill was supported by TDP, JD(U), BJD and YSR Congress.
(Governance and Institutions)
165 23-09-2020 - Aggressive China – China brings Xinjiang-like labour plan to Tibet: Report – A US research institute alleged that China is forcing Tibetan farmers and herders into labour programmes similar to those used in troubled Xinjiang,. The moves risk a “loss of cultural heritage” in the politically sensitive region, the group warned. Authorities in Tibet, a predominantly Buddhist area in China’s far west, have touted the scheme — which puts rural workers to task in factories — as a tool for poverty alleviation. They say this is in line with President Xi Jinping’s goal of eradicating extreme poverty by the end of 2020. But researchers at the Jamestown Foundation said “militarised vocational training” is also a form of ideological indoctrination and assimilation towards ethnic Tibetans, who make up 90% of the region’s population. The group’s report said over 5,00,000 rural labourers were trained in the first seven months of 2020, with each county assigned quotas. 
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
166 23-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates/World – Hold China accountable for virus: Trump – Delivering a campaign style speech to the UN General Assembly’s 75th session, U.S. President Donald Trump said China must be held responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Trump also used his video message at the general debate to talk up the U.S.’s work to address the pandemic, his economic record and trade deals. “We will distribute a vaccine, we will defeat the virus, we will end the pandemic,” Mr. Trump said. Mr. Trump — who faces an election in November — said that in three years he had built the “greatest economy in history”. The President talked about a peace deal he had facilitated between Serbia and Kosovo and a deal between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain to strengthen ties ( the “Abraham Accords”, signed last week at the White House).
(Healthcare and Medicine)
167 23-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – As opposition walks out, RS passes 7 bills in 3.5 hrs – With opposition benches in the Rajya Sabha empty - their occupants walked out on Tuesday saying they would boycott proceedings until the suspension of eight MPs was revoked—the House passed seven bills, including one for return to the Lok Sabha, in a record 3.5 hours. Among the bills passed by voice vote during the extended RS sitting, with the discussion and the minister’s reply on each bill getting completed in a matter of a few minutes, was the Indian Institutes of Information Technology Laws (Amendment) Bill.
(Governance and Institutions)
168 23-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – ‘Vaccine with even 50% efficacy may be cleared’ – No vaccine for respiratory diseases has a 100% efficacy and ones with a 50-100% efficacy may be approved for use against the Covid-19 pandemic, Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) director general Dr Balram Bhargava said, even as he added that maximum efficacy will be sought. No vaccines for respiratory diseases have 100% efficacy. WHO says a vaccine should have three things safety, immunogenicity (the ability of a foreign substance to trigger an immune response) and efficacy. WHO has said a vaccine with 50% efficacy can be accepted. We are aiming for 100%, but the vaccine’s efficacy would be anywhere between 50-100%, Mr. Bhargava said.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
169 23-09-2020 - India-China Standoff 2020 – Army talks positive but no headway on de-escalation – In a joint statement on the sixth round of Corps Commanders talks, India and China said both sides had agreed to “stop sending more troops to the frontline” and “refrain from unilaterally changing the situation on the ground” while agreeing to hold more talks to resolve the standoff. The two sides had candid and in-depth exchanges on stabilising the situation along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), it stated. The recent talks will ensure there is no further build-up along the LAC. The two sides also agreed to hold the 7th round of military commander-level talks as soon as possible, “take practical measures to properly solve problems on the ground, and jointly safeguard peace and tranquillity in the border area”, the statement added.
(Defence and Military)
170 23-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Opposition parties walk out of both Houses of Parliament – Opposition parties boycotted Parliament, first walking out of the Rajya Sabha in the morning and later from the Lok Sabha, protesting against the flawed passage of the two farm Bills in the Upper House. Meanwhile, the eight suspended Rajya Sabha members, who had staged an all night sit-in under the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside Parliament, ended their protest. Parliament is expected to adjourn sine die on Sept 23. MPs from the Congress, the Trinamool Congress, the DMK, the TRS, the AAP, the RJD, the NCP, the CPI(M), the CPI and other smaller parties boycotted the proceedings in both Houses. The Bahujan Samaj Party, the Biju Janata Dal and the YSR Congress did not participate in the boycott.
(Governance and Institutions)
171 22-09-2020 - Economy  – Black Monday on Dalal Street – The stock market tumbled over 2% mirroring global weakness as the rapid rise in Covid-19 cases in Europe revived fears of fresh curbs on people movement.  Mid- and smallcap shares — which outperformed in the past week — suffered bigger losses as the unexpected drop mid-way through the session triggered margin calls by brokers, forcing retail investors to cut exposure. News reports said France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK had witnessed a renewed surge in Covid-19 cases over the weekend, causing European markets to decline almost 3% and Dow futures to drop nearly 720 points. Last week, the WHO had termed the rising novel coronavirus cases in Europe a “very serious situation”.
(Indian Economy)
172 22-09-2020 - Economy – Centre Hikes MSP For Rabi Crops – A day after the passage of two farm bills amid opposition protests and allegations that farmer interests were being sacrificed, the Centre announced increase in minimum support price of six Rabi crops ranging from 2%to 6% with lentils (pulses) and mustard (oilseed) getting the highest raise. The announcement in Lok Sabha of new MSPs much ahead of the beginning of the Rabi sowing season is seen as an attempt by the government to allay doubts of farmers over the future of the support price regime in the wake of the two farm bills — one on agri market and the other on contract farming. Some farm organisations and many opposition parties have taken up the issue, with BJP’s longtime partner Akali Dal quitting the cabinet. Records of the past 12 years show that the government had not made an announcement on MSPs for Rabi crops in September.
(Agriculture, Indian Economy)
173 22-09-2020 - Covid-19 Updates – U.S. closes in on 2 lakh deaths weeks before election – The United States edged close to registering 200,000 COVID-19 deaths, the latest grim milestone for the country just weeks before voters decide if President Donald Trump will stay in office. According to a rolling tally by Johns Hopkins University, 199,743 Americans have died and 6.8 million have been confirmed infected. The US has had the world’s highest official death toll for months, ahead of Brazil and India, with 136,895 and 87,882 deaths respectively. Overall, the US accounts for four percent of the world’s population and 20 percent of its coronavirus deaths, while its daily fatality rate relative to the overall population is four times greater than that of the European Union. Critics say the statistics expose the Trump administration’s failure to meet its sternest test ahead of the November 3 election.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
174 22-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – Bacteria behind deaths of 330 Botswana elephants – Toxins in water produced by cyanobacteria killed more than 300 elephants in Botswana this year, officials said. Cyanobacteria are microscopic organisms common in water and sometimes found in soil. Not all produce toxins but scientists say toxic ones are occurring more frequently as climate change drives up global temperatures. The number of dead elephants had risen to 330, from 281 reported in July. Botswana has highest Elephant population in world.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
175 22-09-2020 - World – Support for Taiwan independence doomed to fail: China – China ramped up its rhetoric over Taiwan, describing any support for its independence as “doomed to fail”, and threatened retaliation against U.S. diplomatic visits to the island. Taiwan has been ruled separately from China since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing considers the island part of its territory awaiting reunification. The island is a flashpoint with Washington, which promises military support to the elected government and has sent two envoys to Taipei in as many months. At a press briefing on Monday, the Foreign Ministry said that the envoys’ visits were a “political provocation” and threatened retaliation.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
176 22-09-2020 - Social – SC quashes NLSIU’s entrance test, orders CLAT on Sept 28 – The SC quashed the September 3 notification issued by the National Law School India University (NLSIU), Bengaluru, for conducting a separate National Law Aptitude Test (NLAT) on September 12 for admission to its UG and PG courses. A bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy and MR Shah has held that NLSIU could not have issued the said notification without the recommendation of the academic council, as required under the provisions of National Law School India University Act 1986. The top court directed the conduct of Common Law Admission Test (CLAT) on September 28, by taking all precautions to address the health safety of candidates after following the standard operating procedures of the ministry of health and family welfare and ministry of human resource development.
(Constitution and Law, Social Issues)
177 22-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – Hundreds of whales stranded in Australia – At least twenty-five whales have died and scientists are trying to rescue 250 more that are stranded in a remote bay on the Australian island of Tasmania. Tasmania’s environment department said the whales had become stuck on a sandbar in Macquarie Harbour, on the island’s rugged and sparsely populated west coast. Nic Deka, who is managing the incident response, said two large pods were stranded on sandbars a few hundred metres apart inside the harbour. They are believed to be pilot whales but officials are yet to confirm the species. Mass whale strandings occur often in Tasmania, but the large numbers involved present a daunting rescue prospect.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
178 22-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Over 90,000 COVID-19 recoveries for third day – India has reported more than 90,000 COVID-19 recoveries for the third day in succession, with 93,356 patients having been discharged in the last 24 hours, the Union Health Ministry said, adding that 79% of the new recoveries are from 10 States/Union Territories. The total recovered cases are close to 44 lakh [43,96,399] and India tops the global figure of total recoveries. It accounts for more than 19% of the world total.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
179 22-09-2020 - India-China Standoff 2020 – India, China begin sixth round of talks – India cannot meet China half way in the disengagement process as India has to maintain troops for protection of territory, an official source said as the sixth round of Corps Commander-level talks aimed at ending the five month long standoff along the disputed boundary in Ladakh. The Indian side is led by Lt. Gen. Harinder Singh, 14 Corps Commander who was accompanied by Lt. Gen. P.G.K. Menon, set to take over as the 14 Corps Commander in October. The Chinese side is led by Maj. Gen. Lin Liu, South Xinjiang military commander. For the first time, Naveen Srivastava, Joint Secretary handling East Asia division in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), is part of the Indian delegation. Mr. Srivastava has been part of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination (WMCC) talks between India-China border affairs and holding talks with the Chinese side during the ongoing standoff.
(Defence and Military)
180 22-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – 8 Opposition MPs suspended from RS for ‘unruly behaviour’ – The Rajya Sabha suspended eight Opposition MPs for their “unruly” behaviour with Deputy Chairman Harivansh on Sunday during the debate and voting on two farm sector Bills. Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu also rejected the Opposition’s no-confidence motion against the Deputy Chairman, saying the notice was not in proper format. However, the suspended MPs refused to leave the House and the day’s proceedings saw repeated disruptions and adjournments. After four adjournments, Vice-Chairman Bhubaneswar Kalita adjourned the House. Mr. Naidu said the incidents were unfortunate and the image of Parliament had been “tarnished”, some members had entered the well of the House, thrown papers, broken microphones and abused Mr. Harivansh while the two Bills were being discussed. He added that the Deputy Chairman had been physically threatened.
(Governance and Institutions)
181 21-09-2020 - Covid-19 Updates  – WHO clears protocol for COVID-19 herbal medicine trials – The WHO endorsed a protocol for testing African herbal medicines as potential treatments for the coronavirus and other epidemics. COVID-19 has raised the issue of using traditional medicines to battle contemporary diseases, and the endorsement clearly encouraged testing with criteria similar to those used for molecules developed by labs in Asia, Europe or the Americas. It came months after a bid by the President of Madagascar to promote a drink based on artemisia, a plant with proven efficacy in malaria treatment, was met with widespread scorn.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
182 21-09-2020 - World – U.S. says UN sanctions on Iran back in force, others disagree – The U.S. unilaterally proclaimed that UN sanctions against Iran were back in force and promised to punish those who violate them, in a move other major countries — including its allies — said lacked legal basis. The so-called snapback — announced last month — also drew a sharp rebuke from Tehran, which called on the rest of the world to unite against U.S. “reckless actions.” The U.S. administration also promised to “impose consequences” on any UN member state which does not comply with the measures. The sanctions in question were lifted in 2015 when Iran signed on to an international agreement not to seek to build nuclear weapons.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
183 21-09-2020 - World – Thailand protesters challenge monarchy, seek PM’s ouster – Tens of thousands of pro-democracy protesters massed close to Thailand’s Grand Palace, in a huge rally calling for PM Prayut Chan-O-Cha to step down and demanding reforms to the monarchy. The kingdom has seen near-daily gatherings of youth-led groups since mid-July calling for the resignation of Mr. Prayut, the former Army chief behind the 2014 coup, and a complete overhaul of his administration. Some are also demanding reforms to Thailand’s ultra-wealthy and powerful monarchy — a once-taboo topic in the country due to its tough royal defamation laws. The burgeoning movement, partly inspired by Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests, remains largely leaderless.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
184 21-09-2020 - USA  – SC nominee will be a woman: Trump – President Trump said he will nominate a woman to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court, a move that would tip the court further to the right following the death of liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg. He praised Ginsburg as a “legal giant... Her landmark rulings, fierce devotion to justice and her courageous battle against cancer inspire all Americans.” Earlier, he praised two women as possible replacements: conservatives he elevated to federal appeals courts. Mr. Trump named Amy Coney Barrett of the Chicago-based 7th Circuit and Barbara Lagoa of the Atlanta-based 11th Circuit as possible nominees for a lifetime appointment to the highest U.S. court. It would be his third appointment during his first term. Ginsburg’s death from cancer after 27 years on the court handed Mr. Trump, who is seeking re-election on November 3, the opportunity to expand its conservative majority to 6-3 at a time of a gaping political divide in America.
 
(World Politics)
185 21-09-2020 - World – Violent Attacks Plague Afghanistan as Peace Talks in Doha Slow – Violence continued unabated across Afghanistan, as negotiators from the warring sides remained bogged down by disagreements over a framework for talks a week after historic negotiations began in Doha. More than a dozen civilians were feared dead in one airstrike by Afghan forces in the North. The deaths came as a week of discussions still had not finalized the rules for negotiations over contentious issues, like a cease-fire and the form of a future government. The slow pace highlighted how complicated the effort to end to the Afghan war will likely be.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
186 21-09-2020 - Constitution and Law – Make ethics code must for all news channels, NBA tells SC – The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) has told the SC to make its code of ethics against airing malicious, biased and regressive content applicable to all TV news channels. For this, the NBA suggested that the court direct the government to include its ethical code in the Programme Code of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. All news channels, whether they are NBA members or not, will then have to follow the Programme Code containing the proposed amendments. The NBA affidavit is in response to an order by the Supreme Court on September 18 to suggest steps to strengthen the self-regulatory mechanism to prevent or penalise airing of communal or derogatory content on electronic media. The order was in the background of a plea to stop the telecast of a programme ‘Bindas Bol’ on Sudarshan TV containing objectionable content against the Muslim entries into the civil services.
(Constitution and Law)
187 21-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – First desi gene-based Covid test gets nod – An indigenously developed test that uses the cutting-edge CRISPR gene-editing technology to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus has been approved for commercial launch by the Drugs Controller General of India. Developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s IGIB (Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology) in Delhi, along with the Tata Group, the test—named Feluda—will diagnose the virus in two hours. The Tata CRISPR test is the world’s first diagnostic test to deploy a specially adapted Cas9 protein to successfully detect the virus causing Covid-19. CSIR officials told TOI it is similar to a pregnancy test, containing a strip of paper that changes colour on detection of the virus in the sample. The cost of the test once commercialised is estimated to be under Rs 600.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
188 21-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – ICMR’s second sero-survey ends – The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has completed its second national sero-survey to gauge the prevalence of COVID-19. The first survey was conducted in May across 400 districts and about 28,000 were sampled — most of them in rural India — to gauge the spread of the infection. After a long delay, the ICMR finally published its results this month that suggested that nearly 6.4 million were likely infected with the virus by May. There were 82-130 infections that went undetected for every confirmed case in May. But newspaper reports citing unnamed authors of that study, alleged that a portion of their results were expunged, which showed high prevalence of the infection in hotspots in 10 cities that were originally part of the paper. This suggested that in May the possible prevalence of the infection was 36% in Dharavi, Mumbai; 48% in Ahmedabad and 30% in Kolkata.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
189 21-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Amid fierce protests, Rajya Sabha passes two farm Bills – Two of the three agriculture-related legislation piloted by the Narendra Modi government, aimed at liberalising the farm sector, were passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote on Sunday amid a din as the Opposition parties, enraged by the refusal of Deputy Chairman Harivansh to allow voting on resolutions they moved, broke microphones, stood up on tables and flung papers in the air. The legislation — the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, were cleared by the Lok Sabha last week.
(Governance and Institutions)
190 21-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Govt. tables Bill to amend FCRA – The Centre is set to amend the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act and proposes to make Aadhaar a mandatory identification document for all the office-bearers, directors and other key functionaries of an NGO or an association eligible to receive foreign donations. The Bill says the amendment is required to enhance transparency and accountability in the receipt and utilisation of foreign contributions worth thousands of crores of rupees every year and facilitating the “genuine” non-governmental organisations or associations who are working for the welfare of society. The Bill proposes to include “public servant” and “corporation owned or controlled by the government” among the list of entities who are not eligible to receive foreign donations, the draft says.
(Governance and Institutions)
191 19-09-2020 - Business World  – Row erupts as Google app store drops Paytm, then brings it back – High drama unfolded as search engine giant Google removed mobile payment application Paytm from its Play Store, citing breach of its gambling restrictions, before bringing it back again by evening. Paytm's fantasy gaming application was also removed ahead of the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) and was not back till the filing of this report. The removal of Paytm’s application, which takes away the ability to get new users, elicited widespread disapproval among India’s startup ecosystem as the USbased technology giant’s unit Google Pay competes with it in India. In the promo, a user who collects five stickers is entitled to a cashback.
(Science and Technology)
192 19-09-2020 - Society – 60% Indian kids go to school on foot: Survey – Around 60% of students in India go to school on foot with the number being significantly higher in rural areas and among primary and upper primary students. Overall, more girls walk to school (62%) than boys (57.9%). The second most preferred mode of travel is public transport (12.4%), followed by bicycle (11.3%), according to the NSO’s latest report on education, reports Manash Pratim Gohain. The report says threefourth of the primary and upper-primary students travel by foot, which comes down significantly in the secondary and above levels. Bicycles are a mode of transport for more than one fourth of students in secondary and senior secondary schools.
(Education)
193 19-09-2020 - World – U.S. to ban WeChat & TikTok, cites privacy, national security – The U.S. will ban the downloads of the Chinese apps TikTok and WeChat, with a total ban on the use of the latter, citing national security and data privacy concerns. A total ban on the use of TikTok will follow on Nov 12, but Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said early Friday on Fox Business Network that access to that app may be possible if certain safeguards are put into place. The government said its order will “combat China’s malicious collection of American citizens’ personal data.” The order also raises questions about California tech giant Oracle’s recent deal to take over U.S. operations of TikTok, a requirement by the Trump administration for the app to continue operating in the U.S.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
194 19-09-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Attacks surge in northwest Pakistan as Afghan peace effort brings shifting sands – Militants have stepped up attacks on security forces in northwest Pakistan raising fears of a revival of their insurgency and a return of lawlessness as brighter prospects for peace in Afghanistan herald shifting Islamist alliances.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
195 19-09-2020 - World – China sends fighters towards Taiwan – While tensions remain high and a military build-up continues along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, China has ratcheted up tensions on its eastern front, with 18 Chinese fighters and bombers crossing the mid-line of the Taiwan Strait and flying towards Taiwan in a major show of military force. The combat drills on Friday were aimed to coincide with the visit to Taiwan of U.S. Undersecretary for Economic Affairs Keith Krach, the most senior official to visit the island in four decades. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Eastern Theater Command said in a statement on Friday that “combat-ready patrols and joint air-sea exercises in the Taiwan Straits” were held “to test the joint operations capability of multiservices”.
(Defence and Military)
196 19-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – RS passes Bill to slash salaries of MPs – The Bill to reduce the salaries of parliamentarians by 30% for one year to meet the exigencies arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic was cleared by Rajya Sabha even as the govt came under a sharp attack from the Opposition for not cutting down on “luxuries” like the Central Vista redevelopment project and construction of a new Parliament building. Lok Sabha had passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 bill earlier this week. It will replace the Salary, Allowances And Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020, that was cleared by the Cabinet on April 6 and promulgated the next day.
(Governance and Institutions)
197 19-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Rajasthan sets price cap on COVID-19 treatment, tests – The Rajasthan govt has set a price cap on the diagnostic tests and treatment of COVID-19 at private hospitals and laboratories, while listing various medicines, investigations and other services and incorporating the charges for personal protective equipment (PPE) kit in the treatment packages. Medical & Health Minister Raghu Sharma said here that the decision was taken amid reports that private hospitals were charging an exorbitant fee for treatment. While the rate of RT-PCR tests at private laboratories for diagnosis of COVID-19 was fixed at ₹1,200, the cost of treatment was fixed on the basis of accreditation of hospitals by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL). According to a notification which has replaced a previous order of June 20, the charges for treatment have been kept at ₹5,000 to ₹9,000 per day in hospitals not certified by the NABL.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
198 19-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Farmer outfits call for ‘Bharat bandh’ on Sept. 25 – Several farmer outfits have announced an intensified agitation after the Centre passed three agriculture Bills in the ongoing monsoon session of the Lok Sabha. Over 250 farmer and farm worker organisations, under the umbrella of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), have given a call for a ‘Bharat bandh’ on September 25 in protest against the passing of the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, and Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020.
