31 October 2019

31 OCT. NEWS : WhatsApp confirms Israeli spyware used to snoop on Indian journalists, activists: Govt asks WhatsApp to explain breach; Congress accuses Modi govt of ‘snooping’, urges SC to hold Centre accountable/ China: Bifurcation of J&K into UTs ‘unlawful’ and ‘void’, includes Chinese territory; India slams Beijing

31 OCT. 2019: 02 Rabiul Awwal 1441: Vol: 12, No: 50
WhatsApp confirms Israeli spyware used to snoop on Indian journalists, activists: Govt asks WhatsApp to explain breach
As the revelation by Whatsapp that Indian scribes and human rights activists were among users targeted by an Israeli spyware created a storm, IT Ministry today asked Facebook-owned messaging platform to explain the breach. In a separate statement, the Home Ministry said attempts to malign the government for reported breach were completely misleading and “strict action” would be taken against those found guilty of violating the law. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said government is “concerned” at the breach of privacy of citizens of India on WhatsApp.“We have asked WhatsApp to explain the kind of breach and what it is doing to safeguard the privacy of millions of Indian citizens,” he said, assuring that government is committed to protecting the privacy of all Indian citizens. “Government agencies have a well-established protocol for an interception from highly ranked officials in central and state governments for clear stated reasons in the national interest,” he added.While WhatsApp has declined to reveal the identities and “exact number” of those targeted for surveillance in India, its spokesperson told Indian Express that WhatsApp was aware of those targeted and had contacted each one of them.“Indian journalists and human rights activists have been the target of surveillance and while I cannot reveal their identities and the exact number, I can say that it is not an insignificant number,”a WhatsApp spokesperson said. WhatsApp also said it was suing NSO Group, an Israeli surveillance firm, that is reportedly behind the technology that helped unnamed entities’ spies to hack into phones of roughly 1,400 users.It is learnt that at least two dozen academics, lawyers, Dalit activists and journalists in India were contacted and alerted by WhatsApp that their phones had been under state-of-the-art surveillance for a two-week period until May 2019.However, it did not say on whose behest the phones of journalists and activists across the world were targeted. indianexpress
Indian Intelligence used Israeli spyware to snoop on WhatsApp users

 WhatsApp spyware: 14 confirmed cases of activists, lawyers, scholars targeted in India
14 individuals – human rights activists, scholars and journalists – have so far confirmed to Scroll.in that they were targeted by a spyware on the messaging platform WhatsApp. Some of them suggested that Indian government agencies may have been involved in the surveillance, as they were told by a Canada-based cyber security group that is assisting WhatsApp in investigating the spyware attack. 3 lawyers who were targeted linked the security breach to the Bhima Koregaon case, in which 10 human rights activists were arrested last year on charges of links with a banned Maoist outfit. scroll
Congress accuses Modi govt of ‘snooping’, urges SC to hold Centre accountable
Congress today alleged that Modi government has been “caught snooping” after WhatsApp confirmed journalists and human rights activists in India have been targets of surveillance, as it urged the Supreme Court to hold the Centre accountable over the issue. “Modi govt. caught snooping! Appalling but not surprising! After all, BJP Govt- 1. Fought against our right to privacy. 2. Set up a multi-crore surveillance structure until stopped by SC. SC must take immediate cognisance and issue notice to BJP government,” Congress’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said in a tweet.“A government that spies on journalists/activists/Opposition leaders and treats its own citizens like criminals has lost the right to lead in our democracy. We urge the SC to take suo motu cognisance of these illegal activities and to hold this government to account,” he said in another tweet.PTI
China: Bifurcation of J&K into UTs ‘unlawful’ and ‘void’, includes Chinese territory; India slams Beijing
Beijing:On a day the official bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories came into effect, China termed the move “unlawful” and “void” and said it was “not effective in any way”. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said so-called UTs of J&K and Ladakh included some of China’s territory into its administrative jurisdiction.“Indian government officially announced establishment of so-called Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory and Ladakh Union Territory that included some of China’s territory into its administrative jurisdiction. China deplores and firmly opposes that. India unilaterally changes its domestic laws and administrative divisions challenging China’s sovereignty,” Geng Shuang said at a Foreign Ministry press briefing.