Two Army personnel dead and one injured in encounter

In an encounter on Thursday morning, two army personnel lost their life. A major and a jawan were killed in the firing by the militants in the Shopian district of Jammu and Kashmir. 

According to a report by the Indian Express, another jawan who sustained injuries during the encounter was taken to Army’s 92 base hospital in a critical condition. 

The operation started after the Army got a tip off regarding the presence of militants in the village of south Kashmir. The cordon and search operation was started in the night. According to a statement issued in Srinagar, the militant outfit, Hizbul-Mujahideen has taken the responsibility of the firing in Shopian, reported The Hindu.

The two martyred and an injured Army personnel are identified as Major Kailash Pandey, Spoy Tanjin Chhutin and Sepoy Kripal Singh. 

Earlier this week, a top Lashkar-e-Taiba commander Abu Dujana (26), who was a Pakistani National and his local partner, Arif Ahmad Dar (17), were killed in an encounter in South Kashmir. They were believed to be behind different attacks in the valley. 

SOURCES: TOI, INDIAN EXPRESS

IMAGE SOURCE: PTI

Americans banned from travelling to North Korea

The U.S. State Department has imposed a ban on the United States’ passport holder to travel to North Korea. According to the statement issued on August 2, the ban will be in effect from September 1.

The officials have asked all the U.S. passport holders currently living in North Korea to return before the restriction begins. The ban will be in effect for next one year. According to a report by CBS, the Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, can further extend the ban or revoke it sooner.

According to the statement, “The Secretary has authorized the restriction due to the serious and mounting risk of arrest and long-term detention of U.S. citizens under North Korea’s system of law enforcement.”

According to a Reuters report, North Korea currently holds one Korean-American missionary and two academics, three South Korean nationals and a Canadian pastor. According to Japan, several dozens of their nationals are also detained by North Korea.

In a public notice, journalists and humanitarian workers are exempted from the ban. The ban has come in amid increasing tensions between the two nations. The upcoming ban will also make North Korea the only country Americans can not fly to.

Sources – Reuters, CBS News

Your next challenge is ‘Die’

How about a game where you get to do all these crazy challenges? Challenges you feel connected to? And there is no turning back? Sounds exciting? Want to know what will you win? Or will you win at all? What if there is no alternative end, either you die or you die. Scared already? Well, we all should because a game, The Blue Whale, is exactly this dangerous and has taken almost 200 lives globally.

After Russia, United Kingdom, United States and several parts of Europe, the disastrous game finally made its way to India when a 14-year-old boy jumped from his building’s terrace in Andheri (Mumbai) on July 29,2017. Although the police have not yet confirmed of the connection of his death with the Blue Whale Challenge, his neighbour saw him taking a selfie before jumping. He even expressed his desire to become a pilot and go to Russia a few days back.

Why is this important information you ask? According to a report in The Economic Times, a 22-year-old Russian, Philipp Budeikin, is believed to be behind these deadly challenges. A Siberian court has ordered three years of jail sentence to Philipp for encouraging young kids to take their own lives.

The game is administered through closed groups on social media and the challenges are given via personal messages. The master of the game or curator search for players through suicide groups on VKontakte or VK.com (a Russian social media website). They send around 50 tasks one after another and player is supposed to send a proof that the challenge is done to the curator. The initial tasks are as simple as listening to the music sent by the curator or going for a walk during odd hours. However, this is just the beginning. The social media is filled with pictures where the teens have made cut on their skin in the shape of a whale, etc. After they are done with 49 tasks, the last task is to take their life.

You might wonder why don’t they give up at the end. Sadly, the kids are threatened that if they back out then the curator will come behind them as all their information is with the master.

There is no trace of the game on Google as everything happens through closed groups and is underground. After the increasing number of such suicide cases, the Russian police have shut down many closed groups. But, the problem is that similar new groups start in no time which has made the process even more tedious. 

A journalist from Europe created an account on VK.com and pretended to be a player. The curator gave the first task which involved deliberate self-harm. The journalist faked the picture by using photoshop and to which there was no reply from the curator.

The increasing number of such cases around the world has left everyone worried about the future of the internet. In many countries, the authorities have asked the parents to keep a check on their child’s web search and teach their children about cyber security. 

According to a study done by Centres for Disease Control in the United States last year, published that suicide is contagious and the age group of 15 to 19 is most vulnerable towards it. Around the same time the children go through hormonal changes and therefore the effect is magnified. Bangalore based clinical psychologist, Dr Shubha Madhusudan, says, “Hormones take over their intelligence. Even if parents are loving and available for them, they will want to do something thrilling. Also, social media has gained so much popularity that children want to become famous through social popularity.”, reported the Mint.

