Current Affairs 17th November 2020

1. Elon Musk set to become world’s 3rd richest

Elon Musk is set to become the world’s third-richest person, surpassing Mark Zuckerberg, after his net worth swelled by more than $15 billion in extended trading. His wealth has jumped $90 billion in 2020, the biggest gain on the ranking of the world’s 500 richest people. His firm Tesla will also enter the S&P 500 on Dec. 21, 2020, and would be the biggest new entrant in the group’s history.

2. National Press Day: 16 November

National Press Day is observed on November 16th every year to commemorate the institution of the Press Council of India. The Press Council of India was instituted on November 16, 1966, to monitor the quality of reportage provided by the Indian press. Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad is the present chairman of the Press Council of India.

3. Second phase of Malabar Exercise begins

The second phase of Exercise Malabar 2020 began on 17 Nov 2020 in the Northern Arabian Sea. This phase will involve coordinated operations of increasing complexity between the navies of Australia, India, Japan and the United States. Phase Two will witness joint operations, centred around the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy.

4. RBI imposes Rs 1 crore penalty on PNB

The RBI has imposed a penalty of Rs 1 crore on Punjab National Bank. The penalty has been imposed for contravention of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act. RBI has observed that the Bank was operating a bilateral ATM sharing arrangement with Druk PNB Bank Ltd, Bhutan, (an international subsidiary of the Bank), since April 2010 without the prior approval/authorisation from RBI.

5. SK Mishra’s term extended

The President has modified the 2018 appointment order of IRS officer S K Mishra to ensure that he gets another year as the director of Enforcement Directorate (ED) until November 2021. Mishra’s two-year fixed term as ED director was to end on November 18, 2020. His appointment will be for a period of three years, from the date of assumption of charge of the post, or until further orders.

6. Pfizer to start pilot program in 4 US states

US pharma company Pfizer Inc will start a pilot program for COVID-19 immunization in four U.S. states. It will help refine the plan for delivery and deployment of its vaccine candidate. The four states – Rhode Island, Texas, New Mexico, and Tennessee were selected for the program because of their differences in overall size, diversity of populations and immunization infrastructure.

7. Moderna’s vaccine 94.5% effective

Moderna Inc. informed its Covid-19 vaccine was 94.5% effective in a preliminary analysis of a large late-stage clinical trial. The first analysis of data from more than 30,000 volunteers showed Moderna’s vaccine prevented virtually all symptomatic cases of Covid-19. Only five participants who received two doses of the vaccine became sick.

8. Flipkart Group acquires gaming startup Scapic

Flipkart Group has acquired augmented reality (AR) startup Scapic ina bid to enhance its immersive shopping experience capabilities for customers. Flipkart will acquire 100% stake in the company and absorb the startup’s team. Scapic is a cloud-based platform which enables creation and publishing of Augmented Reality and 3D content, currently serving clients across e-commerce and marketing.

9. NCLT approves Rs 103 crore resolution plan

The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) has approved a Rs 103-crore bid to acquire debt-ridden NIIL Infrastructures. NIIL is developing a housing project in Agra, Uttar Pradesh. A two-member principal bench of NCLT, headed by Acting President BSV Prakash Kumar, has approved the Rs 103.18 crore resolution plan by a consortium of Rishabh Verma and Shailendra Khirwar along with N-Homes.

10. 15th FC submits report to Prime Minister

The 15th Finance Commission (FC) presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi a copy of its final report for the five year award period from 2021-22 to 2025-26 on 16 Nov 2020. The NK Singh-led commission also presented a copy to finance minister Nirmala Sitharman on 17 Nov 2020. The final report was first presented to President Ram Nath Kovind on November 9, 2020.

11. ADB allocates $20 million

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has allocated USD 20.3 million aid to its developing member countries. The aid if for accessing coronavirus vaccine and establishing systems to enable equitable and efficient vaccine distribution. The funds will be available for ADB developing members to support vaccine-related health system assessments and the development of country readiness plans.

12. Centre sanctioned Rs 1700 crore

The Karnataka Minister for Cooperation, S T Somasekhar has informed that the Central Govt has sanctioned an amount of Rs1700 cr under Special Liquidity Facility. It was released by NABARD to the District Cooperative Banks in the state to provide loans to the farmers in distress due to the pandemic. They have a target to distribute loans of 15,300 crore rupees to 24 lakh farmers in 2020.

13. DIPAM inks agreement with World Bank

Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) signed an agreement with World Bank. Under the agreement, World Bank is to provide advisory services to DIPAM for asset monetization, said Ministry of Finance in an official release. DIPAM is mandated with facilitating monetization of non-core assets of government CPSEs under strategic disinvestment or closure and enemy property.

