Monthly Archives: October 2017

News Flash – 31 October 2017

National News



Duo stabs ATM cash van staffer, flees with Rs 18.5 lakh

Staffer Sagar (inset) was stabbed by the gang near ATM kiosk at Jalahalli Cross On S Mukherjee Road.



BENGALURU: It was 6.30am on Monday when two employees of Secure Value, a cash-logistics firm, were walking towards an ICICI ATM a few metres from Jalahalli Cross on S Mukherjee Road. Sagar and Prasanna Shekhar were carrying a cash bag with Rs 18.5 lakh, and their company vehicle loaded with Rs 1.26 crore waited for them. The duo was almost at the ATM’s doorstep when a black Bajaj Pulsar-220CC stopped near Sagar. A startled Sagar saw the rider and his pillion in full-face helmets. In seconds, the pillion rider whipped out a knife and gestured to Sagar to part with the bag. “I tried to run back to the vehicle, but the pillion rider caught hold of my shirt. I resisted. He stabbed me twice in the chest. I eased my grip on the bag and the pillion rider snatched it,” Sagar told police. The motorcycle sped towards Soladevanahalli on Tumakuru highway. Prasanna alerted the police control room. They called for an ambulance and shifted Sagar to Sparsh Hospital in Goraguntepalya. Sagar, from Nandini Layout, has been shifted out of ICU and is said to be stable.


Police said it was a well-executed heist, and the culprits possibly knew the cash logistics firm’s operational details. DCP (North) Chetan Singh Rathor told TOI they have scanned CCTV footage from the surrounding areas. “Three special teams led by assistant commissioner of police have been formed to nab the miscreants,” he said. Senior police officers said neither the ATM nor the Secure Value vehicle had a gunman. Secure Value, located behind APMC Yard in Yeshwantpur, fills cash for 25 ATMs in and around Yeshwantpur. The ICICI ATM was custodian Mohan’s first assignment of the day. Mohan and driver Prasanna Shekhar, 27, are from Laggere. The trio had joined the cash logistics firm in late 2016.



Mumbai-Delhi business class flyer plants bomb note in toilet

Security personnel on vigil as the Mumbai-Delhi Jet Airways flight made an emergency landing at the Ahmedabad airport on Monday morning.



MUMBAI/NEW DELHI/AHMEDABAD: In an incident that sent India’s security agencies into high alert, a Jet Airways aircraft on its way from Mumbai to Delhi was diverted to Ahmedabad in the early hours of Monday after an anonymous letter ordering that the flight be flown straight to Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir (PoK) was found in the business-class toilet by a member of the crew. The threat letter on the Boeing 737-900 flight that took off from Mumbai at 2.55am with 115 passengers and seven crew members said there were 12 hijackers on board and if the aircraft landed in Delhi, a bomb placed in its cargo hold would be detonated. When it did an emergency landing in Ahmedabad at 5.30am, the top brass of the security agencies, who had gathered in Mumbai, Delhi and at Ahmedabad airport in readiness to handle a hijack, found the threat to be a hoax.



Delhi: Over 750 dengue cases in past week, say civic bodies



NEW DELHI: Delhi has registered a total of 753 fresh cases of dengue in the past one week taking the total number of confirmed cases this year to 6,623. One death caused by dengue was reported last week, taking the death toll to four this year as per the latest report by the municipal corporations. The number of malaria and chikungunya cases reported in the past week is 9 and 621, taking the total to 1,082 and 752, respectively. While senior officials from municipal corporations claim that they have been carrying out checks for breeding and that the number of cases have declined in past few weeks. Out of the 753 dengue cases, 388 cases have been reported from Delhi and the remaining are from other states. “There has been a decline in the number of cases compared to that of last few years. We have been constantly checking households and issuing challans for positive mosquito breeding,” said a senior official. As per the report, about 23,64,687 households have been sprayed by the three corporations and over 3 crore households have been checked by the domestic breeding checkers. “Out of the total household checked, around 1.7 lakh households were found positive for breeding grounds and we have issued legal notices to around 1.4 lakh households. There are repeated offenders and we have issued additional fine to them,” said a senior official.



Gurugram: 15 men barge into bar, shoot at 2 Bouncers to avenge assault in past

The attack at S-Bar in Grand Mall on MG Road, happened between 10.30pm and 11.15 pm on Sunday.



GURUGRAM: Over a dozen men, armed with pistols and lathis, barged into a bar on MG Road, shot at two employees, leaving them seriously injured and thrashed others in a late Sunday night attacks. The assailants also damaged an escalator and broke glass windows in the lower basement of Grand Mall, where S-Baris located, and ran riot for around 45 minutes, before a police team came in and arrested two of them. The attack was apparently planned to avenge an assault on one of the assailants inside the same bar around a month ago. Parminder Yadav and Parveen Singh, who work as bouncers at S-Bar, suffered bullet injuries in their legs and have been admitted to Artemis hospital. While Amit and Mintu were produced in a city court that remanded them in judicial custody on Monday, their other associates are still absconding. But the police claimed to have identified 8 of them based on the footage recovered from the CCTV cameras installed inside the bar and the mall. On Sunday, a group of 12-15 people, apparently led by Amit, entered the bar and started beating the employees with lathis. Three-four of them also opened fire, injuring the two. The CCTV footage also showed a group of men, with lathis in hand, running after some people while a few others firing shots. Bar manager Suraj Sharma said that they were busy attending guests around 10.30pm on Sunday when the assailants forced their way into the bar and started firing. “We ran for life as we didn’t have any weapons. Bar’s co-owner Deepak Kumar called police, who arrived within 10 minutes and controlled the situation. The entire chaos panned out between 10.30pm and 11.15 pm,” he added.


Preliminary investigation revealed Amit, allegedly the mastermind behind Sunday’s attack, had also come to S-Bar on September 29, when he had a tiff with some employees there. He had later filed a complaint with the police, accusing Parminder, Parveen and four others of assaulting him. Subsequently, the six were arrested under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. However, all of them were granted bail later. So, Amit apparently wanted to settle the score himself. Asked about the September 29 incident, Sharma said that a month ago, Amit had come to the outlet and sat atop the bar counter. “When we requested him to get off, he got physical and our bouncers defended,” he claimed. Sharma also alleged that the assailants had been working as bouncers in a nearby mall. Inspector Vikas Kaushik (of Sector 29 police station), who is investigating the case, said Amit had a dispute with the bar owners and employees earlier. “Amit had been trying to take revenge for some time. Finally, he did it on Sunday night. It appears to be a planned attempt,” said Kaushik. An FIR has been registered under sections 147 (rioting), 148(rioting armed with deadly weapons), 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation) and 307 (attempt to murder) of the IPC and 25 and 27 of the Arms Act. Police are yet to recover the firearms used in the attack. “Probe is on and we are yet to ascertain who all were using the firearms,” said Kaushik. “We are expected to make more arrests soon. There are some youths from Faridabad who were among the assailants,” said Deepak Saharan, DCP (East).



Man held for duping elderly people at ATM



HYDERABAD: SR Nagar police on Monday arrested a fraudster who was duping people at the ATM centres by diverting their attention. In the guise of helping the victims, the accused used to swap their debit cards with defunct ones and withdraw cash later. After receiving a series of complaints, cops checked the CCTV footages and identified the offender as M Veeraiah Chowdary , 33, a pharma company employee from Kukatpally. He was caught at SBI‘s Balkampet branch. Under the guise of helping elderly people, Veeraiah used to note down their PIN and later swap their debit cards with defunct ones. After swapping the cards, Veeraiah used to withdraw cash from the victim’s bank accounts. The accused committed nine offences at SR Nagar, Sanathnagar, Pet Basheerabad, Miyapur and Chandanagar and withdrew `3.75 lakh. Cops recovered Rs. 3.5 lakh from his possession.



Rain: Holiday declared for schools in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts; Chennai colleges also to remain closed

The education department took a decision on Monday evening after weathermen said there would be heavy to very heavy rainfall in the city till Friday.



CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government declared a holiday for all schools in Chennai, Tiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts on Tuesday due to forecast of heavy rain. The education department took a decision on Monday evening after weathermen said there would be heavy to very heavy rainfall in the city till Friday. Colleges in Chennai district will remain closed on Tuesday due to rain, collector announced on Monday night.



International News



Magnitude 7.0 undersea quake hits near New Caledonia, no tsunami trigger



A major undersea earthquake of magnitude 7.0 struck close to New Caledonia in the South Pacific on Tuesday, the US Geological Survey said. The quake, which was at a shallow depth of 9.3 miles (15 km)below the seabed, did not trigger a tsunami, according to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center in Hawaii and the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre. The epicenter was located 73 miles (117.48 km) east of the town of Tadine, on the Loyalty Islands, part of France’s New Caledonia territory. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.  A spokesman for the government in Noumea, the New Caledonia capital, and staff of two hotels contacted by Reuters said they did not feel the quake.



UN official: Over 13 million people inside Syria need aid



United Nations: More than 13 million people inside Syria still need humanitarian assistance and nearly half are in “acute need” as a result of having fled their homes, of hostilities, and of limited access to food, health care and other basic needs, the UN humanitarian chief has said. Mark Lowcock told the Security Council the number of Syrians who have been displaced within the country for a long time has dropped from 6.3 million to 6.1 million. But he said “levels of new displacement remain high,” with 1.8 million people reportedly forced to leave between January and September. Since just the offensive began in November 2016 that ousted the Islamic State extremist group from the city of Raqqa, its self-proclaimed capital, airstrikes and clashes resulted in over 436,000 people being displaced to 60 different locations, Lowcock said, speaking via video conference from Amman, Jordan. In the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, he said, heavy fighting and airstrikes continue to cause civilian deaths and injuries as well as large-scale displacement. The International Organization for Migration reported some 350,000 people forced to flee since August, including more than 250,000 in October, he said. Lowcock said airstrikes on the city of Al Mayadin in Deir el-Zour in mid-October left hospitals and medical facilities “inoperable,” depriving about 15,000 people of health care. He said the UN children’s agency UNICEF and the World Health Organization reported that the attacks destroyed a cold room where at least 140,000 doses of UN provided measles and polio vaccines were destroyed.


“This is a particular setback for efforts to check one of the world’s largest polio outbreaks in recent memory, an outbreak which continues to plague Deir el-Zour in particular, with new cases continuing to be reported,” Lowcock said. He said nearly 3 million people continue to live in besieged and hard-to-reach areas where the UN faces “considerable challenges” in meeting humanitarian needs. Lowcock said there was an expectation that progress in de-escalating fighting would result in increased humanitarian access but “this has yet to materialise”. On average, he said, only 10 percent of people in besieged locations were reached with UN assistance every month this year. In the eastern Ghouta suburbs of Damascus, “one of the four de-escalated areas where nearly 95 percent of Syria’s besieged population lives,” shelling has been reported in recent weeks and humanitarian access has been severely curtailed for months, Lowcock said. “Since the start of the year, 110,000 people have received food assistance, out of an estimated population of nearly 400,000,” he said. “Today, the UN and partners delivered food, nutrition and health assistance to 40,000 people”. Lowcock said “an alarming number of child malnutrition cases” have been reported in eastern Ghouta and more than 400 people with health problems need medical evacuation. Britain’s UN ambassador, Matthew Rycroft, called the situation in eastern Ghouta “atrocious,” saying de-escalation should not mean bombardment. “What we fear is that the de-escalation zone is becoming a starvation zone,” Rycroft said. “So we call on the Syrian regime and their allies to lift the blockade to allow humanitarian aid to get through”.