News Source: Mint, Indian Express

Image Source:  Twitter

‘Not In My Name’: Armed Forces’ open letter to Modi

After the increased violence against Muslims and Dalits in different parts of the country, more than 100 armed forces veterans have written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The letter is in the support of the ‘Not In My Name’ protest.

The veterans from Indian Army, Navy and Air Force said that the current situation of the country and climate of fear is not only against the values of the country’s armed forces but also the constitution of the country, reported India Today. The letter is signed by 114 veterans.

According to a report by NDTV, they said, “We can no longer look away… Our diversity is our greatest strength. Dissent is not treason; in fact, it is the essence of democracy.”

The protest, ’Not In My Name’, was started around a month back after a 16-year-old Muslim boy, Junaid, was called a ‘beef-eater’ and then killed by the people in the train near Delhi. Earlier PM Modi has also condemned such killings in the name of Gau Raksha.

The veterans in the letter have written, “We urge the powers that be at the Centre and in the States to take note of our concerns and urgently act to uphold our Constitution, both in letter and in spirit.”

SOURCES: NDTV, INDIA TODAY

IMAGE SOURCE: PTI

Congress – RJD welcome Sharad Yadav against Nitish

The Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav’s invitation to Janta Dal (united) leader and co-founder Sharad Yadav in the fight against the Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar, was welcomed by the Congress Party on Monday.

Sharad Yadav, who is a colleague of the chief minister, Nitish Kumar, has expressed his disapproval towards his ties with the BJP. Yadav, who decided to remain silent for five days was invited by Lalu to fight against Nitish Kumar. On Monday, Yadav broke his silence and said he does not agree with the steps taken by his colleague. According to a report by NDTV, the veteran leader told the reporters at Parliament, “Whatever happened is very unfortunate, the mandate by the people was not for this.”

On July 26, 2016, Nitish Kumar took a political change as he broke his mahagahtbandhan with RJD and Congress and shakes hands with the BJP. According to Kumar, the refusal of resignation by the deputy chief minister, Tejashwi Yadav, made him take the step.

ANI reported that Naresh Agarwal, a leader of Samajwadi Party (SP), condemned the decision taken by Kumar and also pointed out that a senior leader like Sharad Yadav was left out from making this decision.

RJD is planning to launch “Desh bachao, BJP bhagao” movement soon.

 

Sources: ANI news, NDTV

 

Google fined $2.7 billion by EU

On Tuesday, June 27, Google was slapped with a fine of $2.7 Billion by the European Union’s antitrust regulator. The internet search engine giant was fined for favouring its online services over the others. This is the largest penalty against market distortion by the regulatory authority.

The company has been given a window of 90-days by the European Commission to stop its illegal activities. The Guardian reported that if Google fails to do so, the company may face a fine up to 5% of the daily average global turnover of the parent company, Alphabet.

The European Union’s antitrust officer, Margrethe Vestager, said, “What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”

Google, who has put forward earlier that Amazon and eBay have more influence over public opinion about shopping, has said in their defence that it disagrees with European Union’s decision and will appeal against the charges.

CNBC reported that after the announcement by EU’s antitrust regulator, the shares of Alphabet has dropped 1.4%.

Sources: CNBC, The Guardian

Premium processing of H-1B visas no more

The United States of America has suspended the fast processing of the H-1B visas temporarily. According to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the suspension might last up to six months after it will be under effect on April 3.

This decision has created uncertainty in the information technology (IT) sector of India. The US has cited a backlog of applications. This move will not affect Indian software exporters like Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) but also the multinational firms who send their engineers for different projects to the US.

Currently, a company can apply for H-1B visas for their potential employees by paying extra known as premium processing. This premium processing costs an additional $1,1225. In this case, the UNCIS revert in 15 days and if fails to do so the fee is refundable.

After April 3, the IT companies will not be able to send the employees on urgent basis for the projects in the US. From now on they have to plan their applications at least three months in advance.

The US president, Donald Trump, who recently banned the entry of people from seven Muslim countries, has planned to revamp the H-1B program in order to keep a check on the misuse of work visas.

SOURCES-

1. CNN- http://edition.cnn.com/2017/03/04/us/h1b-visa-premium-processing-suspended/

2. BUSINESS STANDARD- http://www.business-standard.com/article/international/it-firms-in-a-fix-as-us-halts-premium-h1b-visa-processing-117030400297_1.html

IMAGE SOURCE- Twiiter