BHUBANESWAR WEDNESDAY MAY 15, 2019 `6.00 PAGES 14 LATE CITY EDITION WHATSAPP SPYWARE CAN INFECT YOUR PHONE WITH JUST A CALL The malware was able to penetrate phones through missed calls alone via the popular app’s voice-calling function FIRM URGES UPDATE AFTER SERIOUS BREACH ‘NOTHING YOU COULD HAVE DONE’ The exploit affects Android devices and Apple’s iPhones, among others. WhatsApp urged its users to update the app to protect themselves from the “serious security” breach. The spyware is sophisticated and would be available to only “highly motivated actors”, it claimed. The Financial Times reported that Israel’s NSO Group had developed the malware ■ ■ John Scott-Railton, a researcher with internet watchdog Citizen Lab, called the exploit “a scary vulnerability”. “There’s nothing a user could have done, short of not having WhatsApp,” he told AP NSO works with many governments. Its Pegasus spyware was implicated in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder by the Saudis 1.5 bn PEOPLE USE WHATSAPP GLOBALLY, OF WHICH 200 MN ARE FROM INDIA CHENNAI ■ MADURAI ■ VIJAYAWADA ■ BENGALURU ■ KOCHI ■ HYDERABAD ■ VISAKHAPATNAM ■ COIMBATORE ■ KOZHIKODE ■ THIRUVANANTHAPURAM ■ BELAGAVI ■ BHUBANESWAR ■ SHIVAMOGGA ■ MANGALURU ■ TIRUPATI ■ TIRUCHY ■ TIRUNELVELI ■ SAMBALPUR ■ HUBBALLI ■ DHARMAPURI ■ KOTTAYAM ■ KANNUR ■ VILLUPURAM ■ KOLLAM ■ WARANGAL ■ TADEPALLIGUDEM ■ NAGAPATTINAM ■ THRISSUR ■ KALABURAGI WHERE HAVE ALL THE MINISTERS GONE? B I J AY C H A K I @ Bhubaneswar AS the State is limping back to normalcy after the extremely severe cyclone Fani battered the Odisha coast, absence of BJD leaders in the affected areas and their non-participation in the restoration and reconstruction process have come in for sharp criticism. Except Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik, none of the senior ministers including those in charge of urban development, energy, rural development and panchayati raj are visible on the field. T h e cycl o n e d eva s t at e d coastal villages and inflicted unprecedented damage on the power infrastructure. But, Minister of State for Energy Sushant Singh is nowhere to be seen. Even 12 days after the cyclone when the State Government is grappling with the situation in Puri, the minister has not reviewed the situation even once though the Election Commission of India (ECI) has exempted 11 affected districts from the purview of the poll model code of conduct. Similar is the case with Urban Development and Housing Minister Niranjan Pujari and Rural Development Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha. None of the ministers have visited The ministers can review and give direction as the ECI has exempted affected areas from the purview of the model code. But ministers never mattered in this Government Narasingh Mishra, Leader of the Opposition the affected areas even once. The role of the Biju Yuva Vahini (BYV) has come under scanner following the cyclone. Launching the BYV on March 14, 2018, the Chief Minister had said the members of the organisation will help people during natural calamities. But, at the crisis time, the BYV members are missing. There are over 2.51 lakh members of the BYV including 60,000 in the five worst affected districts including the Capital City of Bhubaneswar. Health Minister Pratap Jena and Forest and Environment Minister Bijoyshree Routray are exceptions as they reviewed the situation after more than a week when the issue came in for criticism from the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC). Meanwhile, the Chief Minister has directed the MLAs and senior party leaders of the cyclone hit districts to visit the affected areas and help people. Leader of the Opposition Narasingh Mishra has strongly criticised the ministers for their inaction during such grave crisis. Stating that the ministers can review and give direction as the ECI has exempted affected areas from the purview of the model code of conduct, Mishra, however, said ministers never mattered in this Government. Mishra demanded that Fani should be declared a national calamity and Army should be called in for reconstruction and restoration work. Criticising the Government for the postcyclone management work, Mishra said it has not been able to assess the loss inflicted by the tropical storm. Mercury to top 40 C for a week for weak El Nino Top team deserts Jet, staff to fend for themselves E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ New Delhi THE top team of Jet Airways has deserted the troubled carrier. On Tuesday, the company informed stock exchanges that its CEO Vinay Dube, deputy CEO and CFO Amit Agarwal, and Company Secretary Kuldeep Sharma have resigned from the company. Some reports said Chief People Officer Rahul Taneja has also put in his papers though the company is yet to confirm this. The exodus comes at a time when the lenders led by SBI are struggling to find an investor to reVinay Dube vive the airline, which stopped flying last month due to cash crunch. With top management executives leaving, employees have no one to look up to for help and guidance in recovering their pending salaries. The back-to-back resignations signal that the offer by Etihad, the