(Agriculture, Governance and Institutions)
199 19-09-2020 - Constitution and Law – Delhi HC steps in to bridge digital divide – The Delhi High Court directed both private and government schools in the Capital to provide gadgets and Internet package free of cost to poor students for attending online classes, a verdict aimed at narrowing the COVID-19 pandemic-induced digital divide. A Bench of Justices Manmohan and Sanjeev Narula said if a school decides to opt for online mode as a medium of instruction, it will have to ensure that students belonging to the economically weaker section (EWS) and disadvantaged group (DG) category also have access and are able to avail of the same.
(Constitution and Law)
200 19-09-2020 - India-China Standoff 2020 – Ten patrolling points in eastern Ladakh blocked by Chinese – There are at least ten patrolling points along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh that have been blocked by Chinese troops. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had informed the Rajya Sabha that face-offs with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) happened because “patrols were interrupted”. There was no commonly delineated LAC, and there was an overlap with regard to the LAC’s perception in many areas, he noted. The patrolling points (PPs) are the end points along the undefined LAC, up to which Indian troops patrol after starting from their base camps. Since April, Indian troops have been denied access to PPs number 9, 10, 11, 12, 12A, 13, 14, 15, 17, and 17A. The blocked PPs span from the Depsang plains in the north to Pangong Tso (lake) in the south. In all, there are more than 65 PPs from the base of Karakoram to Chumar.
(Defence and Military)
201 18-09-2020 - Economy  – Irdai to standardise insurance covers – The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) has said that the insurance industry needs to operate in a counter-cyclical manner and grow as its services are most needed now. The regulator has announced a slew of standardised products for term life, dwellings and small businesses, in addition to health, so that first-time buyers can pick products without having to pore over documents or make comparisons. Irdai chairman S C Khuntia also promised to extend products specific for Covid-19 beyond March 2021 and said that the regulator would consider allowing companies to be involved in loan-restructuring schemes as they were already allowed to be part of intercreditor agreements.
(Indian Economy)
202 18-09-2020 - World – U.S. Official Visits Taiwan, and China Warns of Consequences – The Trump administration has moreover stepped up navy help for Taiwan recently by means of elevated arms product sales. The U.S. authorities deliberate to promote as many as seven main weapon methods, along with mines, cruise missiles and drones, to Taiwan.  China has reacted angrily.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
203 18-09-2020 - Agriculture – MSP for paddy up 2.4 fold, wheat’s 1.7x in 5 years: BJP – Allaying doubts that the new legislations linked to agriculture tabled in Parliament may lead to scrapping of the crucial Minimum Support Price (MSP) mechanism, BJP sources claimed that under the Modi government, the MSP regime had both improved and increased. The government in 2018 had increased the MSP to 1.5 times the production cost, which was the chief determinant of MSP. It means the guaranteed price to farmers during normal times (good monsoon) or in times of price fluctuations and market uncertainties has further increased. BJP chief J P Nadda has also clarified that the MSP will continue to be provided to farmers.
(Agriculture)
204 18-09-2020 - India and its neighbourhood – Pak. to make Gilgit-Baltistan a full-fledged province: report – Pakistan has decided to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan’s status to that of a full-fledged province, a Pakistani media report quoted a senior Minister as saying. India has clearly conveyed to Pakistan that the entire union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, including the areas of Gilgit and Baltistan, are an integral part of the country by virtue of its fully legal and irrevocable accession. According to a report in the Express Tribune, Minister for Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan Affairs, Ali Amin Gandapur, on Wednesday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan would soon visit the region and make the formal announcement to elevate Gilgit-Baltistan to the status of a full-fledged province with all constitutional rights. Mr. Gandapur said Gilgit-Baltistan would be given adequate representation on all constitutional bodies, including the National Assembly and the Senate.
(Regional Politics, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
205 18-09-2020 - World – Trump contradicts CDC on vaccination – U.S. President Trump contradicted the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Robert Redfield on the efficacy of masks and the schedule for vaccine availability. Mr. Trump told reporters at the White House that Dr. Redfield had probably not understood the question on vaccine distribution correctly at a Senate hearing. Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are soaring with over 6 million infections and around 200,000 deaths.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
206 18-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Vaccine may be ready by early 2021: Vardhan – Responding to queries in the Rajya Sabha about the status of a Covid vaccine, health minister Harsh Vardhan said on Thursday there are chances of it becoming available in early 2021. He also said the Centre is aiming to bring down Covid-19 mortality rate from the current 1.6% to less than 1%. Three vaccine candidates have reached different stages of trial—Phase 1, 2 and 3, he said. The minister, however, cautioned that even if the vaccine is developed, it will take time before it can be made available in large quantities, hence the battle against the pandemic will require people to strictly maintain hygiene, wear masks and stick to social distancing norms.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
207 18-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Covid death rate drops across all ages in city, points to better mgmt. – Amid the continued rise in Covid cases in the city, there is a bit of a positive trend emerging. The case fatality rate (CFR, or ratio of deaths to positive patients) across age-groups has seen a decline, with the only exception being the age bracket above 90. While some say an increase in testing could have pulled down the fatality rate, doctors concur that the disease is now managed better than during the peak of May and June. Mumbai’s CFR, which had touched 7% initially, has dropped to less than 5% in September. Within age-groups, 60-69 years has seen a decline in CFR from 16% in April to 12% in July, 11.9% in August and 10% now. This age bracket has contributed to 28% of the city’s 8,227 deaths despite accounting for only 14% cases. For those aged between 50 and 59 too, the CFR has dropped from 10% in April to 6% currently. The age-group to have seen the second highest deaths after the 60s is the 50s, which account for 24% mortalities.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
208 18-09-2020 - Constitution and Law – Regulate digital and social media, not TV: Centre to SC – The Centre suggested to the Supreme Court to frame regulatory mechanisms for curbing hateful, insidious and communal content on digital and social media platforms rather than making a fresh bid to regulate content of print and electronic media, which already have a framework recognised by the court in recent judgments. Apparently anguished by Sudarshan TV’s 10-part programme allegedly insinuating that Muslims were infiltrating the civil services as part of a larger conspiracy, an SC bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph had, stopped further telecast of the series, an order extended till Sept 18, and expressed keenness to frame guidelines for the electronic media.
(Constitution and Law)
209 18-09-2020 - CAA Protests case – Demand for probe into police role in Delhi riots – Opposition leaders met President Ram Nath Kovind and demanded an independent probe by a commission headed by a retired or sitting judge into the role of the Delhi police in the February riots and the ongoing probe into them. Congress treasurer and MP Ahmed Patel, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D. Raja, DMK leader and MP Kanimozhi and RJD leader and MP Manoj K. Jha were part of the delegation. The Delhi police have set up special investigation teams and their Special Cell is probing the aspect of conspiracy behind the riots. In a memorandum, the leaders voiced their concern over the probe being conducted by the police and said that the entire investigation appears to be aimed at arriving at a premeditated theory.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
210 18-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Harsimrat Kaur quits Cabinet in protest against two agri Bills – Terming the two agriculture marketing reform Bills passed by the Lok Sabha as “anti-farmer” legislation, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) MP and Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal resigned from the Union Cabinet in protest. The SAD is one of the oldest allies of the BJP, and Ms. Badal was its sole representative in the Modi govt. Farmers groups, especially in Punjab and Haryana, have risen in protest against the Farmers’ Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020, and the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020, which replace the Ordinances promulgated in June. The proposed legislations seek to promote barrier-free trade of farm produce by facilitating contract farming as well as agricultural marketing outside notified Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis. Farmers are worried about the dilution of the existing Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime, as well as the entry of corporates with greater bargaining power than small farmers.
(Agriculture, Governance and Institutions)
211 17-09-2020 - Economy  – RBI Governor dashes hopes of V-shaped eco recovery –RBI Governor Mr. Das squashed expectations of a V-shaped recovery and called for a policy focus on increasing India’s participation in global value chains. “High frequency indicators of agricultural activity, the purchasing manager’s index and certain private estimates on unemployment point to some stabilisation of economic activity in the second quarter of the current year,” said Das, while delivering his address at an event organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry.
(Indian Economy)
212 17-09-2020 - World – Barbados to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state – It aims to complete the process in time for the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, in November 2021. Barbados would not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. Guyana took that step in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain. Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978. It is actually quite unusual for a country to remove the Queen as its head of state. The last to do so was Mauritius in 1992. Other Caribbean countries like Dominica, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago became republics in the 1970s. 
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
213 17-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – In coronavirus vaccine race, China inoculates thousands before trials are completed – China is inoculating tens of thousands of its citizens with experimental coronavirus vaccines and attracting international interest in their development, despite expert concerns over the safety of drugs that have not completed standard testing. China launched a vaccine emergency use programme in July, offering three experimental shots developed by a unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech. A fourth Covid-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
214 17-09-2020 - World – Air strikes accompany Israel-Gulf pacts – Militants in Gaza launched rockets into Israel and Israeli aircraft hit targets in the Palestinian enclave in an explosive backdrop to the signing of pacts for formal ties between Israel and the two Gulf Arab countries. The Israeli military said it launched about 10 air strikes in Hamas Islamist-run Gaza early on Wednesday and that 15 rockets had been fired from the territory at Israeli communities near the border, where sirens sounded before dawn.
(Treaties and Protocols, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
215 17-09-2020 - Social – Babri demolition case verdict on September 30 – The judgment in the Babri Masjid demolition case will be delivered by a Special CBI court here on Sept 30, almost 28 years after the structure in Ayodhya was razed to the ground. Special Judge S.K. Yadav has directed all the 32 accused to appear in court. Among the accused are senior BJP leader and former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani and his colleagues Murli Manohar Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh, Vinay Katiyar and Sadhvi Rithambara. Mr. Singh was the CM of U.P. when Babri Masjid was demolished on Dec 6, 1992.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
216 17-09-2020 - Agriculture – Farmers fear end of MSP regime – Farmers in Punjab and Haryana are up in arms against the Centre’s agriculture-related Bills as they fear their enactment — one of these has already been passed in the Lok Sabha — would be a step towards the abolition of the Minimum Support Price (MSP) regime. Agriculture experts too share similar concerns that this could leave farmers vulnerable to possible exploitation at the hands of big corporate houses. The three farm-related Bills, which are all set to become law after being passed in the ongoing session of Parliament, are anti-farmer. The one on essential commodities removes all cereals, pulses, oilseeds, potato and onion from trade restrictions and price control — this will ultimately benefit only the middlemen and traders.
(Agriculture)
217 17-09-2020 - India-China Standoff – China rebuts Rajnath, says India violated agreements – China blamed India for “violating” border agreements and said India bore responsibility for the recent tensions, a day after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh told Parliament that China had, by amassing troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) this summer, violated the 1993 and 1996 boundary agreements that have helped keep the peace along the border for years. “The responsibility for the current situation does not lie with China,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press briefing, in response to a question on Mr. Singh’s statement. 
(Defence and Military)
218 17-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Russia inks pact to test, supply Sputnik V vaccine to India – The Russia Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), which is piloting Russia’s Sputnik V candidate vaccine, currently in Phase 3 trials, has partnered with the Hyderabad-based Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories to test, and subject to regulatory approvals in India, supply 100 million doses of the vaccine. G.V. Prasad, co-chairman and managing director, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, said in a joint statement with RDIF: “We are pleased to partner with RDIF to bring the vaccine to India. The Phase 1 and 2 results have shown promise, and we will be conducting Phase 3 trials in India to meet the requirements of the Indian regulators. Sputnik V vaccine could provide a credible option in our fight against COVID-19 in India.”.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
219 17-09-2020 - Misc. – Tatas set to bag new Parl bldg project with lowest ₹862 crore bid – Infrastructure major Tata Projects Ltd has emerged as the lowest bidder for the New Parliament House building project by quoting Rs 861.9 crore, 8.4% less than the CPWD-estimated cost of Rs 899 crore. Larsen and Toubro Ltd quoted the second lowest bid of Rs 865 crore. The project will be awarded after scrutiny and going by the practice, the lowest bidder would bag the project. Work could start in December or latest by January, and has to be completed within 21 months from the day Central Public Works Department (CPWD) allows construction to start. The successful bidder will be allowed to carry out construction round the clock in three shifts, therefore, considering this provision, the period for project completion has been squeezed further. Though the government had targeted to complete the new Parliament building by July 2022, the timeline has been pushed by at least six months due to the ongoing Covid pandemic.
(Infrastructure)
220 17-09-2020 - Social – 17000 page chargesheet names 15 for Delhi riots conspiracy – A little less than 200 days after filing an FIR to investigate the conspiracy behind the riots which rocked north-east Delhi in Feb, Delhi police’s special cell filed a 17,000-page chargesheet against 15 people, all anti-CAA protesters, in a city court. This was the culmination of the first phase of the probe. The chargesheet has named as accused, among others, United Against Hate activist Khalid Saifi; Congress ex-councillor Ishrat Jahan; AAP ex-councillor Tahir Hussain; RJD youth wing’s Meeran Haider; Pinjda Tod activists Gulfisha Fatima, Safoora Zargar, Natasha Narwal, and Devangana Kalita. Six other accused — Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam, Danish, Parvez Ahmed, Ilyas, and Faizal Kha —have been arrested in this case but not named in this chargesheet. Police will file supplementary chargesheets naming them and other people who may be arrested. The accused have been charged under a plethora of sections of IPC and the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA).
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
221 16-09-2020 - Economy  – ETFs jump 26x in 5 yrs, cross ₹2L cr – There has been a 26-fold rise in assets under management (AUM) of exchangetraded funds (ETFs) in a little over five years to more than Rs 2 lakh crore now. The main reasons are government support for these schemes, rising popularity among investors, and acceptance by fund houses to launch equity and debtbased ETFs with lower management costs. Of the total, ETFs on the NSE’s Nifty index have a 49% market share, accounting for a little over Rs 1 lakh crore, data from MF industry body Amfi showed. And gold ETFs managed assets worth an additional Rs 13,500 crore.
(conomy)
222 16-09-2020 - Economy – Exports drop in Aug, 6th mth in row – Exports was dragged down by a decline in shipments of petroleum, leather, engineering goods, and gems & jewellery, while imports tumbled by 26% during the month but data for Sept indicated a turnaround with exports registering a double-digit increase during the first half of the month. Between Sept 1 and 14, exports rose 12% to $13 billion, while imports were almost 22% lower at a shade under $13.5 billion. Oil imports were a little lower in the second week of September and called for pushing textiles and gems & jewellery exports. Exports in August were $22.7 billion, compared to nearly $26 billion a year ago, which was a decline of 12.7%. Imports fell by 26% to almost $30 billion in August, resulting in a trade deficit of $6.8 billion.
(Indian Economy)
223 16-09-2020 - World – British MPs back Johnson’s Brexit Bill despite EU anger – British lawmakers backed a new Bill that would override parts of the Brexit treaty struck with the EU last year, despite outrage in Brussels and alarm at home over such an overt breach of international law. MPs in the House of Commons gave their initial approval to the U.K. Internal Market Bill by 340 votes to 263, clearing the way for four days of detailed scrutiny of the text this week and next. Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier argued the legislation was a “safety net” against what he claimed were EU threats to impose tariffs on U.K. internal trade and even stop food going from mainland Britain to Northern Ireland.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
224 16-09-2020 - World – UAE, Bahrain set to ink deals with Israel – The UAE and Bahrain will become the latest Arab states to break a longstanding taboo when they sign agreements toward normalising relations with Israel in a strategic realignment of West Asian countries against Iran. US President Donald Trump was due to host the White House ceremony around noon, capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s decades-old dispute with the Palestinians. At the U.S.-brokered event, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will sign agreements with Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif Al Zayani. The deals make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalise ties since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
225 16-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – Fossil fuel usage set to drop for first time – India’s thirst for fossil fuels will outpace China’s by a big margin, even though globally, consumption will shrink for the first time in modern history through 2050 as climate initiatives propel renewable energy while the coronavirus pandemic leaves a lasting scar on demand, the benchmark BP Energy Outlook 2020 said. The outlook saw India’s primary energy consumption growing by 2.5% between 2018 and 2050 against 0.1% in China and 0.3% globally. It sees India’s oil consumption more than doubling to 10 million barrels by 2050 under the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. But gas demand is seen jumping from 58 bcm (billion cubic metres) to 357 bcm under the ‘rapid’ scenario.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
226 16-09-2020 - India and its neighbours – Ajit Doval walks out of SCO interaction – India responded strongly after Pakistan displayed the newly-unveiled political map of the country during the meeting of the National Security Advisers of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who was participating in the virtual interaction, left the meeting mid-way after Pakistan displayed the map prominently behind its delegation.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
227 16-09-2020 - World Politics – India pips China to win seat at UN body – India has won a seat at the prestigious UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) beating China, which failed to garner even half the votes, in the Asia-Pacific States category. It got elected as member of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, the principal global body focussed on gender equality and women empowerment, a functional commission of ECOSOC. The 54-member ECOSOC, holding the first plenary meeting of its 2021 session in the General Assembly Hall, held elections for two seats in the Asia-Pacific States category with Afghanistan, India and China in the fray. Afghanistan, which is led by Ambassador Adela Raz at the UN, garnered 39 votes and India got 38 votes of the 54 ballots cast. China, despite being a permanent member of the UN Security Council, got only 27 votes and could not even cross the half-way mark and failed to get the required majority of 28 votes.
(World Politics)
228 16-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – ‘New Bill on powers of Delhi govt., L-G soon’ – The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is likely to introduce a legislation in the ongoing Parliament session to amend a 1991 Act pertaining to the powers and functions of the Delhi government and the Lieutenant-Governor. The National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2020, to “bring ease in implementation of certain provisions of the Act”, is among more than 20 Bills proposed to be introduced in this Parliament session. The Bill is yet to get the Cabinet’s nod and it was not taken up at the Union Cabinet meeting. A Home Ministry spokesperson did not respond to requests regarding the provisions of the Bill. According to a source, the Bill proposes to clearly spell out the functions of the Council of Ministers and the Lieutenant-Governor by giving more discretionary powers to the L-G.
(Governance and Institutions)
229 16-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – India’s Covid cases cross 5m, last million in 11 days – India has become the second country in the world after the US to record 5 million Covid-19 cases, with the last 1 mn coming in a world-record time of 11 days. The grim milestone was crossed, when over 90,000 fresh infections were reported while deaths rose by 1,275, the highest single-day toll recorded so far. While it took 167 days for cases in India to reach the first 1 million—the slowest among the worst-hit countries, with a strict lockdown in place—infections have been racing ever since. The next 4 million cases have come in 61 days, the fastest rise in the world. Only the US, with 6.7 million infections, has more recorded cases. Active cases also crossed the 1-million mark on Tuesday. As with the total infection count, India’s active cases are the second highest in the world after the US, where the tally is 2.5 million.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
230 16-09-2020 - India-China Standoff 2020 – China has massively deployed troops along LAC, says Rajnath – China has mobilised a large number of troops and armaments along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) as well as in the “depth areas”, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh informed the Lok Sabha. He pointed out that there were several friction areas in eastern Ladakh, including Gogra, Kongka La and the north and south banks of Pangong Tso (lake). On the violent clash at Galwan on June 15, he claimed that Indian troops had inflicted heavy casualties on the Chinese side. Twenty Indian soldiers were killed in the incident. The Minister said the nature of the current stand-off with China was different “both in terms of scale of troops involved and the number of friction points”.
(Defence and Military)
231 15-09-2020 - Science and Technology – Scientists find ‘life harbouring’ gas on Venus – The atmosphere of Venus contains traces of phosphine gas — which on Earth is associated with living organisms — scientists said, in fresh insight into conditions on our nearest planetary neighbour. Conditions on Venus are often described as hellish with daytime temperatures hot enough to melt lead and an atmosphere comprised almost entirely of carbon dioxide. A team of experts used telescopes in Hawaii and Chile’s Atacama Desert to observe Venus’ upper cloud deck, around 60 km from the surface. They detected traces of phosphine, a flammable gas that on Earth occurs from the breakdown of organic matter. Writing in Nature Astronomy, the team stressed that the presence of phosphine alone did not prove the presence of life on Venus.
(Science and Technology)
232 15-09-2020 - World – Afghan govt. presses Taliban for truce – The Afghan government pressed its calls for a truce with the Taliban, reiterating its desire for a long-term ceasefire at historic talks in Qatar. The two sides are in the early stages of meetings in Doha as they try to hammer out a deal that would bring 19 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan to a close. The Afghan government and its allies, including the U.S., called for the warring sides to lay down their arms at Saturday’s opening ceremony. But the Taliban, who fought a years-long guerrilla campaign against American and Afghan forces after they were toppled in a 2001 U.S.-led invasion, did not mention a truce as they came to the negotiating table.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
233 15-09-2020 - World – Sri Lanka revisiting draft 20th Amendment – The Sri Lankan government is revisiting the draft 20th Amendment to the Constitution, gazetted earlier this month, in the light of “public concerns”, according to government sources. PM Mahinda Rajapaksa appointed a nine-member committee chaired by G.L. Peiris, a Cabinet Minister and a former professor of law, to study the proposed Amendment. The newly drafted 20th Amendment envisages enhancing Presidential powers, along with immunity, while significantly reducing the Prime Minister’s role and powers.
