Monthly Archives: June 2018

News Flash – 30 June 2018

National News

 

 

Army of ex-servicemen to protect Ganga, patrol ghats

 

NEW DELHI: They spent the prime years of their life guarding the country’s borders. Now, this army of ex-servicemen will protect the Ganga, keep it clean, stop people from throwing trash into its water and patrol its Ghats. The Indian Army is raising a battalion of 532 ex-servicemen named ‘Ganga Task Force’, including nine officers and 29 JCOs. They will be deployed in Allahabad, Varanasi and Kanpur. To begin with, 200 personnel have been mobilised and are undergoing training in Allahabad. They will be engaged in this task for three years. Director general of National Mission for Clean Ganga Rajiv Ranjan Mishra told TOI, “Involving ex-servicemen was the natural choice considering their role in critical situations. This is part of a series to involve more people in cleaning Ganga”. The ex-servicemen will also be involved in tree plantation on the river banks to check soil erosion, creating public awareness, participating in campaigns and patrolling the river for biodiversity protection and monitoring river pollution. “Their deployment will bring discipline among visitors. They will work with district committees under the Clean Ganga Mission,” Mishra said. Officials said the task force in Allahabad has already raised a nursery of close to one lakh saplings and 15 lakh seed balls. They will also work with NGOs to encourage people to get their houses connected to sewage systems.

 

 

Heavy rain likely on Monday and Tuesday

 

 

MUMBAI: Heavy rain is expected to return to the city on Monday or Tuesday, according to officials of the India Meteorological Department(IMD). On Friday, the rainfall recorded by the IMD’s Colaba observatory was 6.4mm and the Santacruz observatory was 9mm. Weather officials said that while a few spells of rain were expected over the next two days, Monday may see heavy rainfall. Nitha T, scientist at IMD Mumbai, said, “South Konkan may see more rain than North Konkan,” she said. Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai fall under North Konkan. Meanwhile, the quantum of water in the seven lakes that supply to Mumbai touched 2.88 lakh million litres on Friday from 2.05 lakh million litres on June 25. Water stock in the seven lakes must be around 14.5 lakh million litres by monsoon-end to ensure round-the-year supply to the city.

 

 

Class IX girl leaps off building, 2nd from same school to end life in 2 months

 

MUMBAI: A 14-year-old schoolgirl was captured on camera as she jumped to her death off the refuge area on the 8th floor of a highrise at Kandivli’s Thakur Village on Wednesday. The Class IX student lived with her parents in an adjacent building. Police said the girl was conscious after the fall and spoke to her mother. But investigators have not concluded the reason for the drastic step. With two children ending their lives in as many months, the school intends to conduct suicide prevention programmes for parents and students. “We held a session in May and are roping in experts this time too,” a teacher told TOI. The girl studied in the ICSE stream and was bright at academics. She was a prefect at school and was chosen for her good overall performance. Teachers said she had attended school on Thursday and nothing had happened which could have upset her. Around 2.30pm, the girl returned from school. She then left home on the pretext of going to tuitions, in the same complex. Instead, she headed to another building and went to the eighth-floor refuge area. The housing complex’s developer has built a wing for BMC Class 4 employees. But they are not permitted to use the front entrance and have access to their homes from a separate back entrance. A relative of one BMC staffer witnessed the suicide. “I was at the window when I first saw this girl in the window of the refuge area around 4.30pm. I called out to my brothers and we alerted the gardener below.

 

But he wouldn’t pay heed to us,” said Chetan Tiwari. “As the girl climbed down and sat on the parapet, I was terrified. My brother whipped out his phone and started to shoot a video clip. We started screaming and the guards finally took us seriously. But it was too late by the time they could go upstairs,” said Tiwari. The clip was circulated on WhatsApp and soon went viral, leaving her friends and neighbours stunned. “The refuge area cannot be kept locked nor can a wire mesh be put up as per fire department orders. We had put up CCTV cameras in the area which have captured the girl going to the parapet,” said society manager Rajesh Medhe. “A guard has been posted there since the incident”. Residents informed the girl’s mother and carried the girl into a car. She succumbed to injuries at the hospital. “She had celebrated her birthday eight to 10 days ago,” her tuition teacher said. “She was never stressed about studies and had smiled at me while leaving from tuitions on Wednesday. She didn’t turn up for her tuition class on Thursday, and I was planning to ask her about her absence on Friday, when I heard of her passing away,” she added.

 

 

With CCTV’s, guards on duty, Delhi Police aims to rev up security in PGs

A policeman patrolling at Mukherjee Nagar.

 

 

For students, finding an accommodation close to the campus is as difficult as getting admission in DU. And it goes without saying that especially for female students, security is one of the most important criteria while selecting a PG. It seems, however, picking a PG with good security isn’t only worrisome for the students, but the issue has become a headache for the police too. After dealing with endless complaints last year, the Delhi Police has now taken it on upon itself and has prepared a security checklist for the PG owners. Most owners of paying guest accommodations aren’t able to provide proper security to the students. Which is why, many of them line up at the police station to complain against their PG owners, or call the helpline to rant about their problems just three-four months after moving in. So, to address the problem, this academic year, Delhi Police has decided to pitch in to ensure that all security measures are in place. In a recent meeting held between PG owners, RWAs and Delhi Police officials, the police officials asked the PG owners to be more co-operative. They have also asked them to install CCTV cameras at the entrance, which should be closely monitored. The police officials have said that every PG should deploy guards and not allow any outsiders to enter. Also, a register is required to be maintained to keep a record of the timings. The police officials say that they’ll conduct surprise checks in all the PGs year-round to ensure that the guidelines given to them are strictly followed.

 

PG owners say that even though they prefer having a girls’ PG above boys’, they still have guys creating trouble in girls’ PG’s. To tackle this, the Delhi Police officials will patrol residential areas too. While PG owners told the police that they prefer running a girls’ PG because boys are rowdy. They also said that boys create trouble even in a girls’ PG. A sub-inspector says, “In our meeting, the PG owners told us that keeping guys in a PG is a huge risk but running a girls’ PG is also not an easy task because guys keep roaming around the area. Even girls complain about this issue.” To address this, the North District Delhi Police will be deploying constables not only on campus, but in residential areas too. Apart from the PCR vans, local cops will also be patrolling in the area. A senior police official says, “One of the most common problems that students face is that the PG owners do not return the money that they take as three months’ advance. Now, after taking admission in the university, students often change their colleges, and they want to change their PG too. But in such scenarios, it becomes impossible for them to get the money back. So in the meeting, we also asked the PG owners to not harass students and return their security money. If they fail to do so, we will look into it”.

 

 

Telangana wakes up to fraud after UIDAI alert

 

 

HYDERABAD: After detecting a fraud in SR Nagar, the Telangana Stamps and Registration Department has pulled down a link to Mee-Seva centres on property registration documents, having finger prints and Aadhaar card copies. The moves follows a communication from Unique Identification Authority of India on Friday. UIDAI sent a communication after SR Nagar police in Hyderabad arrested a rubber stamp maker, who recreated fingerprints and used it to obtain SIM cards. The fraudster downloaded the fingerprint biometrics and Aadhaar numbers from the property registration documents. Despite the link to Mee-Seva centre being brought down, the threat to all property owners in the state is still there as their registration documents with fingerprints and Aadhaar copies can be obtained physically from Mee-Seva centres and sub-registrar offices. Telangana Stamps and Registration Department Joint IG Vemula Srinivasulu told TOI, “Based on the UIDAI communication, we shut the link from the registration department to Mee-Seva centre. They said we could reactivate once the issue is resolved. Currently people can’t obtain registration documents online from Mee-Seva centres and they have to physically visit the centres. They can approach the officers of sub-registrars and also obtain the documents,” he added. In undivided Andhra Pradesh, when Mee-Seva services were started in 2012, anyone could obtain a certified copy of registration document by paying Rs 250.

 

To ensure that they don’t get the wrong certificate, people can preview the certificate with only two pages viewed. Apart from the first page, another page having fingerprints and signatures can be viewed on the Mee-Seva site. It is suspected that the fraudster may have obtained it from the Mee-Seva site. “In Telangana, we stopped giving access to registration documents on the stamps and registration website long ago. “Only the owner of the property who receives One Time Password for once after registration can download the copy from the website. “Apart from this, there is no way registration document can be accessed on the website. But in Andhra Pradesh, it continues to have free access. In one instance, a document writer in Guntur-Vijayawada region downloaded 2.5 lakh documents before he was caught. “In Andhra Pradesh, a thumbnail of the documents can be viewed, but we have removed the thumbnail view option as well,” said Srinivasulu. He said, “All sale deeds of immovable properties are book-1 documents, and they are public documents. “Anyone can pay money at Mee-Seva centre and get a copy of it. But the fingerprints are encrypted, and they can’t be deciphered. We have to verify how the fraudster had downloaded the fingerprint and used them. It is an eye-opener. “And another angle is that Aadhar cards, which are produced as ID cards, during the registration process are displayed. We have to wait for communication from UIDAI on this,” he added.

 

 

International News

 

 

Three babies dead, 100 missing in migrant shipwreck off Libya

The lifeless bodies of three babies were brought ashore in Libya on Friday, victims of a Mediterranean migrant shipwreck in which survivors say 100 people are still missing.

 

 

AL-HMIDIYA: The lifeless bodies of three babies were brought ashore in Libya on Friday, victims of a Mediterranean migrant shipwreck in which survivors say 100 people are still missing. Around 120 migrants were aboard the inflatable craft when it ran into trouble, according to survivors taken to Al-Hmidiya, east of the capital Tripoli. Sixteen people were rescued, while the missing included two babies and three children under the age of 12. Survivors told AFP the boat sank a few hours after its pre-dawn departure from Garaboulli, east of Tripoli, following an explosion on board. The motor then caught fire and the vessel began taking on water, they said. The passengers included several Moroccan families, none of whom survived. “When I saw the number of people on the boat, I refused to get on board, because we had been told that we would be 20 (passengers),” said survivor Amri Swileh, from Yemen. Showing his bruised arms, the 26-year-old said he was threatened by smugglers and forced onto the boat. “I lost all of my Yemeni friends who were with me. All five of them are missing,” he said. While there were up to 15 women on board, the 16 rescued passengers were all young men from countries including Gambia, Zambia and Sudan. The only bodies recovered were those of the three babies, while the rest of the dead were left at the scene “for lack of resources”, a Libyan coastguard employee said. Salem al-Qadhi, a coastguard captain, said he was shocked when he reached the site of the incident. “It was horrible to see,” he said. Fishermen had spotted the migrant vessel in difficulty and contacted the Libyan coastguard.

 

The Libyan branch of the United Nation’s migration agency said it was supporting the 16 “traumatised” survivors, noting that there had been further rescue operations off the coast. An additional 345 migrants had been brought ashore in Tripoli and were receiving humanitarian assistance, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) wrote on Twitter. Libyan authorities have been involved in the rescue of hundreds of migrants in recent days. On June 18, five bodies were recovered and more than 100 people were saved after being shipwrecked off the Libyan coast. Nearly 1,000 migrants were rescued on June 24 from multiple inflatable boats which had run into trouble during perilous bids to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The latest shipwreck came after European Union leaders reached a deal aimed at sharing the responsibility for hosting migrants more fairly across the bloc. The pact reached overnight includes a proposal to set up “disembarkation platforms” outside the EU as a way to reduce the number of people taking the perilous sea journey. But the forces of Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar on Friday rejected any foreign military presence in the south of the country to stem migration. Haftar heads the self-styled Libyan National Army and supports a parallel government in eastern Libya that challenges the authority of the country’s UN-backed unity government in Tripoli.

 

 

Maryland shooting: Paper covers its own tragedy from car park

 

ANNAPOLIS: In the shade of a car park in Maryland’s capital Annapolis, three journalists from the Capital Gazette typed grimly away — still without news of colleagues killed or injured when a gunman stormed the publication earlier on Thursday. “We’re putting out a paper tomorrow,” vowed Chase Cook, one of six reporters at the daily. His photographer colleague Joshua McKerrow got to work snapping photographs of the response by law enforcement outside their newsroom. Cook was working from his smartphone — from which he could access the newspaper’s editorial system. “I don’t know what else to do except this,” said Cook, who has worked since 2013 for ‘The Capital’, a local daily whose roots go back to 1727 said. “We’re just doing our job”. Their deadline had been pushed back to 9:30pm (local time). The Capital newspaper published a 40-page edition on Friday. Inside the newspaper, the pages were filled with details about the suspected gunman, the news organization’s origins in the 1720s and profiles on the five people who died.

