Daily GK Update: 27th June 2020

Culture Ministry to celebrate “Sankalp Parva” to plant trees from 28th June to 12 July 2020

  • Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi has called for planting at least five trees either in Officecampus or wherever it is possible, to ensure clean and healthy environment of the country. Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent charge)Shri Prahlad Singh Pateltoday called for successful organizing of “Sankalp Parva” and plant trees as desired by our Prime Minister.
  • Shri Patel informed that the Ministry of Culture has decided to celebrate Sankalp Parva from 28th June to 12 July 2020, wherein Ministry expects all its Subordinate Offices, Academies, Attached Institutions, Affiliated Institutions to plant trees in its campus or at the surroundings wherever it is possible. He added that the Ministry of Culture recommends to plants five trees which have been identified by our Prime Minister and which represent the herbal heritage of our country. These trees are (i) “Bargad” (ii) “Awla” (iii) “Pepal” (iv) “Ashok” (v) “Bel”. He further said that if sapling of these trees are not available then people may do plantation of any other sapling of their choice.

Source: Ministry of Culture

Supporting small businesses through the COVID-19 crisis

  • Small businesses, including those run by women and young entrepreneurs, are being hit hardest by the economic fall-out of the pandemic. Unprecedented lockdown measures enacted to contain the spread of the coronavirus have resulted in supply chain disruptions and a massive drop in demand in most sectors.
  • To continue playing their crucial role in creating decent jobs and improving livelihoods, small businesses depend more than ever on an enabling business environment, including support for access to finance, information, and markets.
  • Let’s not forget that these enterprises, which generally employ fewer than 250 persons, are the backbone of most economies worldwide and play a key role in developing countries.
  • According to the data provided by the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), formal and informal Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) make up over 90% of all firms and account, on average, for 70% of total employment and 50% of GDP.
  • That is why the General Assembly declared 27 June Micro-, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day, to raise public awareness of their contribution to sustainable development and the global economy.

Source: United Nations

Egypt-Ethiopia row: The trouble over a giant Nile dam

  • Last year a deadline of 15 January was set to solve the long-standing impasse but the latest round of talks, last week, ended in deadlock.
  • When complete, the Grand Renaissance Dam, which Ethiopia is building, will be Africa’s biggest hydroelectric power plant.
  • Its construction began in 2011 on the Blue Nile tributary in the northern Ethiopia highlands, from where 85% of the Nile’s waters flow.
  • However, the mega dam has caused a row between Egypt and Ethiopia, with Sudan caught in between, which some fear could lead to war, and the US is now helping to mediate.
  • At the centre of the dispute are plans to fill up the mega dam as Egypt fears the project will allow Ethiopia to control the flow of Africa’s longest river.
  • Hydroelectric power stations do not consume water, but the speed with which Ethiopia fills up the dam’s reservoir will affect the flow downstream.
  • The longer it takes to fill the reservoir, which is going to be bigger than Greater London with a total capacity of 74 billion cubic metres, the less impact there will be on the level of the river.

Source: BBC News

China, Pak sign deal over hydel power project under CPEC worth $2.4 billion in Pakistan Administered Kashmir

  • Prime Minister Imran Khan, who witnessed the signing ceremony at his office, termed the agreement “the country’s biggest-ever foreign investment”. Pakistan-Administered Kashmir’s (PaK) prime minister was also present on the occasion, Dawn reported.
  • The accord represents the largest power sector investment by an independent power producer (IPP) under Beijing’s multi-billion dollars’ worth China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), including the Gwadar Master Plan.
  • Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister said the government had resolved to focus on a “green and clean power generation” through hydroelectricity in order to reduce dependence on imported fuel.
  • Khan said the government welcomed the investment as it could set a precedent for the country to move towards sources of clean energy.

Source: The Kashmir Press

Health Ministry issues updated clinical management protocol for managing COVID-19 cases

  • Keeping pace with evolving knowledge about COVID-19, especially in terms of effective drugs, the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has released an updated clinical management protocol for managing COVID-19 cases. The updated protocol includes the advice to use Dexamethasone as an alternative choice to Methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases of COVID-19. The change has been made after considering the latest available evidence and expert consultation.
  • Dexamethasone is a corticosteroid drug used in a wide range of conditions for its anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressant effects. The drug has been tested in hospitalized patients with COVID-19 in the RECOVERY clinical trial and was found to have benefits for critically ill patients and has been shown to reduce mortality by about one third for patients on ventilators, and by about one fifth for patients being maintained on oxygen therapy. The drug is also a part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) and is widely available.

