Infosys’ deadline to fix IT e-filing portal; Union cabinet meeting; Deadline for bidding for Air India; UEFA Champions League: Inter Milan vs Real Madrid, Liverpool vs AC Milan, Club Brugge vs PSG, Man City vs Leipzig; SpaceX‘s first all-civilian mission ‘Inspiration4’ to be launched
The norms of the reservation in promotion set by previous judgments of the court the Supreme Court said on Tuesday. The court made the remark while hearing a clutch of petitions challenging various state legislations that allegedly weaken the mandate of three constitutional bench judgments.
These judgments are: The 1992 Indira Sawhney judgment that stipulated exclusion of creamy layer to OBCs and capped quota at 50%, 2006 M. Nagaraj order that called for quantifiable data to justify the extent of reservation in promotion and underlined the need to not dilute administrative efficiency, and 2018 Jarnail Singh order that introduced creamy layer exclusion for SC/ST employees in promotion.
The court said: “We are making it very clear that we are not going to reopen Nagaraj, Jarnail Singh or any other judgment. Because the idea is to decide these petitions in accordance with the law already laid down by this court. We will proceed to hear the petitions on this basis.” Attorney general K.K. Venugopal said the government fully agreed with the court.
It was hearing petitions challenging 11 judgments of various High Courts either quashing or upholding state legislations on reservation that are thought to be in contravention of the SC judgments.
Apple released a critical software patch to fix a security flaw that researchers said allowed NSO Group’s Pegasus spyware to directly infect iPhones without any user action such as clicking a link.
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Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab said they found the so-called zero-day zero-click exploit against iMessage, Apple’s instant messaging service, while analysing the phone of a Saudi activist.
They concluded that the vulnerability was used to remotely exploit and infect the latest Apple devices with the Pegasus spyware since at least February 2021.
“Despotism-as-a-service”: The latest discovery “illustrates that companies like NSO Group are facilitating “despotism-as-a-service” for unaccountable government security agencies,” the Citizen Lab said.
In a blog post, Apple said it was issuing a security update for iPhones and iPads because a “maliciously crafted” PDF file could lead to them being hacked.
Apple security chief Ivan Krstić said such exploits “are not a threat to the overwhelming majority of our users.”
In 2019, Whatsapp filed a lawsuit against NSO Group after Citizen Lab alerted it to zero-day error in its service that Pegasus exploited to hack into phones, including of lawyers in India.
NSO Group has said it sells the technology only to select countries, and it helps fight crime and terrorism.
Recently Amnesty International and several publications revealed a database of 50,000 phone numbers possibly selected as targets by NSO Group’s clients. Analysis of 67 phones by Amnesty showed 23 were successfully attacked and 14 showed signs of an attempted hack. This includes the phone of journalist Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, who is one of the petitioners seeking a court-appointed probe into use of Pegasus in India.
Big picture: That spyware such as Pegasus is deeply intrusive and able to breach even relatively secure devices is now well established, adding weight to the calls for a global moratorium on their use.
U.S. President Joe Biden will host the first in-person summit of leaders of the “Quad” countries – Australia, India, Japan and the United States – at the White House next week on Sept. 24. The summit demonstrates “the Biden-Harris Administration’s priority of engaging in the Indo-Pacific,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi would be participating, India’s external affairs ministry confirmed. The leaders will review progress made on the Quad Vaccine initiative announced this March at a virtual summit, and exchange views on global issues such as emerging technologies, connectivity, cyber security, maritime security, humanitarian assistance, climate change and education, the ministry said. In March, a plan was announced to help Hyderabad-based Biological E Ltd to produce a billion doses of the Covid vaccine by the end of 2022,
This will be the first meeting of Modi and Biden since the latter became the US President. Modi’s last visit to the US was in 2019 and included a campaign-style “Howdy, Modi” event addressed by Modi and former President Donald Trump.
The Quad has taken greater significance in recent times amidst China’s growing territorial ambitions. Though the focus of the group is Indo-Pacific regions, next week’s meeting also follows the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban.
It will also coincide with the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, where the developments in Afghanistan will be at the top of the agenda. Biden is to address the assembly on Sep 21; Modi will make his address on Sept 25.
China’s response: “Any regional cooperation framework should go with the trend of the times and be conducive,” a foreign ministry spokesman said. “It should not target any third party.”
The states: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday said it had issued notices to the Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan governments over complaints of about 9,000 industrial units and transportation being affected by the ongoing farmers’ protest.
Just the states? The rights panel also issued notices to the chief secretaries and heads of police of the four States, calling for ‘action taken’ reports.
The NHRC has also sought reports from the National Disaster Management Authority, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union Ministry of Health on the adverse impact on Covid-19 protocols at the protest sites.
The panel called upon the Jhajjar District Magistrate to file a report by October 10 regarding the payment of compensation to the family of an activist who was allegedly sexually assaulted at the protest site.
