News Flash – 1 November 2017

National News



ATM cash robbers caught after a bar brawl near Mandya in Malavalli



MANDYA: Two bike-borne miscreants who had attacked cash-loading staffers in front of an ICICI Bank ATM near Jalahalli Cross in Bengaluru on Monday and sped away with Rs 18.5 lakh were caught in the night by Malavalli Town police of Mandya district. The arrests were made possible when policemen swooped down on a bar in Malavalli where the culprits were having an ugly brawl with another group. Malavalli subdivision deputy superintendent of police Mallik told TOI police arrested the main accused, Nitesh Kumar, 21, son of Venkatesh and resident of Halaguru village of Malavalli, and recovered Rs 15 lakh cash from him. His accomplice, Maruti, has also been arrested. Police inspector Gangadhar and his team were on high alert following a complaint of house burglary earlier in the day. They were trying to trace the accused in this case. The Jalahalli Cross robbers, who fled Bengaluru immediately after committing the crime, reached Halaguru around 10.30am. The duo reached Malavalli around 4pm and headed to a bar to down a couple of drinks.



Three-tier traffic system to free Kalyan station of chaos



KALYAN: Following the September Elphinstone Road stampede, the municipal corporation has speeded up its plan for multi-level traffic management system to ease passenger movement in the western side of Kalyan railway station— one of the most congested zones on Central Railway’s suburban network. The Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) has proposed a three-tier system: an elevated deck for private cars and public buses and a skywalk for pedestrians, while taxis, autos and two-wheelers will be restricted to roads. Sources said the final drawings for the Rs 320crore worth project—under the smart city initiative—is being readied on a priority basis for approval by various stakeholders including the Central Railways and the Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC) after clearance from the special purpose vehicle- Smart Kalyan Dombivli Development Corporation. Landings and diversions have been created on the elevated decks at regular intervals to minimize instances of traffic snarls. One arm will cater exclusively to MSRTC buses as it will connect the depot with the deck. The middle tier will include the existing skywalk that will be modified and have access to both the auto stands beneath and the upper deck. A hawker’s zone along with a commercial plaza will also be created in a multi-storey building to be developed over a part of the MSRTC land.


The 12-metre high top deck, with multiple arms connecting Shahad and Dombivli, Bhiwandi roads, will have bus stands outside the station, while an additional arm will lead MSRTC buses to the existing depot opposite to the platform number 1. Commuters can access the railway bridges and bus stands via the skywalks. There will be space for parking 20 full-size vehicles at the elevated bus station. A concourse will be built between the railway station and the bus stand for movement of private cars coming to drop or pick up passengers. Auto and taxi stands will be assigned at the ground level that will also be connected to the railway bridges and the skywalks. There are plans to have elevators and escalators at regular intervals also, a civic official said. “The nearly 1km-radius outside the Kalyan railway station is a high-density corridor witnessing massive traffic and pedestrian movement daily. We are working on a long-term solution for easing the commute for residents at the railway station,” said a senior official at KDMC. The plan of the traffic management system has provision for parking nearly 3,500 autos, bikes and cars collectively. “The plan has been chalked out to ensure smooth movement of pedestrians and railway commuters, private cars and transport vehicles considering the growth over the next 20 years,” mayor Rajendra Devlekar said.



School bus catches fire in Delhi, students rescued



NEW DELHI: Thirty-seven students narrowly escaped a tragedy when a bus in which they were travelling caught fire here on Tuesday, officials said. The private bus caught fire while heading from Delhi Cantonment to south Delhi. It was carrying the students of Kendriya Vidyalaya‘s Naraina branch when the incident occurred near Dhaula Kuan, a fire official said. None of the students suffered any injuries as bystanders came to their rescue. “People alerted the driver and called the police… The bus was stopped and the children were evacuated safely before the fire brigade reached,” he added. Three fire tenders doused the flames but by then the vehicle was gutted. The reason for the fire is yet to be ascertained.