News Flash – 30 October 2017

National News



Portal to help track uninsured vehicles



NEW DELHI: Amid growing concern over vehicles plying on roads without even the mandatory third-party insurance, the road transport ministry has asked insurance companies to share details of insured vehicles with the government as part of an elaborate exercise to track the offenders. The ministry plans to host data on uninsured cars and two-wheelers on an online platform that can be accessed by every state transport department and traffic police to crack the whip on those who do not renew their motor insurance policies. Currently, enforcement agencies need to physically verify whether a vehicle has insurance cover only after stopping vehicles. Digital availability of data will improve enforcement, although critics said several vehicles were not registered at the correct address or the change was not communicated. Sources in Insurance Information Bureau (IIB) said about 6.5 crore vehicles have insurance cover against approximately 21 crore registered vehicles. Since a large share of registered vehicles are off the road, junked or are unusable, officials estimate 50-55% of the vehicles on the road are insured. While almost all commercial vehicles have a cover as they have to go for annual renewal of their registration, in case of passenger cars, the insured population is 70-80%. Two-wheelers have the lowest coverage of around 40-50%.



This segment accounts for around 70% share of all vehicles registered in the country. Driving any vehicle without third-party (TP) insurance is an offence and attracts up to Rs 1,000 fine with a possible jail term of three months, a rarity. These vehicles pose serious risk as accident victims involved in such vehicles face the risk of getting inadequate compensation. Sources said one of the reasons behind low TP coverage is the policy adopted by insurance companies to push comprehensive policies (TP and own-damage that covers theft etc.), which is expensive. TP insurance costs only 30% of the comprehensive insurance. In 2012-13, comprehensive motor insurance covers sold in the country were four times higher than TP, data available with IIB showed. Though a Supreme Court panel on road safety had directed insurance regulator IRDA to sell TP for cars and two-wheelers for three and five years respectively at the time of registration, IRDA has said it won’t be possible since they notify the premium every year.



Delhi: Traffic cops above ASI rank to carry side arms from next week


NEW DELHI: Traffic policemen above the rank of assistant sub-inspector will now flaunt a sidearm. Police commissioner Amulya Patnaik, at a meeting with over 3,500 traffic cops, asked the department to implement within 10 days changes that include monitoring real-time traffic situation on mobile phones and diverting traffic accordingly. Two years back, a similar proposal was made to equip policemen posted on night duty with weapons. The plan, however, was never implemented. “Traffic policemen are present on the road through the day, which makes their job strenuous. The objective of our interaction was to motivate them to take up measures so that their job becomes easier. We have asked them to evolve with new strategies every day,” said Patnaik. The top cop also advised policemen to focus on regulations so that a traffic snarl can be prevented even before they occur. “We will focus on pre-emptive regulation of traffic. Every cop on duty will monitor the situation and prepare a regulatory plan based on time, season and occasion. The idea is to make traffic management more situation intensive,” said special commissioner (traffic) Dependra Pathak. According to the new orders, policemen above ASI rank, posted at barricades for traffic control, will carry a sidearm like their counterparts in the districts. Traffic cops posted at border posts become victims of criminals trying to evade prosecution and often put their lives at risk.


A month back, a traffic policeman was mowed down by a truck on Salimgarh bypass when he tried to flag him down. Patnaik advised the traffic police to form a strategy to flag down vehicles on highways so that incidents of rogue drivers hitting cops in a bid to get away can be avoided. Policemen have also been asked not to form large groups to flag down errant drivers. Cops can instead click photographs of rogue drivers and prosecute them later if they are found to be acting violently. The police commissioner also asked the area traffic inspectors and ACPs to chalk out trouble spots for congestions and bottlenecks and come up with solutions to decongest them. Policemen have been asked to survey the areas under them and have a full knowledge of the daily traffic situation. Moreover, senior traffic police officers have also been asked to be on ground during peak hours to ensure that the flow of traffic is not disrupted. The cops also requested for new equipment’s, including heavy cranes to remove buses and trucks, that frequently breakdown on the roads. Traffic policemen would eventually be provided with faster motorbikes and vehicles so that they can reach the source of a snarl or chase and challan violators.



400 vehicles charred in fire in Indore

The fire broke out allegedly due to short circuit.



INDORE: Over 400 second hand two-wheelers were charred in a fire that engulfed three automobile showrooms in front of Kailash Mandapamnear Agrasen Square here late night on Saturday creating panic among the residents. The blaze was triggered after an alleged short circuit at New Pooja Autodeal owned by one Kailash Verma and spread to two adjacent shops Jai Shreeram Autodeal and Hariom Autodeal owned by Santosh Rai and Sachin Chouhan respectively. Fire department received a phone call from a resident around 1:30 pm that they had seen smoke coming out of the shop. However, the fire tenders reached the spot almost after an hour. Till then, the fire had spread to two more shops in the area. After a while, four fire tenders were rushed to the spot and were engaged in bringing the fire under control. The locals claimed that the smoke could be seen billowing from a long distance. A panic-like situation was witnessed in the area as the vehicles burnt in blasts. “There was little amount of petrol in most of the vehicles due to which blasts were heard,” said Sumit Choudhary, an eyewitness. Police claimed that the family living on the top floor of a commercial complex was safely evacuated.



Police also contained the fire in the area and did not let it spread to the nearby slum. The shops were being used to sell second hand vehicles, most of them two-wheelers. The vehicles were parked close to each other inside these shops, as a result the flames spread rapidly, said the police official. About 400 two-wheelers were gutted, the official said, adding documents related to vehicles were also reduced to ashes. “The fire could not be controlled for several hours. It took almost 20 tankers and foam to douse the flames. The fire continued for several hours and gutted the entire place and three shops. However, we were able to control it from spreading to the nearby commercial complex,” said one of the fire officials. The owners of the shops were also present on the spot. They claimed that they had suffered huge losses. Meanwhile, despite it being late night, several people had gathered at the spot to witness the incident. Fire officials claimed that they had to use JCB machines to break the walls to contain the fire.



Traffic inspector saves lives of mishap victims



NAVI MUMBAI: Two Panvel residents, Praful Nikharage (32) and Vikas Nikharage (30), who met with an accident on the Sion-Panvel highway, were rushed to a hospital by assistant traffic inspector Pravin Pande on Sunday morning. Pande had gone to a fuel station near Kamothe bus stop, where he saw two mishap victims lying on the road. Pande said, “There were onlookers around but no one helped the injured. One of the victims was unconscious while the other was injured. The victims were taken to MGM Hospital in Kamothe. The unconscious victim was taken to hospital on side sleep mode (as per first aid) while the other victim supported him on the vehicle”. A medical report is awaited. The two victims had met with an accident after a tyre of their scooter that they were riding on reportedly burst. Praful’s wife claimed that the men fell on a pothole on the highway. The duo was headed to Mumbai for shopping for Vikas’s wedding.



Dengue: Three more deaths in Kolkata, fringes

Stagnant water at an under-construction site.



KOLKATA: Dengue claimed one more life on the northern fringes of the city on Sunday afternoon. The deceased has been identified as 22-year old Avishek Tewari, a resident of Belgharia, who was admitted to Fortis hospital on Saturday. The certificate issued by the hospital mentions dengue hemorrhagic shock as one of the reasons for his death. Meanwhile, two more suspected dengue deaths were reported from Baranagar and South Dum Dum’s Patipukur in the last 24 hours. The deceased were identified as Bipasha Shaw, a Class-III student from Baranagar, and homemaker Anu Das of Patipukur. While Shaw died at RG Kar Medical College & Hospital on Saturday night, Das (36) died at a private nursing home in Salt Lake on Sunday afternoon. A resident of Daktarbagan in Baranagar municipality ward No. 18, eight-year-old Shaw was first admitted to Baranagar State General Hospital with high fever on Tuesday and then shifted to R G Kar on Thursday after being diagnosed with ‘NS1 positive’. The tests were done at a Baranagar pathological laboratory. “She was suffering from fever for over a week. After admitting her to the Baranagar hospital, her condition kept deteriorating and we had to shift her to RG Kar hospital. She was put on life support after her condition deteriorated on Saturday. Her platelet count was very low and she was under severe respiratory distress. She died around 10.40pm,” said the girl’s mother Pinki Shaw. Bipasha was a student of Baranagar’s Batakrishna Primary School.


The girl’s father Buddhadeb Shaw, a trader, alleged his daughter wasn’t being treated properly. “Despite our repeated appeals, the doctors at RG Kar hospital didn’t attend to my daughter properly. We are yet to receive her final blood report from the hospital,” added Shaw. The girl’s death comes hours after a promoter-cum-cable TV operator Biswajit Deb (35) from Belgharia reportedly died of dengue at a private hospital off EM bypass on Saturday morning. Deb’s residence at Belgharia’s Nawdapara is barely 3.5kms from Shaw’s Daktarbagan house. The death of the homemaker at Natunpally Patipukur, around 5kms from Nagerbazar, has triggered panic among locals. The woman was undergoing treatment at a nursing home in Salt Lake. Locals later protested when MLA Sujit Bose went to Patipukur to attend a programme. They alleged that pockets of South Dum Dum are turning into breeding grounds for mosquitoes due to lack of preventive measures. “We are now scared. Besides Deb’s death, reports of people testing positive for dengue have been coming in from the neighbourhood on a regular basis since the last two months. Several persons in our locality are down with fever,” said Balaram Bose, a resident of Basudebpur. Meanwhile, locals agitated at Shibaprada Pal Pally at ward No. 11 in Belgharia, where Deb lived. They alleged inaction on the part of Kamarhati civic authorities. A group of local women also gheraoed and manhandled a local Trinamool leader Meghnad Chakraborty.



Man tries to make away with cash from woman at ATM, held



CHENNAI: A man was arrested after he tried to escape with the cash he grabbed from an elderly woman in an ATM kiosk in MGR Nagar on Sunday. Passersby nabbed Vijayan after Dilshath Begum, raised an alarm. The accused was later identifies as Vijayan, 35, of MGR Nagar Police said Vijayan noticed Begum struggling to withdraw cashentered the ATM and offered to help her. “He seemed to be well-meaning so Begum handed over her debit card to him and divulged her PIN,” a police officer said. “She asked him to withdraw 10,000 but he withdrew 20,000. When she tried to stop him, he pushed her aside and took to his heels”. Passersby heard Begum cry for help. They chased Vijayan and caught him. “He admitted during interrogation that he had run out of money for booze,” the officer said. “Vijayan targeted the woman because she was alone. He observed Begum for more than five minutes and ensured that nobody was around when he struck. We are checking to see if Vijayan has been involved in any other criminal cases”. It is not advisable to disclose PIN to strangers or hand over your credit/debit cards to them, the officer said, as a warning to members of the public. “Gullible people fall prey to conmen who know how to get them to reveal their details,” another police officer said. “We have issued several advisories for safe banking practices. Fraudsters are constantly devising new ways to elicit PIN and banking passwords of customers. Banks too are trying to keep customers safe”.



Bomb hoax: D-mart downs shutters for 2 hours

A teenager created a false bomb scare in D-mart on Sunday.



AHMEDABAD: An exchange of words between a cashier and a teenager created a false bomb scare in D-mart on Sunday leading to downing of shutters of the retail outlet near Shivranjani Crossroads in Satellite. Security, concerned over the exchange watched on CCTV, issued a bomb alert and pandemonium reigned in the retail mall as panicked consumers rushed to exit leaving their shopping items and trolleys behind. The mall closed at 4pm and took two hours to reopen. Interestingly, the story took a new turn when, though no bomb was found, it was discovered that the 19-year-old, whose talk had led to the bomb scare, is Chirag Jadeja, the son of multi-crore Ponzi scam accused Ashok Jadeja of Makarba. Ashok had swindled people of crores in the name of local deity ‘Sikotar Mata’ in 2009. He was arrested in the same year. According to details disclosed to police by the supermarket officials, a teenager dressed in a blue checked shirt and blue jeans and with a white handkerchief wrapped round his head and face – while paying his bills through a credit card at about 3pm, had told the cashier that a bomb will burst in the mall at 4pm. The teenager then sped away on a brand new scooter without a registration number. “Security officials at the establishment panicked and rang up the police control room about 45 minutes later, informing us about a bomb threat,” said a senior police official.