(Constitution and Law)
234 15-09-2020 - World – Yoshihide Suga set to become Japan PM – Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga is set to become the country’s next PM after the ruling party elected him successor to outgoing leader Shinzo Abe. Mr. Suga easily won the vote, taking 377 of the 534 valid votes cast by Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) lawmakers and regional representatives, significantly ahead of his two rivals. Given his party’s legislative majority, he is expected to handily win a parliamentary vote on Wednesday and become Prime Minister, succeeding Mr. Abe, who is resigning for health reasons. 
(World Politics)
235 15-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – Fossil fuel usage set to drop for first time – India’s thirst for fossil fuels will outpace China’s by a big margin, even though globally, consumption will shrink for the first time in modern history through 2050 as climate initiatives propel renewable energy while the coronavirus pandemic leaves a lasting scar on demand, the benchmark BP Energy Outlook 2020 said. The outlook saw India’s primary energy consumption growing by 2.5% between 2018 and 2050 against 0.1% in China and 0.3% globally. It sees India’s oil consumption more than doubling to 10 million barrels by 2050 under the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario. But gas demand is seen jumping from 58 bcm (billion cubic metres) to 357 bcm under the ‘rapid’ scenario.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
236 15-09-2020 - Economy – No regulation needed for communication apps: Trai – In key recommendations regarding operations of global communication apps in India, telecom regulator Trai has said services such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Apple FaceTime, Google Chat, Skype, Telegram and even newer players such as Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex and Zoom should not be bound by a regulatory regime as of now and there should not be specific rules that would mandate them to intercept user calls and messaging. Making interception mandatory (such as prescribed for telecom companies) may weaken the protective architecture of the communication apps or expose them to “unlawful actors”, Trai said in views that were immediately criticised by mobile operators’ grouping COAI. Trai’s recommendations run in complete variance to the strong stand taken by telecom and IT minister.
(Indian Economy)
237 15-09-2020 - Economy – Retail inflation eases to 6.69% in August – Retail inflation softened slightly to 6.69% in August, even as food prices continued to rule high. The government has revised downwards the retail inflation for July to 6.73% from the earlier estimate of 6.93%. Food inflation during the month stood at 9.62%. Food inflation in August fell marginally to 9.05%, according to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) data. The retail inflation, mainly taken into account by the RBI to arrive at its policy decisions, has been above the regulator’s comfort level. The government has mandated the central bank to restrict the inflation at 4% (+/- 2%).
(Indian Economy)
238 15-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – ‘No immediate action against Delhi slums’ – The Centre informed the SC that no immediate action will be taken to demolish 48,000 slum clusters situated within safety zones along the rail tracks in Delhi. SG Mehta said consultations were on among the Railways, the Delhi government and the Union Ministry of Urban Development to reach a solution, taking into consideration the fact that any immediate move would cause the displacement of over two lakh families living in these clusters amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The court scheduled the case for hearing after a month. The dispute is based on an order issued by the Supreme Court itself. It also said that any order of stay by any court would be deemed ineffective.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions)
239 15-09-2020 - Society – Centre opposes move to recognise same-sex unions – The Centre opposed before the Delhi High Court a petition seeking recognition of same-sex marriages, saying, “our legal system, society and values do not recognise marriage between same sex couples”. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre, said the 2018 judgment of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court “merely decriminalises homosexuality or lesbianism, nothing more, nothing less”. On September 6, 2018, a five-judge Constitution Bench, led by then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, unanimously held that criminalisation of private consensual sexual conduct between adults of the same sex under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code is clearly unconstitutional.
(Constitution and Law)
240 15-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – On day one of monsoon session, 25 MPs test COVID-19 positive – On the first day of the monsoon session of Parliament, 25 lawmakers are reported to have tested positive for COVID-19 even as Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan admitted in a statement in the Lok Sabha that the “battle against COVID-19 is still far from over”. Both Houses of Parliament did not release an official list of those who have tested positive but Seventeen from the Lok Sabha and eight from the Rajya Sabha have been reported to be infected. Among the infected Lok Sabha members, the BJP has the maximum number of Twelve. The YSR Congress has two MPs and the Shiv Sena, the DMK and the Rashtriya Loktantrik Party one each. In the Rajya Sabha, two each were from the Congress and the BJP and one each from the TRS, Trinamool Congress, the AIADMK and the Aam Aadmi Party.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
241 14-09-2020 - Arts and Culture – Tamhane’s The Disciple wins best screenplay at Venice fest – Director Chaitanya Tamhane won the best screenplay award for his Marathi-language feature The Disciple at the Venice Film Festival that saw Chinese-American filmmaker Chloe Zhao bagging the top prize of the coveted Golden Lion for her drama Nomadland. The winners of the main competition were announced by the festival jury during the closing ceremony, held on Saturday and live-streamed globally. Headed by two-time Oscar winner Cate Blanchett, the jury also included directors Joanna Hogg, Christian Petzold and Veronika Franz, novelist Nicola Lagioia and actors Ludivine Sagnier and Matt Dillon. Mr. Tamhane, the wunderkind filmmaker of Indian cinema, became the first director from the country to compete in the main category of a European film festival after Mira Nair. Her film Monsoon Wedding won the the Golden Lion at the festival in 2001.
(Art Culture Literature)
242 14-09-2020 - Economy – Sebi, MFs to discuss multi-caps’ rejig – Markets regulator Sebi said it was open to discussions with the mutual fund (MF) industry for a smooth transition for multi-cap funds to rejig their portfolio so that these schemes “achieve the desired objective of true to label and appropriate benchmarking”. The market regulator’s clarification came on the back of its Friday order that said, by January 2021, all multi-cap funds should have at least 75% of its corpus in equities — up from 65% earlier — to be equally invested in large-, midand small-cap stocks. Sebi’s Friday directive had sent the fund industry into action as they were weighing various options to comply with the new rule. 
(Indian Economy)
243 14-09-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Trump pushes into Nevada, questions integrity of election – President Donald Trump barreled into Nevada as part of a Western campaign swing, looking to expand his paths to victory while unleashing a torrent of unsubstantiated claims that Democrats are trying to steal the election. Trump defied local authorities by holding a rally Saturday night in tiny Minden, Nevada, after his initial plan to hold one in Reno was stopped out of concern it would have violated coronavirus health guidelines. Unleashing more than an hour of grievances and attacks, Trump claimed the state’s Democratic governor tried to block him and repeated his false claim that mail-in ballots will taint the election result.
(World Politics)
244 14-09-2020 - World – Trump claims Modi certificate of excellence on handling of Covid – Bragging about his packed rallies that have no social distancing or mask requirements and which health experts say could be coronavirus super-spreader events, US President Donald Trump on Saturday mocked Democrat rival Joe Biden for not holding such meetings, wondering if he’s even alive.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
245 14-09-2020 - Foreign Affairs – Turkey pulls back vessel from Mediterranean Sea – Turkey’s seismic research vessel Oruc Reis returned to waters near the southern province of Antalya, Refinitiv data showed, a move Greece said was a positive first step in easing tensions over offshore natural resources. NATO members Turkey and Greece have overlapping claims to continental shelves and rights to potential energy resources in the eastern Mediterranean. Tensions flared last month after Ankara sent Oruc Reis to map out possible oil and gas drilling prospects in waters claimed by Greece, Cyprus and Turkey. Turkey’s Navy had issued an advisory earlier this month saying that the Oruc Reis would continue operations in the area until Sept 12. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis welcomed the move.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
246 14-09-2020 - World – No EU plot to destabilise the U.K.: Ireland – Ireland rejected an incendiary claim by Prime Minister Boris Johnson that the EU is plotting to destabilise the U.K., as another week of Brexit high drama beckoned ahead of a stormy parliamentary debate in London. A war of words escalated about a new British government Bill that London admits is in violation of its EU divorce treaty. Mr. Johnson’s contention that the European Union is plotting to choke off food supplies with destabilising new trade barriers between Britain and Northern Ireland is “simply not the case”, Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee told Sky News.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
247 14-09-2020 - Economy – Debit card spend beats credit card in lockdown – There has been a shift in spending from credit cards to debit cards during the first quarter of the current fiscal, as Indians held back on discretionary purchases and went digital while paying for utilities and groceries. According to data released by the RBI, spending under credit cards in June 2020 was Rs 42,818 crore, which was 36% lower than Rs 67,000 crore in January 2020. On the other hand, debit card spends stood at Rs 47,252 crore, which was only 24% lower than Rs 62,153 crore pre-Covid. In terms of transactions, credit cards were used 12.5 crore times in June as compared to 20.3 crore transactions in January, while debit cards were used 45.8 crore times in January and 30.2 crore times in June. The average spend per credit card in January was almost Rs 12,000, which fell sharply to Rs 7,474 in June, while the average debit card spend fell from Rs 761 to Rs 558 during the same period.
(Indian Economy)
248 14-09-2020 - Education – 85-90% attendance at NEET – The National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical and dental courses recorded an attendance rate of “around 85%-90%” on Sunday, according to initial data from the National Testing Agency, which conducted the examination. Almost 16 lakh students had registered to write the examination, which was postponed twice from the initial May date due to the pandemic. The attendance figure is based on random sampling at centres across States, said a senior NTA official, adding that more accurate data would be available on Monday. The percentage of registered students who appeared for the examination may be slightly lower than the 92.85% recorded in 2019.
(Education)
249 14-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – Monsoon session set for stormy start – The monsoon session of Parliament, delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will get under way From Sept 14 with strict safety protocols in place. The 18-day session is expected to be stormy, with the Opposition eager to corner the government on its handling of the India-China border issue, the pandemic and the naming of senior Left leaders as co-conspirators in the Delhi riots case by the Delhi police. The session, with four-hour sittings for each House in shifts, including on weekends, will not only see the government lining up 11 ordinances, which were cleared during the lockdown, but also tabling up to 45 Bills in both Houses for approval. While Question Hour has been removed from the business of the day, questions that require written answers will be tabled, and a 30-minute Zero Hour for MPs to raise issues of importance has been added. 
(Governance and Institutions)
250 14-09-2020 - India-China standoff 2020 – Status quo on LAC after Jaishankar-Wang meet – There is a freeze on all movement and activities along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh after External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar met his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, in Moscow on Sept 10 and agreed on a five-point solution to ease the border tension. Status quo is being maintained by the Indian and Chinese troops on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso (lake), which saw renewed mobilisation of troops, vehicles and weapons in the past few days. The south bank witnessed firing on August 30 and September 7, the first time since 1975 that shots were fired along the LAC. Here, Indian forces are dominating and are occupying the heights and ridges; at many spots, the two sides are just about 200 metres apart.
(Defence and Military)
251 12-09-2020 - Economy – Industrial output contracts 10.4% in July, but pace slows – The country’s industrial production contracted for the fifth consecutive month in July but the pace of decline has slowed, reflecting the increase in economic activity after the easing of lockdown across the country. Data released by the National Statistical Office (NSO) showed the index of industrial production (IIP) fell 10.4% in July, slower than the previous month’s 15.8% decline. During the April-July period, industrial production contracted 29.2% compared to an expansion of 3.5% in the year-ago period, highlighting the stress in the key sector. Overall, the industrial sector remains in dire straits with the manufacturing sector contracting 11.1% in July compared to the 4.8% growth in July 2019.
(Indian Economy)
252 12-09-2020 - Business – Kochhar in ED custody, to be grilled at Delhi HQ – NASA launched an effort to pay companies to mine resources on the moon, announcing it would buy from them rocks, dirt and other lunar materials as the U.S. space agency seeks to spur private extraction of coveted off-world resources for its use. The initiative, targeting companies that plan to send robots to mine lunar resources, is part of NASA's goal of setting what Bridenstine called "norms of behavior" in space and allowing private mining on the moon in ways that could help sustain future astronaut missions. NASA said it views the mined resources as the property of the company, and the materials would become "the sole property of NASA" after purchase.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
253 12-09-2020 - US Presidential Elections – Trump, struggling to define Biden, steps up Harris attacks – Trump is focusing on Harris as he has struggled to land on a consistent, coherent attack against Biden, who has built a reputation as a bipartisan deal-maker rather than a progressive ideologue. The racism and sexism underlying Trump's critique of the first Black woman and person of Asian descent on a major party ticket are part of an aggressive strategy to appeal to white suburban voters.
(World Politics)
254 12-09-2020 - World – Prisoners sought by Taliban on flight to Doha, sources say, paving way for peace talks – Six prisoners sought by the Taliban left Kabul on a flight to Doha paving the way for long-awaited peace talks to begin. The prisoners, who are accused of insider attacks on Afghan forces and whose release was objected to by some Western powers, are to be kept under supervision in Qatar’s capital where United States-brokered peace talks will also initially take place. Afghan government negotiating team, as well as peace council chairman Abdullah Abdullah, were planning to fly to Doha and talks were expected to begin this weekend after months of delays. The US  and other international players have been trying to usher the insurgent Taliban and the Afghan government to the negotiating table to bring an end to 19 years of war but there have been deadlocks and delays since Washington signed its troop withdrawal pact with the insurgent group in Feb that stated “up to” 5,000 Taliban prisoners and 1,000 government prisoners would be released before talks.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
255 12-09-2020 - Foreign Affairs – 'Kill All You See': In a First, Two Myanmar Soldiers Describe Rohingya Slaughter and Atrocities – The two soldiers confess their crimes in a monotone, a few blinks of the eye their only betrayal of emotion: executions, mass burials, village obliterations and rape. The August 2017 order from his commanding officer was clear, Pvt. Myo Win Tun said in video testimony. “Shoot all you see and all you hear.” He said he obeyed, taking part in the massacre of 30 Rohingya Muslims and burying them in a mass grave near a cell tower and a military base. Around the same time, in a neighboring township, Pvt. Zaw Naing Tun said he and his comrades in another battalion followed a nearly identical directive from his superior: “Kill all you see, whether children or adults.”. “We wiped out about 20 villages,” Zaw Naing Tun said, adding that he, too, dumped bodies in a mass grave.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
256 12-09-2020 - Education – JEE-Main: 24 get perfect 100 – Twenty-four candidates scored 100 percentile in the Joint Entrance Examination-Main (JEE-M) for admission to engineering courses. The National Testing Agency announced the results and final merit list based on the performance of candidates in the tests held in January and September. Eight candidates from Telangana feature in the top 24, followed by five from Delhi, four from Rajasthan, three from Andhra Pradesh, two from Haryana, and one each from Gujarat and Maharashtra. The JEE (Main) was conducted in January and between September 1 and 6. Based on the results of the JEE-Main Paper 1 and Paper 2, the top 2.45 lakh candidates will be eligible to appear for the JEE-Advanced exam, which is a one-stop exam to get admission into the 23 premier IITs. JEEAdvanced is scheduled to take place on September 27.
(Education)
257 12-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – India may’ve had 65L Covid cases by May: Sero survey – A total of 64,68,388 adult Covid infections were estimated in India by early May, even though the adjusted all-India seroprevalence was a low 0.73%, according to the results of a serological survey conducted by the ICMR released. While the survey indicated that less than 1% of the adult population was exposed to coronavirus by mid-May, the official tally at the time was even lower at only 85,940 cases detected till May 15. This would indicate most cases may have been missed during the first few months of the outbreak. This could be because the testing strategy was tailored by limited test kits and lab capacity and also because cases may have been asymptomatic.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
258 12-09-2020 - Society – Activist-scholar Swami Agnivesh passes away – Social activist, scholar, politician and Arya Samaj leader Swami Agnivesh passed away at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS) in New Delhi. The former MLA from Haryana is known for his work against bonded labour through the Bonded Labour Liberation Front, which he founded in 1981. Agnivesh became president (2004–2014) of the World Council of Arya Samaj, the highest international body of the Arya Samaj. He was an advocate for dialogue between religions and remained involved in various areas of social activism, including campaigns against female foeticide and for the emancipation of women. He served as the chairperson of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery from 1994 to 2004. He was a prominent associate of Anna Hazare during the India Against Corruption campaign in 2011 to implement the Jan Lokpal Bill.
(People and Personalities)
259 12-09-2020 - Polity and Governance – New grievance redress system unveiled in J&K – J&K Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Manoj Sinha launched the Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS), in a bid to create an interface with the public and focus on governance issues in the Union Territory. The system is being launched on a pilot basis in three districts — Jammu, Srinagar, and Reasi — and will gradually be rolled out in the remaining districts by October 2. It will replace the current portal that was launched in 2018.
(Governance and Institutions)
260 12-09-2020 - India-China standoff 2020 – India, China agree on 5-point action plan – External Affairs Minister and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi said they agreed on a five-point course of action to disengage and reduce tensions along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). The five-point plan is: following the consensus between PM Modi and President Jinping to “not allow differences to become disputes”, disengaging quickly to ease tensions, abiding by the existing India-China border protocols and avoiding escalatory action, continuing the dialogue between the Special Representatives. Both sides also issued separate notes detailing their positions, indicating that several differences still remain in their agreement of the situation at the LAC, which has seen violent clashes, deaths of soldiers and gunfire exchanges for the first time in 45 years.
(Defence and Military)
261 11-09-2020 - Corporate World – RIL becomes 1st Indian co to hit $200bn mcap – Reliance Industries (RIL) became the first Indian company to cross the $200-billion market capitalisation mark after its stock surged over 8% on the back of reports that global retailing giant Amazon has been offered a $20-billion worth of stake in its retail venture. From being an entity with a market cap of nearly $43 billion a little over five years ago and a pure-play business-to-business (B2B) entity, RIL’s market value has risen almost five times as it scaled up its two consumer-focused businesses — telecom and organised retail — during the intervening period. In the process, it has leap frogged to become one of the 10 most valued companies in Asia and also among the top 40 globally. RIL is the only Indian company in these exclusive clubs, Bloomberg data showed.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
262 11-09-2020 - World – U.K. holds crisis talks with EU as Pelosi warns on Brexit Bill – Britain held emergency talks with the European Union on Thursday, facing warnings of legal action over a new Brexit Bill and a threatening reminder of its obligations to Northern Ireland from leading U.S. Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Warnings redoubled too within the ranks of the governing Conservative party as former Prime Mnister John Major, who helped lay the foundations for Northern Irish peace in the 1990s, said his successor Boris Johnson risked trashing the U.K.’s global reputation.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
263 11-09-2020 - World  – A month after explosion, huge blaze at Beirut port – A large fire erupted at Beirut port, sending a huge column of smoke over the Lebanese capital weeks after a massive blast devastated the port and surrounding residential area. The blaze began in the shattered duty free zone of the port, prompting some residents to flee the city still traumatised by last month’s explosion which followed a port fire. A military source said early indications suggested the blaze started when cooking oil in the port area caught fire and spread to stores of tyres. At one point, live television footage showed flames licking up near a pile of tires in a smashed warehouse.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
264 11-09-2020 - World – Trump admits he played down virus – President Donald Trump admits he tried to minimise the seriousness of the threat from COVID-19 at the outset of the pandemic in audio recordings released from interviews with veteran U.S. journalist Bob Woodward. In another recorded interview, on Feb 7, he told Mr. Woodward the virus “goes through the air” — despite repeatedly mocking people who wear masks, in the weeks and months after. It took until July before the President was seen publicly wearing a mask. Coming eight weeks before the November 3 presidential election, the revelations add new pressure on Mr. Trump. Opinion polls show around two thirds of Americans disapprove of his handling of the virus and he has often been accused of minimising the crisis in order to try and boost his re-election chances.
(Healthcare and Medicine, World Politics)
265 11-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates –  Serum Institute puts on hold Oxford vaccine trial after showcause notice – Serum Institute of India paused the trials of Covishield, Oxford University-AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate, following a notice issued by the central drug regulator. Serum Institute had said that it had not faced any issues in its trials so far and that it was continuing with its trials here but the DCGI issued a show cause notice to the vaccine manufacturer late on Wednesday evening asking why the company had not informed the regulator about the issues faced by AstraZeneca during trials in the UK.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
266 11-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Biggest spike in deaths (1,169) on Thurs, marginal drop in new cases – The Covid-19 pandemic has now claimed more than 75,000 lives in India. The toll went past the milestone on Thursday, when fatalities reported from across the country surged to a single-day high of 1,169. India’s death toll from the pandemic has risen from 50,000 to 75,000 in just 26 days, averaging around 1,000 fatalities per day in this period. Meanwhile, the daily count of Covid-19 cases has been inching towards the one lakh mark over the past few days. On Thursday, 96,084 new cases were reported, the second highest single-day surge so far after the previous day’s tally of 97,399, as per TOI’s data collated from state governments.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
267 11-09-2020 - Social – SIT to probe ‘expensive’ COVID kit purchases in U.P. – The UP govt formed a special investigation team (SIT) to probe alleged anomalies in the purchase of equipment related to COVID-19 treatment. There were reports from some districts that certain items were bought at a cost higher than the market price. The reports reportedly said certain gram panchayats in districts, including Sultanpur, Ghazipur, Bijnor and Barabanki, purchased pulse oximeters and infrared thermometers at a cost higher than the market price. Additional Chief Secretary, Revenue Department, Renuka Kumar will head the SIT, which has been asked to submit a report in 10 days, said a government spokesperson. In June, the State government issued orders for procurement of pulse oximeters, infrared thermometers and sanitiser sets as part of the COVID-19 surveillance kits in every gram panchayat. The fund transfer was to be made from the State Finance Commission.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
268 11-09-2020 - Defence –  Rafales a game changer, says Rajnath – Defence Minister Rajnath Singh called the induction of the French Rafale fighter jet into the Indian Air Force (IAF) a “game changer”, and said it was a very important step in light of the security conditions that “have been created along India’s borders.” The formal ceremony marked the full operational induction of the jets into the IAF, Air Chief Marshal R.K.S. Bhadauria said. Five Rafales were inducted into the No. 17 Golden Arrows squadron. This is the first imported fighter to be inducted since the Sukhoi-30s came from Russia in the late 90s.