4 days, 4 deaths: Dengue run spreads panic in Kamarhati



KOLKATA: Dengue claimed two more lives in the Belgharia-Kamarhati area on the northern fringes of the city since Monday night. While a septuagenarian succumbed at Kamarhati Sagar Dutta Medical College on Tuesday morning, a 40-year-old homemaker from Deganga died of dengue on Monday evening, taking the total death toll in North 24 Parganas to 27 in the past three months. The vector borne disease has claimed at least four lives in the Kamarhati Municipality area in the last four days. In Kamarhati, 71-year-old Banshi Hazra, a resident of Belgharia’s Mohini Mill quarter near Nandannagar at Ward 33, was suffering from fever for five days. After his condition turned serious on Saturday, he was rushed to the Sagar Dutta hospital. But his family members alleged that the hospital had initially refused to admit him, even though tests later confirmed the virus. “He was discharged on the same day after primary treatment. He was under treatment at home. But his condition worsened suddenly on Monday evening and his platelet count dropped to 62,000 (the normal range is 1.5 lakh to 4.5 lakh). He had severe respiratory distress. We rushed him again to Sagar Dutta hospital and he was admitted this time. But his condition kept deteriorating even as he was put on life support. But the doctors failed to revive him and he died at around 6.45am on Tuesday,” said Shibnarayan Hazra, the victim’s brother.


According to locals, at least 22 more persons in the Mohini mill quarters area have tested positive for dengue. “Multiple deaths in Belgharia-Kamarhati area have left us scared. The dreaded virus has already spread in our locality. You can find at least one affected person at almost in every home. But the local civic authority is still reluctant,” said Samiran Basak, a local resident. CPM councillor Rituparna Mitra of Ward 33, however, alleged that she was facing problems on providing civic amenities as she belongs to the opposition party. “Around 10,000 people live in my ward. But only six workers are engaged here to sweep such a vast area. Despite my repeated appeals, the Trinamool-run municipal authority doesn’t cooperate,” Mitra said. When contacted, Gopal Saha, the chairman of the Kamarhati municipality, however, told TOI on Tuesday evening, “I am busy in a meeting. I am yet to get any confirmation about another dengue death. I will talk with you later”. Meanwhile, 40-year-old homemaker Deji Dey, a Deganga resident, died of dengue at a private hospital in New Town. According to her family members, she was suffering from fever since Friday morning. “She was first admitted to Barasat district hospital, where she was detected with dengue virus. But she wasn’t being treated properly there. She was then taken to a Barasat nursing home. But her condition kept deteriorating since Sunday evening. Then she was admitted to a New Town hospital on Monday afternoon. But she died around 8.30pm on Monday,” said Dipak Dey, the victim’s brother-in-law.



Rain: Schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur districts to remain closed on Wednesday

A view of a flooded locality following heavy rain in Chennai on Tuesday.



CHENNAI: Schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts and those in parts of Cuddalore and Nagapattinam districts will remain closed on Wednesday due to rain, districts collectors announced. Though rain has abated, many schools in Chennai are under water. “There is water stagnation on several school campuses, and efforts are being taken to drain water out of them,” said Chennai collector V Anbuselvan. It was a holiday for schools in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur district on Tuesday after rain lashed the area on Monday. N Kritika, a resident of Defence Colony near SIDCO Indus trial Estate, was dreading the onset of the northeast monsoon as the area would see massive flooding right after a spell of rain. But, despite the heavy showers on Monday, she was pleasantly surprised to see no waterlogging a day later. Similar scenes were witnessed in other parts of the city, including Gandhi Mandapam Road in Kotturpuram and stretches on Sardar Patel Road, with locals and corporation officials attributing the lack of waterlogging to recent storm water drain (SWD) projects carried out by the civic body. Kritika said the road connecting Olympia Junction to Dhankotiraja Street -which leads to several residential areas -used to be flooded after a few minutes of rain.


“I used to sulk at the thought of a drizzle as it became impossible for a pedestrian to cross the road, which would resemble a river laden with muck and floating garbage,” she said. Residents and regular users of Gandhi Mandapam Road and Sardar Patel Road also woke up to the welcome sight of dry roads on Tuesday morning. The recently constructed SWD turned out to be a boon by diverting water that would otherwise have remained stagnant. Kumar, an auto driver, said corporation workers cleaned the sewage lines two weeks ago. “Prior arrangements had been made for the monsoon. Maybe that’s why the situation has been good,” he added. Another resident said that rainwater was continuously flowing off the road on Monday because of the improvement in the drainage system. Corporation officials said the SWD along Habibullah Road from North Usman Road to GN Chetty Road had been improved. They added that GN Chetty Road, which was prone to massive flooding post-rain, was dry not only due to the SWD but also due to the desilting of the Mambalam Canal last month. “Using robotic excavators, the canal was desilted to increase its capacity,” said an official on Tuesday. “The road has never been this devoid of water after rain as it is today.” Another official said that the civic body had also identified and connected several missing SWD links ahead of the monsoon.



