News18 Daybreak | Rights Lawyers, Activists, Journalists Among 17 Targeted by Whatsapp Spyware and Other Stories You Need to Watch Out For
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Today’s Big Stories
Rights lawyers, activists, journalists among 17 targeted by Whatsapp spyware, govt seeks explanation
Dalit rights activists, journalists, lawyers, and government officials are among more than a dozen people who were the alleged targets of surveillance by an Israeli Spyware via Whatsapp.
The revelations came after Whatsapp on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the Israeli cyber intelligence firm NSO Group whose spyware Pegasus was used to surveil the individuals. NSO Group, however, disputed the allegations saying that it has sold its spyware only to government agencies.
On snoop list: The growing list of individuals who were targetted includes lawyer Nihalsing Rathod, who is defending activists in the Bhima Koregaon case, journalist Shubhranshu Choudhary, who works in the tumultuous Bastar region, and Wion Channel ‘s diplomatic and defense correspondent Sidhant Sibal. According to a Reuters report, even high-profile government and military officials of US-allied countries were targetted.
Damage control?: Meanwhile, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has sought a detailed explanation from the Facebook-owned messaging platform on the issue. Ravi Shankar Prasad, who is in charge of the ministry, expressed his “concern” at the breach of privacy even as he sought to deflect questions on the government’s role in the matter.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives in New Delhi, to sign 20 agreements with PM Modi
German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived in Delhi with 3 cabinet ministers and 9 junior ministers for a 3-day visit, and is expected to deliberate on key regional and global issues and sign 20 agreements with PM Narendra Modi. Merkel was received at the airport by MoS Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh. She will meet with the Indian leadership, besides a business delegation, during her visit. She will be accorded a ceremonial reception at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on Friday morning and will pay tributes to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat later in the day.
In Other News
‘Courtesy visit': Senior Sena leader Sanjay Raut called on Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar at his residence in South Mumbai, triggering speculation about the possible formation of an alternative government in the state. Raut, however, called the meeting a “courtesy visit”.
Landmark vote: The US House of Representatives advanced President Donald Trump’s impeachment process as they voted by 232 to 196 to establish how to hold public hearings on the impeachment in Congress, which could be damaging for him ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Confirmation & a baptism: The Islamic State jihadist group confirmed the death of its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and named his replacement as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Quraishi. The spokesman issued a warning to the US, saying, "Do not rejoice America, the new chosen one will make you forget the horror you have beholden...”
Regressive call: The Army wants the acts of homosexuality and adultery to be kept punishable and has approached the Defence Ministry for it, a year after the Supreme Court decriminalised them, sources said, adding that the Army Act had provisions under which personnel were charged for the “offences”.
Verbal volley: China and India engaged in a war of words on Thursday after the former called the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir (which took after yesterday) “unlawful and void”. The Ministry of External Affairs, however, saying that China has no right to comment on the matter since it continues to illegally occupy large parts of J&K and Ladakh.
On Our Specials
Telecom battle: Top telecom companies are battling out the AGR dues payment issue in public. While Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are seeking the support of the government and lobbying with a prominent industry lobby, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), for a bailout, their main competitor, Reliance Jio, has taken on the COAI alleging bias in the matter. Dinesh Unnikrishnan writes that from a shareholder perspective, one critical question is this: Claims aside, why did telcos not make provisions on the growing dues over years? Why were shareholders kept in the dark about the potential impact on their books?
In remembrance: On the morning of October 31, 1984, Indira kissed her grandchildren goodbye before they left for school. She had asked young Rahul to "take charge" and not cry in the event of her death. Rasheed Kidwai writes this was not the first time Indira had spoken about death to Rahul. A few days earlier, she had spoken to him about funeral arrangements, telling him that she had lived her life.
At least 73 people were killed and dozens wounded after a passenger train erupted in flames in central Pakistan on Thursday. Reports say the fire was caused by the gas cylinder explosion that some of the passengers used for cooking breakfast. Watch to know more.
Curated and compiled by Chitwan Kaur and Angana Chakrabarti
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