Current Affairs May 2022 (Daily Updated)

Current Affairs May

Last Updated: 22 May 2022

Gkgigs publishes Current Affairs of May 2022 events that will help you to boost your General Knowledge and help you crack exams like Banking, SSC, Railways, UPSC, CLAT, State Government Exams, General Aptitudes of various exams, etc.

Read the Latest Current Affairs of May 2022 and boost your General Knowledge. Stay updated on all the Important News and Current Affairs of May 2022.

22nd May


India


  • Import-Export Duty: The government has waived customs duty on the import of some raw materials, including coking coal and ferronickel, used by the steel industry, a move which will lower the cost for the domestic industry and reduce the prices.
    • Also, to increase domestic availability, the duty on exports of iron ore has been hiked up to 50 percent, and a few steel intermediaries to 15 percent, according to a notification.
    • The duty changes will be effective from Sunday.
  • PayTM: Vijay Shekhar Sharma’s tenure in Paytm has been extended by another five years as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
    • On Saturday, One 97 Communications which is listed under the Paytm brand, also announced the appointment of Madhur Deora as Additional Director of the company.
    • As per the regulatory filing, Paytm has re-appointed Vijay Shekhar Sharma as “Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer” of the Company for a tenure of 5 years effective from December 19, 2022, to December 18, 2027.
  • Infosys: IT major Infosys on Sunday announced that its Board of Directors has reappointed Salil S. Parekh as Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director (CEO & MD) of the Company effective from July 1, 2022, for a period of five years till March 31, 2027, subject to the approval of shareholders.
    • Salil Parekh has been the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Infosys since January 2018 and has successfully led Infosys over the last 4 years.
    • Salil Parekh has more than thirty years of global experience in the IT services industry with a strong track record of driving digital transformation for enterprises, executing business turnarounds, and managing successful acquisitions.
  • Excise Duty On Fuels: The Centre has decided to cut excise duty on petrol by Rs 8 per liter and on Diesel by Rs 6 per liter. This will effectively reduce the price of petrol by Rs 9.5 per liter and of diesel by Rs 7 per liter.
    • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, while making the announcement on her Twitter handle on May 21, requested state governments to follow the lead, especially those who didn’t announce a reduction last time (Novemeber 2021).
    • “I wish to exhort all state governments, especially the states where the reduction wasn’t done during the last round (November 2021), to also implement a similar cut and give relief to the common man”, read her tweet.
  • Farmers: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Saturday said that the government has protected farmers from the rise in prices of fertilizers globally and an additional amount of ₹ 1.10 lakh crore is being provided besides ₹ 1.05 lakh crore already sanctioned in the Union Budget 2022-23.
    • The Minister, who made a series of tweets, also announced a reduction of central excise duty on petrol and diesel and said the government is committed to ensuring that prices of essential items are kept under control.
    • She said the world is passing through difficult times and even as the world is recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ukraine conflict has brought in supply chain problems and shortages of various goods.
  • Quad Summit: Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is set to depart for Japan on Sunday evening to participate in the second-in-person Quad leader’s summit, said he will hold a bilateral meeting with United States president Joe Biden this week.
    • “I will hold a bilateral meeting with President Joseph Biden, where we will discuss further consolidation of our multifaceted bilateral relations with the USA. We will also continue our dialogue on regional developments and contemporary global issues,” read PM Modi’s departure statement as he elaborated on the Tokyo visit agenda.
    • The prime minister also said he was looking forward to meeting with Australia’s newly elected Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
    • This will be the first Quad leader’s summit for the Australian leader as the PM.

World


  • NASA: NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft will return to launchpad 39B at the space agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in early June for its wet dress rehearsal after three failed attempts.
    • These wet dress rehearsals are where the space agency typically “refines the countdown procedures and validate critical models and software interfaces,” according to NASA.
    • Engineers have addressed many of the issues that were discovered during the previous wet dress rehearsal attempts.
  • Kyiv: Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned today that only a diplomatic breakthrough rather than an outright military victory could end Russia’s war on his country, as Moscow cut gas supplies to Finland.
    • After just over 12 weeks of fierce fighting, Ukrainian forces have halted Russian attempts to seize Kyiv and the northern city of Kharkiv, but are under renewed and intense pressure in the eastern Donbas region.
    • Moscow’s army flattened and seized the southeastern port city of Mariupol and subjected Ukrainian troops and towns in the east to a remorseless ground and artillery attack.
  • Apple: Apple Inc has begun searching for new production hubs outside China including India in the wake of virus curbs snarling supply chains in the Middle Kingdom, The Wall Street Journal said citing people.
    • The move will likely inspire others to shift hubs too. Moreover, China’s indirect support of Russia for its Ukraine invasion might also wean firms off the Middle Kingdom for manufacturing and key materials.
    • The Apple move comes as China’s Covid policy has barred its executives and engineers from entering the country and as power outages last year affected the nation as a production hub.
  • Sydney: Australia’s new prime minister Anthony Albanese said he will meet one-on-one with US President Joe Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
    • “It enables us to send a message to the world that there is a change of government,” he told reporters after claiming victory for his center-left Labor Party in Saturday’s national elections.
    • “There will be some changes in policy, particularly with regard to climate change, and our engagement with the world on these issues,” said the 59-year-old leader, who has promised to accelerate Australian action to cut carbon emissions.

21st May


India


  • CNG: Prices of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) in Delhi and neighboring regions have been hiked once again by Rs 2 per kg.
    • The Indraprastha Gas Ltd (IGL) increased the prices of CNG in Delhi and its adjoining areas by Rs 2 per kg on late Friday.
    • After the recent hike, the CNG is now sold at Rs 75.61 per Kg in Delhi.
    • For regions including Noida, Greater Noida, and Ghaziabad, the CNG price has been hiked to Rs 78.17 per Kg.
  • Assam: Assam battles flood fury, over 500 families from two villages of the Jamunamukh district, are living on the railway tracks, the only high ground that did not submerge in the floodwaters.
    • People from Changjurai and Patia Pathar villages have been left in the lurch after losing almost everything they had in the floods.
    • The villagers, who have taken refuge under temporary sheds made of tarpaulin sheets, claim they have not received much help from the state government and district administration over the last five days.
  • QUAD: QUAD is expected to record a forward momentum to strengthen the grouping at the Tokyo summit next Tuesday.
    • QUAD diplomats are working to come out with a strong statement both on the brutal war in Ukraine and the Chinese belligerence in the Indo-Pacific, the two theatres and their global fall-out will be the principal topics of discussion at the Summit.
    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the senior-most member of the QUAD with Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida the last new member to join the grouping.
  • NSE Scam Case: The Central Bureau of Investigation or CBI launched a coordinated search operation at over 10 locations in multiple cities today in connection with the NSE co-location scam case.
    • The search operation will cover brokers at more than 12 premises in Mumbai, Gandhinagar, Delhi, Noida, Gurugram, and Kolkata, among other cities
    • The central probe agency has filed a charge sheet against former National Stock Exchange (NSE) CEO and MD Chitra Ramkrishna and group operating officer, Anand Subramanian, in the case, the officials said.

World


  • Boeing: Boeing said the two defective thrusters posed no risk to the rest of the spaceflight, which comes after more than two years of delays and costly engineering setbacks in a program designed to give NASA another vehicle for sending its astronauts to and from orbit.
    • The rendezvous of the gumdrop-shaped CST-100 Starliner with the orbital research outpost, currently home to a seven-member crew, occurred nearly 26 hours after the capsule was launched from Cape Canaveral U.S. Space Force Base in Florida.
    • Starliner lifted off on Thursday atop an Atlas V rocket furnished by the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance (ULA) and reached its intended preliminary orbit 31 minutes later despite the failure of two onboard thrusters.
  • Monkeypox: Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has predicted an outbreak of another illness, known as monkeypox.
    • The UN health agency has confirmed 80 cases of monkeypox in 11 countries so far.
    • “There are about 80 confirmed cases so far, and 50 pending investigations. More cases are likely to be reported as surveillance expands,” it added.
    • The WHO said the monkeypox is endemic in some animal populations in several countries, leading to occasional outbreaks among local people and travelers.
    • WHO said they are studying rare diseases to understand the extent and cause of the outbreak.

20th May


India


  • Equitas: P N Vasudevan, managing director, and chief executive officer of Equitas Small Finance Bank (Equitas), is leaving the lender for a career in health and education.
    • Vasudevan said he would continue in his post till the succession and transition process is completed.
    • The bank would form a search committee soon to identify its successor.
    • He has not set a date for his exit.
  • BRICS: With the Russian and Chinese Foreign Ministers listening, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Thursday said BRICS must live up to its commitments on “sovereign equality, territorial integrity and international law”.
    • His remarks at the BRICS foreign ministers’ meeting came amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on which India maintains that territorial integrity and international law must be respected.
    • On the border standoff with China, New Delhi has consistently underlined the importance of territorial integrity and sovereignty.
  • Jet Airways: Jet Airways has been granted the license to resume commercial flights by the aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).
    • The airline was granted the air operator certificate (AOC) after completing two proving flights.
    • A total of five landings (five flights) have to be done by the aircraft to complete its proving flights.
    • With DGCA officials onboard, the airline had successfully operated five proving flights on May 15 and 17.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Central Board of Directors on May 20 approved the transfer of Rs 30,307 crore as surplus to the Centre for FY22.
    • The board also decided to maintain the Contingency Risk Buffer at 5.50 percent.
    • The dividend for FY22, transferred in FY23, is sharply lower than what the government had expected to receive.
    • In the 2022 Budget, the government had estimated it would get Rs 73,948 crore as dividends from the central bank and state-run lenders in FY23.
  • Ladakh: The External Affairs Ministry Friday said a second bridge is being constructed by China on the Pangong Tso lake in eastern Ladakh, right next to the one it had erected earlier this year.
    • The ministry added that the area where the construction is taking place is under illegal occupation and stated that India has not accepted the unjustified claims of China or such construction activities.
    • The government “keeps a constant watch on all developments that have a bearing on India’s security and takes all necessary measures to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity,” MEA Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
  • Finance Minister: India’s economic growth is likely to be robust at 8.9 percent in the current financial year, reflecting the country’s strong resilience and speedy recovery, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.
    • Sitharaman also expressed confidence that India will continue to achieve a high growth rate in the next financial year as well, the finance ministry said in a statement.
    • Addressing the 7th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the New Development Bank (NDB) via video conferencing, she underscored the importance of multilateralism and the spirit of global cooperation for economic recovery.
  • PM Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Tokyo for his second in-person Quad summit on Tuesday, where he will also hold bilateral talks with U.S. President Joseph Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) announced.
    • During his visit to Japan, which begins on May 23, Mr. Modi will address a business summit and meet with members of the Indian community in Tokyo, while the Quad summit and bilateral meetings will be held on May 24.
    • The forthcoming Quad Summit provides an opportunity for the Leaders to exchange views about developments in the Indo-Pacific region and contemporary global issues of mutual interest, the MEA said in a statement.
  • Pegasus Case: The Supreme Court on Friday said its technical committee had so far received and tested 29 mobile devices suspected to be infected by Pegasus malware.
    • The Supreme Court gave it four weeks to submit a report to Justice R.V. Raveendran, a retired apex court judge overseeing the panel’s inquiry into reports that the government used the Israel-based military-grade spyware to snoop on journalists, parliamentarians, prominent citizens, and even court staff.
    • Opening the interim report submitted by the committee in court, a Special Bench led by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana said the committee had developed its own protocol/software to test the devices for malware.

World


  • Ukraine: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday said Russian forces had “completely destroyed” the industrial Donbas region and accused Moscow of carrying out senseless bombardments as it intensified its offensive.
    • Zelensky also accused Russian forces of attempting to kill as many Ukrainians and do as much damage as possible, repeating his charge that Russia was carrying out a genocide.
    • Zelensky said that while Ukrainian forces were continuing to liberate the Kharkiv region to the east of Kyiv, Russia was trying to exert even more pressure in the Donbas, which lies in the southeastern part of Ukraine.
  • United Nations: India on Friday slammed Pakistan for making “unwarranted remarks” on Jammu and Kashmir, saying comments made by its Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in the UN Security Council are a “pavlovian response” aimed to misuse any forum and every topic to propagate false and malicious propaganda against New Delhi.
    • India’s response came after Mr. Zardari raked up the issue of Jammu and Kashmir, the abrogation of Article 370, and the recent order by the Delimitation Commission during his remarks at the Council debate.
    • India exercised the Right of Reply at the Security Council open debate on ‘Maintenance of International Peace & Security – Conflict and Food Security’ organized by the US, the Council President.