“This is unlawful and void and this is not effective in any way and will not change that fact that the area is under Chinese actual control,” he said. Geng further urged India to “earnestly respect Chinese territorial sovereignty, abide by our treaties and uphold peace and tranquility in border areas and create favourable conditions for proper settlement of boundary question.” Reacting to China’s statement, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh were an integral part of India. “China is well aware of India’s consistent & clear position on this issue. The matter of reorganization of erstwhile state of J&K into UTs of J&K and Ladakh is entirely an internal affair of India,” Kumar said.“We do not expect other countries, including China, to comment on the matters which are internal to India, just as India refrains from commenting on internal issues of other countries,” MEA spokesperson said.China also reiterated its “consistent and clear” position on the Kashmir issue. “It is a dispute left from history and it should be properly and peacefully resolved based on UN charter, the relevant UNSC resolutions and other bilateral treaties and relevant side should resolve dispute through dialogue and consultations and uphold regional peace and stability,” Geng said. On Thursday, the functioning of 2 UTs at a bureaucratic level came into effect even as normal life remained affected across the Kashmir valley as a complete shutdown was observed. Girish Chandra Murmu was sworn in as first Lieutenant Governor of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.To a question on Pakistani media reports noting a trust deficit between China and India in light of President Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Chennai, Geng said, “Regarding President Xi and Prime Minister Modi’s meeting in Chennai, I believe both sides have released statements and press releases and both sides exchanged views on the global, regional, long term and strategy issues in a friendly atmosphere and agreed to develop closer partnerships.”Further, Geng said China and Pakistan were all weather strategic partners and their cooperation was very close. He also noted that India and China discussed cooperation in various areas, including people-to-people exchange mechanisms. indianexpress
Shutdown in Kashmir as two Union Territories come into existence
Srinagar:Kashmir observed a shutdown today as two Union territories carved out of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir came into existence, with some valley residents accusing the government of robbing them of their special status and identity.While National Conference termed the move as “unconstitutional”, the BJP welcomed the move, saying it will usher in peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Normal life remained affected across the Kashmir valley as a complete shutdown was observed, officials said.Shops remained shut and public transport was off the road. Only private cars and few auto-rickshaws, in some areas of the city here, were plying, they said.NC — Jammu and Kashmir’s grand-old party — termed the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and to bifurcate the state into two Union territories as unconstitutional and not in the interest of the people of the country.This entire exercise in unconstitutional. Parliament does not have power in terms of Article 3 as applicable to Jammu and Kashmir or otherwise also to fragment a state or divide it into pieces. The only power the Parliament has is to form a new state. Maybe Parliament can chip away a part of a state and create a new state. There is no power to make a state disappear, NC leader Justice (retd)Hasnain Masoodi told PTI.MP said the concurrence of an elected state government was necessary for abrogation of article 370 or the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.Some people in the valley said the Centre’s decision has robbed them of their identity and special status. PTI
How can labourers be killed under your watch in Valley? Mamata attacks Centre
Describing the killings of 5 labourers from West Bengal in a terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir as pre-planned murder, chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today questioned the security arrangements in place in the Valley after abrogation of Article 370. Chief minister said, the labourers were set to return to their homes soon.“But the manner they were murdered brutally after being abducted, I think it is a pre-planned murder,” Banerjee said. She also demanded a “strong investigation” into the incident to find out the truth.PTI
CPM: Killings fallout of govt’s Article 370 decision
Kolkata :Condemning the killing of 5 migrant labourers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kulgam, CPM politburo member Prakash Karat alleged that such terror activities are a fallout of the situation created by the Centre’s move to abrogate Article 370 that gave special status to the state.Karat was speaking to reporters after addressing a public meeting at JNU organised by students’ union against BJP government’s decision on J&K.“It shows that a very dangerous situation has developed since the Modi government has abolished the state of Jammu and Kashmir and suppressed all civil liberties and democracy,” he told reporters.CPM politburo member Mohammad Salim said in a tweet, “#ModiMadeDisaster in #Kashmir While security apparatus is busy in PR jobs under @AmitShah migrant workers from #Murshidabad are being killed. #PicnicForEuroFriends and #KillingsOfDeshiLabourers.”indianexpress