More adverse effects: Allegedly, transportation is also adversely impacted, causing commuters, patients, physically challenged people and senior citizens to suffer due to the heavy congestion on roads. There are also reports that people have to travel long distances to reach their destinations and barricades have been put on the borders.
“There is further allegation that the inhabitants are not being allowed to move out of their houses due to the blockade of the passage. Since the agitation involves the issue of human rights, the right to agitate in a peaceful manner is also to be respected,” an NHRC statement read.
Meanwhile: “80% of farmers in India have a small piece of land, measuring two bigha or less. The Centre is making continuous efforts to empower them and stands with them as partners,” PM Modi said, highlighting schemes such as MSP, Kisan credit cards and crop insurance for farmers.
The richest 10% of Indians own over half of the country’s physical and financial assets while the bottom 50% own less than 10%, per the All India Debt & Investment Survey, 2019, conducted by the National Sample Survey (NSS). Also, the richest tenth of the population owns 55.7% of the total assets in urban areas and 50.8% in rural areas.
The calculation: A monetary value was put on everything owned by households, including physical assets like land, buildings, livestock, agricultural machinery, non-farm business equipment and transport equipment as well as financial assets like receivables on loans advanced, shares in companies and cooperative societies, deposits in banks, post offices and the like.
More on the skew: The survey, conducted from January to December 2019, estimated that the total physical and financial assets owned by people living in the rural areas was to the tune of Rs 274.6 lakh crore of which Rs 139.6 lakh crore was owned by the richest 10%. In rural areas, the top 10% owned assets worth Rs 132.5 lakh crore out a total of Rs 238.1 lakh crore. The bottom 50% owned 10.2% of assets in rural areas and an even smaller 6.2% in urban areas.
State of states: Within rural areas, where close to two-thirds of India lives, the skew was the highest in Delhi, with the top 10% owning 80.8% of assets and the bottom 50% just 2.1%. The rural skew was least in Jammu and Kashmir with the top 10% owning 32% and the bottom half 18%.
Delhi had the highest skew in urban areas too with the richest 10% owning nearly 68% of assets and the poorest half just 3.5%. In urban areas too, the share of the richest 10% in total assets was lowest in Jammu and Kashmir.
Dismissing the special leave petition (SLP) of a murder convict sentenced to life imprisonment, the Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday said that the “sentence of imprisonment for life has to be equated to rigorous imprisonment for life” and not simple imprisonment.
What’s rigorous imprisonment
Rigorous imprisonment (RI) was a term introduced by the Britishers during the pre-independence colonial rule, when it implies hard labour involving work such as breaking stones, digging earth, agricultural work or road construction work. However, these days, such activities rarely take place.
Under the prison manual, RI involves hard labour and a person convicted of RI can not demand what kind of work he/she will do — unlike a person convicted of simple imprisonment (SI) where work is allotted on the basis of the prisoner’s request and physical fitness.
However, the problem is that there is no clear definition of what constitutes hard labour, which leaves its interpretation open to the jail authorities. So much so that even Asia’s largest prison — Tihar Jail — has no manual on what constitutes hard labour as part of RI.
As such, there is rampant violation of the court’s orders and according to one estimate, 99% of the convicts required to undergo RI are actually undergoing SI — such as managing the library or doling out free legal aid to fellow prison inmates.
Another problem is the lack of work in prisons with the result that nine out of 10 prisoners undergoing RI are sitting idle — forcing jail authorities to put them to work on ‘soft’ activities that don’t require backbreaking physical labour.
A resurgence of the delta variant of SARS-Cov-2, attributed to a man who returned from overseas in August, has forced Chinese authorities to lockdown the coastal city of Xiamen in the province of Fujian to contain the spread of the pandemic. The city of 4.5 million inhabitants is a major manufacturing hub for electronic components for companies like ABB and Schneider Electric.
According to the National Health Commission, the number of new infections of Covid-19 more than doubled from 22 on Monday to 59 on Tuesday. Orders have been issued barring residents from moving out of their homes except under special circumstances as the country gears up for the week-long National Day holiday starting October 1, which is also a major tourist attraction.
The latest outbreak, which comes less than a month after the outbreak in late July and August, has also led to closure of all schools, with students being asked to attend classes online. Authorities have also suspended outstation bus services and cancelled 60% of all flights to and from Xiamen, in addition to closing public places like cinemas, gyms and bars.
The Met Gala, the high-profile marriage of fashion and philanthropy, returned after a one-year break forced by the pandemic. Tennis stars Naomi Osaka, a co-chair at the event this year, and newly-crowned US Open champion Emma Raducanu joined Billie Eilish, Cara Delevingne and other A-list celebs at the fundraiser at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Zomato. The foodtech startup’s co-founder and head of supply Gaurav Gupta (in pic) has resigned from the company, just two months after its landmark IPO. Gupta, who joined Zomato as business head, table reservations in 2015, was elevated as COO in 2018 and as a co-founder in 2019. His departure comes at a time when Zomato is shuttering its businesses in grocery delivery and dietary supplements business.