Soon police cars with sirens accompanied by teams of bomb disposal squad rushed to the supermarket. “We found it was a false call and asked the super market authorities to reopen the market which was packed as it was a Sunday. We then traced the credit card used by the teenager and found it to be in the name of one Neetu Jadeja of Makarba,” said a senior police official. Police sources said on reaching Neetu Jadeja’s residence in Makarba the cops found that her credit card was used by her son Chirag, who had just cleared his class 12 science exams. “During primary interrogation, Chirag told us he was frustrated standing in the payment line for long and told the cashier that his box would explode now. When the cashier said “what” Jadeja said he is just joking. We think that it was a case of misunderstanding, otherwise Jadeja would not have used the credit card issued in the name of his mother,” said an investigator. Cops said that Jadeja told police that he usually ties handkerchiefs to avoid pollution and heat. “At present we have not booked Jadeja but made an entry in the police station diary,” said a police official. SOG of crime branch picked up Chirag for questioning and further probe is on.



International News



Toll in Mogadishu attack rises to 27, police chief sacked

Somali security forces and civilians walk among damages at the scene of a blast on October 29, 2017.



MOGADISHU: The death toll from a deadly weekend attack on a hotel in Mogadishu has risen to 27, the Somali government said on Sunday, announcing the dismissal of the country’s police and intelligence chiefs. The latest toll was given by Internal Security Minister Mohamed Abukar Islow at a cabinet meeting in which ministers approved the dismissal of police chief Abdihakim Dahir Said and intelligence agency boss Abdillahi Mohamed Sanbalooshe.



Indian among 31 killed as bus plunges into river in Nepal



KATMANDU: At least 31 people, including an Indian woman, were killed on Saturday after an overcrowded bus veered off a road and plunged into a river in central Nepal’s Dhading district, police said. The Kathmandu-bound bus from Rajbiraj fell into the Trishuli River while negotiating a turn at Ghatabesi, 70 km west of Kathmandu, around 5:00 am, said Superintendent of Police, Dhading, Dhruba Raj Raut. Security personnel, including those from the Nepal Army and Armed Police Force, rescued 16 injured passengers who had fallen into the river along the Prithvi highway. The rescue teams have pulled out 28 dead bodies so far and the search was on for other missing passengers, according to The Kathmandu Post. According to the police, most of the deceased were from Saptari district and 12 of them have been identified. One Indian, Mamata Devi Thakur, also died in the accident, the report said. All injured passengers were taken to nearby hospitals, but two of them who suffered serious injuries were rushed to Kathmandu for treatment, the police said. According to preliminary reports, the accident occurred because the driver failed to take the high-speed bus under control at the turning point due to poor visibility, the police said. Altogether 52 passengers were travelling on the bus, police said. While the police prima facie blamed visibility for the accident, such mishaps are not uncommon in the Himalayan nation and occur mostly due to poor infrastructure and reckless driving.



British Navy fires nine sailors from nuclear submarine



LONDON: Nine British sailors assigned to a nuclear submarine have been discharged from the Royal Navy after failing compulsory drug tests, Britain‘s ministry of defence has confirmed. The service personnel, stationed aboard HMS Vigilant — one of four Royal Navy submarines equipped with nuclear missiles — were dismissed after all tested positive for an illegal substance. “We do not tolerate drugs misuse by service personnel,” a Royal Navy spokesperson said. “Those found to have fallen short of our high standards face being discharged from service”. The spokesperson also confirmed the navy had launched an investigation into other service personnel on HMS Vigilant over allegations of inappropriate relationships, detailed in British media reports this month. “We can confirm an investigation is underway, but it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage,” the spokesperson added. “Any allegations of wrongdoing are taken very seriously and will be dealt with appropriately”. HMS Vigilant is one of four Vanguard-class submarines in the British navy. Each vessel is equipped with up to eight Trident missiles armed with nuclear warheads.

News Flash – 27 October 2017

National News



Slum blaze next to Bandra station sparks panic

This is the second major fire in the slum cluster since 2011, when over 3,000 people were affected.



MUMBAI: A major fire broke out at the Garib Nagar slums on the eastern periphery of Bandra railway station on Wednesday afternoon during a demolition drive and engulfed around 300 hutments. It also affected parts of the station, stalling Harbour line services for over 20 minutes and triggering panic among commuters, before being brought under control. No deaths have been reported. Three fire-fighters and a slum dweller were injured, but are out of danger. Sixteen fire tenders were pressed into service. Firemen were yet to reach the heart of the slum cluster at the time of last reports. This is the second major fire in the slum cluster since 2011, when over 3,000 people were affected. Thursday’s blaze has affected well over 1,000 people. At one point, the flames reached the first-floor ticket booking office on the south foot over bridge. Railway staff immediately evacuated with important documents and cash, and Harbour trains were stopped around 4.25pm. The FOB was also made out of bounds as fire-fighters used it to battle the blaze. Once the flames had been controlled, the services resumed a little before 5pm.

Around noon, a BMC contingent with a strong police team had reached the slum, which stands mostly on railway land right under the FOB, to remove encroachments on both sides of the Tansa water supply line that passes through the area. Recently , the high court had directed that the area around the pipeline be cleared before December for safety reasons. The BMC, which planned to clear around 400 hutments, had demolished around 70, when the fire started in a hut adjoining the FOB around 3.15pm. A gas cylinder exploded, fanning the flames. “We were not allowed to move our belongings. The BMC’s demolition machine hit a hut where someone was cooking, and it caused the fire,” said slum dweller Munna Qureshi. “The area is a fire trap…It’s difficult to take the firefighting system inside, and we are pouring water from all sides to control the fire,” said chief fire officer P Rahangdale, who was guiding the operation. Slum dwellers alleged that the BMC had given them notice on Wednesday night to vacate their premises within 48 hours, but started the demolition drive before the deadline. The BMC denied the allegation, and officials said the drive has been stopped only temporarily for the fire.


TIMES VIEW: If the slums n Bandra’s Garib Nagar are illegal, how is it that so many of them have risen to three storeys? And fires in these slums have also broken out all too often, endangering lives and property. The BMC needs to work in close co-ordination with the police and other aw-enforcing authorities during its demolition drive, so that no panic is created among the slum dwellers and unauthorized structures are cleared without posing any serious risk to anyone, the firefighters included.



Duronto Express engine derails on Konkan route



MUMBAI: The engine of Ernakulam-LTT Duronto Express derailed between Sawantwadi Road and Zarap stations on the Konkan Railway on Thursday afternoon. No injury was reported. Train services on the Konkan route, especially those arriving or leaving Mumbai, may be affected. An official said, “Accident relief train was rushed to the site. Work on retailing the engine and restoring services will be expedited”. Train services could be delayed on Konkan route and details of train running position can be obtained on



CCTV footage helps cops crack cradle theft puzzle



HYDERABAD: Though they could not save the four-day-old baby boy, police have left no stone unturned to locate the kidnapper in their bid to rescue the newborn. After the boy’s grandmother Kalpana, alerted her daughter Nirmala and son-in-law Pandu about the child being stolen near Niloufer Hospital, they lodged a complaint with Nampally police. Police immediately analysed CCTV camera footage. Though they could identify the culprit get into an auto bearing an advertisement of TVS, the vehicle registration number could not be identified. Police then contacted the advertisement agency and got details of the auto driver. The auto driver told police he dropped the woman near Lakdikapul. Cops then analysed CCTV footage near the location and saw her getting into a city bus. A special team verified CCTV footage on the route of the bus and saw the woman disembarking at Afzalgunj. Later, she took another bus to Petlaburj Hospital. ” An eye-witness said she got on to a bike. When we checked CCTV footage of the area, she was seen pillion riding on a bike. We tracked the bike till Rachuloor gate near Kandukur, where the vehicle had a flat tyre. Then, the family got into an RTC bus,” Nampally inspector Sanjay Kumar said.


“The suspect’s photos were dispatched to police, sarpanches, Aasha workers and media personnel in Amangal, Kalwakurthy, Veldanda and Achampet mandals,” DCP, Central Zone, D Joel Davis said. An old woman from Badonipally in Veldanda identified the suspect as daughter-in-law of Balamma of their village. “We went to Balamma’s house and she confirmed the suspect was her daughter-in-law Manjula. Our teams then went to Manjula’s house at Katedan and arrested her,” the inspector said. “Manjula suffered a miscarriage five months ago, but concealed the fact from her husband and mother-in-law. It was her second miscarriage. Manjula went to Petlaburj Hospital on Saturday after informing her husband that she was going for a check-up and next day told him that she had delivered a baby boy. The family believed her. “Our teams tried their best, but it is sad that we could not save the boy,” the DCP said.



Bid to rob ATM in Kancheepuram



CHENNAI: Two men attempted to break open an ATM in Nugumbal village near Maduranthakam in Kancheepuram district on Wednesday night. The men abandoned the tools they used in the bid to steal cash from the machine, apparently after seeing people moving around outside the ATM kiosk, police said. Video footage showed that the would-be thieves entered the kiosk a few hours after staff of a security firm had loaded the machine with currency notes. The kiosk plunged into darkness moments after they entered, investigators who analysed the footage said. They did not confirm if the men had disabled the lights. “We will go through the footage again to see if we can identify the suspects,” an investigating officer said. Police have asked prisons officials for details of recently released criminals, he said.



International News



Inferno at Indonesia fireworks factory kills 47

Site of explosion in Tangerang, Indonesia.



JAKARTA: Indonesian police say the death toll from an inferno at a fireworks factory outside Jakarta has risen to 47. The fire began Thursday morning at the factory next to a residential area in Tangerang, a city in Banten province on the western outskirts of Jakarta. A police report said the fire spread after an explosion and that the factory’s roof had collapsed. Tangerang police chief Hary Kurniawan says the death toll could rise further as many of the dozens of injured have extensive burns. He said all 47 bodies recovered so far were found in the remains of the factory and a search is continuing.



Russian helicopter crashes at sea in Arctic, 8 aboard: Norway



OSLO: A Russian helicopter with eight people on board crashed at sea in Norway‘s Svalbard archipelago in the Arctic on Thursday, Norwegian rescue services said. The aircraft went down two or three kilometres from Barentsburg, a Russian mining community in the archipelago, the rescue services said.



Cars torched in attack on French police housing complex



LYON: Attackers set fire to vehicles beneath a housing complex for police and their families in a suburb of Grenoble, eastern France, on Thursday. Police said a fence around the building was closed off in an apparent attempt to prevent residents escaping and rescuers getting in, but all 24 people inside escaped unharmed. Nobody claimed responsibility for the assault, which was the latest in a series of arson attacks against police and police vehicles. “Attacks like this can be tantamount to terrorism,” Grenoble prosecutor Jean-Yves Coquillat told reporters, adding that the method used was similar to other recent attacks by far-left groups. Last month, such a group claimed responsibility for an arson attack on a police building in Grenoble that destroyed a warehouse and several cars. The group said the fire was a protest against the trial of nine far-left activists accused of firebombing police in an assault on two officers in Paris in May 2016 that was caught on camera. Last month, five police cars were set on fire in Limoges, central France. French police are on high alert after a series of Islamic State-inspired attacks that have killed more than 240 people in the past three years. Aside from the Islamist threat, far-left and far-right militancy has also not let up. Police this month arrested 10 far-right militants suspected of planning attacks on mosques and politicians.