Only residents of J&K can be aggrieved by its bifurcation into union territories, says Madras HC
Chennai:If at all any person could be aggrieved over the withdrawal of special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the bifurcation of the State into 2 Union Territories (with effect from today) without the approval of its Legislative Assembly, it could only be a permanent resident of the then State of Jammu and Kashmir and not anyone else, Madras High Court ruled today.A Division Bench of Justices M. Sathyanarayanan and N. Seshasayee said so while holding as not maintainable a writ petition filed by Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi (DMSK) challenging the constitutional validity of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019 which bifurcated the State. Since the political party had been represented by its president M.L. Ravi of Chennai, the Bench said: “The petitioner, admittedly, is not a resident of Jammu and Kashmir and if at all any person is aggrieved by the abrogation (sic) of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution and the enactment, it could be the person who is a permanent resident of the then State of Jammu and Kashmir.”thehindu
Jammu and Kashmir: European Union urges India and Pakistan to restart dialogue
European Union has urged India and Pakistan to prevent the escalation of tension over Jammu and Kashmir, and resume bilateral dialogue, PTI reported.European Union official Marketa Homolkova, the first secretary of the delegation of the European Union in Geneva, told UN that two countries should ensure a peaceful resolution to the Kashmir dispute that worsened after India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status.Homolkova made the remarks during the General Assembly First Committee’s deliberations on regional disarmament and security. They came amid an unofficial visit of 23 Members of European Parliament to Jammu and Kashmir. At the end of the trip on Wednesday, the politicians said India’s moves in the region were its internal matter. They also voiced their support for India’s fight against terrorism.scroll.in
EU MPs’ visit to J&K not ‘internationalisation’ of Kashmir issue: MEA
Ministry of External Affairs today said the visit by European Union parliamentarians to Kashmir does not amount to “internationalisation” of the issue and such delegations do not necessarily have to come through official channels.In its first remark on the visit of the unofficial delegation of 23 European Parliament MPs to Kashmir, for which the government came under severe criticism from the Opposition, who called it third party intervention, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said the important point was whether such an engagement served larger national interest.indianexpress
‘Inspired by Patel’: Modi dedicates decision on Article 370 to country’s first home minister
New Delhi :Dedicating the abrogation of special status of Jammu & Kashmir to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on National Unity Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the provision under Article 370 only promoted “terrorism and separatism” and was therefore, necessary to be done away with.“The new system in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh is not meant to draw a line on the land (to draw a boundary) but to build a strong link of trust,” the prime minister, who was attending a function at the Statue of Unity in Gujarat on the occasion of Patel’s 144th birth anniversary, said.indianexpress
Historian nails PM’s lies: Sardar Patel was the architect of Article 370
Historian, author and Senior Fellow at Centre For Policy Research, New Delhi, Srinath Raghavan, delivered an illuminating talk at Hyderabad earlier in October on the status of Kashmir. The 42-minute-long video clip has been already shared over 48,000 times and the talk has nailed several lies being spread by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his colleagues. Some of the historical facts, available in the public domain for people to check for themselves, that he dwells upon are as follows:"It was Sardar Patel who first asked Pakistan to take Kashmir for Hyderabad. Pakistan had claimed both Junagarh, which had a Muslim ruler but a majority of non-Muslim subjects, and Kashmir, which had a Hindu ruler but a majority of Muslim subjects. Sardar told Pakistani delegations and said in his public speeches that Pakistan should actually be laying claim to Hyderabad and Kashmir,not Junagarh."nationalheraldindia
CPI(M) Nails BJP’s Lies on Kashmir
