News Flash – 24 August 2018

National News

 

 

Face recognition to be must for all authentications by Aadhaar

 

 

New Delhi: The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has announced a new measure that seeks to mandate facial recognition—by taking on-the-spot live pictures —for every authentication that requires Aadhaar. Services that most commonly use Aadhaar authentication include issue of mobile SIMs (new or replacement), banks, the public distribution system (PDS) and attendance at government offices. Facial recognition will come in as an additional feature along with the regular process that identifies an individual based on fingerprints or iris (eye) scans. The measure is being implemented following ‘official circulars’ issued by the UIDAI (on June 19 and August 17) to Authentication User Agencies (AUAs), Authentication Service Agencies (ASAs), and certified biometric device providers. Any failure to follow the process will be treated as a criminal offence by authentication agencies, punishable with imprisonment and fine under Section 42 and 43 of the Aadhaar Act, 2016, sources said. UIDAI said the measure was being used to provide an added security layer, while also making the Aadhaar process ‘more inclusive’. “There have been numerous instances where people have been excluded from Aadhaar authentication as their fingerprints are worn out due to old age, or since they are involved in manual labour or agriculture. This will help include them in the Aadhaar authentication process,” chief executive officer of the Unique Identification Authority of India Ajay Bhushan Pandey told TOI. New Aadhaar authentication process to be done in phases: UIDAI CEO Ajay Bhushan Pandey said the new Aadhaar authentication process would be rolled out “in a phased manner”, and would initially be mandated for providers of SIM cards of telecom companies.

 

Telecom operators have been directed that with effect from September 15 of this year, at least 10% of their total monthly authentication transactions should be performed using facial recognition. Any shortfall in transactions using face authentication would lead to a penalty at 20 paise per transaction. “Face authentication is the latest technology, and provides added security. After we hit 10% of authentication transactions, we will have a review of any possible shortfalls that we notice in the system or processes. Thereafter, we will expand, within telecom and also to other service areas where separate instructions shall be issued regarding implementation of face recognition,” the UIDAI CEO said. Explaining how the new system would work, he said that whenever an individual would seek authentication based on Aadhaar, the authorised machine/device being used for the purpose would also capture a picture of the face of the individual. The photo, along with the fingerprint or iris scan, would be sent to UIDAI, which will verify the details on its database, and thereafter send a confirmation of the authenticity of the individual (based on facial and fingerprint/iris confirmations). “Since face photo is already available in UIDAI database, there is no need to capture any new reference data,” the June circular of UIDAI said. The original UIDAI circular on the matter was issued on January 15 this year and had sought the integration of facial recognition from July 1. Thereafter, the same was extended to August 1, after which it was decided to go for a phased rollout “due to non-readiness of few device providers” to give machines with face recognition technology.

 

 

110 buildings denied OC since January over violations

The civic body had issued notices to all the 58 flat owners of Crystal Tower in Parel two years ago for unauthorized occupation.

 

 

Mumbai: Parel’s Crystal Tower is not the only building in the city without an occupation certification. The BMC has rejected OC application of 110 buildings since January this year mostly because of violation of construction rules. Many of these buildings are now occupied despite not getting OC. Expert said most applications are rejected on technical grounds. They said that after unauthorized occupation, many residents carry out changes in their flats, including making illegal extension, as there is no society to check them. It results in repeated rejections of OC application. The BMC received 497 applications for OC from January 1 till August 22, and approved 337 of them. A senior civil engineer said most of the rejections happened because of additional constructions in the building without amendment to the original plan. Senior architect Shirish Sukhatme of PEATA (Practising Engineers, Architects and Town Planners Associations) said, “Following the shift to online process, things are moving faster and builders are not making illegal changes due to fear of RERA. But many a time, an OC application gets rejected because of technical reasons”.

 

He added, “Once people occupy such houses, we witness that they do all kind of changes in their flat because there is no society to rule them. They do illegal amalgamation, included flower bed area and balcony in their flats”. After constructing the building, the builder has to apply for OC from BMC, which compares the construction with building plan submitted earlier. The builder can form the society only after getting the OC, and if someone lives in a house without OC, he is to be consider unauthorized occupant. The fire in Crystal Tower started near a 12th floor flat that was amalgamated illegally. Officials said there are many illegal changes in the building. The BMC rejected Crystal Tower’s OC application in 2013, because the developer failed to cleared Rs 21 lakh one time premium due to the BMC and unable to procure NOC from Mumbai Building Repair and Reconstruction Board. According to sources, residents of the building started to live there without OC and made various changes in flats. A senior civil engineer said, “Such changes can be done only after amending the building plan. Otherwise it becomes a ground for OC rejection”.

