Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 19 February 2021

SSC CGL Current Affairs

Current Affairs for SSC CGL Exams - 19 February 2021

::NATIONAL::

Bank unions plan to march towards Parliament against privatisation

  • Bank union’s stage protest against privatisation; plan to march towards Parliament in Mar.
  • Opposing government's privatisation plans, bank unions staged protest in all the state capitals and plan to march towards Parliament next month if their demands are not met, All India Bank Employees' Association (AIBEA) said.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her Budget speech earlier this month announced plans to privatise two public sector banks.
  • About 10 lakh bank employees and officers under the banner of United Forum of Unions consisting of nine unions AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW, NOBO are agitating against government's proposal, AIBEA said in a statement.
  • The bank unions, after Friday's dharna, will stage protests across the country in the next 15 days. "On 10th March, we will hold a protest demonstration before Parliament during the Budget session," AIBEA said.

::INTERNATIONAL::

US defence secretary calls Saudi Crown Prince, reaffirms strategic ties

  • Crown Prince Mohammed, who is also Saudi Defence Minister, reviewed bilateral relations with Lloyd Austin, especially in defence cooperation.
  • US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), state media said on Friday, days after the White House said it would deal with the king, not his heir, and US officials would engage their counterparties in the kingdom.
  • Crown Prince Mohammed, who is also Saudi Defence Minister, reviewed bilateral relations with Austin, especially in defence cooperation, state news agency SPA said.
  • Austin reaffirmed the importance of the strategic defence partnership between the two countries, and said the United States was committed to helping Riyadh defend itself, condemning attacks launched into the kingdom by the Houthi group in Yemen.
  • Austin said in a statement he had a productive call.
  • "We discussed the continued commitment to the 70 year US-Saudi security partnership, and I'm looking forward to working together to achieve regional security & stability," he said.
  • Austin thanked MBS for Saudi efforts towards a political solution in Yemen and said the two countries had a shared commitment to confronting the threat posed by the Iranian leadership in the region, the SPA report of the meeting said.
  • MBS is considered by many to be the kingdom's de facto leader and is next in line to the throne held by 85-year-old King Salman. MBS's prestige suffered a blow after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 at the hands of Saudi security personnel seen as close to the crown prince.

::ECONOMY::

Japan cuts economic outlook in February for first time in 10 months

  • Japanese stocks rose to a 30-year high this week as progress in the distribution of coronavirus vaccines boosted expectations for an economic recovery.
  • Japan's government cut its view on the overall economy in February for the first time since April last year as an extended state of emergency to curb coronavirus infections battered consumer spending.
  • Analysts expect the world's third-largest economy to shrink in the current quarter as renewed restrictions rolled out in Tokyo and some prefectures last month to contain the pandemic damage businesses and household spending.
  • "The economy shows some weakness though it continued picking up amid severe conditions due to the coronavirus," said the economic report for February.
  • The government slashed its assessment on consumer spending for a third straight month in February, saying it has shown weakness recently, as the emergency hurt the retail industry as people avoided eating out and travelling.
  • Japan's economy grew for a second straight quarter in October-December, extending the recovery from its worst postwar recession earlier last year.
  • But new state of emergency measures cloud the outlook, underscoring the challenge policymakers face in preventing the spread of Covid-19 without choking off the country's fragile recovery.

::SCIENCE AND TECH::

Nasa’s big plans for Perseverance rover on Mars

  • The successful landing is only the beginning of the first leg of a relay race as Nasa has big plans chalked out for Perseverance and future Mars mission.
  • Cheers erupted in mission control at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory after controllers confirmed that Perseverance rover safely touched down on Mars. The sophisticated vehicle covered almost 300 million miles over seven months before landing in the Jezero Crater, the most challenging terrain on Mars ever targeted. But the successful landing is only the beginning of the first leg of a relay race as the American space agency has big plans chalked out for Perseverance and future Mars mission.
  • The goal of the Mars 2020 mission is to learn whether life even existed on the Red Planet after the science team of Nasa identified Jezero Crater as an ancient lakebed, formed billions of years ago. The crater was filled with water forming a deep lake but it later dried up and surface water disappeared as the climate of Mars changed. The Perseverance rover will be used to collect the rocks from the Jezero crater and future mission will return samples from Mars.
  • The reason behind collecting rocks from Jezero crater is the common phenomenon observed on Earth where evidence of life is often preserved in the mud and sand deposited at the bottom of the lake. “The science team identified Jezero Crater as basically an ancient lakebed.

::SPORTS::

Medvedev beats Tsitsipas to set up Australian Open final with Djokovic

  • Medvedev will face eight-time champion Novak Djokovic at Melbourne Park for the title.
  • Daniil Medvedev simply does not lose right now. Not to Top 10 opponents. Not to anyone, really. Certainly not to a drained Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Australian Open semifinals.
  • Medvedev made it to his second Grand Slam final as he pursues his first major championship, overwhelming fifth-seeded Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-2, 7-5 on Friday at Melbourne Park to run his winning streak to 20 matches. That includes a dozen against members of the Top 10.

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