• The WHO has identified three new variants of the coronavirus originating from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa. Of these three viruses identified, the latest South African variant is called 20H/501Y.V2 or B.1.351, which is different from the British variant and seems to be more infectious than the original virus.
• The black stork was found on the Sigur Plateau in Nilgris. Researchers say that black storks are extremely rare in the area. They are found on many continents, but in winter in the northern hemisphere, they mainly migrate to India and South Africa. They settle in an ancient quiet forest, and the nest is placed on a large tree, usually close to open spaces (slope, clear forest), which makes them easy to enter.
• India hold a virtual health secretary-level meeting with the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The virtual conference held on February 18, 2021. During the meeting, members discussed the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. Pakistan was also invited to participate in the meeting. The virtual conference discusses challenges and developments related to COVID-19 management and pandemic response.
• Since 2000, an International Mother Tongue Day has been held on February 21 every year to promote the diversity of languages and cultures and the use of multiple languages. The idea of celebrating International Mother Tongue Day is an initiative of Bangladesh. It was approved at the UNESCO General Conference in 1999 and has been observed all over the world since 2000.
• February 20th is World Social Justice Day to promote gender equality, the rights of indigenous peoples and immigrants. Social Justice day also focuses on achieving the goal of full employment and social integration. Social Day’s purpose is to make people realize the importance of social justice, spread equality, and eliminate discrimination and injustice.
• In 2020, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced that despite the decline in greenhouse gas emissions due to the pandemic, the world will continue to warm up to more than 3°C in this century. The UNEP has long issued a warning: The per capita stock of natural capital (the resources and services that nature provides to humans) has fallen by 40% in just two decades.
• The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) and the Arbor Day Foundation have confirmed Hyderabad as the 2020 Tree City of the World.
Hyderabad is committed to the development and maintenance of urban forests, so it was awarded this honor. This recognition is a testament to New York City’s ongoing and institutional efforts to plant trees, cultivate and celebrate trees.
• Manika Batra won the 82nd National Senior Table Tennis Championship. She defeated Reeth Rishya 8-11, 10-12, 11-1, 11-9, 11-5, 11-6 at the Tau Devi Lal Stadium in Panchkula. Batra will now participate in two WTT (World Team Tennis) contender competitions starting on February 28th. Next are the World Olympic Qualifiers and the Asian Olympic Qualifiers scheduled to be held in Doha on March 14th and 18.