Current Affairs February 2021

World

  • Sir Brian Urquhart, the British diplomat who played a role in the establishment of the United Nations, has died aged 101.
  • Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announces a change, effective January 1, to the wording of the country’s national anthem, “Advance Australia Fair”. in which the word “young” in the second line “For we are young and free” is changed to “one”, in an effort to reflect the country’s long indigenous history.
  • Central African Republic President Faustin-Archange Touadera has won five more years in power by securing more than 53% of votes in an election that was marred by violence, according to provisional results announced.
  • Nana Akufo-Addo is sworn-in as President of Ghana for a second term.
  • Indonesian authorities on located the black boxes of the Sriwijaya Air jet that crashed into the sea soon after taking off from the capital Jakarta, as human body parts and pieces of the plane were retrieved.
  • Rioters supporting Donald Trump storm the United States Capitol, disrupting certification of the presidential election and forcing Congress to evacuate.
  • Outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with incoming Secretary of State Antony Blinken for the first time in an effort to ensure an orderly transition of power.
  • Nationalist politician Sadyr Japarov won a landslide victory on in Kyrgyzstan’s snap presidential election, which was triggered by the collapse of the previous government.
  • Former Algerian premier Ahmed Ouyahia, on trial for corruption, has admitted receiving gold bars from Gulf donors then selling them on the black market, the official APS news agency reported.
  • New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Donald Trump, citing the deadly mob attack by Trump supporters on the U.S. Capitol.
  • Lisa Montgomery – the only female inmate on federal death row in the US – has been executed for murder.She received a lethal injection at a prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, after a last-minute stay of execution was lifted by the US Supreme Court.
  • Uganda’s long-time President Yoweri Museveni has been re-elected, electoral officials say, amid accusations of vote fraud by his main rival Bobi Wine.
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation announces that far-right activist Tim Gionet, commonly known as Baked Alaska, has been arrested in Houston for participating in the storming of the United States Capitol.
  • Juri Ratas resigned as prime minister of Estonia and head of the Centre Party amid allegations of corruption against his party.
  • Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his entire Cabinet resigned to take political responsibility for a scandal involving investigations into child welfare payments that wrongly labeled thousands of parents as fraudsters.
  • The U.S. Senate votes 93–2 to confirm Lloyd Austin as Secretary of Defense, making him the first African-American to lead the The Pentagon.
  • Two Swedish filmmakers, who filmed the wreck of the MS Estonia that sank in 1994 for a documentary, face trial for violating a treaty that prohibits visiting the site.
  • Brandon Straka, the WalkAway movement founder and “Stop the Steal” activist who spoke at a rally held by pro-Trump supporters, is arrested on a felony charge of interfering with police during the storming of the United States Capitol.
  • A Thai woman, known only as Anchan  has been jailed for 43 years for criticising the royal family, the country’s harshest ever sentence for insulting the monarchy.
  • Dutch police have arrested the alleged leader of one of the world’s biggest drug gangs.Officers said they detained Tse Chi Lop, a Chinese-born Canadian accused of running The Company, an organisation believed to dominate the £50bn-a year Asia-Pacific drug trade,
  • Portugal’s centre-right president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, won a second term in an election marked by record abstention as the country battles a crippling third wave of coronavirus contagion.
  • Kaja Kallas of the centre-right Reform party became Estonia’s first female prime minister after parliament approved her nomination following predecessor Juri Ratas’ resignation over an inquiry into a property development.
  • Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has resigned – and it is not clear if he will be able to form and lead a new coalition government.

Sports

  • One of New Zealand’s finest Test batsmen – John Fulton Reid breathed his last as he lost a long-battle to cancer at the age of 64. 
  • Australian Claire Polosak became the first woman to officiate at a men’s test on Thursday when she took up her role as fourth umpire for the match between Australia and India.
  • Bob Brett, a tennis coach whose players included Grand Slam champions Boris Becker, Goran Ivanisevic and Marin Cilic, has died at the age of 67.
  • American Olympic 100 metres hurdles gold medallist Brianna McNeal has been charged and provisionally suspended for violating World Athletics’ Anti-Doping rules, the Athletics Integrity Unit.
  • Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, the quiet, unassuming slugger who broke Babe Ruth’s supposedly unbreakable record for most home runs in a career and battled racism in the process has passed away.
  • Barcelona say they will take “appropriate legal action” against Spanish newspaper El Mundo after it published details of forward Lionel Messi’s £492m contract.

Science & Business

  • Elon Musk overtakes Jeff Bezos by just over US$4 billion to become the richest person in the world.
  • Fiat Chrysler and PSA sealed their long-awaited merger on to create Stellantis, the world’s fourth-largest auto group with deep enough pockets to fund the shift to electric driving and take on bigger rivals Toyota and Volkswagen.
  • Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison by a high court in South Korea.
  • Alphabet Inc. announces that it will shut down its subsidiary Loon, which provides an aerial wireless network through high-altitude balloons, saying that it is not “commercially viable”
  • Janet Yellen has been confirmed as the first ever female US treasury secretary in a Senate vote.Ms Yellen, who headed the US central bank from 2014 to 2018, earlier won bipartisan support from members of the Senate Finance Committee.
  • British multinational retailer Debenhams announces that it will permanently close all of its brick and mortar stores in the United Kingdom, with the loss of 12,000 jobs, after being bought by online fashion retailer Boohoo.com.
  • Goldman Sachs’ chief executive David Solomon will get a $10m (£7.3m) pay cut for the bank’s involvement in the 1MDB corruption scandal.
  • A short squeeze causes GameStop stock to increase tremendously after Reddit users predicted a hedge fund closure over the last week.
  • A rocket from Elon Musk’s SpaceX has created a new record by launching 143 satellites into space on. The Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from the Space Launch Complex 40 at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Arts & Entertainment

  • Eighty-eight rarely seen drawings of Dante’s The Divine Comedy have been put on virtual display as Italy begins a year-long calendar of events to mark the 700th anniversary of the poet’s death.
  • British filmmaker Michael Apted, the man behind the “Up” documentaries that chronicled the lives of a group of British children for more than 50 years, has died at the age of 79.
  • Saudi Arabia’s crown prince unveiled plans on Sunday to build a zero-carbon city at NEOM, the first major construction project for the $500 billion flagship business zone aimed at diversifying the economy of the world’s largest oil exporter.
  • Archaeologists have discovered the world’s oldest known cave painting: a life-sized picture of a wild pig that was made at least 45,500 years ago in Indonesia.
  • US music producer Phil Spector has died at the age of 81, while serving a prison sentence for murder. He was convicted of the 2003 murder of Hollywood actress Lana Clarkson.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author & journalist Neil Sheehan passed away. He won a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award in 1989 for “A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann and America in Vietnam.”
  • Baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron, the quiet, unassuming slugger who broke Babe Ruth’s supposedly unbreakable record for most home runs in a career and battled racism in the process has passed away.
  • Barcelona say they will take “appropriate legal action” against Spanish newspaper El Mundo after it published details of forward Lionel Messi’s £492m contract.
  • Larry King, giant of US broadcasting who achieved worldwide fame for interviewing political leaders and celebrities, has died at the age of 87.
  • Sophie, the Grammy-nominated Scottish musician whose high-intensity electronic productions pushed the boundaries of 21st-century pop, has died aged 34.
  • The Animals guitarist Hilton Valentine, who created one of the most famous riffs in pop music in the 1960s, has died at the age of 77.
  • Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man Holding a Roundel is sold at auction for $92.2 million at Sotheby’s in New York City, making it the second most expensive painting by an old master ever sold at public auction.

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