 

 

Rishikesh rafting team rescues over 400 affected in Kerala Floods

 

 

Nainital: A 26-member team of rafting experts from Rishikesh who went to Kerala for relief work returned on Thursday after rescuing more than 400 people. Team members told TOI that they used rafts and kayaks to undertake rescue work in Kochi and surrounding areas. Praveen Singh Rangar, team leader, said, “Kerala is facing a terrible catastrophe. We were able to offer help since we have had extensive experience negotiating turbulent waters in river rafting in the Ganga.” The team had deployed 17 rafts and two kayaks to undertake relief work and often had to face challenging situations.

 

 

Cops who rescued woman from fire to be honoured

 

 

New Delhi: The courageous act of the three cops who saved a woman and her husband from a blaze in Paharganj has been praised by Delhi Police and the lieutenant governor. Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik has declared Asadharan Karya Puraskar for the cops and their names are also being sent to MHA for Jeevan Raksha Padak. Patnaik said that Delhi Police would also display their good work on their website. “We are proud of what these men have done. Though it is the duty of a policeman to save a life, these men went an extra step. We commend their presence of mind and their courage,” he said. The cops — constable Sandeep, constable Amit and head constable Manoj — were at a law and order duty for Eid in the same locality where the fire broke out. They jumped in to the house to save a couple that was hanging from the grilles of two separate floors. Earlier in the day LG Anil Baijal tweeted, “Appreciate Delhi Police officers for displaying exemplary courage and bravery in saving life of a couple trapped in fire. HC Manoj, constable Sandeep and Amit did commendable job. Salute these brave men”. Head constable Manoj said that he feels overwhelmed with the praises that he has been receiving. He said that they often get fire calls and always hopes everybody is safe. “I had learnt my lessons from the first time when I saw a person dying in a fire. That was when I decided I will give it my all to save people from fire, no matter how dangerous it is for me,” he said.

 

 

Close shave for kids as driver steers into flooded underpass

Children clambered on to the roof of the bus as water suddenly started gushing in.

 

 

Jaipur: A bus driver, along with a few villagers, saved the lives of at least 50 children going to school at Jagner village in Dausa, when the bus got stuck in a flooded underpass. Initially, the driver could not gauge the severity of waterlogging, as he took the bus near the underpass, despite noticing that it was waterlogged. When water gushed into the bus, he somehow shifted the kids on top of the bus, and thereafter, all the children were rescued with the help of villagers and police. Eastern Rajasthan has been receiving heavy rainfall for the past three days and many areas in Dausa district have witnessed rampant waterlogging. The incident took place on Thursday morning, when the driver of the bus was taking the children to school in the bal-vahini bus. The driver, believing he can manoeuvre the underpass, accelerated the bus. “Later, when water gushed into the bus, he shifted all the children with their school bags, to the top of the bus, using the windows, and waited for the rescue team. Some locals also shot a video of the incident,” said a police officer. “We brought tractor trolleys and pulled the bus to the shallower end. From there, the people reached the top of the bus to ferry the children out,” said an officer. Villagers could be seen throwing ropes towards the children. “The kids were initially reluctant to hold on to the ropes, as they were scared. However, we managed to save all,” said an officer. “The children started screaming in fear, but when they saw members of the rescue team, they cheered up,” said an eye-witness.

 

 

Drones will carry out safety audit of major dams in Karnataka

 

 

Bengaluru: The Karnataka government is undertaking a safety audit and check of all major dams in the state. Water resources minister DK Shivakumar told reporters here on Thursday that the audit is being carried out by experts, using drone cameras. There are no reports of any damage or leakage in any of the dams, but this is being done since chief minister HD Kumaraswamy had sought a report on the safety of dams in the backdrop of most getting filled to the brim, the minister said. Shivakumar said his department will also conduct GIS mapping of dams pertaining to the irrigation department and document them. Experts will conduct video surveillance of the site and photograph dams using a good quality GPS camera, along with the design and drawing of dams, check dams or canals. “As of now, we have only old maps of the dams,” he added. The minister said he has directed police to lodge a complaint and initiate action against those who had spread rumours in social media about cracks developing in Harangi dam, triggering panic among people in rain ravaged Kodagu. The Karnataka government will file an appeal in the Supreme Court against the recent verdict of the Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal. The tribunal, headed by Justice JM Panchal, recently granted Karnataka 13.4tmcft of water against the state’s claim of 36.5tmcft. This includes 8.02tmcft for hydel power generation and 3.9tmcft of water for drinking. “We are not happy with the tribunal’s verdict, so the legal team has suggested filing an appeal,” Shivakumar said.

