News Flash – 4 July 2018

National News



Mumbai: More rain likely this week

The 131mm rainfall on Monday and Tuesday was the second highest 24-hour July rain since 2015.



MUMBAI: Heavy rainfall lashed several parts of the city, slowing down Mumbaikars in the first half of Tuesday. The showers began on Monday evening and eased only after Tuesday afternoon. In the 24-hour span of June 2 and 3 (8.30am-8.30am), the city received 131mm rainfall, which falls in the very heavy category. This was the second wettest day this season. In the 24-hour period of June 24 and 25, the city had received 231.4mm rain. Also, the June 2-3 rainfall set a record by becoming the second highest 24-hour July rain since 2015. The highest-ever 24-hour rainfall was recorded on July 26, 2005, at 944mm. The rainfall has resulted in a deluge in the city.




“The monsoon current is active and rain showers are expected to continue for the rest of the week,” said Ajay Kumar from IMD Mumbai. Weathermen said that three “active weather systems” were the reason for Monday and Tuesday’s rainfall. The rainfall recorded in the 12-hour span (8.30am-8.30pm) on Tuesday by IMD Colaba was 45.4mm and IMD Santacruz was 98.3mm. The rain brought along water-logging in areas like Khar’s Jay Bharat society and Dadar’s Hindmata. Jay Bharat society residents said they could not even leave their homes for work. Rajeev Raghani, a resident, said the water receded only in the evening. Civic officials, however, claimed the city was well-prepared to deal with the downpour. Additional municipal commissioner Vijay Singhal said that high-power de-watering pumps made waters recede faster.



Motorman gets Rs 5L for stopping local well in time



Mumbai: The motorman of a Borivli-Churchgate local was awarded Rs 5 lakh for his presence of mind in stopping the train by applying emergency brakes well in time before it could hit the debris of the falling bridge. The slow local was headed towards Churchgate from Andheri’s platform five around 7.28am. As soon as the train left the station, motorman Chandrashekar Sawant (54) applied the brakes on seeing the falling bridge as the local was about to attain a speed of 35kmph. The local stopped around 60 metres ahead of the spot. Railway minister Piyush Goyal said, “We have announced a reward of the 5 lakh for his excellent work.” – Manthan K Mehta.



As lynching’s rise, government tells WhatsApp to curb rumours



NEW DELHI: Looking to clamp down on rumours that have led to lynching of innocents on suspicion of child lifting, the government on Tuesday asked Facebook-owned instant messenger WhatsApp to take urgent steps to prevent spread of “irresponsible and explosive messages” on its platform. The warning comes at a time when there have been repeated cases of violence provoked by posts circulated on popular messaging apps where passers-by have been targeted for no fault of theirs. The ministry of electronics and IT (MEITY) said WhatsApp “cannot evade accountability and responsibility”, in a stern message to the world’s most popular messenger which is widely used for sharing messages, events, videos and data. Police forces have been struggling to deal with “fake and motivated” messages that have inflamed passions. Terming the “unfortunate killings” in states like Assam, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tripura and West Bengal as “deeply painful and regrettable”, the InfoTech ministry said that abuse of platforms like WhatsApp “for repeated circulation of such provocative content” was a matter of deep concern. Take remedial steps to check fake news flow, WhatsApp told. In the past, in situations like riots or in terrorism-affected areas, states have been suspending use of internet to stop rumours. “MEITY has taken serious note of these irresponsible messages and their circulation on such platforms.


Deep disapproval of such developments has been conveyed to the senior management of WhatsApp and they have been advised that necessary remedial measures should be taken to prevent proliferation of these fake and at times motivated/sensational messages,” the statement said. While seeking action against false and provocative messages, the government also plans to seek suggestions from Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp on checking circulation of such material with representatives being called for a meeting to be convened by the home ministry. The government directed WhatsApp to immediately contain spread of volatile messages through application of appropriate technology, even as the law and order machinery took steps to apprehend the culprits. Noting that miscreants were repeatedly circulating provocative messages triggering a spate of violence, it said the government had “conveyed in no uncertain terms that WhatsApp must take immediate action to end this menace and ensure that their platform is not used for such malafide activities”. Over the past few months, there have been a number of instances where mobs were instigated by fake WhatsApp messages. The decision to call representatives of social media platforms was taken at an inter-ministerial meeting on June 16, chaired by home secretary Rajiv Gauba, where the issue was discussed in detail.



