Current Affairs in Short: 11 May 2020
Within the first 10 minutes of opening of IRCTC ticket bookings, all AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Howrah-New Delhi train were sold.
IRCTC opens booking for special trains; All AC-1, AC-3 tickets of Howrah-Delhi train sold within 10 minutes
• The IRCTC website re-opened ticket booking facility for special passenger travel after 6 pm on May 11, 2020, two hours behind the scheduled opening time of 4 pm due to a technical glitch.
• Within the first 10 minutes of opening the bookings, all AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Howrah-New Delhi train were sold. The special train is scheduled to begin its journey on May 12 from Howrah at 5:05 pm.
• All AC-1 and AC-3 tickets for the Bhubaneswar-New Delhi special trains were also sold by 6.30 pm, as per the ticket availability on the website,
• The Indian Railways has decided to restart select passenger train services from May 12 between Delhi and some major cities across the country.
Home Ministry issues SOP for movement of people by trains
• The Home Affairs Ministry issued a standard operating procedure (SOP) on May 11, 2020 for the movement of people by trains beginning from May 12, 2020. The Ministry made it clear that only asymptomatic and confirmed ticket holders will be allowed to travel.
• Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla stated in an order that all passengers will have to observe social distancing norms while entering a station as well as during travel.
• The Railways Ministry will ensure the compulsorily screening of passengers. The passengers will also have to strictly adhere to health and hygiene protocols. They will be given hand sanitizer at entry and exit points at the station and in coaches. Wearing of masks during the travel will also be mandatory.
• Upon arrival at their destination, the traveling passengers will have to adhere to such health protocols prescribed by the destination state or union territory.
Saudi Arabia triples taxes amid pandemic
• Saudi Arabia announced on May 11, 2020 that it was tripling the taxes levied on basic goods, raising them to 15 percent and cutting spending on major projects by around $26 billion in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.
• The Gulf Nation is reeling with the blow on its economy due to low oil prices as a result of the lockdowns imposed across the world to contain coronavirus outbreak.
• Saudi Arabia is one of the leading exporters of crude oil and its economy is heavily reliant on oil for revenue. Oil prices fell to a historic low in April 2020 due to the travel bans imposed by different countries.
• Besides this, the Saudi Kingdom has lost revenue from the suspension of Muslim pilgrimages to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which were closed to visitors due to the virus.
British PM Boris Johnson launches new Covid-19 alert system
• British Prime Minister Boris Johnson launched a new COVID-19 Alert System on May 11, 2020 as he "modified" the United Kingdom’s coronavirus lockdown as part of a "conditional plan".
• The modified lockdown plan will allow people to spend more time outdoors as long as social distancing measures are adhered to.
• The UK PM laid out the five-level alert system that the government will be constantly monitoring based on scientific data to track the rate at which the deadly virus is spreading, which is referred to as the “R” rate.
• Under the alert system, level one means the disease is no longer present in the UK and level five is the most critical. The UK PM said that over the period of the lockdown, the UK has been in Level Four but thanks to the NHS workers, the country is in the position to move towards level three.
Iranian hits own ship in test exercise, killing 19 people
• An Iranian missile hit its own support vessel during a training exercise on May 10, 2020 in the Gulf of Oman, killing 19 onboard sailors and wounding 15.
• The Konarak, a Hendijan-class support ship, which was taking part in the exercise, was too close to the target during an exercise when the incident happened.
• The vessel had been placing targets for other ships. The missile struck the vessel accidentally. The accident took place near the port of Jask, around 1,270 km southeast of Tehran, in the Gulf of Oman.
• The Konarak was overhauled in 2018 and was able to launch sea and anti-ship missiles. The Dutch-made vessel was in service since 1988.