Attacking the Modi government for making the formal declaration on separation of Ladakh from Jammu and Kashmir on the birth anniversary of Vallabhbhai Patel, the CPI(M) on Wednesday said this was home minister Amit Shah’s formula of “manufacturing history and subverting truth.” The party said this was a “shameful” day for Indian democracy, and reiterated its demand that the Centre restore Article 370 that had thus far given special status to Jammu and Kashmir province.In a statement, the CPI(M) said, “It is a matter of record, also referred to in the memoirs of Vallabhbhai Patel, that he was not only a party to, but also involved in the drafting of Section 370 of the Constitution. It was at his residence, on May 15 and 16, 1949, that the discussions on the special status for the state were held between him, Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah. Subsequently, it was Patel along with Gopalaswamy Iyer who formulated the draft which finally became Article 370. It was again Patel, in the absence of Nehru on a visit of the US, who piloted the bill on Article 370 in the Constituent Assembly.”CPIM termed October 31 this year as a shameful day for India’s democracy – that, on this day, a state should be divided and deprived of its status as a full-fledged state without the matter being first referred to the people of the state or its state assembly for their opinion.caravandaily
Kulbhushan case: Pakistan violated its obligations under Vienna Convention, ICJ chief tells UNGA
International Court of Justice (ICJ) President Judge Abduylqawi Yusuf told UN General Assembly that Pakistan has violated its obligations under the Vienna Convention in the Kulbhushan Jadhav case.Jadhav, a former Indian Navy officer, has been sentenced to death by a Pakistani military court on “charges of espionage and terrorism”. India, on the other hand, has maintained that he was running a business in Iran from where he was abducted and illegally taken to Pakistan. Tabling ICJ report before the 193-member General Assembly on Wednesday, Yusuf said in its July 17 verdict the principal judicial organ of the United Nations “found that Pakistan had violated its obligations under Article 36 of Vienna Convention and that appropriate remedies were due in this case.”In a major diplomatic victory for India, ICJ had ruled that Pakistan must review the death sentence awarded to Jadhav after a closed trial in April 2017.indianexpress
Amid tussle for CM seat, Aaditya Thackeray meets Maharashtra Governor with senior Shiv Sena leaders
Mumbai:A delegation of Shiv Sena leaders, including MLA Aditya Thackeray,today met Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan here.A Sena leader said the delegation sought prompt financial aid for farmers hit by untimely rains.Others in the delegation included Maharashtra minister Eknath Shinde, who was earlier in the day elected the party leader in the state legislature.At the party meeting, Shinde’s candidature was proposed by Aaditya Thackeray, whose name was also doing the rounds for the post.The election was announced at the meeting of the newly-elected Sena MLAs at party office Sena Bhawan in Dadar area.PTI
Shiva Sena elects Eknath Shinde as House leader, denies softening stand on power share
Newly-elected Shiv Sena MLAs today elected Eknath Shinde as leader of the party’s legislative wing. Party leaders said Sena youth wing chief and Thackeray family scion Aaditya proposed Shinde’s name, which was seconded by senior MLA Pratap Sarnaik and Rajan Salvi.According to sources, party chief Uddhav Thackeray was not keen to appoint his son Aaditya as the head of the Sena’s legislative unit. Uddhav was present in the meeting held at the Shiv Sena headquarters in Dadar.Sunil Prabhu, on the other hand, was elected as chief whip of the party in the Maharashtra legislature. Shinde, MLA from Thane, was the leader of house in the previous term as well, besides being a cabinet minister in the BJP-Sena government.A delegation of Shiv Sena leaders, including Aditya Thackeray, is expected to meet Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari at the Raj Bhavan in Mumbai. A Sena leader said that the meeting will be held at 3.30 pm in which the delegation will demand prompt financial aid for farmers hit by untimely rains. Meanwhile, Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut has brushed aside reports that his party has softened its stand on its demand for ’50-50′ power-sharing with its ally BJP ahead of government formation. On Wednesday, Raut had said it is important for his party to remain in BJP-led alliance in the larger interest of the state.Taking to Twitter today, the Shiv Sena MP said, “The (reports that) Sena has softened (its stand), has compromised and relinquished equitable distribution of posts, are all rumours.”indianexpress
AIMPLB urges Muslims to honour sc verdict in Ayodhya case
Lucknow;As the time to deliver the verdict in Babri Masjid title dispute case by Indian Supreme Court is nearing, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) has appealed to the people to calmly accept whatever decision is given by the apex court.The SC is expected to deliver its verdict before November 17, the day CJI Ranjan Gogoi retires.Maulana Khalid Rashid Firangi Mahali, AIMPLB member, has asked Muslims not to indulge in any protest or slogan shouting if the verdict does not meet their expectations. He said that the Supreme Court decision should be honoured and accepted by all, reports IANS.“There should be no attempt to vitiate the atmosphere in the country and caution must be exercised on the social media too. There is no need for any Muslims to be afraid or apprehensive of the consequences,” he said.Backing the same thought, Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad also said that the court decision would be acceptable to all and there should be no attempts by any party to disturb peace in the country.“We respect the Constitution and the law and will abide by the court verdict. Those who try to disturb peace cannot be termed as true followers of Islam,” Kalbe Jawwad added.caravandaily
