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Several EU envoys express willingness ahead of Jaishankar’s trip to Brussels

Fresh initiative: Sixteen ambassadors visited Srinagar on January 9. This time round, 20-25 envoys from different geographical regions are being invited.

The government is making preparations to organise a second visit of diplomats, including several European Ambassadors, to Srinagar and Jammu next week, sources confirmed here.

According to the sources, about 20 to 25 envoys from “different geographical regions” are being invited to join the delegation.

Unlike the last visit in January, when European Union (EU) members declined to travel and asked to be sent as a combined group of 27 members, this time, several members of the EU have agreed, sources said.

Meeting with EU heads

On Friday, Mr. Jaishankar met the EU Heads of Mission (HOMs) in South Block, where he is understood to have discussed his upcoming visit, the planned visit of envoys to Jammu and Kashmir as well as concerns against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which are likely to come up during his visit to Europe.

“We received a lot of positive feedback from the last visit,” said one official source, referring to the delegation, which included U.S. Ambassador Kenneth Juster, who travelled to Jammu and Kashmir on January 9-10.

“While all the Ambassadors expressed their concerns about issues like political detentions and Internet restrictions, they were able to see that there was normalcy on the roads, and the entire Union Territory is not under lockdown as they had expected,” the source added.

He explained that the government now intends to take diplomats to the Union Territory on a regular basis.

Other sources confirmed that logistical planning and security arrangements for the visit, which will repeat the schedule of the previous visit of the envoys, is being finalised. Helicopters will also be kept on standby, in case there are difficulties in road travel at any point.

Briefing by the Army

The visit will include a briefing by Army officials, and meetings with civil society members and politicians chosen by the government.

Diplomatic sources said negotiations over the scope and schedule of the proposed visit have been on for the past month, and had run into issues over specific demands by the European diplomats to meet detained former Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.

It is unlikely that these demands would be met this time either, as the government has just charged all of them under the stringent Public Safety Act.

It said Nirbhaya convicts had 7 days to exhaust remedies

Wait continues: Nirbhaya’s mother with lawyers at the Supreme Court on January 28.

The Supreme Court on Friday conveyed that it is in no hurry to hear the appeals filed by the Centre and the NCT of Delhi for permission to separately execute Nirbhaya convicts.

A Bench, led by Justice R. Banumathi, remained impassive as Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta urged the court to issue a formal notice to the convicts on the appeals. The law officer intermittently asked the court to at least allow the government to serve the copies of the appeal papers to the convicts through the jail authorities.

Mr. Mehta said the “nation is losing patience” seeing the convicts misuse the legal process to delay the execution of their death sentence. “A law needs to be laid down,” Mr. Mehta stressed.

Justice Banumathi drew Mr. Mehta’s attention to the fact that the Delhi High Court, in its February 5 judgment rejecting the government’s plea to separately execute the convicts, had given the men seven days to exhaust whatever remedies were left to them.

If the condemned men exhaust all remedies within that time, the question of separate hangings do not arise, the court reasoned. It scheduled the next hearing for 2 p.m. on February 11.

Delaying tactics

The High Court judgment had acknowledged that “it cannot be disputed that the convicts have adopted all the delay tactics to frustrate the death warrants”. In this context, it noted that one of the convicts, Pawan Gupta, was yet to file his curative and mercy petitions, though his review petition was dismissed on July 9, 2018. However, all these factors do not allow executing them separately, the court reasoned.

But it put the four convicts on a deadline. “I hereby direct the convicts to take steps if they wish to make any type of petition before any institutions/authorities available under law within one week from today, failing which this court [the Delhi HC] expects from the authorities concerned to deal as per law applicable without further delay,” Justice Suresh Kait, directed in the judgment on February 5.

The Supreme Court Bench, also comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and A.S. Bopanna, was referring to this particular direction of the High Court while opting to wait out and see what the four convicts intend to do within the time frame of a week.

“The convicts are making a mockery of the legal process... So we have seen calculated and deliberate attempts to delay the hanging,” Mr. Mehta submitted.

He allayed fears that the CAA would bring illegal foreigners to Assam

Time to celebrate: Bodo people arriving for the rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Kokrajhar on Friday.Ritu Raj Konwar The Hindu

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday advised the youth in central India’s Maoist belt and in Jammu and Kashmir to emulate the Bodos and shun the path of violence. He also allayed fears that the Citizenship (Amendment) Act would bring illegal foreigners to Assam. This was his first visit to the State since the protests against the citizenship law began last year.

