QBullet: India Rejects RCEP; Criminal Suit Against WhatsApp, Govt
India decided not to join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
India decided not to join Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/Raveesh Kumar)

QBullet: India Rejects RCEP; Criminal Suit Against WhatsApp, Govt

1. India Drops out of Regional Trade Pact, Says Not Balanced

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Thailand on a three-day visit from 2 November to 4 November to attend the ASEAN-India, the East Asia and the RCEP summits.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Thailand on a three-day visit from 2 November to 4 November to attend the ASEAN-India, the East Asia and the RCEP summits.
(Photo: Twitter/Raveesh Kumar)

Closing the door for now on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), India on Monday, 4 November, said it will not join the 16-nation trade agreement since it “does not reflect its original intent” and the outcome is “neither fair nor balanced”.

The other 15 nations in the regional grouping — 10 of ASEAN plus China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — decided to go ahead and sign the pact next year.

The joint statement issued by the 16 countries at the end of the RCEP summit stated: “We noted 15 RCEP Participating Countries have concluded text-based negotiations for all 20 chapters and essentially all their market access issues and tasked legal scrubbing by them to commence for signing in 2020.”

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read : ‘No Compromise’: India Won’t Join World’s Largest Trade Deal, RCEP

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2. Criminal Suit Filed in SC Against Whatsapp, Govt in Snooping Row

As the WhatsApp row over cyber snooping using Israeli spyware Pegasus continues, the matter has now reached the Supreme Court.

KN Govindacharya, former RSS ideologue and the founder of the Rashtriya Swabhimaan Aandolan, has filed a criminal petition in the SC against the popular messaging platform along with its parent firm Facebook, with the Indian government too being made a party to it.

While the petition seeks an NIA probe against WhatsApp and Facebook and has accused the messaging application of misleading the government on its encryption security standards, it has also sought that the SC “direct the government to stop any surveillance through Pegasus or other similar applications”.

(Source: The TImes of India)

Also Read : Not Just WhatsApp: Pegasus Threat Looms Across Many Platforms

3. Sensex Hits a New High as Earnings Bring Cheer

Bombay stock exchange.
Bombay stock exchange.
(Photo: Reuters)

India’s key benchmark index raced to a new closing high on Monday, 4 November, on investor hopes of another round of government stimulus measures and steady inflow from foreign institutional investors (FIIs). The Sensex closed at 40,301.96, up 136.93 points. The 30-share index had touched a closing high of 40,267.62 on 3 June. The Nifty closed at 11,941.30, up 0.43 percent on Monday.

Factors such as decent earnings season so far, better-than-expected festive sales, hopes of stimulus from the government and continued FII inflow helped improve sentiment, said Siddhartha Khemka of Motilal Oswal Financial Services Pvt Ltd.

FIIs have bought a combined more than USD 2.06 billion in the last three sessions in domestic and bond markets. In the year so far, foreign investors have bought nearly USD 10.22 billion in Indian equities and USD 4.69 billion in debt.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read : Sensex Closes at Record High, Nifty Ends Below 11,950

4. One Dead, Over 40 Injured as Terror Strikes Srinagar

One person was killed and over 40 others, including nine women, injured in a grenade attack in the Lalchowk area, in the heart of Srinagar city, Monday, 4 November, afternoon.

Police identified the man who was killed as Rinku Singh, a resident of Uttar Pradesh. “He was selling balloons and toys in the area,” J&K Police DIG (Central Kashmir Range) V K Birdi told The Indian Express.

Two of the injured are “critical”, according to officials at Srinagar’s Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital.

This is the second grenade attack in the Valley over the last eight days. On October 28, 19 persons were injured after suspected militants lobbed a grenade in North Kashmir’s Sopore.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read : 1 Civilian Killed, 35 Injured in Grenade Attack at Srinagar Market

5. NCP May Join a Sena-Led Govt With Cong’s Outside Support

From left to right: Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis. 
From left to right: Shiv Sena Chief Uddhav Thackeray, NCP Chief Sharad Pawar and Devendra Fadnavis. 
(Photo Courtesy: The Quint/Kamran Akhter)

As NCP chief Sharad Pawar discussed the deadlock over government formation in Maharashtra with Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday, 4 November, a leader of Pawar’s party told TOI on condition of anonymity that the NCP was willing to join a Shiv Sena-led government, with the Congress supporting from outside and its nominee getting the speaker’s post. All this would depend on the Sena terminating its alliance with the BJP, the leader added.