Ex- RBI chief Rajan reminds Sitharaman: 2-third of tenure as RBI governor was under BJP
New Delhi :Weeks after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman hit out at Raghuram Rajan for presiding over the “worst phase” of the Indian banking sector, ex RBI Governor today reminded her that two-thirds of his tenure as the head of the central bank was under BJP government.“I had just over eight months in previous (Congress) government and I had 26 months under this (BJP) Government. So much of my term (as RBI Governor) was under this government,” Rajan told CNBC. Rajan was asked about Sitharaman’s comments in New York earlier this month where she said that Indian public sector banks had the “worst phase” under former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rajan. On economic growth, Rajan said the country was witnessing a substantial slowdown. “Peak in 2016 was 9 per cent growth in one of the quarters, in the first quarter, now it is down to 5 (per cent). There are people who have raised a concern about whether 5 is really 5. The reality is, there has been a substantial slowdown,” he said. “I think 5 is bad enough. So, you have to do something about it because 5 doesn’t get jobs given we are adding 1 million people to the workforce every month.”“India needs far stronger growth but it is not going to come from tinkering. It really needs another generation of reforms. Good news, the government has political strength and the power to undertake those reforms. Bad news, [it] hasn’t done so so far,” he said.indianexpress
Core sector output declines by 5.2% in Sept
8 core industries recorded 5.2 per cent decline in September year-on-year, mirroring further slowdown in economy, according to government data released today. Index was dragged down by coal mining which came in at minus 20.5 per cent. Figures for the same month last year stood at 4.3 per cent. The cumulative growth during the period of April to Sept 2019-20 was 1.3 per cent.ANI
Malegaon blast accused Kulkarni gets security
Pune:Sameer Kulkarni, an accused in 2008 Malegaon blast case, was on Wednesday provided an armed police guard for protection at his residence in Pune district. Kulkarni, currently out on bail, told PTI he wrote to state government in May this year seeking protection, but he might have been provided the security now in the wake of the killing of Kamlesh Tiwari in Lucknow.“Except a letter acknowledging that my application has been received, I did not receive any communication from the state government after I sought protection,” said Kulkarni, who resides in Pune’s Chinchwad area. However, on Tuesday he got a call from the Pimpri Chinchwad police, informing that an armed guard of constable rank was assigned to him, he said.“I did seek protection then (in May)... security might have provided now in the wake of Tiwari’s killing,”he said.freepressjournal
Breakthrough in Naga peace talks as NSCN(IM) and government reach a deal
The deadlock between the government and the National Socialist Council of Nagalim (Isak-Muivah) over a separate Naga flag and constitution has been broken, Scroll.in has learnt. NSCN (IM), the largest Naga armed group, has agreed to sign a peace accord without a separate Naga constitution and with a “conditional flag” that can only be allowed for non-governmental purposes.“We have agreed to finalise the agreement,” a member of NSCN (IM)’s negotiation team told Scroll.in. “The flag and the Constitution will be pursued later.”This development comes just as the October 31 deadline set by the Centre for a final settlement with Naga armed groups was about to lapse. However, it is not quite clear when the agreement will formally be signed. “There will be a proper signing ceremony soon,” said the leader. “We have to go over all the agreed competencies before signing. It may take some time.” For over six decades, Naga nationalists have fought the Indian state for a sovereign ethnic homeland that would include Nagaland as well as the Naga-inhabited areas of Manipur, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar across the border. Over the decades, the Naga armed movement split into several factions, often at war with each other.scroll
NIA searches houses of 5 men in Tamil Nadu
