Current Affairs

Morning Brief: Aadhaar Data Safe, Assures UIDAI; Bhandari Elected To ICJ; North Korea Designated State Sponsor Of Terror

Aadhaar (Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Good morning, dear reader! Here’s your morning news and views brief for today.

Aadhaar Data Fully Safe And Secure, Assures UIDAI: Responding to a Right to Information (RTI) query and some media reports, which alleged that some government websites have made Aadhaar information public, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has said that the Aadhaar data is fully safe and secure, and there has never been a breach or data leak at the UIDAI. The UIDAI in a notification said that data on these mentioned websites was placed in a public domain as a measure of proactive disclosure under Right to Information (RTI) Act by government and institutional websites. It was this collected information that had been displayed in the public domain under the RTI Act. There was no breach or leakage of Aadhaar data from UIDAI database or server as has been aired by the said report, the authority clarified.

Dalveer Bhandari Elected To ICJ: India's Dalveer Bhandari, 70, has been elected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after Britain pulled its candidate Christopher Greenwood out of the race. The elections were held after United Kingdom, in a dramatic turn of events, withdrew out of the race for the Hague-based ICJ, thus paving the way for Bhandari's re-election to the prestigious world court. To win an ICJ election, a candidate needs to get a majority in both the General Assembly and the Security Council, which had not happened in this case in the first 11 rounds of voting necessitating a 12th round. Pulling out its candidate, the British Ambassador said, "It is wrong to continue to take up the valuable time of the Security Council and the UN General Assembly with further rounds of election."

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India Not Keen To Send Jadhav’s Wife Alone To Pakistan: India is not keen on sending Kulbhushan Jadhav’s wife and mother to Pakistan to meet the former naval officer sentenced to death on charges of spying, said sources. New Delhi is not inclined to send the wife alone to Pakistan and the government is still awaiting a formal response from Pakistan to its plea that Jadhav’s mother, too, be allowed to meet him. “It is not a fair proposition to send his wife alone to meet him. We are awaiting a response from the Pakistan government on the plea for letting his mother meet him, which anyway was our first request,” said the source. India believes that Pakistan’s suggestion, sidestepping the request of Jadhav’s mother, was unexpected. Currently, the Pakistan Army Chief is considering his clemency plea. The Pakistan government maintains Jadhav is a serving naval commander who was working for India’s external spy agency, a charge firmly rejected by New Delhi, which says Jadhav was kidnapped from the Iranian port of Chabahar last year.

SC Refuses Permission For Multi-Level Car Parking At Taj Mahal: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to grant permission to Uttar Pradesh government to go ahead with the construction of a multi-level car parking facility surrounding Taj Mahal. “You (Uttar Pradesh government) cannot get Taj Mahal again if it is destroyed. Let us look at the broader picture to protect it,” the court observed. The court also pulled up the state government for not conceiving a vision document for Taj Mahal’s conservation. “Police can stop people from parking around the monument. Stop the cars at a distance and let people walk. Ask them to park somewhere else. As it is Agra is such a polluted city. People must walk there more often. To protect the monument is not just our concern. It should be the state’s concern too,” a bench led by Justice M B Lokur told additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta who had urged the court to let the state cut 11 trees to complete construction of the parking lot.

Not Possible To Block Blue Whale Game, Centre Tells SC: The Union government has told the Supreme Court that it was technically not possible to block violent games such as blue whale. The court has instead directed parents and teachers to keep a sharp eye on children for signs of depression which makes them fall prey to such online games. The blue whale game has been recently blamed for a spate of deaths in India. Attorney General K K Venugopal said a high-level committee set up by the government could not establish the involvement of the blue whale game in the recent deaths. He said the government had issued guidelines through the Human Resources and Development Ministry to educational institutions to keep an eye out for children who show signs of depression. “Parents also have a responsibility to watch their kids and see what they access on the net,” he said.

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India And World Bank In $98 Million Clean Energy Loan Pact: India and the World Bank on Monday signed a $98 million loan pact, and a $2 million grant agreement to help the country increase power generation capacity through cleaner, renewable energy sources. The shared infrastructure for solar parks project will finance Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited, to provide sub-loans to states to invest in various solar parks, the World Bank said in a statement. The first two solar parks are in the Rewa and Mandsaur districts of Madhya Pradesh, with targeted installed capacities of 750 MW and 250 MW respectively, it said. Other states where potential solar parks could be supported under this project are in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Haryana. “This project will help establish large-scale solar parks and support the government’s plan to install 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power out of a total renewable-energy target of 175 GW by 2022,” said Sameer Kumar Khare, Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs.

New China Missile Can Strike Anywhere In The World: After undergoing eight tests since it was first announced in 2012, China’s next-generation multi-nuclear warhead intercontinental ballistic missile with a proclaimed ability to hit targets “anywhere in the world” may be inducted into the PLA early next year. The Dongfeng-41 is a three-stage solid-fuel missile with a range of at least 12,000 kilometre, meaning it could strike anywhere in the world from a mainland site, Xu Guangyu, a senior adviser to the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association told the Global Times, adding that, “it can carry up to 10 nuclear warheads, each of which can target separately.” Russian experts feel that the missile deployment aimed at the US as they could reach most of America and Europe. “Once the Dongfeng-41 goes into service, China’s ability to protect its own safety and to prevent wars would greatly increase,” Xu said.

US Designates North Korea As A State Sponsor Of Terrorism: The US has designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, allowing the Donald Trump administration to impose additional sanctions and penalties against Pyongyang as it continues to pursue nuclear weapons programmes. The designation came a week after Trump returned from a 12-day, five nation trip to Asia in which the US president made containing North Korea's nuclear ambitions a centerpiece of his discussions with world leaders. "Today, the United States is designating North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism," Trump said at the White House. "Should have happened a long time ago, should have happened years ago." The President, who has traded personal barbs and insults with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, said the Treasury Department will announce the additional sanctions against North Korea on Tuesday.

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With Modi In The Driver’s Seat, India’s Economy Is Set To Speed Ahead: The Moody’s upgrade of the Indian economy raises the confidence level of US business leaders who are looking to invest globally. Modi has proven that he can think big and act on it. The next step is to get the bureaucracy on board with Modi’s push for reforms

Dissenting Judgments Ensure That The Constitution Is A Living, Breathing Document: We must celebrate the tradition of dissent that continues to flourish at the Supreme Court. A dissent is not only an “appeal to a future intelligence”, but a sign of what is possible: if one judge can be convinced today, then tomorrow, perhaps two, or three, or even four might be.

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No Mr Abdullah, Returning To Pre-1953 Position Is Not Feasible For Jammu And Kashmir: The only way Jammu and Kashmir can progress is by not regressing to the pre-1953 political state. Farooq Abdullah’s demands would only accord a dangerous legitimacy to the politics of communalism and separatism.

We hope you enjoyed reading our morning brief. Have a great day ahead!

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