News Flash – 1 January 2018

National News



Burglars kill Security Guard, loot Rs 8.5 lakh in cash



NEW DELHI: A 40-year-old security guard was killed by armed robbers in a fruit beer factory in Mianwali Nagar of outer Delhi during the early hours of Monday. The robbers fled away with around Rs 8.5 lakh in cash, apart from other items. A case under IPC Section 302 (murder) has been registered and probe initiated, said DCP (outer) M N Tiwary. The factory was shut due to New Year’s Eve and the security guard, Prem Prakash, was the only one present in the compound. After patrolling the factory, Prakash went to his cabin around midnight and slept. Initial probe has revealed that the burglars entered the factory through the back gate. They hit the sleeping guard multiple times on his head with a blunt object. They then went to the factory vault, opened it using sharp tools and took the cash and valuables. The crime was committed in 45 minutes. Factory staff found Prakash dead near his cabin and the vault broken when they reached on Monday. Cops scanned the CCTV footage from the factory and adjoining areas to ascertain the sequence of events and identity of the robbers. Police suspect the role of an insider behind the murder and robbery. A list of former employees and business associates is being prepared to crack the case.



Delhi fog: 20 flights, 64 trains delayed


NEW DELHI: Over 20 flights were delayed and six cancelled at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport due to low visibility on Tuesday as dense fog conditions continued to prevail in the national capital region (NCR) for the third consecutive day. The railway traffic was also hit in the capital with 64 trains delayed, 24 rescheduled and 21 cancelled. Similar conditions were reported on Monday when 300 flights got either delayed or cancelled, while backlog of flights continued for the rest of the day. Nearly 15 trains were cancelled on Monday morning while 50 got delayed. At PM10 (gm-3) levels, air quality in Delhi is under “very poor” category on Tuesday. As the fog is not allowing particular matter to disperse, weather condition is likely to remain the same for the next two days.



Disabled man loses all savings to ATM fraud



NEW DELHI: He didn’t let his disability come in the way of supporting his family after his father became bedridden. Dinesh Kumar Gupta (25) started working earnestly as a tailor to not only meet his family’s daily needs, but also started saving for his sister’s marriage. Little did he know that he would become a victim of ATM fraud. He claimed to having saved Rs 1.4 lakh in the past five years, all of which was withdrawn fraudulently. Police said they have a few leads and will nab the accused as soon as they get the CCTV footage from the ATM. The matter was reported to police on Saturday. Gupta told TOI that he had gone to an ATM to withdraw Rs 25,000 to buy some things for his sister’s marriage. “I was in a hurry and left immediately after withdrawing the cash. When I reached home, I realised that I had left my bag containing important documents and my ATM card near the machine,” he said. “I rushed to the ATM and to my relief found my bag exactly where I had left it. I then left for home assuming that nothing was missing from it,” Gupta added. A few days later, Gupta realised that cash had been withdrawn from his account. “I was sitting idle and started scrolling through the messages on my phone. I usually ignore messages as many of them are spam. What I saw came as a shock to me. I had received messages of cash withdrawal from my account and I was left with just Rs 249. I became numb as all my savings had been wiped clean,” he said. A case has been registered at Dabri police station. A senior police officer said that they have asked the bank officials for CCTV footage from the ATM. “Once we get the footage, we will be able to ascertain the identity of the accused,” the officer added.



