QBullet: WhatsApp Says it Alerted Govt on Breach; Merkel on J&K
Catch all the top headlines of the day here.
1. Govt Says Not Alerted on Breach, WhatsApp Says it Did – in May
A day after the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology sought an explanation from WhatsApp on the alleged surveillance of phones of more than two dozen people by operators using the messaging platform to install Israeli spyware Pegasus, government sources said they are “disturbed” that neither did WhatsApp nor its parent company Facebook bring the privacy breach of Indian citizens to their notice though they have had numerous meetings since summer.
Late Friday, WhatsApp, however, said it had “notified relevant Indian and international government authorities” in May about “a security issue” that it had “resolved” and had also tried to reach out to the targeted users.
2. India & Germany Slam Countries Backing Terror
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s meeting with PM Narendra Modi on Friday saw India and Germany coming down hard on terrorism, with the leaders calling for a halt to cross-border movement of terrorists and for countries not to allow their territory for launching terror attacks on other nations.
J&K wasn’t raised at the delegation-level talks, but the German media reported Merkel as telling them the plight of people in the Valley was not sustainable. It wasn’t clear if Merkel raised the issue with Modi. Chancellor Angela Merkel was quoted by the German media on Friday as saying she would raise the issue of the plight of the people of Kashmir with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
(Source: The Times of India)
3. Five-Phase Jharkhand Polls From 30 Nov, Results Out 23 Dec
Jharkhand, a state where no political party has ever won a simple majority, will vote in five phases between November 30 and December 20 to elect a new government, the Election Commission of India announced on Friday.
“The result will be declared on December 23,” chief election commissioner Sunil Arora said. Thirteen constituencies will go to the polls in the first phase; 20 in the second phase; 17 in the third; 15 in the fourth phase; and 16 constituencies will go to polls in the fifth phase. A new assembly has to be in place in Jharkhand before January 5 when the term of the current House expires.
Over 22.6 million voters are eligible to use their franchise in this election at 29,464 polling stations.
4. Curbs Reimposed as Violence Marks J&K’s First Day as UT
A group of unidentified men set ablaze the car of a state BharatiyaJanata Party leader in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district and clashes broke out in Srinagar’s old city area on Friday, a day after Jammu and Kashmir formally transitioned from a full state to a Union Territory.
The police said two vehicles, Maruti Omnis, were set on fire at around 1 am at Gonigam village in Kulgam district.
“The vehicles belonged to Abid Khan and Imtiaz Hussain Bhat. The police have launched an investigation to identify the people behind the incident,’’ said a senior police officer in Kulgam on condition of anonymity.
(Source: Hindustan Times)
5. Health Emergency in Delhi-NCR as Pollution Enters ‘Severe+’ Category
As pollution levels reached apocalyptic levels on Friday with nearly 44 percent of the capital’s PM 2.5 load coming from stubble burning emissions in the neigbouring states, the SC-appointed Environment Pollution Authority declared a public health emergency in Delhi-NCR and banned construction activities till 5 November.
The Delhi government announced shutting down of schools during the same period.
EPCA chairman Bhure Lal, who wrote to the four NCR states as the pollution levels in the region entered the season’s worst in ‘severe plus’ category, also banned bursting of crackers during the entire winter season.
6. In 10 Days, 4 SC Rulings May Change India as we Know It
In a span of 10 working days starting November 4, Supreme Court benches led by CJI Ranjan Gogoi will deliver four important judgments, including the verdict on the Ayodhya land dispute, which can have far-reaching impact in the social, religious and political sphere of the country.
Ayodhya case, which has been a pivotal point of India’s socio-religious cauldron since 1858 and litigation on which has been going on since 18-85, will ink a new chapter in the lengthy history of the dispute. Days ahead of what is going to be a landmark verdict, speculation is rife whether the five-judge bench will render a unanimous verdict. Unanimity over such a contentious issue, which has divided Hindus and Muslims vertically, would be welcome as it would remove any ambiguity that can arise in case of a 4-1 or 3-2 decision.
(Source: The Times of India)
7. Kulgam Killings: West Bengal to Bring Home 131 Workers from Kashmir
The West Bengal government is bringing back 131 workers from Kashmir following the killing of five labourers from Murshidabad district in south Kashmir’s Kulgam by suspected militants, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a programme at Eco park Friday.
“A total of 131 workers who had gone to Kashmir are being brought back to West Bengal with the help of the state government. They are from Murshidabad, Dinajpur and Malda,” Banerjee told reporters.
The government has initiated the process and two officials have already left for Kashmir to bring back the workers to the state via train. Sources said the government is planning to send police officers to Kashmir so that proper arrangement can be made for more workers willing to return to their homes in Bengal.
8. AIIMS Board Says No Need to Hospitalise Chidambaram
The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant interim bail to former finance minister P Chidambaram on health grounds after an AIIMS medical board concluded that he did not require hospitalisation.
Justice Suresh Kait, however, ordered the Tihar Jail administration to ensure that the area around the cell where Chidambaram is housed is clean, hygienic and he should be provided home-cooked food, mineral water, mosquito protection net and repellent.
The court said the area around his cell should be cleaned twice a day and he must be provided a face mask, adding that regular monitoring of his blood pressure and further tests should be carried out.
9. Imran Announces Concessions for Indian Sikh Pilgrims to Kartarpur
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced several concessions for Sikh pilgrims visiting Darbar Sahib Gurdwara at Kartarpur in Pakistan’s Punjab for the celebrations of the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism.
The Pakistan premier said that Sikhs from India visiting the gurdwara, which is the final resting place of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism, will not require a passport to cross over to Pakistan as long as they possessed a valid identity card and waived the $20 service fee on pilgrims for two days.
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