Home » Catch Wire » Your Wire on 13 January

India-Pak NSA-level meeting to take place before foreign secretary talks

A decision on the foreign secretary talks between India and Pakistan will be taken after an initial meeting between the National Security Advisers (NSAs) of the two countries, reports The Economic Times. Indian NSA Ajit Doval, currently in France, is in touch with Lt Gen. (retd) NK Janjua, the Pakistani NSA. Janjua will give an update on Pakistan's investigations into the leads provided by India, while Doval may share more information from Indian investigations into the Pathankot terrorist attack. The meeting between the NSAs signifies the interest of the government to continue dialogue with Pakistan despite the attack on the Pathankot airbase. "There is no reason to distrust Pakistan so soon," Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Tuesday.

PDP-BJP alliance in J&K will continue, Mehbooba will be CM: PDP spokesperson

Speaking officially for the first time since the death of Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed last week, a People's Democratic Party spokesperson said that their alliance with the BJP in the state would continue, and that Mehbooba Mufti would be sworn in as chief minister as soon as possible, reports The Telegraph. "We have worked hard for the alliance, and it was carved out after negotiations that continued for two months," said PDP chief spokesperson Mehboob Beg. This clears speculations that the PDP might break its alliance with the BJP and turn to the Congress instead.

Oil prices slide, may take Indian economy with them

As oil prices hit a 12-year-low on Tuesday, with prices as low as US $30 a barrel, the Indian economy may slide into an economic slump that could turn into a crisis, reports the Hindustan Times. With the rise in domestic inflation and dip in exports due to a demand crunch worldwide courtesy the slump in China, Indian economists say the country could be in for a bad time. China recently devalued its currency, the Yuan, to keep its exports competitive, undervaluing India's exports. Oil prices have fallen by more than 20 per cent since 1 January because of a combination of over-production, weak worldwide demand courtesy the Chinese slump, and the rising dollar.

Truecaller identifies five Pakistani phone numbers called by Pathankot terrorists: The Indian Express

The five phone numbers called by the terrorists on the night of the attack on the Pathankot airbase on 2 January belong to residents of Pakistan, reports The Indian Express. Though the Pakistani media had reported last week that the phone numbers were not registered in the country, The Indian Express used online resources available to everyone, such as Truecaller, to trace the numbers, verify them, identify the service providers and locate Facebook pages associated with the numbers. In one case, the number was linked to a Facebook page with images of Jaish-E-Mohammed (JeM) operatives; in another, the number was used in advertisements for al-Rahmat, the JeM's charitable front.

Suicide attack near Indian mission in Jalalabad, 5 dead

Gunshots and an explosion rocked an area near the Indian Consulate in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in what officials are calling a suicide attack. At least five deaths - including that of four police officials - have been reported. The suicide bomber reportedly joined a queue of visa seekers to Pakistan.

The attack occurred 200 metres from the Consulate, an area populated by many foreign missions. Although it is unclear whether the target was the Indian Consulate, it would be the third such siege on an Indian mission in Afghanistan in the last 10 days, if such is the case. All Indians are reportedly safe, but firing is still on.

General Dalbir Singh Suhag says Army is fully prepared to deal with threats to national security

Army chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag on 13 January said there was "no issue of coordination" during the efforts to neutralise the terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air force base on 2 January.

The Army chief told media personnel that "the Army is fully prepared to deal with any threats to the national security".

"Increasingly the security environment facing the nation is becoming more complex and dynamic. I have told all army commanders to do a security audit. In our efforts to fast-track technological progress, a new Army design bureau is being set up," he said.

Italian marine will not return tomorrow; Kerala CM wants PM Modi to intervene


The BJP government might find itself in hot water after the Italian Senate's defence committee categorically said that Italian marine Massimiliano Latorre will not return to India. Latorre is one of two marines accused of killing fishermen off the Kerala coast on 15 February, 2012.

The Supreme Court had in September 2014 allowed the Italian marine to go home for four months after he had suffered a brain stroke. His stay was later extended. In keeping with the fresh deadline set by the apex court, Latorre must return to India tomorrow, something which seems unlikely.

Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy has opposed the decision of the Italian Senate committee and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's immediate intervention in the issue.