Blast on HAL property sparks panic



BENGALURU: A mysterious explosion in an open area belonging to defence public sector unit HAL sparked off panic in L B Shastri Nagar, southeast Bengaluru on Monday evening. Police said the blast took place around 4.30pm at a garbage dump. They suspect the explosion may have been triggered by the remains of gelatin sticks used to blast rocks a few months ago. Abdul Ahad, deputy commissioner of police (Whitefield division) said HAL is constructing residential quarters for its employees at its eight-and-half acre L B Shastri Nagar plot. Workers had blasted rocks at the spot three months back using gelatin sticks. “Some labourers had lit fire to the garbage in the area in the evening when the blast occurred. No one was injured and only a huge plastic water tank was damaged,” Ahad said. He said police will register a case of negligence and probe the matter. The bomb disposal squad and FSL exerts were summoned to the scene for examination and trace the cause of the blast.



Abducted girl rescued from Karnataka, CCTV helps cops

Cops with the rescued 6-day-old baby. The woman, who had kidnapped the girl from govt. maternity hospital in Koti, abandoned her at a hospital in Bidar, from where the cops rescued her.



HYDERABAD: Within a few hours after a baby girl was abducted by an unknown woman from Government Maternity Hospital in Koti, police found the woman boarding a bus to BidarKarnataka, by analysing CCTV footage at Mahatma Gandhi Bus Station (MGBS). Special police teams rushed to Bidar, as the bus driver of the bus informed that the suspect had got down from the bus on Monday evening. He even informed the local media in Bidar about the abduction, making the woman abandon the baby at a hospital. Around 12 noon on Monday, an unknown woman abducted the six-day-old baby girl after offering to help the baby’s mother, Vijaya, in getting the girl vaccinated. Police were alerted about the incident around 2pm. Based on CCTV camera footage from the hospital, cops went to different places in the city, including bus stations and railway stations.


The police team that went to MGBS in Afzulgunj, analysed CCTV footage and found the suspect woman boarding a bus to Bidar. Cops obtained the contact numbers of the driver and the conductor of the bus and called them. The driver told police that a woman wearing a blue sari and with a baby, got down at a ‘kaman’ in Bidar around 4pm. Police alerted Bidar cops and rushed special teams under the supervision of Sultan Bazar ACP, M Chetana, to Bidar on Monday night. “Our teams searched different places in Bidar with photographs of the suspect and the baby. On Tuesday, we found the baby abandoned in the government hospital of Bidar. She is fine and the accused is absconding,” the ACP said. East Zone DCP M Ramesh, who supervised the operation from Hyderabad, said CCTV footage played a key role. “The accused got down from the bus just before we could contact the driver and conductor. Five special teams of Hyderabad police along with Bidar cops conducted house-to-house search in certain areas of Bidar where the accused got down. Our efforts worked out, forcing the accused to abandon the girl at a local hospital,” the DCP said.



With over 400mm rain, Kolkata records wettest June in 5 years


KOLKATA: This June was the wettest in Kolkata in at least five years, despite a 10-day dry spell immediately after monsoon hit the city and south Bengal on June 11. Kolkata received 51% more rain than normal last month, following four years of deficient showers in June. The city also recorded its warmest day of the season in June after the arrival of monsoon. According to meteorologists, the topsy-turvy weather was unusual and the rain deficiency would have continued had it not been for an exceptionally strong cyclonic circulation and the timely revival of monsoon currents. Kolkata received 419.7mm rain in June. The highest June rain recorded in the last five years was 240mm in 2017. It was 14% below normal. While the city receives moderate rain in June, it has been exceptionally dry in recent years. Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) director GK Das said, “While it seems that this year could be even drier, the monsoon currents started moving and a cyclonic circulation struck. The two combined to generate 162.6mm rain on June 26 which was the highest on a June day in a decade”. He, however, added that the June showers didn’t necessarily indicate excess rainfall for the entire season. “Kolkata and south Bengal receives moderate showers in June, while July and August are the peak monsoon months. Monsoon currents move in a periodic cycle and occasionally get stuck.


It had stopped moving for 10 days last month which led to a dry, scorching period. But the currents are now moving normally,” Das said. Kolkata had its hottest day of the season on June 18 when the maximum temperature shot up to 40.6 degrees. It was the first time in at least 25 years that the city recorded its hottest day after the onset of monsoon. North Bengal received heavy showers through the month, while south Bengal remained relatively dry for the last one week. But the monsoon currents are now set to slide southward, which could lead to frequent and heavier rain in south Bengal after July 5, the RMC forecast. Cyclonic circulations and low-pressure troughs were key to heavy showers in monsoon, explained Das. These systems help to keep the monsoon currents active and precipitate rain. While both currents and systems had disappeared in June, they made a dramatic return and brought heavy rain. Two days of heavy showers accounted for nearly half the month’s rain. It is not unusual in monsoon, according to a weather scientist. “Heavy showers occur in spells, usually triggered by systems. The more systems you have, the more active the monsoon currents will be,” Das said.