 

 

Fleeing for their lives, migrants trek for the US

Central American migrants wait at a shelter in Tapachula, a southern Mexican border town which for many marks the start of the long journey to the United States.

 

 

TAPACHULA (MEXICO): First, the family store was looted. Then came phone calls demanding money, lots of it. Finally, threats to kill their two daughters. For this family it was time to leave Guatemala, right away, and seek asylum in the United States — like tens of thousands of other Central Americans who can no longer take life lived in abject poverty or under the thumb of ultra-violent street gangs. “Things spun out of control,” says matriarch Jimena, who prefers not to give her last name, for safety reasons. “The threats were so exorbitant that they asked for amounts of money we could not amass by selling a kidney,” she told AFP in Tapachula, a Mexican town on the border with Guatemala and staging ground for the long trek north in search of a better, safer life in the US. “Before we decided to leave, the threats were that they would kill our daughters,” said Jimena. Persecution from the street gangs is rampant, said Kristin Riis Halvorsen, head of the UN refugee agency’s office in Tapachula. “No one is safe. Obviously we see that people try to make the best decisions they have left. It is a matter of saving their lives”. It is in Tapachula that many migrants begin the long trip through Mexico en route to the US, to either sneak in or request asylum. It is a dangerous journey, with travelers enduring harassment from Mexican authorities or the risk of running into Mexican crime gangs.

 

Near Tapachula is the Suchiate River, which divides Mexico and Guatemala and where it is common to see whole families on makeshift boats, lugging their life’s belongings in a couple of suitcases. Other regulars are merchants or people who make a living going back and forth between the two countries. “Here, take a couple of steps and you are in Mexico,” says a man who shuttles people across the water in one of those vessels. The traffic is non-stop. With their lives in danger, Jimena did not hesitate to cross the river to enter Mexico. Here, they are filling out paperwork with the Mexican authorities before moving on. “We decided to flee because the situation in our country is so bad that we could not stay there. Our life was in danger. I cannot put my daughters’ lives at risk.” said Jimena. Staying in Mexico is not a good option because it is too close to Guatemala and there is the risk that the gangsters might come after them. What’s more, in Mexico they have no friends or relatives. “We thought about staying here. But it’s hard not knowing anyone, without having the support of somebody. Life here is hard,” said Jimena’s husband, who refused to give even his first name. But if and when they arrive at the US border, a cold reception awaits them thanks to President Donald Trump‘s “zero tolerance” policy of detaining and referring for prosecution anyone who crosses the border without papers, even those seeking asylum.

 

Until Trump suspended it last week amid an international outcry, US policy was to take away the children of parents detained at the border. But some 2,000 kids remain in the care of US authorities, and it is not clear how long it will take to reunite these families. “First, I am going to try — surrender directly to the immigration authorities and, hoping God will touch their hearts and they will let me stay,” said the husband. “We have thought about surrendering but people are saying no one is being let in any more. Otherwise, I don’t mind climbing over the fences. Anything to save my daughters’ lives,” said Jimena. US authorities say that from March to May of this year, more than 50,000 people have been detained crossing over from Mexico illegally. Of them, 15 percent do so as families and eight percent are unaccompanied minors. While they decide how to get through Mexico, Jimena says she wishes that US authorities would try to understand their plight. “There is no logical or real way they can understand what is happening,” she said. “The hardest thing we can do as human beings to leave one’s family behind. Leave the people that watched you grow up, your parents, crying out of fear that something is going to happen to you during the trip,” said Jimena.


News Flash – 29 June 2018

National News

 

 

Mumbai plane crash: Aircraft did not have a certificate of airworthiness

 

MUMBAI: A 26-year-old charter aircraft, on its way to a landing at Juhu airport during a test flight, crashed into open space near a construction site in the crowded Mumbai suburb of Ghatkopar on Thursday afternoon, killing all four crew members and a labourer on the ground. Had the King Air C90 aircraft, which appeared to have lost control when it was around 700 feet over the ground, plunged into any of the highrises in the surroundings, it would have been a major tragedy. Both pilots, Capt. Pradeep Rajput and Capt. Maria Zuberi, along with aircraft maintenance engineer Surabhi Gupta and junior technician Manish Pandey died on the spot. A construction labourer, Govind Dubey, was killed in the fire that broke out when the jet fuel tank exploded. At least 35 workers, who were on a lunch break in the basement of the under-construction building, had a lucky escape. Two of the labourers who were on the ground floor were injured. The aircraft, which was on its first flight after being grounded for around nine years, is suspected to have crashed due to mechanical failure. The pilots gave out no distress message or “Mayday” call to Mumbai airport’s air traffic controller. Around 1.10 pm, onlookers along Jivdaya lane saw the plane coming down engulfed in flames. “We were waiting for an autorickshaw when we saw a burning plane falling.

 

It all happened so suddenly. Within seconds it crashed and was engulfed in smoke,” said Nami and Malay Shah, two teens who live nearby. Nami and Malay Shah, two teens who live in Girdhar building near the crash site, said, “We heard three blasts one after the other.” The twin-engine turbo prop had departed for a 50-minute test flight from Juhu airport at 12.20 pm after a puja. Sources from Mumbai and UP said it was the first time the aircraft had taken flight after suffering severe damage in a crash in Allahabad in 2009. “It was owned by the UP government and the cabinet decided to dispose it of than spend heavily to repair it,” said a former UP government official. The aircraft was finally sold in 2014—after three unsuccessful auctions— to a Pune-based company, which then sold it to Mumbai-based U Y Aviation Pvt Ltd, its current owner. Anil Chauhan, accountable manager of UY Aviation, said the aircraft was in “the hangar of a maintenance company, Indamer, for over a year and a half, undergoing major repairs. When asked when was the last time it flew, he said, “It was earlier with the UP government and must have flown about six years ago’’.

 

“Though we have ownership of the aircraft, it was under the care of Indamer company. The aircraft was not yet handed over to us, it did not have a certificate of airworthiness,’’ said Chauhan. The take-off was captured on camera by Indamer engineers — the video is doing rounds on social media — and one can hear applause as the aircraft lifts off the runway. As it slowly climbs out, an onlooker encouragingly shouts “C’mon baby’’. Rajeev Gupta, CEO of Indamer, said the cause of crash is under investigation by the DGCA safety wing. The ill-fated flight left several unanswered questions. Said a senior commander, who is also a KingAir C-90 examiner: “Test flights shouldn’t be carried out in poor weather. It was raining heavily in Mumbai when the aircraft lifted off, that isn’t an ideal condition, the test flight should have been postponed”. Senior Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia had died in a King Air C90 crash in 2001. Ghatkopar police are in the process of registering a case of accidental death.

 

 

Lunch break saves 35 workers at building site

 

 

MUMBAI: Thanks to the lunch break at 1 pm, around 35 labourers working at the construction site escaped the tragedy on Thursday afternoon. Two of them who decided to wait and continue their work sustained minor injuries as they ran to save themselves from the plane approaching them. Among the three injured and admitted at Rajawadi Hospital was also a Ghatkopar resident who had gone to witness the crash with friends. One of the labourers Naresh Kumar Nishad (26) sustained 20% burns on his face. Naresh, whose wife Pooja, too works in the same construction site said all of them were having lunch at the basement of the under construction building when they heard a loud thud. “I don’t know it was my husband who was injured. I only found out later that he was injured by flames from a burning plane,” she said. The couple from Chhattisgarh came to Mumbai three months ago. They jointly make around Rs500 per day, said one of the co-workers. UP native Luv Kush Kumar (21) sustained a leg injury, but is said to be stable by Rajawadi doctors. He said, “I heard a loud noise and immediately turned to see a plane on fire coming towards me in great speed. I didn’t understand what was going on and tried to run for safety. But something came and hit me on the leg and I fell down,” said Kumar, currently admitted at the trauma ward of Rajawadi. Both were working under United One Construction Company, said their co-worker Kushal Kumar.

 

Kaushal said, “I also work at the same construction site as a foreman. I had gone out to eat when the accident took place. Naresh was still at the site for some leftover work. He did not even see the airplane, he just heard the explosions before the fire started and burned his face. He cannot talk properly”. Medical Superintendent of Rajawadi Dr Vidya Thakur said that both are stable though they may have to remain hospitalised for a few days. The third injured Prashant Mahakal (23) too is stable, but is likely to need a surgery for the tendon tear on the right ankle. The engineering graduate, who had gone to the crash site with three of his friends, suffered the cut wound from a debris that was lying scattered at the crash site. Some of his friends, all residents of Kapadia Chawl, have claimed that they rushed to the spot to lend a helping hand. His brother said, “He has completed electronic engineering from Ratnamala College. He now has a job in Wipro in Thane. He had a day off and was at home. We might shift him to a private hospital for his operation for the tendon tear”.

 

 

CCTV cameras at CM Arvind Kejriwal’s residence lagged by 40 minutes: Forensic report

 

 

NEW DELHI: The forensic report of footage gathered from chief minister Arvind Kejriwal‘s residence on the day when chief secretary Anshu Prakash was allegedly assaulted by a group of MLAs during a meeting shows that the timing shown in the clip of the CS entering and exiting was 40 minutes and 43 seconds behind the actual time. Sources said that the reports which were received on Monday do not mention whether the timings on the cameras were intentionally tampered with, but a probe has been initiated to establish this. Cops had questioned Kejriwal’s personal advisor V K Jain in this regard to find out whether the timings were changed by someone after AAP MLAs Prakash Jarwal and Amanatullah Khan had assaulted the chief secretary. The footage showed the CS leaving the chief minister’s residence after the assault. Both Khan and Jarwal were arrested in the case. It was found that out of the 21 CCTV cameras installed at the house, seven were not functional. Police sources said that the statements of four other IAS officers who were privy to the conversations and schedules of the ministers were recorded by police after the forensic reports were received.

 

Some of the ministers had also misbehaved with these officers. Police are in the process of preparing a charge sheet in the case and waiting for some other probe reports. Cops have not ruled out the possibility of naming Arvind Kejriwal, Manish Sisodia and the 11 ministers present during the midnight meeting where the CS was assaulted in the charge sheet. Senior officers said that they are still consulting legal experts regarding this. All senior ministers, including Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, have been questioned by police regarding the incident. Prakash had mentioned in his complaint that none of the ministers present in the room had tried to stop the two MLAs when they were assaulting him. A case of assault, preventing a public servant from discharging his duties and criminal conspiracy has been registered.

 

 

Burglars flee with Rs 5 lakhs booty from flat in 20 minutes

 

 

BENGALURU: Unidentified burglars broke down the main door and looted valuables worth Rs 5 lakh in less than 20 minutes from a flat in Sanjaynagar, a busy residential area in north Bengaluru, in broad daylight on Thursday. Mangesh Gangaram Nagarkar, a project manager with NNE Ltd in Sadashivnagar and a resident of Vijay Deep apartment, Amarjyoti Layout, filed a complaint claiming burglars made away with gold and silver ornaments worth around Rs 5 lakh and Rs 8,000 in cash. “My wife Shraddha locked the house at 11.20am and went to pick up our son from playschool,” Mangesh stated in his complaint. “She returned around 11.40am and was shocked to see the front door broken. The cupboards in the bedrooms too were broken and gold and silver ornaments in them missing”. Mangesh said there are no CCTV cameras in his three-floor apartment block which houses 10 flats. “We have one security guard who is not a professional,” Mangesh told TOI. “The guard also runs errands for residents in the apartment. According to him, he was busy with some other work when the incident took place”.

 

Sanjaynagar police said they suspect it to be the handiwork of professional burglars. “The manner in which the burglars broke down the door and cupboards shows they are professionals. Unfortunately, there are no CCTV cameras in the apartment. However, we have collected fingerprints and other evidence. The fingerprints will be sent to the records bureau in a day or two. There it will be matched with old and habitual offenders,” Sanjaynagar police said. 2 cabbies claim they stole from 100 shops. Two cab drivers, who were arrested for breaking into a shop and stealing cash, have allegedly admitted to have committed more than 100 such offences in Bengaluru and surrounding districts. Police said they took the duo, Gangaraju, 28, and Gangadhar, 32, both from Chikkaballapura, on a recce to verify their claims and found that no complaints had been filed in most cases. “They confessed they’d committed more than 100 burglaries and we took them to several shops they named,” a police officer said. “The shop owners confirmed the thefts but said they hadn’t filed a complaint as the money lost was not a big sum”. The duo stole from shops, including groceries and druggists, in and around Bengaluru, Tumakuru, Chikkaballapura, Bagepalli, Madhugiri and Ramanagara at night.

 

 

Cash management firm staffer robbed of Rs 6 lakh on busy road

Police investigating at the spot in Karelibaug and (Right) CCTV grab of the robber snatching the bag of cash.