14. T Prasad, Renu Devi take oath as Dy CM

Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Tarkishore Prasad and Renu Devi took oath as the Deputy chief ministers of Bihar. The swearing-in ceremony comes a day after the Nation Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Bihar chose Kumar as the chief minister for another term. Eight other ministers from NDA constituents- BJP, JD(U), HAM and VIP were also sworn.

15. Ruchi Soya to launch FPO next year: Patanjali

Edible oil firm Ruchi Soya, which is owned by Patanjali Ayurved, will launch a follow-on public offer (FPO) next year to bring down promoters shareholding in the company. Patanjali Group has run Ruchi Soya efficiently after the acquisition last year, Last year, Patanjali acquired Ruchi Soya, which is listed on stock exchanges, through an insolvency process for 4,350 crores.

16. Nirmal Kumar: BJP in charge of Puducherry

Former Karnataka legislator Nirmal Kumar has been appointed as the party in charge of Puducherry. This appointment, made by BJP president JP Nadda, is aimed at giving more attention to the UT, where the party has not won any seats so far, except in 2001. The BJP in Puducherry will face the next assembly election in the UT with the slogan one party government both at the Centre and state.

17. HDFC Mutual Fund Appoints Navneet Munot As CEO

HDFC Mutual Fund Board of Directors has approved the appointment of Navneet Munot as the next Managing Director and CEO of the Company. Navneet Munot, who was the chief investment officer of SBI Funds Management, will succeed HDFC Mutual Fund’s long-time Managing Director and CEO Milind Barve. SBI Funds Management is the largest fund house in the country.

18. Actor Sonu Sood appointed state icon of Punjab

Actor Sonu Sood has been appointed as state icon of Punjab by the Election Commission of India (ECI). The decision of honouring him with the title comes after he earned laurels for his humanitarian work during the lockdown. He has been helping migrant workers reach their hometowns amid the coronavirus pandemic. He also helped people by giving them face masks, food, mobile phones and more.

19. Ex-England keeper Clemence dies aged 72

Former England, Liverpool and Tottenham goalkeeper Ray Clemence has died aged 72. Clemence, who won five league titles and three European Cups with Liverpool between 1967 and 1981, was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in 2005. He made 470 league appearances for Liverpool before joining Tottenham.

20. IIT Guwahati formulates catalytic systems

A research team of IIT Guwahati has formulated efficient “pincer” catalytic systems that transform biomass wastes into valuable chemicals. Tiny amounts of these “pincer catalysts” repeatedly convert large amounts of industrial waste such as glycerol into lactic acid and hydrogen. Such catalysts also efficiently convert bioethanol, a low-energy-density fuel, into high-energy-density butanol.

21. Kalyan Developers launches projects in Kerala

Kalyan Developers, a division of Kalyan Jewellers has launched 3 luxury apartment projects across Kerala in Calicut, Trivandrum & Thrissur respectively. Kalyan Courtyard, in Chevayur, is Kalyan’s 1st project in Calicut. The other projects of Kalyan in Trivandrum are Gateway (Venpalavattom, NH Bypass), Avanti (NH Bypass, Near UST Global), Centrum (Pettah) and Sapphire (Peroorkada).

22. Under-19 cricketer Mohammad Sozib dies

Former Bangladesh Under-19 player Mohammad Sozib passed away in Durgapur at the age of 21. The 21-year-old from Rajshahi was a part of Bangladesh’s Under-19 World Cup squad in 2018. He also played three Youth ODIs for Bangladesh against Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, in 2017.

23. ICRI permitted to use drones

Civil Aviation Ministry has granted a conditional exemption to the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics(ICRISAT), Hyderabad, Telangana for the deployment of drones for agricultural research activities. It is valid for 6 months from the date of issue of the letter or until the full operationalization of Digital Sky Platform (Phase-1), whichever is earlier.

24. PM Modi attends 12th BRICS Summit

PM Narendra Modi attended the 12th BRICS Summit on 17 Nov 2020. It was hosted by Russia, under the theme Global Stability, Shared Security and Innovative Growth. India will be taking over the Chairship of the BRICS, which would be the third BRICS Presidency for India since its inception after 2012 and 2016. India will host the 13th BRICS Summit in 2021.

25. Bharat Biotech starts Phase III trials

Bharat Biotech has announced the commencement of Phase III trials of COVAXIN. The Phase lI trials wil involve 26,000 volunteers across India, conducted in partnership with ICMR. It is the largest clinical trial conducted for a COVID-19 vaccine in India. This is India’s first phase 3 efficacy study for a COVID-19 vaccine, and the largest phase III efficacy trial ever conducted in India.

26. SBM Bank to launch a neo banking platform

SBM Bank India, which is the wholly-owned subsidiary of State Bank of Mauritius, is set to launch a neo banking platform. This was the first foreign bank in India to obtain a banking licence from the RBI to operate as a Wholly Owned Subsidiary in January 2019. It has tied up with a fintech PayNearbyand has launched a service called Nivesh which is a recurring deposit platform.

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