The right path

“I congratulate you on taking the right path and will ensure no thorn pricks you hereafter. I appeal to the youth elsewhere in the northeast, the Naxal areas and Jammu and Kashmir, who still believe in guns, bombs and pistols, to learn a lesson from the Bodo people,” Mr. Modi said at a rally organised in western Assam’s Kokrajhar to celebrate the recent signing of the third Bodo Peace Accord between the Centre, the Assam government, Bodo insurgent groups and two Bodo organisations.

The Prime Minister said 130 crore Indians had been congratulating the Bodos on their peace initiative that would be “a new beginning for those who laid down arms”, and for Assam.

“We are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, and its relevance has increased after the signing of the Bodo Accord. It will serve as an inspiration [for others] to renounce the path of violence,” Mr. Modi said.

“The Bodos have received respect after five decades. The previous accords signed in 1993 and 2003 could not restore peace completely,” he said.

‘No demands left’

“After the signing of the latest accord, no demands of the Bodos are left. Through this pact, the (newly-created) BTR (Bodoland Territorial Region) will get strengthened. Everybody has won through this pact. Peace and humanity have won too. Our first and foremost priority now will be development. I will never retreat without fulfilling your aspirations,” Mr. Modi said.

Welcome link: The first flight gets a grand welcome at the Bidar airport on Friday.Special Arrangement

Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa gave wings to the long-standing dream of the people of Bidar by dedicating the Bidar Airport to the nation at a programme here on Friday.

Arriving in a special 72-seater aircraft from Bengaluru along with Lok Sabha member for Bidar Bhagwant Khuba and other people’s representatives, the Chief Minister inaugurated the airport at Chidri on the outskirts of the city.

“With the realisation of commercial flights between Bidar and Bengaluru, both cities have gotten closer. The opening of Bidar airport will boost the economy of the region as more entrepreneurs will show interest in establishing industries here. The State government will continue to extend all possible support to the development of the airport and the expansion of flight services,” Mr. Yediyurappa said.

Prabhu Chauhan, Minister for Animal Husbandry and Minority Welfare, termed the day historic.

CERT-in alerted to stolen data on offer on dark net

Big risk: Phishing, malware or JavaScript sniffers could have been used to amass the bank card data. Getty Images/Istock

A whopping 98% out of a large packet of sensitive credit and debit card details, that have been put up for sale on the dark net, are those of Indian customers, Group-IB — a Singapore-based cybersecurity company — has revealed.

According to Group-IB’s statement released on Friday, the stash of 4,61,976 card payment details went up for sale on Wednesday on Joker’s Stash, one of the most secretive portals on the dark net for buying such information. Group-IB has already informed Indian authorities about the leak.

The company has also observed that the data is suspected to have been collected from phishing rackets, which are on the rise in India over the last few years.

Superintendent of Police (Maharashtra Cyber) Balsing Rajput said, “We are studying the information and the data and will soon be issuing an advisory in this regard.”

Group-IB’s statement said, “The underground market value of the database is estimated at more than $4.2 million. The source of this batch currently remains unknown. Upon the discovery of this database, Group-IB has immediately informed the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) about the sale of the payment records, so they could take necessary steps.”

Group-IB's threat Intelligence Team has found that the details are comprehensive in nature, and include card numbers, expiration dates, CVV/CVC codes and, in this case, some additional information such as cardholders’ full names, their emails, phone numbers and addresses.

Second major leak

“This is the second major leak of cards relating to Indian banks detected by Group-IB Threat Intelligence team in the past several months. In the current case, we are dealing with so-called fullz — they have info on card number, expiration date, CVV/CVC, cardholder name as well as some extra personal info. Such type of data is likely to have been compromised online — with the use of phishing, malware, or JS-sniffers — while in the previous case, we dealt with card dumps (the information contained in the card magnetic stripe), which can be stolen through the compromise of offline POS terminals, for example,” Dmitry Shestakov, Head of Group-IB cybercrime research unit said.

JavaScript or JS-Sniffers are programmes used for stealing credit and debit card information from e-commerce websites, and are among the latest concerns when it comes to cybersecurity and theft of sensitive card details.

In October 2019, Group-IB Threat Intelligence team had detected the first such database of over 1.3 million credit and debit card records, mostly of Indian customers.

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