19th May


India


  • LPG: The price of LPG cylinders on Thursday, May 19, was hiked for the second time this month.
    • The price of a domestic LPG cylinder has been raised by Rs. 3.50 while the price of a commercial cylinder has been hiked by Rs 8.
    • After this increase, the domestic cylinder now costs over Rs 1000 in almost all the cities throughout the country.
  • India-US: The US is preparing a military aid package for India to deepen security ties and reduce the country’s dependence on Russian weapons.
    • The package under consideration would include foreign military financing of as much as $500 million dollars.
    • This would make India one of the largest recipients of such aid behind Israel and Egypt.
    • It’s unclear when the deal would be announced, or what weapons would be included.
  • Punjab: Congress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu was today sentenced to one year in jail in a 34-year-old road rage case by the Supreme Court, in a massive setback to the cricketer-politician just months after an election defeat.
    • The Supreme Court was hearing a petition by the family of a man who died after a brawl with Mr. Sidhu and his associate in 1988.
    • For over three decades, the incident and its legal aftermath have dogged Mr. Sidhu, who recently quit as Punjab Congress chief after his party’s defeat in state elections.
  • GST Council: The Supreme Court has ruled that the GST Council recommendations are not binding on the Centre and the states, and are only ‘persuasive, in a landmark judgment that may impact the landscape of GST provisions under judicial review.
    • The Parliament and state legislatures possess equal powers to legislate on GST, the Supreme Court said, upholding the judgment of the Gujarat High Court in the Ocean Freight matter in the case of Mohit Minerals.
    • It is for the GST Council to suitably advise the Central government and the state governments, the Supreme Court bench led by Justice DY Chandrachud said.
  • UGC: The University Grants Commission (UGC) announced Thursday that admissions to postgraduate programs in 42 central universities will be held through a common entrance test from the upcoming academic year.
    • UGC chairperson Prof M Jagadesh Kumar announced that application forms for admissions to PG programs through the common entrance will be available on the website of the National Testing Agency (NTA) nta.ac.in from Thursday.
    • The application window will close on June 18 while the test will be held in the last week of July, Prof Kumar announced on Twitter.
  • New Delhi: The Delhi High Court Thursday set aside the AAP government’s doorstep ration delivery scheme, Mukhymantri Ghar Ghar Ration Yojna.
    • The high court allowed two petitions filed by ration dealers challenging the scheme.
    • A bench of Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Jasmeet Singh said the Delhi government is free to bring another doorstep delivery scheme but it cannot use grains provided by the Centre for this doorstep scheme.
    • The high court had on January 10 reserved its order on the pleas by petitioners Delhi Sarkari Ration Dealers Sangh and Delhi Ration Dealers Union after holding extensive hearings.
  • West Bengal: In an unprecedented move, the single judge bench of Justice Abhijit Gangopadhyay of the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday night directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is probing the alleged irregularities in the recruitment of teachers in the West Bengal government schools, to seek the assistance of central forces in securing the state’s School Service Commission office.
    • It also directed that no one should enter the building till 1 pm Thursday and make the CCTV footage of the office available by Thursday noon.
    • The midnight hearing concluded after a string of dramatic events in the day that saw state Minister Partha Chatterjee appearing before the CBI in connection with the alleged illegal appointments after he failed to get relief from the Calcutta HC.

World


  • Indonesia: Indonesian President Joko Widodo has announced the uplifting of the ban on palm oil exports from May 23.
    • The decision came shortly after Indonesian lawmakers urged the government, on May 19, to review the ban on palm oil exports.
    • Indonesia, the world’s top palm oil producer, has since April 28 stopped the exports of crude palm oil (CPO) and some derivative products in a bid to tame soaring prices of domestic cooking oil.
  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka fell into default for the first time in its history as the government struggles to halt an economic meltdown that prompted mass protests and a political crisis.
    • Policymakers had flagged to creditors that the nation wouldn’t be able to make payments until the debt is restructured, and is therefore in pre-emptive default, central bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said at a briefing Thursday.
    • The coupon payments, originally due April 18, were worth $78 million combined on notes maturing 2023 and 2028, with a 30-day grace period that expired on Wednesday.
  • United States: President Joe Biden expressed strong backing Wednesday for the bid by Finland and Sweden to join NATO in the face of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and offered US support in the event of “aggression” during the application process.
    • “The United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression” while their bid is considered, Biden said in a statement.
    • Biden, who will welcome Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to the White House on Thursday, said he was looking “forward to working with the US Congress and our NATO allies to quickly bring Finland and Sweden into the strongest defensive alliance in history.”

18th May


India


  • Tata Motors: Tata Motors has filed a plea in the Bombay high court challenging a decision of the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport (BEST) to disqualify its bid for a tender of 1,400 electric buses on “unreasonable” grounds.
    • Tata Motors has alleged that its technical bid was rejected on arbitrary grounds in favor of another bidder, Evey Trans Pvt Ltd.
    •  The court will hear the matter on 23 May.
  • TVS: TVS Motor has today launched the new TVS iQube electric scooter in three variants with an on-road range of 140 km on a single charge.
    • The three variants, TVS iQube and TVS iQube S will be available at ₹98,564 and ₹1,08,690 respectively (on-road Delhi including FAME and state subsidy).
    • Options of plug-and-play carry along off-board chargers with 950W and 650W capacity and with charging times of 3 hours and 4.5 hours are also available with TVS iQube ST and TVS iQube S.
  • DRDO: India today test-fired its first homemade air-launched anti-ship missile made by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
    • In a footage released by the Indian Navy, a Seeking 42B helicopter loaded with the missile is seen flying over the sea test range in Balasore, off the Odisha coast, while another helicopter is seen following it for observation.
    • The anti-ship missile separates from the Seaking for a few meters before its motor fires up and it flies fast towards the target.
  • Defense: India intends to deploy the Russian-made S-400 missile defense system by next month to defend itself from Pakistani and Chinese threats as it is pursuing an extensive military modernization effort encompassing air, ground, naval, and strategic nuclear forces.
    • India started receiving the delivery of the S-400 missile defense system from Russia in December last year.
    • As of October 2021, India’s military was seeking to procure advanced surveillance systems to strengthen its land and sea borders and boost its offensive and defensive cyber capabilities.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Assassination: AG Perarivalan, one of the convicts in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, who has been behind bars for 31 years, will be released, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday.
    • The verdict could pave the way for the release of the other six convicts in the case, including Nalini Sriharan and her husband Murugan, a Sri Lankan national.
    • “State cabinet had taken its decision based on relevant considerations. In the exercise of Article 142, it is appropriate to release the convict,” judges led by Justice L Nageswara Rao said, invoking special powers of the Supreme Court.
  • UGC: The Centre will ease regulations for Ph.D. studies for foreign students and for setting up foreign universities in India as part of its continuing reforms in the education sector that the University Grants Commission (UGC) will bring in to increase foreign students and institutions in the country.
    • As per data from the union education ministry, there are 50,000 international students from about 165 countries studying in India currently.
    • Two-thirds of these students come from only 5 countries, while on the other hand, nearly 9 lakh students from India are studying abroad.
  • PhonePe: Digital payments and financial services platform PhonePe said on May 18 that it will acquire wealth tech platforms WealthDesk and OpenQ as it continues to expand its financial services play beyond payments.
    • “PhonePe is acquiring WealthDesk (Wealth Technologies & Services Private Limited). The founder and the entire team will be working as a part of the PhonePe group and both the platforms will remain independent,” the company said in a statement.
    • PhonePe is also acquiring OpenQ (Quantech Capital Investment Advisors Private Limited), subject to necessary regulatory approvals.
  • Ruchi Soya: Ruchi Soya has entered into an agreement with Patanjali Ayurved Limited (PAL) to acquire the latter’s food retail business undertaking which consists of manufacturing, packaging, labeling, and retail trading of certain food products, along with manufacturing plants located at Padartha, Haridwar, and Newasa, Maharashtra, subject to the approval of shareholders and other authorities.
    • The amount of consideration for the acquisition is ₹690 crore on a slump sale basis and the indicative time period for completion of the acquisition is July 15, 2022.
    • The name of Ruchi Soya will be changed to Patanjali Foods post-acquisition.
    • Ruchi Soya said that its board has decided to change the name of the company from “ Ruchi Soya Industries Limited” to “Patanjali Foods Limited” subject to statutory and regulatory approvals.

World


  • SpaceX: SpaceX plans to launch 53 more Starlink internet satellites and land the returning rocket on a ship at sea early Wednesday morning (May 18).
    • A two-stage Falcon 9 rocket topped with 53 Starlink spacecraft is scheduled to lift off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Wednesday at 6:59 a.m. EDT (1059 GMT).
    • The rocket’s first stage will land on the SpaceX drone ship A Shortfall of Gravitas in the Atlantic Ocean about nine minutes after liftoff if all goes according to plan.
  • United States: President Joe Biden on Tuesday called out what he branded the “poison” of white supremacist ideology behind a deadly mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, and said that racism is being stoked for political gain.
    • Speaking in the city where a white teen is accused of murdering 10 African Americans in a neighborhood supermarket, Biden said: “What happened here is simple and straightforward terrorism. Domestic terrorism.”
    • Biden’s harshest comments were directed at what he described as the “perverse ideology” of white supremacists that police say inspired the shooter.
  • WHO: A decline in genome sequencing and testing for coronavirus disease (Covid-19) has made it “increasingly difficult” to know where the virus is and how it is mutating, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhenom Ghebreyesus said on Tuesday as cases have risen over the last week in four out of six WHO regions.
    • “Over the last week, Covid-19 cases have risen in four out of the six WHO regions. Due to testing and sequencing reducing in many countries, it is increasingly difficult to know where the virus is and how it’s mutating,” the WHO director-general said. 
    • He also expressed concern over the first reported Covid outbreak in North Korea, with more than 1.7 million suspected cases since late April.
  • Ukraine: Concerns grew on Wednesday for the welfare of more than 250 Ukrainian fighters who surrendered to Russian forces at the Azovstal steelworks in Mariupol after weeks of desperate resistance.
    • The surrender brought an end to the most devastating siege of Russia’s war in Ukraine and allowed President Vladimir Putin to claim a rare victory in his faltering campaign, which many military analysts say has stalled.
    • Buses left the steelworks late on Monday in a convoy escorted by Russian armored vehicles.
    • Five arrived in the Russian-held town of Novoazovsk, where Moscow said wounded fighters would be treated.

17th May


India


  • Crypto: Officials from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) have reportedly sounded the alarm bells again over crypto adoption, which they claim will ultimately lead to the “dollarization” of the local economy.
  • India-Pakistan: India rejected a ‘farcical resolution’ by the Pakistani National Assembly on Tuesday and said the country has no locus standi on matters that are internal to India.
    • This statement was issued in response to media queries regarding the resolution passed by the Pakistan National Assembly regarding ‘Delimitation in the UT of J-K’.
    • India again made it clear that the entire territory of the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh has been, is, and shall always remain an integral part of India.
  • Noida: The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted an extension for the demolition of twin towers at Supertech Emerald Court in Noida’s Sector 93 area till August 28.
    • The top court order came on an application moved by Supertech through its interim resolution professional seeking an extension of the deadline of May 22 on the request made by demolition agency Edifice Engineering.
    • The top court has directed Noida’s authority to file a status report on compliance with the order.
  • LIC IPO: LIC lists at an 8.11% discount at ₹ 872 per share on NSE India’s biggest-ever IPO, state-owned insurance giant Life Insurance Corporation (LIC), listed its shares at a discount of over 8 percent on the BSE and the NSE on Tuesday.
    • On the BSE, LIC launched at ₹ 867.20 per share, a discount of 8.62 percent from its mega initial public offering (IPO) allotment price of ₹ 949.
    • At the issue price of ₹ 949, the market capitalization of LIC stood at ₹ 6,00,242 crore.
    • At the listing price, the valuation of LIC dipped to ₹ 5,57,675 crore, resulting in a loss of around ₹ 42,500 crores.
  • TRAI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the country is making rapid strides in the telecom sector as 5G and 6G will help boost growth in every sector after “losing a decade of policy paralysis and corruption of the 2G”.
    • Addressing the silver jubilee celebrations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), PM Modi said, “The country has made rapid strides from 3G to 4G and now 5G and 6G, out of the despair, frustration, corruption, policy paralysis of 2G era.
    • PM Modi launched a 5G Test Bed, developed as a multi-institute collaborative project by a total of eight institutes led by IIT Madras.
  • Defense: Defence minister Rajnath Singh launched two made-in-India warships ‘Surat’ and ‘Udaygiri’ at the Mazagon Docks in Mumbai on Tuesday.
    • This is the first time that the two indigenously built warships have been launched together, the Mazgaon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd (MDL) said.
    • Surat is the fourth guided-missile destroyer of the P15B class, while Udaygiri is the second stealth frigate of P17A class.
    • Both warships have been designed in-house by the Directorate of Naval Design (DND) and built at MDL, Mumbai.
  • WPI: India’s inflation based on the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) rose further to 15.08 percent in April from 14.55 percent in March, according to data released by the commerce ministry on May 17.
    • The WPI inflation was 10.74 percent a year ago. Another 10 percent-plus print in April means WPI inflation has extended its stay in the double-digit territory to 13 months in a row.
    • The rise in wholesale inflation in April comes after data released on May 12 showed the more closely tracked headline retail inflation rate based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) jumped to 7.79 percent in April, the highest since May 2014.
  • Wheat Exports: The Centre today said it has decided to allow shipments of wheat consignments, which were registered with customs authority before the ban on wheat exports came into force last week.
    • “It has been decided that wherever wheat consignments have been handed over to Customs for examination and have been registered into their systems on or prior to May 13, such consignments would be allowed to be exported,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement.
    • Following a request by the Egyptian government, the Centre has also allowed a wheat consignment headed for Egypt, which was already under loading at the Kandla port, the statement said.
  • Wholesale Inflation: Wholesale inflation in India rose to 15.08% in April on an annual basis owing to higher fuel and energy costs, data from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) showed on Tuesday.
    • Analysts had forecast WPI for April to stand at around 15.5%. WPI in April 2021 was at 10.74%. With the latest reading, WPI inflation has been in double-digit territory for 13 straight months.
    • Food articles inflation in the month of April stood at 8.35%, up from 8.06% in March.
    • Fuel & power basket inflation rose to 38.66% from 34.52% the month before.
    • Manufactured products inflation rose marginally to 10.85% from 10.71% in March.

