News Flash – 16 November 2018

National News

 

 

Cancer cases go up by 15% in six years in India

 

Mumbai: The number of cancer cases countrywide has gone up in six years by 15.7%. Data shared by Indian Council of Medical Research’s National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research on Wednesday showed 11.5 lakh cancer cases were reported across the country this year, as against10 lakh in 2012. Experts from Tata Memorial Hospital (Parel) said the increase was not alarming as it can be explained with factors such as increased population and better diagnostic techniques. As per the new data, cancer related deaths also rose by 12%. While 7 lakh Indians died of cancer-related complications in 2012, the number increased to 7.8 lakh this year. ICMR cancer centre director Dr Ravi Mehrotra said lip and oral cavity cancers increased by a whopping 114% in the six-year period. Breast cancer, emerging as a disease linked to urban lifestyle, increased by around11%, from 1.4lakhin 2012 to1.6lakhin 2018. These numbers are estimates provided by web-based Globocan programme that was developed by International Agency for Research on Cancer and World Health Organisation. IARC released the 2018 estimates recently.

 

The silver lining in the estimates is the sharp dip in cases of cervical cancer, which until a decade back was the No.1cancer among Indian women. Globocan data showed a 21% fall in cervical cancer cases, from 1.23 lakh in 2012 to 96 in 2018. Dr Mehrotra said, “An increase in awareness, better screening and treatment facilities, later age of marriage, fewer pregnancies and improved hygiene leading to fewer infections are some key factors contributing to this decline in cervical cancer cases”. Dr Rajesh Dikshit, who heads Tata Memorial Centre’s epidemiology department said the incidence of cervical cancer had started decreasing in Mumbai many years back. “A decade back, the incidence in Mumbai was 17 cases for every 100,000 populations, but the incidence has now dropped to 8 per 100,000 in Mumbai,” he said. ICMR officials said as18% of the world’s population lived in India, it was important to understand the disease burden of cancer in every state of India. ICMR released an elaborate state-wise data of cancer along with medical journal, ‘The Lancet’, last month.

 

 

Fire in plastic factory in outer Delhi

 

 

New Delhi: A major fire broke out at a plastic factory in outer Delhi’s Bawana Industrial Area early on Thursday morning. Police said that two floors of the factory were completely gutted and goods worth lakhs were destroyed in the incident. A security guard informed the police about the incident, soon after which fire tenders were rushed to the spot. At first, 12 fire tenders were rushed to the spot but when the fire could not be contained, another 10 fire tenders were pushed to action with the fire finally being doused around 8.10am. The cooling procedure went on for the next one hour. After the fire was doused, officials found cracks in the building and immediately, the nearby buildings were evacuated. Police said that nobody was injured in the incident. A senior police officer said that the exact cause of fire is yet to be ascertained and investigations in the case are ongoing. They said that most likely, the fire could have started due to a short circuit on the ground floor, but the same is yet to be ascertained.

 

 

Man behind Khaira Bank Robbery held in SW Delhi

 

 

New Delhi: The mastermind of the first bank robbery in the capital in a decade, Ram Lagan Sharma (26), was arrested in southwest Delhi’s Chhawla on Thursday. Sharma, and his elder brother, Ravinder, sons of a postman, took to crime as teenagers while two other brothers focused on studies. While one of them joined BSF, the other got a private job. Sharma joined the Shakti Sharda gang in early 2000 but later formed his own gang. To dominate in southwest Delhi, Sharma killed Shakti’s brother, Sajjan Suri, in 2014. In retaliation, Shakti and his shooters gunned down Sharma’s brother, Somdutt, on February 3, 2016. After coming out of jail in 2017, Sharma worked as a guard and later as the personal security officer of a businessmen in Maharani Bag on a monthly salary of Rs 15,000. However, his drug addiction cost him the job. Sharma then decided to eliminate Sharda to take revenge. To gather funds to hire shooters, he planned the bank robbery. After visiting around 15 bank branches in Najafgarh, he zeroed in on the Corporation Bank branch in Khaira Village as it was near the Haryana border and the area was known to him. He roped in fellow addicts, Pradeep, Sachin, Vicky, Parvesh, Pawan Pandey and Sachin. Pandey had an account in that branch. However, they could flee with just Rs 3.2 lakh after shooting the cashier on October 13. In the past one month, five of them were arrested. Sharma had fled to Rajasthan and Punjab but returned on Thursday to borrow money after exhausting his share, said DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse. “The special staff team led by inspector Naveen arrested him. A 9mm pistol, used to kill the cashier, and four cartridges were seized,” he added. Pradeep is still absconding.