 

 

VADODARA: A busy road in Karelibaug witnessed high drama on Thursday afternoon, when three unidentified men carried out a daring robbery of Rs 6 lakh, from an employee of a cash management services agency. The guard accompanying the employee opened fire, but the trio of robbers snatched the bag full of cash and disappeared within five seconds. Police are hunting for a black Swift Dzire car, the trio’s getaway vehicle. According to police, the robbery took place at 1.30pm, when Ankit Thakur, an employee of Writer Safeguard Ltd, was on his way to replenish the cash in the HDFC ATM at Spring Hill Complex. CCTV footage shows that two robbers arrived soon after the van stopped near Spring Hill Complex. One waited outside the ATM door, while the other accused stood nearby. After the van stopped on the road, Thakur took out a bag full of cash and began walking to the ATM. The armed guard was a few feet behind Thakur. Just as he was about the enter the ATM booth, the accused with the cap lunged for the bag and snatched it.

 

When Thakur tried to resist, the robber standing nearby tried to attack him while the third one ran in. Thakur lost his balance and fell and the accused held on to the bag. The third accused, meanwhile, drew a country-made pistol and pointed it at Thakur. According to police, when the guard fired a shot the robber dropped the pistol and all three fled in a car that was parked nearby. Thakur later realized he had been stabbed in the hand and stomach by the person who had snatched the bag. “We verified the car’s registration number but it turned out to be fake. We have sounded an alert and begun a search for the accused, who may try to flee the city,” said R I Jadeja, Karelibaug police inspector. “It seems the gang had reconnoitered how the van would replenish the ATM and planned the robbery,” he added.

 

 

International News

 

 

Explosion kills 8 Afghans as they call for peace

 

 

KABUL: A bomb killed eight people at a small gathering calling for peace in the Afghan province of Logar today, officials said, underscoring the suffering of civilians amid growing calls for an end to the conflict. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast in the volatile province south of the capital Kabul, but officials said the bomb was detonated as a crowd of war-weary locals had gathered in the district of Charkh to demand peace. “Eight people, all of them civilians, were killed. Four more injured. They had gathered in support of peace,” Charkh district governor Mohammad Hanif Hanafi, told AFP. Shamshad Laraway, a spokesman for the provincial governor, confirmed the account, and said the authorities were investigating the nature of the blast. Calls for peace have gathered steam in the war-ravaged country after the Taliban agreed to a three-day ceasefire during the Muslim festival of Eid early this month.

 

The ceasefire, the first in the nearly 17 years since the US invasion toppled the Taliban regime, saw unprecedented scenes of Taliban fighters and security forces hugging and taking selfies together around the country. The insurgents returned to the battlefield last week after refusing a government request to extend their ceasefire over Eid, though calls for peace by the Afghan public have been growing. Earlier this month dozens of activists from southern Helmand province arrived in Kabul after marching hundreds of miles on foot to call for an end to the violence. Yesterday, another 25-member group of Afghans arrived in Kabul from the remote north-eastern Kunar province, while earlier in the week, some 15 protesters reached the capital after trekking all the way from the border with Pakistan to join the calls for an end to the bloody conflict.

 

 

At least five dead in Annapolis newsroom shooting

 

WASHINGTON: At least five people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire inside the offices of the Capital Gazette, a newspaper based in Annapolis, a historic city an hour east of Washington. Police described the suspect — who was being questioned in custody — as a white adult male who was armed with a rifle or a shotgun and appeared to have acted alone. A reporter for the daily, Phil Davis, tweeted a chilling account of how the “gunman shot through the glass door to the office and opened fire on multiple employees”. “There is nothing more terrifying than hearing multiple people get shot while you’re under your desk and then hear the gunman reload,” Davis said. There were five known fatalities, the acting police chief of Anne Arundel County, Bill Krampf, told a news conference in Maryland‘s capital. Lieutenant Ryan Frashure, a police spokesman, said three other people had been injured. Anne Arundel county executive Steve Schuh added on CNN that the suspect “has not been particularly cooperative,” and that police had not been able to confirm his name. Krampf said police had disposed of a suspected explosive device and that the four-story office building was now secure. He said 170 people had been safely escorted out of the building. Capital Gazette editor Jimmy DeButts tweeted that he was “devastated & heartbroken. Numb.” While it was not yet clear if journalists had been deliberately targeted, the shooting revived memories of a 2015 incident in Roanoke, Virginia in which two journalists were shot dead during a live broadcast on local television. “Every shooting like this is horrific but one that occurs in a place of journalism is particularly disturbing and brings back the flood of memories of that tragic day for me,” said Andy Parker, whose daughter Alison was one of the Roanoke victims. President Donald Trump tweeted a message of support.

 

“My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. Thank you to all of the First Responders who are currently on the scene,” he wrote. “Absolutely devastated to learn of this tragedy in Annapolis,” Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said. “Please, heed all warnings and stay away from the area. Praying for those at the scene and for our community”. Several lawmakers weighed in, calling for an end to gun violence. “My heart is with the families, friends and loved ones of the victims as we learn more about this terrible situation,” Chris Van Hollen, the state’s junior senator said. “We must unite to end the violence”. A recent study found that Americans own 40 per cent of the world’s firearms despite accounting for only four per cent of the global population. Of the 857 million guns owned by civilians, 393 million are in the United States — more than all of the firearms held by ordinary citizens in the other top 25 countries combined, according to the Small Arms Survey. Advocates of tougher gun laws have stepped up their efforts in the wake of numerous school shootings this year, including the killing of 17 people at a Parkland, Florida high school in February and the killing of 10 people at a Texas high school in May. So far the results have been relatively modest. Florida has raised the legal age to buy firearms from 18 to 21, while Texas Governor Greg Abbott focused on mental health and improving school safety in his list of recommendations following the Santa Fe shooting in the rural southeast of his state. But he also called for requiring gun owners to report lost firearms and for allowing law enforcement to temporarily take away guns from people determined by courts to be “potentially dangerous” to themselves or others.

 

 

US, UK teams join Thailand’s search for 13 missing in cave

US Special Operations Command Pacific Search and Rescue team personnel; walk out of a cave where young soccer team and their coach are believed to be missing.

 

 

MAE SAI: A US military team and British cave experts joined the search in northern Thailand for 12 boys and their soccer coach missing for five days inside a cave being flooded by near-constant rains. A Thai army general coordinating the rescue said Thursday morning that overnight rain had raised water levels again and authorities switched off power and water pumps for fear of electrical hazards. Power had just been installed a few days earlier to provide lights and better communications and pump out water. Maj. Gen. Bancha Duriyapat said Thai navy SEALs, UK cave-diving experts and a US military team were inside the cave and rescuers were continuing to work despite the rain and setbacks. At a morning briefing between the Thai SEALs and the US team, the Thais explained that water levels had been rising overnight at a rate of about 15 centimeters (6 inches) per hour, complicating efforts to squeeze through tight passages, some of which require divers to contort their bodies around L-shaped bends. The missing boys and coach entered the Tham Luang Nang Non cave in Chiang Rai province on Saturday afternoon. The cave complex extends several kilometers (miles) with narrow passageways and uneven ground and is known to flood severely in rainy season. Still, authorities have expressed hope there are dry places on higher ground within the cave where the group may be able to wait. Deputy national police chief Wirachai Songmetta said he would join more than 600 rescuers above ground trying to find shafts that might be possible entrances into the cave. The few shafts found so far did not provide access. “We won’t give up. That’s the key here,” he said as he got into a vehicle that was part of a convoy carrying rescuers.

 

US Indo-Pacific Command in Hawaii confirmed a US team of about 30 people was sent to assist the search. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Nicole Schwegman said Wednesday that a search and rescue team had been sent at the request of Thailand’s government. Some parents of the missing children have been spending the nights in tents outside the cave entrance as the rain poured. On Thursday morning, a Buddhist monk led a prayer for a small group of relatives, many of them red-eyed and crying during the prayer. Medics sat in a tent nearby, and bicycles, backpacks and soccer cleats the boys left behind remained at the entrance. Anmar Mirza, national coordinator of the National Cave Rescue Commission in the US and editor of the book Manual of US Cave Rescue Techniques, said that in a situation like this it would seem there were only two things that could be done: pump the water down and search for alternative entrances. If there were a high-quality map, drilling would be another possibility, but that is extremely difficult for a number of reasons and could also take days to weeks, he said, adding that it was important not to take needless risks. Mirza said the boys’ youth and health is to their advantage and if the cave is not too cold, they should be able to survive four to five days with no water and a month or more with water but no food. “The biggest concern is them getting desperate and trying to enter swift moving water,” he said.

 

 

Over 400 flights cancelled after Bali volcano eruption

 

BALI: The Indonesian tourist island of Bali closed its international airport Friday, stranding thousands of travelers, as the Mount Agung volcano gushed a 2,500-meter (8,200-feet) column of ash and smoke. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency said the airport closure began early Friday. It said nearly 450 flights were canceled, affecting 75,000 people. The regional volcanic ash advisory center in Darwin, Australia, said winds could carry the ash southwest toward Java, Indonesia’s most densely populated island. Volcanic ash is a potentially deadly threat to aircraft that can cause engines to “flame out”. The volcano began gushing smoke Thursday. Its alert level has not been raised and an exclusion zone around the crater remains at 4 kilometers. Agung, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Bali’s tourist hotspot of Kuta, last had a major eruption in 1963, killing about 1,100 people. It had a dramatic increase in activity last year, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people, but had quietened by early this year. Authorities lowered its alert status from the highest level in February. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.


News Flash – 28 June 2018

National News

 

 

Soon, QR codes to complain about taxi, auto drivers

 

 

MUMBAI: Commuters of taxis and auto rickshaws will soon have a QR code system, a QR sticker pasted in a vehicle, which one can scan with a smartphone and get details of the driver, his licence/permit details, contact number and vehicle info and can also lodge a complaint real-time with Mumbai police using this code. Joint commissioner of police Amitesh Kumar announced this on Wednesday. He said that the proposed QR code will have the option to call for police help in a distress situation, especially for solo women travellers. Speaking to media persons after the launch of Uber’s Movement in Mumbai tool, Kumar said that the QR code will be made compulsory for all autos and taxis, failing which drivers will be denied fuel at MGL pumps across Mumbai region. He said vehicles without a QR code would be the illegal ones. “The QR code system will help us eliminate them,” he said. The work of creating a code for every registered auto and taxi in the region, the mobile app to support it and the funding will be done by the state government, sources said. Kumar said that the traffic police department was pushing for this new system, which will keep illegal vehicles at bay while women’s safety will get a boost.

 

He also warned CNG pumps about long queues of vehicles for refueling which causes congestion in the vicinity. “If the congestion goes on for over an hour, we will take action against the pump owner,” he said. Sources in the auto union said that there are 30,000 illegal autos and taxis plying in the region, and these could go off the roads once the QR code is introduced. Auto union leader Thamby Kurien welcomed the move, “A QR code can efficiently store a lot of data which can be revealed on being scanned. But the authorities must ensure that maximum CNG outlets and their attendants have scanners for QR codes. If there is no scanner, illegally run autos will enter the pump and the drivers will get the vehicle refueled,” he said. An official said the QR code will help them ascertain whether an auto is on the road legally or if it is not authorised to ply. Sources said that the government will spend around Rs 2 crore for the project. The funding could come from the Road Safety fund being set up by the states.

 

 

How traffic rule violation led cops to a card-cloning scam

 

NEW DELHI: After numerous incidents of “skimming”, or cloning of plastic money, police raided a house in Dwarka in the early hours of Wednesday and broke up a major gang involved in the crime. The group, led by final-year BTech student Vikas Pusp, had created a network of fuel stations in Gurugram and south Delhi from where they would copy the card data of customers. Shibesh Singh, DCP (Dwarka), identified the five men involved as Pusp (23), the gang leader, Ranjit (34), Amit (19), Shubham (20) and Himanshu (29). A team led by ACP Rajender Singh had stopped Amit, Shubham and Himanshu near the Dwarka Sector 14 metro station on Tuesday night for riding a motorcycle without a helmet, but a search yielded several debit cards, a skimming machine and a laptop from them. During interrogation, the trio confessed to their illegal activities and told the cops that Vikas and Ranjit provided them with data stolen from cards swiped at petrol pumps. Police raided the Dwarka house and arrested the two men on Wednesday.