World


  • Lunar Eclipse: The first total lunar eclipse of the year created a lot of buzz on the planet.
    • People in some countries mostly in South America were able to take a good look at the Moon during the celestial event, while others were not so lucky.
    • Thousands of kilometers up in space, at the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts were able to capture the magnificent phenomenon from zero gravity.
  • Sri Lanka: The Sri Lanka economic crisis has reached a tipping point after newly-elected Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, on Monday, announced that the island country was down to its last day of petrol.
    • On Monday, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that the country had run out of petrol and that the residents could face more hardships in the coming months.
    • The country, Wickremesinghe added, needs $75 million in foreign exchange to pay for essential imports.
  • France: French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday picked Labour Minister Elisabeth Borne as his new prime minister as he prepares for legislative elections in June, the second time in 30 years that a woman has been appointed to the job.
    • Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Jean Castex handed in his resignation, paving the way for a cabinet overhaul after Macron’s re-election in April.
    • Macron, who needs to show he has heard the frustrations of voters expressed by low turnout and big support for the far right and far left, has been looking for premier with green and social policy credentials.
  • Turkey: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he won’t allow Sweden and Finland to join NATO because of their stances on Kurdish militants, throwing a wrench into plans to strengthen the western military alliance after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
    • At a press conference in Ankara late Monday, Erdogan poured cold water on expectations that Turkish opposition to the enlargement plan could be easily resolved.
    • The remarks were his clearest indication that he intends to block membership for the two countries, or at least extract concessions for it since they announced their intentions to join over the weekend.
  • United States: A presidential advisory commission has unanimously voted to recommend President Joe Biden process all applications for green cards or permanent residency within six months.
    • To be sent to the White House now for approval, recommendations of the President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (PACAANHPI) if adopted are likely to bring cheers to the hundreds and thousands of Indian Americans and those waiting, some for even for decades, for a Green Card.
    • A proposal in this regard was moved by eminent Indian American community leader Ajay Jain Bhutoria during the meeting of the PACAANHPI, during which all its 25 commissioners unanimously approved it.

16th May


India


  • Assam: Indian Railways’ North East Frontier Railway(NFR) zone in a statement said that in view of waterlogging and landslides due to heavy rain, at Km 113/4-5 between Jatinga Lumpur and New Harangajao, at Km 131/1-2 between Bandarkhal and Ditokcherra sections and other several locations in Lumding – Badarpur hill section of Lumding division, services of trains have been canceled and partially canceled.”
  • PM Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today reached Nepal for a day’s visit.
    • This is his first visit to the country since ties were affected due to a border dispute in 2020.
    • Relations between the two countries were strained after Nepal’s previous K P Oli-led government issued a new political map in which it claimed disputed areas in the Kalapani region as its own.
  • New Delhi: The maximum temperature recorded in the national capital on Sunday reached 49 degrees Celsius, said the India Meteorological Department.
    • While the national capital’s Mungeshpur station recorded a temperature of 49.2 degrees, Najafgarh recorded 49.1 degrees Celsius.
    • The weather agency advised people in northern India to avoid venturing outside their homes unless absolutely essential and to drink plenty of water even if not thirsty.
  • Jet Fuel: Aviation turbine fuel (ATF) prices were hiked by 5 percent, taking it to Rs.1.23 lakh per kilolitre in the national capital, according to state-owned fuel retailers, Indian Oil Corporation.
    • In the nine hikes beginning January 1, jet fuel prices have been hiked 61.7 percent from Rs 72,062 per kilolitre to Rs 1.23 lakh per kilolitre.
    • Meanwhile, petrol and diesel prices remained unchanged for the 40th straight day after rising by a record Rs 10 per liter each.
    • Fuel prices were last hiked on April 6 by 80 paise a liter each. While jet fuel prices are revised on the 1st and 16th of every month, petrol and diesel rates are revised daily based on equivalent rates in the international market.
  • Wheat Prices: Wheat prices surged to a new record high on Monday after India decided to ban exports of the commodity as a heatwave hit production.
    • The price jumped to 435 euros ($453) per tonne as the European market opened.
    • Global wheat prices have soared on supply fears since Russia’s February invasion of agricultural powerhouse Ukraine, which previously accounted for 12 percent of global exports.
    • The spike, exacerbated by fertilizer shortages and poor harvests, has fuelled inflation globally and raised fears of famine and social unrest in poorer countries.
  • New Delhi: Claiming that the ongoing anti-encroachment drive in Delhi will render 63 lakh people homeless, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal Monday said it will be the “biggest destruction” in Independent India, and accused the BJP of “misusing” power.
    • He also questioned the moral, constitutional and legal authority of the BJP-ruled civic bodies to launch such a large-scale drive at the fag end of their terms.
    • “Delhi has not developed as a planned city. More than 80 percent of Delhi can be called illegal and encroached upon. Does that mean you will destroy 80 percent of Delhi?” he asked.
  • SBI: The largest public sector bank, SBI has hiked its Marginal Cost Of Funds Based Lending Rate (MCLR) by 10 basis points across tenures with effect from Sunday onward.
    • This would be SBI’s second hike in the benchmark lending rates in two months.
    • From May 15, SBI’s one-year MCLR has been hiked to 7.20% from the previous 7.10%.
    • MCLR for two years has been raised to 7.40% compared to their previous 7.30%, while for three years the benchmark is increased to 7.50% versus earlier 7.40%.
  • AAP: AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday announced an alliance with Kerala’s Twenty20 Party.
    • He also promised free power if elected to power in the southern state, which has so far witnessed a bipolar contest between the Congress and the Left.
    • Addressing a public gathering in Kochi, he said inverter and generator shops have been shut in Delhi because of an uninterrupted power supply, which is free of cost.
    • “Do the people of Kerala not want free electricity too?” he asked.

World


  • Moscow: Russia warned Monday that decisions by Finland and Sweden to join the NATO military alliance were serious mistakes and Moscow would take measures.
    • “This is another grave mistake with far-reaching consequences,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters.
    • Ryabkov said the two countries’ security would not strengthen as a result of the move and that Moscow would take measures.
  • IMF: The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has made a quick retreat from its wildly pessimistic forecast, made last month, that India may not become a $5 trillion economy before 2028-29.
    • This headline was widely quoted in the media, especially in circles not friendly to the Narendra Modi government, to suggest that it is a pipe dream.
    • The Fund has quickly revised its forecasts after reworking its sums in the World Economic Outlook database.
  • United States: Goldman Sachs Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein urged companies and consumers to gird for a US recession, saying it’s a “very, very high risk.”
    • “If I were running a big company, I would be very prepared for it,” Blankfein said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “If I was a consumer, I’d be prepared for it.”
    • A recession is “not baked in the cake” and there’s a “narrow path” to avoid it, he said.
    • The Federal Reserve has “very powerful tools” to tamp down inflation and has been “responding well,” the former Goldman chief executive officer said.
  • Seoul: Kim Jong Un slammed North Korea’s pandemic response and ordered the army to help distribute medicine, state media said Monday, as the country said 50 people had died since first reporting an outbreak of COVID-19.
    • More than a million people have been sickened by what Pyongyang is referring to as “fever”, state media said, despite leader Kim ordering nationwide lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of disease through the unvaccinated population.
    • In a sign of how serious the situation may be, Kim “strongly criticized” healthcare officials for what he called a botched response to epidemic prevention specifically a failure to keep pharmacies open 24/7 to distribute medicine.
  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka will go under a nationwide curfew from 8 pm today to 5 pm tomorrow in the face of worsening conflicts across the island, the president’s media division said.
    • Newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe held discussions with representatives of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank on the country’s economic crisis on Sunday when India delivered its 12th shipment of diesel containing over 400,000 tonnes of fuel to Sri Lanka.
    • The island nation is in the throes of the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.
    • A crippling shortage of foreign reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas, and other essentials, while power cuts and soaring food prices heaped misery on the people.
    • The economic crisis also triggered political turmoil in Sri Lanka and demand for the resignation of the powerful Rajapaksas.

15th May


India


  • Lunar Eclipse: A total eclipse occurs when Earth passes directly between the moon and the sun and casts a shadow on our cosmic companion.
    • The May 15-16 event will be the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2022.
    • While it will not be visible in India, skywatchers in the eastern half of North America and all of Central and South America will have prime seats for the whole hour-long show, weather permitting.
    • Partial stages of the eclipse will also be visible across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Asia and Australia, however, will be left out.
  • Hyderabad: Senior BJP leader and Union home minister Amit Shah on Saturday emphatically announced that once the BJP came to power in Telangana state it would buy every single grain of boiled rice produced by the farmers.
    • Defending the Centre, he said it was the job of the state government, in which, the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS government had failed.
    • On the issue of paddy procurement, Shah said it was the responsibility of the state to purchase boiled rice, adding that Telangana was trying to hide its failures by diverting blame and trying to paint the Centre as the culprit on this issue.
  • Germany: Agriculture ministers from the Group of Seven industrialized nations on Saturday condemned India’s decision to ban unapproved wheat exports after the country was hit by a punishing heatwave.
    • “If everyone starts to impose export restrictions or to close markets, that would worsen the crisis,” German agriculture minister Cem Ozdemir said at a press conference in Stuttgart.
    • India on Saturday banned wheat exports without prior government approval after recent scorching temperatures hit production, in a blow to countries affected by supply shortages because of the war in Ukraine.
  • Tripura: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Rajya Sabha MP Dr. Manik Saha was sworn in as the chief minister of Tripura on Sunday, a day after his predecessor Biplab Kumar Deb resigned.
    • Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya administered the oath of secrecy to Saha at a brief ceremony at Raj Bhawan.
    • No other minister took oath along with Saha.
    • Saha replaced Biplab Kumar Deb who was the first BJP chief minister of Tripura.
    • Deb resigned from his post on Saturday saying that he would now focus to strengthen the party organization to ensure the BJP’s return in the 2023 assembly polls.
  • Reliance Industries: Reliance is in the final stages of negotiations with around 30 popular niche local consumer brands to fully acquire them or form joint venture partnerships for sales.
    • India’s biggest retailer Reliance will acquire dozens of small grocery and non-food brands as it targets building its own $6.5 billion consumer goods business to challenge foreign giants like Unilever.
    • Reliance, run by Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani, plans to build a portfolio of 50 to 60 grocery, household, and personal care brands within six months and is hiring an army of distributors to take them to mom-and-pop stores and bigger retail outlets across the nation.

World


  • US Congress: A US House committee is set to hold an open congressional hearing on Tuesday, May 17, about Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs) for the first time in over 50 years.
    • According to CNN, the House Intelligence Committee’s subcommittee on Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation will hold a public hearing in order to shed some light on UFOs more formally known as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).
    • Indiana Representative Andre Carson will be chairing the hearing.
  • Russia: The ongoing war in Ukraine entered day 80 as Russian forces started withdrawing from the northeastern city of Kharkiv, which had been bombarded for weeks.
    • Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his Finnish counterpart Sauli Niinisto that relations between Russia and Finland could be negatively affected if the latter applies for a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership.
    • The Institute for the Study of War, a think-tank based in Washington, has said that Ukraine appears to have won the battle in Kharkiv as it prevented Russian forces from encircling, let alone seizing the city.
  • United States: Thousands of activists chanting, banging drums, and wielding placards flooded streets across the United States on Saturday in a national day of action calling for safe and legal access to abortion.
    • The mass demonstrations were a response to a leaked draft opinion showing the Supreme Court’s conservative majority is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling guaranteeing abortion access nationwide.
    • Thousands more people assembled in a central square in Brooklyn, New York, to carry a giant pink banner that read: “Our Bodies. Our Futures. Our Abortions.”
  • Twitter: Elon Musk on Saturday tweeted that Twitter’s legal team accused him of violating a nondisclosure agreement by revealing that the sample size for the social media platform’s checks on automated users was 100.
    • “Twitter legal just called to complain that I violated their NDA by revealing the bot check sample size is 100!,” tweeted Musk
    • Musk on Friday said that his $44-billion cash deal for Twitter Inc was “temporarily on hold” while he waits for the social media company to provide data on the proportion of its fake accounts.
    • He added later that he remained committed to the deal.
  • Ukraine: Russian troops are withdrawing from around Ukraine’s second-largest city after weeks of heavy bombardment, the Ukrainian military said on Saturday, as Kyiv and Moscow’s forces engaged in a grinding battle for the country’s eastern industrial heartland.
    • Ukraine’s general staff said the Russians were pulling back from the northeastern city of Kharkiv and focusing on guarding supply routes while launching mortar, artillery, and airstrikes in the eastern Donetsk province in order to “deplete Ukrainian forces and destroy fortifications.”
    • President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainians were doing their “maximum” to drive out the invaders and that the outcome of the war would depend on support from Europe and other allies.
  • Finland: Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin Saturday that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country that shares a long border and history with Russia “will decide to apply for NATO membership in the coming days”.
    • Niinisto’s office said in a statement that the Finnish head of state told Putin in a phone conversation how thoroughly Finland’s security environment had changed after Moscow’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, and pointed to Russia’s demands on Finland to refrain from seeking membership in NATO, the 30-member Western military alliance.
    • “The discussion (with Putin) was straightforward and unambiguous and was held without exaggeration. Avoiding tensions was considered important,” said Niinisto.
    • Finland’s president since 2012 and one of few Western leaders who has held a regular dialogue with Putin over the past ten years.

