News Flash – 12 October 2017

National News

 

 

Strike by Security Corporation Guards hits Mumbai Hospitals

 

 

MUMBAI: The ongoing strike of by 2000-odd security personnel from Maharashtra State Security Corporation(MSCC) has hit the medical colleges, which have been manned by the force since May this year. City colleges, including KEM, BYL Nair and Sion, have temporarily hired the services of Thane Security Board to man the entry and exit points. The MSCC strike has come at a time when resident doctors at the Government Medical College in Nagpur have gone on a strike demanding better security. As the strike entered the third day on Wednesday, the state government issued termination letters to the doctors. Dr Pravin Shingare, head of Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) said that the doctors have been served termination letters for their residency posts. Meanwhile, KEM, Nair and Sion hospitals have hired 65, 15 and 58 temporary guards respectively from the Thane Security Board till the MSCC strike was resolved. Sanjay Barve, who heads the MSCC, said that the security services at the medical colleges will be restored soon. Barve said that around 300 Security Guards have resumed work on Wednesday soon after their termination orders were issued. “They went on strike demanding permanent status and parity with police, both of which cannot be fulfilled under the purview of law. We have allowed people to rejoin us and we made it clear that we don’t hold any grudge against them,” he said. Resident doctors across the state had gone on a strike demanding better security following which the services of MSCC was employed.

 

 

IoT-based tech helps keep watch on trees, sends alert

 

 

BENGALURU: Imagine a forest officer or a farmer getting an alert on his mobile phone whenever somebody tries to cut a sandalwood, rosewood or any other high-value tree in his jurisdiction land. This smart forest intervention, the result of a collaboration between scientists from Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST), Bengaluru, and Hitachi India, a private firm, could go a long way in not just saving trees, but also nabbing the culprits. The system, which runs on Internet of Things (IoT) technology, includes a small smart device installed on the tree that needs to be secured. Whenever the tree faces any threat of chopping, cutting or uprooting, the device, which is water and weather resistant, sends an alert to the cellphone of the user via cloud. As a pilot, 45 sensors have been installed on trees in the 25-acre IWST campus at Malleswaram. The IoT sensors installed on the trees are already sending information about any disturbance and their location to users; 35 more sensors will be installed on the campus this month.

 

Poachers targeting high value trees have always caused losses to the forest department and farmers who cultivate them with requisite clearances. On the IWST campus itself, an institute under the ministry of forests, cases of sandalwood poaching are common. In 2015, thieves chopped a 20-foot-tall sandalwood tree, notwithstanding the presence of six security guards. Surendra Kumar, director, IWST said, “This research project is to develop a solution for monitoring and standardizing the e-protection system of valuable trees. IWST has become the first institution in the country to have tried such a system and develop a protocol for its commercial adaptation through a public-private partnership”. Hitachi India is funding this initiative under its CSR programme and has deployed its Hitachi Anomaly Detection to Prediction and Prescription (HAD2P) technology to monitor and detect illegal cutting and movement of high-value trees. Gnaneshwar Kambali, general manager, digital solutions and services group, Hitachi India said, “This CSR project is an amalgamation of our business and technological strengths such as IoT to create disruptive transformation for the environment and the society at large”.

 

 

Sinkhole repair reduces traffic to a crawl, work to take 2 more days

 

HYDERABAD: Hundreds of vehicles moved like snails through by lanes – Vivekananda Nagar Colony, Bhagyanagar, Jaya Nagar, HMT Hills and other areas on Tuesday . The reason: The Kukatpally traffic police closed the busiest Usha Mullapudi Hospital Y-junction (Govind Hotel) to traffic in view of ongoing repairs to the road where a sinkhole formed at Jayanagar a couple of days ago. “Nearly 20,000 to 25,000 vehicles including city buses plying in this stretch will be affected due to closure of the road,” Kukatpally traffic inspector Sattaiah told TOI. “On Tuesday , both Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation and Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board officials approached us and sought traffic diversion on this stretch to lay 450 mm diameter sewer line and construction of two manholes at the crater site. According to them, at least two to three days will be required to complete the work. As a result, we have closed the stretch for three days and we will allow traffic only after completion of the work,” he said.

 

Traffic coming from Kukatpally main road (South India Shopping Mall) and proceeding towards Jagadgirigutta, Shapur, Jeedimetla, Gajularamaram and adjoining areas was diverted through Vivekananda Nagar Colony , Jayanagar, Bhagyanagar and other colonies. Simultaneously, traffic bound for NJTU and Nizampet from Jagadgirigutta, Jeedimetla, Shapur and Gajularamaram was diverted through Lakeview Bar and Restaurant, HMT Hills and Shathavahana Colony , said traffic police. “We have put up traffic diversion signboards and deployed personnel to regulate traffic,” the inspector added. Meanwhile, works to lay sewer trunk main began on Tuesday morning. Though the work began on October 9 night, it came to a halt due to heavy rain. A 20-foot deep and 15-foot wide area was dug around the road where it caved in. Works to lay sewer trunk main will be completed tonight, but construction of two new manholes will be completed by Wednesday , said GHMC executive engineer G Sridhar. “As per the schedule, we should have finished the job by Monday night itself, but heavy rain hampered our work,” he added.