only investor to submit a non-binding bid, may not take off. The Abu Dhabi-based airline had offered `1,700 crore for a minority stake. ODISHA SEEKS MORE NTPC MEN IN PURI As lack of electricity supply continues to make life miserable for people in areas hit by cyclone Fani, the State Government requested the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) to deploy more manpower in Puri district, which suffered maximum damage in the storm. The State’s request to NTPC was made after a visit of the Central team led by Union Power Secretary AK Bhalla to Puri on Tuesday. P3 E X P R E S S N E W S S E R V I C E @ Bhubaneswar BJP workers try to reinstall vandalised party hoardings, banners and posters ahead of party president Amit Shah’s roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday | PTI Clashes mar Shah Kolkata roadshow BJP president escapes unhurt after arson, stone pelting by Trinamool Congress workers SC BAIL TO WOMAN JAILED FOR DIDI MEME The SC on Tuesday directed the release of BJP youth wing leader Priyanka Sharma on bail. She had been held by police for posting a Mamata meme on social media. But the court’s move to ask her to tender an apology drew criticism. AIYAR AT IT AGAIN Ah Aiyar! Just when we thought he was missing all the election fun, Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar wrote a signed piece justifying his neech barb against PM Modi, for which Rahul Gandhi had earlier suspended him. Expect fresh action against Aiyar. P R A N A B M O N D A L @ Kolkata CLASHES broke out between BJP workers and the Trinamool’s student wing during Amit Shah’s massive roadshow in Kolkata on Tuesday afternoon. Trouble started when the BJP president’s convoy, which passed through College Street in central Kolkata, was allegedly pelted with stones from inside a college where TMC supporters had assembled. Shah escaped unhurt and was escorted to safety by police. In retaliation, BJP supporters stormed the college and went on a rampage vandalising the statue of Bengali icon Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. “There was an attempt by Trinamool hooligans to attack me. Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal CM) tried to provoke violence,” Shah said. He blamed the Kolkata police for being spectators while clashes erupted all around. “They (police) deviated from the planned route and took a way where there were traffic jams. I was not allowed to reach Swami Vivekananda’s house to pay tributes and I am saddened by it,” the BJP president said. Shah started his roadshow from Esplanade and was heading towards Swami Vivekananda’s residence. Clashes broke out when Shah’s convoy reached Vidyasagar College where a group of around 100 Trinamool Congress supporters had assembled with black flags and started shouting “Go back Amit Shah”. “Stones were thrown on the procession in which some of the BJP supporters were injured,” a police officer said. The agitated BJP supporters then threw stones. “They locked the gate of the hostel and set three motorcycles parked on the pavement on fire,’’ police said. Hitting back at Shah at a rally in Behala, Mamata labelled the BJP chief a “goonda”. She also announced a protest rally on Thursday against the vandalisation of Vidyasagar’s bust . Slowdown blues may dampen the spirit of next Govt A N U R A D H A S H U K L A @ New Delhi WHICHEVER party or alliance forms the next government at the Centre, they will have a tough time steering the economy as almost every economic indicator is pointing towards a slowdown. This, according to economists, will unfold further over the next few quarters. “T he economy is going through a cyclical slowdown and it has nothing to do with elections,” D Joshi, chief economist at CRISIL, told TNIE. The first sign of stress in the economy became evident when the Monthly Economic Report released by the Department of Economic Affairs earlier this month conceded there’s indeed a slowdown. “India’s economy appears to have slowed down slightly in 201819. The proximate factors responsible for this slowdown include declining growth of private consumption, tepid increase in fixed investment, and muted exports,” the report said, adding the implied real GDP growth is lower in Q4FY19 at 6.5 percent while for FY19, the GDP growth rate is seen at 7 per cent. The numbers are startling. GDP is projected to grow at 6.98 per cent in 2018-19 against 8 per cent growth in 2015-16. Gross value added growth slipped to 6.79 per cent in FY19 from 8.03 per cent in FY15 and the latest IIP numbers hit a 21-month low, projecting a slowdown in industrial activities. “The slowdown in the industrial sector is deeper than what many had calculated. The negative growth in manufacturing for several months in the last financial year shows slackening of demand domestically besides the impact of global slowdown,” said Prof N R Bhanumurthy of National Institute of Public Finance and Policy . “There is contraction in capital goods production for three months. This means the impact of the slowdown will be felt in the current financial year as well, because sales of capital goods is an indicator of new factories being set up,” he added. IF the gruelling summer has not shown any sign of let-up, be prepared for worse. For, weather forecasters are looking at even hotter days in store. The mercury may soar in the range of 43-45 degree Celsius in western and central districts whereas in coastal pockets, it will breach the 40 degree C over next week. For the cyclone-hit pockets, the temperature will also remain above normal during this period. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a heatwave warning for districts such as Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Balangir and Nuapada for May 17 and 18. However, Centre for Environment and Climate (CEC) said under effect of a weak El Niño, temperature may see a further rise till May 23. The IMD said though heat will be tolerable for general public, it may cause moderate health concern for vulnerable people especially infants, elderly and people with chronic diseases. With cyclone Fani failing to Temperature in push the mercury level down, Odithe State will sha may continue to reel under inremain around tense heat and humidity at least three degree for a week. above the normal “Temperature in the State will in most parts, remain around three degree above especially in interior pockets the normal in most parts, especialtill May 18 ly in interior pockets till May 18,” said Director of Regional MeteorHR Biswas, ological Centre, IMD, BhubaneDirector of Regional swar HR Biswas. Meteorological Centre Humidity for the current period is normal in the coastal belt of the State. However, the rise in moisture content in the atmosphere due to recent rain also favours humidity to increase. The met director, however, said the humidity percentage may come down around May 17 and 18 when temperature will rise. Director of CEC Sarat Chandra Sahu said since the effect of a weak El Niño continues, day temperature will be pushed to 43-45 degree Celsius in interior districts and 40 to 42 degree C in coastal districts. On Tuesday seven stations recorded temperature , above 40 degree Celsius. Talcher recorded the highest temperature of 42.5 degree Celsius. The humidity level in the city was also as high as 78 per cent in the morning. The temperature of Bhubaneswar was 39.4 degree Celsius with a relative humidity of 79 per cent which came down to 65 per cent in the evening. The soaring mercury, however, crippled normal life in some of the coastal pockets especially in Puri and Khurda where power supply is yet to be restored in many areas affected by cyclone Fani on May 3. CALL OF DUTY Undaunted by gusting wind, the RJ aired the updates S O U M I K A D A S @ Bhubaneswar PACKED with wind gusting upto 200 km per hour, cyclone Fani tore through everything on its path except the daunting spirit of a Community Radio Jockey near Konark. Unmoved by the raging storm and braving all risks, the woman jockey Rojalin Pradhan sat all through the cyclone in the station and kept broadcasting information on Fani to her listeners. Even as the cyclonic wind was banging the walls of the radio station at Ichhapur village under Gop limits in Puri district on May 3, she was committed to the cause of keeping the community safe. The day before Fani made landfall near Chilika, Rojalin had to work in night shift. Next morning, she couldn’t leave the station of Community Radio Namaskar, close to her house. The other junior staff of the radio weren’t able to come to work. Cyclone Fani had battered their houses by 9 am. “She informed me that she was all alone. But, she refused to discontinue the service. She felt dissemination of information during the disaster was important,” said founder of the community radio, NA Shah Ansari. Until 9.30 am on May 3, Rojalin was informing the villagers about the updates received from the website of India Meteorological Department (IMD). Till then, the internet services were not affected. She ensured that people who are living in vulnerable villages are informed about the fact. She urged them to evacuate the village and shift to cyclone shelters of other villages NA Shah Ansari, Founder of Radio Namaskar However, soon after the connectivity was lost. She had no access to information. But, common sense was put to use. She stretched her show, catering to people of at least 100 villages, by informing them on how to stay safe during the cyclone. Keeping the predictions about the landfall in mind, she informed about the relatively safer cyclone shelters. Not just that, she was also receiving calls from her listeners who wanted to know the cyclone shelters until the phone lines were snapped. “She ensured that people who are living in vulnerable villages are informed about the fact. She urged them to evacuate the village and shift to cyclone shelters of other villages,” added Ansari. After 11.30 am, the antenna of the radio station broke down. “I observed the red signal on my system, which indicated that there was no output. Thereafter, I waited inside the radio centre as wind tore through the area,” she said. Rojalin also runs a woman self help group in her village. From being a listener of the radio herself to one of the station-in-charges, she has come a long way .
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