Current Affairs in Short: 7 May 2020
The Iranian parliament recently approved a new bill that authorises changing of Iran’s national currency from ‘rial’ to ‘toman’.
Iran changes national currency from 'rial' to 'toman'
• Iranian lawmakers voted on May 4, 2020 to change Iran’s national currency from ‘rial’ to ‘toman’. The lawmakers approved an amendment to Iran’s Monetary and Banking Act of Iran to make the change.
• Under the amended law, the existing currency of Iran will continue to remain valid alongside "toman" for two years, during which the old coins and bills will be gradually collected to replace them with new ones.
• The new currency is equal to 10,000 rials, marking a reduction of four zeros. The new currency has been introduced amid the sharp fall in the value of Iranian currency as a result of crippling sanctions imposed by the United States.
• The new bill will need to be approved by the clerical body that approves legislation before it comes into effect.
Bangladesh re-opens mosques for public prayers
• Bangladesh has decided to re-open mosques for public prayers from May 7, 2020. The Ministry of Religious Affairs announced on May 6 that the mosques are being re-opened after considering the overall situation.
• The Cabinet Division of the Bangladesh government had made the recommendation. The mosques, have, however, been asked to observe precautions and follow the directives issued by the Health Ministry.
• The Ministry also issued 12-point guideline for strict compliance by the people coming to offer prayers at the mosques. The directives include compulsory wearing of masks and carrying of soap or hand sanitiser.
• The worshipers will also be required to maintain a minimum distance of 3 feet from each other. The mosques will not be allowed to hold Iftar or Sehri for more than 5 people.
• The mosque management committee has been made responsible for ensuring that people adhere to these instructions. The congregation in mosques was suspended on April 6 to control the spread of coronavirus in the nation.
Trump administration urged US court to not block work permits of spouses of H1B visa-holders
• The Trump administration, in a significant move, urged a US District court not to block work permits of certain categories of spouses of H-1B visa-holders.
• The Obama administration had earlier in 2015 allowed certain categories of spouses of H-1B visa-holders to work in the United States. This move was objected to by the American technology workers, who challenged the ruling.
• The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), however, argued that the American technology workers have not been irreparably harmed by the authorisation of work permits to H-4 visa-holders.
• The H-4 visa is issued to the immediate family members of the H-1B visa-holders. The move will bring a huge relief to a large number of Indian families living in the United States.
IMD's forecast includes PoK areas -Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad
• The IMD's Regional Meteorological Centre has begun including areas under Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir in its forecasts. The areas -Gilgit-Baltistan and Muzaffarabad- are covered under the Jammu and Kashmir meteorological sub-division since May 5, 2020.
• IMD Director General M Mohapatra said that they had been mentioning the areas under PoK under its daily weather bulletin ever since the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019.
• The areas are now being mentioned explicitly under the Jammu and Kashmir subdivision. The cities have also found a place in the overall forecast of the northwest division. India considers the area as a part of its territory.
China to give foreign firms equal access to government support policies
• The Chinese government has assured that the foreign firms will get equal access to government support policies, including those on land and tax cuts. The nation’s commerce ministry made the announcement on May 7, 2020.
• The Ministry’s comments came in response to concerns raised by the American Chamber of Commerce in China, which listed out hurdles to a truly level playing field for the US firms in China.
• The Ministry further stated that China's foreign trade still faces huge downward pressure with unprecedented risks and challenges posed by the coronavirus outbreak, despite signs of slight recovery in its April trade figures.