North Korea- Pakistan linked on Nuclear proliferation, says India

 

India sought investigation into North Korea’s nuclear linkages and asked to hold accountable for it, in a veiled reference to Pakistan. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister’s remarks came days after North Korea fired another missile (mid ranged ballistic) over Japanon Friday. Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar informed reporters at a news conference in New York. 

Violating the international rules, it carried out its most powerful nuclear test with a hydrogen bomb on 3rd September, triggering an artificial earthquake with a 6.3 magnitude. 

Swaraj’s response comes in regard with her trilateral meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the United Nations General Assembly session. Kumar did not specifically mention Pakistan’s name, but surely suggested with hints. “I think I am giving you enough material to try to figure out what we are talking about,” he said. Reports indicate Pakistan had secretly supplied North Korea with nuclear enrichment technology when AQ Khan headed the former’s nuclear program. 

The three leaders discussed the issue of maritime security and connectivity. “We have spelled out what these heads mean on security the ministers emphasized the need to ensure freedom of navigation respect for international law and peaceful resolution of disputes,” said Kumar. 

Sources:

Indian Express, Hindustan Times

 

India wins the moral battle says Lt. General DS Hooda

The Indian Army was wary of Pakistan retaliating after the special forces conducted the surgical strikes last year in September.

The commander of the northern army, Lieutenant General DS Hooda led the surgical strike and spoke to Indian Express about the triumph.

He said, ‘ Broadly what happened was that we went across the Line of Control at multiple places under Pakistan’s Corps and caught them by total surprise. This was so embarrassing to the Pakistan Army, that their immediate response was denial.

The army denied any leaves to their soldiers, they began anticipating where India could strike next, and amateurish attempts were made to hide that, in fact, they were napping.’ 

 He also said that the Army in Kashmir is a realist. The goal of the strike was not to finish infiltration or terrorism in Kashmir, it was about our blatant response to Pakistan. Our soldiers were too impacted positively. The Uri garrison was a setback. They needed to know that the loss of lives will not go unpunished. 

On asking, if situations call for, can another strike happen? Lt. General said a resounding yes. He says that in some way the glass ceiling has been shattered. The men have gained a tremendous amount of confidence in their ability to play in a complex operation.  

Image source: HT File Photo

Police protection, a status symbol for VIPs

Despite promises by the peace bearers of our country, VIP culture thrives at the cost of civilians 

Latest data narrates that 20,000 VIPs have on average, three cops to protect each of them, while for the ordinary citizens the shortage prevails. Data compiled by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) under the home ministry shows that out of a total 19.26 lakh police officers in the country 56944 are deployed just for the safety of 20,828 VIPs across 29 states and six Union territories. Rather, Lakshadweep is the only state where no one has ever been given special police service. 

India floats among the least policed countries in the world. Only one cop is supposed to look after 663 people. More than a policeman being there as security, he/she has become a mere status symbol for few. They state reasons such as a threat to life to enjoy a supreme social life. 

This culture is flourishing well in North and East part of India. Bihar has 3,200 VIPs being given protection by 6,248 cops. West Bengal has 2.207 VIPs protected by 4,233 policemen, while 501 cops were originally sanctioned for such arrangements. Surprisingly, the capital, New Delhi has only 489 protected persons but has the maximum number of cops- 7,420 deputed. This is justified because important, high-profile meetings and visits happen with the President and Prime Minister who reside there. 

The southern states are far more ahead when it comes to saying no to VIP culture. Maharashtra only has 74 protected persons secured by 961 men from the police. While Kerala has only 57 VIPs and 214 deployed men for service. 

Somewhere between the hunger for power and fame, we are left unattended. Policemen are misused by the political administration as symbols of strength and control, rather than making them the symbols of security, safety and trust.  

Sources: Times Of India, India.com

Image source: Rediff.com 

Syria: U.S. backed Militias hit by Russian Strike

Syria is a battleground with corpses, blood and ruins for the eyes, as far as they can see.  For years we have seen horrifying images from the civil war, sprouted as an uprising and turned into a full-scale conflict. A Russian strike wounded members of the US backed militias in Syria on Saturday from Russian jets. Six of its fighters were wounded in the strike, The Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of Khurdish and Arab militia fighting with the U.S. led coalition said.

Russia bombed a position east of the Euphrates river where it knew SDF fighters and coalition advisers were stationed- said The Pentagon. However, the jets did not injure any coalition forces.

The SDF accused Damascus of trying to obstruct the fighters, and that “such attacks waste energies that should be used against terrorism… and open the door to side conflicts”, it said. The attacks by Russia backed Syrian army and U.S. supported SDF have at times raised fears of clashes, which may result into greater tension between the world powers. 