 

 

Health Alert in balding Hyderabad: Green uproots at blind pace

 

Hyderabad: With Hyderabad’s green cover vanishing at a furious pace thanks to rapid urbanisation and numerous tree falls too being reported in the ongoing monsoon season, ecological experts say the overall quality of life in the city is rapidly headed downhill. In July this year, around 200 trees fell and 30 trees were uprooted, say civic officials, who are yet to assess this data for August but expect the numbers to be similar to last month. On Thursday, while a tree fell at Rajeev Nagar in Borabanda, on August 19 a tree was uprooted near National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC) premises at Masab Tank. On August 11, a tree branch fell on an SUV at Golconda, injuring a woman. The felling of trees results in higher carbon dioxide levels and temperatures, which in turn leads to extreme climatic conditions and deficient rainfall, point out environmental experts. European Space Agency’s satellite image, taken in April this year, also corroborates the worst fears of the green brigade and reveals a lack of adequate green cover in the city. In the image, built-up space occupies most of the city, with the concretized area hogging most of the space in the image. Environmental activists say infrastructure should not be developed at the cost of nature. TIMES VIEW: The present tree protection committee should be disbanded and a new committee should be formed to formulate new laws to ensure the protection of trees and improve greenery in the city. Plans should also be put in place to translocate uprooted trees in the city itself.

 

 

Priya engages firm to meet Fire-Safety norms

 

Kolkata: From mounting water sprinklers and smoke alarms at the main auditorium to installing new fire hydrants and down-comer systems, Priya authorities have started working on all the stipulations laid down by the fire services department so they can restart screening of shows. “We are sticking to all the guidelines laid down by the fire services department. It is extremely difficult to comply with all these norms in a 64-year-old building. But we have to do the revamp work if the fire department deems so,” said owner Arijit Dutta. The fire department, after inspections, had said the fire on August 5 had originated in Dutta’s office on the first floor of the five-storey building. Officials declared the building to be “high risk” and asked the authorities to immediately shut down all commercial establishments on the premises. “We had found a number of loopholes in our fire audit. The smoke detectors, fire hydrant and fire pump had malfunctioned and there were no sprinklers. The booster pump installed on the terrace connected to the overhead water reservoir with the down-comer system was also defunct and we asked the authorities to update the fire safety system and seek a fresh clearance before resuming operation on the premises,” said a fire department officer. “I had almost made up my mind to not open the premises as a cinema hall any more. We are the only single-screen theatre to have updated fire safety measures, but were still grounded. I had a stiff fight within the family whether to continue it as a theatre, but finally we decided to comply with the new norms,” said Dutta. Dutta said they have hired a firm specialising in fire safety who have been working on the premises for the past week. “We have already completed installation of sprinklers at the auditorium. Once the work is complete, we will approach the fire department for clearance,” he said.

 

 

Blast at TMC party office in West Midnapore kills 2

 

The intensity of the blast blew away a part of the Trinamool party office. The injured were first taken to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital and later shifted to a medical facility in Cuttack, Odisha.

 

 

Midnapore: Two Trinamool Congress workers were killed, and four others seriously injured in a suspected crude bomb blast inside a party office in West Midnapore around 8.30 am on Thursday. The TMC office, in the Narayangarh police station area, is located about 44 km from Midnapore town. While sources claimed that the blast was the fallout of a faction fight between zilla parishad karmadakshya Suryakanta Dutta and Trinamool block president Mihir Chandra, the party’s district president Ajit Maity maintained that an LPG cylinder in a makeshift kitchen behind the office exploded, resulting in the casualties and injuries. The injured were first taken to Midnapore Medical College and Hospital and later shifted to a medical facility in Cuttack, Odisha. “There is an ongoing agitation at a local factory. On Wednesday, Chandra led a worker’s rally. It was Dutta’s turn to lead the rally on Thursday. Several workers, including Sudipto Ghosh (29), a resident of Abhirampur, had started gathering when there was a tremendous blast that blew away a part of the building. Ghosh was killed on the spot,” a source said.