14th May


India


  • NEET PG: National Eligibility cum Entrance Test, NEET PG Admit Card 2022 will be released online, on May 16, 2022, as per the previous schedule.
    • The National Board of Examinations, NBE has released NEET PG admit card notification saying that it will be released shortly.
    • Candidates can download them from the official website – nbe.edu.in and natboard.edu.in.
  • Wheat Exports: India has banned wheat exports with immediate effect as part of its steps to control the spike in prices at home.
    • Only export shipments for which letters of credit have been issued on or before yesterday’s notification will be allowed, the government said. 
    • Besides, the government will allow exports on requests from other countries, the notification issued by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) said.
  • New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh each for families of those who died in the fire in Mundka on Friday.
    • Those who have sustained injuries will be given Rs 50,000 as compensation.
    • Kejriwal has also ordered a magisterial probe into the incident.
    • At least 27 people died and several others were injured when a fire engulfed a four-story commercial building near Mundka Metro station in Outer Delhi.
  • Hyderabad: Ahead of Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Telangana today, state Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao’s son KT Rama Rao, or KTR has written an open letter to the senior BJP leader on the “injustice” being done to the southern state by his party.
    • In the letter, KTR, who is the Working President of Telangana Rashtra Samithi, accused the BJP of spreading hatred amongst the people in Telangana.
    • He added that BJP did not fulfill a single promise made to Telangana but fulfilled every requirement of BJP-ruled states like Gujarat on a war footing.
  • Tripura: Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Saturday said he has submitted his resignation to Governor SN Arya.
    • The shock resignation comes ahead of state polls next year.
    • Mr. Deb made the announcement after meeting the governor at the Raj Bhavan.
    • “Party is above all. I am a loyal worker of the BJP. I hope I have done justice to the responsibilities that were given to me, whether it was BJP state president or Tripura Chief Minister. I have worked for the overall development of Tripura, and to ensure peace for the people of the state,” Mr. Deb told reporters.
    • Mr. Deb had gone to New Delhi on Thursday and met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda for a discussion on the party’s affairs in the Northeastern state.
  • SBI: A clerical error by a State Bank of India staffer led to the misuse of funds meant for the Dalit Bandhu scheme, the flagship program of the Telangana government to give one-time capital assistance of ₹10 lakh per SC family as a 100% grant/subsidy to establish a suitable income generating source.
    • Saifabad police, who registered a case against an ‘accidental’ beneficiary, said that on April 24 an employee of the SBI Rangareddy District Collectorate branch accidentally transferred ₹1.50 crore into the (salary) accounts of 15 employees of Lotus Hospitals, ₹10 lakh each.
    • Soon after realizing the mistake, the bank officials called the employees and asked them to transfer back the amount.
    • While 14 employees reverted the money, lab technician Mahesh failed to send back the money, as he was not available over the phone, a senior official said.

World


  • UAE: Rulers in the United Arab Emirates announced Saturday that they appointed Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan as the president of this hereditarily ruled nation on the Arabian Peninsula.
  • NASA: One of the most recent images captured by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA’s) Curiosity rover on Mars shows an unusual structure in the rocks that looks like a neatly carved out doorway nestled on the Red Planet.
    • Many internet users are puzzled by the photograph, claiming it to be a hidden alien entrance.
    • The image was captured at a geological feature known as Greenheugh Pediment, by the Curiosity rover on May 7 and shared on Reddit by NASA on Wednesday.

13th May


India


  • Retail Inflation: Inflation faced by Indian consumers shot up to a nearly eight-year high of 7.8% in April from 6.95% in March, with rural inflation accelerating to 8.4% and urban parts of the country experiencing 7.1% inflation, as per data released by the National Statistical Office on Thursday.
    • The Consumer Food Price Index jumped to 8.4% from 7.7% in March, with food prices rising at a faster clip of 8.5% in rural India.
    • This is the fourth month in a row that retail inflation has stayed above the 6% mark, which is the outer limit for inflation tolerance under the monetary policy framework.
  • Price Hikes: Prices of home appliances and consumer electronics, including TV, washing machines, and refrigerators, are expected to go up by 3 to 5 percent from May end or the first week of June as manufacturers pass on the impact of rising input costs to buyers, according to industry players.
    • The depreciating Indian rupee against the US dollar has put further woes on manufacturers as imported components have become costlier, with the industry largely being dependent on imports for key components.
    • There has been a shortage of parts triggered by the piling up of containers at Shanghai port due to strict lockdown in the city following the surge in COVID-19 cases.
  • PM Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that the World Health Organisation (WHO) must be reformed to build a more resilient global health security architecture and especially pitched for streamlining its approval process for vaccines and therapeutics to keep the supply chains stable and predictable.
    • In his address at the second global Covid virtual summit, Modi, highlighting India’s role in combating the coronavirus pandemic, said New Delhi would extend its genomic sequencing network to the neighboring countries.
    • The prime minister, who participated at the summit following an invitation by US President Joe Biden, said India adopted a “people-centric” strategy to combat the pandemic and that it was running the largest vaccination campaign in the world, adding close to 90 percent of the adult population and more than 50 million children were already vaccinated in the country.

World


  • UAE President: The United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan died aged 73 on Friday, state media said, after battling illness for several years.
    • The president of the oil-rich Gulf state, who was rarely seen in public, is likely to be replaced by his half-brother, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, who was already seen as the UAE’s de facto ruler.
    • The ministry announced 40 days of mourning, with flags at half-mast from Friday and work suspended in the public and private sector for the first three days.
  • North Korea: It was supposed to be a triumphant celebration of North Korea’s martial prowess, but a huge military parade to celebrate the army’s founding could inadvertently have spread Covid-19 nationwide, experts say.
    • North Korea today confirmed its first-ever coronavirus death, a day after the reclusive regime admitted to Omicron cases, saying tens of thousands of people were isolated after a fever “explosively spread nationwide from late April”.
    • North Korea staged a massive military parade in Pyongyang on April 25 to celebrate the founding anniversary of the army.
  • Twitter: Elon Musk on Friday put his $44-billion deal for Twitter Inc temporarily on hold, citing pending details in support of the calculation that spam and fake accounts indeed represent less than 5% of users.
    • Shares of the social media company fell 17.7% to $37.10 in premarket trading, their lowest level since Musk disclosed his stake in the company in early April and subsequently made a “best and final” offer to take it private for $54.20 per share.
    • The implied probability of the deal closing at the agreed price fell below 50% for the first time on Tuesday, when Twitter shares dropped below $46.75.
  • UAE: The United Arab Emirates has announced the decision to provide unemployment insurance to all workers in the country.
    • The Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation Abdulmannan Al Awar on Friday reaffirmed the announcement by the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to raise the percentage of Emiratisation supports the strategic economic security of the UAE.
    • The plan is part of the country’s efforts to attract and retain employees by reducing business risks so that the employees who lose their jobs will receive cash support for a period of time until the employee finds another job. 
  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has said he looks forward to closer ties with India during his term and thanked India for its economic assistance to the country as it tackles the worst economic crisis since independence.
    • Ranil Wickremesinghe, 73, was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s 26th Prime Minister on Thursday to stabilize the country’s debt-ridden economy and end the political turmoil.
    • “I want a closer relationship and I want to thank Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi,” Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said, referring to the Indian economic assistance to his country.
    • India has committed more than USD 3 billion to debt-ridden Sri Lanka in loans, credit lines, and credit swaps since January this year.
  • Amazon: US e-commerce major Amazon has filed an interlocutory application before the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), asking it not to admit the insolvency petition filed against debt-laden Future Retail (FRL).
    • Earlier, Bank of India (BoI) had moved the bankruptcy court’s Mumbai bench seeking to initiate a resolution process against FRL, while New Delhi-based Foresight Innovations had filed a similar petition against Future Enterprises (FEL), another group entity.
    • NCLT Mumbai bench, which is hearing the insolvency petition filed by BoI, will hear Amazon’s arguments at its next date on June 6.
    • On Thursday, the NCLT asked FRL to file its reply to BoI’s insolvency petition, before the next hearing date.

12th May


India


  • Air India: Tata Sons on Thursday appointed Campbell Wilson as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of Air India.
    • Mr. Wilson is the CEO of Scoot, the wholly-owned low-cost subsidiary of Singapore Airlines.
    • The 50-year-old has 26 years of aviation industry expertise across both full service and low-cost airlines, Air India said.
  • Uttar Pradesh: The UP government on Wednesday removed Director General of Police Mukul Goel from the post, saying he had been disregarding government work and not taking interest in departmental duties.
    • A 1987-batch IPS officer, Goel, who had taken charge as DGP in July 2021, has now been made Director General, Civil Defence.
    • He is set to retire in February 2024.
  • Corona Virus: India reported 2,897 new coronavirus infections in the last 24 hours, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 4,31,10,586, while the active cases dipped to 19,494, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated.
    • The death count climbed to 5,24,157 with 54 fresh fatalities, the data stated today.
    • The active cases comprise 0.05 percent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate was 98.74 percent.
  • NEET PG 2022: The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Wednesday, May 11 urged the Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to postpone the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test for Postgraduate (NEET PG 2022) exam scheduled on May 21.
    • In the letter, the Indian Medical Association (IMA) highlighted that the gap between the NEET PG exam and counseling is very less to prepare for such an entrance exam.
    • As per the letter, both the NEET PG 2021 exam and counseling were delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • PM Modi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will participate in the second global virtual summit on Covid-19 on Thursday being hosted by US president Joe Biden, the foreign affairs ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
    • The PM also participated in the first global summit held in September 2021.
    • According to the statement, the PM will deliver remarks in the opening session of the summit on the theme of ‘Preventing Pandemic Fatigue and Prioritising Preparedness’.
  • INR-USD: Indian rupee today hit a fresh low against the US dollar today.
    • At the day’s low, the rupee tumbled to 77.59 vs USD as compared to the previous close of 77.23.
    • Data released on Wednesday showed that though US inflation dipped a bit in April it still remained at elevated levels, bolstering the case for aggressive monetary tightening.
    • It also sparked a fresh tumble in global equities. Indian markets were down over 1.8% today.
  • Taj Mahal: The Allahabad High Court today rejected the petition seeking an inquiry into the “history” of the Taj Mahal. The court dismissed the petition which asked for the opening of the doors of its 22 rooms to see “the truth, whatever it is.”
    • “The issues lie outside the court and should be done by various methodology and should be left with the historians,” the court said.
    • The petitioner had said that false history about the Taj Mahal was being taught, and hence the doors should be opened to ascertain the truth.
  • Chandra Grahan: Soon after the first partial solar eclipse of the year, the first lunar eclipse of 2022 will be visible from parts of the Earth.
    • The total lunar eclipse or chandra grahan 2022 is falling on May 15 and May 16 and will be visible from several countries.
    • A lunar eclipse occurs when the moon and the Sun are on the exact opposite sides of the Earth.
    • This year, the lunar eclipse will also cause the phenomenon of the ‘blood moon’.
    • The blood moon occurs when a reddish tint is reflected on the moon, giving it a unique appearance.

World


  • Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is set to name a new Prime Minister to replace his brother as the country battles an economic crisis.
    • Former PM Mahinda Rajapaksa was banned from leaving the country after his supporters attacked protesters.
    • The army has been called in to patrol the streets after days of violence.
    • Security forces have been given orders to shoot looters on sight.
  • NASA-ESA Satellite: The Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha‘apai volcano, which made global headlines after its massive eruption on January 15 this year, saw its effects reach outer space.
    • The American space agency says that it’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Swarm satellites found that the effects reached the edge of Earth’s atmosphere just a few hours after the underwater eruption.
    • These effects became evident when the two missions found hurricane-speed winds and unusual electric currents formed in the ionosphere- Earth’s electrified upper atmospheric layer.