 

Pusp, who also worked in a call centre, had learnt about card cloning through the internet and was fascinated by it. After digging for information, he roped in Shubham, Amit and Himanshu, all undergraduate students at IGNOU. They then contacted Ranjit, an employee of a petrol pump. The gang procured a skimming machine on the online grey market as well as some blank cards for cloning. Ranjit was given the job of acquiring the data on the cards at a petrol pump in Farrukhnagar near Gurugram. After swiping it on the POS machine, he surreptitiously swiped it a second time on the skimmer. He also took care to keep an eye on the PIN being entered by the customer. When he had the data of at least 20 cards, Ranjit handed it over to Pusp, who, in turn, passed it to the other three. The trio used the laptop to copy the data on the blank cards. Vikas used these cloned cards at different ATMs, mostly after midnight to avoid being stymied by the maximum permissible limit of transactions for the day. In this manner, the men collected lakhs of rupees that they shared among themselves.

 

 

Burglars from two families held with booty worth Rs 2 crore

Commissioner of city police Anjani Kumar inspects the material recovered from a gang of notorious burglars.

 

 

HYDERABAD: Police have busted a notorious gang of burglars and arrested 12 persons, including members of two families. They also recovered Rs 2 crore worth stolen property from their possession. North Zone police arrested Md Saddam Ali alias Imran Ali, 23, a welder from Moula Ali, his associate M Potharaju alias Raju, 22, a labourer, and their friend Mohammed Rusthum. Apart from the trio, they also arrested Saddam’s brother Md Anwar Ali, mother Saleema, father Qasim Ali, brother-in-law Syed Mohammed alias Salman, elder sister Ashiya Begum, younger sister Naziya Begum, Raju’s elder sister A Mamatha, stolen property receivers Chandrakanth Mohite of Malkajgiri and Bapu Anand Arjun of Kavadiguda. On Monday, police noticed Saddam and Raju travelling on a stolen Honda Activa (TS 10 EL 4346) near Rathifile bus station in Secunderabad and arrested them. The Activa was stolen from Bowenpally area recently. On interrogation, police came to know that the duo had criminal history. “Saddam and Raju started committing burglaries and thefts since 2010, when they were minors. Subsequently, they were arrested by Malkajgiri, Keesara, Nacharam and Azam Jahi Mills Colony, Parvathgiri, Subedari, Parkal Town, Hanmakonda, Kakatiya University, in Warangal, and Jangaon police,” Hyderabad commissioner Anjani Kumar said. During interrogation, the duo did not confess to any burglaries in the city. “However, when we ran their fingerprints in our database, there was a match from a burglary case registered at the Osmania University police station,” deputy commissioner of police (DCP), North Zone, B Sumathi said.

 

Police then confronted the duo with new evidence, leaving them with no option but to confess about 34 burglaries committed at Chilkalguda, Bowenpally, Trimulgherry, Bowenpally, Chanda Nagar, Kushaiguda, Alwal, Monda Market, Pet Basheerabad, Osmania University, Tukaramgate, Nacharam, Malakpet and Gopalpuram since 2015. Based on their confession, police arrested the other accused, including the two stolen property receivers and recovered Rs 2 crore worth property, including five kilo gold, 12.5 kilo silver, Rs 7.1 lakh cash, four two-wheelers, documents of a 400 square feet single bedroom flat at Krupa Deepa Apartments, Surya Nagar Enclave, Neredmet and electronic items. Police said the duo along with their family members conduct recce of affluent houses and then commit burglaries when the occupants go out of the house. Saddam’s brother sits near the target house pretending to be a mentally-disturbed man and watches movement of the victim’s family. “Once the victim’s family leaves the house, he alerts Saddam and Raju,” the DCP added. The women handle the job of concealing and disposing of the stolen property. The culprits used to cut wires of CCTV cameras or damage digital video recorders before committing a burglary. The arrested persons along with the seized property were produced before court and sent to judicial remanded.

 

 

Kolkata: 36 hours on, stagnant water stops life in tracks

This is how parts of Kolkata looked on Wednesday,36 hours after the downpour ceased.

 

 

KOLKATA: Lawyer Aslam Parvez, a resident of Ibraham Road in Kidderpore, has been under ‘house arrest’ since Monday. He couldn’t step outside as the road in front of his house has turned into a pool of stinking water. Worse still, his house has remained dark over the last 36 hours as power utility men have not been able to rectify the cable fault. The situation has remained identical for many households across Kolkata, from Behala in the west to Topsia in the east. Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) workers have been working round the clock the situation is far from under control. “I have grown up seeing waterlogged streets during monsoon since my childhood. But this time it is really bad. I have heard that the KMC has undertaken a massive drainage upgrade project for our locality. But I still find that efforts lack sincerity,” Parvez alleged. A visit to Ibrahim Road on Wednesday revealed that even treatment at the only maternity home of the area (Kidderpore Maternity Home) has come to a halt as patients as well as the staffers are finding it difficult to wade through knee-deep water. Similarly, the entire Ekbalpore Road on Wednesday resembled a river. Locals are upset as they have to wade through dirty water to offer a prayer at the Soloana Mosque. Sania Khatoon, a resident of Ekbalpore Road, expressed apprehension that diseases will spread fast if storm water does not recede immediately. “Waterlogging in our area is responsible for enteric diseases. When will the civic authorities learn from their mistakes?” asked Khatoon.

 

Like Kidderpore and Ekbalpore, large stretches of Behala are also suffering the same trauma even though Wednesday remained largely sunny. Among the worst-hit areas, Silpara tops the list, followed by Bhattacharjeepara. Debarpan Hazra, a Class VII student and a resident of Bhattacharjeepara, is wading through waterlogged street with his mother Barnali over the last two days to attend school. “People get relief from heat, but we keep our fingers crossed at the onset of monsoon. Stepping out of the house become a challenge. My son finds it an uphill task to attend school after a heavy downpour,” Barnali said. Rokeya Begum of Silpara also finds it difficult to visit a doctor’s chamber after flooding of streets. “We can’t consult a doctor in the locality or take a patient to hospital as ambulances refuse to ply in our area,” Begum said. Similar grievances were aired by a section of residents in Tiljala-Topsia and Picnic Garden areas. Some stretches of Kushtia and Picnic Garden are still flooded with no signs of storm water receding. Amin Salauddin, a resident of Picnic Garden, complained of civic inaction in desilting the clogged sewer lines.

 

 

Diamond jewellery worth Rs 1 crore stolen from Chennai doctor’s home

 

 

CHENNAI: Unidentified people broke into the house of a doctor in Nungambakkam here and escaped with diamond jewellery worth Rs 1 crore and Rs 2 lakh in cash. The burglary came to light on Wednesday morning when Dr V Kaushik, 46, and his family returned home after vacation in London. Dr Kaushik, a resident of Kamdar Nagar Second Street in Nungambakkam, runs a clinic near his house. The doctor and his family left for London on June 18. The house was maintained by a housemaid and three other staff members. Police said the CCTV in the house had remained turned off since June 20.

 

 

International News

 

 

Homes evacuated as British moorland fire rages

 

LONDON: More than 30 homes have been evacuated near Greater Manchester in northern England as firefighters battle a blaze which has been spreading for days in hot weather across the hills of Saddleworth Moor. Greater Manchester Police said on Wednesday that an area 6 kilometres long had been affected and it had evacuated 34 homes in the village of Carrbrook to the west of the blaze. The fire has been declared a major incident. Local schools will be closed on Wednesday with residents advised to stay indoors and keep windows and doors closed. The army is on standby to step in to help if required, the police said. Hot weather and a wind over the last three days have caused the fire to spread and police said that its size and the fact they have limited road access to the rural area made it difficult to tackle. “The plan today is to try and really, really put some resource on the scene and put a really heavy attack on this fire and if that needs military assistance then that’s what we’ll consider,” a spokesman for Greater Manchester Police told Sky News. Police said they had not yet established the cause of the fire.

 

 

Over 200 killed in weekend violence in central Nigeria: governor

 

 

JOS: More than 200 people were killed in violence against farming communities last weekend in Plateau state, central Nigeria, according to a speech by the governor published on Wednesday. Simon Lalong said after a closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the state capital Jos on Tuesday night that the clashes had left “the painful loss of over 200 people”. The police, who blame suspected cattle herders, have said 86 people were killed. However, multiple local sources from the communities affected maintained more than 100 people died. The main association representing the largely nomadic herders has denied its community had any involvement in the killings. The violence is the latest bout in months of bloodletting in Nigeria’s so called “Middle Belt”. The clashes are rooted in tensions over access to land between pastoral herders and sedentary farmers, but have generated sectarian friction between Muslims and Christians. Lalong suggested “criminal elements” were exacerbating tensions, including “conflict merchants” involved in “cattle rustling, theft, banditry, gun running” and other crimes. Buhari came to power in 2015 on a promise to curb insecurity across the country, in particular Boko Haram, whose Islamist insurgency has killed at least 20,000 since 2009.

 

But a resurgence of violence in the long running conflict between herders and farmers has put that under scrutiny as elections approach in February next year. Analysts predict the extent of the unrest could eclipse that of the jihadists in the northeast. Lalong said the latest attacks in Plateau were carried out with “sophisticated weapons” that were “reflective of a terrorist invasion”. “It (the bloodshed) therefore demands a justified response like that which was undertaken to address the Boko Haram insurgency,” he added. Lawmakers earlier this month threatened Buhari with impeachment because his security chiefs had repeatedly failed to protect lives and property. The 75-year-old leader on Tuesday said he would “continue to pressurise members of the law enforcement agencies directly under me by the constitution as the commander in chief”. He also said it was an “injustice” to imply he was doing nothing because he was from the same ethnic Fulani group as the herders and Muslim.


News Flash – 27 June 2018

National News

 

 

Security Guard falls 11 floors to death as snag hits lift

Everest building is around 15 years old.

 

 

MUMBAI: An security guard died after falling down eleven floors into the empty elevator shaft of a 18-storey building in Bandra on Tuesday morning. Police said the elevator appeared to have malfunctioned as its doors opened on the 11th floor though the cabin had not arrived. Lift inspectors from the Public Works Department examined the lift and will prepare a report. Based on the report and a preliminary probe, the Bandra police would decide about registering an offence. Radheshyam Harijan (60), worked at Everest society on Hill Road for the last 10 years. Originally from Uttar Pradesh, he leaves behind a wife and five children. Around 8.45pm, Harijan went to the 11th floor to pick up car keys from one of the residents as he washed their vehicle. As nobody answered the door, he decided to go back and summoned the elevator. The elevator cabin was on the 17th floor. But the elevator door opened on the 11th floor. Harijan did not notice the missing cabin and stepped inside. He fell 11 floors down the empty shaft and landed in the elevator duct in a pool of blood.

 

Harijan’s colleagues heard a loud thud in the elevator shaft and sensed something was amiss. They informed the society manager who summoned the fire brigade and the police. Officers from the fire department retrieved Harijan’s body. He was pronounced dead at Bhabha Hospital in Bandra at 10.40am. The body was sent for an autopsy. Everest building is around 15 years old. “Lift maintenance was outsourced. We have learnt that the contract ended last month. If it transpires that the elevator door opened due to a defect that went undetected by the maintenance firm, we could register a case,” said a senior police officer. The police have recorded an accidental death case for now. “We want more clarity on how did the incident occurred,” said Harijan’s nephew, Kripa Shankar Raghunath.

 

 

Cash firm detects loss of Rs 5L from ATMs, staff booked

 

 

NEW DELHI: In an apparent incident of rigging of ATM machines, a firm that replenishes several machines across Delhi-NCR has reported loss of cash amounting to more than Rs 5 lakh from multiple kiosks located in northwest Delhi. DCP (west) Vijay Kumar said a case has been registered at the Rajouri Garden police station in west Delhi, based on the complaint filed by the firm, against its two employees who were responsible for calibrating the machines in that area. It was found that at least four ATM machines had been tampered with by manipulating the internal system. A preliminary probe revealed that the company noticed the loss of cash during an audit. On further investigation, it was found that four ATMs located near Kingsway Camp were replenished with amount less than what was being shown in their system. The firm told police that the two suspects, who are the custodians for their designated routes, were handed Rs 2.97 crore, which were to be distributed in 26 ATMs on that route. The suspects allegedly siphoned off small amounts from some of the kiosks.

 

The suspects tampered with the systems of these ATM machines by feeding the internal computer wrong information. The machines displayed that the required cash amount had been replenished, even as the suspects siphoned off Rs 50,000-Rs 2 lakh from them. The rigging was detected only when the cash firm was given the receipt of the amount transacted from the ATM machines by the bank. A deficit of at least Rs 5 lakh has been confirmed so far, with the possibility of the amount rising further. Investigating officers are now checking the CCTV footage of various locations, such as the office vault where the two suspects are seen carrying the cash for deposition and the cameras installed in the ATM kiosks. Police have also taken the route chart which was used by the two suspects and their call records are being analysed to ascertain the involvement of more people in the case.