News Flash – 26 October 2017

National News



Cash van driver vanishes with Rs 28 lakhs



Chennai: A private cash management firm driver disappeared with Rs 28 lakh when other employees had gone inside the Chennai airport to load an ATM machine on Wednesday night. Police said the driver Udhaya Kumar, 40, of Tuticorin had joined the firm three days ago. On Wednesday, around 8.30pm, employees of Writer cash management company arrived at the airport to load money in a Canara Bank ATM in the domestic terminal. They were carrying Rs 65 lakh in the van and loaded Rs 22 lakh at an ATM in Guindy before reaching the airport. Security Guard Ziauddin, 40, Rajkumar, 24, of Maduranthagam and Karunakaran, 32, of Urapakkam were loading Rs 15 lakh in the ATM, while the driver was asked to wait in the parking area. After about 15 minutes, when they returned, the vehicle was not to be found in the parking area. “Since, he was new to the job, the staff assumed that he might have parked the vehicle outside the airport. They looked for the van in the entire parking area. When they tried calling him over his mobile phone, it had been switched off, a police officer said. The van was found abandoned on the service road under the flyover outside the airport, Udhayakumar was missing with a cash box containing Rs 28 lakh. A police complaint has been filed and investigations are on.



More red-eye flights on cards as airports choke



NEW DELHI: India may be the world’s fastest growing aviation market but its crippling airport infrastructure crunch is now threatening this growth story. TOI has accessed the minutes of the meeting held between airlines and aviation authorities to finalise the winter flight schedule. Only three airports – Chennai, Bengaluru and Trivandrum – can handle four more flights an hour this winter while all other big airports remain choked in terms of runway capacity. Aviation authorities approved 18,860 weekly domestic flights from 90 airports in winter 2017-18 – up 9.8% from the 17,170 from 77 airports cleared for this summer. The increase in approved flights- which is always more than flights actually operated – is mainly due to clearing regional flights from hitherto unused small airports. However, the crunch at big airports is leading to alarm bells ringing with airport operators now threatening to act tough on airlines that do not actually operate the precious slots given to them by taking them away and giving them to someone else who will operate a flight at that time.


Airlines get slots approved but are not able to operate all the flights due to various reasons. Among the major factors is that in the last one year, grounding of a large number of Airbus A-320 new engine options (NEO) due to trouble with the Pratt & Whitney engines used on these planes by two budget airlines has led to flight cancellations. In a possible first, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has “proposed financial penalty for slot misuse by airlines”. Private airport operators also said airlines must adhere to slots and give up those which they are not operating so that someone else can fly at the time. Given the slot crunch at major airports, accommodating new regional flights, which typically link a big airport to nearby small airports, is also proving to be a challenge. Joint secretary in the aviation ministry Usha Padhee, who is in charge of regional connectivity scheme (RCS), “requested all airlines to move some of their flights in red eye hours (prior to 5 am) to make room for regional connectivity flights during the early morning hours. “She suggested that swapping of slots may also be done to provide slots for RCS operations,” the minutes say.



New year’s gift: Mumbai to get its first AC local trains on January 1


MUMBAI: Mumbai’s commuters will get air-conditioned local trains as a new year gift from the railways. Railway minister Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday that the first AC rake will be introduced on Western Railway on January 1. The plan to introduce AC locals in Mumbai has been on the cards for a decade. Initially, WR will run one AC rake with seven services daily. A single ticket is likely to cost the same as a first class ticket, but season passes are expected to be priced around 1.5 times more than their first class equivalents. The railways has procured nine more EMU (electrical multiple unit) AC rakes for Mumbai so that services can be introduced on Central Railway (CR) as well. The first AC train was scheduled to run this month, but operational issues had led to the delay. Manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, the AC rake will have electrically operated automatic sliding doors with the motorman in control. Like ordinary locals, the AC train will have a halt of 20-30 seconds at station. Meanwhile, the railway minister has also mooted passenger augmentation on the suburban line by beginning elevated train services in Mumbai area as reported by TOI. The minister also said that he has already approved 370 escalators for Mumbai, and CCTVs are to be installed in all the trains and stations in Mumbai for better security.



Two more dengue deaths set off fresh spurt alarm



KOLKATA: Last week’s depression-triggered showers had given rise to an apprehension of a fresh spurt in the dengue outbreak and two deaths in the city on Wednesday confirmed that the fears were not unfounded. While an 11-year-old Class VI student from Chetla succumbed to the virus at Chittaranjan Seva Sadan, a 77-year-old resident of Dum Dum died of dengue at the Dum Dum Municipality Hospital. According to his family, Pritam Haldar, the Chetla student, had been suffering from fever since last Wednesday. He was taken to Chittaranjan Seba Sadan on Friday, but was allegedly refused admission. His condition worsened over the weekend and the youngster was taken back to the hospital on Monday. Even though he was taken in immediately, Pritam’s condition had turned severe by then. He passed away at 10am on Wednesday and the death certificate mentioned dengue as the cause of death. “He would have survived had the hospital not refused him on Friday,” alleged a family member. On the other hand, Dum Dum resident Aditya Prasad Bagchi had been admitted to the hospital on Tuesday evening with high fever and severe body ache. He was kept under observation and was due to undergo a repeat test to confirm dengue, along with several other tests. But Bagchi passed away at 11.15am before the tests could be conducted. His elder son Ananda Prasad, too, has been down with dengue and is admitted in the Charnock Hospital in Salt Lake. Bagchi’s death certificate cited “cardiac arrest” as the cause, but mentioned that he had dengue. According to his family, Bagchi had been suffering from fever since Monday.


A test done at a private clinic had confirmed dengue. He was taken to Charnock Hospital on Tuesday evening. Since there was no bed, the septuagenarian had to be moved to the municipality hospital. “He was kept under observation and given saline. He was stable, though his platelet count had dropped. Doctors, however, said the drop was not alarming yet. But this morning his condition deteriorated and he suffered a cardiac arrest,” said his other son Ashish. The Bagchi family live in Arjunpur. Even though areas like Madhugarh in Dum Dum have been severely affected by the dengue outbreak, Arjunpur has had only a few cases. “Honestly, we never expected this. Last week, my brother was diagnosed with dengue and had to be hospitalized. Fortunately, he is now stable. But my father had more severe symptoms, possibly due to his age,” Ashish added. On Saturday, a 10-year-old Class V student from Pallisree in south Kolkata had succumbed to dengue at the AMRI Hospital in Mukundapur. Doctors have already issued a warning that the dengue outbreak could get severe following the sporadic showers last week. On Wednesday morning, too, Kolkata was lashed by a spell of rain. “These intermittent spells of rain are dangerous for they lead to the accumulation of fresh water which serve as breeding grounds for aedes egypti larvae. Also, the temperature hasn’t dropped sufficiently to kill the virus. The epidemic might receive a fresh spurt,” said microbiologist Irfaan Akhtar.



Air traffic congestion at Bengaluru airport affects flight services in Chennai



CHENNAI: One flight was cancelled and four arrivals from Bengaluru were delayed in Chennai due to air traffic congestion at Bengaluru airport on Wednesday. Passengers of a Chennai -Pune IndiGo flight were stranded after the 11.40am flight was cancelled an hour before departure. The airline cited bad weather in Bengaluru as the reason. Planes are stuck in Bengaluru airport which is facing delays in flight operations. “There was confusion after passengers received SMS’s saying the flight is cancelled. Most of the people have arrived at the airport. The airline is accommodating people on Hyderabad flights and Mumbai flights,” said a passenger who got accommodation in a Hyderabad flight which connects to Pune. However, many were not happy because their trip got delayed by several hours. Four arrivals from Bengaluru were delayed. An IndiGo flight scheduled for 7.15am, a SpiceJet flight scheduled for 8.25am and a Jet Airways flight scheduled for 9.30am were delayed by two hours. Another Jet Airways flight scheduled to arrive at 10.10am landed at 11am. Airport sources said more arrivals from Bengaluru were likely to be delayed.



International News



New screenings for US-bound passengers on global airlines



DUBAI: Five global long-haul airlines will begin new ‘security interviews’ of all passengers on US-bound flights beginning Thursday at the request of American officials, the companies said Wednesday. Long-haul carriers Air France, Cathay Pacific, EgyptAir, Emirates and Lufthansa all said they’d start the screenings. However, the airlines offered different descriptions of how the interviews would take place. It wasn’t immediately clear if other global airlines would be affected, though the Trump administration previously rolled out a laptop ban and travel bans that have thrown global airlines into disarray. The US Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, it comes at the end of a 120-day deadline for airlines to meet new US regulations following the ban on laptops in airplane cabins of some Mideast airlines being lifted. Air France said it will begin new security interviews on Thursday at Paris Orly Airport and a week later, on Nov. 2, at Charles de Gaulle Airport. It said the extra screening will take the form of a questionnaire handed over to ‘100 percent’ of passengers. Emirates said in a statement it would begin doing ‘pre-screening interviews’ at its check-in counters for passengers flying out of Dubai and at boarding gates for transit and transfer fliers. It urged those flying through Dubai International Airport, its headquarters, to allow extra time to check into flights and board. “These measures will work in complement with the current additional screening measures conducted at the boarding gate,” it said. Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. said on its website that it had suspended self-drop baggage services and that passengers heading to the US “will be subject to a short security interview”.


Those without bags would have a similar interview at their gates. EgyptAir said in a statement the new measures include more detailed searches of passengers and their luggage and interviews. The strict procedures will extend to unauthorized agricultural or veterinary products. Germany’s Lufthansa said the new rules came from the US Transportation Security Administration, which is under Homeland Security. “In addition to the controls of electronic devices already introduced, travelers to the USA might now also face short interviews at check-in, document check or gate,” Lufthansa said in a statement. In March, US officials instituted the ban on laptops in airplane cabins across 10 Middle East cities over concerns Islamic State fighters and other extremists could hide bombs inside of them. That ban was lifted after those airlines began using devices like CT scanners to examine electronics just before passenger’s board airplanes heading to the United States. That laptop ban, as well as travel bans affecting predominantly Muslim countries, have hurt Mideast airlines. Emirates, the region’s biggest, said it slashed 20 percent of its flights to America in the wake of the restrictions. It wasn’t immediately clear if other Mideast airlines were affected by the new rules. Abu Dhabi-based Etihad said its operations ‘were normal’ without elaborating, while Doha-based Qatar Airways did not immediately respond to a request for comment.



Japan police unmask 74-year-old ‘ninja’ burglar


TOKYO: Japanese police have finally nabbed a nimble “ninja” thief who dressed in black and scrambled over walls to commit scores of break-ins over an eight-year career – and were astonished to find he was 74. Police in the western Japanese city of Osaka had been stumped by a string of burglaries, their only lead being security camera footage showing an agile thief with a black neck-warmer pulled up to the nose and a parker hood down to the eyebrows. “He was dressed all in black just like a ninja,” a senior official at the Kawachi police station told AFP. But the master thief made a mistake in May – his neck-warmer slipped and his identity was revealed on camera. Police recognised their man as Mitsuaki Tanigawa, 74, who had a previous record of thefts. They then started watching the aged crook and tried to trap him. “Investigators watched him doddering out from his house like any other old man during daytime. He then went to an abandoned apartment room where he changed and waited until it got dark,” the official said. “When he came out in the dark, he was all in black.


He did not take ordinary streets, squeezing through tight spaces between houses and running on the tops of walls,” he added. As investigators were unable to pursue the agile thief to catch him in the act, they finally pounced when he came back to his hideout at 4am after robbing an electronics store. Under arrest, Tanigawa said he “hated working and thought stealing is quicker,” according to the police official. He has been charged for over 254 break-ins for thefts totaling 30 million yen ($260,000) over the past eight years. He later told the police that he needed only 10 minutes to sneak into a house, stealing mainly cash from people as they slept. “He’s a pro. He told us ‘I have confidence in my job’,” the police official said. “If I were younger, I wouldn’t have been caught. I’ll quit now as I’m 74 and old enough,” the thief was quoted as saying.

