Over 10 feared dead as Goa bridge collapses
Onlookers crowded on the footbridge to watch the operation when the structure gave way, sending a large number of people crashing into the river.
MARGAO: At least 10 people are feared to have drowned in the Zuari River at Sanvordem, 60km from Panaji, after a 30-metre span of a steel footbridge adjacent to an old bridge collapsed on Thursday evening. One body was fished out of the waters late night by fire brigade personnel and six people were rescued. Police said the footbridge collapsed around 6.30pm as fire personnel were recovering the body of a person, Santosh Vandar, found floating in the river. He had allegedly committed suicide. Onlookers crowded on the footbridge to watch the operation when the structure gave way, sending a large number of people crashing into the river. While several swam ashore to safety, eye witnesses said those who tried to save the drowning people, were also carried away by the strong current. Police identified the only body that was recovered on Thursday as that of Basavraj Malnavar, 30, a truck driver from Sanguem. The rescued were rushed to hospitals and are learnt to be out of danger.
Rescue operations by the Navy and the Coast Guard were under way until last reports came in. Guard were under way until last reports came in.CM Manohar Parrikar, who briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the tragedy, said there would be very few casualties. Parrikar, who was monitoring the situation, said he had spoken to the Navy. “I’ve briefed both the PM and the home minister,” he told TOI. Parrikar said Union home minister Rajnath Singh asked him whether the national disaster management authority team needed to be deputed to Goa. “I informed him that it was an accidental tragedy and doesn’t require the team to be deputed here,” he said. “We cannot predict the number of persons missing,” he said. PWD minister Ramkrishna `Sudin’ Dhavalikar said people ignored the warnings put up at the footbridge, leading to the tragedy. “People were warned not to use the bridge. But on Thursday, almost 100 jumped over from the old bridge to this footbridge they invited the calamity,” he said. At least 10 people are feared to have drowned in the Zuari River at Sanvordem, 60km from Panaji, after a 30-metre span of a steel footbridge adjacent to an old bridge collapsed on Thursday evening.
One body was fished out of the waters late night by fire brigade personnel and six people were rescued. Police said the footbridge collapsed around 6.30pm as fire personnel were recovering the body of a person, Santosh Vandar, found floating in the river. He had allegedly committed suicide. Onlookers crowded on the footbridge to watch the operation when the structure gave way, sending a large number of people crashing into the river. While several swam ashore to safety, eye witnesses said those who tried to save the drowning people, were also carried away by the strong current. Police identified the only body that was recovered on Thursday as that of Basavraj Malnavar, 30, a truck driver from Sanguem. The rescued were rushed to hospitals and are learnt to be out of danger. Rescue operations by the Navy and the Coast Guard were under way until last reports came in. Guard were under way until last reports came in. CM Manohar Parrikar, who briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the tragedy, said there would be very few casualties. Parrikar, who was monitoring the situation, said he had spoken to the Navy. “I’ve briefed both the PM and the home minister,” he told TOI. Parrikar said Union home minister Rajnath Singh asked him whether the national disaster management authority team needed to be deputed to Goa. “I informed him that it was an accidental tragedy and doesn’t require the team to be deputed here,” he said. “We cannot predict the number of persons missing,” he said. PWD minister Ramkrishna ‘Sudin’ Dhavalikar said people ignored the warnings put up at the footbridge, leading to the tragedy. “People were warned not to use the bridge. But on Thursday, almost 100 jumped over from the old bridge to this footbridge they invited the calamity,” he said.
Burglar cleans out Bandra house of Rs 27L valuables
MUMBAI: An unidentified man broke into the house of a Bandra resident, Francis Nerora, and made away with cash, costly watch, gold and diamond-studded ornaments valued at Rs 27 lakh on May 9. The break-in took place despite Nerora installing a hi-tech anti-burglary system and motion sensors in his Perry Cross Road house. Police suspect the burglar entered Nerora’s flat after cutting open the window grille. “The burglar seemed to be aware about Nerora’s work schedule,” said a police officer. Nerora spends five days in the city and the remaining in Pune. In his complaint, Nerora stated: “My family is frequently out of town. Hence I have given the remote of the anti-burglary system to a neighbour, so that the system can be switched off in case of a false alarm”. On May 9 when Nerora and his family was out of town, the alarm went off. “The neighbour stepped out to check Nerora’s flat. He checked all points of entry, but found no signs of forced entry, so he deactivated the alarm. He then called Nerora and informed him about the incident. Nerora hadn’t received a text message about the break-in,” said an officer from Bandra police station. Police said Nerora found his house burgled after he returned in the evening.