Coimbatire:NIA officials this morning conducted searches at the residences of five people in Coimbatore, Trichy, Nagapattinam and Tuticorin districts of Tamil Nadu.Sources said the raids were conducted based on a tip-off that the men had been in contact with people who were earlier arrested for suspected ISIS links and those who were arrested for planning to kill Hindu outfit leaders.On Thursday, NIA officials conducted raids at the residence of a 22-year-old engineer from GM Nagar who is working in a private firm and the residence of a 30-year-old man from Anna Nagar, who runs an eatery. Sources said that NIA officials seized two mobile phones and two laptops from both of them.NIA teams conducted searches at two residences in Trichy and in Nagapattinam in connection with some unlawful activities in Tamil Nadu and Kerala. An NIA team searched the house of Shahul at Inamkulathur in Trichy in the morning. Sources said the team had seized some documents from the house.A team also went to the residence of Mohammed Ajmal in Sanamagalam in Nagapattinam. Since he was unavailable, the team went to his relative's house in Nagore where the team found him. The team seized some documents from the house. Ajmal is expected to be taken to some other place for further inquiry.A three-member team conducted a search in the house of Abdullah Sahath Ali at KTM Street in Kayalpattinam, Tuticorin district.  Abdullah, a cab driver, was not present, and the team quizzed his family members. The team seized a mobile phone.TOI
"Final assault on RTI" says Sonia Gandhi as government brings new rules
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has accused the government of attempting to "erode or dilute" the landmark RTI law. Modi government, she said, saw the law as "an obstacle to enforcing their majoritarian agenda". The attack from the Congress chief came a week after the Centre curtailed the tenure of information commissioners from five to 3 years under the new RTI rules. Rights activists have called the move an assault on information commissioners and their independence and autonomy.The new rules, Mrs Gandhi said, "diminish the office of the Information Commissioner in a manner that it leaves them at the mercy of the very government it is required to hold accountable"."Any official who allows the release of information against the Government can now be swiftly removed or simply not continued in office. This will have a chilling effect on all Information Commissioners- Central and State," read her statement that was tweeted by Congress this morning. The government's controversial amendment to the Right To Information Act cleared both houses of parliament in July.ndtv
Mughal and British-era history should not be taught at primary and high school level: BJP MLA
Ballia (UP):BJP MLA Surendra Singh today said Mughal and British-era history should not be taught at the primary and high school level as it reminded one of the days of slavery.Instead, the history of Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Lord Rama and K.B. Hedgewar, founding Sarsanghachalak of RSS, should be taught, Singh said.“The Mughal and British-era history of foreign invaders being taught in schools reminds one of the days of slavery. It could be incorporated in the syllabus at the graduation or post graduation level but it is not good to teach it at the primary to high school level,” Singh told reporters here.“Instead, history of Shivaji, Rana Pratap, Lord Rama and Lord Krishna as also that of K.B. Hedgewar and M.S. Golwalkar should be taught so that children could get inspiration from their lives and learn dedication towards the nation.”PTI
'Consuming non-veg food may turn us into man-eaters': BJP leader Gopal Bhargava
BJP leader Gopal Bhargava put his foot in mouth on Wednesday as he claimed that consumption of non-vegetarian food from childhood might turn people into cannibals."Eating non-vegetarian food is prohibited in our sanatan sanskriti. If we have non-vegetarian food from childhood, we may grow up to become man-eaters," said Bhargava, Leader of Opposition in Madhya Pradesh Assembly, while criticising Congress government's recent move to serve eggs in mid-day meals."What else can be expected from a 'malnutritioned' government? They serve eggs even to those who do not want them. We cannot force the people to eat anything," Bhargava added.Madhya Pradesh Women and Child Development Minister, Imarti Devi on Wednesday told ANI that the Congress-led state government had decided to introduce eggs in mid-day meals offered to children in Anganwadis starting next month to tackle malnutrition. Responding to allegations of the opposition, the minister, on Thursday said that eggs are not non-vegetarian food."They (opposition) can say what they want. If doctors who treat malnourished children say that eggs are good for the health of children, then they are good. Also, eggs do not come in the category of non-vegetarian food, they come under vegetarian food," she told media persons. outlookindia
CPI stalwart Gurudas Dasgupta dies
Veteran CPI leader and former Lok Sabha MP Gurudas Dasgupta passed away on Thursday in Kolkata. He was 83.Dasgupta had been suffering from lung cancer for the last several months. Known for his oratory skills, Dasgupta was a veteran leader of All India Trade Union Congress. He was elected to the Rajya Sabha in 1985. He was also a member of the Lok Sabha from Panskura in 2004 and Ghatal in 2009.indianexpress
India’s life expectancy rises to 68.7 years: National Health Profile 2019
Life expectancy in India has increased from 49.7 years in 1970-75 to 68.7 years in 2012-16, as per National Health Profile 2019 released on Wednesday.For the same period, the life expectancy for females is 70.2 years and 67.4 years for males.IANS
Dalit women prevented from entering temple in UP
