Tokyo Olympics to be held without spectators

• The upcoming Tokyo Olympics will be held without spectators, confirmed Olympic minister Tamayo Marukawa on July 8, 2021. The decision was taken in view of the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in Tokyo. 

• The International Olympic Committee chief Thomas Bach and representatives of the four bodies, the organizing committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the Japanese and Tokyo metropolitan governments had held a meeting, where it was decided to bar spectators. 

• Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga took the decision on July 8th to place Tokyo under the fourth state of emergency for the duration of the upcoming Olympics to curb the recent spike in COVID-19 cases.

• Earlier, the Tokyo Olympic organisers had decided to allow the venues’ capacity to be filled up to 50 percent, which meant a maximum of 10,000 people per venue would have been allowed. 

Glenmark to conduct phase III trials of nasal spray 

• Glenmark Pharmaceuticals will be conducting the Phase III trial of a nasal spray, which it claims to be effective in the treatment of COVID-19.

• The company had sought emergency approval for import and marketing of the nasal spray from the drug regulator last week. The subject expert committee (SEC) under the drug regulator recommended the drug’s manufacturer to conduct the Phase III trials of the nasal spray.

• The Glenmark company has joined hands with Canadian company Sanotize to work to protect the Indian population from the SARS-COV-2 virus and reducing the impact of this pandemic on our society.

• Sanotize has already launched the nasal spray in other countries and it works reportedly by killing the virus in largely upper airways and claims to be effective in the antiviral treatment of COVID-19 transmission. 

Sri Lankan batting coach Grant Flower tests COVID-19 positive, ahead of India vs SL series 

• Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) confirmed on July 8, 2021 that the team’s batting coach Grant Flower has tested positive for Covid-19. He was detected to be positive during a PCR test that was carried out after he showed mild symptoms of the virus. 

• Flower was immediately isolated from the rest of the team members including players and coaches, who are currently undergoing quarantine after their return from England. He is now under medical care. A new round of PCR Tests have been conducted among the remaining squad members. 

• Three England players had earlier tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the entire England squad to quarantine itself.

• This is concerning as India and Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three ODIs and three T20Is. The Indian ODI team led by Shikhar Dhawan is already in Sri Lanka.

Railway Minister’s office to work in 2 shifts

• The new Railways Minister of India, Ashwini Vaishnaw has directed all officials and staffers in his office to work in two shifts with immediate effect.

• The first shift will be from 7am to 4pm and the second will be from 3pm to 12am in midnight. 

• The new Minister had said after taking charge that Railways is a major part of PM Modi’s vision and he would work to make the vision a reality. Vaishnaw is a former IAS officer. 

• The Railway Ministry was earlier under Piyush Goyal who has now been given charge of the Ministries of Commerce and Industry; Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and 

US military drawdown from Afghanistan to conclude by Aug 31: President Joe Biden

• US President Joe Biden confirmed on July 8, 2021 that the withdrawal of the US military forces in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31.

• Biden said in a press briefing said that they are on track to meet with their deadline of getting out of Afghanistan. He said that their military mission in Afghanistan will conclude on August 31. 

• The drawdown is proceeding in a secure and orderly way, prioritizing the safety of the US troops till they depart.

• The US President said that their military commanders had advised that once the decision to end the war is made, they needed to move swiftly, to conduct the main elements of the drawdown. 

• Biden had earlier set September 11 as the deadline for the final pullout of the few remaining US troops from Afghanistan. 

Cabinet approves MoC between India, Japan

• The Union Cabinet on July 8, 2021 approved a Memorandum on Cooperation (MoC) signed between the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC).

• The agreement is aimed at promoting and strengthening cooperation in the matter of Competition Law and Policy. The MoC, through the exchange of information, will enable CCI to emulate and learn from the experiences of its Japanese counterpart, which would enhance efficiency.

• This will also help improve enforcement of the Competition Act, 2002 by CCI. The outcomes will benefit consumers at large and will promote equity and inclusiveness. 

• The MoC envisages the strengthening of cooperation in Competition Law and policy through the exchange of information as well as through various capacity-building initiatives in the areas of technical cooperation and experience sharing and enforcement cooperation.

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