(Defence and Military)
269 11-09-2020 - International Relations – Jaishankar, Wang hold talks – External Affairs Minister and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held their first face-to-face meeting in Moscow to discuss the four-month- long stand-off at the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, which has seen violent clashes and even gunfire for the first time since 1975. The meeting took place, after the completion of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation Council’s Foreign Minister’s meeting as well as a Russia-India-China trilateral meeting that both Ministers attended but the outcome of the India-China bilateral meeting was not immediately known. Meanwhile, there was little change at the LAC, where ground commanders at the north bank of Pangong Tso (lake) met for the second consecutive day.
(Indian Politics)
270 11-09-2020 - India-China standoff 2020 – Two incidents of firing at south bank of Pangong Tso – The south bank of the Pangong Tso (lake) where Indian and Chinese troops are currently engaged in a face-off, witnessed firing in the air not only on Sept 7 but also a week earlier. The first incident when a few rounds were fired in the air was reported on August 30 from the same area. It was not clear how the firing began. This is the first time since 1975 that shots were fired along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC). The Indian Army said that it was the Chinese troops who fired a few rounds in the air on September 7. On August 31, the Army issued a statement, saying China had carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo in the south bank of the Pangong Tso and “Indian troops pre-empted this PLA activity”. The two instances of firing were worrying as no concrete solution on restoring the status quo had been achieved so far through military and diplomatic-level dialogue.
(Defence and Military)
271 10-09-2020 - Business – Silver Lake acquires 1.8% in Reliance Retail for ₹7,500cr – Private equity firm Silver Lake will pay Rs. 7,500 crore (just over $1 billion) to acquire a 1.8% stake in the retail business of billionaire Mukesh Ambani, making the Silicon Valley fund the first external investor in the consumer-focused unit. The transaction, which is Silver Lake’s third investment in India this year after education technology startup Byju’s and digital services company Jio Platforms, values Reliance Industries’ retail unit at Rs 4.2 lakh crore ($57 billion). This valuation, when compared with listed companies, ranks the retail unit at the fifth spot in India after HUL, HDFC Bank, TCS and RIL itself. The American fund’s investment in Reliance Retail Ventures (RRVL), a subsidiary of RIL and the holding company of its retail business, sets the pricing benchmark for the consumerfocused unit that is expected to see more external investors in the coming weeks.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
272 10-09-2020 - World – United States formally announces troop reduction in Iraq – The United States military on Wednesday announced that it would be reducing its presence in Iraq from 5,200 to 3,000 troops this month, formalizing a move that had been long expected. The United States has around 5,200 troops that were deployed in Iraq to fight the Islamic State militant group. Officials in the U.S.-led coalition say Iraqi forces are now mostly able to handle the remnants of Islamic State on their own.
(Defence and Military)
273 10-09-2020 - World – Trump knew Covid was deadly but wanted to ‘play it down’, Woodward book says – Donald Trump knew the extent of the deadly coronavirus threat in Feb but intentionally misled the public by deciding to “play it down”, according to interviews recorded by one of America’s most venerated investigative journalists. The US president gave Bob Woodward 18 interviews between December 2019 and July 2020. They form the basis of his revelatory new book, Rage, obtained on Wednesday by the Washington Post and CNN, in which Trump is condemned by his own words. Trump 'wanted to play down' Covid despite knowing deadliness, Bob Woodward book says – as it happened. Just two months before he seeks re-election, Trump is quoted describing former president George W Bush as “a stupid moron” and mocking the Black Lives Matter movement for racial equality and an end to police brutality. The book also reports that the US may have come close to nuclear war with North Korea in 2017.
(World Politics)
274 10-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – 4.4sq km of tiger habitat given to projects in 7 mths – In the last 7 months, the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) headed by PM Modi has approved 59 proposals diverting 435 hectares (4.4sq km) of tiger habitat forest that fell within protected areas (PAs) and outside. The NBWL is a statutory body created under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. The 47-member committee is tasked with promoting conservation and development of wildlife and forests. The area diverted equal the size of the Lonar Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra. An analysis by Legal Initiative for Forest & Environment said of the 59 proposals, 28 were for diversion within wildlife sanctuaries and 30 were tiger habitats. Out of 28 proposals, 21 were approved and the remaining were deferred for later. The maximum diversion (44 hectares) due to linear projects took place within Bhagwan Mahaveer Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa. Over 17,000 trees will be cut for the project.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
275 10-09-2020 - International Relations – Trilateral with Russia before Jaishankar-Wang meet today – India and China will look to pull back from the brink of a military conflict in a likely meeting between foreign minister S Jaishankar and his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on the margins of the SCO meeting in Moscow on Thursday. While the Chinese foreign ministry didn’t confirm the meeting, Chinese sources said it was expected, even if there was “no confirmed information”. There was not much to inspire confidence about the overall situation, with Chinese sources on Wednesday repeating PLA claims that Indian soldiers “provoked” the Chinese by crossing the LAC. Indian officials here didn’t hazard any guess about the outcome of the meeting on Thursday. Jaishankar will also join Wang and Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov for a luncheon meeting before the proposed bilateral with Wang.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
276 10-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – 68% of biodiversity lost in 50 yrs: Report – The planet lost 68% of its biodiversity population in the past five decades. The brunt of it was borne by freshwater species, whose population went down by 84%. And even with increased conservation efforts, an improvement seems unlikely before 2050, says the latest bi-annual ‘Living Planet Report’ released by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The Living Planet Index mapped 21,000 populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. The patterns show wide regional variance. The Asia Pacific saw a 45% drop in biodiversity, the second biggest after Latin America and the Carribean, which lost 94%. Singled out as a particular cause of concern are freshwater species. Almost one in three are threatened with extinction.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
277 10-09-2020 - Economy – EPFO to pay 8.5% interest in tranches: first 8.15%, rest later – Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) has decided to recommend 8.5% interest rate on provident fund for formal sector employees for 2019-20 but it will be paid in two tranches due to shortfall in its income due to the Covid-19 impact on financial markets. The Central Board of Trustees of the fund met virtually and decided to recommend 8.5% interest to the finance ministry. The first tranche of 8.15% will be paid from the debt income and the balance 0.35% from sale of exchange traded funds subject to their redemption by December 31. This is being treated as a one-time measure in view of the exceptional circumstances due to the pandemic. The 8.5% rate is the lowest in seven years and the staggered payment is the first of its kind in the retirement body’s history.
(Indian Economy)
278 10-09-2020 - Social – HC hammers BMC for haste to demolish Kangana’s house – Observing that the conduct of the BMC, which carried out demolition of allegedly unauthorised constructions at actor Kangana Ranaut’s bungalow in Pali Hill, Bandra was “highly deplorable”, the Bombay high court in a scathing order directed the municipal body to immediately stop the demolition. The HC bench of Justices S J Kathawalla and Riyaz Chagla said that “though the manner in which the BMC proceeded to commence the demolition prima facie...smacks of mala fide...it was giving an opportunity to the corporation to explain its conduct on affidavit by 3pm”.
(Constitution and Law, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
279 10-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – SII pulled up for not pausing vaccine trial – The Drug Controller of India has demanded that the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune, which is conducting Phase-3 trials on people in India involving U.K.-based AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, explain why tests have not been paused in India too until safety has been established. AstraZeneca put global trials on hold after reports emerged of “severe adverse reaction” in a volunteer being injected with the vaccine, probably in the United Kingdom. The nature of the event was not known. This pause would prevail, pending a review by a data safety monitoring board, AstraZeneca said in a statement in response to medical news website, Stat News. Pune-based SII, which is testing a COVID-19 vaccine, said that so far there had been “no issues” with its trials.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
280 10-09-2020 - Defence – Massive Chinese build-up on north bank of Pangong lake – As Indian troops are engaged in a stand-off on the south bank of Pangong Tso (lake) for the past week, a massive build-up had again begun in the Finger area of the north bank. The ground commanders met to resolve the stalemate but it remained inconclusive. The PLA had occupied the ridge lines and amassed troops on the north bank, where Fingers 4-8 are located. There was a worrying concentration of troops on both sides, with China dominating the area. The development comes a day before the Foreign Ministers of both countries are expected to meet in Moscow on the sidelines of a meeting of the eight-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). As reported, China has ingressed about 8 km in the Finger area of the north bank. India has not been able to patrol beyond Finger 4 since April last week when China amassed troops along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh. Earlier, Indian troops could patrol up to Finger 8.
(Defence and Military)
281 09-09-2020 - Social – Rhea Chakraborty arrested by NCB – The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Tuesday arrested actor Rhea Chakraborty in connection with the Sushant Singh Rajput death case, for allegedly procuring drugs. Her brother, Showik, was arrested last week. In a parallel development, the Bandra police in Mumbai registered an FIR charging Rajput’s sisters — Priyanka and Meetu Singh — with abetting their brother’s suicide. The FIR comes less than 12 hours after Ms. Chakraborty filed a complaint against the two women and one Dr. Tarun Kumar, an associate professor of Cardiology of Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, for arranging medicines for Rajput.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
282 09-09-2020 - Business – Kochhar in ED custody, to be grilled at Delhi HQ – A special PMLA court remanded Deepak Kochhar (59), husband of former CEO of ICICI Bank Chanda Kochhar, to 11 days custody of the Enforcement Directorate (ED). The ED will fly him down to New Delhi for his custodial interrogation in a money laundering case in which he is coaccused along with his wife. The ED had arrested Kochhar, promoter of Nupower Renewables, in a money laundering case after several hours of questioning at their zonal office in Mumbai. Kochhar will be questioned at the agency’s HQ by the headquarter intelligence unit (HIU) which is investigating his case. The high-profile probe is monitored by the special HIU team also because the ED case is based on a CBI FIR registered in the national capital.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
283 09-09-2020 - Social – 40% children not fully vaccinated: NSO report – Although almost all children in India are vaccinated against tuberculosis, and receive their birth dose of polio vaccine, two out of five children do not complete their immunisation programme, according to the ‘Health in India’ report recently published by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO). Most of these children remain unprotected against measles, and partially protected against a range of other diseases. In the national capital, less than half of all children have been given all eight required vaccines. The report is based on the 75th round of the National Sample Survey (July 2017-June 2018) on household social consumption related to health. Across the country, only 59.2% of children under five years are fully immunised, according to the NSO report. This contradicts the Centre’s Health Management Information System portal data, which claimed that full immunisation coverage for 2017-18 stood at 86.7%.
(Governance and Institutions, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
284 09-09-2020 - Economy – GDP to shrink sharply in FY21: Fitch, Goldman – Global ratings agency Fitch sharply revised its forecast for India’s GDP growth, estimating that it will contract 10.5% in 2020-21, while Goldman Sachs expects it to decline by 14.8%. Both entities have made sharp revisions in their forecasts after data last month showed the economy had contracted a record 23.9% in the June quarter, the sharpest decline globally. “We have cut our 2020 GDP forecast for markets excluding China to -5.7% in this global economic outlook... primarily reflects a huge downward revision to our India GDP forecast,” Fitch said.
(Indian Economy)
285 09-09-2020 - Foreign Affairs – 'Kill All You See': In a First, Two Myanmar Soldiers Describe Rohingya Slaughter and Atrocities – The two soldiers confess their crimes in a monotone, a few blinks of the eye their only betrayal of emotion: executions, mass burials, village obliterations and rape. The August 2017 order from his commanding officer was clear, Pvt. Myo Win Tun said in video testimony. “Shoot all you see and all you hear.” He said he obeyed, taking part in the massacre of 30 Rohingya Muslims and burying them in a mass grave near a cell tower and a military base. Around the same time, in a neighboring township, Pvt. Zaw Naing Tun said he and his comrades in another battalion followed a nearly identical directive from his superior: “Kill all you see, whether children or adults.”. “We wiped out about 20 villages,” Zaw Naing Tun said, adding that he, too, dumped bodies in a mass grave.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
286 09-09-2020 - Foreign Affairs – Belarus protests: Opposition leader 'tore up passport' to avoid expulsion – Belarusian protest leader Maria Kolesnikova tore up her passport at the border with Ukraine and threw the pieces away to foil an attempt by Belarusian authorities to make her cross into Ukraine, her associate Anton Radnenkov said.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
287 09-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Russia wants India to do phase 3 trials, produce its vaccine – Russia has reached out to India to seek the collaboration of Indian companies in manufacturing vaccines against Covid and also whether phase III or bridging studies could be done here. The Centre said there has been significant movement on both the fronts. Outreach has been extended to many companies and several have agreed. The regulator will facilitate phase 3 or bridging studies on Indian patients for the Russian vaccine. India is working to start large-scale manufacturing as well as phase 3 clinical trials locally for Sputnik V the Covid vaccine developed by Russia. Chairman of the National Covid Vaccine Administration Taskforce V K Paul on Tuesday said India attached great importance to the Russian offer of manufacturing of the vaccine by Indian firms as well as phase 3 trials or bridging studies, as might be required to establish the efficacy of the vaccine.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
288 09-09-2020 - Defence – ‘Five missing Arunachal youth found in China’ – The five Arunachal Pradesh youth, who were allegedly captured by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) less than a week ago, have been found in China, said Union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju. Mr. Rijiju is the BJP MP for the Arunachal West constituency that covers Upper Subansiri district. Officials in Arunachal Pradesh hoped the PLA would return the five teenagers soon, just as the Indian Army had handed over 13 yaks and four calves to China on September 7. The bovines had strayed into East Kameng district west of Upper Subansiri on August 31.
(Defence and Military)
289 09-09-2020 - COVID-19 Updates – Nearly 89,000 infections, India’s active cases set to cross 9L – Active Covid cases in the country are expected to cross 9 lakh — just eight days after hitting 8 lakh—even as fresh infections rose again to nearly 89,000 and deaths reported equalled record high of 1,125, taking the toll to 73,848. This would be the fastest 1-lakh rise since active cases hit the 5-lakh mark in July. The growth had slowed in August as recoveries grew rapidly.The big spurt in infections over the past week or so has led to faster growth of active cases. After a dip in the daily tally, fresh cases again zoomed to 88,995 with testing across the country going up after the weekend. Over 79,000 people recovered from the infection, taking the total recoveries to 33,88,390.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
290 09-09-2020 - India-China standoff 2020 – PLA fired shots in the air, says India – Hours after the Chinese Army claimed that Indian troops opened fire along the disputed Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, the Indian Army stated that it was actually Chinese troops that fired a few rounds in the air. Following fresh tensions on the south bank of Pangong Tso (lake), Army chief Gen. Manoj Naravane briefed Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on the ground situation. No shots have been fired along the disputed boundary between India and China since 1975.
(Defence and Military)
291 08-09-2020 - World – Brexit back in crisis as U.K. threatens to undercut divorce pact – The EU told Britain that there would be no trade deal if it tried to tinker with the Brexit divorce treaty, raising the prospect of a tumultuous end-of-year finale to the saga. In yet another twist to the four-year saga since Britain voted to quit the EU, PM Johnson’s govt was reported to be planning new legislation to override parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement it signed in January. That could jeopardize the whole treaty and create frictions in British-ruled Northern Ireland, where special arrangements had been made to avoid a hard border with Ireland to the south that could be detrimental to the 1998 peace agreement which ended three decades of conflict in the province.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
292 08-09-2020 - World – Alexei Navalny, Putin critic who was poisoned, is out of coma and improving – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, hospitalized in Berlin for several weeks after being poisoned, has been taken out of his medically induced coma. Berlin's Charité hospital said Navalny's condition has improved and he is being weaned off mechanical ventilation. Navalny is responding to verbal stimuli, but the hospital said that it remains too early to gauge the potential long-term effects of his severe poisoning. The hospital only released details of Navalny's condition after first consulting with his wife, who reassured doctors that Navalny would want that information released. The 44-year-old politician, one of Putin's most prominent critics, became ill from poison on Aug. 20 during a domestic flight in Russia.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
293 08-09-2020 - World – Saudi Arabia sentences 8 to prison in final Khashoggi murder ruling – A Saudi Arabian court jailed eight people for between seven and 20 years for the 2018 murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, four months after his family forgave his killers and enabled death sentences to be set aside. Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, was last seen on Oct. 2, 2018 at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, where he had gone to obtain documents for his impending wedding. Turkish officials allege he was killed and then his body was dismembered and removed from the building. His remains have not been found.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
294 08-09-2020 - COVID-19 outbreak – India logged 40% of global cases, higher than US+Brazil count – Fresh infections in India dipped to 74,960 following a sharp fall in testing, but deaths soared to 1,125, the highest ever for a single day, taking the total toll to 72,725, as per data collated from states. Daily cases in India had crossed 94,000 on Sunday and were close to 90,000 the previous day. Put together, India recorded nearly 1,84,000 fresh infections over the weekend. By contrast, the US reported 73,202 infections over the week and Brazil 45,805, according to data from worldometers.info. Together the two countries accounted for less than 1.2 lakh cases. Deaths from the virus in the country crossed 1,100 for the first time, with Maharashtra recording 423 fatalities.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
295 08-09-2020 - Business – Chanda Kochhar’s husband arrested in laundering case – The Enforcement Directorate arrested Deepak Kochhar, husband of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, in a major development which is seen as a prelude to possible drastic action also against the once-celebrated boss of ICICI Bank and Venugopal Dhoot, the chairman of Videocon group. The ED’s action against the Kochhars comes ahead of the filing of a chargesheet in the case, with sources in the antimoney laundering agency claiming that they decided to take Deepak Kochhar, a businessman whose company received funds from Dhoot in lieu of ICICI Bank sanctioning loans to Videocon group, into custody because of his refusal to cooperate. Sources said the Kochhars and Dhoot have been dodging specific questions about the “quid pro quo” established by the money trail.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
296 08-09-2020 - Social – Looking forward to the vaccine: SII CEO – Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer, Serum Institute of India (SII), whose company is to manufacture the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute and AstraZeneca in India, is now at the university. The Pune-based SII is to produce one billion doses of the vaccine. The vaccine candidate, which is among the front-runners in the fight against COVID-19, is now undergoing Phase 3 clinical trials in Britain, Brazil, South Africa and India. In India, trials are on at 17 sites with 1,600 participants and the safety and efficacy of the vaccine is being looked into. Called ‘Covishield’ in India, it [the Oxford-Astrazeneca produced vaccine candidate] is one of the three vaccine candidates undergoing trials in the country, apart from Bharat Biotech’s ‘Covaxin’, and Zydus Cadila’s ‘ZCOV-D.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
297 08-09-2020 - Constitution and Law – HC’s acquittal in Udumalpet case needs serious consideration: SC – The SC said the Madras High Court’s decision to acquit a man sentenced to death for the daylight murder of his daughter’s Dalit husband in the sensational Udumalpet honour killing case in Tamil Nadu was a “matter requiring serious consideration”. A Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul admitted a criminal appeal filed by the State government immediately. The High Court acquitted B. Chinnasamy on June 22. The trial court had awarded him the death penalty. The High Court also modified the death penalty of the hit men Chinnasamy had hired to life sentence. The verdict sent shock waves across the State. The crime dates back to March 2016.
(Constitution and Law)
298 08-09-2020 - Environment and Ecology – August rain second highest in a century  – August rainfall this year has been the highest since 1926 with 32.7 cm — or about 27% more than what is normal for the month — according to data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD). In August 1926, the rainfall recorded was 34.8 cm. IMD officials said the rain for the monsoon season as a whole was likely to be within the department’s June forecast of a normal (96 to 104% of the long period average) rainfall. 
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
299 08-09-2020 - Defence – Hypersonic cruise vehicle test puts India in elite club – The hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology was successfully demonstrated by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) with a flight test of the hypersonic technology demonstrator vehicle (HSTDV), which will lead to the development of hypersonic cruise missiles and vehicles in future. A test of the technology demonstrator was conducted in June 2019.
