Table of Contents
Daily Current Affairs for Government Exams:
Today Current Affairs:25th May 2020 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
- Human trials.:
- Emission norms for the L7 (Quadricycle) category for BS-VI
- China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
- Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANTIA):
- World Steel report
- Other important current affairs:
1. Human trials.:
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that eight vaccine candidates for COVID-19 have entered human trials.
- In a human challenge trial, participants are deliberately exposed to the infection (in this case it is SARS-CoV-2 virus), in order to study the disease and test the vaccines.
- For this, the exact virus strain that will be used to infect the participant and dosage or how much of the virus the volunteers need to be exposed to needs to be determined and approved by the regulatory authorities.
- The method has been used for developing vaccines for seasonal flu, typhoid, malaria, and cholera, among others.
- Human challenges expedite trials because a lot of time may be lost waiting for a trial subject to contract the disease naturally from the community.
- Till such time that happens, whether the vaccine works or not cannot be tested.
- Then again, if the infection does not happen normally, there is little way of finding out whether it is because of the vaccine or whether it is because the person was never exposed at all.
2. Emission norms for the L7 (Quadricycle) category for BS-VI. :
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued notification dated 22nd May 2020 regarding the emission norms for the L7 (Quadricycle) category for BS-VI. These norms are applicable from the date of notification.
- This notification completes the process of BS-VI for all L, M, and N category vehicles in India.
- The emission norms are in line with the EU with the WMTC cycle.
- The move is likely to encourage the production of quadricycles, a segment introduced less than two years ago.
- The central government had introduced the quadricycle segment in 2018 and approved it for both commercial and private use.
- Automobile manufacturers will now be able to produce petrol, diesel, CNG, and biofuel quadricycles for the Indian market.
- The Ministry of Road Transport describes quadricycle as a vehicle the size of a three-wheeler but with four tires and fully covered like a car.
- “It has an engine like that of a three-wheeler.
- This makes it a cheap and safe mode of transport for last-mile connectivity.”
3.China Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) :
China has hinted at a shift in how it will pursue its signature Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) amid growing concerns about debt repayments from many partner countries because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- In its recent report, China said it would focus on “achieving shared growth through consultation and collaboration” and would “work with BRI partners for mutually beneficial outcomes”.
- In recent weeks, China has faced calls from countries in Asia and Africa to delay or waive debt repayments.
- China’s financial assistance includes grants, interest-free loans and preferential loans.
- BRI consisting of the land-based belt, ‘Silk Road Economic Belt’, and ‘Maritime Silk Road’, aims to connect the East Asian economic region with the European economic circle and runs across the continents of Asia, Europe and Africa.
- BRI is China’s ambitious project announced in 2013. It covers about 65% of the world population, 60% of the world GDP, and over 70 countries in six economic corridors.
- China is spending almost $1 trillion to revive and renew the overland and maritime trade links between China, Europe, West Asia, and East Africa through the construction of modern ports linked to high-speed road and rail corridors.
India argues that the BRI and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project violates its sovereignty because it passes through the part of the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir that belongs to India.
- BRI projects are pushing recipient countries into indebtedness, do not transfer skills or technology, and are environmentally unsustainable.
- China is planning to extend the CPEC to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Maldives, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka are eagerly pursuing potential BRI projects.
4.Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANTIA):
NASA researchers have found high energy particles erupting from ice in the Antarctic region. The researchers believe that these particles are proof of the parallel universe.
- The ANTIA is a high-energy cosmic neutrino that detects radio pulses that are being emitted by the Antarctic ice sheet. The neutrinos in the ice produce radio pulses due to the Askaryan effect.
- The ANTIA instrument detects cosmic-ray neutrinos through a scientific balloon that is flying in the region of Antarctica. It is the first NASA observatory of neutrinos.
- The researchers have a special interest in neutrinos as they are the only particle that reaches the earth’s attenuated.
- Askaryan Effect: is the phenomenon where a particle travelling at a velocity faster than light in a dense electric medium, produces a shower of secondary charged particles.
- The dense electric medium can be ice, salt of lunar regolith.
- The ANTIA has so far made four major cosmic ray detections.
- The cosmic rays that are coming from the sky are reflected off the ice.
- However, two of these detections have proof that they are generated from the ice below.
5.World Steel report:
The World Steel Association released the World Steel Report. According to the report, the crude steel report of India declined by 65%. During April 2020, the steel output of India was 3.13 million tonnes.
- In April 2019, according to the report, India produced 9.02 million tonnes.
- In March 2020, India faced a decline of 14% steel output as compared to March 2019.
- The report also says that global steel output declined by 13%.
- In April 2019, the global steel output was 157.67 million tonnes.
- In April 2020, the output declined to 137.09 million tonnes.
- China has reported a 1.7% fall in steel production.
- This is the first time China is facing an output decline.
- The US faced a decline of 32%. South Korea’s steel production declined by 8.4%.
- The other global steel producers such as the European Union, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain, Russia, Ukraine, and Brazil also faced a decline in their output.