News Flash – 25 October 2017

National News



Panic after six train coaches get detached



MUMBAI: Six coaches packed with commuters got detached from a 12-car train on its way to Panvel from Thane on the Trans-Harbour corridor on Tuesday, causing panic among passengers and Central Railway officials. The incident occurred at Ghansoli at 4.17 pm when the train was about to pull out of the station. The train was taken to the yard and services restored at 6 pm. Fortunately, the decoupling did not lead to any injury and caused only disruption in service. “The bolt of the coupler broke and prima facie there seems to be material failure. The bolt was inspected at the Matunga workshop in March 2016, but it might not have been done properly,” said a source. The incident took place on a retrofitted rake. “It has already been decided that retrofitted rakes will be phased out in the next two years as and when we get newer rakes,” a source said. While such incidents can lead to derailment, a CR official ruled out the possibility in this particular case. “In this case, the bolt broke, but there was no damage to the brake pipe as the train had not even moved two feet. If the brake pipe had broken, the braking would have automatically got applied”.


If the coupler breaks, the train can witness parting and abrupt braking, which can lead to unexpected jolts in the coach, causing passengers to fall off. Fortunately, no such untoward incident took place. A similar incident had taken place on February 9, 2014 at Diva, but in that case the bar of the Schaku coupler snapped. Schaku couplers are the most advanced and best in the world. Its failure had come as a shock to authorities. A bar with holes at the inner ends through which cars are connected with a bolt is called a coupler. On March 20, 2014, one passenger died and 23 were injured after a CST-bound train derailed near Titwala station. Railway team to inspect Nagercoil Express that lost wheel parts near Khandala. A Southern Railway team is on its way to inspect the Nagercoil Express coach after a bolster plank came off near Khandala on Sunday. The train’s general coach had to be detached before the train was allowed to proceed to its destination. A senior railway official said, “We do not know the exact reason for such an incident. One possibility is the rake could have been hit by an outside object. However, our personnel searched the entire area but could not spot anything.” The coach was manufactured in 2016 and it was not due for maintenance too. He said, “The parts that fell off will be sent for metallurgical test”.



Over 70 shops at Kamla market gutted



NEW DELHI: Over 70 shops were gutted and property worth several crores of rupees was destroyed in a major fire that broke out in central Delhi’s Kamla Market on Tuesday. Most of the shops were those of coolers and geysers. Shopkeepers said that the fire broke out after a short circuit and that even after making multiple calls, only one fire tender reached and that too after over half an hour. Police officers confirmed that nobody was injured in the incident. Fire officials said that soon after the call was received at 1am, a few fire tenders were sent to the spot. It was, however, not doused until the next one hour, after which more fire tenders were sent. The fire was brought under control by 5.10am on Tuesday and cooling operations went on till late afternoon.


“Many daily wage workers used to cook food on electric heaters using illegal wires near the market. According to the preliminary ground reports, sparking may have occurred due to that. We are investigating the incident,” said a senior BYPL official. The president of the market association, Pradeep Bhatia, said that only one fire tender reached them and that too almost an hour after the incident took place. A senior fire official denied the same, saying that 10 fire tenders were sent to the spot soon after they received a call about the fire from a local. There was havoc in the area after the flames started to rise, and even after repeated calls, there was no fire tender to their rescue, shopkeepers said. Locals from the area said that whoever got to know about the fire informed others and by 1.30 am, all the shopkeepers had gathered outside their respective shops, trying to take out whatever items they could, but not many were successful.



Western Railway may get 1,700 CCTVs with ‘crowd alarm’ system



MUMBAI: A multi-disciplinary audit committee for Western Railway has, among things, recommended that CCTVs be more than doubled and the new ones must come with video analytic features such as face recognition and an alarm system in case of overcrowding and attempt to cross tracks on either end of a platform. The panel has suggested that CCTVs be increased to 2,729 from 1,060 at present. A WR official said, “A command and control system will have to be developed with access to both the railway protection force (RPF) and government railway police (GRP)”. An audit of all suburban WR stations was carried out following directives of railway minister Piyush Goyal in the wake of September’s Elphinstone Road stampede, which claimed 23 lives. The other suggestions include shifting of stalls and toilets from island platforms to the concourse area to facilitate smooth movement of passengers. An island platform is one where trains halt on either side. A home platform, on the other hand, is where access is directly from the road, without having to climb foot over bridges.


Commuters have long been critical of the presence of stalls and toilets on island platforms as they take up a lot of space. Borivli’s Ajay Nair said, “Why are so many stalls needed on platforms in a city like Mumbai where eateries are located in every nook and corner?”. Proposed doubling of CCTVs was another important suggestion. A WR official said, “Andheri has only 40 cameras for a station of such a huge size. At Elphinstone, too, there were very few cameras and the quality of footage was poor”. The report has also recommended connecting foot over bridges with skywalks at as many places as possible. Commuter Rootvesh Shah said, “All stations should be developed like Borivli, which is so congested but the planning has ensured there is no stampede-like situation”.



Anti-dengue drive: Chennai Corporation collects Rs 25 lakh fine from building owners



CHENNAI: As many as 9,964 building owners in Chennai were slapped with fine by the Greater Chennai Corporation for allowing dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to breed on their premises. The civic body collected Rs 25.76 lakh as fine, a statement said. On Tuesday, special officer and commissioner D Karthikeyan and principal secretary (municipal administration department) Harmander Singh held a review meeting to discuss steps taken to curb dengue and the local body’s preparedness ahead of the northeast monsoon. The corporation said it had screened 4.61 lakh people by conducting 9,247 medical camps. “Of these, 6,998 were found to have fever symptoms. Among them, 164 patients were referred for further treatment,” the statement said. On the city’s monsoon preparedness, the corporation said it had already spent Rs 10.31 crore to desilt storm water drains measuring 1,204 km. The city’s storm drain network runs for 1,894km and comprises 7,351 drains. “Rs 7.43 crore has been allocated for repairing damaged storm drains. Repair works are currently underway,” the statement added.


In the city’s extended areas, the corporation has undertaken storm water drain construction work for a distance of 376km. “Of this, drains have been finished to a length of 299km,” the corporation said. To protect people living in low-lying areas in the instance of a flood, the corporation has relocated families who were considered to be squatting on public land. Of the total 14,257 houses identified as encroachments along the Cooum river bank, the corporation has removed 825 houses. Among the 9,687 houses encroaching the Adyar river bank, the civic body has removed 4,134 houses. The corporation said during a flood situation, it would make use of the 109 rescue boats in its disposal to help stranded residents. At least 176 relief camps have been prepped and are on standby while 44 mobile paramedical teams will tend to injuries and assist rescue teams if needed.



International News



New cyber-attacks hit airport, metro in Ukraine



KIEV: Cyber-attacks hit Ukraine’s Odessa airport and the metro system in Kiev on Tuesday, with the state-run Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) saying a new wave of hacks was hitting the country and asking transport networks to be on particular alert. Ukraine was the chief victim of a major cyber-attack earlier this year, and the government had warned on Oct. 13 that another strike might be coming. “We ask the owners of telecommunication systems, other information resources, transport infrastructure first of all, as well as ordinary internet users, to comply with stricter cyber security requirements,” CERT-Ukraine said in a statement. The cyber police and the infrastructure ministry said that Tuesday’s strikes did not appear to constitute a mass attack. The central bank said the banking system was working normally. Odessa airport said it had tightened security measures while the Kiev metro reported an attack on its payment system. “We report that the IT system of Odessa international airport has been hit by a hacker attack. All services of the airport are working in a stricter mode,” the airport said in a statement. Ukraine, which believes Russia is behind regular attacks on its computer systems, is trying to roll out a national strategy to keep state institutions and major companies safe. Moscow denies that it is behind cyber-attacks on its neighbours.



Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to halt the outflow of Rohingya


NAYPYITAW: Government officials from Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed to halt the outflow of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh and enable the refugees to return home. The two sides met Tuesday in Myanmar’s capital, Naypyitaw, to discuss a crisis that has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flee to Bangladesh to escape violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The sides said in a joint statement that “Myanmar affirms its commitment to immediately halt the outflow of Myanmar residents to Bangladesh, to restore normalcy in Rakhine to enable displaced Myanmar residents to return from Bangladesh at the earliest” possible time. More than 600,000 Rohingya from northern Rakhine have fled to Bangladesh since August 25, when Myanmar security forces began a scorched-earth campaign against Rohingya villages.

News Flash – 24 October 2017

National News



5 bouncers held for murder after hookah parlour brawl



MUMBAI: Five bouncers of a hookah parlour in Goregaon(W) were arrested on Monday in connection with the murder of a 25-year-old man outside the establishment early on Sunday. Police have also booked the owner of the hookah parlour and are going through the CCTV footage of the establishment to verify the sequence of events. The arrested accused —Atish Tambe (40), Anoop Pandey (27), Dipesh Nair (24), Pavan Adhav (25) and Riyaz Ansari (42)—have been booked for rioting and murder. Initially, police had registered an attempt to murder case, but later converted it to murder after the victim died in hospital. On Saturday night, Jogeshwari resident Mayur Panchal, who was an employee at a mobile phone shop in Powai, and his friends went to the hookah parlour located on SV Road for a birthday celebration. An altercation over a trivial issue with another group of youths snowballed and fisticuffs broke out.


“Around 6.15am on Sunday, the music was turned on and patrons started to dance on the dance floor. Panchal accidentally brushed someone from another group of youths and there was a scuffle. The bouncers intervened, roughed up both groups and threw them out of the establishment,” said a police officer. “When the bouncers continued to thrash them even on the road, Panchal and his friends protested,” added the police officer. “Soon, another altercation broke out between Panchal’s friends and the other group of youths. One of the youths stabbed Panchal in the abdomen with a sharp object. The accused and his friends then fled the spot.” Panchal’s friends rushed him to a public hospital, but he died during treatment. Police are looking for five youths, including the main accused who stabbed Panchal. They are regular’s patrons at the hookah parlour, said a police officer. “At least three of the wanted accused have criminal records against them. We have identified them and are looking for them,” a senior police officer said. Panchal, who lived in Shankarwadi in Jogeshwari (E) with his parents and sister, was the sole breadwinner of the family, said his relatives. His father used to work as a Security Guard.



650 dengue cases in a week


NEW DELHI: Delhi has registered 650 fresh cases of dengue in the past one week taking the total number of confirmed cases this year to 5,870. The death toll due to the disease, as per the latest report by municipal corporations, stands at three. No new deaths have been recorded, officials claimed. “We are looking into the details of some of the dengue deaths reported by hospitals. They will be included in the official list as when the committee confirms dengue as the cause of the deaths,” said an official. A 12-year-old boy was the first to die of dengue shock syndrome at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital (SGRH) on August 1. A 26-year-old Manipuri woman, Rhoda Daimai, living in south Delhi’s Sarita Vihar, died at the Holy Family Hospital in August, while 49-year-old Meena Devi, from Bihar, died on September 2 at the SGRH, the report stated. “September and October are peak months for the spread of dengue. The numbers will come down as winter sets in,” said a municipal health official. He said the current temperature is conducive for mosquito breeding.


Dr Rommel Tickkoo, senior consultant, internal medicine at Max Saket said that people must cover their body while going out and keep their surroundings clean. “Five out of 10 patients coming with fever are being diagnosed with dengue. This trend is likely to continue for another fortnight,” he said. Incidence of chikungunya has remained low this year with total 731 cases. Last year, Delhi witnessed an outbreak situation with almost nine times, 6,575 chikungunya cases, reported in the same corresponding period. However, municipal data reveals significant spike in the incidence of malaria. This year, the corporation said, 1,073 cases of the mosquito-borne disease have been reported compared to 593 last years. According to the World Health Organisation, about 3.2 billion people —nearly half of the world’s population —are at risk of malaria.