11th May


India


  • LIC: The grey market premium (GMP) of Life Insurance Corp (LIC) shares on Wednesday turned negative ahead of its listing on May 17.
    • At its peak, the LIC GMP was at Rs 93-95 a share and then it started going downhill.
    •  It was trading between Rs 8 and Rs 10 a share on May 5. From Rs 8-9 a share, it fell to negative Rs 15 a share on Wednesday.
  • RBI: The Reserve Bank of India is once again seeking to defend its currency when the Federal Reserve is tightening.
    • This time though, analysts expect it to mount a more limited defense, aimed at fending off the worst of speculative attacks rather than holding down a line in the sand when capital flows are shifting globally with the Fed set to hike throughout the year.
    • Prudence warns against trying to defy broad-based dollar trends. After all, a $600 billion-plus reserve coffer is harder to build than it is to burn.
  • OFDI: India’s outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) nearly halved to USD 3.39 billion in April on an annual basis, as per data released by the RBI on Monday.
    • The OFDI stood at USD 6.71 billion in April 2021.
    • On a sequential basis too, the outward investment from India in April was lower compared to USD 3.44 billion in March 2022.
    • Of the USD 3.39 billion OFDI, the equity component was USD 544.87 million and loans amounted to USD 764.25 million.
    • Indian companies issued guarantees worth USD 2.08 billion in April 2022.
  • Sedition Law: The controversial sedition law will be paused while the government reviews it, the Supreme Court said today in a landmark order that impacts hundreds charged under the colonial-era relic.
    • Those jailed for sedition can approach courts for bail.
    • No new FIRs will be filed for sedition and all pending cases will be on hold while the government reconsiders the law, the Supreme Court said, referring to petitions that challenged the law alleging its misuse in cases like in Maharashtra, where it was invoked over the chanting of the Hanuman Chalisa.
    • If any fresh cases are filed, those charged can approach the court. “The Union of India is at liberty to pass directives to states to prevent misuse of the law,” the Chief Justice added.
  • Turkey: For the first time, Turkey has placed orders for 50,000 tonnes of wheat imports from India joining Egypt.
    • While this will benefit farmers in India, it will further push up wheat prices in the country, which have already surged by up to 15% in recent weeks.
    • Wheat prices shot up as Indian wheat is in demand in the global markets after exports from Ukraine came to a grinding halt due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
    • Ukraine produces about a fifth of the world’s high-grade wheat and 7% of all wheat.
    • A large quantity of wheat bought by private traders in India from farmers is at a price higher than the minimum support price as international prices rallied due to the Russia- Ukraine war.
    • They are creating an inventory anticipating good export orders from the global markets.

World


  • WHO: China’s zero-Covid strategy to defeat the pandemic is not sustainable, the World Health Organization’s chief said Tuesday, adding that the WHO had told Beijing.
    • Draconian measures have trapped most of Shanghai’s 25 million people at home for weeks as China combats the country’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began.
    • Yet the Shanghai lockdown has intensified, causing outrage and rare protest in the last major economy still glued to a zero-Covid policy.
  • Pakistani Rupee: The Pakistani rupee slumped to an all-time low against the US dollar on Tuesday in the interbank market.
    • The value of the greenback surged by 82 paise in early trade and currently trading at rupees 188.35 in the interbank market, hitting an all-time high.
    • According to forex dealers, the exchange rate remained under pressure as the US dollar continued its upward spiral against the local currency.
  • Twitter: Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said Tuesday he would reverse Twitter’s ban on former U.S. President Donald Trump while speaking at the Financial Times Future of the Car conference.
    • Musk, who has called himself a “free speech absolutist,” recently inked a $44 billion deal to acquire the social media platform.
    • The suspension of Trump’s account, which had more than 88 million followers, silenced his primary megaphone days before the end of his term and follows years of debate about how social media companies should moderate the accounts of powerful global leaders.

10th May


India


  • BharatPe: Payments startup BharatPe said on Tuesday its board had recommended several measures, following a corporate governance review, including termination of several employees and vendors and filing criminal cases against them for misconduct.
  • Cyclone Asani: Severe cyclonic storm Asani is over the west-central region and adjoining the southwest region of the Bay of Bengal.
    • The Met department earlier said it was about 590km southwest of Puri and about 510km south-southwest of Gopalpur in Odisha.
    • The storm, which moved 12kmph in a west-northwest direction over the last few hours, would lessen its intensity by Tuesday night as it came closer to the coasts of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, and caused heavy rain.
  • India-China: Chinese official data showed on Monday that China’s imports from India plummeted in April, due in part to China’s efforts to curb its worst COVID-19 outbreak since 2020 that dampened domestic demand.
    • But, there is more to be concerned about other than the COVID-19 epidemic when it comes to the China-India trade.
    • China’s imports from India dropped 57 percent to $1.364 billion in April, from $3.166 billion in the same period last year, data released by the General Administration of Customs revealed on Monday.
  • Indian Railways: Indian Railways’ Northern Railway(NR) zone has taken yet another step for the convenience of passengers traveling by train.
    • The Lucknow division of the Northern Railway zone has made a special arrangement and added a lower berth, especially for the children in the lower berth.
    • The Lucknow division in an engineering marvel has added an extra small berth.
    • This berth is also being dubbed as ‘baby berth’. This baby berth is for little children.
  • GST: In what could further dampen the mood of crypto investors in the country, the goods and services tax (GST) council is mulling a 28 percent tax on cryptocurrencies, at par with the current GST on casinos, betting, and lottery.
    • The services such as crypto mining along with sales and purchases are likely to attract the 28 percent GST if the proposal goes through in the next GST meeting.
    • The date of the next GST meeting is yet to be finalized.
    • The Ministry of Finance has already imposed a 30 percent tax on profits made from the transfer of crypto assets and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).
  • Mercedes Benz: Mercedes-Benz India has launched the new-generation C-Class, with prices starting at ₹55 Lakh, ₹56 lakh for the C 220d, and going up to ₹61 lakh for the top-spec C 300d variant.
    • The C-Class has been on sale in India since 2001 and this is the 5th generation (W206) model that comes to India after it made its global debut in early 2021.
    • To date, Mercedes has sold over 37,000 units of the C-Class in India and no doubt hopes that the new C will be a volume spinner for the company as well.
    • Mercedes has begun assembling the new C-Class at its plant in Chakan, Maharashtra, and pre-bookings for the luxury sedan have begun as well.
  • SBI: The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has hiked interest rates on Domestic Bulk Term Deposits of Rs 2 Crores and above.
    • According to the official website of the bank, the new rates are in force from today 10th May 2022.
    • The bank is now providing a regular interest rate of 3.00 percent on domestic bulk term deposits of Rs. 2 crores and above maturing in 7 to 45 days.
    • The bank formerly offered a 3% interest rate on deposits maturing in 46 to 179 days, but now it will be 3.5 percent, a 50 basis point increase.
    • The interest rate on deposits maturing from 180 days to 210 days has been increased by 40 basis points from 3.1 percent to 3.5 percent.
  • Sedition Law: Two days after firmly defending the country’s colonial-era sedition law and asking the Supreme Court to dismiss the pleas challenging it, the government on Monday did an about-face, saying it has decided to review the legislation.
    • In a new affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the center said, “In the spirit of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav (75 years of Independence) and the vision of PM Narendra Modi, the Government of India has decided to re-examine and reconsider the provisions of Section 124A, Sedition law.”
    • Asserting that PM Modi was “cognizant of various views on sedition” and “in favor of defending civil liberties”, the government urged the Supreme Court to wait for the review by a “competent forum” and urged it to “not invest time” on petitions filed by the Editors’ Guild of India, Trinamool MP Mahua Moitra and others.
  • VPN: Users of virtual private networks (VPNs) in India face disruptions, with providers such as Surfshark and NordVPN saying they are unlikely to be able to adhere to a new security directive from the government due to privacy policy concerns.
    • India has more than 270 million VPN users, who use them to access company networks securely, remain anonymous, access geo-restricted content, stay safe on public Wi-Fi networks and get around internet restrictions among other things.
    • The directive from Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), India’s top cybersecurity agency, is set to take effect at the end of June.
    • That mandates VPN services, among others, to maintain the personal data of users for five years or longer and hand them over to the government when asked or face punitive action.

World


  • South Korea: South Korea’s new president Yoon Suk-yeol began his five-year term at midnight with his first briefing as commander-in-chief from the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
    • Yoon started his work from an underground bunker set up at his new presidential office amid high tension in the Korean peninsula.
    • Hours later, Yoon was sworn in as the president is a huge formal ceremony at Seoul’s National Assembly.
  • North America: North American Skygazers can see the moon take on a reddish tint on the night of May 15-16.
    • Almost a year after the last total lunar eclipse, the sight of the moon sliding into the shadows of the Earth returns and graces the sky.
    • Viewers of most of North America, all of Latin America, Western Europe, most of Africa, and the East Pacific will see the Moon darken and acquire a reddish hue from the late evening of May 15 into the early hours of May 16.
  • United States: US President Joe Biden said on Monday he is worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin does not have a way out of the Ukraine war, and Biden said he was trying to figure out what to do about that.
    • President Biden, speaking at a political fundraiser in a Washington suburb, said Putin had mistakenly believed the invasion of Ukraine would break up The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and break up the European Union.
    • Instead, the United States and many European countries have rallied to Ukraine’s side.
  • Ukraine: The Ukrainian port of Odesa was battered Monday as Russian forces launched missile attacks including hypersonic rockets to mark its biggest patriotic holiday Victory Day.
    • Ukraine’s military said seven missiles three of which were hypersonic rockets had been fired at a shopping center and a warehouse. One person has died and five have been wounded.
    • The hypersonic rockets used were the dreaded Kinzhal, or ‘dagger’ air-to-surface missile first used in this conflict in March to destroy an ammunition stockpile in western Ukraine.
  • Colombo: Sri Lanka was placed under curfew as loyalists of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and anti-government protesters clashed today.
    • “I am resigning with immediate effect so that you will be able to appoint an all-party government to guide the country out of the current economic crisis,” the Prime Minister said in the letter
    • The hugest clashes since the economic crisis hit the island nation, started this morning when supporters of the Rajapaksa family went on the rampage.
    • The loyalists attacked unarmed protesters camping outside the President’s office in downtown Colombo on April 9.

9th May


India


  • SEBI: Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) is examining allegations of front-running and other irregularities against a host of domestic fund managers across the asset management industry.
  • Finance Minister: FM Nirmala Sitharaman said interest rate increases won’t affect the government’s spending plans in a conversation with Bodhisatva Ganguli at the Economic Times Awards for Corporate Excellence in Mumbai on Saturday.
  • Supreme Court: On Monday, Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala of the Gujarat High Court is set to take oath as a Supreme Court judge along with Gauhati High Court Chief Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia.
    • The Union Ministry of Law and Justice confirmed both their appointments on Saturday following the SC Collegium’s recommendation earlier in the week.
    • Justice Pardiwala was born on August 12, 1965, in Mumbai to a family of lawyers and grew up in the town of Valsad in south Gujarat.
  • Cyclone Asani: Severe cyclonic storm Asani over Southeast and adjoining Westcentral Bay of Bengal is likely to move northwestwards till May 10 and reach Westcentral and adjoining Northwest Bay of Bengal off North Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast, according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
    • Asani intensified into a severe cyclonic storm at 5 pm IST on Sunday over Southeast Bay of Bengal, about 610km northwest of Car Nicobar (Nicobar Islands).
    • IMD officials have said that Asani, which means ‘wrath’ in Sinhala, one of the official languages of Sri Lanka, would not make landfall on the Andhra-Odisha coast and is likely to miss the coast by 100 km.
  • USD to INR: The rupee weakened to hit a fresh all-time low early on Monday, trading beyond 77.40 per dollar, driven by investors’ preference for safety as lockdowns in China, war on the edge of Europe, and fear about higher interest rates sent a nervous jolt through markets.
    • While on Friday, the Indian currency ended close to its all-time lows of 77.05 hit in March, it weakened sharply today and was the last trading at 77.42 per dollar.
    • The rate futures market is pricing in a 75 percent chance of a 75 basis-point lift-off in June and a further 200 basis points of hikes this year.
    • The net capital outflows have not helped the Indian currency, with foreign investors pulling out over ₹ 6,400 crores from the Indian equity market in the first four trading sessions in May and remaining net sellers for seven months to April 2022.
  • New Delhi: Several NEET-PG aspirants gathered at a site near the Jantar Mantar on Sunday (May 8, 2022), urging the National Board of Examinations (NBE) and Medical Counselling Committee (MCC) to postpone the NEET PG exam, which is scheduled to take place on May 21, 2022.
    • The National Entrance-cum-Eligibility Test Postgraduate (NEET-PG) 2022 aspirants are requesting the postponement of the exam citing its clash with the ongoing counseling for NEET PG 2021.
    • Several students complained that they had to choose between appearing for the counseling round and their INI-CET exam, scheduled on May 8.
    • The Institute of National Importance Combined Entrance Test (INI-CET) is a national-level examination conducted by AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), Delhi.