 

 

Face recognition tool to aid cops manage security at key zones

 

KOLKATA: Kolkata Police is all set to install a state-of-the-art face recognition system (FRS) at important crossings and malls of the city. The modern biometrics tool — now in use in several countries and across several police forces — is likely to see its trial run as part of a pilot project in south Kolkata. While Surat Police was the first in the country to use it, Delhi Police too had tasted success installing the same. To start with, the authorities will install 34 internet protocol (IP) cameras at Presidency Correctional Home, Quest Mall and at two crossings — Park Street and Free School Street and Park Street and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road. “These stretches witness maximum footfalls and pose security challenges during festivals. We want the pilot project to address certain concerns of ours after which we will install it in areas like the central business district,” said a source. The tender for the same has been issued by Kolkata Police on Monday. The system will have two important functions — one, scanning, capturing and then comparing faces to match with statistics to find out if a particular person has been blacklisted by the cops and two, recognizing a VIP and then upgrading his\her security. Mostly used in forensic investigation, the technology can enhance poor quality latent face images, search against their mugshot databases and locate potential suspects. Another important part of the system is integration of existing video surveillance systems and matching of faces in real-time against a watch list of individuals to trigger an alert.

 

The tender document recognizes the functional requirements for the system — some basics include working on real-time basis and working even with partial occlusion of face, glasses, scarf and even major changes of facial expression. But the specifics sought by Kolkata Police in the tender document have led to the conclusion that the cops are planning to invest big time in this technology. “We have sought for a system that will have the provision to take multiple samples of the same face and the alerts so generated by the system should have the provision to be pushed to mobile phones of the law enforcement personnel for instantaneous response,” claimed an officer at Lalbazar. Police said they are also aware of the shortcoming of biometrics and that these steps will go hand in hand with the traditional police sourcing. Experts too have pointed to recent grey areas in the biometric face recognition system. “German hackers were able to trick a scanner with a picture of the device owner’s eye and a contact lens. This was in the same month that a top financial institution’s voice recognition security system was fooled by a journalist. The dangers of biometric authentication such as facial recognition is that it is not entirely immune to potential attack and therefore should not be relied on as the sole means of verifying a user,” said an expert from a private firm which is likely to take part in the bidding.

 

 

Police launch traffic training for ambulance drivers

 

 

KOLKATA: The Kolkata Police has launched a special training for ambulance drivers in the city. Among other things, the drivers are being taught that basic traffic rules cannot be violated even if they are carrying patients. More importantly, they are being warned against using the beacon when there are no patients in the ambulance. “We have sent across the message that they will be fined heavily if caught,” said a senior officer at Lalbazar. In mid-May, a young chartered accountant was killed after a 17-year-old youth at the wheel of an ambulance rammed into him at the Lake Gardens-Lords Bakery crossing. A police probe had later revealed that the owner and the usual driver of the vehicle had handed over the keys to his relative and helper to park it to a side.

 

A couple of months earlier, a 78-year-old man being shifted to a hospital in a private ambulance met with an accident on the Howrah bridge when the driver lost control and crashed into a yellow taxi. Cops said they hoped the training will prevent a repeat of these accidents. Though the present training is limited to drivers from big corporate hospitals, sources said the problem does not lie with them. “It is the private players – those who hardly follow any regulation – who are our biggest headache,” said an officer. Cops said each traffic guard has been asked to prepare a list of such operators and keep a central data bank. And the local police will ensure that all the drivers get verified. “We cannot let drivers without any proper experience take the wheel. We were forced to challan around 39-58 cases in 2016-2017. This cannot be allowed when we are handling vehicles that transport people to hospitals,” said an officer.

 

 

International News

 

 

Explosion reported at Central Texas hospital

 

 

GATESVILLE: Emergency crews are converging on a Central Texas hospital where a large explosion has been reported. The incident was reported about 2:30 pm local time on Wednesday at a construction site at the Coryell Memorial Healthcare System hospital in Gatesville, 58 kilometres west of Waco, Texas. Hospital spokeswoman Carly Latham told KWTX-TV of Waco that there were injuries, but she didn’t have any totals or information on severity. She said she hadn’t heard of any deaths. Witnesses say the explosion happened when a generator exploded in an addition to the hospital that was under construction. A spokesman for the Texas-New Mexico Power Company says the explosion knocked out power for a large portion of the city. Patients were being evacuated from the hospital and from two nearby nursing homes.

 

 

4 injured in rare shooting in Hong Kong

Police officers stand guard at the Quarry Bay Park after a shooting in Hong Kong.

 

 

HONG KONG: Four people were injured in a rare instance of gun violence in Hong Kong on Tuesday, police said. No other details were given in a brief police statement, although local media reports said a female suspect was apprehended at a shopping mall close to Quarry Bay Park where the shooting occurred. Citing police, the website of the popular Apple Daily said the four victims were brothers and sisters in their sixties and seventies and that the assailant was a relative. It cited police as saying the shooting was motivated by a financial dispute. Apple Daily said two suffered head wounds while the other two were shot in the arm. There was no immediate word on their condition. Firearms are tightly controlled in Hong Kong and such shootings are highly unusual, usually restricted to armed robbers and members of organized crime groups known as triads. The Asian financial hub is considered generally safe, although thieves this year have twice attacked jewelry stores using hammers. According to police statistics, 10 murders were recorded between January and April this year, up by two from the same period last year. It wasn’t clear whether firearms were used in any of those killings.

 

 

Portugal says ready to take in some Lifeline rescue ship migrants

 

 

LISBON: Portugal said on Tuesday, that it was ready to take in some of the 233 migrants on board the Lifeline rescue ship, which is currently stranded off Malta‘s coast. The migrants will be “distributed around several countries including Portugal”, Portuguese Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita said, speaking after Malta said it would only allow the vessel to dock if other EU states agreed to take in some of those onboard.

 

 

UK temperatures may hit record June highs as heatwave continues

 

 

Britons enjoyed sweltering heat for the third day running on Tuesday with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius in Wales and possibly set to hit record June highs this week, the Meteorological Office said. Portmadog in North Wales was the hottest place at 30.6 C, with Tuesday in general only a shade below Monday’s highs. Temperatures are expected to peak on Thursday at around 32 C (90 Fahrenheit). Britain’s highest-ever temperature for June was 35.6 C recorded in the southern port of Southampton in 1976. A high pressure system is expected to stay over most of Britain into next week and health and emergency services are offering tips on staying cool. Police were issuing open-water warnings to stop people tempted to bathe unsafely and several wildfires were reported in northern England. Twitter and Facebook were replete with dogs bathing in fountains and rivers, some even wearing sunglasses and hats. “With temperatures into the low thirties over the next couple of days, there is a chance we could beat Northern Ireland‘s all time record of 30.8 degrees and Scotland’s June record of 32.2 degrees,” the Met Office said. The heatwave had yet to reach Scotland’s northernmost Shetland Islands, however, where temperatures were around 15 C and skies cloudy. Shetland Library tweeted: “Went out for an ice cream at lunchtime, to celebrate that everyone ELSE in the country is having a #scorchio #heatwave”.


News Flash – 26 June 2018

National News

 

 

Land caves in at Wadala building site, buries 8 cars in adjoining parking lot

Several cars struck in debris after a landslide following heavy monsoon rain showers.

 

 

MUMBAI: A major disaster was averted when a landslide buried eight cars parked in the open compound of the 32-storey Lloyd Estate in Wadala (east) in a large construction pit on the adjoining plot early Monday morning. Residents blamed Dosti Realty, which is constructing three skyscrapers, each believed to be over 40-storeys high, on the plot kissing Lloyd Estate. Witnesses claimed the structural support of the neighbouring plot, where construction work is under way, first caved in. As a result, the boundary wall of Lloyd Estate too collapsed. Groggy residents who were quickly asked to step out of their apartments and move their vehicles shortly after 4.15 am were shocked to see the damaged cars, some hanging on the cliff while others tumbled down into the deep cavity in the earth. Several families moved out temporarily, fearing for their lives. A makeshift room on the builder’s plot was buried. Fire brigade with the help of NDRF removed the rubble and searched for people, if any, buried inside. No labourer working at the site was found missing.

 

Residents of Lloyd Estate have been concerned about safety since last year when they approached the city civil court on finding their parking and stilt areas sinking due to digging work by Dosti. However, a court appointed structural expert gave a clean chit and declared the building “safe”. On Monday, the builder blamed heavy rains last night for the incident. A Dosti Realty spokesperson said, “It happened on account of heavy rains last night. The matter is sub-judice. On our request the court commissioner, Shantilal Jain, visited the site and suggested remedial measures. We have already started to work on the remedial measures suggested by him”. The Antop Hill police registered a negligence case against Dosti Reality director Deepak Garodia, chairman Kisan Garodia and director Ramesh Shah along with BMC’s building proposal department officials. In a press release, the Lloyd Estate society said, “The society had witnessed significant sinking of its stilt area since the past more than a year (owing to the adjoining piling work) and had held multiple conversations with the representatives of Dosti Realty from May 2017… During the pendency of these hearings, Dosti Realty did undertake, temporary ongoing repairs”.

 

 

Heavy rains lash Mumbai; lead to waterlogging, traffic disruptions

Waterlogged roads on the parallel Mori Road right up to the junction with the arterial LJ Road, Mahim.

 

 

MUMBAI: Mumbai woke up to some extremely heavy rains on Monday morning leading to waterlogging and traffic disruptions at many places in the city. The India Meteorological Department, Mumbai (IMD) has forecast very heavy rains to continue in Mumbai all throughout Monday. The IMD Santacruz observatory has recorded extremely heavy rains in the past 24 hours (up to 8.30am today) of 231.4 mm while IMD Colaba observatory has recorded 99 mm of rainfall which falls in the heavy rain category. In case of the suburbs rainfall recorded of over 200 mm makes it the wettest monsoon day of the season so far.

 

 

K S Hosalikar, IMD deputy director-general (western region), said that there are three weather systems which are giving Mumbai these intermittent heavy rains. “There is an offshore trough extending from south Gujarat to Kerala, an upper air cyclonic circulation and the strengthening of the westerlies. Such heavy showers will continue throughout the day,” he said. Meanwhile, there have been no flight diversions or cancellations because of rain at the Mumbai airport. Departures are late by an average of 20 minutes while arrivals on time. No visibility problems so far. In case of BEST, the buses have been diverted on 47 routes in eight waterlogged areas in island city and suburbs. Meanwhile, there was a landslide at Wadala area with at least four cars having slid inside the cave in. No person has been injured in the incident so far. The exit of the adjoining building is flooded with fire brigade vehicles it the spot since early morning. Owing to the continuous downpour, traffic has been hit at Khar subway, Andheri subway and Malad subway. While Western Railway suburban trains are running with no disruption for now, there is slight delay due to low visibility in some areas due to rains. Meanwhile, between Virar and Surat, all mail and express trains arriving at Bandra Terminus, Dadar Terminus and Mumbai central are expected to be coming in late.

 

 

Malaria spreading faster than dengue in Delhi; 40 cases so far this season

 

 

NEW DELHI: Dengue and chikungunya aren’t the only mosquito-borne diseases people in Delhi need to be wary of. Malaria, which is spread by Anopheles mosquitoes that can breed in dirty water, is spreading fast too. In the past week, a municipal report released on Monday stated, there were 11 new cases of the mosquito-borne disease. This takes the total number of malaria cases this season to 40, higher than the number of cases of dengue and chikungunya for the corresponding period that stands at 28 and 14 respectively. Of the total 40 malaria cases, 19 were reported in June, 17 in May, one each in April and March, and two in February, said officials. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India accounts for 75% of all malaria cases in Southeast Asia. Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, chills and vomiting, and usually appear 10 to 15 days after the mosquito bite.

 

“If left untreated for more than 24 hours, malaria can lead to severe illness, and even result in death. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines,” the WHO said. Last year, Delhi reported 577 cases of malaria. In 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013, it affected 454, 359, 201 and 514 people respectively, as per municipal data. Epidemiologists said the official numbers may represent only a fraction of the actual incidence. “The corporations report cases from select government hospitals and private facilities that choose to send relevant data. Many patients who are treated at primary levels, by private physicians or at nursing homes, aren’t covered under the existing surveillance mechanism,” said an expert. With monsoon approaching, doctors suggest scaling up of information campaigns and actions such as desilting of the drain to check the breeding of aedes aegypti mosquitoes that cause dengue and chikungunya. Delhi LG Anil Baijal last month asked officials to spread awareness and sensitise people to prevent vector-borne diseases.