(Defence and Military)
300 08-09-2020 - Social – Govt. intervention in education policy should be minimal: PM – PM Modi said this emphasising that the policy belonged to the whole country, rather than to any particular government in power. Mr. Modi was addressing the inaugural session of the Governors’ conference on the National Education Policy (NEP), which is being attended by State Education Ministers and Vice-Chancellors. The focus of the conference is on the implementation of NEP. The PM urged the States to hold consultations with stakeholders on the implementation of the policy by September 25. With Governors being the Chancellors of the 400-plus universities — which have more than 40,000 affiliated colleges — they have a crucial role to play in the implementation of the NEP.
(Governance and Institutions)
301 07-09-2020 - Economy – RBI norms may exclude several cos from loan recast scheme – The RBI’s norms on corporate loan restructuring are likely to exclude a large number of companies as bankers expect advances worth only Rs 2-3 lakh crore will qualify for recast. A five-member committee headed by K V Kamath, constituted by the RBI to look into the parameters within which restructuring can be allowed, has submitted its recommendation to the central bank and lenders will approach their boards once the report is released. Bankers said corporates that have been lax in repayments before March 2020 will not qualify for restructuring even if they are not non-performing assets (NPAs). Bankers expect only 2-3% of overall bank loans to be eligible for restructuring.
(Indian Economy)
302 07-09-2020 - Study/Research – Over 10k student suicides in 2019, highest in 25 years – In 2019, at least one student died by suicide every hour in India. The year recorded the highest number of student suicides, 10,335, in the past 25 years for which data is available. A state-wise analysis in 2019 shows that just five — Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh — account for more than 44% of 10,335 student suicides that year. Maharashtra, which reported the most cases, accounted for 1,487 (14.3%) of the total student suicides. Between January 1, 1995, and December 31, 2019, India lost more than 1.7 lakh students to suicide.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
303 07-09-2020 - Study/Research – Firms raise $31 bn in shrinking economy – Nearly 80% of fatalities in road accidents in India happened due to speeding and dangerous or careless driving. Experts said most of the fatal accidents were recorded by police under speeding and dangerous driving categories in the FIR as there are no other provisions in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for such offences. According to the latest NCRB report on accidental deaths, 83.2% of road fatalities were on account of these two types of violations and the rest 17.8% of fatalities were due to reasons including drunk driving, bad weather conditions and mechanical defect. In 2014, when such causes of fatal crashes were first compiled, 89.4% of the deaths were due to speeding and dangerous or careless driving as per the police records and this was the highest ever.
(Indian Economy)
304 07-09-2020 - World – India, Iran discuss Afghan peace process – The Defence Ministers of India and Iran discussed ways to take forward bilateral cooperation and exchanged views on regional security issues, including peace and stability in Afghanistan, during their meeting in Tehran. In a departure from protocol for defence meetings, the Iranian side raised the issue of recent reports citing the safety of minorities in India, it is learnt. Mr. Singh was on a transit halt in Tehran en route from Moscow to New Delhi where he attended the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers meeting. Iran is an observer at the SCO.
(World Politics)
305 07-09-2020 - COVID-19 – Covid-hit India mulls a shot at Sputnik V – As Covid-19 cases continue to mount in India, Russian ambassador Nikolay Kudashev has said Moscow is talking to the Indian government “on different levels” about cooperation that could include “supplies, co-development and co-production” of Sputnik V vaccine. The Russians have billed Sputnik V as the first anti-Covid vaccine in the world, and according to a Lancet study, it has been found to cause no serious side effects in initial trials. Official sources have confirmed that Russia had shared formally modalities of cooperation with India on the vaccine and that the Indian government was examining the details. The issue is also likely to come up during foreign minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Moscow this week.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
306 07-09-2020 - World – Germany threatens Russia with sanctions – Tensions deepened between Germany and Russia over the alleged poisoning of opposition figure Alexei Navalny on Sunday (September 6), with Germany threatening sanctions and Russia accusing Berlin of delaying the investigation it demanded. The Russian opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner fell ill on a flight last month and was treated in a Siberian hospital before being evacuated to Berlin. Germany said last week there was “unequivocal evidence” that President Vladimir Putin’s top foe had been poisoned using the Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok. Germany will discuss possible sanctions against Russia if the Kremlin does not provide an explanation soon, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday.
(World Politics)
307 07-09-2020 - Business – DGCA moots formula on refunds for cancelled flights – Air passengers have a legitimate right to get full refund for their tickets cancelled due to no fault of their own during the national lockdown, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has told the SC. The DGCA said non-refund of fares or creation of “involuntary credit shell” by airlines amounts to violation of aviation law and policy, including the Aircraft Rules of 1937 and the Civil Aviation Requirements (CARs). But the Directorate also reasoned that an enforcement action against an already financially distressed sector now would prove counter-productive and harm the “Indian aviation as a whole”.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
308 07-09-2020 - COVID-19 – Sunday’s count 94k, 13% jump in Covid caseload last week – Daily Covid-19 cases in India zoomed to another record high on Sunday (September 6) with more than 94,000 fresh infections — over one new case every second — capping the deadliest week yet of the pandemic. Over 5.8 lakh coronavirus cases were recorded during the week (August 31-September 6), a 13% jump over the previous week (August 24-30). This was the second straight week of double-digit growth as the August 24-30 week too had seen a 13.1% rise. For two weeks in mid-August, the weekly growth in cases in India had slowed to 4%-6%. The subsequent surge in cases to levels not seen in any other country coincides with a sharp rise in testing.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
309 07-09-2020 - Economy – Rice, sugar push up farm exports 23% in April-June – Despite Covid-19 and the lockdown, India recorded a 23% increase in export of farm produce during April to June compared to the corresponding period last year, with rice and sugar dominating the exports. Though Basmati tops the list of exported farm commodities in value terms (Rs 8,591 crore), accounting for a third of India’s agri export in the first quarter of 2020-21, it’s non-Basmati rice that contributed the highest rise of Rs 2,392 crore. Overall, India recorded an increase of Rs 4,818 crore of export compared to April-June, 2019. Export of refined sugar contributed an increase of Rs 1,719 crore and export of raw sugar Rs 448 crore during the period — this means non-Basmati rice and sugar (refined and raw) together contributed Rs 4,559 crore (over 95%) in total increase of agri export.
(Indian Economy)
310 07-09-2020 - Education – At 66%, AP’s literacy rate is lowest, Maha 6th best at 85% – Which state has a higher literacy rate: Andhra Pradesh or Bihar, Telangana or Assam, Karnataka or Uttarakhand? If you picked the southern state each time, you were wrong and by a considerable margin. AP’s rate of 66.4% is the lowest among states and UTs and lower than Bihar’s 70.9%. Telangana’s 72.8% is well below the national average of 77.7% while Assam is well above it at 85.9% and Karnataka’s 77.2% pales in comparison to Uttarakhand’s 87.6%, which is bettered only by Kerala and Delhi. Maharashtra is sixth with 84.8%. Data from a 2017-18 National Statistical Office report on education reveals these counter-intuitive truths and shows that, at least when it comes to literacy, notions of “developed states” can be misleading. Not all preconceptions are wrong though. Kerala remains by some distance the best among the major states with a literacy rate of 96.2%. 
(Education)
311 05-09-2020 - Economy – Japan offers perks to its cos moving to India from China – A week before an India-Japan summit, Japan’s ministry of economy, trade and industry (METI) announced it would add India and Bangladesh to a list of Asean countries to qualify for subsidies for Japanese manufacturers moving out of China. The METI announcement comes days after India, Japan and Australia decided to advance cooperation on building trusted, resilient supply chains. PM Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe, the outgoing Japanese prime minister, will hold their last virtual summit on September 10. The two countries are expected to sign the ACSA (Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement) which will allow military services of both countries to share logistics. (India signed a similar pact with Australia in June).
(Indian Economy)
312 05-09-2020 - Economy – Moody’s cuts ratings on BoB, Canara, two others – Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the long-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings of four public sector banks — Bank of Baroda (BoB), Bank of India, Canara Bank and Union Bank of India (UBI) — to Ba1 from Baa3 and their baseline credit assessments (BCAs) to b1 from ba3. However, the ratings agency affirmed Punjab National Bank’s (PNB) long-term local and foreign currency deposit ratings at Ba1 and its BCA at b1. But PNB’s ratings outlook has been changed to negative from stable.
(Indian Economy)
313 05-09-2020 - Economy – Firms raise $31 bn in shrinking economy – Indian companies have raised a record $31 billion in equity capital in 2020 as banks strengthen their balance sheets to prepare for future economic uncertainty and corporates tap into the elevated global liquidity levels. The record raising comes despite India’s economy contracting 23.9% in the June-quarter, year-on-year, which puts it on track for the first annual contraction since 1980. Banks have been the most active issuers, raising $13.68 billion, followed by the energy and power sector with $7.05 billion, and consumer products with $3.41 billion.
(Indian Economy)
314 05-09-2020 - World – UN experts voice concerns over Hong Kong security law – UN human rights experts have told China a new security law for Hong Kong “infringes on certain fundamental rights” and voiced concerns that it could be used to prosecute political activists in the former British colony. In a rare joint letter, they also said provisions of the new law appear to undermine the independence of Hong Kong’s judges and lawyers, and the right to freedom of expression. The law allows for anything China views as subversive or secessionist or as terrorism or collusion with foreign forces to be punished with up to life in prison. Authorities in Beijing and the financial centre have said the law is necessary to ensure Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
315 05-09-2020 - World – Greece rejects NATO mediation – Turkey has accused Greece of shunning dialogue and lying after Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis said NATO-brokered talks to reduce tension in the eastern Mediterranean could only be held if Ankara stopped making “threats”. NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has said Greek and Turkish leaders “agreed to enter into technical talks at NATO to establish mechanisms for military de-confliction to reduce the risk of incidents and accidents”. But Athens said it had never agreed to the technical talks, which in any case did not constitute dialogue with Turkey. Greek government said Mr. Stoltenberg’s initiative “is very far from being termed an agreement to restart dialogue.”
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
316 05-09-2020 - Research/Study – Russia’s COVID-19 vaccine is safe: study – The two-shot vaccine being developed by Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute generated a strong immune response and didn’t produce serious adverse reactions in the 76 volunteers who were inoculated in a trial. This is the first time that details of the early human studies — or Phase-1/2 trials, to check the vaccine’s safety and ability to generate an immune response — of the vaccines have been reported in a peer-reviewed journal. The vaccine consists of two components, a recombinant adenovirus type 26 (rAd26) vector and a recombinant adenovirus type 5 (rAd5) vector, both carrying the gene for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) spike glycoprotein (rAd26-S and rAd5-S). Adenoviruses commonly affect humans and primates and have emerged as a sought-after platform to develop a vaccine against COVID-19.
(Healthcare and Medicine, Science and Technology)
317 05-09-2020 - Education – SC rejects appeal by 6 State Ministers against JEE, NEET – The SC has dismissed a plea filed jointly by Ministers from six non-BJP-ruled States against the conduct of the JEE Main and the NEET-UG amid the pandemic. The three-judge Bench found no merit in the plea to review the top court’s order on August 17 refusing to entertain a petition by students to postpone the NEET and the JEE. The Ministers had submitted that lakhs of students should not fall prey to the Centre’s “knee-jerk” and “haphazard” plans, which will prove “worse than the disease itself”. The National Testing Agency (NTA) had notified the JEE between September 1 to 9. The NEET for medical seats are scheduled for September 13. The JEE Main is slated to be conducted at over 660 exam centres, with 9.53 lakh students taking it. The NEET will see 15.97 lakh students in 3,843 centres across the country.
(Education)
318 05-09-2020 - Economy – RBI revamps rules for priority sector loans, adds startups – The RBI has overhauled its priority sector lending (PSL) norms to boost fund flows to districts that have been excluded and has doubled its limit for health infrastructure to Rs 10 crore, and for renewable energy to Rs 30 crore. According to the new norms, loans of up to Rs 50 crore to startups (as defined by the industry ministry) also qualify as PSL. With agriculture being the only sector expected to grow this fiscal year, the RBI has decided to ramp up credit flow to this segment and said targets prescribed for small and marginal farmers and weaker sections will be increased in a phased manner. Banks can now lend up to Rs 5 crore to Farmer Producer Organisations and individual households can get loans up to Rs 10 lakh for renewable energy generation.
(Indian Economy)
319 05-09-2020 - Economy – Govt may hike duty on imported cars – In a move seen as a protectionist measure, the government has said that import duty on cars and completely- and semi-knocked down assemblies (CKD and SKD) could be raised as it also advised foreign makers to reduce the amount of royalty payments that they charge on their subsidiaries. Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal told a conference of auto industry professionals that manufacturing in India needs to be strengthened further for which the government would look at a number of measures, including boosting exports and even taking a relook at a free trade agreement with the EU. A hike in the CKD and SKD duty has the potential to hit the business of luxury and premium makers such as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Skoda, Volkswagen, and even Honda and Toyota (through Lexus).
(Indian Economy)
320 05-09-2020 - COVID-19 – India’s cases hit 4m, last 1m rise fastest for any country – Covid-19 cases in India raced past 4 million on Friday (September 4), just 13 days after hitting the 3 million mark, even as fresh cases in the past 24 hours surged to a new high of over 87,800. This was the third consecutive day of highest rise in new infections. India is the third country after the US and Brazil to record 4 million cases. While India took the longest time for cases to increase from one to 1 million (168 days), its subsequent growth in infections has been the fastest. Cases in India have grown from 1 million to 4 million in 50 days, while it took 75 days in Brazil and 86 days in the US. The last million was in just 13 days—the fastest million so far— with previous being 16 days, recorded in both India and the US. However, India’s fatality rate remains the lowest among the three worsthit countries, less than half the mortality rate in the US.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
321 04-09-2020 - COVID-19 – India only country among 20 worst hit with cases yet to peak – While India is setting new records for daily Covid-19 cases, in every other country among the top 20 in terms of cases, the daily addition is now well below the peak value the day when they reported maximum cases. India’s three-day average of fresh cases as on September 3 was 77,387 — 92.3% of the peak of 83,883 official cases — also reported on September 3. In no other country among the worst 20 was this even at 80%. India’s daily tally of Covid cases crossed 83,000 cases for the second consecutive day on September 3. India’s caseload went past 39 lakh to 39,28,110 according to data collated from states. The day’s reported deaths also rose to 1,088.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
322 04-09-2020 - Research/Study – Males account for over 80% accidental deaths – The gender skew in deaths due to accidents and suicides has aggravated over the years with males accounting for over 80% of 4.2 lakh accidental deaths and more than 70% of 1.4 lakh suicides last year. Half a century ago, those proportions were around 63% and 60% respectively. In the case of suicides, this change has happened largely over the last two decades, while in accidental deaths, the process has been more prolonged and driven at to a large extent by road accidents accounting for a larger share of them now than in the past. Data shows that there were 4.2 lakh accidental deaths in 2019. Of these 3.4 lakh were males and just under 81,000 females while 37 were transgender.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
323 04-09-2020 - Economy – Relief for borrowers in moratorium case – The SC has directed banks that loan accounts in the clear till the expiry of the moratorium on August 31 should not be declared as non-performing assets (NPAs) till further orders. The direction was triggered by an assurance from senior advocate Harish Salve, on behalf of the bankers that “no account shall become NPA at least for a period of two months”. The order was passed amid apprehensions raised by individual borrowers and representatives of various commercial sectors on whether their loans would be declared NPAs on September 1, the day after the expiry of the moratorium.
(Indian Economy)
324 04-09-2020 - Economy – IMF confirms India’s GDP worst-hit among G20 – A tweet put out by the International Monetary Fund's chief economist Gita Gopinath confirmed that the Indian economy saw the steepest contraction in the first quarter among G20 countries. “In #GreatLockdown Q2 2020 GDP growth at historical lows. Graph puts G20 growth numbers on a comparable scale, quarteron-quarter non-annualized. Should expect rebounds in Q3 but 2020 overall will see major contractions. China recovers strongly in Q2 after collapse in Q1,” the tweet read.
(Indian Economy)
325 04-09-2020 - Railways – Railway board gets its first-ever CEO-cum-chairman – Indian Railways has gone the corporate way, at least in its administrative set-up, with the railway board now having a CEO-cum-chairman with members. This is the biggest change since the board was formed in 1905. The decision to have a CEO was taken last year when the government had approved merger of all railway services into one service. The incumbent chief of the railway board was designated as the first chairman and CEO on September 2. The board has four members to deal with infrastructure, finance and other operations.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
326 04-09-2020 - Business – Bank boards to clear loan rejig by 15th – The government has asked banks to obtain board approval for restructuring of corporate loans by September 15 after the K V Kamath-led committee submits its report in the first week. This was communicated to bank chiefs in their review meeting with finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman. Most banks have obtained board approval for restructuring of retail loans. The finance minister held a review meeting with the heads of all leading banks and finance companies through video conferencing on Thursday to review their preparedness for restructuring loans of borrowers that have come under stress related to Covid-19. In the meeting, the FM said that Covid-related distress must not impact the lenders’ assessment of their credit-worthiness. Banks have also been asked to be proactive and reach out to stressed borrowers who are eligible for restructuring. According to lenders, the eligibility of corporate borrowers can be determined only after the Kamath committee submits its report on the extent to which a loan in a particular sector can be restructured.
(Governance and Institutions, Indian Economy)
327 04-09-2020 - Polity & Governance – In past 5 yrs, 60% of question hour lost to disruption – Opposition parties may be up in arms over suspension of question hour in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament but records show that over 60% of question hour’s time in Rajya Sabha in the past five years was wasted due to disruptions. Besides, this is not the first time that question hour has been suspended as it was done so on seven previous occasions, when the Congress led UPA was in power. The research division of Rajya Sabha secretariat, at the behest of Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu, went into the records and found that during 2015-19, only about 40% of the total question hour time was used to raise questions and obtain oral responses from the government. Sources said the decision to suspend question hour was taken after presiding officers of both Houses were informed by the parliamentary affairs ministry that the government had consulted different political parties and there was a broad consensus. Only one party, Trinamool Congress, was against the idea.
(Governance and Institutions)
328 04-09-2020 - World – Kremlin rejects accusations that it poisoned Navalny – The Kremlin has rejected accusations that Russia had been responsible for the poisoning of opposition politician Alexei Navalny and said it saw no grounds for sanctions to be imposed against Moscow over the case. Mr. Navalny, 44, is an outspoken opponent of Russian President Vladimir Putin and has specialised in high-impact investigations into official corruption. He was airlifted to Germany last month after collapsing on a domestic Russian flight after drinking a cup of tea that his allies said was poisoned. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Moscow rejected any suggestion that Russia had been behind the attack on Mr. Navalny and warned other countries against jumping to hasty conclusions.
(World Politics)
329 04-09-2020 - World – Afghan govt. frees 400 Taliban prisoners ahead of Doha talks – The Afghanistan government has released 400 Taliban prisoners under an exchange deal with the militants, except for “a few” opposed by foreign nations, and expected peace negotiations to start soon. The two warring sides are set to launch direct talks in Qatar, tying up the end of a contentious and months-long prisoner exchange. Two Taliban officials confirmed the prisoners had been freed but that those opposed by France and Australia were still in custody. Paris and Canberra made protests over the release of the militants because of their links to the murders of French and Australian civilians and troops in Afghanistan.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
330 04-09-2020 - World – FB to ban political ads in week before U.S. election – Facebook says it will ban political advertising the week before the U.S. election, one of its most sweeping moves against disinformation yet as CEO Mark Zuckerberg warned of a “risk of civil unrest” after the vote. The social media giant also vowed to fact check any premature claims of victory, stating that if a candidate tries to declare himself the winner before final votes are tallied “we’ll add a label to their posts directing people to the official results.” And it promised to “add an informational label” to any content seeking to delegitimize the results or claim that “lawful voting methods” will lead to fraud.
(Science and Technology, World Politics)
331 03-09-2020 - COVID-19 – In a global 1st, India sees 83k cases in a day – India recorded its biggest single-day surge in Covid infections by adding 83,029 fresh cases on Wednesday (September 2), crossing the 83,000 mark for the first time. This is the third time India has crossed the 80,000-mark and worryingly, the three peaks came in the last four days, pointing at the rapid spread of Covid. No other country has come close to the 83,000-mark in a day, with US earlier setting a record with 77,255 cases on July 16. With 1,023 fresh deaths, India’s cumulative toll reached 67,415. Maharashtra alone accounts for 37% of the total national casualties.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
332 03-09-2020 - Economy – GST mop-up dips by just 1% in Aug over previous month – GST collections dropped by under Rs 1,000 crore month-on-month to Rs 86,449 crore in August. Although the mop-up in August was 12% lower than a year ago, the pace of decline was a little slower from the 14% registered in July, indicating that economic activity is stabilising. The improvement seemed to be visible also in the fact that, excluding imports, there were at least six states — Nagaland, J&K, Uttarakhand, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and UP — which reported an increase in collections till August, compared to three at the end of the previous month. Among them, Nagaland reported a 17% increase.
