Current Affairs

Morning Brief: Rains Wreak Havoc In Kerala, Idukki Dam Gates Opened After 26 Years; Hollywood Movie On India-US Operation In 1964 To Spy On China’s Nukes; And Other News

Trees uprooted by heavy winds during the Cyclone Ockhi. (Representative Image/Vivek Nair/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

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

Rains Wreak Havoc in Kerala, Idukki Dam Opened After 26 Years

In floods triggered by the latest bout of monsoon in central and northern districts of Kerala since Wednesday, over 20 people have died and several others are missing. Rivers in the state are flowing above the danger mark and the water in many dams has reached the critical level. Shutters of at least 22 reservoirs in the state have been opened to drain out excess water. The severity of the situation can be understood from the fact that the gates of the state’s Idukki dam were opened after 26 years. This is the third opening of the gates since the Idukki dams system in Kerala was commissioned in the year 1975.

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Over 8,000 people have been shifted to relief camps in the worst-affected districts of Ernakulam, Idukki, Palakkad, Kozhikode, Wayanad and Malappuram. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the media that the government has sought the help of Army, Navy and Air Force for rescue operations.

Hollywood Movie On India-US Operation In 1964 To Spy On China’s Nukes

As part of an operation proposed by the United States after China’s first nuclear test in 1964, the then Indian government along with the CIA had launched a mission to monitor the developments in the northern neighbor’s nukes program through a device powered by plutonium capsules planted on the 25,643ft Nanda Devi peak in Uttarakhand’s Garhwal. The device, however, could not be planted because of bad weather conditions when the team reached the selected spot. Unable to carry the equipment back, the team secured it near a camp. When it went back in 1966, all the equipment - including the capsules - was missing.

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Soon, a Hollywood movie will recreate the entire episode. Talking to the Times of India, Captain Manmohan Singh Kohli - who led the expedition - said that the script for the move is ready and it will be directed by Greg Mclean. He also revealed that the makers have picked Ranbir Kapoor to play his part. “They had told me that shooting will start sometime in March 2020,” Kohli told the daily.

Sensex Settles Above 38,000 For The First Time

Led by gains in banking stocks buoyed by RBI’s announcement to transfer Rs 50,000 crore of surplus to the Indian government, Indian equity indices reached record highs on Thursday with the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex crossing the 38,000 points mark. The Sensex closed at a new record high of 38,024.37 points, higher by 136.81 points or 0.36 per cent from its previous close.

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ICICI Bank, Axis Bank, SBI, NTPC and Vedanta were among the top gainers, whereas Bharti Airtel, ONGC, Titan, Kotak Bank and Cipla were among the major losers. Among the sectoral indices on BSE, realty, bankex, metal, power and finance led gains, healthcare and capital goods declined.

Intel Input Says JeM Chief Masood Azhar’s Nephew In India

Intelligence inputs received by Indian agencies have revealed that the nephew of Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar has infiltrated into India and is suspected to have set up terror modules in Delhi and Srinagar. According to this Indian Express report, he infiltrated into Jammu and Kashmir in the last week of May. Soon after infiltrating, he visited Delhi to set up a terror module.

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This comes ahead on the Independence day celebrations throughout the country on 15 August and is keeping security agencies on their toes. Now back in Srinagar, the terrorist could be somewhere “between Pulwama and Srinagar”, intelligence inputs have said, according to the report. He is learnt to be working on recruiting and training youths in the Kashmir Valley. According to the input, the terrorist has been “tasked to oversee preparation and training of newly recruited youth inside the Valley by staying for a period of six months”.

New Delhi, Washington In Touch On Trump’s India Visit

India and the US are in touch over New Delhi’s invite to President Donald Trump to visit the country. The date, time and occasion of the possible trip are being discussed, even as reports suggest that the Us has not taken a call on the invite. Earlier, it was reported that India had invited Trump to be the chief guest at the Republic Day parade and celebration in January 2019. However, reports say the invitation extended to Trump is “not specifically for 26th January”.

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According to PTI, India is not exclusively looking at his presence at the Republic Day and various other options are also being explored. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders had said last week that President Trump had received an invitation to visit India, but no decision has been taken yet. This year, leaders from 10 ASEAN countries had attended the Republic Day celebrations.

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