 

 

Heavy rainfall warning in 5 Bengal districts

 

KOLKATA: The meteorological department on Monday warned of “heavy to very heavy rainfall” in five northern districts of West Bengal for five consecutive days till June 29. “Heavy to very heavy rainfall (7-20 cm) will occur in most places of Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts from June 25-June 29, caused by an upper-air cyclonic circulation over West Assam and sub-Himalayan West Bengal,” a bulletin from the Met department said. It said several south Bengal districts would also be affected by incessant rainfall over the next three days and issued an alert for North and South 24 Parganas and East Midnapore. “Rainfall in most places likely over south Bengal districts due to a cyclonic circulation that lies over northwest Bay of Bengal,” the bulletin added.

 

 

International News

 

 

12 children trapped in Thailand cave after storms

Stalactites hang at the entrance to a large cave where a group of boys went missing in Chang Rai, northern Thailand.

 

 

BANGKOK: A dramatic underwater rescue mission to find a children’s football team who have been trapped in a flooded cave for two days was underway in northern Thailand, officials said Monday. Divers have reached a large chamber of the vast cave inside which the 12 boys and their coach are believed to be stuck, said the deputy governor of Chiang Rai province. “We think they are in this part of the cave, which continues for another three kilometres (two miles),” Pasakorn Boonyalug said. “They haven’t eaten anything since Saturday, so we have brought them food and drink,” he added. The children aged between 11 and 16 entered Tham Luang cave, in a national park near the Myanmar and Laos borders, with their coach on Saturday. One of their mothers raised the alarm when her son did not return from football training that evening. Heavy monsoon rains have hit the region in recent days, causing the cave to rapidly fill with water, and bicycles and shoes belonging to the boys were found soon afterwards at the cave’s entrance. The rescue operation started on Saturday night but was suspended overnight, during which time water levels inside the cave rose dramatically, requiring divers to pass through muddy and flooded sections of the cave. Diving equipment has been prepared to facilitate the children’s evacuation, Pasakorn said.

 

 

EU condemns attack on Roma in Ukraine that left 1 dead

 

 

KIEV, (UKRAINE): A top European Union official is condemning an attack on a Roma camp in western Ukraine that left one person dead and four others injured, including a 10-year-old boy. A group of teenagers burst into a small Roma camp Saturday night on the outskirts of the city of Lviv, tearing down tents, destroying property and charging at residents with knives. Authorities are referring to the perpetrators as “radically-minded,” a euphemism for ultra-right. Police have arrested seven men aged 16 and 17 suspected of carrying out the attack and a 20-year-old man suspected of organizing it. The incident was the third attack on Ukraine’s minority Roma community in recent months. Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, says Monday on Facebook that “we cannot allow impunity for hate crimes to prevail”.

 

 

86 killed in central Nigeria as farmers, herders clash

Police attempt to restore calm in Jos, Nigeria.

 

 

LAGOS: Scores are dead after vicious weekend clashes in central Nigeria between mostly Muslim herders and Christian farmers, with one report citing police saying 86 people were killed. The growing conflict by some accounts has become deadlier than Nigeria’s Boko Haram extremist insurgency. Nigeria’s president in a statement Monday accused unnamed politicians of taking advantage of the chaos ahead of next year’s elections, calling it “incredibly unfortunate”. Dramatic footage from Jos showed angry people waving machetes and sticks and shouting at passing security forces as they weaved around overturned and burning vehicles. Smoke rose in the distance. Women and children clutching overstuffed bags piled into the back of trucks, seeking a way out. President Muhammadu Buhari warned against reprisal attacks after the “deeply unfortunate killings across a number of communities” in central Plateau State as the military, police and counterterror units were sent to end the bloodshed. “No efforts will be spared” to find the attackers, Buhari said. Nigeria’s government said “scores” were killed but did not announce a death toll. The independent Channels Television cited a Plateau State police spokesman, Mathias Tyopev, as saying 86 people had been killed, with at least 50 houses destroyed. Mass burials began Monday amid fears that the death toll was even higher. “Please remain calm,” said the Plateau State governor, Simon Bako Lalong, as a helicopter whirred overhead. “It is very, very, unfortunate that an incident is happening again like this”.

 

The deadly clashes between herders and farmers in central Nigeria are a growing security concern in Africa’s most populous country, which is roughly split between Muslims in the north and Christians in the south. The threat from Boko Haram, which continues to carry out attacks in the northeast, has been cited as one cause of the growing tensions as herders also feeling the effects of climate change are forced south into more populated farming communities in search of safe grazing. The widespread security issues pose a major challenge to Buhari, a Muslim former military ruler who won office in a democratic transfer of power in 2015, as elections approach next year. The latest clashes began when about 100 cattle were rustled and some herders were killed, the statement from Buhari’s office said. “Less than 24 hours later, violence broke out. Some thugs then took advantage of the situation, turning it into an opportunity to extort the public, and to attack people from rival political parties”. Some people were dragged from their cars and attacked if they said they supported certain politicians, the statement said. The Plateau State governor announced a 6pm to 6am curfew in the communities of Jos South, Riyom and Barkin Ladi until further notice. “Observe the curfew, observe the curfew, and I will still remind them to observe the curfew,” he said.


News Flash – 25 June 2018

National News

 

 

Monsoon on move, may hit north India this weekend

 

NEW DELHI: The monsoon marched into more parts of central India on Sunday, registering movement for the second consecutive day after it had remained stalled for 11 days. Met officials expect the advance to continue, with the rain-bearing system now looking likely to cover parts of north India, including Delhi, by June 29 to July 1. As a precursor to the real thing, pre-monsoon showers are expected in north India from Tuesday or Wednesday, which could be quite widespread. The monsoon entered southern Madhya Pradesh on Sunday while pushing further into Maharashtra and Gujarat, a state it entered the previous day. The India Meteorological Department said the advance in central India, as well as in the east, is expected to continue in the next two days. The system had remained stalled since June 12 for an unusually long period of 11 days due to unfavourable conditions in the Indian Ocean, from where the rain-laden winds originate. This has resulted in a countrywide rainfall deficit of 11%. “We expect good rainfall in the next few days that will hopefully wipe out much of the deficit by the end of this month,” said M Mohapatra, additional director-general, IMD. The monsoon is still in its advancing stage, during which it moves north and westwards into the India subcontinent in spurts, covering the entire country normally by the middle of July.

 

IMD expects a good monsoon in the crucial sowing month of July, during which it has forecast 101% rainfall (1 percentage point higher than normal) while the forecast for the entire June-September period is 97%, on the lower end of the normal range. The normal date for the monsoon to arrive in Delhi is June 29. “Conditions at the moment suggest the monsoon will arrive on time in north India, give or take one or two days,” said B P Yadav from IMD’s Regional Meteorological Centre. However, there are now growing fears of an El Nino forming during the last month of the monsoon season which could subdue rains during September. Most international weather agencies have now put out an “El Nino watch” alert in view of continued warming in the Pacific. El Nino is an abnormal warming of ocean waters in the east equatorial region of the Pacific, which often suppresses the southwest monsoon. “There’s a good chance of El Nino forming this year. The higher uncertainty is about when it will set in. If it forms after September, the monsoon may not get impacted. If it happens earlier, we could see subdued rainfall in September. But that too will depend on other local factors,” said D Sivananda Pai, IMD’s lead monsoon forecaster. The uncertainty over conditions during the second half of the monsoon season was one reason why IMD had pegged rains in August at 6% below normal in its updated monsoon forecast released earlier on May 30.

 

 

Mumbai suburbs see heavy rain, flight arrivals hit

The IMD Santacruz obeservatory recorded 94.7mm rainfall between 8.30am and 8.30pm.

 

 

MUMBAI: Several parts of the suburbs witnessed heavy rain on Sunday, with Malad receiving maximum rainfall (110.8mm), followed by Powai (78mm). The heavy showers affected flight operations and suburban train services in the afternoon. While the IMD Santacruz observatory recorded 94.7mm rainfall between 8.30am and 8.30pm, the Colaba observatory recorded 16.6mm. In contrast, the Santacruz observatory had recorded just 31.7mm rainfall and the Colaba observatory 151mm from 8.30am-8.30am between June 23-24. IMD’s forecast for Monday is intermittent rains in the city and suburbs with heavy to very heavy rainfall at one or two places. The heavy rain affected arrival of flights at Mumbai airport on Sunday afternoon. The main runway was closed for flight operations for about 30 minutes, during which four go-arounds were carried out. “The main runway was non-operational from 3.43pm to 4.17pm for maintenance,” said an MIAL spokesperson. Flight operations were moved to secondary runway during this period. Railway commuters were inconvenienced due to the rain and mega blocks on both Central Railway and Western Railway as services were delayed by 15-20 minutes. Ajay Kumar, scientist from IMD Mumbai, said the weekend’s heavy showers were due to a cyclonic circulation over the north Konkan and adjoining south Gujarat and another circulation in the Bay of Bengal. “We expect rain activity to increase in the coming week, with scattered heavy to very heavy rain on June 27-28 in parts of north Konkan, including Mumbai,” he said.

 

 

Fire breaks out at another Mumbai building, 1 dead

This is the third building in south Mumbai to have caught fire this month.

 

 

MUMBAI: One person was killed in a fire that broke out in a three-storey building at Charni Road on Sunday evening. This is the third building in south Mumbai to have caught fire this month. According to officials from VP Road police in Girgaum, the deceased has been identified as Khabir Alam (28). Locals said that Kothari House, located on Raja Ram Mohan Rai Marg, near Central Plaza cinema, was only partially occupied with Ronak Global Academy pre-school operating on the second-floor of the building. As it was a Sunday, the school was closed and a bigger tragedy was averted. A relative of the pre-school’s owner rushed to the spot on hearing of the fire. She said the school was opened only six months ago. After the fire broke out at 6pm, eight fire engines, six jumbo water tankers and one ambulance were rushed to the spot. Fire officials said that by the time they reached the spot, the fire had spread. The adjacent building houses a restaurant and when TOI reached the spot, several workers from the eatery were seen removing cylinders kept on their premises. It took fire-fighters almost four hours to control the blaze. Chief fire officer PS Rahangdale said the fire was confined to electric wiring and installations, false ceiling, books, stationary, plastic chairs, wooden stairs and attic wooden roofing. “One person was found unconscious on the third floor at 7.45pm and was rescued by the firemen. He was sent to a hospital where he was declared dead before arrival,” he said. A local, Ketan Vakharia, said that he heard a loud blast that was followed by the blaze. “When we inquired with a few locals, we were informed that a few carpenters were working in the building when the fire started,” he said.

 

 

15 killed as tractor-trolley falls into canal in Yadadri

The ill-fated tractor-trolley in Nandanam village on Sunday.

 

 

HYDERABAD: In yet another road accident in the state, 15 people — 14 women, all farmhands, and a three-year-old boy — died, 10 suffered injuries and three escaped unhurt after a tractor-trolley in which they were travelling fell into a canal of the river Musi at Nandanam village in Yadadri district on Sunday morning. The tractor driver reportedly tried to light a cigarette, but lost control over the vehicle. However, police are yet to ascertain the cause of the accident. Around 10.30am, 28 people were travelling in a tractor trolley to reach a cotton farm at Nandanam. As the tractor trolley was plying on the bund, the driver, Venkat Narayana, lost control over the vehicle and it fell into the roadside canal. The trolley got detached, overturned and trapped some of its occupants, Rachakonda police said. “There were no injuries on the bodies of the victims. They died due to suffocation,” Rachakonda joint commissioner of police Sudheer Babu said. Venkat Narayana, who was among the three persons who escaped unhurt, went absconding after the accident, police said. Earlier in the day, he engaged 27 women, mostly in the 25-30 age group, in Valigonda to work at his farm to sow cotton seeds. They got into his tractor-trolley to reach Nandanam, but tragedy struck them just a minute away from the farm, police added.

 

Locals alerted Valigonda police, who reached the accident spot after 20 minutes, but it took some time for local revenue officials to shift the injured to hospital. Fourteen persons, including the three-year-old boy, died on the spot, while a victim died while undergoing treatment. Two victims were from Kurnool district in AP, while the rest were from Valigonda. On April 6, nine women died in a similar accident after their tractor fell into AMR Canal in Nalgonda. CM K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed shock over the accident and directed officials to provide medical care for the injured. “Chief minister KCR expressed deep shock over the ghastly incident at Nandanam village. The CM conveyed his condolences to the families of the victims and directed officials to provide better medical care for the injured,” the CM’s office said in a communication. The district authorities have announced ex gratia besides giving other assurances. Forensics experts performed post-mortem exam at a nearby health centre. Sudheer Babu said a case was registered against driver under IPC Section 304 (ii) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder).