Source: Health Care Radius

Russians vote on Putin’s reforms to constitution

  • The official vote is scheduled for 1 July, but authorities said they were opening polling stations a week early to stop overcrowding amid the pandemic.
  • Opposition activist Alexei Navalny has said the changes will allow Mr Putin to be “president for life”.
  • Mr Putin, however, has said they will ensure Russia’s stability.
  • Although the president has not publicly said he would run again in 2024 when his current term ends, he has said it is vital he has the option.
  • “Otherwise I know that in two years, instead of working normally at all levels of the state, all eyes will be on the search for potential successors,” he said in an interview earlier this week.

Source: BBC News

D.C. statehood approved by U.S. House for first time in history

  • For the first time since the establishment of the District of Columbia 230 years ago, the House of Representatives voted to declare the city to be the nation’s 51st state, a legislative milestone that supporters say begins to right historical wrongs.
  • The vote on Friday afternoon, which fell mostly along party lines, comes as the United States grapples with systemic racism that officials in the nation’s capital say has led to the disenfranchisement of their 700,000 residents.
  • The White House confirmed Thursday that it opposes statehood, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he will not bring the legislation to a vote in his Republican-controlled chamber.
  • But that did not stop the celebration by statehood advocates and D.C. officials who have pushed for passage of the legislation for years.

Source: The Washington Post

Gujarat govt’s online aid of Rs 1,369 crore for MSMEs, textile industry

  • Announcing an aid of Rs 1,369 crore for micro small and medium enterprises and textile industries, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Friday kickstarted the online cash aid initiative – ‘At One Click’ – for around 13,000 MSMEs in Gujarat.
  • The Chief Minister has called upon the state’s MSME units and industries to take up the challenge of converting this adversity of corona crisis into an opportunity.
  • “The state government is committed to encourage industries, businesses and trades in the state to revive them and restore the former vibrancy of the state, with an aim ‘Jaan hai to Jahan hai’,” said Rupani.

Source: Daiji World News

Apollo Tyres commissions Andhra-based greenfield manufacturing facility

  • Apollo Tyres on Thursday said it has commissioned its new manufacturing plant at Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. The facility, which is the company’s seventh unit globally, has come up at an investment of Rs 3,800 crore for the first phase, Apollo Tyres said in a statement. Spread over 256 acres, the plant will have a capacity to roll out 15,000 passenger car tyres and 3,000 truck-bus radials per day by 2022, it added.
    With a modular layout, the capacity at this facility can be replicated with minimal engineering efforts and with economies on investments, the tyre maker said.
  • “This ultra-modern facility is a reflection of our growth aspirations and manufacturing capabilities, showcasing some of the best practices available across the globe in tyre manufacturing,” Apollo Tyres Chairman Onkar S Kanwar said. This highly automated plant uses IT-driven systems and robotics, and employs young and skilled associates on the shop floor, mostly hired locally, he added.

Source: Times Now News

Sero survey in Delhi begins to map exposure to coronavirus

  • A serological survey began in some parts of Delhi on Saturday to determine the extent of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)’s spread, even as chief minister Arvind Kejriwal said his government was deploying “five weapons” – testing and isolation, providing oximeters and oxygen concentrators, plasma therapy, screening, and survey – in the fight against the infection.
  • Blood samples will be taken from randomly selected people as part of the survey, which involves rapid tests for antibodies, to study the scale of undetected infections. Samples of 20,000 people will be tested by July 10 to ascertain the population-level presence of the IgG antibody, which indicates past infection. The activity will take place along with door-to-door screening in the Capital and increased testing for Covid-19.
  • On Saturday, Delhi began the study in the Central district, which conducted about 700 blood tests. The Capital reported 2,948 Covid-19 cases on Saturday, taking the total infections in the city to 80,188. Delhi has reported 2,558 deaths so far from the infectious disease. The number of fresh cases across the nation surpassed the 20,000 mark for the first time, with 20,179 new infections.

Source: Hindustan Times