Russian military request to strike an area in the province of Deir Ezzor, as they were coalition advisers and US backed Syrian forces there. Bu the Russians decided to carry out the strike anyway.

Ahmed Abu Khawla, the commander of the SDF’s Deir al-Zor military council, said Russian or Syrian fighter jets flew in from government territory before dawn on Saturday. 

The warplanes struck as the SDF waged “heated and bloody battles” in the industrial zone on the eastern bank, seizing factories from Islamic State militants, he said. 

Both the U.S. led coalition and Russia are battling in ISIS in Syria, but they are on two very different sides of the civil war. The United States and its allies support some anti-government rebel groups in their fight to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. And Russia backs his regime.

Sources: Reuters, CNN

Apple steps up the Watch game   

Originally positioned as a luxury brand, Apple Inc. has recently focused more on fitness, and is planning to make its best seller a smarter watch. The company plans to release a version of its smartwatch towards the end of this year, which connects directly to cellular networks. This is to reduce the device’s reliability on its own products, untethering to new range of functionality.

Apple watches currently need wireless connectivity, but this will change. The latest watches come with LTE chips, which are planned for release by the end of this year. The technology jumbo is currently in talks with carriers in the U.S. and Europe to offer cellular networks. But in the wearables market, Apple stands third preceded by Xiaomi and Fitbit. Apple clearly has big plans for Watch both in the health segment and as a gateway to the connected home,” said Carolina Milanesi, consumer tech analyst at Creative Strategies.

According to Bloomberg‘s report, the new Watch gets its modem by Intel Corp. after legal troubles with Qualcomm Inc. This is a big win for Intel, which has been trying to get its components into more Apple gadgets for many years.

Apart from adding a cellular chip, Apple is also looking at software changes – more of Siri enabled features with payment options in iMessage and much more in WatchOS 4.

Sources: Bloomberg, BBC

Aadhar Data leaked, software engineer accused

Our Aadhar details are promised to be kept secured with the government of India. After numerous breeches and data leaks, yet again a software development engineer working in Ola’s head office at Koramangala was arrested on account of misusing Aadhar data obtained without authentication.

A complaint was filed by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) against Abhinav Srivastav (31), an IIT Kharagpur graduate who is accused of hacking into the data repository of UIDAI, gaining access through the e-hospital server, an initiative by the Government of India.

The complaint to the police was made on 26th July, which stated that Srivastav had accessed the data without authorization between January 1  and July 26 via an app called ‘eKYC Verification’.

The app is developed by an entity linked to a start-up Quarth Technologies, which is acquired by taxi service giant Ola. The app provided demographic details to users, it had 50,000 downloads. Srivastav had already earned Rs. 40,000 through advertisements.

After hacking into the server, he used it to send verification requests to the UIDAI database for his own app. The UIDAI system allowed access under the impression that the authentication requests were from the e-hospital system hence not unauthorized,’’ a police source said. Investigations proceed to confirm if the app he developed was used in any form by Ola.

The e-hospital app, hosted on the cloud services of NIC, facilitates online appointments at hospitals using eKYC data of Aadhaar number, if patient’s mobile number is registered with UIDAI, if not it uses the patient’s name. Srivastava’s eKYC Verification app mimicked the e-hospital app in accessing the identity authentication services of UIDAI.

SOURCES: TIMES OF INDIA, INDIAN EXPRESS

IMAGE SOURCE:

India starts paying for Apps

Indian consumers spent three times more on smartphone apps in the past year. This has led to India becoming the largest downloader at Google’s Play Store. According to Google this is an inflection point in the country’s digital ecosystem which will allow developers to monetize their creations.

“If there’s one thing that the Indian internet ecosystem has been challenged with, it is monetization. But we have monitored a change, I believe the time has come.” Said Rajan Anandan, managing director, Google India- at Bengaluru in the very first App Excellence Summit. In a country like India where monetization has been difficult, there is a need for experiments on ways to monetize the existing services available. Google plans on building robust payment gateways, involving popular digital wallets. Anandan added “The challenge is that when one would try, it’s going to take a lot of time to make consumers used-to the change. So, the sooner the experiments begin, the better.”

One of the biggest contributing factors is the enormous shift witnessed in the internet ecosystem over the past year. The data rates have fell to as low as Rs.15 a GB, because of Jio causing Airtel and others to provide free data- perfect market. This not only lured users online, but caused a spike in internet usage per person. “In a span of 10 months we have gone from having a large number of users spending hardly any time on the internet to having a large number of users and magnificent rise in time spent online.” Anandan said.

SOURCES: Times of India, Business Standard