 

 

Virologist falls for virus attack on Debit Card line, loses Rs.1 Lakhs

 

 

Bengaluru: The message was terse and a touch ironic since it was delivered to a virologist. “Your debit card attacked by virus,” the caller said and that was enough for the veteran virologist to fall prey to a vishing scam in which he lost over Rs 1 lakh from his Citibank account. A week ago, the virologist approached cybercrime police who have launched an investigation. The victim of the bankcard fraud is an octogenarian and a well-known name in the city in the field of pathology. He is active in several top medical forums across the country. His ordeal began with the message on October 4. Police said the virology expert received a call on his cellphone from a man identifying himself as Rajkumar Varma, a staffer with the bank. Winning the doctor’s trust by mentioning some of his personal details, the con artiste told the doctor that his bankcard was under attack by a virus and it needed immediate fixing to ensure he doesn’t lose money to fraudsters. Taking the caller for real, the virologist parted with his card details, including the CVV number and the OTPs generated, helping the fraudster to make multiple money transfers from his bank account.

 

When it finally dawned on the doctor that he was the victim of a vishing scam, he had lost Rs 1,08,988. A resident of Jayanagar, the doctor filed a complaint with Citibank. As part of the bank’s probe into the cheating, the octogenarian approached the cybercrime police station at the commissionerates on November 5 and lodged a complaint. When contacted, he refused to speak on the matter, only saying Citibank has given him an interim refund and a probe is underway. According to Na. Vijayshankar, a cyber-security consultant, the system used by most banks to manage digital technology is insecure. “Banks should be held completely responsible in such cases,” Vijayshankar said. “One needs to question how a fraudster obtained confidential details of the customer, which the fraudster used to target him”. Vijayshankar said in most cases, the customer is blamed for ignorance and banks shy away from owning up to security flaws. “Police never name banks for abetment in the FIR,” he added.

 

 

Cyclone alert in Chittoor, schools to remain shut

 

 

Tirupati: Chittoor district bordering Tamil Nadu was placed on an alert with cyclone Gaja all set to make a landfall between Cuddalore and Pamban district in the neighbouring state, on Thursday. Schools in 27 mandals have been declared to remain shut on Friday as a precautionary measure. Reviewing the situation with officials of the district administration at the sub collector’s office in Tirupati on Thursday, district collector, PS Pradyuma, said that based on the directions of the state government and the disaster management department, all government officials in 25 mandals of Chittoor district, which were likely to be impacted by cyclone Gaja, were placed on an alert. “With forecast of moderate to heavy rainfall in 25 mandals from Thursday morning and Friday, holiday was declared to all the schools in 27 mandals on Friday. A control room with the number 08572-240500 was also set up at the district collectorate in Chittoor for the same purpose. Special teams have been formed and will be available 24/7 for the public and will closely monitor the situation. Our efforts are to ensure zero loss of life, cattle, property etc. due to the cyclone. Public should also exercise caution during this period,” he said. Meanwhile, the abode of Lord Venkateswara reeled under the impact of strong gales and showers on Thursday morning. Pilgrims coming out of the Tirumala temple along with their families were subjected to extreme inconvenience with no sign of shelter available anywhere near the temple.

 

 

Killer swine flu strikes again, this time in upscale Salt Lake

 

 

Kolkata: A 49-year-old resident of the upscale FE Block in Salt Lake on Thursday succumbed to swine flu at a private hospital. This is the third swine flu death in Kolkata hospitals this year. Mousumi Misra, a homemaker, was admitted to the hospital on October 23 after she had tested positive for the H1N1 virus at another hospital a day earlier. She was treated at an isolation ward and spent nearly three weeks on ventilation. But her condition kept deteriorating and she passed away at 9.40am. The Bidhannagar Municipality said they had not been informed about the case though it is mandatory for hospitals to notify them. The victim, according to her family members, fell ill on October 18. She had high fever and consulted a local doctor who prescribed some medicines that made her feel better. Four days later, she had breathing difficulty and was taken to the Calcutta Heart Clinic. After initial treatment, the latter told the family that she had swine flu and that Mousumi needs to be treated in isolation, a facility that they didn’t have. On October 23, she was admitted to AMRI Hospital in Salt Lake. “Initially, the doctors had said that she needed oxygen support. Soon, they called us to say that she had to be put on ventilation since she wasn’t being able to breathe. A few days later, we were told that she had suffered a stroke. She never came out of ventilation,” said Bani Mukherjee, the victim’s aunt.

