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A newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas | Contributors: MK Venu, Seema Chishti, Siddharth Varadarajan, Sidharth Bhatia, Sushant Singh and Tanweer Alam | Editor: Pratik Kanjilal

Snapshot of the day
November 9, 2021

Pratik Kanjilal

Floods continue to inundate Tamil Nadu, killing four. Parts of Chennai were under water for the second consecutive day yesterday. The weatherman forecasts “heavy to very heavy rainfall” until tomorrow.

The festive season has been the worst for India’s automakers in almost a decade. The VAHAN portal, which captures registrations from 85% of regional transport authorities, reports 238,776 new units, compared with 305,916 in 2020, a decline of 22%. The share of passenger vehicles slipped to 19% from the usual 21.5-22%.

A vulnerability at CDSL Ventures Ltd has exposed personal and financial data of over 4 crore Indian investors twice in 10 days, according to cybersecurity startup CyberX9. CDSL is a depository registered with SEBI and its subsidiary CDSL Ventures Ltd is a KYC registering agency separately registered with SEBI. CyberX9 reported the vulnerability on October 19 to CDSL and the depository took a week to fix it. It could have been done immediately.

NSO’s Pegasus spyware had another bad day at work. A California circuit court dismissed NSO’s appeal not to hear a case filed by WhatsApp because US courts do not have jurisdiction and because it should receive immunity while acting on behalf of a foreign government. Its plea to exclude civil society interventions was also rejected. The Mexican government has arrested a man for helping hack a journalist with Pegasus. The Indian government is yet to say clearly whether it did or did not use the cyberweapon on its citizens. It has not denied it.

A language problem has inflicted two chief secretaries upon Mizoram. Unhappy with the Union Home Ministry for posting Renu Sharma in the top administrative job, the NDA state government ordered JC Ramthanga to take charge. “The Mizo people do not understand Hindi, none of my Cabinet Ministers understand Hindi, some even have problems with English. A Chief Secretary without knowledge of a working standard Mizo language will never be effective,” CM Pu Zoramthanga wrote to Amit Shah last month. He said that if he can’t get a chief secretary of his choice, as a NDA partner, he would be mocked by the Opposition.

Has ‘cordon and search’ come to Delhi?  “The Delhi Police assaulted us, called us Bangladeshis and broke the CCTV cameras in the locality,” allege residents of a Muslim-majority slum in northwest Delhi. The police have denied all allegations.

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India has asked Pakistan not to fire on its fishermen. It sought an inquiry into unprovoked firing by the Pakistan Maritime Security Agency on a fishing boat last week, in which a Maharashtra fisherman was killed. The Ministry of External Affairs summoned a senior Pakistani diplomat and lodged a “strong protest”.

Pakistan PM Imran Khan has said that a “just settlement of the Kashmir issue” remains a prerequisite for stability in South Asia. Khan was speaking to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s Special Envoy for Jammu and Kashmir, Yousef Aldoubeay. India has in the past asked the OIC to refrain from allowing members to exploit its platform for comments on internal affairs of the country. 

The Enforcement Directorate has ordered Future Group to submit documents about its 2019 deal with Amazon to probe a breach of foreign investment laws.

BBC covers the rapidly narrowing room for freedom of expression in India, brought out starkly by arrests for cheering other cricket teams. “When in the law is it a crime to support an opposition cricket team?” asks sports writer Sharda Ugra. “Should people of Indian origin in the UK or Australia be arrested for supporting India? It’s obviously a deliberate religious divide that’s being provoked.”

About 250 children, mostly from slums, are enrolled in Shanti Bhavan outside Bengaluru. Four of them took the SAT and made it to top US colleges on full scholarships. Their stories are inspiring.

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