World


  • Sri Lanka: Key foreign envoys to Sri Lanka and rights groups have expressed concern over President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to declare a state of emergency for the second time in about 5 months, fearing that the security forces might use sweeping powers against peaceful protesters amid the country’s worst economic crisis.
  • Ukraine: President Volodymyr Zelensky presented Ukraine’s famous mine sniffing dog Patron and his owner with a medal on Sunday to recognize their dedicated service since Russia’s invasion.
    • The pint-size Jack Russell terrier has been credited with detecting more than 200 explosives and preventing their detonation since the start of the war on February 24, quickly becoming a canine symbol of Ukrainian patriotism.
    • Zelensky made the award at a news conference in Kyiv with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. 
  • Black Hole: A rare outburst from a galaxy over 236 million light-years away could have been caused by a spontaneous flip of the magnetic field surrounding its central black hole, according to a study by an international research team.
    • The team used UV and X-ray measurements from NASA’s Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton satellite, along with visible light and radio observations from other sources.
    • A research article documenting the findings has been accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
  • Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday vowed that “as in 1945, victory will be ours” as he congratulated former Soviet nations on the 77th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s defeat in World War II.
    • “Today, our soldiers, as their ancestors, are fighting side by side to liberate their native land from the Nazi filth with the confidence that, as in 1945, victory will be ours,” said Putin, who sent Russian troops into Ukraine in February.
    • “Our sacred duty is to hold back the ideological successors of those who were defeated” in World War II, which Moscow dubs “the great patriotic war,” said Putin, as he urged Russians to “take revenge.”

8th May


India


  • PNB: Punjab National Bank (PNB), a public sector lender, has announced an interest rate rise on fixed deposits of less than Rs 2 crore.
    • The statement has been issued on May 7, 2022, and as a result of the modification, the bank is now giving a 3% interest rate on deposits maturing in 7 to 45 days, up from 2.9 percent before.
    • The interest rate on term deposits maturing in 46 to 90 days has stayed constant at 3.25 percent.
    • The interest rate on term deposits maturing in 91 to 179 days has been increased by 20 basis points from 3.8 percent to 4.00 percent.
  • Delhi-Meerut RRTS: The first trainset of the country’s first Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) was handed over to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation on Saturday for the 82.5-km Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut RRTS Phase 1.
    • It was designed by global mobility provider Alstom at its engineering center in Hyderabad and manufactured in Savli, Gujarat.
    • India’s first semi high-speed regional train can move passengers at 180 km/hour and will cut travel time between Delhi and Meerut by 40%.
    • The aerodynamic trains are designed to offer top-class comfort and safety for a premium passenger experience for commuters and are energy efficient.
  • Finance Minister: The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) move to raise key lending rates is part of synchronized action by central banks globally and had come as a surprise only because it was done between two monetary policy reviews, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has said.
    • The Finance Minister, who received an award at the event for her handling of the country’s economy through the pandemic, noted that the RBI had in its April policy review indicated that it was time to act on inflation.
    • The minister stressed that she doesn’t see the central bank’s move affecting the government’s infrastructure investment.
    • The RBI Wednesday raised its key lending rate by 40 basis points to 4.40 percent. It also hiked the cash reserve ratio by 50 basis points.

World


  • Argentina: Eight cases of severe hepatitis of an unknown origin have been detected in children in the Argentinian city of Santa Fe.
    • The country’s ministry of health has denied that it is an outbreak and reported that these are isolated and unconnected cases.
    • The first case reported in Argentina was that of an 8-year-old boy at the Children’s Hospital in the city of Rosario.
  • NASA: NASA has released audio of the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy, more than 200 million lightyears away from Earth.
    • The sound waves were recorded by the space telescope, the Chandra X-ray observatory, as astronomical data and then translated into sound.
    • “Since 2003, the black hole at the center of the Perseus galaxy cluster has been associated with sound,” NASA said in a statement.
  • META: Meta has announced to integrate Horizon Venues, an app dedicated to attending live events in virtual reality with its main social VR platform Horizon Worlds.
    • People over 18 in the US and Canada who have access to Horizon Worlds on Quest 2 will be able to access Venues programming in the Horizon Worlds app on June 6.
    • Horizon Worlds is a social VR experience where you can discover new places with friends, build unique worlds of your own, and form teams to compete in action-packed games.
  • Ukraine: Ukraine’s last soldiers in the port city of Mariupol face a brutal final showdown Sunday with besieging Russian forces, who are hoping to deliver a critical win ahead of the country’s victory day.
    • President Volodymyr Zelensky is also set to hold talks with G7 leaders via video conference to discuss the situation in his country, which fears a renewed intensity of Moscow’s offensive after the evacuation of civilians from Mariupol’s Azovstal steelworks.
    • Zelensky said hundreds of people had been removed from the plant Saturday and that preparations for another stage of evacuation comprising the wounded and medics were underway.

7th May


India


  • HDFC: Three days after the Reserve Bank India (RBI) announced a 40 basis point hike in its repo rate, HDFC Saturday announced raising its Retail Prime Lending Rate (RPLR) by 30 basis points, leading to an identical hike in home loan rates for existing customers.
    • The hike comes into effect from May 9.
    • All existing customers will see an upward revision in its rates by 30 basis points. Rates for new customers will also go up because of this change.
  • Odisha: A low-pressure area that has developed over the South Andaman Sea is likely to intensify into a cyclonic storm and make its way to the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha shores early next week.
    • The weather system over the South Andaman Sea and the adjoining southeast Bay of Bengal is very likely to move north-westwards and strengthen into a depression by Saturday, the Meteorological Department said.
    • It is likely to further intensify into a cyclonic storm by Sunday evening.
  • Cooking Gas: The price of domestic cooking gas was hiked by ₹50 per cylinder on Saturday, the second increase in two months. The price hike comes days after the price of commercial LPG cylinders was hiked by ₹ 102.50 earlier this month.
    • With the latest revision, a 14.2-kg non-subsidized cooking gas cylinder, also known as an LPG cylinder, will now cost ₹ 999.50 in Delhi.
    • The last hike in domestic LPG prices took place on March 22, when the price was increased by ₹ 50. There was no increase in the price of this cylinder in the month of April.
  • Xiaomi: Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp has alleged its top executives faced threats of “physical violence” and coercion during questioning by India’s financial crime-fighting agency.
    • Officials from the Enforcement Directorate warned the company’s former India managing director, Manu Kumar Jain, & current Chief Financial Officer Sameer B.S. Rao, and their families of “dire consequences” if they did not submit statements as desired by the agency, Xiaomi’s filing dated May 4 stated.
    • Xiaomi has been under investigation since February and last week the Indian agency seized $725 million lying in the company’s India bank accounts, saying it made illegal remittances abroad “in the guise of royalty” payments.

World


  • NASA: Indian American Raja Chari was among the four astronauts SpaceX brought home with a midnight splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico on Friday (May 6), capping the busiest stretch yet for Elon Musk’s taxi service.
    • The three US astronauts and one German in the capsule were bobbing off the Florida coast, near Tampa, less than 24 hours after leaving the International Space Station.
    • NASA expected to have them back in Houston later in the morning.
  • China: Chinese President Xi Jinping issued the strongest warning yet against anyone who questions the country’s zero-Covid policy.
    • The move comes after many Shanghai residents have taken to social media to call for help and vent their anger over severe food shortages and lack of access to medical care over the past five weeks.
    • However, the stringent, frequent lockdowns are fuelling public discontent and dealing a devastating blow to the Chinese economy.
  • Colombo: Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa today declared a state of emergency giving security forces sweeping powers for the second time in five weeks to deal with escalating anti-government protests.
    • A spokesman for the President said he invoked the tough laws to “ensure public order” after trade unions staged a nationwide strike Friday demanding his resignation over a worsening economic crisis.
    • Earlier today, the police again fired tear gas and water cannon at students trying to storm Sri Lanka’s parliament as the country was brought to a halt by a trade union strike demanding the government step down.
  • Mariupol: Ukraine said 50 civilians were evacuated from a bombed-out steelworks in the city of Mariupol on Friday, accusing Russia of violating a truce intended to allow dozens more still trapped beneath the plant to depart after weeks under siege.
    • Mariupol has endured the most destructive bombardment of the 10-week-old war, and the sprawling Soviet-era Azovstal plant is the last part of the city a strategic southern port on the Azov Sea still in the hands of Ukrainian fighters.
    • President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a late-night video address that Ukraine was working on a diplomatic effort to save defenders barricaded inside the steelworks. “Influential intermediaries are involved, influential states,” he said, but provided no further details.

6th May


India


  • Road Transport and Highways Ministry: The road transport and highways ministry aims to construct a record 18,000 km of highways in 2022-23 at a pace of 50 km per day, said minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday.
    • The FY23 target is 33 percent higher than that last fiscal.
    • The target is ambitious as the ministry in 2021-22 set a 40-km per day construction goal, but later revised it to 32 km per day at 12000 km for the full fiscal.
  • Zomato: Food tech major Zomato’s founder and Chief Executive Officer Deepinder Goyal will be donating all his employee stock option plan (ESOP) proceeds worth Rs 700 crore to Zomato Future Foundation.
    • This is among the various other measures that the food tech and quick commerce companies are taking to curb the attrition of the delivery executives.
    • “Right before we went public, I was granted some ESOPs by our investors/ board, basis my past performance, and some of these ESOPs vested last month because there’s a minimum one-year vesting required as per law,” Goyal said in the letter.
  • Corona Virus: India reported 3,275 new Covid-19 cases and 55 deaths in the last 24 hours ending at 8 am on Wednesday, according to data released by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
    • Active cases presently stand at 19,719, the ministry said.
    • China’s capital Beijing on Wednesday shut down several metro stations besides schools, restaurants, and businesses and ordered daily COVID-19 testing of its 21 million people.
    • It ramped up measures to prevent the spread of the highly transmissible Omicron variant which has brought the financial hub Shanghai to a halt for over a month
  • Imported-Coal Plants: To tackle the persisting power crisis across India, the Centre has invoked Section 11 of the Electricity Act, mandating all imported coal-based projects to generate power at full capacity, the Ministry of Power said in a statement on May 5.
    • “All imported coal-based power plants shall operate and generate power to their full capacity. Where the imported coal-based plant is under National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the Resolution Professional shall take steps to make it functional,” the government ordered.
    • The order will operationalize at least seven gigawatts worth of power plants of Essar Power and Coastal Energen in states such as Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu and will also apply to plants under NCLT.
    • It will also help restart non-operational units of Adani Power and Tata Power.

World


  • Malaria: The World Health Organisation South-East Asia Region today renewed its commitment to eliminate malaria by 2030, with the countries, including Nepal, pledging accelerated action and greater efforts at the sub-national and community levels.
  • Washington: US President Joe Biden on Thursday named Karine Jean-Pierre as the next White House press secretary, the first Black person to hold the high-profile post.
    • Jean-Pierre, who will also be the first openly LGBTQ+ person in the role, will replace Jen Psaki, under whom she served as deputy, from May 13.
    • Biden in a statement praised Jean-Pierre’s “experience, talent, and integrity,” saying he was “proud” to announce her appointment.
  • UK: The United Kingdom is on track to introducing yet another visa to attract high potential individuals to the country.
    • Expected to launch on May 30, the High Potential Individual (HPI) visa is aimed at attracting high-skilled foreign university graduates who will be allowed to work and stay in the U.K. for two or three years, depending on their degree level.
    • Applicants won’t need a job offer or sponsorship and holders of this visa will be free to come to the UK to work, set up as self-employed, and volunteer.
  • WHO: Showing concerns regarding heavily-mutated Omicron, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stressed even as BA.2 remains dominant in most parts of the world, sublineages BA.4 and BA.5 are driving a new surge in South Africa.
    • He further cautioned, “In many countries, we’re essentially blind to how the virus is mutating. We don’t know what’s coming next.”
    • The highly transmissible Omicron variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in southern Africa in November last year and rapidly spread globally, is now the dominant variant, accounting for almost all new cases.
    • WHO’s latest report showed that the sub-lineages “have acquired a few additional mutations that may impact their characteristics.”
  • Bank of England: The Bank of England raised interest rates to their highest level since the financial crisis and warned the economy is on course to shrink under pressure from double-digit inflation.
    • The increase to 1% from 0.75% was backed by six of the bank’s nine policymakers, with three voting for a 50-basis-point move.
    • Those members, Michael Saunders, Catherine Mann, and Jonathan Haskel, were particularly concerned about rising pay growth.
    • While the bank predicts the UK will avoid a technical recession, it said output will collapse by close to 1% in the final quarter of this year because of a squeeze on living standards.
    • In 2023, annual GDP is expected to shrink by 0.25%.
  • QUAD: Expectations have been raised over QUAD’s pushback to belligerence in the Indo-Pacific at the May 24 Tokyo summit meeting with the US affirming that Senkaku Islands, disputed by China, calls under the ambit of the Japan-US security treaty and signaling that America would come to Tokyo’s military aid in the event of an attack from Beijing.
    • In the meeting between US Defence Secretary of State Llyod Austin and Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi last Wednesday, the two countries have decided to align their security strategies and cement cooperation to deter any change of status quo in the Indo-Pacific by use of force.
    • The American affirmation over Senkaku Islands will bring relief to the Kishida administration as Washington since the time of Bill Clinton has been on and off over whether Senkaku Islands are covered under the Japan-US defense treaty.