ATM theft: In 6 months, Karnataka lost money 8 times it did in ’16-17


BENGALURU: On October 9, 2017, thieves stole nearly Rs 23 lakh from an ATM in Lingasugur taluk of Raichur district. In November, constables Usman and Beerlingappa were felicitated for foiling an ATM theft in Marathahalli, Bengaluru. On December 18, a seven-member team from Karnataka police landed in Coimbatore to interrogate an inter-state gang local police had apprehended, hoping to get confessions. These stories in the second half of this financial year. But in the first half—April 1 to September 30, 2017—Karnataka saw thieves and dacoits steal eight times the money it had lost the whole of 2016-17, according to information accessed from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). With Rs 7.96 crore lost to theft, robbery, burglary and dacoity in the said six months, the state has lost the most in the country too, accounting for more than 43% of the Rs 18.48 crore lost across India. These cases do not include debit and credit card frauds or use of technology to steal from ATMs or banks. “That all this money has been lost to physical acts, where people were present on the spot is what makes the number, which otherwise may not appear like too much, look bad,” cybercrime expert Mirza Faizan Asad said, adding that this exposes security lapse of a different kind.


Karnataka, in fact lost nearly twice the money that Bihar, Chandigarh and New Delhi put together. The two states and union territory collectively lost Rs 3.8 crore and occupy the second, third and fourth place, respectively. Netrika Consulting Managing Director Sanjay Kaushik, whose clientele include banks, says: “There are different ways of doing such crimes. We’ve noticed that in many cases the ATM machine is dismantled and towed away in vehicles, while in some others people hang around outside the ATMs and then cheat people who come to withdraw”. Faizan argues that a map of all ATMs, a closely-monitored CCTV network at these kiosks and regular patrolling need to be in place. In three-and-half-years between April 1, 2014 to September 30, 2017, Karnataka lost Rs 28.10 crore with the most reported this year, followed by Rs 6.40 crore in 2014-15. In this period, the state accounted for 16% of the total money lost in the country, which stood at Rs 175 crore.



New Year road rage leaves blood on the streets; 5 dead, 300 injured


Chennai: New Year festivities in the city and suburbs left five people dead and more than 300 injured, said police, who fanned out to contain the revelry. Doctors, who witnessed a sharp increase in trauma cases between 11pm and 2am, said accidents accounted for 80% of the cases. An official handling the 108 emergency ambulance service said in a span of three hours before midnight, 650 ambulances were dispatched across the state. “On a routine night, we require only 300,” said the official. While two fatal accidents were reported within the city, three others happened in the suburbs. A 22-year-old man died after a load van struck the autorickshaw he was travelling in at Kasimedu. The victim was identified as Dinesh, a resident of Velayutham Street, Thiruvottiyur. He was returning home after celebrating New Year when the incident occurred. While Dinesh died on the spot, his two friends sustained injuries. In Egmore, a 29-year-old man died after his bike skidded. Roymon, a resident of Egmore, was drunk and died of head injuries. In another accident involving a two-wheeler, a 27-yearold man died while on his way with a friend to a church to attend a midnight mass. The bike rammed a tree in Kancheepuram. The youngster died on the way to the hospital. At Baluchetty Chatram, less than two hours from the city, a 19-year-old man died after his bike rammed a compound wall. In the impact, the victim, Parthiban, and his friend were flung into a roadside ditch. “Both of them were drunk. The accident happened around 9.30pm.


The men lay on the deserted stretch for close to five hours,” said a police officer. Around 3am, one of them regained consciousness and climbed on to the road and alerted passersby. Parthiban was brought dead on arrival. In the fifth case recorded by police, a resident of Anna Nagar was killed when his bike crashed into the median. Till 7am on Monday, the main government hospitals in Chennai – Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital, Kilpauk Medical College Hospital, Stanley Medical College Hospital and Government Royapettah Hospital — received 312 injured people 53 of whom were serious. Doctors said the number of hospital admissions were lesser this year compared to previous years. “We also saw fewer head injuries,” said Dr R Narayana Babu, dean of RGGGH which saw 78 cases – all road accidents. He said most of the patients were between 16 and 35 and at least 70% victims were inebriated. “All of them were either bystanders or riding two-wheelers,” said the doctor. Royapettah hospital received the highest footfall with 158 people reporting with injuries. “More than 40% of these injuries were because of falls,” said Dr R Kannan, the hospital superintendent. In almost 200 places, the Chennai police set up temporary checkpoints and detained people riding or driving under the influence of alcohol.