 

AMRI, on the other hand, pointed out that Mousumi’s swine flu had been detected at Calcutta Heart Clinic and she had developed severe pneumonia by the time she was admitted. “The H1N1 virus had triggered pneumonia and she had an acute breathing difficulty. Since oxygen support was not enough, she had to be put on ventilation. Even as her condition was about to stabilize, she had a renal failure. It was followed by septicemia which was again very severe,” said a doctor who treated the victim. AMRI had formed a medical panel, which comprised a pulmonologist and a urologist, for the patient. On Wednesday, Mousumi was put on dialysis for six hours. According to the hospital, she had responded to the dialysis but the septicemia infection proved fatal. “It negated all our efforts,” said a doctor. The victim’s husband, Saugata Misra, said he had planned to move her to SSKM Hospital. “We had sought a treatment summary from the hospital, which was given to us. But immediately after that, they hastily put my wife on dialysis, which led to her death,” he alleged. Mousumi suffered a cardiac arrest on Thursday morning and passed away within minutes. Nilanjana Manna, councilor of ward 33 – where the victim lived – claimed the municipality had no knowledge of the case. “It is mandatory for hospitals to inform us about swine flu, dengue and malaria cases. But we had not been informed,” she said.

 

 

Security beefed up at City Airport

 

 

Kolkata: Security was enhanced at the city airport from Tuesday afternoon after the airport director’s office reportedly received an email from an unknown account with a short message: “Airport is highjake”. Following the receipt of the mail, a high-level meeting was held and security was instantly beefed up. However, studying the nature of the mail with the word “hijack” misspelt as “highjake”, the officials categorised the threat mail as a non-specific threat and lodged a complaint with the local police station to probe into the issue. “The airport director’s office received the mail around 11am on November 13 on the official Airports Authority of India email id of the director. The nature of the words suggests it may be a prank. However, the officials decided to beef up the security,” said a senior official at the airport. A news agency reported the mail was received from the email address purnadhara900@gmail.com. “All operations were alerted and aviation security officials ran a detailed check but found nothing alarming. The case was then passed on to the local police authorities,” said another official. Officers of Airport police station said they were conducting an inquiry. However, an officer of the Bidhannagar Commissionerates suggested the mail and threat alert can be a part of a surprise drill.

 

 

NSG men storm city mall to ‘neutralize terrorists

NSG commandos prepare to enter City Centre II at Rajarhat during the counter-terrorism drill on Wednesday.

 

 

Kolkata: Late on Wednesday, automatic gunfire erupted at one of the most popular shopping malls and an adjoining hotel close to the airport. Within minutes, men in black with sophisticated weapons stormed the premises to neutralize ‘terrorists’ holding shoppers and hotel guests ‘hostage’. The operating was over soon and the ‘hostages’ were ‘freed’. This was a counter-terrorism drill held at the City Centre II Mall at Rajarhat and Swissotel by National Security Guard (NSG) commandos from the hub near Madhyamgram. According to a ministry of home affairs official, such drills are extremely important to assess the challenges that special teams may face at important locations. During such drills, NSG operates with other stakeholders like the police, fire and health departments. Lights were turned off and thermal imaging was used in the operation. “Police are the first to respond in case of a terror attack. Only after the police have evacuated as many as possible and cordoned the area, thereby containing the terrorists, special forces like the NSG move in to neutralize the threat. During such drills, standard operating procedures evolve that are helpful when there is a real strike,” the MHA source said.

 

 

Coastal areas battered as Gaja makes landfall at Vedaranyam

Some parts of Cuddalore witnessed heavy rain on Thursday.