More respite likely on weekend with thunderstorm, rain
New Delhi: A spell of rain on Wednesday morning brought down temperatures in the capital by around 4 to 5 degrees Celsius and Met officials say more respite is likely as one or two spells of rain and thunderstorm activity expected over the weekend. The maximum temperature on Thursday was around 40.2 degrees Celsius, hovering in the normal range for the season. The city saw mercury touching 45 degrees Celsius in places on Monday. The minimum temperature on Thursday was reported to be 27.1 degrees Celsius. The Regional Weather Forecasting Centre in Delhi forecasts maximum and minimum temperature to stay in a similar range on Friday, with the possibility of thundery development. However, more rainfall activity is forecast for the weekend with gusty winds and thunder squall likely to occur over the national capital region on the night of May 20. “There will be partly cloudy sky with possibility of development of thunder and lightning on Friday. The maximum and minimum temperatures will be around 41 and 27 degrees Celsius. After that, one or two spells of rain/thunderstorm accompanied by gusty winds and thunder squall are likely to take place from the night of May 20 to May 22 evening with peak weather activity occurring on Sunday,” said an official.
Rs 45 crore in old notes seized from Chennai tailor’s shop
CHENNAI: Police seized Rs 45 crore in demonetised currency notes from a shop in Zackariah Colony in Kodambakkam on Thursday. Acting on a tip-off, a police team headed by deputy commissioner, T Nagar, Saravanan, and Kodambakkam inspector, Chittibabu, raided a shop which stitches uniforms for police personnel. Subsequently, they seized four gunny bags in which the money – in the scrapped Rs 500 and Rs 1000 denominations – was stuffed. The owner Dhandapani, who was taken into custody, told police that a realtor from Pondy Bazaar, Pathan Gilani, had given him the money to be kept in the shop. However, police suspect that Dhandapani was acting as an agent exchanging old currency notes for a commission. Police said the money could have been stockpiled as his attempts to exchange it proved futile. Police have submitted a report to the RBI and handed over the cash to them. Police sources said that the case is likely to be shifted to the I-T department or the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence.
Since demonetisation was announced on November 8, there have been several raids in Chennai on businessmen and others. The raids on the premises of sand mining baron Sekhar Reddy and two of his associates last December have been the biggest so far. The IT department had seized Rs 130.5 crore in old and new currencies and 177 kg of gold worth Rs 50.5 crore during the raids. In March, the Chennai police had seized demonetised notes amounting to Rs 1.02 crore and Rs 3.45 crore in two different incidents from people who were attempting to get it exchanged for a commission.
Fire at SAL Hospital, 100 evacuated
Officials said that the probable reason for the incident is short-circuit in a biomedical equipment store room.
AHMEDABAD: A fire on the third floor of SAL Hospital at Thaltej created panic among patients and their relatives on Thursday evening. The Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) controlled the flames and smoke after a two-and-a-half hour operation. AFES officials said that the probable reason for the incident is short-circuit in a biomedical equipment store room. About 100 persons trapped on the floor were evacuated by AFES using snorkels. The relatives of patients on higher floors prayed for their safety as the entrance was blocked for the AFES operation for over two hours. Officials said that none of the patients were affected in the incident. For Nihar Jain, this was an inferno that will take time to subside from his mind. Jain was among the first persons to see the flames and inform the authorities, when he saw the fire in the third-floor windows. “My mother is in the ICU. There was initial panic about her safety, but I could not go up as the stairs and the elevators shut down. There was no way to communicate either. Eventually, my sister reached the ICU and told me that everything was okay. My mother had no idea about what was going on,” Jain said.
He was among the many who prayed for the safety of their loved ones when SAL Hospital near Thaltej Crossroads reported a major fire on Thursday, at about 7pm. Dhaval Prajapati, whose father was admitted in the hospital, said he rushed into the foyer after finding out about the blaze and tried to start the hospital’s firefighting system, by using the firehoses and fire extinguishers. However, by that time an Ahmedabad Fire and Emergency Services (AFES) team had arrived and started their operations. “There was confusion about what was going on. I am happy that the fire didn’t spread to other parts of the hospital,” he said. Another person, who did not want to be named, got emotional outside the hospital when the operation was under way. “We were exhausted and had just gone to a nearby lodge to get some rest, before the night shift next to my father. We saw smoke from the lodge window and rushed to the spot. We were told that everything is under control,” he said.