 

 

First spell of rain causes water logging, traffic snarls

In all, the city received an average of 22.07 millimetres (mm) of rainfall.

 

 

AHMEDABAD: The rain-heavy dark clouds kept their promise on Sunday morning at 5am and drenched the city in its first spell. In all, the city received an average of 22.07 millimetres (mm) of rainfall as per Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) rain gauges. AMC flood rescue lines kept ringing for four hours with complaints of waterlogging, road damage, and a few accidents. During early morning hours, a BRTS bus skidded off the corridor and hit a CCTV pole, which caused a road block. The fire services were called in to free the obstruction. The south zone of the city received the maximum rainfall of 47 mm, followed by the Walled City of Ahmedabad which received 22mm rainfall. Areas like Amraiwadi, Gujarat housing society, around Hatkeshwar circle, areas near CTM crossroads saw waterlogging.

 

Roads showed the first signs of wear and tear, quite visible in Saraspur, where the stretch between Shardaben circle and Ambedkar Chowk were pitted with potholes. “The roads were laid in May after a water line was laid,” says a local Alpesh Patel. In the west zone there were at least three complaints registered for minor road damage. At Vastral lake, labourers engaged in repairs of embankments had a narrow escape when a large portion of the embankment sank leaving one labourer injured. From the central zone, the AMC received three complaints of dangerous buildings. In Indrapuri ward along the Kharicut canal a local drain began spewing industrial effluent. Locals immediately got together and temporarily constructed a small bund around it to divert the industrial waters towards the canal. There were 16 complaints of tree falls and 35 complaints related to waterlogging from across the city.

 

 

International News

 

 

Second person dead, 30 arrested, after Saturday’s grenade attack at Ethiopia prime minister’s rally

Ethiopian security forces intervene on Meskel Square in Addis Ababa where a blast killed several people during PM’s rally.

 

 

ADDIS ABABA: Thirty people have now been arrested over alleged involvement in a grenade attack that killed two people at a rally in the Ethiopian capital attended by new prime minister Abiy Ahmed, police said on Sunday. More than 150 were wounded in Saturday’s attack, which took place moments after Abiy had finished a speech in Meskel Square in the centre of Addis Ababa. The rally, attended by tens of thousands, was in support of Abiy’s push for radical political and economic reforms, including a peace deal with regional arch-enemy Eritrea. Security officials have not said publicly who might be responsible for the attack. Health Minister Amir Aman said on Twitter that as of 2.30pm local time on Sunday, two people had died and there were 156 wounded, with six in critical condition. “I’m so sorry to learn that we have lost another Ethiopian victim of yesterday’s attack,” he said. Nine police officials, including the deputy head of Addis Ababa’s police commission, have been arrested for what authorities said were security lapses. “The number of suspects in custody for involvement in the attack in Meskel Square has now reached 30,” Zeinu Jemal, head of the Federal Police Commission, told the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. Zeinu did not give further details.

 

 

86 killed in fresh herder-farmer violence in Nigeria

 

 

JOS, NIGERIA: Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday called for calm after 86 people were killed in an attack by suspected nomadic herders against farming communities in the restive centre of the country. The grim discovery in the Barikin Ladi area of Plateau state came after days of violence apparently sparked by an attack by ethnic Berom farmers on Fulani herders on Thursday. State police commissioner Undie Adie said a search of Berom villages in the area following clashes on Saturday found “86 persons altogether were killed”. Adie told reporters six people were also injured and 50 houses were razed. Bodies of those who died have been released to their families, he added. The deaths are the latest in a long-running battle for land and resources that is putting President Muhammadu Buhari under pressure as elections approach next year. The violence fueled by ethnic, religious and political allegiances has killed thousands over several decades. Analysts believe it could become Nigeria’s biggest security concern, eclipsing Boko Haram‘s Islamist insurgency that has left at least 20,000 dead since 2009. Buhari’s office said he “appeals for calm and assures that no efforts will be spared” to bring those responsible to justice and prevent further attacks. “The grievous loss of lives and property arising from the killings in Plateau today is painful and regrettable,” he added. The Plateau state government said it had imposed restrictions on movements in the Riyom, Barikin Ladi and Jos South areas “to avert a breakdown of law and order”. “The curfew takes effect immediately… and movement is restricted from 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) to 6:00 am, except (for) those on essential duties,” spokesman Rufus Bature said.

 

On Sunday, ethnic Berom youths set up barricades on the Jos-Abuja highway and attacked motorists who looked “Fulani and Muslim”, according to those who escaped the violence. Plateau state police spokesman Tyopev Terna and Major Adam Umar, from the military taskforce in the state capital, Jos, confirmed the blockade and vandalism to several cars. There were no official reports of deaths but Baba Bala, who escaped the violence on the road, said at least six people were killed. “I escaped with a smashed windscreen and dents on my car. I saw six dead bodies and several damaged cars,” he added. Plateau state governor Simon Lalong promised that “operational plans are currently being put in place to secure the affected communities and fish out perpetrators of these crimes. “While we pray for God’s guidance through this difficult time, we will do everything humanly possible to secure our state immediately”. But the violence in Plateau followed a pattern that has become familiar in the state and elsewhere and which the authorities appear unable to stop. On Thursday, Berom farmers attacked five ethnic Fulani herders travelling with their cattle in a truck at Heipang, in Barikin Ladi. On Friday, two Berom children were killed in Arangai and Mangu Halle villages in what appeared to be reprisal attacks. Police spokesman Terna said there were more reprisals on Berom villages in the Gashish area of Barikin Ladi which were “believed to have been carried out by Fulani herdsmen”. “This led to today’s violence,” he added.

 

Lawmakers earlier this month demanded that Buhari address worsening security across the country, accusing police of failing to prevent the violence. On Sunday, Senate leader Bukola Saraki said the killings gave the impression that Nigeria was “not safe”. It was “important for Nigerians to start having the assurances that the government is decisively responding to the current threat to lives and property”, he said. Separately, clashes erupted on Friday between Fulani herders and ethnic Bachama farmers in Dowayan village, in the Demsa area of Adamawa state, in northeast Nigeria. Adamawa police spokesman Othman Abubakar told AFP: “Six people were killed and seven others injured. “The violence started when Bachama farmers prevented Fulani herdsmen from grazing in a field outside the village. Clashes erupted as a result. “The Bachama mobilised and burnt some Fulani settlements and the Fulani went into Dowayan and burnt houses”. Demsa and the nearby Numan area of Adamawa were the scene of deadly clashes between herders and farmers that left scores dead last December. Buhari has been accused of failing to act as he is also Muslim and Fulani. His government has proposed setting up cattle ranches to prevent tensions over grazing land.

 

 

California wildfire burns 12 buildings, threatens hundreds

A firefighter walks near a flaming house in Santa Rosa, California.

 

 

CLEARLAKE: A wind-driven wildfire destroyed a dozen buildings and threatened hundreds of others Sunday as it raced across dry brush in rural Northern California. The Pawnee Fire, which broke out Saturday near the small community of Clearlake Oaks, was one of four wildfires burning in largely rural areas as wind and heat gripped a swath of California from San Jose to the Oregon border. The blaze destroyed 12 buildings and threatened an additional 600 as it burned out of control across about 2.5 square miles (6.5 square kilometers). It is north of the wine country region where devastating wildfires killed 44 people and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses last October. Authorities ordered people to evacuate all homes in the residential area of Spring Valley and surrounding areas. Evacuation centers for residents and animals were being opened. No injuries were reported. “What we’re stressing is that people, when they get the evacuation order, they heed it immediately and get out and stay out until it is safe to return,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Battalion Chief Jonathan Cox said. “This is one of four large fires burning in Northern California. It’s a good reminder that fire season is upon us,” he said.

 

Another blaze consumed 5.5 square miles in nearby Tehama County but did not burn any buildings. Some homes were threatened and some had been evacuated, Cox said, although he did not have specific numbers. It was partially contained. Another smaller fire, also in Tehama County, was nearly halfway contained after consuming less than a mile of brush. The fourth fire, in neighboring Shasta County, smaller still, was three-fourths contained. The Pawnee Fire was being driven by erratic winds, low humidity and high temperatures. Firefighters battled it in a rugged area that made it difficult to get engines and other equipment up close. “It’s kind of the worst possible combination,” Cox said. Fire officials had no estimate on when it might be contained and didn’t yet know what caused it. Matthew Henderson, who was in the area taking photographs, said he saw the fire jump a road at one point, briefly cutting off access to part of Spring Valley until firefighters pushed it back. More than 230 firefighters using helicopters, bulldozers and other equipment were battling the blaze.

 

 

Floods and landslides kill seven, leave 12 missing in Vietnam

In this Sunday, June 24, 2018, photo, authorities clear mud from a landslide that blocked a road in Lai Chau province, Vietnam.

 

 

HANOI: Flash floods and landslides triggered by heavy rains have killed at least 7 people and left 12 others missing in northern Vietnam. In the worst hit province of Lai Chau, 5 people were killed and authorities have been mobilising forces to search for the 12 missing, the provincial government said in a statement today. The Vietnam Disaster Management Authority said in a statement that two people were killed in neighbouring Ha Giang province when their house collapsed. Landslides have interrupted traffic in some areas, it added. Heavy rains are forecast to continue in the region for the next two days. Floods and storms kill hundreds each year in the Southeast Asian country and cause millions of dollars in damages.


News Flash – 22 June 2018

National News

 

 

Cycle Ambulance pilot project in Mumbai on the cards

 

 

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government plans to start bicycle ambulances on a pilot basis which will have paramedics carrying medicine kits for senior citizens, a senior official said. The pilot project will be launched soon in Mumbai and will be modelled on the one currently operational in the United Kingdom, the health department official added. “Paramedics on bicycles will focus on senior citizens and will carry kits with essential medicines for them. They will also interact with senior citizens who live alone,” the official told PTI. He said that there were 20 motorcycle ambulances operating in Mumbai at present and five such ambulances each would be delivered to Palghar and Melghat soon. He said that these two-wheeler ambulances had got over 1,500 calls from different parts of the city since it was launched in August last year. They can be availed by dialing the state’s “108” ambulance helpline and are operating in Bhandup, Kurar, Malad, Charkop, Nagpada, Goregaon film city, Mankhurd, Dharavi police station, Khar police station, Thakur village in Kandivali and Kalina university campus in Santacruz, he added.

 

 

Kolkata: Fire breaks out at Alipore court premises

Panic broke out at the Alipore court premises on Thursday evening when a fire erupted at a West Bengal government run milk, eggs, meat and livestock sellers outlet around 5pm.

 

 

KOLKATA: Panic broke out at the Alipore court premises on Thursday evening when a fire erupted at a West Bengal government run milk, eggs, meat and livestock sellers outlet around 5pm. Flames were seen leaping out of the Sundarini outlet – a unit of Sunderbans Cooperative Milk and Livestock Producers Union Ltd as the employees rushed out of the store. Four fire tenders were pressed into service that brought the fire under control in one and half hours. No one was hurt but the lawyers, employees at the government offices and local people visiting the court panicked seeing the fire. The area was however cordoned off by the police as firemen doused the fire. The outlet situated inside the Alipore court premises was set up in 2016 in collaboration with WBLDC Ltd. The outlet stocked SUNDARINI Cow Ghee, Eggs, Wild Honey and different meat and meat based products by Haringhata Meat. Apart from the Alipore court, the premises house the office of the south 24 parganas District Magistrate, office of the motor vehicles department, an art gallery, two government offices and chambers of hundreds of lawyers.

 

 

Mumbai: Thieves break into college principal’s office, steal Rs 10 lakh

 

 

MUMBAI: Unidentified thieves took away Rs 10 lakh from a cupboard in the principal’s office at Guru Nanak College in Sion-Koliwada. The loss of cash came to light on Thursday morning when college opened. A case of theft has been registered at Antop Hill police station. Senior inspector Sudarshan Paithankar said that the thieves had gained entry into the principal’s office by breaking open the lock. “They then broke the lock of the cupboard where the cash had been kept,” said Paithankar. Another officer said that a jimmy was possibly used to break open the locks. Cameras installed on the college premises had not been functional over the last two days.

 

 

International News

 

 

249 detained in China for software fraud

 

 

BEIJING: Nearly 250 suspects have been detained for allegedly swindling about $6.2 million in a software fraud and more than 1,000 computers as well as cell phones confiscated in a joint operation in China’s Shenzhen city, police said. According to the police, the gang targeted stock market investors with so-called inside information through the software they had developed. The defrauders then used leveraging, modifying backstage data and high commissions to defraud clients, state-run Xinhua news agency quoted police officials as saying. In a joint operation carried out on June 13, the police stopped more than 300 people, of whom 249 will face criminal charges. 42.6 million yuan ($6.5 million) was frozen and more than 1,000 computers and cell phones confiscated in the action, the report said.