(Indian Economy)
333 03-09-2020 - World – UAE flights to ‘all nations’ can fly over Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia has agreed to allow UAE flights to “all countries” to overfly the kingdom, days after allowing an Israeli aircraft to pass over en route to Abu Dhabi. Saudi Arabia has accepted an Emirati request to allow “crossing the kingdom’s airspace for flights heading to the UAE and departing from it to all countries”. Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Monday’s (August 31) historic first commercial flight of an Israeli aircraft direct to the UAE across Saudi Arabia would not be the last. The announcements come after a U.S.-Israeli delegation visited Abu Dhabi on Monday, on the first direct commercial flight from Tel Aviv. Saudi Arabia has said it will not follow the UAE in establishing diplomatic ties with Israel until the Jewish state has signed a peace accord with the Palestinians.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
334 03-09-2020 - Business – India now in top 50 on global innovation list – India has been ranked 48th on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2020 among 131 economies, breaking into the top 50 countries for the first time. Moving up four positions from last year, three ‘clusters’ — Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai — feature in the top 100 science & technology hotspots, further endorsing India’s presence in the global innovation economy. High-income countries Switzerland, Sweden, the US, the UK and the Netherlands lead the innovation ranking, with a second Asian economy — South Korea — joining the top 10 for the first time. Singapore is ranked at the eighth position.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
335 03-09-2020 - Society – Suicides see 3.4% rise; at 38% Maha has max farmer deaths – The number of suicides in India, often called the suicide capital of the world, increased further by 3.4% from 1.34 lakh in 2018 to 1.39 lakh in 2019. The only silver lining was that the number of suicides by those engaged in the farm sector witnessed a marginal decline in 2019 as compared to 2018, with their share in the country’s 1.4 lakh suicides too falling to 7.4% from 7.7% during the corresponding period. As per the report on ‘Accidental Deaths & Suicides in India’ (ADSI) for the year 2019 released by NCRB, the rate of suicides (suicides per lakh of population) too went up from 10.2 to 10.4 in the corresponding period, with family problems, marriage-related issues and illnesses together accounting for 55% of the total suicides.
(Agriculture, Trivia and Miscellaneous)
336 03-09-2020 - Study/Research – India registered 48 fatalities every hour last yr: NCRB data – India registered 48 accidental deaths every hour last year, which was marginally higher than 2018. Deaths caused due to traffic crashes, which include road and railway accidents, accounted for nearly 44% of the total 4.1 lakh accidental deaths, which exclude fatalities due to flood, avalanche, heat stroke and lightning. Cause-wise analysis of road accidents show that nearly 60% of the total accidents which caused 86,241 deaths were due to speeding. Dangerous, careless driving or overtaking claimed 42,557 lives. Road accidents had a major share of traffic crashes-related deaths at 1.6 lakh out of the total 1.8 lakh fatalities. The total road fatalities was around 1.5 lakh in 2018. The data also show that nearly 28,000 “railway accidents” claimed 24,619 lives and another 1,762 people died in “railway crossing accidents”. Maharashtra reported the highest number of accidental deaths (70,329), followed by MP (42,431) and UP (40,596).
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
337 03-09-2020 - World – Navalny poisoned by nerve agent Novichok, says Germany – Tests carried out on Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny showed that he was poisoned by a Novichok chemical nerve agent, the German government said on September 2, demanding explanations from Moscow. The government condemns this attack in the strongest terms. The Russian government is urgently requested to provide clarifications over the incident. Tests carried out by the German Army in consultation with the Charite hospital in Berlin, where Navalny is being treated, had found “unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent from the Novichok family. Mr. Navalny, 44, fell ill after boarding a plane in Siberia last month. He was initially treated in a local hospital before being flown to Berlin for treatment.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
338 03-09-2020 - Polity & Governance – Govt scraps question hour, draws oppn ire – Opposition parties cried foul over the Modi government’s decision to ‘scrap’ question hour during the monsoon session and many referred to it as a ‘death blow’ to democracy, though the government has agreed to the zero hour that usually allows parties to vent their views on current political events and also sees submission of adjournment notices. The government also clarified that unstarred questions —written questions—will be submitted to members. No “starred” questions—oral questions as follow-ups to the written queries—will be permitted during the question hour. Typically, ministers concerned reply to oral questions in the House. Parliamentary affairs minister Pralhad Joshi said the call to scrap it was taken after most opposition parties gave consent.
(Governance and Institutions)
339 03-09-2020 - COVID-19 – Maha’s 8L+ count beats 5th worst-hit country – Maharashtra reported its biggest single-day spike of 17,433 Covid-19 cases on Wednesday (September 2), taking its total to 8,25,739. On Tuesday, the state had added 15,765 fresh cases and 320 deaths, taking its tally to 8,08,306. The state took seven days to go from 7 lakh to 8 lakh cases. Maharashtra now has more cases than Peru (6,57,129 as on September 1), the fifth most-affected country. The state’s active cases crossed 2 lakh on Wednesday while the toll surpassed 25,000 with the addition of 292 deaths. The state toll of 25,195 accounts for 38% of deaths in India. Mumbai added 1,622 cases and 34 deaths on Wednesday, taking its count to 1,48,569, inching towards the 1.5 lakh mark, and its toll to 7,727.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
340 03-09-2020 - Cyber Security – Govt. bans PUBG, WeChat Work, 116 other mobile apps – The government has banned 118 applications — a majority being Chinese, including popular ones such as PUBG, WeChat Work, Baidu, CamCard, Rise of Kingdoms: Lost Crusade and Alipay, stating that these were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of State and public order”. This is in addition to the ban on 59 Chinese applications, including TikTok, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory and Cam Scanner, in June last. The announcement comes amid renewed tensions between India and China owing to the stand-off on the disputed boundary in Ladakh that has been on since May 2020.
(Governance and Institutions)
341 02-09-2020 - Internal Security – ‘Provocative action’ by PLA again: MEA – Chinese troops engaged in “provocative action” along the disputed boundary in Ladakh once again on August 31, even as Commanders of the two sides were in discussion to de-escalate the situation. As Brigadier-level talks continued for the second day in Chushul, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a high-level meeting to review the ground situation. A defence source said that on August 31, PLA troops came closer to the posts dominated by the Indian Army but “they were dissuaded”.
(Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions)
342 02-09-2020 - Economy – To soften Covid-19 blow, India plans to extend MGNREGA to the cities – India is considering extending its flagship jobs program (MGNREGA) in villages to workers in cities left unemployed by the pandemic-induced lockdowns. The program, when approved, may be rolled out in smaller cities and initially cost about 350 billion rupees ($4.8 billion). PM Modi’s government is already spending more than 1 trillion rupees on a rural jobs program this year, under which workers in the hinterland can earn a guaranteed minimum daily wage of 202 rupees for at least 100 days a year.
(Indian Economy)
343 02-09-2020 - COVID-19 – 78,357 COVID-19 Cases In India In 24 Hours, Total Cases Cross 37 Lakh – A single-day spike of 78,357 cases has push India's coronavirus tally to 37,69,523. The death count has risen to 66,333 with 1,045 more fatalities. 29,01,908 patients have recovered from the infection in the country, pushing the recovery rate to 76.98 per cent. Maharashtra remains the state hit hardest by the pandemic, with 8,08,306 COVID-19 cases, including 24,903 deaths. Maharashttra is followed by three southern states - Andhra Pradesh, TN and Karnataka. India is the country with the third-highest coronavirus caseload in the world after the US and Brazil.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
344 02-09-2020 - World – Turkey renews call for talks, sharing of resources with Greece – Turkey’s Foreign Minister has said his country favours a dialogue with rival Greece that would lead to the fair sharing of resources in the eastern Mediterranean, where the two countries are locked in a tense standoff that threatens to spill into a conflict. Speaking at a news conference with his Algerian counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu also accused Greece of engaging in “provocative acts” in the region with the backing of the European Union, which has threatened sanctions against Ankara. Both countries’ forces have been conducting military exercises in the seas between Cyprus and the Greek island of Crete. The standoff was sparked when Turkey sent its research vessel, Oruc Reis, accompanied by warships to search for gas and oil reserves. Turkey has also extended Oruc Reis’ mission by another 10 days, until September 12.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
345 02-09-2020 - World – Protests erupt after police kill another black man in U.S. – U.S. police have shot dead another black man, who they said had a handgun but had dropped it during a violent altercation in Los Angeles, triggering fresh outrage as tensions soar over racism and police brutality. The man, named in local media as 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee, was riding his bicycle when Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies tried to stop him for an unspecified vehicle code violation on Monday (August 31) afternoon. He fled on foot, and when officers caught up with him he punched one deputy in the face, dropping some items of clothing he was carrying, police said. The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semi-automatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
346 02-09-2020 - World – Turmeric shortage sparks concern in Lanka – A shortage of turmeric, a key ingredient in Sri Lankan cuisine, has sparked concern among consumers about supply amid soaring costs in recent months, after the government decided to restrict imports in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic. While the government has capped maximum retail price of turmeric powder at LKR 750 (about ₹295) a kg, traders point to a black market where the spice is sold for almost five times the price. The Sri Lankan Navy has also busted attempts to smuggle in turmeric by sea. Last week alone, authorities recovered nearly 1,500 kg of dried turmeric in Norochcholai, some 150 km north of capital Colombo, on the island’s western coast. Despite the shortage and reports of shooting prices, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said his government will not go back on its decision on import restriction.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
347 02-09-2020 - World – Millions in Europe head back to school – Millions of mask-wearing European children headed back to school on Tuesday (September 1) after summer holidays despite rising numbers of novel coronavirus infections, as Hong Kong rolled out a mass COVID-19 testing programme. Schools reopened in Russia, Ukraine, Belgium, England and France, where teachers and their pupils aged 11 and older were obliged to wear face coverings, echoing regulations in place across the continent. Russia’s 17 million school children returned to class as the country confirmed it had passed one million infections — still well behind the tally in the U.S., now higher than six million. Officials have drawn fire from parents and teachers worried that strict social distancing and other protective measures will not be enough to prevent a second wave of COVID-19.
(Governance and Institutions)
348 02-09-2020 - Economy – Manufacturing activity returns to expansion in August: PMI – Manufacturing activity re-entered the growth territory in August, driven by a rebound in production volumes and new work, amid an improvement in customer demand following the resumption of business operations. The headline seasonally-adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose from 46 in July to 52 in August, signalling an improvement in operating conditions across the manufacturing sector following four consecutive months of contraction. Despite an expansion in new orders, job shedding continued in the sector. The relocation of employees following COVID-19 pandemic was often linked to the reduction in staffing numbers. The survey noted the decline in foreign exports weighed slightly on overall new orders as firms cited subdued demand conditions from abroad.
(Indian Economy)
349 02-09-2020 - Industry – Telcos get 10 years to pay AGR dues to govt. – The SC has allowed telecom companies 10 years’ time to pay their adjusted gross revenue (AGR) dues to the government. The government had proposed in court a 20-year “formula” for telcos to make staggered payments of the dues. The formula was devised after extensive discussions, even at the Cabinet level, taking into account the financial dent the dues would cause the telecom sector. Even after part payment, the dues still run to ₹1.43 lakh crore. An October 2019 judgment of the court in the AGR issue originally wanted the telcos to make the repayments in three months. The court had concluded that the private telecom sector had long reaped the fruits of the Centre’s liberalised mode of payment by revenue sharing regime.
(Constitution and Law, Governance and Institutions)
350 02-09-2020 - Economy – GST revenue falls 12% in August at ₹86,449 crore – Goods and Services Tax revenue in August stood at ₹86,449 crore, just over 1% lower than the ₹87,422 crore collected in July. On a year-on-year basis, GST collections dropped 12% from August 2019. State-wise data shows that Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan have posted a marginal increase in collections, while Haryana and Rajasthan saw a marginal decrease. Major States still showing a significant drop include Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu. Overall, revenues from import of goods dropped 23% from the previous year, while revenues from domestic transactions dropped 8%. The Ministry noted that small businesses with a turnover less than ₹5 crore have till September to file returns.
(Indian Economy)
351 01-09-2020 - Economy – Fiscal deficit overshoots FY budget target – India’s fiscal deficit in the four months to end July stood at ₹8.21 trillion ($111.7 billion), or 103.1% of the budgeted target for FY21. Net tax receipts were ₹2.03 trillion, while total expenditure was ₹10.5 trillion, the data showed, indicating the government had stepped up its spending to combat the impact of the COVID-19. The deficit is predicted to cross 7.5% of GDP in FY21, private economists said, from initial government estimates of 3.5%, mainly due to a sharp economic contraction triggered by the pandemic.
(Indian Economy)
352 01-09-2020 - People & Personalities – Ex-President Pranab Mukherjee passes away – Former President Bharat Ratna Pranab Mukherjee passed away Monday at the age of 84. Earlier in August, Mukherjee had undergone a brain surgery at the Army Research and Referral hospital in New Delhi. Hours before his death, hospital authorities said his condition had deteriorated and he was in a state of septic shock due to a lung infection. Mukherjee, in his decades-long political career, served as a Member of Parliament seven times, serving in the cabinet of several prime ministers. In 2012, Mukherjee was elected President of India.
(People and Personalities)
353 01-09-2020 - Law & Constitution – SC imposes ₹1 fine on Bhushan for contempt – The SC has punished civil rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan with a “nominal” fine of ₹1 for committing criminal contempt by “scandalising the court”. Mr. Bhushan, in a press statement, said he reserved his right to file a review but would pay the fine to an institution he holds in high esteem. The court said an “appropriate sentence” and not a mere warning was required as Mr. Bhushan had showed an “unjustifiable insistence” to not express regret.
(Constitution and Law)
354 01-09-2020 - COVID-19 – With 66,000 new cases on Mon, India sees lowest jump in a week – In India, the massive surge in infections during August can be gauged from the fact that 54% of all cases recorded since the outbreak of the pandemic came during the month. India’s total caseload stands at over 36.8 lakh. Of these, 28.3 lakh have recovered while there are nearly 7.9 lakh active cases in the country. India’s number of active cases is second only to the US, where the count stands at 25.6 lakh. The virus has so far claimed 65,373 lives in India, the third highest in the world following the US (1.9 lakh) and Brazil (1.2 lakh). On August 31, India recorded the lowest jump in cases in a week, with 65,968 fresh infections reported in the country. The day’s death toll, at 824, was the lowest for a single day since August 3. 
(Healthcare and Medicine)
355 01-09-2020 - World – Xinjiang ‘forcing’ people to take unproven Covid-19 drugs: Report – The government in China’s Xinjiang is resorting to draconian measures to combat the coronavirus, including physically locking residents in homes, imposing quarantines of more than 40 days and arresting those who do not comply. Authorities say the steps taken are for the well-being of all residents, though they haven’t commented on why they are harsher than those taken elsewhere. Since the start of the outbreak, the government has pushed traditional medicine on its population. The remedies are touted by President Jinping.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
356 01-09-2020 - Research/Study – ‘Most firms availing moratorium were struggling before COVID-19’ – Three out of four entities that availed of loan moratorium were rated in the sub-investment grade, Crisil Ratings said. Most of them were grappling with a slowing economy before the pandemic began. The severely curtailed business activity that followed in the first quarter of this fiscal had cramped cash flows, so the moratorium came as a big relief. Only one out of four companies that availed of the moratorium is rated in the investment grade (rated CRISIL BBB- or higher). They took recourse to the moratorium to build a liquidity cushion for exigencies in the near term. Every fifth company in highly impacted sectors such as gems and jewellery, hotel, auto components, automobile dealers, power (power utilities, independent power producers and energy traders), packaging, and capital goods and components availed of the moratorium.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
357 01-09-2020 - Economy – RBI moves to ease liquidity further – The RBI has announced more measures to ease liquidity pressures amid rising yields on government securities and concerns of higher government borrowing and said that it would conduct additional, special open market operations (OMOs) as part of its efforts to ensure orderly market conditions and congenial financial conditions. The OMOs via auctions involving the simultaneous purchase and sale of government securities for an aggregate amount of ₹20,000 crore in two tranches of ₹10,000 crore each, would be conducted on September 10 and September 17. The central bank’s announcement came on a day when the government announced the biggest quarterly contraction in economic output and other data showed the Centre’s fiscal deficit had exceeded 100% of its full-year budget target in the first four months of the current fiscal.
(Indian Economy)
358 01-09-2020 - Internal Security – Army thwarts PLA bid to seize heights near Pangong – In yet another sharp escalation in the ongoing military confrontation in eastern Ladakh since early-May, Indian soldiers thwarted an attempt by Chinese troops to occupy some heights near the southern bank of Pangong Tso Lake on Saturday (August 29) night. The “provocative military movements” by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) aimed at seizing the heights in the Chushul sector, broadly between Pangong Tso and Spanggur Gap, were physically blocked by the swift deployment of Indian troops in the region at an altitude of around 15,000 feet. The Army said there were no violent clashes in the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday, as were witnessed during the extended bloody skirmish in the Galwan Valley on June 15 that led to the death of 20 Indian and an undisclosed number of Chinese soldiers.
(Defence and Military, Governance and Institutions)
359 01-09-2020 - World – Lebanese leaders choose ex-envoy as PM – Lebanon’s under-fire leaders Monday (August 31) designated a new Prime Minister, the diplomat Mustapha Adib, to tackle the country’s deep political and economic crisis, hours before French President Emmanuel Macron was due to visit. Mustapha Adib, 48, Lebanon’s former envoy to Germany, acknowledged in a televised speech that there is “a need to form a government in record time and to begin implementing reforms immediately”. He vowed to resume talks with the International Monetary Fund for assistance to the country, which is in the throes of its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war and was traumatised by Beirut’s deadly August 4 explosion.
(World Politics)
360 01-09-2020 - Economy – GDP collapses 23.9% in Q1, worst among big economies – India’s economy posted its steepest contraction on record in the April-June quarter of the current fiscal year as the strict lockdowns imposed to arrest the spread of Covid infection stalled economic activity, shut out consumption and investment, and led to job and income losses. Data showed GDP in April-June of 2020-21 slumped 23.9% compared with a growth of 3.1% in the previous (Jan-March) quarter. Among major economies, India’s contraction was the sharpest. China, after posting a contraction in the Jan-March quarter has recovered with a 3.2% growth in April-June. Globally, India is close to UK’s contraction of 20.4% in the second quarter. Agriculture was the only bright spot in India.
(Indian Economy)
361 31-08-2020 - People & Personalities – First female cardiologist of India dies of Covid at 103 – India’s first female cardiologist, Dr SI Padmavati, passed away on Saturday night due to Covid-19. She was 103. Dr Padmavati developed a severe infection in both her lungs, which caused the death. The legendary cardiologist led an active and healthy life till her last few days. Until late 2015, she was working 12 hours a day, five days a week at NHI, which was founded by her in 1981. Such was her contribution that it earned her sobriquet of the ‘Godmother of Cardiology’. She went on to establish North India’s first Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratory at the Lady Hardinge Medical College in 1954.
(People and Personalities)
362 31-08-2020 - COVID-19 – India sees record 10.6L tests in a day, total crosses 4cr – India scaled another high by testing over 10.5 lakh samples in a day to detect Covid-19, taking the total tests conducted till August 29 to over 4.1 crore. The exponential jump in testing capacity and the number of tests have resulted in an upsurge in tests per million to 30,044. Due to increased testing, the positivity rate has remained at 8.5%. The coronavirus death toll due to the disease climbed to 63,498, with 948 people succumbing to it on August 29.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
363 31-08-2020 - Constitution & Law – SC ready for physical hearing, but lawyers in under 1% cases agree – Deferring to repeated demands of bar association leaders, the SC had planned to start limited physical hearing of cases on a trial basis from this week, but the move appears to have fizzled out as only 0.8% of advocates agreed to appear in person to argue cases. The court registry displayed a list of 517 regular cases and 170 miscellaneous petitions and sought consent from counsel engaged by litigants for physical hearing. Only in six of the total 687 cases, lawyers from both sides have given their consent to physical hearing. The court has been adjudicating cases through video-conferencing.
(Constitution and Law)
364 31-08-2020 - Science & Technology – Flying cars dream closer to reality: Japanese car flies with human inside – There are plenty of flying car projects that are in motion around the world but it still seems like a distant dream for human civilization. However, we might be a step closer to actually execute the dream. A Japanese company has finally built a car that not only managed to take off but did so with a human sitting inside. Japan's SkyDrive Inc. has carried out a successful though modest test flight with a person sitting in the cabin of the car. The aircraft has one seat and operates with eight motors and two propellers on each corner. It lifted about 10 feet into the air and was operated by a pilot. Analysts have said they expect urban air taxis to be common by 2040, with the global market projected to be $1.4 trillion to $2.9 trillion by then.