A case of Dalit women being denied entry into a temple in Bulandshahr district of Uttar Pradesh has come to light with a video of the incident going viral on social media. According to informed sources, the incident took place on Oct.25 but video went viral on Wednesday.In 6-minute long video, a man wearing a black shirt can be seen standing in front of the closed gates of a temple while voices of women can be heard demanding to know why they are not being allowed to worship at the temple.IANS
This Rajasthan cop built a school to educate 450 children who used to beg on streets
Jaipur: A policeman has become the hero of Rajasthan's Churu district with his 'Apni Pathshala' -  the school he runs for homeless children near the women's police station at the district headquarters. Dharamveer Jakhar started the school on 1 January  2016, with a mission to make children hold pencils instead of begging bowls. He wants these children to reach the mainstream and contribute to nation-building someday.Dharamvir first noticed the children during his duty hours when they begged near the station premises. "When I talked to these kids they told me they don't have parents or any other relatives. Initially, I thought they must be lying but I went to their slums and learnt that they were telling the truth. I felt if I don't help them they will waste their entire life begging and started teaching them for an hour every day", he said. Dharamveer is assisted by two women constables and some young volunteers who take lessons at the school. The school has about 450 children today."All of this was not an overnight achievement, it took us 4 years to reach so far and now we have had more than 450 children study at the school. We got 200 students admitted to government schools and around 90 are studying in classes VI-VIII. We maintain constant communication with them so that they can continue their studies uninterrupted", cop added.newindianexpress
Bangladesh SC upholds death sentence of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Azharul Islam
Bangladesh's highest court today upheld a death sentence against a top Islamist leader for war crimes in a move that lawyers said meant he would almost certainly be executed in the coming months.A T M Azharul Islam, a stalwart of opposition party Jamaat-e-Islami, was sentenced to death in 2014 for rape, murder and genocide during the country's 1971 independence war.He would become the sixth Islamist leader to be hanged for their role in the war, which saw Bangladesh break away from Pakistan after a nine-month conflict. The Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain rejected an appeal by the 67-year-old in a majority verdict, defence lawyer Khandker Mahbub Hossain told reporters."We will file a review petition against the verdict," he said, adding Islam was an 18-year-old student during the war and did not have a leading role helping the Pakistani military.But it is rare in Bangladeshi judicial history for a verdict to be overturned on review. All previous death sentences arising out of the 1971 war cases have been upheld.A prosecutor told AFP that Islam could be hanged within months if the review backs the verdict.  Islam was assistant secretary general of Jamaat. He is the last of its prominent leaders to face war crimes accusations.In recent years, the controversial International Crimes Tribunal, set up by the government in 2010, has sentenced dozens of people to death including 5 Jamaat leaders on war crimes charges. Defence lawyers said charges were fabricated. Jamaat, which is banned from contesting elections, said the war crime trials were only aimed at eliminating Bangladesh's top Islamist leaders.Rights groups have said the trials fell short of international standards.AFP
Fierce clashes erupt between Syrian army, Turkish-led forces
Heavy fighting between Syrian army troops and Turkish forces erupted near Ras al-Ain as Turkish-backed forces seized villages surrounding the border town.Turkish-backed rebels said there were intermittent clashes between the two militaries in recent days south of the town, which Turkey seized from Syrian Kurdish-led forces earlier this month.Al Jazeera's Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Sanliurfa, said thousands of people were fleeing the fighting near Ras al-Ain and Tal Tamr towns.Turkish-backed Syrian opposition fighters - known as Syrian National Army (SNA) - launched an offensive and took over areas previously under control of Kurdish fighters south of Ras al-Ain, he said.As fighting intensified, Syrian troops deployed reinforcements from Derbasiyah to Tal Tamr."SNA took over western parts of the town. People have had enough each time someone controls the area and ends up being worse than the previous armed group," Tal Tamr resident said.aljazeera
US military conducts Syria border patrol as troops, tanks arrive
US forces patrolled part of Syria's border with Turkey on Thursday in the first such move since Washington withdrew troops from the area earlier this month. American infantry troops and tanks also arrived in Syria's Deir Az Zor region and are expected to head to the northeast, where US President Donald Trump has vowed to secure oilfields under the control of its Kurdish ally, SDF.5 armoured vehicles bearing US flags patrolled a strip of the frontier north of the town of Qahtaniyah. The patrol was seen by an AFP correspondent and the SDF confirmed military activity to Reuters. American patrol was accompanied by Kurdish SDF forces, main US ally in the years-long battle against the ISIL.aljazeera