Karnataka bans riding pillion on 2 wheelers below 100 cc capacity

There should not be any seat for pillion riders in vehicles below 100 CC as mandated under Rule 143(3) of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules – 1989, the court had said.



BENGALURU: Karnataka government has banned riding pillion on two-wheelers with engine capacity of less than 100 CC, giving effect to a 2015 court order. The transport department also banned registration of such vehicles. “Not only has the registration of such vehicles which have seats for pillion rider been banned but also riding pillion on two-wheelers below 100 CC is prohibited,” said a government order issued by the transport department on October 13 last. The order was issued based on a Karnataka High Court order in a case relating to the award of compensation to Hemanth, a minor riding pillion who was crippled for life following a road accident in Mysuru in March, 2009. Hemanth and Nithin, who was riding the two-wheeler without a licence, were both aged around 14 then. A recklessly driven car had crashed against their vehicle. While Nithin escaped with minor injuries, Hemanth was crippled for life with serious head injuries. In its June 15, 2015 order on a petition related to compensation claim by parents of Hemanth, the court had taken note of violations of rules and issued a slew of directions to the education and transport departments and the police to prevent minors from riding motor vehicles above 50 CC. It had directed that to avoid repetition of similar situation, the transport department should not register vehicles below 100 CC with a pillion seat attached to it and not permit riding pillion on such vehicles (already registered). There should not be any seat for pillion riders in vehicles below 100 CC as mandated under Rule 143(3) of the Karnataka Motor Vehicles Rules – 1989, the court had said.



2 local trains collide in East Midnapore



KOLKATA: A local train rammed into another stationary train on Sunday afternoon between the Khirai and Panskura stations in East Midnapore after the motorman of a Howrah-bound Balichak Local failed to gauge the distance between the two. A major accident was, however, averted as the Balichak Local was moving at a very slow speed. There were no serious injuries. While this may seem to be a case of signal overshooting, Balichak Local Motorman S Biswas was going by the book. His only mistake was that he failed to stop his train at a safe distance behind the one ahead. “As per an Indian Railways rule, in an automated signal section – as was the case between Khirai and Panskura – loco pilots or motormen of trains have to wait for a minute (during the day) at red signals before moving ahead at speeds not exceeding 15km/hr. They have to stop the train at a safe distance behind the one ahead though. A safe distance is considered ‘one clear mast’ or 65-75 metres. After dark, the waiting time is at least two minutes,” a senior railway official said. It seems Biswas did the same on Sunday. He came across a red signal and stopped for the stipulated minute before moving ahead. It was a bright day and he could spot the train ahead well in advance but chose to slow down at the last moment.


This reduced the distance between the trains and he rammed into the one in front. Under the circumstances, Biswas could be accused of violating the ‘safe distance’ clause but not of signal overshooting. “Several officials have spoken out against this rule on a number of occasions. A loco pilot or motorman can’t be given the authority to violate a red signal even in an automatic section. A motorman is alone in his cabin and there is nothing that stops him from moving ahead at speeds over 15km/hr. This happened on a clear day and the motorman must have spotted the Midnapore local as he succeeded in slowing down considerably. There would have been more damage even if the train was moving at 15km/hr. Consider the situation at night when there can be dense fog. What if the loco pilot or motorman fails to pick up the other train in his headlights in time and is over speeding? The consequence could be catastrophic,” another official said. He said that it doesn’t help in bringing two trains closer. “It is not as if the waiting time is reduced in any way. The train can’t proceed till the one in front receives a green signal and moves. By the time that train crosses the green signal, it turns to red once again, disallowing the driver of the next one to move ahead,” he said.



Thefts thwarted by alert citizens



AHMEDABAD: In two instances on October 21 and 22alert citizens thwarted theft attempts in Anandnagar and Vastrapur areas. According to a complaint by Bhavesh Patel, a resident of Ghatlodia, he received a call at 2.15am on October 22 from police. His shop Live Console at Kalatirth Complex near Prernatirth Derasar was targeted as thieves had broken the locks on shutter and had kept a few bricks below it. “Upon inspection, it came to light that the thieves had also targeted an adjoining shop, a hospital and a grammar class by breaking or trying to break the locks. They also broke the siren of an ATM kiosk located in the same building,” said an Anandnagar police official. “However, no owner including Patel reported anything missing. Search for the thieves involved is on,” he said, adding that the alarm was raised by security guard at 2am. Prabhubhai Chaudhari, 53, a resident of Triveni Park near Surdhara Circle reported an incident to Vastrapur police. Chaudhari, a town planner in Surat, was returning home at 10.30pm on October 21 when he saw a person fleeing from the boundary wall of an adjoining residence. His son, along with a neighbours, gave chase to the suspect but he managed to flee. Chaudhari informed the house owner when he came to know that the thief had managed to rummage through the belongings but could not steal any valuables.



International News



Typhoon leaves five dead after lashing Japan on election day

This aerial photo shows a collapsed road in Kishiwada, Osaka



TOKYO: A powerful typhoon left five dead, one missing and scores injured in Japan on Monday, moving northward off the Pacific coast after millions struggled to the polls for a national election. Authorities advised thousands living in coastal areas or near rivers to evacuate to shelters before Typhoon Lan, described as “very large and very strong”, hit Tokyo and surrounding regions. The typhoon had left the Japanese archipelago by about 9am (0000 GMT) after making landfall in Shizuoka southwest of Tokyo six hours before, the weather agency said. The storm, which had already dumped torrential rain over much of the country during the weekend, packed gusts up to 162 kilometres (100 miles) per hour, the meteorological agency said. Train operators suspended some commuter trains in Tokyo suburbs early Monday and cancelled some “Shinkansen” bullet trains in northern Japan after a blackout left passengers stranded overnight in the country’s central region. Nearly 300 flights scheduled for Monday have already been cancelled, public broadcaster NHK said, after strong winds forced 500 flights to be grounded Sunday. Some ferry services in western Japan were also cancelled as the weather agency warned of high waves, landslides and floods across the archipelago. The typhoon claimed its first victims Sunday as a male passer-by died when scaffolding collapsed on him at a construction site in Fukuoka in western Japan. Also in western Japan, a 70-year-old man was found dead in Yamaguchi after he dived into the sea to grab a rope from another vessel as he attempted to escape from his troubled boat, a coastguard told AFP. In Osaka prefecture, a man in his 80s died after being crushed under a blown-off shutter while a woman in her 60s was found dead in a submerged car, local officials said. A 29-year-old man was also found in a submerged car in the central prefecture of Mie.


Separately, a 61-year-old man has been missing in eastern Japan’s Ibaraki prefecture after he went fishing on Sunday. More than 130 people were injured across the nation, NHK said, while the central government has so far confirmed 97 injuries. Television footage showed rescuers tugging a rubber boat carrying an elderly woman in a residential area in Chiba southeast of Tokyo as a flooded river engulfed the area. Automaker Toyota said it would suspend operations at all domestic plants on Monday. On Sunday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered his minister in charge of disasters to be ready to mobilise rescue and evacuation forces, including troops. “In order to protect people’s lives, the Abe cabinet will unite and do its best to provide an emergency response to a disaster,” he told reporters. Voters in the capital braved torrential rain and driving wind on election day, but turnout across the country was expected to be only a fraction higher than the all-time low, as people voted early to avoid the typhoon. Near complete projections Monday showed Abe’s ruling conservative coalition was on track to win a two-thirds “super-majority”. The foul weather did affect the election, with ferries to a remote island in the west cancelled due to high waves, forcing officials to suspend the counting of votes there. On Saturday, voters on remote southern islands in the path of the storm cast their ballots early, heeding a call from Abe.



Five-month battle with ISIS ends in Philippine city: Defence secretary

Damaged buildings are seen after troops cleared the area from pro-Islamic State militant groups



CLARK: A five-month battle against Islamic State supporters in the southern Philippines that claimed more than 1,000 lives has ended, the nation’s defence secretary said on Monday. “We now announce the termination of all combat operations in Marawi,” Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana told reporters on the sidelines of a regional security meeting in Clark, a northern Philippine city. Lorenzana said there were no more militants, known locally as coming from the Maute group, providing resistance following an intense final battle after which 42 bodies were recovered. “Those are the last group of stragglers of Mautes and they were caught in one building and so there was a firefight so they were finished,” he said “All terrorists, fighting troops. All hostages have been recovered”. Hundreds of gunmen who had pledged allegiance to IS rampaged through Marawi, the Islamic capital of the mainly Catholic Philippines, on May 23, then took over parts of the city using civilians as human shields. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and security analysts said the militants were trying to establish a Southeast Asian caliphate in Marawi. The ensuing US-backed military campaign to evict the militants claimed more than 1,000 lives, displaced 400,000 residents and left large parts of Marawi in ruins. Duterte travelled to Marawi on Tuesday last week and declared the city had been “liberated”, shortly after the Southeast Asian leader for IS, a Filipino militant named Isnilon Hapilon, was shot dead there.


However the continued fighting raised questions over whether the city was indeed free of the militants. US Defence Secretary James Mattis today praised the Philippines for its success in Marawi. “One of the first things I’m going to do when I get there is commend the Philippine military for liberating Marawi from the terrorists,” Mattis told reporters on board a flight to the Philippines to attend the security meeting in Clark. “It was a very tough fight as you know in southern Mindanao (the local region). And I think the Philippine military sends a very strong message to the terrorists”. Hapilon, who was on the US government’s list of most- wanted terrorists, was killed along with one of group’s other leaders, Omarkhayam Maute, according to the military. Hapilon and Maute, along with hundreds of other militants, had been able to defy near daily bombing raids that left much of the city in ruins by sheltering in basements and travelling through tunnels, according to the military. The impoverished southern Philippines, home to many of the nation’s Muslim minority, has for decades endured conflict. The nation’s biggest Muslim rebel group is in talks with the government to end a rebellion that began in the 1970s and has claimed more than 120,00 lives.

News Flash – 23 October 2017

National News



Theft reported on Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express: Woman loses valuables worth RS 1 lakh



Mumbai: Yet another theft case has been reported on a Delhi-Mumbai train. A Bandra resident travelling by Rajdhani Express was robbed of cash and jewellery of a total value of Rs 1.09 lakh early on Sunday morning. Rajdhani Express, a premium train, has witnessed a spate of thefts in recent months. The latest comes barely three weeks after a man was arrested for targeting train passengers on the Delhi-Mumbai corridor. The railways had then announced it would install cameras on Rajdhani and August Kranti trains. The complainant, Nisha Jain, was travelling with her family. In her first information report registered with the railway police’s outpost at Mumbai Central, Jain has stated: “My purse had jewellery worth Rs 30,000, gift cash cards of Rs 17,000 value and Rs 45,000 cash besides other valuables”. The family of three was in coach B-2 and occupied berths 57, 58, 59. Jain’s complaint states that they were awake till the train pulled into Ratlam around midnight. Jain told TOI that she had tucked the purse beside her shoulder with a shawl thrown over it. “But when the train reached Vadodara, my purse was missing,” she said, adding that she informed the railway police. She said the coach attendant said he had seen a woman alighting at Vadodara. “I showed him photos of the purse on my phone and he confirmed that this woman had alighted with a similar one. She added that the railway police later informed her that they have spotted a woman alighting with a purse from the coach at Vadodara station. “I suspect some insiders are in cahoots with the culprit. Their role must be probed,” said Jain.