Pathankot attack: Pakistan cracks down on Jaish-e-Mohammad; arrests its members, seals its office

Nawaz Sharif/Live/Patrika

Photo: Patrika

In the first major action taken in connection to the Pathankot attacks, Pakistan has arrested Jaish-e-Mohammad members. Their offices have been tracked and sealed. This was confirmed in a statement released by Nawaz Sharif's office. Pakistan has also expressed its willingness to send a special investigation team to Pathankot to gather more information on the attack and work closely with the Indian investigating agencies. A statement by Pakistan's PMO said: "The Government of Pakistan is considering to send a Special Investigation Team to Pathankot, in consultation with the Government of India."

The action taken by Pakistan comes in the backdrop of uncertainty looming over Foreign-Secretary level talks scheduled for 15 January. India has alleged that Jaish-e-Mohammad was behind the attack at the Pathankot Air Force base on 2 January that claimed the lives of seven jawans. Indian intelligence agencies have also intercepted calls between alleged JeM terrorists and their Pakistani handlers.

Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar detained, says Pakistan media

Maulana Masood AFP

Photo: AFP

According to media reports Jaish-e-Muhammad chief Maulana Masood Azhar, the alleged mastermind behind the Pathankot attack has been detained by Pakistani authorities. This comes after Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's office confirmed that the Pakistani authorities had taken a slew of measures to crackdown on Jaish-e-Mohammad offices and members.

On 2 January, six militants had attacked the Pathankot Air Force base in Punjab. India had lost seven jawans while fighting the terrorists. The actions come in the background of uncertainty looming over the 15 January Foreign-secretary level talks between India and Pakistan.

Guru Ram Rahim mimicking controversy: Actor Kiku 'Palak' Sharda released on surety of Rs 1 lakh

Actor Kaku Sharda who was arrested for mimicking Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim, has been on surety bond of Rs 1 lakh. The actor who plays the character of 'Palak' in Comedy Nights With Kapil, had earlier apologised for his action. Meanwhile, the Dera chief himself tweeted: "If he has apologized, no complaint from my side". The actor has been booked under Section 295 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for outraging religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious belief.

Give me my opium or sparks will fly: addicted nilgai in Madhya Pradesh

There's no keeping drug addicts away from their fix, as farmers of opium in Madhya Pradesh have learned, reports the Hindustan Times. But the addicts in this case are not human. They are nilgai, and they are totally hooked to the opium that is legally grown for medicinal purposes. Though many opium cultivators have installed electric fences, the animals apparently test the fences with the tips of their tails, and leave if sparks fly. But if the barrier is not electrified or if there is a power cut, the nilgai break the fence or leap over it. The opium farmers are now planning to organise a "fast unto death" this year if the problem is not managed soon.

This is why you should keep smartphones away from your bra and trousers

People these days are practically glued to their smartphones, but you should place some distance between yourself and your phone and avoid keeping them in bras and trousers. Dr. Devra Davis, an American scientist who has been studying the effects of mobile phone radiation for many years, has warned mobile phones could be doing more harm than good, reports News.com.au.The scientist said mobile phone-like radiation was being used positively in the medical field to treat liver cancer, detect cancer and enhance the absorption of drugs in the brain. But the reason it is able to do this was because the radiation broke down the blood brain barrier, which protects the brain from foreign substances that may injure it. Hence it can also damage DNA, affect male fertility and change the brain's metabolism.

Priyanka Chopra gets another major role. This time in Dwayne Johnson's Baywatch

After bagging the People's Choice Award for Best Actress in a New TV Series, Priyanka Chopra is now all set for a major Hollywood debut. Chopra will play the negative role in Baywatch starring Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Zac Efron.

The writers of Baywatch, Shannon and Swift, took to Twitter to confirm the news. Scheduling conflicts with the film's shoot and Quantico still need to be worked out. The movie directed by Seth Gordon is expected to go on floors soon.

Beijing to shut down 2500 polluting firms by 2016


Photo: Getty Images

Arvind Kejriwal should draw inspiration from Beijing. To find a permanent solution to smog in the winter months, Beijing has decided to shut down 2500 polluting firms.

Fengtai, Fangshan, Tongzhou and Daxing districts will shut firms by the end of this year. The whole city is expected to follow suit by 2017.

Beijing aims to eliminate coal use in six downtown districts in two years and help 600,000 households shift from coal to clean energy in five years.