International News



At least 8 dead as speedboat capsizes off Indonesia’s Borneo

Indonesia rescue team search victims from a boat that capsized off Indonesia’s part of Borneo island on Jan. 1, 2018.



JAKARTA: A speedboat carrying 51 people capsized off Indonesia’s part of Borneo island on Monday, killing at least eight, an official said. The accident happened when the boat, called the Anugrah Express, was traveling from Tanjung Selor, the capital of North Kalimantan province, to Tarakan in the same province. Manangap Djumala, a search and rescue official in Tarakan, said that in addition to the deaths, several other people were believed to be missing. Unconfirmed reports said 40 people were rescued. According to the boat’s manifest, the boat was carrying 48 passengers, including five children, and three crew members, Djumala said, adding that infants were usually not listed in the manifest. Police are investigating the cause of the accident. Boat accidents are common in Indonesia because of poorly enforced safety regulations in the world’s largest archipelago nation, where ships are a popular and relatively cheap form of transportation.



12 killed in protests, attacks on security: Iran state TV



TEHRAN: At least 12 people have been killed in the ongoing protests in Iran, and armed protesters have tried to take over police stations and military bases, state TV reported Monday. The protests began Thursday in Mashhad over economic issues and have since expanded to several cities. Hundreds of people have been arrested. The state TV report said 10 were killed during clashes Sunday night, without elaborating. Two demonstrators were killed during a protest in western Iran late Saturday. “Some armed protesters tried to take over some police stations and military bases but faced serious resistance from security forces,” state TV reported. Earlier Monday, the semi-official ILNA news agency quoted Hedayatollah Khademi, a representative for the town of Izeh, as saying two people died there Sunday night. He said the cause of death wasn’t immediately known. Many in Izeh, some 455 kilometers (280 miles) southwest of Tehran, have hunting rifles in their homes. On Sunday, Iran blocked access to Instagram and the popular messaging app Telegram used by activists to organize. President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the public’s anger over the Islamic Republic‘s flagging economy, though he and others warned that the government wouldn’t hesitate to crack down on those it considers lawbreakers.



18 dead in attack on Afghan funeral: Officials

Afghan security forces inspect the site of a deadly bombing in Jalalabad province, Afghanistan on Dec. 31, 2017.



JALALABAD: An explosion at a funeral in Afghanistan’s restive east on Sunday killed at least 18 mourners and wounded another 13, officials said, capping a deadly year for ordinary Afghans. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast which authorities initially said was caused by a suicide attacker but now believe was triggered by explosives attached to a motorcycle. The Taliban said on Twitter they had nothing to do with the incident — the latest violence to claim the lives of civilians in the war-torn country. “The explosion was caused by a motorcycle bomb our investigation has concluded,” Nangarhar governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP. The governor’s office put the death toll from the attack near the provincial capital Jalalabad at 18, with 13 wounded. Provincial health director Najib Kamawal confirmed the new toll. The explosion happened during the funeral ceremony for a former governor of Haska Mina district who died recently of natural causes, a statement from the governor’s office said. The twisted wreckage of a motorcycle — a popular mode of transport in impoverished Afghanistan – lay in the dirt at the cemetery. Pools of blood, clothes, shoes and hats were scattered on the ground. Photos posted on social media purportedly of the scene showed bodies lying in blood and a plume of black smoke rising into the sky. Terrified mourners, mostly elderly men, could be seen running from the scene. While the Taliban is still responsible for the majority of attacks and casualties across Afghanistan, Islamic State militants have been on a rampage this month.