Nearly 50% drop in Diwali fire calls due to ‘greater public awareness’



MUMBAI: Fire calls received during Diwali this year have witnessed almost a 50% drop compared to last year. Officials attributed this drop to greater public awareness. This year, fewer crackers were burst during Diwali too. Statistics show that fire calls received on Laxmi Puja day this year and a day after that (October 19-20) have been 35, while there were 64 calls last year on those days. In fact, last year, 12 out of the 64 calls received were between level 1-4, which requires the fire brigade to reach the site and monitor the situation, apart from starting fire-fighting operations. Anything above level 4 is a brigade call, which means it is serious. For instance, the fire at Kalbadevi’s Gokul Niwas building, in which four fire officers were killed, was a brigade call. But this year, two out of the 35 calls were of level 1 and 2, one of which was in Worli and the other was in Marol. Mumbai Fire Brigade‘s chief fire officer P Rahangdale said this was a positive sign that calls have reduced during Diwali. “This keeps up with the trend on how annually to the number of fire calls is reducing. One reasons for this is awareness that we are trying to create through all modes of communication. Volunteer training programmes started by us are also helping us to reach out to more people. People are probably realizing the importance of taking precautions,” says Rahangdale, adding that most calls were due to crackers flying and coming in contact with combustible material in highrises in the city. Fire brigade officials said people often store combustible things in their galleries, which leads to fires spreading further. Last year, due to Diwali celebrations, a fire cracker caused a massive blaze in a 10-storey commercial structure at Lower Parel, leaving residents of a 37-storey residential highrise opposite traumatized. While no one was injured, it took the fire brigade over two hours to bring the blaze under control.


Fire calls during Diwali (Oct 19-20)

2017 | 35

2016 | 64

Drop in fire calls annually






Past incidents

* Oct 18, 2016 | Two persons died in a blaze in a duplex in the 25-storey sea-facing Maker Tower at Cuffe Parade

* June 6, 2015 | Seven persons, including a woman, died and 28 were injured in a blaze on the 14th floor of the 21-storey Lake Lucerne building in Powai

* May 9, 2015 | Four senior fire officials were killed when Gokul Niwas, a four-storey building in Kalbadevi caught fire and a large portion of it collapsed on them. Chief fire officer Sunil Nesarikar died in this fire.



Mobile phone emits smoke on Indore-Delhi flight, plane lands safely



NEW DELHI: In yet another scare of its kind, a mobile phone is feared to have caught fire mid-air on a flight which required the device to be first sprayed with fire extinguisher and then be kept in water till the plane landed safely. The latest case happened Friday on Jet Airways’ Indore-Delhi flight. The airline said smoke was seen emanating from a guest hand bag on 9W 971. “Jet Airways crew (took) all necessary steps, precautionary measures as per the prescribed guidelines. Since the smoke emanated from a mobile device, the handheld item was taken into custody for further investigations. There was no injury to guests or crew or (damage to) any part of the cabin. The aircraft landing was safe and uneventful. At Jet Airways safety is of paramount importance and all crew are trained to handle such situations,” a statement by Jet Airways said.


The airline did not give details of the make of the device and the number of passengers on board. The issue has been referred to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The regulator had some years back put in place a standard operating procedure to handle such situations. Crew are now trained to immediately spray fire extinguisher on the bag from which smoke is emanating. Once smoke stops, the device from which the smoke was coming is put in a can of water till the aircraft lands safely and then the personal electronic device (PED) is sent for examination. The regulator is examining if fire proof cases should be made mandatory on long flights, especially those over oceans which do not have any airport nearby to land as soon as possible. PEDs which catch fire and/or are emitting smoke are to be put in these boxes and the aircraft can safely fly to its destination or till an alternate airport. The DGCA had two years back banned mobiles of a particular brand from being taken on board planes as they were catching fire frequently.



Homeguard caught for committing nearly 60 ATM thefts in Hyderabad

The accused was identified as Tummala Udayakumar alias Uday Kiran, a homeguard working in Hyderabad.



KAREMPUDI (GUNTUR DISTRICT): Central Crime Station (CCS) police managed to arrest a notorious Homeguard who preyed on gullible people by stealing money from their ATM cards in the pretext of helping them withdraw cash at Karempudi village in Guntur district on Friday. The accused was identified as Tummala Udayakumar alias Uday Kiran, a homeguard working in Hyderabad. According to CCS police, Kiran from Narsaraopet has joined the service back in 2006 in Hyderabad. He worked as an escort for accused from the jails to the court. After getting the pin numbers from the victims, he would steal the ATM card and withdraw all its money. Interestingly, he learnt the skill while escorting thieves and other accused during his duty. He then would purchase ATM cards from pickpockets for Rs 100 and 200. He would then exchange the cards with the gullible people who have less knowledge about operating ATM machines in the village. Kiran has been committing the crime since 2012 and in 2016, he stole a whopping Rs 1.69 lakh from just one ATM card. Upon information, cops caught Kiran at an Andhra Bank ATM on Thursday and recovered Rs 1.2 lakh from him. Kiran has close 50 cases against him across West Godavari, East Godavari, Guntur, Vizag, Srikakulam and Nalgonda district in Telangana state. Cops registered cheating and theft cases against him and produced him before the court.



Depression leaves, but heavy rain drenches Kolkata

A vendor waits for customers at a water-logged street in Kolkata.



KOLKATA: A steady drizzle punctuated by several spells of heavy shower left Kolkata drenched on Friday, even as the depression that has been triggering rain since Thursday moved into Jamshedpur. It was predicted to travel across West Bengal and enter Bangladesh on Saturday. According to the Met office, the showers could lose intensity in Kolkata by Saturday afternoon. “The depression is now travelling in a north-northeasterly direction towards Bangladesh. As it moves further away from Bengal, the rain will turn scanty in Kolkata. The weather should improve in the city by Saturday afternoon,” said GK Das, director, Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC). As the depression travels through the state, the districts of Bankura, Burdwan and Malda could receive heavy rain. On Thursday evening, the depression had reached the Odisha coast around 8pm. On Friday morning, it lay 35 km north-northwest of Chandbali in Odisha, according to the IMD website. It said that the system will move northward for some more time and then turn north-northeast ward close to the coast. Since it was still gathering moisture, the system will continue to strengthen for at least 24 hours more and was likely to maintain its intensity.


But since the system was moving towards Bangladesh, the weather was set to improve in the city, said Das. “The intermittent rain could continue through Saturday morning. As of now, we don’t see any heavier spells. But the rain will continue and there could be light showers till Saturday afternoon,” said Das. With the depression having moved into Jamshedpur, the adjoining areas in Bengal received heavy showers on Friday. The showers were predicted to move with the system on Saturday. The rain led to waterlogging in several areas of north and central Kolkata. Stretches of Chittaranjan Avenue, Muktarambabu Street and Colootola Street had ankle-deep water on Friday morning. M G Road and parts of the Park Circus EM Bypass connector near Science City, too, was flooded. Bidhan Sarani and the Kankurgacchi underpass had ankle-deep water following a spell of heavy shower on Friday morning. Water also gushed into the Thanthania Kali temple which remained under ankle-deep water for several hours. A high tide on Thursday night had led to the flooding, according to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. More than 300 pumps were pressed into service by the civic authorities across 17 drainage pumping stations in the city.



Now, traffic cops come up with helmet zones



CHENNAI: Traffic police have announced a dozen stretches in the city as ‘helmet zones’. They are planning to ensure that all two-wheeler riders passing through these stretches wear helmets. The stretches will be monitored by a police team who will check motorists at entry and exit points. Police said they have identified at least 12 such stretches in the city. “Assistant commissioners of traffic enforcement police have been asked to identify the stretches in their jurisdiction and deploy police personnel there to ensure that motorists wear helmets,” said a police officer. The officer added that the public will not be informed which areas have been earmarked as ‘helmet zones’. This will prompt the motorists to wear helmet on most of the roads in the city. In addition, people who involve in traffic violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol, riding two-wheelers without helmets and jumping red signal, have been made to watch one-hour long short films that narrate the harms of violating traffic rules. “We screen a couple of videos that run for at least an hour and the violators have to watch the videos fully,” said K Periaiah, additional commissioner of police of the traffic police.


Police statistics said at least 18,894 cases had been booked for over speeding, at least 23,552 cases for jumping signal from June to August. At least 3,115 cases were booked for using mobile phones while driving, 5,168 cases for drunken driving, 1,056 cases for overloading by goods carriage vehicles and 189 cases for carrying people in goods vehicles in the same period. From January 1 to September 17, 2016, about 5,562 fatal and non-fatal accident cases were registered in the city and this has reduced to 5,420 cases for the same period this year. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, traffic police personnel register cases under 33 heads for traffic violations and they have booked at least 14,37, 816 cases from January 1 to September 17 this year. Police have so far collected 16.39 crore fine from violators and have deposited it in the state treasury.



International News



Car bomb kills 15 Afghan army personnel in Kabul: Defence ministry spokesperson



KABUL: A suicide attacker detonated a car full of explosives outside an Afghan military training centre in Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 15 soldiers, a military spokesman said, the latest attack in a particularly deadly week for Afghanistan‘s security forces. “Army personnel were coming out of Marshal Fahim University when a suicide bomber in a car targeted them. Fifteen soldiers who were there for training were killed and four others were wounded,” Ministry of Defence spokesman Dawlat Wazari told Reuters.



Man attacks people at shopping mall in Poland, 1 dead



WARSAW: A man attacked people with a knife on Friday at a shopping mall in southeastern Poland, killing one person and sending seven others to the hospital with wounds, police said. Andrzej Wierszyna, spokesman for the police in the town of Stalowa Wola, said the attack took place Friday afternoon with a sharp tool at one of the town’s malls. The man, a 27-year-old Polish resident of the town, has been detained, he told The Associated Press. Police officer Anna Klee was quoted by the PAP news agency as saying the weapon was a knife and a 50-year-old woman died in the hospital. “He was attacking people from behind, hitting them with the knife,” Klee told PAP. Eight people in all were taken to hospitals in Stalowa Wola, Tarnobrzeg and Sandomierz, most with serious wounds, Wierszyna said.



At least 30 police die in clash in Egypt’s Western desert



CAIRO: Armed terrorists killed at least 30 policemen in a shootout during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Egypt’s Western desert, security sources said on Friday. A number of suspected terrorists were also killed and security forces are combing the area, a statement by the interior ministry said. Egypt is facing an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai peninsula from two main groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, that has killed hundreds of security forces since 2013. Islamist terrorists have launched several major attacks, most recently targeting churches in Cairo and other cities with the loss of dozens of lives. The security sources said authorities were following a lead to a hideout deep in the desert thought to house eight suspected members of Hasm, a group which has claimed several attacks around the capital targeting judges and police since last year. A convoy of four SUVs and one interior ministry vehicle was ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices, a senior source in the Giza Security Office said.


The number of dead was expected to rise, two security sources said. Two security sources said eight security personnel were injured in the clashes, while another source said that four of the injured were police and four others suspected militants. Egypt accuses Hasm of being the terrorist wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this. The Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula has grown since the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule. The terrorist group staging the insurgency pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014. It is blamed for the killing of hundreds of soldiers and policemen and has started to target other areas, including Egypt’s Christian Copts.

News Flash – 18 October 2017

National News



37% of spots Delhi women find unsafe poorly



NEW DELHI: With the #MeToo campaign on social media leading to strong calls for action against sexual harassment by sharing their own experiences, data collected through the “Safetipin” application shows 37% of unsafe locations reported by women in Delhi have poor visibility at night. Real-time data collected by Safetipin, which allows women to report unsafe spaces, points to a major problem with public spaces with poor visibility adding to the prospects of abuse and harassment. In contrast in Mumbai and Bengaluru, 40% and 35% of the city’s locations reported by women have been positively rated in terms of visibility. However, in Bengaluru out of 1,881 bus stops audited, 25% scored poorly in terms of safety. The reports seem to tally with the tweets and posts on social media that show that besides incestuous abuse and harassment by colleagues, public spaces and transport are a major challenge as far as harassment goes. While the ministry of women and child development has no recent government study to bank on to assess the magnitude of the problem, it is planning to commission one on sexual harassment to establish concerns and look at measures to tackle it. For now, what is available are some past studies and safety audit reports that reflect the magnitude of the problem as reflected by the #MeToo.