International News



8 killed in Manhattan by driver on bike path in ‘a cowardly act of terror’

Authorities stand near a damaged Home Depot truck after a motorist drove onto a bike path near the World Trade Center memorial.



NEW YORK: A man in a rented pickup truck mowed down pedestrians and cyclists along a busy bike path near the World Trade Center memorial on Tuesday, killing at least eight and seriously injuring 11 in what the mayor called “a particularly cowardly act of terror”. The driver was shot in the abdomen by police after jumping out of the truck with what turned out to be a fake gun in each hand and shouting what witnesses said was “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” authorities said. The man underwent surgery and was in critical condition but was expected to survive. Officials who were not authorized to discuss the investigation and spoke on the condition of anonymity identified the attacker as 29-year-old Sayfullo Saipov and said he is from Uzbekistan and came to the US legally in 2010. He has a Florida driver’s license but may have been staying in New Jersey, they said. The driver barreled along the bike path in a rented Home Depot truck for the equivalent of about 14 blocks, or around eight-tenths of a mile, before slamming into a small yellow school bus. The mayhem and the burst of police gunfire set off panic in the neighborhood and left the pavement strewn with mangled bicycles and bodies that were soon covered with sheets. “I saw a lot of blood over there. A lot of people on the ground,” said Chen Yi, an Uber driver. Eugene Duffy, a chef at a waterfront restaurant, said, “So many police came, and they didn’t know what was happening. People were screaming. Females were screaming at the top of their lungs”. Argentina’s foreign minister said the dead included Argentine citizens.



Police closed off streets across the western edge of lower Manhattan along the Hudson River, and officers rushed into the neighborhood just as people were preparing for Halloween festivities, including the big annual parade through Greenwich Village. A police bomb squad scoured the truck but found no explosives. “This was an act of terror, and a particularly cowardly act of terror aimed at innocent civilians, aimed at people going about their lives who had no idea what was about to hit them,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. New York and other cities around the globe have been on high alert against attacks by extremists in vehicles. The Islamic State has been exhorting its followers to mow down people, and England, France and Germany have seen deadly vehicle attacks in the past year or so. New York Gov Andrew Cuomo called it a “lone wolf” attack and said there was no evidence to suggest it was part of a wider plot. City Police Commissioner James O’Neill said a statement the driver made as he got out of the truck and the method of attack led police to conclude it was a terrorist act. On Twitter, President Donald Trump called it “another attack by a very sick and deranged person” and declared, “NOT IN THE U.S.A.!”. While police did not specifically blame the Islamic State for the New York bloodshed, Trump railed against the extremist group, tweeting, “We must not allow ISIS to return, or enter, our country after defeating them in the Middle East and elsewhere. Enough”.


Police said Saipov rented the truck at about 2 pm in New Jersey, entering the bike path about an hour later on West Street a few blocks from the new World Trade Center, the site of the deadliest terror attack in US history. The truck then turned at Chambers Street, hitting the school bus and injuring two adults and two children. A paintball gun and a pellet gun were found at the scene, police said. At least two covered-over bodies could be seen lying on the bike path, and the front end of the truck was smashed in, as was the side of the school bus. Tom Gay, a school photographer, heard people saying there was an accident and went down to West Street, where a woman came around the corner shouting, “He has a gun! He has a gun!”. Gay said he stuck his head around the corner and saw a slender man in a blue track suit running on West Street holding a gun. He said a heavyset man was chasing him. He said he heard five or six shots, and the man in the tracksuit fell to the ground, gun still raised in the air. He said a man came over and kicked the gun out of his hand.



Blast in Afghanistan capital causes numerous casualties



KABUL: A large explosion hit the Afghan capital Kabul on Tuesday, in an area housing foreign embassies and government departments, causing numerous casualties. A Reuters television team counted eight people who appeared to have been killed, besides several wounded at the scene, which was shrouded in smoke from the explosion. All the casualties appeared to be Afghan civilians. A public health official said three dead and 10 wounded had been taken to city hospitals. There was no immediate claim of responsibility, or confirmation of the cause of the explosion. A Kabul police spokesman said it appeared to have been caused by a suicide bomber on foot but police were also investigating whether it was a bomb planted earlier. The street in the Wazir Akbar Khan area of the city is close to several foreign embassies, as well as an office and guesthouse of the ministry of defence. The blast follows a series of attacks in or around Kabul this month, including one on a Shi’ite mosque in the city that killed more than 50 people and a separate attack on an army training facility that killed at least 15 soldiers.

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