“We have proposed the kind of formula that the Sena-BJP combine had in 1995. The Sena nominee was then the CM, while the BJP nominee was deputy chief minister. We have said that the Sena nominee would be the CM, and the deputy CM would be from the NCP,” the leader said.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read : NCP Wants Sena Govt Minus BJP; Sena Insists on ‘Coalition Dharma’

6. Strong Breeze, Sunshine After 6 Days Come to Delhi’s Rescue

A jogger wears a pollution mask early morning amidst light smog in New Delhi. 
A jogger wears a pollution mask early morning amidst light smog in New Delhi. 
(Photo: AP)

Sunshine broke through thick smog on Monday, 4 November, as the toxic blanket that engulfed Delhi appeared to lift because of increased wind speeds, improving the air quality to “very poor” by evening, on a day emergency road rationing measures kicked in to combat the national capital’s public health crisis.

The drop in pollution again demonstrated how Delhi is largely defenceless against adverse meteorological conditions in the absence of an effective response from authorities. While the city wore a desolate look on Sunday, when low wind speed led to abysmal visibility caused by smog, an improvement in weather provided much-needed relief to residents complaining of itchy throats, burning eyes and shortness of breath.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read : Delhi Pollution: What Can We Do About the Gas Chamber We Live In?

7. Check If EC Ashok Lavasa Used Influence During Power Stint: Govt to PSUs

Ashok Lavasa.
Ashok Lavasa.
(Photo: IANS/PIB)

The government has written to 11 PSUs to verify their records for any exercise of “undue influence” by Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa during his tenure in the Power Ministry from 2009 to 2013.

The confidential communication dated 29 August was issued “with the approval” of the Power Secretary to the chief vigilance officers (CVOs) of the PSUs. It states, “it has been alleged that Shri Ashok Lavasa, IAS during his tenure in the Ministry of Power from September 2009 to December 2013 as JS/Additional Secretary/Special Secretary used his official position to exercise undue influence to benefit few companies/associate companies”.

With the letter, the Power Ministry has annexed a list of 14 companies, all engaged in power and renewable energy sectors, where the Election Commissioner’s wife Novel Lavasa served as Director.

(Source: The Indian Express)

Also Read : Not Just Wife, Lavasa’s Sister & Son Also Under I-T Dept Scanner

8. SC to 3 States: Stop Burning Stubble or Face Contempt

A farmer burns paddy stubble on the outskirts of Amritsar. 
A farmer burns paddy stubble on the outskirts of Amritsar. 
(File Photo: IANS)

With pollution in Delhi and NCR assuming the proportions of a health emergency, the Supreme Court on Monday, 4 November, passed a slew of orders and directed the UP, Haryana and Punjab governments to immediately stop stubble burning in their states or face contempt proceedings.

Terming the present situation as worse than an emergency, given reports of pollution shortening life span in NCR, the court banned all construction and demolition till further orders, prescribing a fine of Rs 1 lakh for violations. It also prohibited the use of diesel-run generators and directed the states to ensure round-the-clock electricity supply.

(Source: The Times of India)

Also Read : Is Stubble Burning Avoidable? Odisha Has the Answer

9. Lawyers Chase and Attack People, Cops Watch From a Safe Distance

File Image: Saket Court. This photo is used for representational purpose.  
File Image: Saket Court. This photo is used for representational purpose.  
(Photo: Reuters)

An auto-rickshaw driver was left with a fractured arm as lawyers allegedly chased and attacked policemen, journalists and civilians in and around Delhi’s district courts on Monday, 4 November, the first day of their strike organised to protest clashes with the police at Tis Hazari court on Saturday, the police said.

Despite videos showing lawyers purportedly slapping a policeman, thrashing passersby, and vandalising police property, the Delhi Police did not intervene in most of these attacks.

In Tis Hazari court, where a parking dispute on Saturday had triggered a violent clash between the police and lawyers, many police officers restricted themselves either outside the court gates and some stayed locked in the court’s lock-up.

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Also Read : Lawyers Slap Cop Outside Saket Court 2 Days After Tis Hazari Clash

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