29 JULY 2020
A) COVID Watch: Numbers and Developments.
The number of coronavirus cases reported from India stood at 15,25,125 with the death toll at 34,179. Mumbai recorded its lowest number of positive cases in a day on 28 July, with 700 new cases. This number is from the 8,776 tests conducted on 27 July and is the lowest in the past 100 days. The doubling rate of a novel coronavirus in Mumbai is now 68 days, and its recovery rate is 73%. Meanwhile, West Bengal announced an extension of lockdown in containment zones till 31 August.
B) Centre to ‘verify’ LG’s remarks on restoring 4G in Kashmir.
On 28 July, the Centre told the Supreme Court that it would verify reports in the media quoting Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor G.C. Murmu has said that 4G internet should be restored in the Valley. Murmu’s reported recommendation caused a stir as the Centre has all along been telling the Supreme Court that the situation in the Valley was not ripe for the restoration of high-speed internet due to terrorism-related threats. The situation will be reviewed after 2 months. The court has scheduled the next hearing on the matter for August 7.
C) NIA arrests DU professor in Bhima Koregaon case.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has arrested Delhi University Associate Professor Hany Babu M. Tarayil in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case. He was being questioned since 23 July at the Mumbai office of NIA. It has been reported that the NIA, which had seized his laptop last year, had apparently found a ‘hidden folder’ in his computer containing letters that he had exchanged with Maoists. Babu will be produced before an NIA Special Court on Wednesday and the police will seek his custody for custodial interrogation.
D) The investigation of ED begins against Reddy.
The Enforcement Directorate (ED) has conducted the investigation in Mumbai and Hyderabad related to a case against G.V.K. Reddy, who is a promoter of the GVK Group and a whole-time director of the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL) as well. The ED searches have been carried out on the premises linked to persons who have been accused of causing a loss of over ₹705 crores to the exchequer.
A) Former Malaysian PM convicted on graft charges.
A Malaysia Court has held that that Najib Razak (former Prime Minister) is guilty in a corruption case over the multibillion-dollar looting of the 1MDB investment fund. The outcome is widely seen as a test of rule of law just after five months of setting up of new government. Razak’s Malay party returned to office as a key player in the new ruling alliance, less than two years after its shocking ouster in the 2018 elections following public anger over the 1MDB scandal. The judge said Razak had failed to raise reasonable doubt, and that prosecutors had established that Razak misappropriated the money for his own use.
B) Shelling on the border with Pakistan.
The Pakistani Army has resorted to heavy firing and mortar shelling in forwarding areas along the Line of Control (LoC) in Poonch district of Jammu and Kashmir by prompting Indian troops to retaliate. The ceasefire was violated by Pakistan for the eighth consecutive day on 28 July. There have been more than 20 incidents of ceasefire violation by Pakistan troops in the last week or so. On 28 July also, the Pakistan Army initiated unprovoked ceasefire violation by firing with small arms and intense shelling with mortars along LoC in Degwar and Qasba sectors of district Poonch.
C) Punjab CM condemns attempts to convert Lahore gurdwara into a mosque.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has condemned the attempts to convert a famous gurdwara in Pakistan’s Lahore city into a mosque. Gurdwara Shahidi Asthan is a historical shrine where Bhai Taru Singh became a martyr of his faith in 1745. On 27 July, India has lodged a strong protest with the Pakistan High Commission and attempts were being made to convert the gurdwara at Naulakha Bazaar into a mosque.
D) Late-stage Vaccine trials in American biotech begins.
American biotech company Moderna and pharma giant Pfizer launched late-stage trials of the coronavirus vaccine on 27 July. The trials will be conducted on 30,000 individuals each, and the companies hope to launch the first vaccines by the end of the year. Both vaccine candidates rely on a new technology that allows for faster development and manufacturing compared to older vaccines. The U.S. government is funding the vaccine development for both companies. Moderna has received nearly $1 billion (₹7,483 crores) from the federal government. Pfizer’s lead vaccine candidate has been developed in association with German biotech company BioNTech.
A) England takes the series.
The fast bowler of England, Stuart Broad took his 500th Test wicket on 28 July. He took it when he trapped the batsman of West Indies Kraigg Brathwaite, leg before wicket on the last day of the third and final Test at Old Trafford. Broad becomes the seventh bowler, and the second Englishman after teammate James Anderson, to attain the milestone, reaching it in his 140th Test.