For AFES, the operation started with four fire-fighting vehicles a total of 27 vehicles were ultimately employed. Rajesh Bhatt, additional chief fire officer, AFES, said that they suspect the fire started after a short-circuit in the biomedical equipment store, on the corner of the third floor. “There was no escape for the smoke and we had to use heavy-duty blowers to disperse the smoke and improve visibility. As this was a hospital, we operated with caution and first evacuated persons on the affected floor using a snorkel and then contained the flames. The smoke had reached the upper floors as well. We also had to smash some glass panes, to release the smoke. No one was hurt in the incident,” he said.
WannaCry sends IT cos scrambling for security
Hyderabad: Ransomware WannaCry is living up to its name by giving sleepless nights to thousands of techies, particularly systems engineers and server maintenance teams in IT offices dotting the cyber city. Though the cyberattack has not yet affected servers in the city, techies are burning the midnight oil upgrading security patches and anti-virus systems on computers ever since the first report of the attack broke out on May 12. This is in addition to the regular targets for deliverables that the teams are chasing. In fact, staff at many companies have been on the job for six straight days and nights now. Companies dealing with crucial financial data, particularly IT, insurance and banking services providers, are not taking any chances and are upgrading their entire network of systems and servers. “Almost all companies have put aside routine work and taken up upgrade of their servers and individual systems with the latest security patches and versions of software on a war footing. We are doing this for our 11 servers and over 20,000 systems. Our teams have been working overtime for the last five days now,” said a senior official from a mid-sized IT company in the city.
“Since WannaCry is dependent on the route vulnerability of HP, we have blocked ports like TCP 137, 445 and UDP ports on every connected system,” said Praveen Ghanwar, director, Vividha IT solutions. With many companies having fallen prey to ransomware attacks in the past, none of the IT companies are willing to take any chances, said IT industry sources. “From the weekend, employees of almost every company are busy updating software patches, servers and machines connected to the servers. Once upgraded, each application has to be checked individually to see whether they are functioning properly or not, if there is any data loss and whether the appearance of the applications is perfect or not. For instance, a change in colour of an application page can mean danger,” said Sundeep Kumar Makthala, president of Telangana Information Technology Association.
CCTV effect: Copying cases in class XII exams drop by 39%
AHMEDABAD: Better CCTV surveillance during the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Board (GSHSEB) exams this year seems to have had a deterring effect on copying. Compared to last year’s 90% video surveillance, this year, the GSHSEB had claimed that CCTV and tablets were used to watch all exam rooms, without leaving out any. As a result of the enhanced surveillance, copying cases in Amreli district dropped from 643 last year to just 101 this year. Copying cases registered in class XII exams dropped from 1,468 cases last year to 899 this year – an almost 39% drop. However, copying in class X exams went up from 1,007 last year to 1,157 cases this year. Meanwhile, the board began proceedings on copy cases involving students of class XII on Thursday. Around 100 students were called. Results of a centre in Anand district has been kept pending as officials found problem with the CDs. Most students called by the board admitted that they were in possession of material, but denied having copied from it. An external student in Kheda was allegedly found with a chit by the supervisor, who snatched and threw it out the classroom. This was recorded on CCTV and landed her in soup.
The board also sought explanation from Kheda DEO on why no copy case was registered against a girl, who was caught copying while sitting behind three boys, who have been reported. Controller of exams, Bharat Panchal said that the hearings on this year’s copy cases for class X will begin in June once the results are out. Board’s joint secretary, BN Rajgor said that the board would hold hearing in nearly 100 cases on a daily basis. Parents would be shown the video footage in case of disputes. The most copying cases came from Gir-Somnath district in class XII where there was video footage of 174 cases. The DEO of the district said copying is rampant in interior areas of Gir. “There were efforts to disconnect power supply in order to avoid recording by CCTV and tablets. But with whatever footage was available, 174 copying cases have been reported to the board,” he said. In class X exams, siddhartha Morbi district recorded highest copying with 308 cases, followed by Patan district with 94 cases. Morbi’s DEO, B N Dave, said, “In a centre at Maliya village, we noticed an incident of mass copying. When a vigilance squad went to the centre, copying stopped, but resumed as soon as the squad members left the centre”. Board officials said that those caught copying on video were given punishment. They were not allowed to pass in the paper in which they were found copying. Some were made ineligible to take exams for a couple of terms, and those who used dummy candidates were debarred from taking exams for three years.