 

Another TMC worker, Bimal Choudhury, died while he was being taken to hospital. According to Chandra, Dutta’s supporters may have been carrying bombs that went off accidentally. “Maybe, they wanted to attack my supporters. Why else would they be carrying bombs to a worker’s rally,” he said. Dutta claimed that the blast was the handiwork of outsiders. “We are trying to find out how the bombs got there. We can’t rule out the hand of an outsider who wanted to disrupt the rally,” he said. Locals said that they were aware of the faction feud within the party but hadn’t expected anything of this sort. Ghosh’s father, an active Trinamool worker and anchal president, said that his son had returned from night duty early on Thursday and was summoned to the party office to attend the rally. “He wasn’t too involved in politics,” Monoranjan Ghosh said. The blast was so intense that local CRPF officers visited the spot to check if there was any Maoist involvement. A CID team also visited the spot to investigate. “A person has died and five have been injured. We are investigating the matter and trying to ascertain what caused the blast,” Alok Rajoria, SP, West Midnapore said.

 

 

Air ambulance service readies for takeoff in TN

 

Chennai: A recent picture of health minister C Vijayabaskar and officials peering at an air ambulance during an exposure tour to Australia seems to have excited many senior doctors. The picture piqued the curiosity of medical professionals since it came months after a high-level meeting that proposed to study the viability of introduction of an air ambulance service for organ transplants in the state — a major hub of medical tourism and organ transplantation in the country. Vijayabaskar said the state is working on a private-public partnership with experienced organizations like Coimbatore-based Ganga Hospitals. “It is a complex project but we will launch it soon,” he said. “If we manage to get tax cuts on fuel, exemption from airport landing charges and other levies, we will be able to reduce cost to an extent. We are also planning to retain pilots and see if insurance companies can pick up the costs.” The Australian model offers valuable ideas, the minister said. “We may not be able to replicate it but we need an indigenous innovate model”. Tamil Nadu lacks a dedicated system when it comes to transporting patients needing immediate evacuation or requiring specialized treatment for trauma, organ failure and heart diseases.

 

“It’s our worst nightmare, every time we move a sick patient from another city,” said senior heart transplant surgeon Dr K R Balakrishnan. Facilities on board many air ambulances are inadequate, said anesthetist Dr Suresh Rao. Patients are boarded on air ambulances with forklifts used to stack food and other items on aircraft. Lack of space and dependable power supply are also issues, he said. Dr Balakrishnan has written to Union health minister J P Nadda about the need for a robust air ambulance system in the state but is yet to get a reply. “Many cities don’t have airports. If they do, they don’t have operations at night. They don’t have helipads. The biggest problem is that there is no fixed flying cost. On some occasions, agencies have demanded up to Rs.20 lakh to bring a patient from Hyderabad,” he said. However, the proposed system should not be limited to ferrying patients but must evolve further to enable the use of helicopters to airlift injured from accident sites to hospitals. Though a policy issued by the DGCA has included provisions for operations like this, such rescues are not conducted yet. As per Apollo Hospitals website, the cost of an air ambulance ranges from Rs.1.6 lakh to Rs.2 lakh per hour. The hospitals chain-air transfers around 125-150 patients in a year across the country.

 

 

International News

 

 

Knifeman kills mother, sister near Paris

 

 

Trappes (France): A man with severe psychiatric problems killed his mother and sister and seriously injured another woman in a knife attack on Thursday in a Paris region town, officials said. Police killed him afterward. The Islamic State group, which has a history of opportunistic claims, claimed responsibility. Prosecutors weren’t treating the attack as terrorism case. The interior minister said the man suffered from mental health issues but had also been flagged for glorifying terrorism.

 

 

Facebook bans quiz app, pulls its Security app over privacy

 

 

London: Facebook has banned a third-party quiz app amid concerns over the possible misuse of users’ data and pulled its own security software from Apple’s app store after the iPhone maker tightened data security rules. The firm said on Wednesday it took action against the myPersonality app because its creators refused an inspection, and over worries that data on as many as 4 million users may have been misused. It’s only the second time Facebook has banned an app, after it blocked one linked to Cambridge Analytica. Separately, Facebook also removed its Onavo Protect virtual private network app from Apple’s store after the iPhone maker brought in tighter data security rules for applications. Onavo Protect could no longer be found on Apple’s store but was still available on the Google Play store. Facebook acquired Israeli firm Onavo in 2013. Its VPN software is aimed at helping users secure personal details over public Wi-Fi networks and alerting them when apps use too much data.


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