(Science and Technology)
365 31-08-2020 - World – Singapore to offer free tests to taxi drivers, hawkers – Singapore will offer free COVID-19 tests to community groups such as taxi drivers, food delivery workers and hawkers as part of efforts to expand the COVID-19 testing regime. The costs of the tests will be fully borne by the government. The authorities will reach out to the groups progressively. The Ministry on August 30 reported 54 new COVID-19 cases. To date, Singapore has 56,771 confirmed COVID-19 cases. With 110 more patients discharged from hospitals, 55,447 have fully recovered from the infection.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
366 31-08-2020 - COVID-19 – COVID-19 cases cross 25 million mark – Global COVID-19 infections soared past 25 million on Sunday (August 30), as countries around the world further tightened restrictions to try to stop the rampaging pandemic. A million additional cases have been detected globally roughly every four days since mid-July. Even nations such as New Zealand and South Korea, which had previously brought their outbreaks largely under control, are now battling new clusters of infections. On the other side of the world, Latin America — the worst-hit region — is still struggling with its first wave, with COVID-19 deaths in Brazil crossing 1,20,000, second only to the US.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
367 31-08-2020 - Environment & Ecology – 14 lakh affected, 17 killed in Odisha floods – Over 14 lakh people were affected due to floods in five river systems of Odisha. Seventeen people lost their lives in a wall collapse and by slipping into swollen rivers. According to the office of Special Relief Commissioner, 2.65 lakh people were marooned by vast sheets of water in 340 villages and 57,824 people were being served cooked food after their evacuation from water-logged houses. Heavy rain triggered by back-to-back low pressure area over the Bay of Bengal had caused flooding in 20 districts. The floods also caused massive damage to infrastructure. In 11 districts, 107 roads were cut off by the swirling water and 32 breaches on river embankments were detected in five districts. Preliminary assessment of floods suggests 10,382 houses and 1.68 lakh hectare of crop land were affected.
(Environment Ecology and Climate Change)
368 31-08-2020 - Economy – Asean agrees to review trade pact with India – After months of inaction and the government’s threat to pull out of the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) with Asean, members of the trading block have agreed to review the trade pact amid concerns that China is using the treaty to ship goods to India, which is unable to take full advantage of the 10-year-old arrangement. Chief among them is the inability of Indian exporters to get a level-playing field. Indonesia had lowered duties on only 50% of the items, while close to 75% of its products were getting customs duty benefit in India. A similar problem persisted with some of the other Asean members, although those such as Indonesia are not classified as least-developed countries.
(Indian Economy)
369 31-08-2020 - COVID-19 – India becomes first country to record over 80,000 cases in a day – India added a record 80,092 fresh Covid cases on August 30, becoming the first country to cross the 80,000-mark, even as the week ending August 30 turned out to be the worst till now. The growth rate of cases and fatalities more than doubled compared to the preceding week. The highest peak of 80,000-plus cases comes on August 30, when the number of fresh infections have usually been lower than other days of the week because of a lull in testing during the weekends. The highest peak of fresh cases on a Sunday was last recorded on August 9 with 63,851fresh cases. With over 76,000 fresh cases being registered daily for five consecutive days, the growth rate this week (13.1%) was almost three times the 4.7% growth registered the previous week. This was 5.9% in the preceding week and 10.9% during August 3-9 week.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
370 31-08-2020 - Research/Study – Lockdown has hit routine health services severely – There have been innumerable stories of the suffering of non-Covid patients across the country during the lockdown and after, and official data is now available to show the extent to which routine health services were unavailable and the scale of its impact. The number of fully immunized children fell by over 15 lakh in the three-month period from April to June compared to the same months last year. The number of institutional deliveries fell by 13 lakh. The registered number of TB patients undergoing treatment fell to almost half of what it was last year. People seeking cancer treatment as outpatients fell by over 70%. Hard-won progress on several national health goals has suffered a jolt.
(Healthcare and Medicine, Science and Technology)
371 29-08-2020 - Economy – Citing strained finances, states ask Centre to borrow – A day after the Centre listed two options for bridging the revenue gap in the 41st GST Council meeting, several states have raised concerns about their inability to borrow at lower rates and instead demanded the Centre to borrow. States cited their strained finances and the struggle to pay salaries and pensions to not undertake borrowing to meet the compensation gap, adding that the Centre’s capacity to borrow is higher than states. SBI in a research report also proposed Centre to make arrangements with the RBI to facilitate such borrowing. It listed three options for the states to meet the revenue shortfall: monetisation of state debt by the RBI, expansion of ways and means advances limit and allowing states to tap National Small Savings Fund (NSSF) for funds at a concessional rate of interest.
(Indian Economy)
372 29-08-2020 - Business – ‘Local transfer pricing cases to go faceless’ – The Income-Tax Department will soon start sending out intimation to assesses undergoing scrutiny that such cases would now be handled under faceless assessment. Officials also said domestic transfer pricing cases, too, will be covered under the faceless assessment mechanism. Asked whether the previous notices still stand valid, the official said, “Previous notices will not become redundant.” Reassessment cases would also be a part of the faceless scheme.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
373 29-08-2020 - Economy – Chinese buyers help lift Indian steel exports – India’s steel exports more than doubled between April and July to hit their highest level in at least six years, boosted by Chinese buying. Traders said reduced prices had driven the purchases as Indian sellers sought to get rid of a surplus generated by the impact of COVID-19 on domestic demand and generate much-needed income. Leading Indian steel companies Tata Steel Ltd. and JSW Steel Ltd. were among Indian companies that sold a total of 4.64 million tonnes of finished and semi-finished steel products on the world market between April and July.
(Indian Economy)
374 29-08-2020 - COVID-19 – Positivity rate down for 3 fortnights in a row, at 7.9% – Holding out hope amid rising Covid-19 cases, the all-India positivity rate, total confirmed cases per 100 tests, measured over a 14-day period, showed a declining trend for three consecutive fortnights — from a high of 11.2% between July 15-28 to 8.8% during August 1-14 and now at 7.9% (between August 14-27) though states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh remain worries. A positivity rate of 5% or below over a 14-day period is considered a ‘green zone’ where a state can safely relax lockdown measures. Anything above that mark is considered a ‘red zone’.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
375 29-08-2020 - COVID- 19 – As deaths cross 1,000-mark for 4th day, India no. 3 in Covid toll; 7L+ active cases – India’s Covid-19 death toll surged to the third highest in the world after overtaking Mexico on Friday, even as the pandemic numbers continued to swell in the country with the daily count of fresh cases staying above 76,000 for third day running and fatalities over 1,000 for the fourth straight day. With 1,015 fatalities reported on August 28, the death toll from the virus rose to 62,635, going past Mexico’s Covid toll of 62,594. Only the US, with 1,85,272 deaths recorded so far, and Brazil (1,18,988) have a higher toll than India. However, India’s mortality rate from the infection, at 1.8%, remains the lowest among these three countries.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
376 29-08-2020 - Awards & Recognition – WWII spy of Indian origin honoured with plaque in UK – World War II British secret agent Noor Inayat Khan has become the first woman of Indian origin to be honoured with a blue plaque in London. Khan worked as a British spy in Nazi-occupied France before being executed in a concentration camp, having revealed nothing to the Gestapo, not even her name. She posthumously received the George Cross. Born in Moscow to an Indian father, Sufi master Inayat Khan, a descendant of Tipu Sultan, and to white American Sufi poet who adopted the name Pirani Ameena Begum, Khan, a Muslim, lived with her family in Paris much of her life. But they decided to move to England in 1940 to join the fight against fascism.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
377 29-08-2020 - World – Japan’s PM quits citing health reasons – Japan’s PM Shinzo Abe has announced that he will resign, ending his record-breaking tenure in a bombshell development that kicks off a leadership race in the world’s third-largest economy. Mr. Abe said he is suffering a recurrence of the ulcerative colitis that forced him to cut short a first term in office, and that he no longer felt able to continue as PM. While speculation about Mr. Abe’s political future has grown in recent weeks, after two hospital visits for unspecified health checks, the resignation nonetheless came as a surprise. The resignation shocked the markets, with Tokyo stocks plunging more than 2% towards the end of afternoon trade when reports of Abe’s decision first emerged.
(World Politics)
378 29-08-2020 - Education – SC: Final-yr exams must for getting graduate/PG degrees – Ending the suspense for 1.5 crore final-year UG and PG students, the SC has said final examinations are a must to get degrees, but ruled that in a pandemic, states had power under the Disaster Management Act to postpone exams beyond the September 30 deadline set by the University Grants Commission (UGC). Refusing to scrap the exams, the court said the exams need to be rescheduled in consultation with the UGC, upholding the regulator’s mandate to set the rules for award of degrees. In doing so, the SC said it recognised the importance of the evaluation process. The SC said UGC guidelines had taken the pandemic situation into account and had given three options to universities for conducting final examinations — offline, online and a mix of both. There was nothing unreasonable about the guidelines as it also provided another opportunity to students, who, for some reason, may miss the final examinations.
(Education)
379 29-08-2020 - COVID-19 – 87,000 health workers +ve in India, 573 dead; 50% of toll in Maha alone – More than 87,000 healthcare workers have been infected by Covid-19, with just six states—Maharashtra, Karnataka, TN, Delhi, WB and Gujarat—accounting for around 74% of the cases and over 86% of the 573 deaths. Maharashtra alone accounts for around 28% of the infected healthcare workers and over 50% of the deaths. While Maharashtra, Karnataka and TN had tested more than 1,00,000 healthcare workers each till August 28, Karnataka reported only 12,260 cases— almost half the burden in Maharashtra. TN reported 11,169 cases. While Maharashtra reported 292 deaths, Karnataka and TN had 46 and 49 deaths, respectively.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
380 29-08-2020 - Agriculture – Good rainfall helps farm sector post record kharif crop acreage – India has reported an all-time record acreage of kharif (summer sown) crops this year despite the Covid-19 pandemic and flood situation in many states. The development indicates the farm sector, which remained largely free of lockdown curbs, may continue to register growth despite a shrinking GDP. Barring damage due to inclement weather, several crops will benefit from good monsoon rainfall and the government’s procurement policies. During lockdown, FCI had launched a massive operation to complete procurement and make payments to farmers. As on Friday (August 28), the total kharif acreage was reported at 1,082 lakh hectares against 1,010 lakh hectares during the corresponding period last year – an increase by over 7%. Sown areas of mainly paddy, oilseeds and pulses contributed to this increase.
(Agriculture)
381 28-08-2020 - Business – HC stays insolvency action against Ambani – The Delhi HC has stayed the insolvency resolution process (IRP) proceedings against Reliance Communications (RCom) Chairman Anil Ambani in relation to recovery of ₹1,200 crore of loans given by the State Bank of India to two of his group firms. The court also restrained Mr. Ambani from “transferring, alienating, encumbering or disposing of his assets or legal rights and interests therein till the next date of hearing” on October 6. RCom and Reliance Infratel Limited (RITL) had availed of credit facilities amounting to ₹565 crore and ₹635 crore, respectively, from the State Bank of India (SBI) with Mr. Ambani as the personal guarantor for the corporate loans.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
382 28-08-2020 - Economy – India’s state refiners halt crude oil purchases from Chinese firms – Indian state refiners have stopped buying crude oil from China-linked companies after New Delhi’s recent regulation aimed at restricting imports from countries that it shares a border with. The new regulation, put in place on July 23, comes after a border clash between India and China that killed 20 Indian soldiers and soured relations between the two neighbours. Since the new order was issued, state refiners have been inserting a clause in their import tenders on new rules restricting dealings with companies from countries sharing a border with India.
(Indian Economy)
383 28-08-2020 - Economy – Govt. moots action against personal guarantors – The finance ministry has asked public sector banks (PSBs) to monitor cases where insolvency proceedings could be initiated against individuals who are guarantors of corporate debtors that have defaulted on loans. The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) provides for a time-bound and market-linked resolution of stressed assets. The Code also provides for initiation of insolvency proceedings against personal guarantors of corporate debtors, even though the provision has not been used much by lenders to recover dues.
(Indian Economy)
384 28-08-2020 - COVID-19 – With Over 77,000 Covid Cases, India Sees Record One-Day Rise – India has once again seen a record daily rise in coronavirus cases with 77,266 fresh cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total count to 33,87,500. An additional 1,057 new deaths brought the overall death count to 61,529. India has the third-highest number of virus infections in the world, after the United States and Brazil. 25,83,948 patients have recovered from the infection in the country, taking the recovery rate to 76.27 per cent. Maharashtra remains the hardest-hit state in the pandemic, accounting for 7,33,568 cases. Since August 4, India's daily coronavirus case count has been the highest in the world.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
385 28-08-2020 - Economy– Borrow from RBI to bridge GST gap, Centre tells States – The Centre has acknowledged that States are likely to face a GST revenue gap of ₹3 lakh crore this year, as the economy may contract due to COVID-19, which FM Nirmala Sitharaman termed an unforeseen “act of God”. Compensation cess collections are only expected to bridge 22% of this gap. Of the remaining ₹2.35 lakh crore, the Centre said only ₹97,000 crore was due to GST implementation itself, rather than caused by the impact of COVID-19. At the GST Council meeting, it claimed that this ₹97,000 crore is the portion “hardwired” into the compensation law. The Centre then offered States two options for borrowing to meet the shortfall. “A special window could be provided, in consultation with the RBI, so that the States can get this ₹97,000 crore at a reasonable rate of interest, and this amount can be repaid after five years through the collection of cess,” said Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey. “Another option is that this entire gap of ₹2.35 lakh crore can be met by the borrowing by the States. There also, arrangement could be made with the RBI and certain facilities could be provided.”
(Indian Economy)
386 28-08-2020 - Economy – ‘Women entrepreneurs saw big revenue drop in lockdown’ – Women entrepreneurs experienced significant reduction in sales and revenues amid the COVID-19 lockdown, according to a survey report. The report also said that these entrepreneurs were looking to the government for support. The number of women-owned enterprises is about 12% of the total micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) in India. One of the key findings of the survey was that many women-owned enterprises were in the informal sector and that they could not easily avail themselves of government- or public-assistance programmes. Transport restrictions had disrupted receipt of input material and delivery of products; women faced increased responsibility for domestic care, increased social pressures and limited family support.
(Indian Economy)
387 28-08-2020 - Economy – Fed adopts average inflation target, elevates focus on jobs – The Federal Reserve has rolled out an aggressive new strategy to restore the U.S. to full employment and lift inflation back to healthier levels in a world where weak inflation, low interest rates, and slow growth appear here to stay. Under the new approach, the U.S. central bank will seek to achieve inflation averaging 2% over time, offsetting below-2% periods with higher inflation “for some time.” The new statement also pledges to make sure employment doesn’t fall short of a “broad-based and inclusive goal” of maximum employment, a nod to racial equity and its role in promoting economic growth.
(Indian Economy)
388 28-08-2020 - World – Turkey says it will hold military drills in east Mediterranean – Turkey has said it will hold firing exercises in the eastern Mediterranean on September 1-2, the latest in a series of military drills which have fuelled tensions with Greece. The announcement came hours before Parliament in Greece is expected to ratify an agreement with Egypt, which defines maritime boundaries between the two countries, a step which Turkey considers an affront. Greece and Turkey, both members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, have been locked in a dispute over control of eastern Mediterranean waters, which escalated after Ankara sent a seismic survey vessel to the disputed region this month in a move which Athens called illegal.
(Defence and Military)
389 28-08-2020 - Constitution & Law – States can have sub-groups among SC/STs, says court – The SC has held that States can sub-classify Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Central List to provide preferential treatment to the “weakest of the weak”. The Constitution Bench, led by Justice Arun Mishra, said reservation has created inequalities within the reserved castes itself. There is a “caste struggle” within the reserved class as the benefits of reservation are being usurped by a few, the court pointed out. With this, the Bench took a contrary view to a 2004 judgment delivered by another Coordinate Bench of five judges in the E.V. Chinnaiah case. The Chinnaiah judgment had held that allowing the States to unilaterally “make a class within a class of members of the Scheduled Castes” would amount to tinkering with the Presidential list.
(Constitution and Law)
390 28-08-2020 - World – China fires missiles into South China Sea – China has fired at least two missiles into the South China Sea in what Chinese media described as a warning to the U.S., amid escalating tensions between the countries over Chinese maritime claims and the military exercises being conducted in disputed waters by China. The missiles were fired into waters between Hainan province and the Paracel Islands in an area that China had previously notified would be off-limits because of planned drills, also expected to include missile tests. Chinese media reported the missiles were fired a day after the U.S. flew spy-planes through at least two areas where drills were being held.
(Defence and Military)
391 27-08-2020 - Education – At Opposition meeting, CMs plan to move SC on JEE, NEET – States ruled by BJP rivals are likely to file a joint review petition in the Supreme Court against the Union Education Ministry’s decision to go ahead with the JEE and NEET in September. This decision was taken at an online meeting of seven Chief Ministers, who also bitterly attacked the Centre and demanded a revisit of the GST framework if the Union government is unable to pay compensation.
(Indian Economy)
392 27-08-2020 - Economy – BPCL resumes ₹50,300-crore project works – Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL) has resumed work on 2,118 projects, costing an estimated ₹50,300 crore, in a bid to revive economic growth. Work had been progressing since April 20 by adhering to pandemic-related standard operating procedures. The projects of BPCL, joint ventures as well as subsidiaries include refinery, petrochemicals, bio refineries, marketing infrastructure projects, pipelines and CGD projects. Of the total estimated cost, ₹9,597 crore will be the capital expenditure for FY21.
(Indian Economy)
393 27-08-2020 - Economy – Gujarat tops exports index: NITI Aayog – Gujarat tops the Export Preparedness Index 2020 to evaluate States’ potential and capacities, followed by Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. The other States that have made it to the top 10 include Rajasthan, Odisha, Telangana, Haryana, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka and Kerala. The index ranks States on policy, business ecosystem, export ecosystem and export performance. Overall, coastal States emerged as the best performers, with six out of eight coastal States featuring in the top 10 rankings. In the landlocked States, Rajasthan performed the best, followed by Telangana and Haryana.
(Indian Economy)
394 27-08-2020 - COVID-19 – India records highest-ever single-day spike of over 75,000 Covid-19 cases, tally above 3.3 million – India on Thursday (August 26) registered its highest-ever spike of the coronavirus disease cases. According to Union health ministry update, the country recorded 75,760 new cases of Covid-19, which pushed the nationwide tally to over 3.31 million. The number of active cases in the country are 7,25,991, while 25,23,771 patients have been discharged. The country also recorded 1,023 fatalities in the last 24 hours which pushed the death toll to 60,472, according to health ministry data. The health ministry had said on Wednesday that the total number of Covid-19 recoveries in India exceeds the active cases of the infection by 3.5 times and the recovery rate is over 76 per cent. The record high recoveries have ensured that the number of active cases of Covid-19, which is the “actual caseload” of the country, comprises only 21.87 per cent of the total cases, it highlighted.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
395 27-08-2020 - Business – Amazon faces antitrust case from online sellers – A group of more than 2,000 online sellers has filed an antitrust case against Amazon in India, alleging the U.S. company favours some retailers whose online discounts drive independent vendors out of business, a legal filing showed. The case presents a new regulatory challenge for Amazon in India, where it has committed $6.5 billion in investment but is battling a complex regulatory environment. In January, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) had ordered an investigation of Amazon and rival Flipkart over alleged violations of competition law and certain discounting practices, which Amazon is challenging. In the latest case, the All India Online Vendors Association, whose members sell goods on Amazon and Flipkart, allege Amazon engages in unfair business practices. The group alleges that Amazon India’s wholesale arm buys goods in bulk from manufacturers and sells them at a loss to sellers such as Cloudtail. Such sellers then offer goods on Amazon.in at big discounts.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
396 27-08-2020 - Economy – Union Bank to divest stake in IndiaFirst Life – Nearly five months after the amalgamation of Andhra Bank that also brought along a 30% stake in IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company (IFLIC), Union Bank of India has kickstarted the process of divesting the holding in the insurer. This follows regulatory limits on promoter holding in multiple insurance firms. Union Bank of India has floated an expression of interest (EoI) for the sale. The bank holds 25.1% in Star Union Dai-ichi Life Insurance Co. With the Andhra Bank amalgamation on April 1, Union Bank obtained its holding in IFLIC. Bank of Baroda and Carmel Point Investments hold 44% and 26%, respectively, in IFLIC. According to the EoI document, the life insurer commenced operations 12 years ago and in 2019-20, had total premium of ₹3,360 crore.
(Indian Economy)
397 27-08-2020 - Economy – ‘India risks stagnation if GDP doesn’t grow over 8% annually’ – India’s GDP needs to grow annually at 8-8.5% to create opportunities in the post COVID-19 era, and the country risks a decade of stagnating incomes and quality of life if urgent steps are not taken to spur growth, says McKinsey Global Institute. India will have to undertake a slew of reforms over the next 12-18 months with the aim of increasing productivity and creating jobs. Given the increasing urbanisation and population trends, there will be 90 million additional workers in search of non-farm jobs by 2030 and India will have to triple job creation to 12 million gainful non-farm jobs per year from the 4 million achieved between 2013 and 2018.
(Indian Economy)
398 27-08-2020 - World – Israel strikes Hezbollah posts – Israel said it had launched air strikes against Hezbollah observation posts in Lebanon after shots were fired from across the border towards its troops the previous evening. PM Benjamin Netanyahu blamed the shooting on Shiite militant group Hezbollah with which Israel fought a devastating month-long war in 2006, and pledged a “forceful” response to any further incidents. The border flare-up came hours after Lebanon rejected an Israeli call to reform the UN peacekeeping force which patrols the border ahead of a UN Security Council vote to renew its mandate. The Israeli Army had said earlier that a “security incident” was unfolding near Manara, a kibbutz near the UN-demarcated border between the two countries, and urged residents to take shelter.