 

 

Blaze engulfs chemical factory, 2 firemen hurt

 

KOLKATA: A major fire broke out at a Taratala chemical factory where 18 tonnes of aluminium dust and six tonnes of other chemicals were stored. Ten fire tenders were pressed into service. Though no casualties were reported from inside the factory, at least two firefighters were injured while trying to douse the fire. Sources said waterlogged, narrow roads made it difficult for the fire tenders to reach 11, Transport Depot Road where the fire was reported at 9.50am on Wednesday . Further, several blasts were reported form the spot due to the presence of chemicals. The firefighters used sand and foam to deal with the raging fire. Mayor Sovan Chatterjee said though the fire isn’t spreading, it can’t be said if it has died out. He said the godown was being used for illegal purposes. “I’ve asked cops to look into it and file an FIR if anything foul is suspected,” he said.

 

 

International News

 

 

US military chopper bursts into flames in Japan: Minister

 

 

TOKYO: An American military helicopter burst into flames after landing in an empty field in Okinawa on Wednesday, the Japanese defence minister said, with no injuries reported. The US military told Japanese authorities that their CH- 53 transport helicopter “landed” before the fire erupted in the early evening just outside a training ground on the island, said Itsunori Onodera. National broadcaster NHK showed dramatic footage of firefighters battling orange flames after dark and plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky. “When the US Marine Corp CH-53 helicopter landed, a fire started. We have received information that all crew members were safe,” Onodera told reporters. Japanese authorities asked the US military to provide a full report and take steps to prevent a similar accident. “Accidents by the US Marine Corps are continuing. We want to communicate to the US side that we demand safe operations,” Onodera said. According to eyewitnesses cited by NHK, the accident occurred shortly after 5:30 pm (local time). Officials from the US Marines based in Okinawa could not immediately comment.

 

In December, five crew members aboard a US Marine MV-22 Osprey were injured after what the Pentagon described as a “mishap” resulting in the plane landing in shallow water off Okinawa. At that time, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said it was “very regrettable” that a “serious accident” had occurred and stressed that the plane’s safety record was a “pre-requisite” to the aircraft’s deployment in Japan. The deployment of Ospreys in Japan has prompted protests by Okinawa residents after a series of accidents in other countries involving the hybrid aircraft. In August, US Marines were forced to mount a major search and rescue mission after an MV-22 Osprey crashed of the east coast of Australia. They rescued 23 out of the 26 personnel and eventually called off the hunt for the three remaining crew. More than half the approximately 47,000 American troops in Japan under a decades-long security alliance are stationed on Okinawa, the site of a major World War II battle that was followed by a 27-year US occupation of the island.

 

 

Army in ‘systematic’ campaign to drive Rohingya from Myanmar: UN

Rohingya refugees fleeing from Myanmar.

 

 

GENEVA: Myanmar‘s “systematic” crackdown on the Rohingya is aimed at permanently expelling the minority Muslim community from their home in Rakhine state, the United Nations said Wednesday. The UN report, which is based on interviews with refugees who have fled to Bangladesh, details a campaign by Myanmar’s military to terrorize the Rohingya through atrocities that range from indiscriminate killings to rape. “Brutal attacks against Rohingya in northern Rakhine State have been well-organised, coordinated and systematic, with the intent of not only driving the population out of Myanmar but preventing them from returning to their homes,” the UN said. UN researchers spoke to people who arrived in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar area since August 25, when militant attacks on Myanmar’s security forces in Rakhine sparked a major military backlash. More than half a million people have fled, UN figures show. But the probe found that the latest wave of military “clearance operations” in Rakhine actually began before that date, possibly in early August, contradicting government claims that the crackdown was a response to militant strikes. The investigation outlines an army-led campaign to erase the Rohingya’s connection to their homeland in the majority Buddhist nation, where they have suffered persecution for decades. Myanmar’s troops also often operate “in concert with armed Rakhine Buddhist individuals,” the UN said. “In some cases, before and during the attacks, megaphones were used to announce: ‘You do not belong here — go to Bangladesh. If you do not leave, we will torch your houses and kill you’,” it said.

 

The findings were based on interviews conducted in Bangladesh between September 14 and 24, with researchers finding evidence of abuses designed to “in still deep and widespread fear” among the Rohingya population. This included accounts of soldiers surrounding homes and firing indiscriminately as residents ran for their lives as well as uniformed men gang-raping women and girls, some as young as five. One statement, “received by an extremely credible source, referred to a (pregnant) woman whose stomach was slit open after she was raped”, the report said. Speaking to reporters in Geneva, researcher Thomas Hunecke also said the UN had “very credible information” that Myanmar’s military had planted landmines along the Bangladesh border. “It is highly likely that these mines have been planted in order to prevent the Rohingya population from returning”, he said. Teachers, as well as cultural, religious and community leaders have also been targeted in the latest crackdown “in an effort to diminish Rohingya history, culture and knowledge”, the report said. “Efforts were taken to effectively erase signs of memorable landmarks in the geography of the Rohingya landscape and memory in such a way that a return to their lands would yield nothing but a desolate and unrecognisable terrain,” it added. The UN team said it spoke to hundreds of people in a series of 65 interviews, some with individuals and some with groups of up to 40 people. UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, has previously described the crackdown as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.


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