Morning Digest: Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishor on list of potential spyware targets; Pakistan accuses India of ‘using’ FATF for political ends, and more

A select list of stories to read before you start your day

July 20, 2021 08:45 am | Updated 08:47 am IST

File photo shows the building housing the Israeli NGO group ‘Pegasus’ in Herzliya near Tel Aviv.

File photo shows the building housing the Israeli NGO group ‘Pegasus’ in Herzliya near Tel Aviv.

Several Delhi-based diplomats, staff of international NGOs on Pegasus list

While reports of Indian politicians and journalists being targets of surveillance operations carried out with the  help of Pegasus spyware took centre-stage  on Monday, French newspaper  Le Monde  reported that several Delhi-based diplomats were also on the list of potential targets for phone hacking from 2017-2021, along with a phone associated with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan.

Rahul Gandhi, Prashant Kishor, ex-EC Lavasa on list of potential spyware targets

Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi, former election commissioner Askhok Lavasa, election strategist Prashant Kishor, Trinamool Congress leader Abhishek Banerjee and  Union Ministers Ashwini Vaishnaw  and Prahlad Patel  appeared on a leaked list of “potential” or actual targets for spying by Israeli company NSO's Pegasus spyware , news website  The Wire  and other international publications reported on Monday.

Pegasus issue | Governments need to hold NSO accountable: WhatsApp CEO

Following revelations that  NSO Group’s ‘Pegasus’ software may have been used to snoop  on journalists, politicians and activists worldwide, including holders of 300 Indian phone numbers, WhatsApp CEO Will Cathcart has called on governments and companies to take steps to hold the Israeli technology firm accountable.

Parliament monsoon session sees a turbulent start

The monsoon session had a stormy start on Monday, with Prime Minister  Narendra Modi unable to introduce his new Ministers , as is customary after the reshuffle, on the first day of Parliament, due to Opposition protest against fuel prices’ hike and farm laws.

Pak. accuses India of ‘using’ FATF for political ends

India is “using” the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for political designs against Pakistan, said the Pakistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, criticising External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar for a statement claiming credit for Pakistan’s continuance on the world body’s watchlist. According to a Pakistan MFA statement on Monday, Mr. Jaishankar’s reported comments made to a group of BJP members as part of a training workshop, “vindicated” Pakistan’s repeated accusation that India had pushed for Pakistan’s grey listing in 2018 for “political” rather than “technical” reasons, which continues to date.

Monsoon lull may force oilseed farmers to shift to cotton, maize: CRISIL

The lull in the monsoon post June 23 has resulted in a 32% rainfall deficit during that period, and is likely to push farmers into changing their kharif crop patterns, according to an analysis by CRISIL research issued on Monday. Especially in northwest and central India, which are seeing rainfall deficits as high as 55%, farmers may be forced to move from oilseeds such as soybean and groundnut to crops which have lower water requirements, such as cotton and maize.

Will work towards giving power back to people, says Navjot Sidhu

Punjab Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu on Monday said he would be working towards giving power of people back to them through the party’s 18-point agenda while senior leader Sukhpal Khaira hoped that the new president “will break the ice with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh in an honourable manner”.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa to seek second term as President

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday said he would seek a second term in office, shifting from his earlier position to serve only one term.

Unprecedented medal haul on the cards

India has fielded its biggest boxing squad, consisting of nine pugilists of class and calibre, for the Olympics and expects an unprecedented medal haul.

Racist abuse of Hamilton condemned

Mercedes, Formula One and its governing body the FIA issued a joint statement Monday condemning the online racist abuse aimed at Lewis Hamilton.

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