CCTV cameras to be installed in 502 girls’ hostels in TN



CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday announced that CCTV cameras will be installed in 502 government girls’ hostels across the state to put stringent security mechanism in place. Making a suo motu announcement in the assembly, Palaniswami said it would benefit 31,940 students studying in schools and colleges. “All four sides of each hostel will be covered at Rs 1 lakh,” the chief minister said. At least 1,265 out of 1,343 hostels are run from government buildings. The chief minister said it was brought to the notice of the government that 595 buildings required repairs and maintenance. Rs five crore would be for them this year. Palaniswami announced upgradation of ten government Kallar schools in Madurai, Theni and Dindigul districts at a cost of Rs 3.8 crore.



International News



Rome gives Libya 12 boats to ‘fight human trafficking’ at sea



ROME: The Italian government will give Libya 12 boats to help them “fight human trafficking” and curb the flow of migrants into Europe, Rome announced late Monday. The announcement comes as several EU nations are pressuring Libya to take charge of migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, with the bloc debating how to handle the influx of migrants to the continent. The measure, adopted during a cabinet meeting, “aims to strengthen the operational capacity of the Libyan coastguard” to ensure the “proper management” of the migrant situation in the Mediterranean, a government statement said. The measure “prioritises the need to fight human trafficking, to protect human life at sea and to curb migratory pressure,” the statement added. The Italian government will also take responsibility for the maintenance of the 12 boats until the end of the year and offer training to the Libyan coastguard and naval authorities.


According to the Italian transport and infrastructure ministry, the total cost of this aid is around EUR2.5 million ($2.9 million). “We are aware that this is not enough and that we must work to stabilise the situation, strengthen the rule of law and the protection of people’s dignity in the territory of the emerging Libyan state,” Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli said in the statement. In recent weeks EU leaders have cracked down on charity migrant rescue boats operating at sea. Several EU leaders have accused NGO ships of indirectly aiding human traffickers, saying they should let the Libyan coastguard coordinate rescue missions and take the migrants back to Libya. But NGOs argue the migrants would not be safe in Libya, where they have faced abuse and rape in holding centres. According to figures from the International Organization for Migration, more than 1,000 people have died in the Mediterranean so far this year.



Fresh navy video shows Thai cave boys in ‘good health’

Boys from the under-16 soccer team trapped inside Tham Luang cave greet members of the Thai rescue team in Chiang Rai, Thailand. (Reuters photo) Less



MAE SAI: A new video released Wednesday filmed in the bowels of a northern Thai cave showed members of a trapped football team laughing as they greet the camera to say they are in good health after their astonishing discovery by divers. The footage, published by the Thai Navy SEAL Facebook page, runs by 11 of the 13 members of the team, each makes a traditional Thai greeting gesture to the camera before introducing themselves by nickname and saying “I’m in good health”. Several of the boys in the frame are wearing protective foil blankets and are accompanied by a smiling diver in a wetsuit.



The one-minute clip ends on a jovial note, with one of the 12 young footballers saying he was forgotten in the round of introductions, sparking laughter. The boys appear relaxed and much more alert than when they were when discovered late Monday by British divers, as they took shelter from surging underground waters on a muddy ledge. Several Navy SEAL divers have deployed along with medics, while the complex process of evacuating the “Wild Boar” team begins.



Egypt says it killed three jihadists, destroyed Gaza tunnels



CAIRO: The Egyptian army said on Tuesday its forces killed three jihadists in the Sinai and destroyed tunnels at Rafah on the Gaza border as part of a vast campaign against militants. More than 200 suspected jihadists and at least 35 soldiers have been killed since Egypt launched operation “Sinai 2018” to rid the peninsula of Islamic militants in February, according to the military. Operations carried out in recent days resulted in “the elimination of three takfiris”, the army said, referring to Sunni Muslim extremists. They also led to the “destruction of a number of tunnels in the city of Rafah in northern Sinai”, it said in a statement. “A conscript was wounded in clashes with terrorists” and “two civilians died as a result an explosion from a device targeting forces conducting raids”, it added. The Rafah border crossing is the only entrance to the Gaza Strip not controlled by Israel, and Egypt’s sole frontier with the Palestinian enclave has remained largely closed since 2013.  Egyptian authorities believe these tunnels are used by jihadists to enter North Sinai. Jihadists launched an insurgency in Sinai after the military overthrew Egypt’s elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 amid mass protests against his rule. Human Rights Watch says Egypt has stepped up its demolitions of homes, businesses and farms in the Sinai since launching the campaign against Islamists on February 9. The army says that local people in the Sinai support its operation and receive humanitarian aid.

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