73 killed in gas canister blast and fire on Pak train
Islamabad:At least 73 people were killed and 48 others injured after a fire engulfed a train travelling through central Pakistan, completely destroying at least three coaches, officials said.The accident took place near the town of Liaquatpur, about 150 kilometres south of the city of Multan on Thursday morning, Railways Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told Al Jazeera by telephone.The train was carrying passengers from the southern city of Karachi to Rawalpindi.aljazeera
Anti-govt marchers poised to enter Pakistani capital
Thousands of anti-government protesters led by right-wing political leader Fazl-ur-Rehman are poised to enter the Pakistani capital Islamabad, after a five-day march through the country where they have demanded Prime Minister Imran Khan resign and fresh elections be held.Rehman, chief of the Jamiat Ulema Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) party, led the protesters through southern Sindh and central Punjab provinces and into the outskirts of Islamabad on Wednesday."The government will have to hand over power back to the people," he said on Wednesday night, addressing supporters in the central city of Gujranwala, about 200km south of Islamabad.The country's main opposition PML-N and PPP have supported JUI-F's protest.Since last week, government has moved to strip Hafiz Hamdullah, an outspoken JUI-F leader, of Pakistani citizenship and has also arrested another major leader.On Thursday, the government banned the youth volunteer wing of the JUI-F, called Ansar ul-Islam, as a "terrorist organisation".aljazeera
Afghan woman politician sees Taliban talks as only hope
Afghan women have no choice but to hope the Taliban respects their rights for the sake of peace, said Fawzia Koofi, the first woman to lead a political party in Afghanistan.During its rule from 1996 to 2001, the Taliban imposed a medieval interpretation of Islam on Afghanistan, the question now is how much has it changed.Banned from involvement in politics or speaking publicly, from working, school and leaving their homes without a male relative, women disappeared behind the all-enveloping burqa and the walls of their homes during those five years.But with momentum building behind talks to end decades of conflict, Koofi, whose mission is to ensure women take their rightful place in her country's democracy, is part of the healing process.This year, she took part in the first two rounds of so-called intra-Afghan talks - aimed at bringing together Taliban representatives and Afghans from the government and civil society - to find a way to end decades of war."There is no other option. Like many other women, I have my concerns, especially when it comes to the Taliban perception of women’s rights," Koofi told Reuters news agency in an interview."But given that my people have suffered more than four decades of war, I think the desire of all is a dignified peace, so I have no choice but to be cautiously optimistic." Kofi, 44, the first woman deputy of the lower house of parliament, is likely to attend the third round of intra-Afghan talks, expected in China soon. The earlier rounds were held in Russia and Qatar. REUTERS
CIA-backed Afghan forces possibly committing war crimes: HRW
CIA-backed Afghan strike forces are once again under fire in Afghanistan, this time for tactics - night-time raids into homes in remote villages, forced disappearances, attacks on healthcare facilities and summary executions - that Human Rights Watch says amount to "atrocities" and possible "war crimes".In a damning 50-page report released on Thursday, the New York-based rights group documents 14 cases across nine provinces over the last two years, that they say clearly illustrate that the Afghan forces trained and funded by the US intelligence agency have shown little concern for civilian life and or accountability to international law.aljazeera
Britain set for elections on December 12
In his fourth bid the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson managed to get the approval of the MPs to finally resolve the Brexit deadlock by calling a general election, on 12 December which would be the most unpredictable in a generation.The margin of 438 to 20 underlines the fact it was by no means a victory for Boris instead it was a unanimous decision of the members of the house. The Labour leader Jeremy Corby who had planned during earlier three votes to ensure the defeat of Johnson’s bill this time supported the bill. He had announced that Labour would support an election as a “once-in-a-generation chance to transform the country”. The pre-Christmas vote will be the first Dec.poll since 1923.nationalheraldindia
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J&K’s transition calls for a break from past political strategies, closer integration of people:J S Sandhu
Internationalising the Kashmir issue:Karan Thapar
 Compiled and edited by Anwarulhaq (Released at: 6:05 PM)


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