Other important current affairs:
1. The Department of Posts, Government of India, and Department of Horticulture, Government of Bihar have joined hands to supply ”Shahi Litchi” from Muzaffarpur and “Zardalu Mango” from Bhagalpur to the people at the doorstep.
- The ”Shahi Litchi” of Muzaffarpur (Bihar) and “Zardalu Mango” of Bhagalpur(Bihar) are famous in the world by virtue of their unique fragrance and demand everywhere. Zardalu Mango has received the GI tag.
- This facility of online delivery will be initially available to people of Muzaffarpur & Patna for ”Shahi Litchi” & Patna & Bhagalpur for “Zardalu Mango”.
- Lichi will be booked a minimum for 2 kgs and mangoes for 5 kgs.
- In the US, there will be major outbreaks of periodical cicadas in 2020 and 2021.
- Cicadas are insects that spend most of their lives underground and emerge from the soil mainly to mate. Once out of the ground, their life span is fairly short, somewhere between two-four weeks.
- There are three species of 17-year cicadas and three species of 13-year cicadas.
- After emerging from the ground in billions, the cicadas shed their exoskeletons or outer skins to take their winged form.
3.Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD):
- Egypt has objected to the construction of this dam and in Sudan has found itself caught in the midst of this conflict. Due to the importance of the Nile as a necessary water source in the region, observers are concerned that this dispute may evolve into a full-fledged conflict between the two nations. The US has stepped in to mediate.
- LOCATION: Benishangul-Gumuz region, Ethiopia.
- Formerly known as the Millennium Dam, it is under construction in the Benishangul-Gumuz region of Ethiopia, on the Blue Nile River, which is located about 40km east of Sudan.
- After completion, it’ll be Africa’s largest.
4. The Mizoram State Government has recently provided industrial status to Sports. This has been done by the government to attract investment in the Sports industry.
- The Mizoram Government is framing new industrial policy under which the sports have been included as sports category.
- The State of Mizoram is known for its great interests in sports. Of all the footballers in the northeast states, Mizoram has a pool of football players that play in leading clubs of India.
- The state has also done extremely well in hockey and weightlifting as well.
- Apart from these games, Mizoram is also known for its great interests and achievements in wrestling and other indigenous games such as relay races using bamboo (Kalchhet kal), Insuknawra (rod pushing), Inarpathai (cockfighting), etc.
5. The payroll data of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) was released. The data says that around 821,000 new members have joined the ESIC social security scheme.
- The data was released by the National Statistical Office (NSO). According to the data the subscribers to the scheme in 2018-19 were 14.9 million and it increased to 38.3 million in March 2020.
- The NSO report issues data of several social security schemes such as PFRDA, EPFO. This is being done since 2018 covering the period 2017-18.
- The Employment State Insurance Scheme was launched in 1952 under the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948. The act was the first legislative social security step for workers in India.
- The scheme was designed to help employees fight against their sickness, disablement, maternity, and death due to employment.
6. Economists around the world are searching for the right terminology to describe the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression.
- The IMF calls it the Great Lockdown. At its spring meetings in April — held virtually this year — the International Monetary Fund used that phrase to summarize how the world economy had been upended.
- Morgan Stanley says it’s the Great Covid-19 Recession, or GCR for short to reflects its expectations for the deepest peacetime contraction in global growth since the Great Depression.
- Ed Yardeni, who coined the term “bond vigilantes” back in the 1980s, has named this the Great Virus Crisis.
- There’s even a suggestion to call it a Pandession, as suggested by economist David McWilliams, who previously worked for the Central Bank of Ireland and lenders including BNP Paribas.
- A Pandession is a new word because it is a new thing.
- Economists with Bloomberg Economics have used phrases such as the Global Hard Stop or the Virus Recession.
- As for the origins of the ‘Great Depression,’ it’s a term that was used by various U.S. presidents and others such as British economist Lionel Robbins, who published a book in 1934 titled “The Great Depression.”
7. Adenovirus COVID-19 vaccine:
- Phase-1 trial of this vaccine was found to be safe, well-tolerated, and able to generate immune responses against the virus.
- The phase-2 trial will be a randomized, double-blinded, and placebo-controlled trial.
- It uses a recombinant adenovirus type-5 vector that carries the genetic material that codes for spike glycoprotein of the novel coronavirus.
- The adenovirus is a weakened common cold virus.
8. Union Minister of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI), appreciated the initiative taken by Indian Institute of Food Processing Technology ( IIFPT) to manufacture nutrient-rich foods for COVID-19 patients at a time when the need for healthy and immunity-boosting foods is indispensable.
- IIFPT is a premier national Institute for promoting research and education in food processing.
- It works under the administrative control of the Union Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MoFPI).
- HQ: Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu.
9. Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for forming his fifth government in Israel.
- Israel’s new government, headed once again by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was sworn into office, ending nearly a year-and-a-half of political stalemate involving three stormy elections and multiple rounds of coalition negotiations.
- This marked the fifth term for Netanyahu — his fourth consecutive term — and the first time an Israeli leader indicted on criminal charges will formally lead the country. He is the longest-serving Prime Minister in Israeli history.