The ogling examinee: A 35-year-old external student taking Class XII exam at a centre near Rajkot city was debarred from taking exam for one year. This was after a woman supervisor complained before the board that the student ogled at her for three hours instead of writing his test. This was verified during scrutiny of the video footage. He was also found to be in possession of a chit. He was held guilty of copying. There is no provision of taking any action against students for gestures other than copying. Jamkandorna case: In 2014, there was a case of mass copying reported about class XII general stream students in Jamkandorna town in Saurashtra region. This irregularity was discovered by examiners while assessing answer sheets. The board arranged for a re-test in the particular subject and 70% of students, who appeared in exams again, cleared the exam. The board bypassed all norms to be followed in case of copying. When asked, concerned minister told TOI that it is an old incident and hence irrelevant now.
Five dead, 19 missing after Haiti rains, flooding
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: Five people were killed and 9 missing on Thursday after torrential rains and flooding hit Haiti, its Department of Civil Protection said. Streams, rivers and ravines overflowed causing the casualties and some damage to infrastructure, the government authority said in a statement. Nineteen fishermen were missing from two towns in the coastal Grande-Anse region of southern Haiti, it said, adding that in the same region 322 people were staying in shelters and 20 people sought shelter in the Nord-Ouest department. Haiti has been grappling with a heavy rainy season this year and is recovering from Category-4 Hurricane Matthew, which devastated much of the country’s southwest last October. The impoverished nation is in a hurricane-prone area and is especially susceptible to natural disasters because of poor infrastructure and a lack of government resources.
Pakistan at crossroads in terror fight, must decide: Army chief
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan stands at a “crossroads” in its fight against extremism and must decide whether it wants to enjoy the benefits of its young demography or suffer at the hands of terrorism, Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa said today. Gen Bajwa, speaking on the role of ‘Youth in Rejecting Extremism’ here, said the Army would defeat terrorists but it needed the support of the nation to wipe out extremism from the society. “Please remember, while the Army fights terrorists, terrorism and extremism is fought by law enforcing agencies and society,” he said. Pakistan is a young nation, the army chief said, adding that demographically, more than 50 per cent of population is projected to be less than 25 years of age. “We are standing at a crossroads; ten year down the line, we will either be enjoying the fruits of a youth dividend or suffering at the hands of a youth bulge, especially with the youth which remains vulnerable to extremism,” he said. “A youth driven towards extremism is a youth without a clear idea of his values and identity,” Gen Bajwa said.
Talking about India caught in extremism, he said: “Just next door, India seems to have given in to extremism to such an extent that it has become the new normal. Hate has been mainstreamed in India and it is distorting there national outlook”. “The Hindutva extremism of the RSS and their Gao Rakshaks, deprivation of Palestinians, the burning and desecration of mosques or gurdwaras in western capitals, the rise of hyper nationalists and the monster of racism, are all manifestations of extremism”. He said Pakistani youth is getting exploited due to poor governance and lack of justice in the society. “Our challenges are very real but there are positive sides to the picture as well. Not only have we survived the worst onslaught of terrorism in modern history, we have reversed the tide. In fact, security has now achieved conditions to help development take off,” he said. He accused enemies of Pakistan for waging war. “Our enemies, both state and non-state, are actively pursuing divisive tendencies in society. Let me say that they are waging the biggest and most sustained ‘Hybrid War’ against us from multiple directions and using multiple ways,” he said.
He said the “enemy” was using social media to achieve its objective. “We are being targeted by not only terrorists but also spin masters of multiple hostile agencies, trying to subvert our minds, particularly that of our youth. Being denied opportunities in the mainstream media, they are using faceless platforms on the internet and smart phones,” he said. He said the Indian leadership has made no secret of its involvement in proxy struggle in the erstwhile East Pakistan (which later became Bangladesh) and now in Balochistan. He said Pakistan took action affiant “terrorists of all hues and colours” and ensured the writ of state in the farthest and remotest corners of the country. “Today there are no safe havens for any miscreants in Pakistan,” he said. He vowed that extremism will also be defeated as terrorism was defeated in Pakistan.
China reports progress on South China Sea code of conduct
BEIJING: China says it has reached agreement with the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations on the rough outline of a legally binding code of conduct designed to prevent clashes in the strategic South China Sea. State media on Friday quoted Vice Foreign Minister Liu Zhenmin as saying that the agreement reached the day before laid a “solid foundation” for further negotiations. Liu said the text of the framework agreement would remain secret and projected no date for finalizing the code of conduct. China and the members of ASEAN committed 15 years ago to signing a code of conduct, but progress has been slow amid disputes over the body of water that China claims virtually in its entirety.