(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
399 27-08-2020 - Constitution & Law – SC hits out at Centre on loan moratorium scheme – The SC has criticised the Union government for “hiding behind the Reserve Bank of India” without making its stand clear on the loan moratorium scheme introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. The top court wanted to know whether the deferment of loan interest to prop up borrowers through their financial crisis during the national lockdown would lead to accrual of further interest once the freeze is lifted on August 31. The government is yet to file its affidavit. The court noted that the issue had been pending indecisively for some months now and advised the government against adopting a blinkered vision, focusing only on matters of business of banks and not looking at the plight of the people financially dented by the “problems created by your lockdown”.
(Constitution and Law)
400 27-08-2020 - World – U.S. blacklists 24 Chinese firms amid South China Sea dispute – The US has blacklisted 24 Chinese companies and targeted a number of individuals it said were part of construction and military actions related to disputed islands in the South China Sea. The U.S. officials said the two dozen companies played a “role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea.” The State Department said it would impose visa restrictions on Chinese individuals “responsible for, or complicit in,” such action and those linked to China’s “use of coercion against Southeast Asian claimants to inhibit their access to offshore resources.” The move marked the Trump administration’s latest efforts to crack down on companies whose goods may support Chinese military activities.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
401 26-08-2020 - Education – NEET, JEE: MHA hints at rethink on dates – Facing escalating demands from political leaders and student organisations to push back the JEE-NEET exams due to COVID-19 fears, a Home Ministry official indicated that reconsideration was on the cards. However, his Education Ministry colleague denied that a rethink was under way. Last week, the Supreme Court dismissed a petition from students seeking postponement of the exams.
(Education)
402 26-08-2020 - Economy – Economy to shrink in Q2, says RBI report – The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) foresees the economic contraction triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic extending into the second quarter, especially as the shock to consumption has been severe, and said government consumption would be key to the revival of demand. “High frequency indicators that have arrived so far point to a retrenchment in activity that is unprecedented in history,” the RBI said in its Annual Report. “The upticks that became visible in May and June after the lockdown was eased in several parts of the country appear to have lost strength in July and August.”
(Indian Economy)
403 26-08-2020 - Policy & Governance – Two-wheelers neither luxury nor sin goods: FM – Two-wheelers are neither a luxury nor sin goods and so, merit a GST rate revision. Ms. Sitharaman said a rate revision proposal would be taken up by the GST Council. Two-wheelers currently attract 28% GST. Last year, the country’s largest two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp had urged the government to consider a phase-wise reduction in GST on the segment, starting with bringing bikes up to 150 cc into the 18% slab. Mopeds and cycles fitted with an auxiliary motor are taxed under the highest bracket under GST — 28 per cent.
(Governance and Institutions)
404 26-08-2020 - World – Kremlin defies calls to probe Navalny illness, says poisoning not certain – Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny attends a mass march marking the one-year anniversary of the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov on February 27, 2016 in Moscow, Russia. The Kremlin said on Tuesday (August 25) it saw no need for now to investigate circumstances leading up to opposition politician Alexei Navalny’s grave illness, and that a German clinic’s initial diagnosis of poisoning was not yet conclusive. Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called for an investigation and for Russia to hold the perpetrators accountable after German doctors found indications of a toxic substance in his body. Navalny, an outspoken opponent of President Vladimir Putin, was airlifted to Germany for treatment on Saturday after collapsing on a plane while flying back to Moscow from Siberia.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
405 26-08-2020 - Science & Technology – Facebook plans news service launch in UK, India, Brazil – Facebook Inc plans to launch its news service in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, India and Brazil in the coming months, after having introduced the feature in the United States last year. The social media giant's news service currently pays U.S. publishers for content and has original reporting from more than 200 outlets, including thousands of local news organizations. Facebook, which has 2.7 billion monthly active users, has come under fire for its lax approach to fake news reports and disinformation campaigns, which many believe affected the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, won by Trump. Following the criticism, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had said the company would prioritize “trustworthy” news in its feed by identifying high-quality outlets.
(Science and Technology)
406 26-08-2020 - Economy – No Rs 2,000 note printed in FY20; Rs 500 in circulation sharply increases – The number and value of Rs 2,000 notes in circulation declined during the year ended March 2020, even as the Rs 500 notes in circulation sharply increased. It disclosed that Rs 2,000 notes were not printed in 2019-20, while 1,200 crore pieces of Rs 500 notes were printed. The central bank printed 5 crore Rs 2,000 notes in 2018-19. While 32,910 lakh pieces valued at Rs Rs 6,58,199 crore of Rs 2,000 notes were in circulation in March 2019, the numbers declined to 27,398 lakh and Rs 547,952 crore in March 2020. On the other hand, the value of Rs 500 notes spurted sharply to Rs 14.72 lakh crore in March 2020 from Rs 10.75 lakh crore a year ago.
(Indian Economy)
407 26-08-2020 - Economy – New govt employment in June falls over 60% from FY20 monthly average level – New employment in government sector fell by over 60 per cent in June 2020, compared with the monthly average of the last financial year. The central government had introduced the National Pension System (NPS) with effect from January 1, 2004 (except for armed forces) on a mandatory basis. As per the latest NSO data, only 3,537 new subscribers joined in the NPS from the central government sector, compared with the monthly average of 9,213 in FY19 and 9,904 in FY20. Similarly, from the state government sector, only 20,222 joined in the NPS in June 2020, compared with the monthly average of 45,209 in FY19 and 41,333 in financial year 2019-20.
(Indian Economy)
408 26-08-2020 - Economy – Bank frauds jump 159% in 2019-20; PSBs account for Rs 1.48 lakh crore – The total cases of frauds (involving Rs1 lakh and above) reported by banks and financial institutions (FIs) shot up by 28 per cent by volume and 159 per cent by value during 2019-20 despite the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) tightening the supervision and vigilance. While there were 6,799 frauds involving Rs 71,543 crore as of March 2019, the number of frauds jumped to 8,707 involving a whopping Rs 1,85,644 crore. According to the RBI, a major chunk of the frauds were reported on the advances front with 4,610 cases for Rs 1,82,051 crore, which works to around 98 per cent of the total value of frauds. Public sector banks topped the fraud table with 4,413 cases involving Rs 1,48,400 crore. Private banks reported 3,066 frauds involving Rs 34,211 crore.
(Indian Economy)
409 26-08-2020 - Economy – China floats BRICS 5G base as India mulls ban – China has proposed the creation of what it calls a ‘BRICS innovation base’ to take forward 5G and Artificial Intelligence (AI) cooperation among the five countries. China’s Minister of Industry and Information Technology Xiao Yaqing “urged fellow nations, including India, to boost cooperation in areas including 5G and AI”, Chinese media reported, adding that China was “actively considering the establishment of a BRICS innovation base in China, in order to strengthen practical cooperation with the BRICS”. The move could pose an awkward question for India, which is the only country in the grouping that is leaning towards excluding Chinese participation in the roll-out of its national 5G network.
(Indian Economy)
410 26-08-2020 - Economy – ‘Centre may consider a second stimulus once infections abate’ – The government may look at introducing a second set of fiscal stimulus measures once the COVID-19 infections abate and the psychological fears in people’s minds ebb. The government has also observed that 40% of the cash transfers directly into the beneficiaries’ accounts recently have been saved and not spent, leading to a feeling that there are limitations of the stimuli measures and hence, making timing the most important factor. The government’s first round of fiscal stimulus was announced in late March. The RBI delivered two deep rate cuts before surprising all with a pause this month, leading some analysts to opine the government will have to do the heavy lifting now.
(Indian Economy)
411 25-08-2020 - Economy – Tough for Indian pharma to sustain Q1 performance: Ind-Ra – Strong revenue growth in the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) business segment and lower operational expenses that perked up the April-June performance of the Indian pharmaceutical companies are unlikely to be the same for them amid global unlocking, says India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra). Ind-Ra said the API business revenue grew 31% year-on-year and 18% quarter-on-quarter in Q1. This came as demand from global and Indian formulation players remained robust, aided by higher pricing opportunities. Growth in API business was primarily attributable to the export business. Indian API players benefited due to a thrust on supply chain continuity from customers and better inventory management in view of supply disruptions from China and the run up in the prices of API. Channel stocking also contributed to the growth.
(Indian Economy)
412 25-08-2020 - COVID-19 – Govt may ask passengers flying out of India to get Covid test before flight – The Centre is planning to ask outbound flyers from India on international flights to have a COVID-19 test done prior to their flight. This comes in the aftermath of Hong Kong government banning Air India flights till August 31 after 11 people tested positive for coronavirus on arrival there from Delhi. Currently, India has mandated a seven-day institutional quarantine and a seven-day home quarantine for passengers arriving into India on international flights.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
413 25-08-2020 - Polity & Governance – Republicans formally renominate Trump as convention kicks off – Delegates kicked off the scaled-down 2020 Republican National Convention by officially renominating President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence on August 24 in Charlotte. The expected vote was unanimous and took place inside a socially distanced ballroom at the Charlotte Convention Center. The nomination proceedings were attended by six delegates from each state and territory, for a total of 336 delegates.
(World Politics)
414 25-08-2020 - Economy – Covid-led rush for cash slows: Currency with public falls for first time in five months – The sudden rush for cash by public — which started alongside the Covid-19 pandemic and anticipation of lockdown announcement in March, and kept on piling each fortnight — witnessed its first fall, in five months, in the fortnight ended July 31. The dip in currency with public came in line with the relaxation in lockdown restrictions and large number of businesses and transactions returning to normalcy. As per RBI data, currency with public rose by Rs 3,24,500 crore between February 28, 2020 and July 17, 2020, and hit an all-time high of Rs 25.8 lakh crore on July 17. It fell by Rs 3,982 crore in the fortnight ended July 31, and the currency with public fell to Rs 25.76 lakh crore.
(Indian Economy)
415 25-08-2020 - Science & Technology – Global team of scientists discovers one of the earliest galaxies using India’s AstroSat – In a major breakthrough, a global team led by scientists of the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) has discovered one of the earliest galaxies in extreme ultraviolet light. AstroSat, India’s first multi-wavelength satellite that has five unique X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem, has detected extreme UV light from a galaxy called AUDFs01, 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth. The discovery was made by an international team of astronomers led by Dr Kanak Saha, associate professor of astronomy at IUCAA, and was published on August 24 by Nature Astronomy. The team comprises scientists from India, Switzerland, France, USA, Japan and Netherlands. The team observed the galaxy, which is located in the Extreme Deep field, through AstroSat. These observations lasted for more than 28 hours in October 2016. But it took nearly two years since then to carefully analyse the data to ascertain that the emission is indeed from the galaxy.
(Science and Technology)
416 25-08-2020 - COVID-19 – Active coronavirus cases in India decline after record recoveries – With 60,975 people testing positive for coronavirus infection in a day, India's COVID-19 tally rose to 31,67,323, while recoveries surged to 24,04,585 pushing the recovery rate over 75.92 per cent. The total active cases in India declined by 6,423 after a record 66,550 patients were cured in a day on August 24. The death toll climbed to 58,390 with 848 fatalities being reported in a span of 24-hours. The COVID-19 case fatality rate has declined to 1.84 per cent. There are 7,04,348 active cases of coronavirus infection in the country which comprises 22.24 per cent of the total caseload. India's COVID-19 tally had crossed the 20-lakh mark on August 7. According to the ICMR, a cumulative total of 3,68,27,520 samples have been tested up to August 24 with 9,25,383 samples being tested on August 24.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
417 25-08-2020 - World – China launches warship for Pakistan Navy – China has launched first of the four advanced naval warships it is building for Pakistan, amid deepening defence ties between the two all-weather allies. Pakistan-China defence ties turn a new chapter with the launch of the first ship of Type-054 class frigate, Pakistan’s state-run APP news agency reported. The Type-054 class, equipped with the latest surface, subsurface, anti-air weapons, combat management system, and sensors, will be one of the technologically advanced surface platforms of the Pakistan Navy fleet.
(Defence and Military)
418 25-08-2020 - World – 14 killed, 75 wounded in Philippines blast – Militants allied with the Islamic State group set off a powerful motorcycle explosive followed by a suicide bombing that together killed 14 people on August 24, many of them soldiers, in the worst extremist attack in the Philippines this year. At least 75 soldiers, police and civilians were wounded in the midday bombings in Jolo town in southern Sulu province. The bombings were staged as the government grapples with the highest number of COVID-19 infections in Southeast Asia. A second blast, apparently from a female suicide attacker, occurred about an hour later and killed the bomber, a soldier, a police commando and wounded several others.
(Terrorism)
419 25-08-2020 - World – German doctors say Alexei Navalny was poisoned – German doctors have said that medical examinations indicated that Russia opposition figure Alexei Navalny, who is in a Berlin hospital after collapsing on a plane in Russia last week, had been poisoned. Mr. Navalny, a critic of Russian President Vladimir Putin, had been flown to Germany for treatment on Saturday (August 22). The Kremlin has said it was unclear what caused Mr. Navalny to fall ill and that initial tests did not show he was poisoned, as his aides charged. Berlin’s Charite hospital said a team of doctors there had examined him in detail after his arrival. The clinical findings indicate poisoning by a substance from the group of active substances called cholinesterase inhibitors.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
420 25-08-2020 - Polity & Governance – Sonia to stay on as interim Cong. chief – Sonia Gandhi will continue to be the interim president of the Congress until the All India Congress Committee (AICC) holds its next session, the Congress Working Committee (CWC) said in a resolution on August 24, after a marathon virtual meeting. The meeting also witnessed verbal exchanges between members supporting the Gandhis and the dissenters, with the party’s leader in the Lok Sabha, Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, accusing Mr. Azad of “defending the indefensible”, forcing Ms. Gandhi to intervene. he CWC session was prompted by the letter, written by 23 senior Congress leaders, including Mr. Azad, Rajya Sabha Deputy Leader Anand Sharma and Lok Sabha members Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari, among others, which questioned the party’s style of functioning, demanded collective leadership and talked of a “full time and visible party president”. 
(Indian Politics)
421 24-08-2020 - Economy – Local lockdowns, low industrial activity push July fuel consumption down – The recovery of diesel and petrol consumption in India to pre-Covid levels slowed in July on the back of lower demand due to state-level lockdowns, low industrial activity and reduced movement of private vehicles. The consumption of diesel fell 19.3 per cent to 5.5 million metric tonnes (MMT), as against 6.8 MMT in July 2019 and down 12.7 per cent from June 2020, signalling a slowdown in the recovery of diesel consumption to pre-Covid levels. The recovery of petrol consumption too slowed in July with consumption of around 2.3 MMT, the same as in June but down 10.3 per cent from consumption of 2.5 MMT in July 2019. The consumption of diesel hit a low of 3.3 MMT and that of petrol fell below 1 MMT this April, as a result of the lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19. 
(Indian Economy)
422 24-08-2020 - Economy – AGR dues from telcos: Spectrum value erodes, govt on a sticky wicket – Whichever way the adjusted gross revenue (AGR) case concerning telcos goes, the ultimate loser will be the government. This is because the value of spectrum which is currently with the telecom operators — their main asset, of course on lease from the government – has diminished. If an operator like Vodafone Idea (VIL) does not get to pay its AGR dues of Rs 58,000 crore in deferred installments of 15-20 years as it has sought, it may have to file for bankruptcy and then the Centre stands to lose over Rs 2 lakh crore.
(Indian Economy)
423 24-08-2020 - Economy & Policy – Businesses to get GST registration in 3 days with Aadhar verification – Businesses which will provide Aadhaar number while applying for registration under the Goods and Services Tax will get the approval in three working days. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) last week notified Aadhaar authentication for GST registration with effect from August 21, 2020. The notification also provides that in case businesses do not provide Aadhaar number, then GST registration would be granted only after physical verification of the place of business.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
424 24-08-2020 - Polity & Governance – Trump team releases ad featuring Modi – Trying to specifically woo Indian-American voters, the Trump campaign has released a commercial featuring footage of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and U.S. President Donald Trump held in Houston almost one year ago and in Ahmedabad in February. While the data show that Indian Americans mostly vote Democrat, the Republican Party is trying to target voters who are likely to be switch loyalties based on the Modi-Trump camaraderie. The clip shows Mr. Modi holding up Mr. Trump’s arm on the stage in Houston and a shot of the two walking around the arena, hands clasped.
(World Politics)
425 24-08-2020 - Economy – For the first time, farm sector set to grow even as GDP sees a contraction – April-June may be the first time that India’s economy would contract year-on-year since the government started coming out with quarterly estimates of GDP from 1996-97. But the data for the quarter, to be released on August 31, could also show GDP falling for the first time in spite of agricultural production going up. The country’s GDP registered an annual decline, at minus 5.2%, last in 1979-80. But that year also recorded negative growth for agricultural GDP, at minus 12.8%. Even the previous GDP contractions of 0.3% in 1972-73, 3.7% in 1965-66, and 1.2% in 1957-58 were accompanied by farm output falling by 5%, 11% and 4.5% respectively.
(Indian Economy)
426 24-08-2020 - Economy – In 40 days, 69 lakh seek jobs on govt portal, just a fraction employed – A GOVERNMENT jobs portal launched by the Prime Minister on July 11 has seen registration of over 69 lakh individuals in just 40 days. But the number of individuals who got jobs is just a fraction of those who registered, showing that employment will be the biggest political economy challenge for the government as it restarts economic activities while trying to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. In just a week, between August 14 and August 21, more than 7 lakh people registered. The number of people who took up jobs during the week, however, stood at just 691. According to data collated by the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship on its ASEEM (Aatmanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping) portal, only 2 per cent of the 3.7 lakh candidates looking for jobs have actually got one. Of the 69 lakh migrant workers who registered, 1.49 lakh were offered jobs, but only 7,700 could join work.
(Indian Economy)
427 24-08-2020 - World – S. Korea tightens curbs after fresh COVID-19 outbreak – South Korea ramped up COVID-19 restrictions on August 23 to try to contain a growing outbreak, as many countries battled worrying surges in infections. The pandemic has killed more than 8,00,000 people globally, and continues to unleash destruction, with many countries detecting spikes in infections not seen for many months. Infections have soared past 23 million globally, and some countries are still facing first waves. South Korea, which largely brought its outbreak under control, tightened curbs to try to contain a new cluster. Nightclubs, karaoke bars and beaches have been closed, with tight restrictions on large gatherings and religious services, after hundreds of infections were linked to Protestant churches. Face masks will be mandatory in the capital Seoul’s public areas from midnight.
(Governance and Institutions, Healthcare and Medicine)
428 24-08-2020 - COVID-19 – India could get vaccine by year-end – Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has said if everything goes well, India will get a vaccine against the novel coronavirus by the end of this year. Three COVID-19 vaccine candidates, including two indigenous ones, are in different phases of development. The phase I human clinical trials of the two vaccines — one developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the ICMR, and the other by Zydus Cadila Ltd — have been completed and the trials have moved to phase II. The Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with AstraZeneca for manufacturing the vaccine developed by the University of Oxford, has been permitted to conduct its phase two and three human clinical trials in India.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
429 24-08-2020 - Polity & Governance – Find a new party chief, Sonia Gandhi tells Cong. – Faced with an unprecedented situation of senior leaders questioning the party’s top leadership in a letter, Congress president Sonia Gandhi is learnt to have asked her colleagues to find a new party chief as she was not keen to continue as interim head. Ms. Gandhi is believed to have conveyed this to a senior party leader, who handles organisational matters, soon after completing a year as the party’s interim chief on August 10. However, the party’s chief spokesperson, Randeep Surjewala, denied that “Ms. Gandhi has spoken to anyone or written any letter”.
(Trivia and Miscellaneous)
430 24-08-2020 - COVID-19 – With 3 million cases, COVID-19 unlikely to abate soon: experts – India crossed three million cases on Sunday (August 23) after adding nearly 69,239 cases the previous day — the fourth straight day that it added over 69,000 cases. India continued to be placed behind Brazil and the United States in the overall case load and, at 56,706 deaths, had only half as many as Brazil and less than a third as that of the U.S. India on Saturday reported having tested a million samples — the first time it surpassed this milestone. It has been conducting an average 8,89,935 tests in the last five days and had tested 34.4 million samples till August 21. Only about 23% of the confirmed cases, or about 7,00,000, are active cases requiring treatment and the case fatality ratio — or the confirmed deaths per ratified cases — has dipped to less than 2%.
(Healthcare and Medicine)
431 22-08-2020 - Economy – Investments via P-notes soar to ₹63,000 cr. – Investments through participatory notes (P-notes) in the domestic capital market soared to ₹63,288 crore till July-end, making it the fourth consecutive monthly rise. P-notes are issued by registered foreign portfolio investors to overseas investors who wish to be a part of the Indian stock market without registering themselves directly. They, however, need to go through a due diligence process. According to SEBI data, the value of P-note investments in Indian markets — equity, debt, hybrid securities and derivatives — stood at ₹63,288 crore till July-end, while such investments stood at ₹62,138 crore at the end o