 

 

Libya’s coast guard rescues 80 African migrants

Migrants leave a boat at the coast of Tajoura, east of Tripoli.

 

 

CAIRO: Libya’s coast guard says it has rescued some 80 African migrants, including four women and two children, and recovered one body in the Mediterranean Sea east of the capital, Tripoli. Spokesman Ayoub Gassim said late Wednesday that the migrants were found on a damaged rubber boat and had remained at sea for around four hours before the coast guard arrived. He said the migrants were given humanitarian and medical aid, and were handed over to anti-migration authorities. Libya has emerged as a major transit point to Europe for those fleeing poverty and civil war elsewhere in Africa. Traffickers have exploited Libya’s chaos following the 2011 uprising that toppled and later killed a longtime dictator. Libyan authorities have stepped up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, with European assistance.

 

 

Afghan official says Taliban kill 8 police

Taliban fighters ride in their vehicle in Surkh road district of Nangarhar province, east of Kabul.

 

 

KABUL: The Taliban killed eight police in two separate attacks in Afghanistan on Thursday, officials said. Arif Noori, a spokesman for the governor of the southern Ghazni province, says six police were killed and four were wounded in an attack on security posts early Thursday. He says at least seven insurgents were killed in the hours-long gun battle. In the northern Baghlan province, the Taliban killed two police and wounded another three, according to police spokesman Zabiullah Shuja. No one immediately claimed either attack. The Taliban have seized several districts across the country in recent years, and carry out near-daily attacks, mainly targeting security forces. They resumed their attacks after a three-day cease-fire last weekend coinciding with the Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday.


News Flash – 21 June 2018

National News

 

 

Mumbai: Police crack Angadiya firm robbery, 8 held

 

 

MUMBAI: LT Marg police recently arrested eight members of a gang that had struck at an Angadiya firm in Bhuleshwar, South Mumbai, and looted Rs 1.13 crore. The gang threatened two employees with a knife and used chloroform to sedate the victims. The accused then blew up nearly Rs20 lakh on a shopping spree. The incident took place on May 29. A team supervised by additional police commissioner Pravin Padwal and DCP Dnyaneshwar Chavan was formed to probe the case. Investigation revealed one of the employees, Ripon Patel, had tipped his friend, Bhavik Panchal, working in an Angadiya firm close by, about a huge stash of cash in their office. Panchal got in touch with some contacts in Ahmedabad to execute robbery. After the robbery, the accused split the money. “A few days later, they all went to Goa. By then, we had arrested Patel and Panchal. We caught four others from Gujarat, while one was tracked to Agra and another to north India too,” said an officer. Over Rs 92 lakh has been recovered so far. – Mateen Hafeez.

 

 

Clash over rash driving, one hurt

 

 

KOLKATA: A clash broke out at Ekbalpore’s Bhukailash Road on Tuesday night. This was third time area saw clashes in three months. Locals said some motorbikes threw bombs in the locality, injuring a 38-year-old woman. The victim, Yasmin Bibi, is being treated at the SSKM Hospital. One of the accused Md Imtiaz Alam (23) has been arrested in this case. “The incident was sparked after a biker rode rashly. Presently, the situation is under control and another suspect is being questioned,” said DC in-charge (port) Dinesh Kumar. Locals said a biker was riding rashly in front of 6, Bhukailash Road. Later, when 150 locals from Bhukailash area protested, residents of neighbouring Dhurpura residents where the biker lives broke into a scuffle. Witnesses said the Bhukailash residents had asked Dhurpura locals to apologize. “In the fight, someone from Dhurpura hurled a bomb leaving Yasmin injured. She was rushed to SSKM Hospital where she was declared to be out of danger. Police said a case under several sections pertaining to attempt to murder and Explosives Substance Act was initiated by the Ekbalpore police. Police has set up a booth in the area to keep vigil. The clash broke out at the narrow Bhukailash Road that cuts through Kidderpore from Karl Marx Sarani to Diamond Harbour Road near CMRI hospital. In a previous case on May 31, members of two factions of the local club located on Bhukailash Road had staked claim on running the club around 8.30am in the morning resulting in a clash. Sources denied there was any political angle but said both sides have claimed allegiance to the ruling party.

 

 

Air India flight returns 20 minutes after take-off; bird hit suspected

 

 

CHENNAI: The Chennai-Delhi Air India flight (AI 440) was forced to return around 20 minutes after taking off from Chennai airport on Wednesday due to a suspected bird hit. The A321 aircraft took off at 6.47am with 130 passengers from the main runway in the direction of Pallavaram. It climbed to 6,000 feet and was cruising at 500kmph over Gummidipoondi area when the pilot suspected some trouble with an engine and reported the same to the air traffic control. Sources said that the pilot requested for a return and asked for priority landing. The flight landed safely and the aircraft has been grounded. The passengers disembarked and were brought to the terminal. They were accommodated in other flights of the airline.

 

An airport official said that the pilot did not report a bird strike but said he felt some vibration on the right engine. An inspection revealed that three blades of the engine was damaged. “The blades were bent a little and the engineers suspect that it may be because of a bird hit the engine. However, the engine was free of remains. Since there is no other way an engine can be damaged, authorities feel that it was a case of bird strike. But the pilot has not reported spotting any birds,” he added. Usually, pilots report a bird strike if they spot birds close to the plane as it may not be possible to sense a hit by a small bird on the fuselage. Only migratory birds and kites fly at this altitude. But migratory bird’s season had completed.

 

 

Robbery thwarted in Ahmedabad, 3 injured

The family confronted some 10 men who were trying to rob them.

 

 

AHMEDABAD: Three persons, including one woman, suffered injuries when they confronted some 10 men who were trying to rob them, at Amrakunj Society in the Chandkheda area of the city in the wee hours of Monday. Police lodged a complaint against unknown persons and are gathering CCTV footage from the vicinity. According to the complainant, P K Awasthi, an HR professional, the incident occurred at 3am on Monday. Three unknown persons tried to break open their main gate. When he rebuked them, seven others rushed in and started pelting them with stones. Awasthi’s wife, Snehlata (47), and their son Akshil (18) suffered injuries. Despite the unexpected confrontation, the robbers managed to snatch Snehlata’s gold chain, worth Rs 30,000. “I heard an explosion outside and woke up. I saw four men standing there. I started yelling at them. When I left the house, seven more persons rushed there and started pelting me with stones,” Awasthi told TOI. “Some of the men started running towards me and I began running outside. On hearing the commotion, my son came out of the house and was attacked by the robbers. Three of the robbers entered my house and attacked my wife,” he added. “Fortunately, there were some labourers outside the house and they came to our rescue,” Awasthi said. He said the robbers would have killed him and his family if the labourers had not protected them.

 

 

International News

 

 

Police fatally shoot 17-year-old boy fleeing traffic stop

Debra Jones, who said she saw the incident, sits on her porch along Grandview Avenue on June 20 in East Pittsburgh.

 

 

EAST PITTSBURGH: A police officer fatally shot a 17-year-old boy just seconds after he fled from a traffic stop on late Tuesday in a confrontation partly captured on video from a nearby home. Investigators said on Wednesday that the car stopped in the town of East Pittsburgh matched the description of a vehicle being sought in a nonfatal shooting in a town a few miles away. An East Pittsburgh officer, who has not been identified, was taking the driver into custody when the two passengers, including 17-year-old Antwon Rose, fled the car. Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said Rose was shot three times. A report from the medical examiner confirmed that Rose had died at a local hospital but did not say where he was struck or the cause of death. McDonough said police found two semi-automatic handguns on the floor of the car. In the video, which was posted to Facebook, the teens can be seen dashing from the car. Three shots ring out, and both passengers appear to either duck or fall to the ground as they pass behind a house. A woman yells, asking why an officer shot the boy for running. No shots were fired at the officers during the encounter, and no weapon was found on Rose’s body, said McDonough. There was no indication the other passenger from the car was shot or injured, but he was not captured and still was being sought by police, McDonough said. Debra Jones told The Associated Press her voice is the one caught on the video. Jones, 53, said she was sitting on the porch of the home she shares with her daughter when the traffic stop began. She said the officer drew his gun as he talked to the driver, and she instinctually took cover.

 

“I fell off my seat and started to crawl into my house. But I turned and said, ‘No, someone needs to keep an eye on this,’ and I came out to watch the stop,” Jones said. When the two passengers took off, “that officer didn’t try to chase them or taze them. He just shot that boy for running,” she said. “I looked out my kitchen window and they were putting him in handcuffs. He wasn’t moving. I think that boy died right there on the side of my house”. McDonough noted there are circumstances when Pennsylvania law permits officers to use lethal force on a fleeing suspect. It’s allowed to prevent death or serious injury to an officer or another person or if the fleeing suspect has used or threatened violence or possesses a lethal weapon. Dozens of protesters gathered outside the East Pittsburgh police station Wednesday evening, emotions running high as they demanded justice. County police were called in to conduct an independent investigation, which is standard procedure, McDonough said. He said the officer has been placed on administrative leave. The driver of the vehicle, a 20-year-old man, was taken into custody and released after McDonough said officers did not feel they had cause to charge him in the earlier shooting. The shooting in North Braddock happened less than 15 minutes before the traffic stop, McDonough said. He said a 22-year-old man had been shot in the abdomen after nine shots were fired from the car. The man, who was treated at a hospital and released, told police he fired back and struck the car.

 

McDonough said he was confident the car pulled over by East Pittsburgh was involved in the incident, noting that a back window had been shot out. He said it was too early in the investigation to say whether Rose had fired a weapon in the earlier incident. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported that Rose had been volunteering at the Free Store 15104 in Braddock each summer since 2015, according to founder Gisele Fetterman, the wife of Braddock Mayor John Fetterman. “He was just a really lovely, gentle kid,” Gisele Fetterman told the newspaper at a World Refugee Day event in Market Square on Wednesday. “His mom is amazing. All the kids loved him. Just a fine person. Bubbly. Funny. Goofy. Just really special”. Duquesne City Mayor Nickole Nesby, a friend of Antwon’s mother who had known the teen since birth, described him as a well-mannered and smart person who liked playing basketball. “He was a beautiful little boy,” she told the Post-Gazette. “He was full of life”.

 

 

Taliban kill 30 Afghan soldiers and take base in first major attack since ceasefire

 

 

KABUL: Taliban militants killed 30 Afghan soldiers and captured a military base in the western province of Badghis on Wednesday, the provincial governor said, their first major attack since a ceasefire for the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The three-day Taliban ceasefire ended on Sunday. Provincial governor Abdul Qafoor Malikzai said the Taliban attacked two security posts in the early hours. Abdul Aziz Bek, head of the Badghis provincial council, said one military base was targeted, in the district of Balamerghab. “Large numbers of Taliban came from several directions,” Bek said. “After hours of heavy fighting 30 Afghan security forces were killed and the Taliban captured the base”. Fifteen Taliban were killed in other areas of the province overnight, he said, adding that the militants prepared their attacks and did reconnaissance of the area during their ceasefire. The Taliban did not immediately comment on the attacks.

 

Naqibullah Amini, spokesman for the Badghis police, confirmed the death of 30 soldiers and said the Taliban killed four soldiers in separate attacks on security checkpoints in the same district. The government also called a ceasefire for the holiday and Taliban fighters headed into cities across the country over the weekend as both sides celebrated the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. President Ashraf Ghani extended his unilateral ceasefire, initially due to end on Wednesday, by 10 days. Some have criticised his ceasefire, which allowed the Taliban to freely enter government-held areas, including the capital, Kabul. “The consequences could be disastrous,” a senior Western diplomat in Kabul said this week. The Taliban are fighting to oust US-led NATO forces combined and defeat Ghani’s US-backed government to restore sharia, or Islamic law, after their ouster by US-led forces in 2001.

 

 

4 killed and 25 arrested after a shooting in Mexico City

 

 

MEXICO CITY: Mexico City prosecutors say four people are dead and 25 arrested after a series of shootings apparently related to drug dealing. Police responding to reports of drug deals found two people dead on the city’s south side. Police chased the suspects and came under fire from gunmen on motorcycles. They reported killing kill two of the assailants and wounding another. Five guns, one car and 16 motorcycles were seized at the scene. This comes two days after pieces of the dismembered bodies of two men were found scattered on a major street in the capital. Mexico City had largely been spared the grisly drug cartel violence affecting other parts of Mexico.