Govt. questions WhatsApp after spyware is used for snooping

  • The Centre has sought an ex- planation from messaging platform WhatsApp after the Facebook owned company confirmed that some Indian users of its app came under surveillance using an Israeli spyware.
  • WhatsApp filed a complaint in a U.S. court earlier this week attributing the intrusion to NSO Group, an Israeli technology firm, which claims on its website that its products are used “exclusively” by government intelligence and law enforcement agencies “to fight crime and terror”.

NSCN­IM back in talks on Naga peace deal, says Ravi

  • Naga interlocutor R.N. Ravi said on Thursday that discussions to finalise the Naga accord were continuing and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Isak-Muivah) [NSCN­IM] had come on board.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had been apprised of the latest developments and some kind of agreement with all groups, including the NSCN­IM, would be signed soon, a senior government official said. It is not clear if the accord would be signed before November 2 when Mr. Modi leaves for Thailand or upon his return.
  • On October 18, Mr. Ravi had said that the Naga peace process would conclude by October 31, adding that there would be no separate flag or constitution for the Nagas as being demanded by the NSCN­IM.

Core sector output falls 5.2% in Sept.

  • Output of eight core infrastructure industries contracted by 5.2% in September, indicating the severity of the economic slowdown.
  • As many as seven of eight core industries saw a contraction in output in September. Coal production fell steeply by 20.5%, crude oil by 5.4%, and natural gas by 4.9%. Output of refinery products (­6.7%), cement (­2.1%), steel (­0.3%), and electricity (­3.7%) too declined.

LGs take charge in J&K, Ladakh

  • Jammu & Kashmir became the first State of the Indian Union to be reduced to a Union Territory (UT), with former IAS officer Girish Murmu being sworn in as its first Lieutenant Governor (LG) on Thursday. Bifurcated from the former State, Ladakh also became a UT, with former civil servant R.K. Mathur taking over as its LG in Leh.
  • The Indian Union now has 28 States and nine UTs. Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti continue to be under detention from August 4, a day before the Rajya Sabha voted to end special status to J&K.

Nirbhaya case convicts told to file mercy plea

  • The Tihar jail administration has sent notices to the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang­rape case informing them that they have exhaust- ed all legal remedies and are only left with the provision of applying for mercy before the President within seven days.
  • “All the legal proceedings regarding the case against you [convicts] have been completed. However, the only option remaining in your defence is ‘mercy petition’. Hence, the jail administration seeks to inform you that if you have not fi led your ‘mercy petition’ before the President, you may do so within seven days of receiving this notice. If not, then it will be deemed that you do not wish to do so and the administration will begin further proceedings regarding your sentence,” the notice states.