Real-time data collected through the Safetipin application which allows women to report unsafe spaces how they feel about certain spaces, shows that in the national capital, 37% of locations reported by women on the application do not offer any visibility at night. Safetipin co-founder and women’s rights activist Kalpana Viswanath told TOI that there are an estimated 80,000 users and their responses are audited and assessed from time to time to understand problems on the ground. The parameters involved include visibility, lighting, openness, presence of security, walk path, availability of transport, presence of people and women and how one feels in a space. Studies by voluntary Organisation Jagori and UN Women on a sample of 5,010 respondents in 2010 reflected that 95% reported to have faced some form of sexual harassment in public spaces. The most common spaces were the street (69%), public transport (51%), waiting for public transport (41%) and markets (49%).



CR to build culverts at 29 spots to reduce flooding; BMC offers Rs 55 crore



MUMBAI: Flooding of tracks on Central Railway (CR) may reduce substantially by the next monsoon as culverts will be constructed at critical points in coordination with BMC to ensure proper disposal of sewage. Twenty-nine spots have been identified but work will be carried out at 15 spots in phase one. Eight sites have been initially finalised, for which designs have been submitted, and BMC has agreed to provide Rs 55 crore. CR divisional railway manager (Mumbai) S K Jain said they will begin work soon. CR also told BMC to provide bins at various locations so that garbage is not dumped on tracks. CR has blamed poor drainage and garbage for lack of maintenance, which are the cause of failures and poor punctuality. The authorities will also profile hawkers in the 150-metre radius of stations; the database will help identify repeat offenders.



Brace for a wet Diwali as Met predicts rain



HYDERABAD: Telangana will have a wet Diwali this year as a fall out of the well-marked low pressure area over central Bay of Bengal that is developing into a depression, Indian Meteorological Department said on Tuesday. “Heavy rains are very likely to occur in all the districts of Telangana,” the IMD said in its bulletin. Weathermen said a well-marked low pressure area over central Bay of Bengal is developing into a depression. “Associated cyclonic circulation extends up to 5.8 km above mean sea level. It is very likely to concentrate into a depression during next 24 hours. Subsequently, it is very likely to move north westwards reaching north Andhra Pradesh and ad joining south Odisha coast by October 19,” the IMD, Hyderabad said. “Southwest monsoon has withdrawn from northern parts of Telangana. Complete monsoon withdrawal over Telangana can be expected post Diwali after the depression moves towards Odisha,” said YK Reddy, director, IMD, Hyderabad.



Heavy traffic chokes Kolkata


KOLKATA: Traffic movement in several parts of the city was completely thrown out of gear on Tuesday evening due to massive inflow of vehicular and pedestrian traffic for Dhanteras and Diwali festivities. There were massive traffic snarls in central Kolkata. Traffic was halted for quite a few hours on APC Roy Road and there was heavy traffic on Central Avenue, MG Road and other parts of central Kolkata. “It usually takes only about 20 minutes to commute from Maniktala to Moulali by car. Today evening, it took me over one and half hours to negotiate that distance,” said a commuter. Heavy traffic congestion also occurred in parts of South and North Kolkata. The inauguration of Kali Puja at a few places in central Kolkata also added to the traffic woes.



Kolkata to get India’s first 24×7 information security helpline



KOLKATA: India’s very first information security helpline is set to begin in Kolkata. The 24X7 number will help to report incidents of cybercrime. Kolkata Police has undertaken this initiative with the help of Infosec Foundation, a nonprofit platform dedicated to cyber security. The organization will hold an international summit on November 3 in Kolkata and plan to launch the helpline number on that day. Infosec is working with the Kolkata Police to form a team of volunteers, called ‘Cyber Army’. The Chairman of Infosec, Sushovon Mukherjee said, “These volunteers will guide the persons looking for cyber solutions”. Mukherjee also said that this summit will be east India’s biggest ever summit, since organizations like IBM, Fire eye, Check Point will be participating. Another executive of Infosec Koushik Bhattacharya said, “We have no idea how to secure digital property. This is the biggest threat to Digital India“.



Your box of fireworks must have these details


CHENNAI: When you unwrap a box of fireworks on Diwali day, check for two things – the chemical composition of the fireworks and a disclaimer on sound emissions. Both are mandatory. If they are absent from the packet, the fireworks have not been manufactured by a government-licensed unit. They either have been made illegally or are of Chinese origin, and may not abide by the Explosive Act and sound limits prescribed by the government. An industry source said major players in Sivakasi display the chemical composition on the packets. In addition to that, the disclaimer on sound emission is also printed, the source said. Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization (PESO) in Sivakasi has derived a formula for fireworks to keep the sound emitted under 125 decibels. Tamil Nadu Fireworks and Amorces Manufacturers’ Association (TANFAMA) former president G Abiruben said Fireworks Research & Development Centre (FR&DC), Sivakasi under PESO had been testing random samples of all 800 licensed firework units in Sivakasi. “An entire lot of fireworks will be destroyed if a sample fails the sound emission test. FR&DC has drilled this formula into fireworks makers of Sivakasi. Fireworks manufactured in licensed units of Sivakasi naturally fall below the allowed sound limit,” he said.


While licensed manufacturers mention on the boxes that their products are made as per requirements of PESO, those made by the ‘parallel industry’ do not, sources said. And often the chemicals they use may be unsafe for end users. “Such fireworks will not have any information on the chemical composition printed on their packets. They will just have a flashy sticker,” said K Mariappan, secretary of TANFAMA. “Chinese fireworks do not even have a manufacturing address or customer care number. They come in more attractive packets than the Indian fireworks,” he said. Mariappan said Sivakasi manufacturers did not use chlorates or per-chlorates because they are dangerous to handle. Chlorates are not only cheaper but fireworks made from them burn brighter and longer as they produce oxygen when heated. However, these fireworks are unstable and in tropical climatic conditions, fireworks containing chlorates can explode if there is a sudden jolt. Mariappan said the chemicals used by manufacturers in Sivakasi were permitted by the explosive department and that sulphur was not mixed with chlorates.



International News



Suicide bombers, gunmen kill 71 in attacks on Afghan forces



GARDEZ: Two separate suicide and gun attacks on police and soldiers in Afghanistan left at least 71 dead and nearly 170 wounded on Tuesday in the latest devastating assaults on beleaguered security forces. The Taliban claimed the more deadly of the two assaults, a coordinated attack on police in the southeast city of Gardez in Paktia province. That assault killed 41 people and injured 158, according to the interior ministry, and left hospital officials calling for blood donations. There were desperate scenes as relatives queued for news of loved ones after the hours-long battle. A separate ambush blamed on the Taliban in the neighbouring province of Ghazni killed 25 security officials and five civilians with 10 wounded, the interior ministry said. Afghanistan’s army and police, on the front line against the Taliban since foreign combat forces pulled back in December 2014, have suffered shocking casualties over the past year. Their ranks are beset by corruption and desertion. “The hospital is overwhelmed and we call on people to donate blood,” said Shir Mohammad Karimi, deputy health director in Gardez, who put the number of wounded there at more than 200. Doctors and nurses rushed to attend to the wounded women, children and police filling the corridors where some bodies also lay. Outside, university students formed a queue to donate blood, an AFP photographer said. The attack, claimed by the Taliban in a tweet, began when two suicide bombers driving an explosives-laden truck and a Humvee blew them up near the training centre, which is close to the Paktia police headquarters. The blasts flattened a building and enabled gunmen to force their way inside the compound, according to officials and the interior ministry.


“Most of the victims are civilians who had come to the police headquarters to get their passports and national IDs,” a statement from the Paktia governor’s office said. A university student who was in class at the time said he heard “a big boom” which shook the building and shattered windows. “As we were trying to find our way (out of the building) I heard a second blast and then the dust and dirt covered us in the class. Several of my classmates were wounded by broken glass,” Noor Ahmad told AFP. The battle between the attackers, armed with guns and suicide vests, and security forces lasted around five hours before it ended with all five militants killed, officials said. Photos posted on Twitter showed two large plumes of smoke rising above the city. The second attack, in Ghazni some 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Gardez, followed a similar pattern involving insurgents detonating an explosives-laden Humvee near a police headquarters then storming the building, Haref Noori, the Ghazni governor’s spokesman, told AFP. “Dozens of Taliban” were killed in the attack, Ghazni police chief Mohammad Zaman said. Afghan President Ashraf Ghani condemned the attacks and praised the “bravery and sacrifice” of security forces. The attacks are the latest in a series of assaults on security installations, including one on a military hospital in Kabul in March which may have killed up to 100 people, and a devastating attack on a base in Mazar-i-Sharif which left 144 people dead. They came one day after four-way talks between Afghanistan, Pakistan, the United States and China were held in Oman with the aim of ending the Taliban’s 16-year insurgency.



Paktia province borders Pakistan’s militancy-plagued tribal areas where the Taliban-affiliated Haqqani network has a presence. Tuesday’s attack in Gardez began hours after a US drone strike in Pakistan’s Kurram tribal district, part of which borders Paktia, killed at least 26 Haqqani militants, officials have said. A senior commander in the Afghan Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity the attack was in retaliation for the US aerial assault, the deadliest targeting militants in the Pakistani tribal region this year. On Monday the US also carried out strikes in the Jaji Maidan district of Paktia “under counter-terror authorities”, said US Forces Spokesman Navy Captain Tom Gresback. In Kurram last week the Pakistani military rescued a US-Canadian family who had been abducted by militants in Afghanistan in 2012. US President Donald Trump has said they were being held by the Haqqani network. The extremist group is known for its frequent use of suicide bombers. The Haqqanis have also been accused of assassinating top Afghan officials and holding kidnapped Westerners for ransom. These include the recently rescued hostages Canadian Joshua Boyle, his American wife Caitlan Coleman, and their three children — all born in captivity — as well as US soldier Bowe Bergdahl, who was released in 2014.



3,250 killed in Raqa battle, including 1,130 civilians: Monitor

US-backed fighters battled hundreds of jihadists holed up in Raqa



BEIRUT: The more than four-month-long battle for Raqa, which US-backed forces declared over on Tuesday, has left at least 3,250 people dead, more than a third of them civilians, a monitor said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that at least 1,130 civilians were among those killed since the start of the operation in early June. Hundreds more were still missing and may have been buried alive in their homes by shelling, bombs and air strikes.



Several injured in bomb attack on police vehicle in Turkey’s Mersin province

The police vehicle that was attacked



ANKARA: Twelve people were wounded in a bomb attack on a police vehicle in Turkey‘s southern Mersin province on Tuesday, Turkish broadcaster NTV said. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Mersin Mayor Burhanettin Kocamaz told another broadcaster, Haberturk, that the attack took place on the street where the local governor’s office is located. He said the police vehicle was moving at the time of the attack. The government’s main spokesman, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, said it was a terrorist attack. Kurdish militants frequently target police vehicles and transports vans. “There was a bomb attack on a police vehicle in a terror attack in Mersin. The event is still fresh, it is not possible for me to give exact numbers at the moment,” Bozdag said. “Turkey’s battle against terror will continue under any circumstances in a strong and determined way”. Turkey is battling a three-decade insurgency in its mainly Kurdish southeast. The militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) frequently carries out bomb attacks on security forces in the southeast and elsewhere. The PKK is considered a terrorist Organisation by the United States, Turkey and the European Union. More than 40,000 people, most of them Kurds, have died since it first took up arms against the state.