5th May


India


  • Central Bank of India: Central Bank of India, a state-owned commercial bank, plans to shut down 13% of its branches to improve its financial health, which has been under pressure for several years.
    • The bank is looking to reduce the number of branches by 600 by either shutting down or merging loss-making branches by the end of March 2023.
    • It is the most drastic step the lender has taken to improve its finances and will be followed by the sale of non-core assets such as real estate.
  • ISRO: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is now readying a spacecraft to orbit Venus to study what lies below the surface of the hottest planet in the solar system and also unravel the mysteries under the sulfuric acid clouds enveloping it.
    • Addressing a day-long meeting on Venusian science, ISRO Chairman S Somnath said the Venus mission has been conceived, a project report has been made and money has been identified and urged scientists to focus on high impact outcomes.
    • “Building and putting a mission on Venus is possible for India in a very short space of time, as the capability today exists with India,” Somnath said in his inaugural address.
  • Odisha: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a yellow warning for thunderstorms, lightning, and squally-surfaced winds in Odisha on Wednesday.
    • On Wednesday, the IMD said that a cyclonic circulation is forming again over the Andaman Sea.
    • The current cyclonic circulation over the South Andaman Sea and neighborhood is likely to become a low-pressure area over the same region around May 6.
    • It is very likely to move northwestwards and intensify gradually into a depression during the subsequent 48 hours.
  • Supreme Court: The Supreme Court today granted the Centre more time to file its response in the challenge to the colonial-era sedition law.
    • The top court said it will examine whether the pleas challenging its constitutional validity should be sent to a constitutional bench of seven judges.
    • While hearing the matter today, a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana directed the petitioners to file responses by Saturday morning and ordered the Centre to file counter-affidavits by Monday morning.
    • The matter will next be heard on Tuesday, May 10, at 2 pm.
  • Bharat Biotech: Bharat Biotech has sought permission from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to conduct a phase 2/3 trial of its Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin as a booster shot among those aged between 2 and 18.
    • The Hyderabad-based firm had on April 29 submitted an application to DCGI seeking permission to conduct a phase 2/3 trial to evaluate the safety, reactogenicity, and immunogenicity of Covaxin as a booster dose in healthy volunteers aged 2 to 18 years.
    • The study is likely to be conducted at six sites, including AIIMS Delhi and Patna.
    • Covaxin is currently being given to everybody aged 15+ although it has received a nod from DCGI for use in the age group of 6 to 18 years.
  • India-US: The United States government has decided to extend the tenure of work permits by an additional 18 months for certain categories of immigrants, including those seeking green cards and spouses of H-1B visa holders. 
    • According to the department of homeland security, the extension period of up to 180 days will automatically be extended to up to 540 days from the expiration date stated on the current Employment Authorisation Cards (EADs).
    • “As USCIS (US Citizenship and Immigration Services) works to address the pending EAD caseloads, the agency has determined that the current 180-day automatic extension for employment authorization is currently insufficient,” said USCIS director Ur M Jaddou.
  • Jammu & Kashmir: The delimitation commission to redraw the electoral map of Jammu and Kashmir today notified and submitted its much-awaited final report.
    • The completion of the controversial delimitation process will pave the wave for holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The former state is without an elected government since June 2018.
    • All five parliamentary constituencies will have an equal number of assembly constituencies for the first time.
    • 9 seats have been reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST), another first for the erstwhile state.
    • Of the 90 assembly constituencies, 43 will be part of the Jammu region and 47 for Kashmir.
    • The number of total assembly seats in Jammu has risen from 37 to 43 assembly seats.

World


  • Sri Lanka: Finance minister Ali Sabry on Wednesday waved a metaphorical red flag in parliament as the troubled nation’s usable foreign exchange reserves dropped below $50 million, increasing worry over its ability to provide food, fuel, and other essential goods for citizens, and repay massive foreign debts.
  • Kabul: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has stopped issuing driving licenses to women in Kabul and other provinces.
    • The ban comes at a time when the country suffers from a devastating humanitarian crisis, with an acute shortage of food and other essential supplies.
    • Before the Taliban takeover, women in Afghanistan could be seen driving in some of the major cities of the country including Kabul.
  • Federal Reserve: The Federal Reserve delivered the biggest interest-rate increase since 2000 and signaled it would keep hiking at that pace over the next couple of meetings, unleashing the most aggressive policy action in decades to combat soaring inflation.
    • The U.S. central bank’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday voted unanimously to increase the benchmark rate by a half percentage point.
    • It will begin allowing its holdings of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities to decline in June at an initial combined monthly pace of $47.5 billion, stepping up over three months to $95 billion.
  • SpaceX: A SpaceX Dragon capsule containing a team of four astronauts successfully departed the International Space Station and has started its descent back to earth.
    • The team which spent six months in space included NASA astronauts – Raja Chari, Tom Marshburn, and Kayla Barron along with European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer.
    • The mission, named ‘Crew-3’, was the third full-fledged long-duration group of astronauts sent to the space station by SpaceX and they will be carrying around 550 pounds of cargo back to the earth.
  • Russian Oil: The European Commission proposed a gradual ban on Russian oil imports Wednesday to punish Moscow for its invasion of Ukraine, as Russian forces pounded sites to the east of the country and hit targets in the far west near the EU border.
    • The EU also pledged to “significantly increase” its support for Moldova, Ukraine’s neighbor that has seen a series of attacks in a Moscow-backed separatist region, sparking fears it could be drawn into the conflict.
    • European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced the bloc would phase out the Russian supply of crude oil within six months, and refined products by the end of the year.

4th May


India


  • IMD Forecast: The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that the maximum temperature of the country has fallen to two- four degrees celsius as the heatwave disappears for now. As a result, states located in the north, northwest, and central India will get relief from intense heat over the next two-three days.
  • Russia: India is trying to get deeper discounts on Russian oil to compensate for the risk of dealing with the OPEC+ producer as other buyers turn away.
    • India is seeking Russian cargoes at less than $70 a barrel on a delivered basis to compensate for additional hurdles such as securing financing for purchases in high-level talks between the two countries.
    • Global benchmark Brent is currently trading near $105 a barrel.
  • Bank of India: Bank of India BOI has invited applications from eligible candidates for the recruitment of Specialist Officers (SO) such as Credit Officer, Economist, and other posts.
    • Interested and Eligible job aspirants can apply online from 26th April 2022 to 10th May 2022.
    • Interested candidates can apply for the vacancies through online mode as per the prescribed format at the official website www.bankofindia.co.in.
  • NEET PG 2022: Amid rising demand among students and medical aspirants to postpone the exam, sources in Health Ministry told us that the NEET PG 2022 will not be postponed and will be held as per the schedule on May 21.
    • As per the report, the decision was taken in a meeting that was held on Saturday in presence of Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.
    • The development comes at a time when the NEET PG aspirants and several other doctors’ associations have written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya to postpone the NEET PG exams 2022 citing delay in the counseling process.
  • World Press Freedom Index: India’s ranking in the World Press Freedom Index has fallen down to 150th position from last year’s 142nd rank out of 180 countries.
    • According to the RSF 2022 World Press Freedom Index, Nepal has climbed up by 30 points in the global ranking at 76th position.
    • Last year, the Himalayan nation had been placed at 106th position, Pakistan at 145th, Sri Lanka 127th, Bangladesh 152nd, and Myanmar at 140th position in the index.
    • This year, Norway (1st) Denmark (2nd), Sweden (3rd) Estonia (4th), and Finland (5th) grabbed the top positions, while North Korea remained at the bottom of the list of the 180 countries and territories ranked by the Reporters Without Borders.
  • Repo Rate: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das announced a 40-basis-point hike in the key lending rate and raised the cash reserve ratio (CRR) by 50 basis points in an unscheduled announcement on May 4.
    • The move surprised markets pushing Benchmark Sensex down by 1474 points in the intra-day trade and pushing the yield on India’s benchmark 10-year bond to 7.38 percent.
    • One basis point is one-hundredth of a percentage point. The revised repo rate now stands at 4.40 percent and the CRR at 4.5 percent.
    • This is the first such unscheduled statement from the RBI governor since the start of the pandemic in 2020.
  • Grocery Consumption: Unit consumption of daily groceries and essentials fell marginally during the quarter ended March, over the year-ago period, as consistent price hikes forced people to cut back on household spending, and the omicron wave impacted out of home consumption in January.
    • The number of goods bought, or volumes, fell 0.8% in the quarter, according to global consumer research firm Kantar Worldpanel (formerly IMRB).
    • A 1.7% expansion in rural areas was offset by a slump in the cities where demand fell by 3.4%. For most companies, urban areas account for nearly two-thirds of sales.
    • This is the third consecutive quarter of declining volumes in the overall market, which companies attributed to a reduction in pack sizes, as consumers opt for lower-priced products and tighten their spending amidst a squeezing of household budgets.

World


  • Japan: Eight Chinese naval vessels, including an aircraft carrier, passed between islands in Japan’s southern Okinawa chain on Monday, Japan’s defense ministry said in a news release.
    • The ships, which included several destroyers, sailed between the main Okinawa island and Miyakojima, according to the ministry.
    • Although there was no incursion into Japan’s territorial waters, helicopters on board the Liaoning carrier took off and landed, the ministry said.
  • Commodities: Oil prices fell by more than 2% on Tuesday as demand worries stemming from China’s prolonged COVID-19 lockdowns outweighed the prospect of a European embargo on Russian crude.
    • Beijing is mass-testing residents to avert a lockdown similar to Shanghai’s over the past month. The capital’s restaurants were closed for dining while some apartment blocks were sealed shut.
    • “There are real concerns about whether Chinese demand, which is a huge factor in global demand, will remain strong in 2022,” said Gary Cunningham, director at Tradition Energy.
  • Ukraine: Ukrainian officials and the United Nations held out hope for more evacuations from the bombed-out steel mill in Mariupol as scores of civilians reached relative safety after enduring weeks of shelling that targeted the city’s last pocket of resistance.
    • While the evacuees savored hot food, clean clothing, and other comforts that were denied to them while underground, Russian forces on Tuesday began storming the plant, where some Ukrainian fighters were still holed up.
    • Ukrainian commanders said Russian forces backed by tanks began storming the sprawling plant, which includes a maze of tunnels and bunkers spread out over 11 square kilometers.

3rd May


India


  • IMF: The wait for India to become a $5-trillion economic powerhouse by 2024-25 (FY25) is going to take longer than what the finance ministry had originally intended, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
    • The vision will instead be achieved in 2028-29 (FY29), revealing the IMF data, illustrating a four-year delay.
    • Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) V Anantha Nageswaran had in February said India would become a $5-trillion economy by 2025-26 or the following year, on the back of an 8-9 percent sustained growth rate in the real gross domestic product (GDP).
  • Wheat Procurement: The Centre’s wheat procurement declined by 44 percent to 162 lakh tonnes by May 1 of the current rabi marketing year on higher exports and low arrival in Punjab and Haryana mandis.
    • As per the latest official data, about 162 lakh tonnes of wheat have been purchased by the government agencies till May 1 of the ongoing 2022-23 rabi marketing season (RMS).
    • It was 288 lakh tonnes in the year-ago period.
    • Around 14.70 lakh farmers have benefitted from the procurement at the Minimum Support Price (MSP) value of Rs 32,633.71 crore.
  • Power Ministry: India has asked state and private sector utilities to ensure delivery of 19 million tonnes of coal from overseas by end-June, according to a power ministry letter, reflecting an urgency to secure supplies in a pricey market amid increasing blackouts.
    • The move, which marks the first time the world’s second-largest coal importer is issuing timelines for imports, can put pressure on the global prices of coal as the utilities rush to avoid a repeat of the electricity crisis in April.
    • If the timelines are adhered to, the imports by the states and private utilities over the next five months for blending with domestic coal will surpass annual imports by the entities in at least six years.
  • Delhi Airport: Delhi Airport was the world’s second busiest airport in March in terms of domestic and international flights handled, said Official Airline Guide (OAG), a global travel data provider, in its recent report.
    • “Whilst Atlanta retains its position as largest, Dubai is knocked out of second place this month (March) by Delhi which moves up from third place last month (February),” the OAG’s report mentioned.
    • The Delhi Airport was in 23rd place in March 2019 before the pandemic.
    • In March this year, airports in Atlanta in the US, Delhi in India, and Dubai in the UAE handled 4.42 million, 3.61 million, and 3.55 million seats.
  • India-Russia: India and Russia are engaged in talks over alternative payment mechanisms even as both sides are negotiating for about 20 million barrels of crude from Rosneft at heavily discounted prices.
    • Having rebuffed European preaching over Ukraine at the Raisina Dialogue and with new statistics showing that sales of Russian crude to the US and Europe were over $70 billion, India is confident of charting its own path.
    • The MEA has consistently stated that New Delhi’s objective is to stabilize its economic engagement with Russia even as there is a possibility that the Western sanctions against Russia might impact India.
    • “Our objective has been to see how (we) can stabilize the economic transactions or economic engagement that we are doing with Russia in the current context,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi has said.