 

 

Chennai: Cyclone Gaja made landfall at Vedaranyam by 1 am on Friday with high winds of 90km per hour and heavy rain lashing Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Puducherry. At the time of going to press around 1.30 am, the cyclone was still on in full force as the whole process of landfall was expected to take two to three hours. Trees were uprooted and power supply disrupted in areas in the cyclones path. The extent of damage would be clear only after the storm plays out by Friday morning. The state government said 72,498 people in vulnerable areas were evacuated and housed in 368 relief centres in the six districts. A holiday was declared for educational institutions in these districts for Friday. Medical teams have fanned out across the state to deal with emergencies and to check the spread of diseases. Four teams of the NDRF have been deployed in Nagapattinam district while two teams of the SDRF were stationed in Cuddalore district, officials said. The government has announced helpline numbers 1070 (state level) and 1077 (districts) for those who may need help.

 

 

Andaman Sea brews strongest storms

THE PRECURSOR: (Above) The city shore hit by a strong wind on Thursday evening as this photo of Pattinapakkam shows; fishermen take a boat to safety in Ennore (below); With strong wind the sea grows rough (right) and black cloud covers the city sky.

 

 

Andaman: Nearly a week before Cyclone Gaja packed winds and barreled through the Bay of Bengal towards the Tamil Nadu coast, meteorologists reading the satellite images knew what they had to brace for. A low pressure observed over the Andaman Sea had intensified into a severe cyclone and gathered strength on its way to land in about six days. As people grew anxious over what might befall them, researchers observed a pattern. Cyclone Gaja was not the first weather event to originate from the Andaman Sea that went on to intensify as a severe cyclonic storm. Research by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology found that in the last 42 years, 23 weather systems that developed over the Andaman Sea had intensified as cyclones or severe cyclones and that high humidity in the air over the sea was the main triggering factor. The storms that originated from the Andaman Sea and travelled across the Bay of Bengal were also the ones that lasted the longest and had the highest intensity. “Cyclone is a combination of wind and moisture. High humidity enhances convection and if there is enough moisture available in the air, it can boost the intensification of the weather system. This is what is happening over the Andaman Sea,” said IITM scientist Sreenivas Pentakota, the lead researcher. The researchers found the pattern when they analysed cyclonic storms that originated between 1971 and 2013 in different regions of the Bay of Bengal, including the Andaman Sea, Central Indian Ocean and the East Coast.

 

Upon analysing several weather parameters, they zeroed in on humidity in the mid-troposphere (average altitude of 7km to 18km), which was high over the Andaman Sea region, as a major factor favouring the intensification of weather systems. “Sea surface temperature is an important factor. There is a barrier layer that stops the mixing of water on the surface with the subsurface. When this happens, the sea surface temperature rises due to solar radiation. This favors the formation of a weather system,” said Pentakota. According to experts, a cyclonic storm gets stronger by the day if it stays and interacts with the sea for a longer period. During the study, scientists saw a link between the Andaman Sea and the lifetime of the cyclones it generated. Cyclonic storms from the Andaman Sea travelling across central Bay of Bengal before making landfall lasted over a week and gathered maximum strength. As the influence of the Bay of Bengal over the northeast monsoon largely remain a mystery, Pentakota said his study would help in fine-tuning models to predict cyclones better in the future. “It will also help in understanding the processes associated with the genesis and intensification of cyclones over the Bay of Bengal,” he said.

 

 

Three H1N1 deaths in Coimbatore Government Hospital in two days

 

 

Coimbatore: Three people died of H1N1 and two due to viral fever at the Coimbatore Medical College Hospital here since Wednesday. According to hospital sources, Padmavathy, 70, of Gudalur, was admitted to GH on Tuesday after she was diagnosed with H1N1 in a private hospital. She died on Thursday. Similarly, Sivarajan, 52, of Kovil Medu, passed away on Thursday due to the virus. Mochammal, 67, also died of the H1N1 virus on Wednesday. All the three patients were treated at private hospitals before being shifted to the government hospital when their condition became critical. They died less than 48 hours after being admitted in the hospital. Dikki, 20, from Bihar, died of viral fever at the CMCH on Thursday. He was working as a labourer in the city. Nisar Ahmed, from Karur, was admitted at the CMCH at 2.25pm on Wednesday with complaints of viral fever. He died hardly half an hour later at 2.50pm. On Tuesday, at least three patients died an hour after they were referred and brought to the government hospital. Doctors at the hospital said most of these patients were admitted at a stage when they were already suffering from severe respiratory problems and some were even on the ventilator. “The infection is best controlled when diagnosed within the first three days, given oseltamivir and other supportive treatment preventing the infection from turning into a pneumonia,” said director of public health, Dr P Kolandaisamy. “Supportive treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids, steam inhalations, paracetamols if required and constant monitoring,” he said.

