Current Affairs in Short: 8 May 2020

Bollywood actor Dia Mirza's term as the UNEP Goodwill Ambassador has been extended another two years till the end of 2022.

May 8, 2020 15:46 IST
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Dia Mirza's term as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador extended till 2022

•  Bollywood actor Dia Mirza's term as the National Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has been extended another two years till the end of 2022.
•  The environmentalist and actor-producer is also a United Nations Sustainability Development Goals Advocate. She viewed the extension as an opportunity to work towards championing nature.
•  She has been UNEP’s Goodwill Ambassador since 2017. She pioneered several campaigns including #BeatPlasticPollution and circular fashion. The #BeatPlasticPollution was one of her first big campaigns as UNEP ambassador and it led to the call by Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi to make India single-use plastic-free by 2022. 

SBI hikes home loan rates linked to repo rate by up to 30 basis points

•  The State Bank of India, which is the country's largest lender, has increased its home loan rates linked to repo rate up to 30 basis points amid market indications of rising credit risk amid coronavirus pandemic. 
•  The bank has reportedly also hiked interest rates on personal loans against property by 30 basis points. Other lenders are also likely to follow suit.
•  The SBI cut benchmark lending rate by 15 basis points on May 7, 2020. Following this, the rates on home loans linked to the Marginal Cost of Funds-based Lending Rate (MCLR) also came down. Generally, home loans are given on the basis of repo rate or MCLR.
•  Home loan rates are mostly increased by raising margins by up to 30 basis points across various home loan products. The new rates will come into effect from May 1. 

DRDO installs its UV disinfection chamber at Cochin International Airport

•  An Ultra Violet disinfection chamber has been installed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at the Cochin International Airport in Kerala. 
•  The DRDO had deployed a similar disinfectant chamber at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi on April 7 to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.
•  The disinfectant chamber uses a solution that is known to kill COVID-19. It is expected to help in containing the spread of coronavirus.
•  The DRDO has been lately working on providing a large number of medical and personal protection equipment for healthcare personnel in the country.

UK Universities urge distressed Indian students to get in tough with varsity support services

•  UK universities have urged all distressed Indian students including those who are still in the UK and those who have returned to India, to get in touch with their university’s support services for any help or support during the lockdown.
•  The Indian government had earlier announced its plans to begin phased repatriation of its citizens stranded abroad from May 7. Though the Indian government's first phase of repatriations from the UK has begun, many Indian students still face a long wait before they can fly home.
•  The UK universities aim to assure such students that their support continues to be available. The support includes delivering food to the students and providing hardship funds to students facing financial difficulty. 
•  It also includes waiving off accommodation fees or moving international students into accommodation where they can look after them by providing cleaning, security and catering and pastoral and mental health support.
•  Indians form one of the largest groups of international students from outside the European Union (EU) studying at UK universities, after Chinese students. Thousands of them have found themselves stranded after India imposed a ban on international flights in the middle of March.

JNCASR scientists fabricate energy-efficient photodetector for security application

•  The scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have developed an economical and energy-efficient wafer-scale photodetector.
•  The thin slice-based photodetector has been fabricated using gold – silicon interface for security applications. The technology could help detect weak scattered light as an indication of unwanted activity.
•  Photodetectors are one of the most significant part of any optoelectronic circuit. They can detect light and are used for a wide variety of applications, ranging from controlling automatic lighting in supermarkets to detecting radiation from the outer galaxy as well as security-related applications. 
•  However, the cost of the material and processes involved in making high-performance detectors make them unaffordable for day to day applications.

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