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News in Short

News in Short - 18-February-2021

South African strain of Covid-19 found in India

Date: 18 February 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • The South African and Brazilian mutant strains of coronavirus have entered the Indian territory, apart from the UK variant reported in 187 people so far.
  • All five have been quarantined. The South Africa strain has been detected in four returnees — one from Angola, one from Tanzania, and two from South Africa in January.
  • The Brazil variant has shown mutations in the receptor binding domain of the spike protein and increased transmissibility has caused it to spread to 15 countries so far.

Mallikarjun Kharge named leader of opposition in Rajya sabha

Date: 18 February 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge has been appointed Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha by M. Venkiah Naidu, chairman of the House, after the post fell vacant following the retirement of Ghulam Nabi Azad.
  • Kharge was leader of Congress party in previous Lok Sabha but was replaced after he lost 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
  • He was also appointed as the party general secretary in charge of Maharashtra. He served as minister in Karnataka government as well as Manmohan Singh’s cabinet.

Jhumpa Lahiri wins John Florio prize

Date: 18 February 2021 Tags: Honours & Awards
  • Author Jhumpa Lahiri has won the John Florio Prize for translating Domenico Starnone’s 2016 novel, Trick.
  • The John Florio Prize is a biennial award and constitutes award money of £2,000 for English translations of full-length Italian works.
  • Lahiri also will be coming up with her new novel this year, after nearly a decade. Titled Whereabouts, it is the English translation of her first Italian novel.

Fossils of Dickinsonia discovered in Bhimbetka caves

Date: 18 February 2021 Tags: Miscellaneous
  • Researchers have discovered three fossils of the earliest known living animal — the 550-million-year-old ‘Dickinsonia’ — on the roof of the Bhimbetka Rock Shelters.
  • One can identify the fossils from the white leaf-like patches with a central vertebra (central midrib) and connecting veins. While one fossil is 17 inches long, the other two are much smaller.
  • The new discoveries can be seen right at the beginning of the ‘Auditorium Cave’, the first of such caves at Bhimbetka, a UNESCO heritage site, located about 3.5 metres above the ground.
  • Researchers say that they were the only such fossils available in the country, and were similar to those seen in south Australia.

Faf Du Plessis retires from Test cricket

Date: 18 February 2021 Tags: Appointments & Resignations
  • Former South Africa captain Faf du Plessishas announced that he is retiring from Test cricket with immediate effect.
  • Du Plessis retires from the format having played 69 Tests for South Africa, scoring 4163 runs at 40.02, including 10 centuries.
  • Du Plessis made his Test debut in 2012 against Australia, andscored a match-saving century in the fourth innings in Adelaide.
  • He took over captaincy from AB de Villiers and led the team in 36 Tests, winning 18 and losing 15. After Graeme Smith and Hansie Cronje, du Plessis has led South Africa in most Test matches.