 

 

72k people shifted out of Gaja’s path

SAFE ASHORE: More than 1,000 boats in the Pamban fishing harbour were shifted to a lee (area seen behind the trees) to minimize the impact.

 

 

By the time the severe cyclonic storm Gaja began to make landfall south of Nagapattinam in the early hours of Friday, the Tamil Nadu government had made elaborate arrangements to face any eventuality. The administrations of Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Cuddalore, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur and Puddukottai districts put in place steps for relief and rehabilitation. A holiday was declared for schools and colleges in these districts for Friday. A total of 72,498 people in the six districts were shifted to 368 safe shelters. Alerts on the cyclone were made in coastal hamlets through public address systems in churches, mosques and temples. Medical teams were deputed across the districts to deal with emergency situations. Officials said they will be on alert and will take all preventive measures to ensure that there is no disease outbreak if there is flooding. The health department urged the public to maintain utmost hygiene so that water borne or vector borne diseases do not spread if there is flooding. Officials said they were worried about typhoid, cholera or leptospirosis spreading if there was any flooding. Cuddalore collector V Anbuselvan instructed all officials not to take leave on Thursday and Friday to take up relief and rehabilitation measures swiftly. Deputy director of fisheries for Ramanathapuram region E Kathavarayan told TOI that from November 11 all fishing activities had been suspended. “We have asked fishermen not to go to the sea till November 16”.

 

Since the cyclone was coming in the north-east direction in the anti-clockwise motion, boats from the northern part of the district near Mandapam were taken to safety to the Kunthukal area near Pamban. As many as 465 mechanized boats from the north were taken to Kunthukal by opening the railway bridge at Pamban on Wednesday and Thursday. Most of the country crafts and fibre boats were taken to the shore while nearly 160 boats from the Dhanushkodi area in the southern part were taken to safety to the Gulf of Mannar. The fisher folk of these villages, who are mostly Sri Lankan refugees, were also relocated to safety on Wednesday evening. The Nagapattinam district administration has deployed three teams of National Disaster Relief Force personnel who had arrived from Arakkonam. Collector S Sureshkumar met the team and briefed them. State food minister R Kamaraj visited various places in Tiruvarur district and inspected the preparedness to face the cyclone, while minister for handlooms and textiles O S Manian took out a tour across the district and inspected the arrangements. By 6pm, rain lashed parts of the district. Weather in Trichy, Thanjavur and Pudukottai districts remained bright till 2pm, after which it became cloudy. Mild showers were experienced since 7pm.

 

 

International News

 

 

Never used a computer in my life: Japan’s minister of cybersecurity

 

 

Tokyo: Japan’s recently-appointed cybersecurity and Olympics minister has told parliament he has never used a computer in his life, though he is responsible for overseeing cybersecurity preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Games. Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, was named to the two posts last month by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, having never held a cabinet position before during his 22 years in parliament. The minister made the admission at a parliamentary committee meeting on Wednesday when asked by an opposition lawmaker if he was computer literate. “I’ve been independent since I was 25 and have always directed my staff and secretaries to do that kind of thing,” Sakurada replied. “I’ve never used a computer!”. Sakurada had said he recognised that “firmly carrying out cybersecurity from a citizen’s standpoint” was part of his job. When asked by the lawmaker how someone lacking computer skills could be in charge of cybersecurity, Sakurada said policy was decided broadly by a number of people in his office and the national government, and he was confident there would be no problems.

 

 

Staff of China star hotels clean toilet seats, cups with same cloth

 

 

Beijing: At least four major international hotel chains apologised on Thursday after hidden camera video of their room-cleaning practices in China was posted online. The 11-minute video shows cleaners wiping cups and sinks with dirty towels and sponges. Some use the same towel to wipe the toilet seat. The Shangri-La Hotel in Fuzhou said the actions in the video violate its standards, while the Park Hyatt in Beijing called it an isolated occurrence. The Waldorf Astoria in Shanghai and the Sheraton in Guiyang city also apologised and said they were reviewing their procedures. Hilton and Marriott were among the 14 luxury hotels included in the video. Activist blogger ‘Huazong’ posted the video on Wednesday on his verified account on Weibo. It had been shared 78,000 times by Thursday afternoon. Beijing tourism authorities issued a statement requiring hotels to check and rectify their practices.


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