The incident in Nangarhar, a volatile province bordering Pakistan and a stronghold for IS, comes days after the group claimed an assault on a Shiite cultural centre in Kabul that left 41 people dead and more than 80 wounded. That followed a Christmas Day attack, also claimed by IS, near an Afghan intelligence agency compound in the Afghan capital that left six civilians dead. On December 18 militants from the group stormed an intelligence training compound in Kabul, triggering an intense gunfight with police, two of whom were wounded. The Middle Eastern jihadist outfit has gained ground in Afghanistan since it first appeared in the region in 2015, and has scaled up its attacks in Kabul and elsewhere, including on security installations and the country’s Shiite minority. The latest news comes at the end of a particularly deadly year for Afghans, with the number of civilian casualties on track to be one of the highest on record since the US invasion in 2001. More than 8,000 civilians were killed or wounded in conflict-related violence in the first nine months of this year, according to data compiled by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. Last year’s civilian casualty toll of 11,418 was the highest for a single year since the UN began systematically documenting civilian deaths and injuries in 2009.



Man with explosives takes 11 hostages in Ukraine



KIEV: A man believed to be strapped with explosives has taken nine adults and two children hostage in a post office in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, police said on Saturday. The unidentified man is calm, has not made any demands and is in regular contact with police via the telephones of the hostages, regional police chief Oleg Bekh told 112 news channel. Television footage showed police and parked police cars outside a two story white-and-yellow building in the northeastern city. The area has been closed off to traffic. “We are trying to do everything to maintain communication with him and to do everything that is necessary to ensure the people are released,” Bekh said. The man in the post office was concerned about the recent prisoner exchange between the Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian separatists and thought more prisoners should have been released, Bekh said, adding police did not know what he wanted. Ukraine and the separatists swapped hundreds of prisoners on Wednesday in the biggest such exchange since the outbreak of a conflict in the eastern Donbass region that has killed more than 10,000 people.



Gunmen kill 14 churchgoers in Nigeria shooting



WARRI: Gunmen killed at least 14 churchgoers returning from a midnight service today in Nigeria‘s Rivers State, a police source said, the latest violence to hit the oil-rich region. “The gunmen opened fire on a set of worshippers at about 12:30 am on Monday,” said Ugochi Olugbo, a relative of one of the victims who were attending a New Year’s Eve service. The shooting took place in the town of Omoku about 90 kilometres from the southern oil hub of Port Harcourt. “Fourteen persons died on the spot, while 12 who sustained gunshot wounds were rushed to the hospital and are receiving medical attention,” said a police source who asked to remain anonymous. Rivers State police public relations officer Nnamdi Omoni said the number of casualties could not be confirmed at the moment. “The commissioner of police, Ahmed Zaki, has also launched a manhunt for the bandits to ensure they are arrested and prosecuted,” Omoni said. Rivers State, a region blighted by poverty despite a wealth of oil, is home to several powerful gangs that often engage in violent turf wars. Such gangs, known as “cults” in Nigeria, began as university confraternities decades ago before evolving into powerful armed groups that now rule the streets of the destitute region.



Nine dead in latest outbreak of Brazilian prison violence



SAO PAULO: Nine inmates were killed, 14 were injured, and dozens escaped in a prison riot on Monday, national news media reported, in the latest example of Brazil‘s continuing difficulties maintaining control over its notoriously violent penal system. According to newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo, 106 prisoners escaped the prison in the city of Goiania, near the capital of Brasilia. Authorities recaptured 27 of the escapees, but the rest remained at large. One of the nine killed in the mayhem was decapitated, news media reported, sparking memories of a prison riot that occurred one year ago today in the Amazon in which 56 people died, several of whom were decapitated and thrown over prison walls. That riot, which was rooted in a long-standing gang rivalry, came at the beginning of a January marred by widespread prison violence, with 130 prisoners dying in the first 20 days of 2017. Brazil’s prisons, which suffer endemic violence, are often severely overcrowded. Rights group call prison conditions medieval, with food scarce and cells often so packed inmates have no space to lie down. In comments on Monday to newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo, the head of Brazil’s prison guard union, Jorimar Bastos, criticized the amount of resources allocated for oversight at the Goiania prison, saying only five guards were assigned to watch over 900 prisoners.

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