Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 18 February 2021

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 18 February 2021

::NATIONAL::

Mallikarjun Kharge Is New Leader Of Opposition In Rajya Sabha

  • Senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has become the new leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha following the retirement of Ghulam Nabi Azad. Rajya Sabha Chairman Venkaiah Naidu accorded his approval to Congress president Sonia Gandhi's request for appointing Kharge in place of Azad, who retired from the Upper House on February 15 after being the leader of opposition for over six years. 
  • "The Chairman, Rajya Sabha, has accorded recognition to Shri Mallikarjun Kharge, leader of the Indian National Congress Party in the Rajya Sabha, as the leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha w.e.f February 16, 2021, in terms of Section 2 of the Salary and Allowances of Leaders of Opposition in Parliament Act, 1977 and rules made thereunder," a Parliament bulletin said. 
  • "Consequent upon the expiry of his term of office as a member of the Rajya Sabha on February 15, Shri Ghulam Nabi Azad has ceased to be the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha w.e.f the said date," it said. The Congress leadership chose Kharge to succeed Azad instead of Anand Sharma, who is the deputy leader of the party in the House. 

::INTERNATIONAL::

Iran and Russia reportedly begin joint naval drill

  • The Iranian and Russian militaries have kicked off a joint naval drill in the Indian Ocean aimed at boosting security of maritime trade in the region, Iran’s state TV reported.
  • The TV said units from Iran’s Navy and the powerful Revolutionary Guard’s naval forces will take part in the exercise dubbed “Iran-Russia Maritime Security Belt 2021” in the northern part of Indian Ocean, spanning a stretch of about 10,600 miles.
  • According to Iranian Adm. Gholamreza Tahani, the drill spokesman, a Russian destroyer, logistics ship and a helicopter were to participate in the drill. This is the second such joint Russia-Iran exercise since 2019, when the two nations plus China held a four-day exercise.
  • Tehran has been seeking to step up military cooperation with Beijing and Moscow amid regional tensions with the United States. Visits to Iran by Russian and Chinese naval representatives have also increased in recent years.

::ECONOMY::

Cabinet approves PLI scheme for telecom and networking products

  • Following the launch of a production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme for manufacturing, India on Wednesday launched the scheme for telecommunications (telecom) and networking products, with an outlay of Rs 12,195 crore over five years.
  • The Cabinet approved PLI for manufacturing telecom equipment, including core transmission equipment, 4G/5G next-generation radio access network and wireless equipment, access and customer premises equipment, Internet of Things-access devices, other wireless equipment, and enterprise equipment like switches, routers, etc.
  • The scheme will be operational from April 1 this year. The eligibility for the scheme will be subject to achieving a minimum threshold of cumulative investment and incremental sales of manufactured goods, said the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in a statement.
  • 2019-20 will be treated as the base year for computation of cumulative incremental sales of manufactured goods net of taxes, it added.
  • The scheme also has higher proposed incentives for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). For MSMEs, the government has proposed 1 per cent higher incentive in the first three years. The minimum investment threshold for MSMEs has been kept at Rs 10 crore; for others, at Rs 100 crore.

::SCIENCE AND TECH::

Nasa rover prepares for first flight on Red planet Mars

  • After a seven-month journey, Nasa’s Perseverance rover is preparing to touch down on Mars on Thursday after first negotiating a risky landing procedure that will mark the start of its multi-year search for signs of ancient microbial life.
  • The Mars 2020 mission, which set off from Florida in late July, includes the largest ever vehicle to be dispatched to the Red Planet.
  • “Perseverance is NASA’s most ambitious Mars rover mission yet, focused scientifically on finding out whether there was ever any life on Mars in the past,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “To answer this question, the landing team will have its hands full getting us to Jezero Crater – the most challenging Martian terrain ever targeted for a landing.”
  • Jezero is a basin where scientists believe an ancient river flowed into a lake and deposited sediments in a fan shape known as a delta. Scientists think the environment here was likely to have preserved signs of any life that gained a foothold billions of years ago – but Jezero also has steep cliffs, sand dunes, and boulder fields. 
  • Landing on Mars is difficult – only about 50% of all previous Mars landing attempts have succeeded – and these geological features make it even more so. 
  • The Perseverance team is building on lessons from previous touchdowns and employing new technologies that enable the spacecraft to target its landing site more accurately and avoid hazards autonomously.

::SPORTS::

Djokovic into Australian Open final for 9th time

  • The top-ranked Djokovic is 8-0 in his previous trips to the final at Melbourne Park. He is also unbeaten in all nine semifinals he has contested in Australia.
  • Novak Djokovic reached the Australian Open final for the ninth time by beating No. 114-ranked Aslan Karatsev 6-3, 6-4, 6-2.
  • The top-ranked Djokovic is 8-0 in his previous trips to the final at Melbourne Park. He is also unbeaten in all nine semifinals he has contested in Australia.

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