World


  • NASA: The Instagram page of Nasa is a treasure trove for those who love space-related content.
    • The posts often leave people stunned and amazed. Their latest share about black holes is the same.
    • The space agency posted a visualization video which quickly went viral. Not just that, it also reminded many of the film Interstellar.
  • Meta: Meta is reportedly planning a new line of VR headsets for 2024.
    • According to the online publication the Information, Meta’s roadmap for the hardware, hints at four headsets that will be released through 2024, starting with the rumored Project Cambria VR Headset, due out later this year.
    • Meta will release the Project Cambria headset (codename Arcata) in September this year, followed by an updated version codenamed Funston, in 2024.
  • Shanghai: Most of Shanghai’s 25 million residents have been confined to their homes for weeks as the city battles a major Covid outbreak.
    • Hundreds of thousands of virus-positive people have been taken to makeshift facilities as China does not allow them to quarantine at home.
    • Some residents who tested negative told that they were also forced out of their homes and taken to camps outside the city, some hundreds of kilometers away.
  • Washington: The Supreme Court is poised to strike down the right to abortion in the United States, according to a bombshell leaked draft of a majority opinion that would shred nearly 50 years of constitutional protections.
    • The draft opinion was written by Justice Samuel Alito and has been circulating inside the conservative-dominated court since February, the news outlet Politico reported.
    • The leak of a draft opinion, while a case is still pending, is an extraordinary breach.
    • The 98-page draft majority opinion calls the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision enshrining the right to abortion “egregiously wrong from the start.
  • NASA: Scientists at NASA have developed a theory that explains how explosions occur on the Sun and help better predict geomagnetic storms and solar flares that can impact Earth.
    • An explosive process called magnetic reconnection triggers solar flares, which can, in just minutes, release enough energy to power the whole world for 20,000 years.
    • Scientists have spent the last half-century trying to understand how this process happens.
    • The team at NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) has a new theory that explains how the most explosive type of magnetic reconnection called fast reconnection occurs and why it happens at a consistent speed.
  • Microsoft: Just when we thought COVID was almost over and life could get back to normal after two years of the pandemic, Microsoft co-founder issued a new warning to the world.
    • Gates has warned that there could still be a variant “even more transmissive and even more fatal” than the Delta and Omicron variants.
    • “We haven’t even seen the worst of it,” Gates said in an interview with the Financial Times.
    • The Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist said that he doesn’t want to be a “voice of doom and gloom” but the risk of a more virulent variant emerging is “way above 5 percent”.
  • Ukraine: Amid the ongoing war, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky issued a plea for Australia to do more to help fight off the Russian invasion of his nation, declaring the support already offered will go down in history.
    • In an interview on CBS News’60 minutes, Mr. Zelensky spoke about the horrors he has seen, the threat to Europe of a nuclear attack, the war’s effect on his family, and what it feels like to have a target on his head.
    • He also spoke about the importance of the waves of support that have come from the international community, including Australia, to his country’s month-long fight to repel a much larger army some thought would triumph in weeks or days. 

2nd May


India


  • 100th Unicorn of India: Open, a neobanking platform for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME), has raised $50 million at a valuation of $1 billion.
    • This makes it the 100th unicorn to emerge from India, marking a seminal moment for the Indian startup ecosystem.
    • The Series D round was led by IIFL and also saw participation from existing investors Temasek, Tiger Global, and 3one4 Capital.
    • The round was majorly a primary raise, with a small secondary component. The company is also the 16th unicorn of 2022.
  • Germany: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz plans to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi as the special guest to a Group of Seven leaders’ summit next month as part of an effort to forge a broader international alliance against Russia.
    • Germany, which currently holds the rotating G-7 presidency, will also welcome the leaders of Indonesia, South Africa, and Senegal to the gathering in the Bavarian Alps from June 26 to June 28.
    • The decision could be announced as early as Monday when Mr. Scholz welcomes PM Modi for talks in Berlin and a joint German-Indian cabinet meeting.
  • New Delhi: Heatwave conditions are abating in most parts of the country, the weather office said on Monday, predicting light rain in Delhi over the next three days amid the hottest pre-summer months in decades.
    • Senior scientist at the India Meteorological Department, RK Jenamani, said that there are chances of the heatwave ending in most parts of India, including Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
    • With a “very active” Western Disturbance, Mr. Jenamani said for the next 6-7 days, east winds will also be very strong, and the temperature will not rise.
  • Noida: In view of the increasing COVID-19 infections, Section 144 CrPC has been imposed in Noida till 31 May.
    • No one should be allowed to conduct any protests or hunger strikes without the permission of the higher authorities.
    • Organizing puja and offering Namaz in public places will not be allowed, aid the Police Commissionerate of Gautam Budh Nagar in a statement.
    • After a rise in the number of Covid-19 cases in Gautam Buddh Nagar in April, the Uttar Pradesh government made the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places.
  • CIA: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has appointed Indian-origin Nand Mulchandani as their first-ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO).
    • “With more than 25 years of experience, Mr. Mulchandani will ensure the Agency is leveraging cutting-edge innovations to further CIA’s mission,” read the organization’s Twitter post, announcing the decision.
    • Mulchandani has over 25 years of experience working in Silicon Valley as well as in the Department of Defense (DoD). He also co-founded and was CEO of several successful startups such as Oblix, Determina, OpenDNS, and ScaleXtreme, the CIA said in a statement.
  • IIT Mandi: A research team at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi has discovered a drug molecule called “PK2” to treat diabetes by triggering insulin release by the pancreas.
    • The drug can be used as an orally administered medicine for diabetes, says a statement from IIT Mandi.
    • Insufficient insulin release by the pancreas can lead to diabetes issues. Drugs such as exenatide and liraglutide were used to trigger insulin release.
    • The researchers at IIT Mandi used methods such as computer simulation to screen small molecules that could help in insulin release to find alternatives to these drugs.
  • COVID: No one can be forced to take the vaccine, the Supreme Court said today in a landmark decision on India’s Covid vaccine policy, also directing the central government to publish reports on the adverse effects of vaccination.
    • “Bodily integrity is protected under the law and nobody can be forced to be vaccinated,” the Supreme Court said. The court asserted, however, that “certain limitations on individual rights” could be imposed in the interest of community health.
    • “Barring Covid-appropriate behavior, we suggest no curbs on unvaccinated individuals in access to public places, services, and resources if cases are low,” the Supreme Court said.

World


  • Twitter New CEO: Elon Musk has lined up a new Chief Executive for Twitter who will replace CEO Parag Agrawal once the $44 billion sale of the social network is complete.
    • Musk told Twitter’s chairman Bret Taylor last month that he does not have confidence in the San Francisco-based company’s management.
    • Parag Agrawal, who was named Twitter’s Chief Executive in November, is expected to remain in his role until the sale of the company to Mr. Musk is completed.
  • Kyiv: The EU will propose a phased-out ban on Russian oil imports as part of a fresh round of sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.
    • The European Commission, which draws up sanctions for the bloc, is currently preparing a text that could be put to the 27 member states as early as Wednesday, diplomats said.
    • Several diplomats said the ban on oil was made possible after a U-turn by Germany, which had said the measure would do too much harm to its economy.
  • Colombo: Addressing a May Day rally organized by his party in Polonnaruwa, former Sri Lanka President and the chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday called for fresh elections in the country.
    • Saying that politicians should take the side of the people at a time when the country is facing a great tragedy, Sirisena said that he took to the streets on International Labor Day for this purpose.
    • The former president added that he could not stay at home when the people were in a state of distress with thousands of problems in the country.
  • Life On Asteroids: The quest to find the origin of life has been one scientist and researchers have been progressing in for many years, and now a newly published study hopes to fill a gap in that research.
    • The new paper published in the peer-reviewed Nature Communications journal explains that all living things have DNA and RNA, and DNA and RNA are made up of five information components named nucleobases.
    • A team of researchers that consisted of scientists from Japan and the US studied three carbonaceous meteorites that fell to the surface of Earth in Australia, the US, and Canada.
    • The researchers were able to discover two new nucleobases in the meteorites, cytosine, and thymine. Previously researchers were only able to discover three out of the five components, meaning this research has put the last puzzle piece in place.

1st May


India


  • LPG Price Hike: The price of a 19-kg commercial LPG cylinder has been hiked by Rs 102.50 on Sunday, May 1.
    • The cylinder will now cost Rs 2355.50, which was earlier priced at Rs 2253.
    • Earlier on April 1, the price of the 19-kg commercial LPG was raised by Rs 250 per cylinder to Rs 2,253.
    • While on March 1, the commercial LPG was increased by Rs 105.
    • Also, the cost of a 5-kg LPG cylinder is now Rs 655.
  • Army Chief: General Manoj Pande took charge as the 29th Chief of the Army Staff today after incumbent General MM Naravane retired from service.
    • General Pande, who was serving as the Vice Chief, became the first officer from the Corps of Engineers to help the force.
    • Before taking charge as Vice Chief of the Army on February 1, Gen Pande was heading the Eastern Army Command, tasked with guarding the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh sectors.
  • Summer Temperature: Northwest and central India experienced their hottest April in 122 years, with average maximum temperatures reaching 35.9 and 37.78 degrees Celsius respectively, the weather office said on Saturday.
    • Addressing a press conference, India Meteorological Department Director-General Mrutyunjay Mohapatra said the northwest and west-central parts of the country Gujarat, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Haryana will continue to experience above-normal temperatures in May as well.
    • Nights will be warmer in May in most parts of the country, except in some regions of south peninsular India.
    • The average temperature observed pan-India for April was 35.05 degrees, which was the fourth-highest in 122 years.
  • GST Collection: Goods and services tax (GST) collections touched an all-time high of over ₹1.68 lakh crore in April on the back of improving economic activities
    • This comes after the second-highest collection of ₹1.42 lakh crore that was reported in the month of March 2022.
    • The April collection is ₹25,000 crores higher than that in March.
    • The gross GST collected in April is ₹ 1,67,540 crore out of which CGST is ₹ 33,159 crore, SGST is ₹ 41,793 crore, IGST is ₹ 81,939 crore and cess is ₹ 10,649 crore.
    • The revenues for the month of April 2022 are 20% higher than the GST revenues in the same month last year. In this month, revenue collected from import goods was 30% higher and that collected from domestic transactions increased by 17%.
  • Foreign Exchange: India’s foreign exchange (FX) reserves have fallen over $30 billion since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, and if the recent trend continues, then it will close out April below the $600 billion mark.
    • For seven consecutive weeks, India’s import cover has fallen.
    • According to the Reserve Bank of India’s weekly statistical supplement data, it is down nearly 5 percent, or $31.104 billion, since the February 25 week data.
    • During this period, India also witnessed its steepest weekly dip in FX reserves on record by nearly $12 billion in the week that ended on April 1.
    • For the latest reported week, April 22 – the country’s forex reserves fell by $3.271 billion to $600.423 billion in the week ended April 22, compared to $631.527 billion reported for the February 25 week.

World


  • Beijing: China’s capital Beijing tightened Covid restrictions on Sunday as it battled an outbreak, while Shanghai let some of its 25 million residents venture out for light and air after reporting a second day of zero infections outside of quarantine areas.
    • Shanghai’s outbreak, which began in March, has been China’s worst since the early months of the pandemic in 2020.
    • Hundreds of thousands have been infected and the city has forbidden residents from leaving their homes, to great public anger.
  • SpaceX: SpaceX just set a new record for its fastest Dragon astronaut trip yet.
    • Elon Musk’s spaceflight company launched four Crew-4 astronauts to the International Space Station for NASA in less than 16 hours on Wednesday (April 27), the shortest flight time since SpaceX began crewed flights in 2020.
    • “This is the fastest launch to dock that we’ve done,” Steve Stitch, NASA’s Commercial Crew Program manager, told reporters after the launch early Wednesday. “It’s about the same time it takes to go from New York to Singapore, so it’s kind of interesting.”
  • Islamabad: Pakistan, which is grappling with an economic slump, has secured a “sizeable package” of around $8 billion from Saudi Arabia during the visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, reported local media.
    • The $8 billion package includes a doubling of the oil financing facility, additional money either through deposits or Sukuks, and rolling over of the existing $4.2 billion facilities.
    • According to the official, Pakistan’s proposal of doubling the oil facility from $1.2 billion to $2.4 billion was accepted by Saudi Arabia, which also agreed that the existing deposits of $3 billion would be rolled over for an extended period up to June 2023.
  • Singapore: Singapore must prepare for more economic challenges as inflation will remain high and central banks are tightening policies, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said, warning that the world may face a recession within the next two years.
    • Russia’s war on Ukraine has clouded the outlook for Singapore’s post-COVID recovery on which the nation was “cautiously optimistic” at the start of this year, the premier said in a May Day address.
    • “Singaporeans are already feeling the impact of the war on the cost of living” with the island facing an S$8 billion ($5.8 billion) hit a year from higher energy prices, he said.
  • Berkshire Annual Meeting 2022: At the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting 2022, chairman and CEO Warren Buffett and vice-chairman Charlie Munger were back at their game.
    • They elaborated on their investment decisions, spoke about market trends and follies, and ribbed each other.
    • Buffett and Munger stressed the erratic behavior of the market off-late. “The market has been extraordinary,” Buffett said, adding, “Sometimes it is quite investment-oriented, and other times it is almost totally a casino, a gambling parlor, and that existed to an extraordinary degree in the last couple of years, encouraged by Wall Street.”
    • The point on the heightened speculation came up while Buffett was tossed a question on why Berkshire had made such huge purchases (nearly $40 billion) less than a month after writing to the shareholders that there weren’t any exciting opportunities. 
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