News Flash – 1 September 2018

National News



Dengue claims 3 lives, Leptospirosis 2, Malaria one, in a fortnight


Mumbai: Six persons, including two children aged three and seven, succumbed to monsoon-related ailments in a fortnight, taking the city’s death toll to 17 since the onset of rain. Intermittent showers also led to a spurt in dengue and malaria cases. Three of the six lives were lost to dengue, two to leptospirosis and one to malaria, BMC’s public health department said on Friday. With these deaths, leptospirosis has emerged as the biggest killer this monsoon, claiming 11 lives. It’s also the highest number of deaths recorded in the last three years; there were seven casualties in 2017 and nine in 2016. A seven-year-old boy from M East ward (Deonar, Govandi, Mankhurd) was one of the leptospirosis victims. A civic official said the boy died within a day of admission to a hospital. He had open wounds on his legs and a history of playing in water. “At the time of admission, the child had already developed respiratory distress. He bled into his lungs, which is one of the serious manifestations of the bacterial disease,” said the official. The second leptospirosis casualty, a 35-year-old man, was from the same ward. The civic report said he died of multi-organ failure. The malaria death was from the same ward, known for the highest population density but poorest of amenities in the city. The victim was a three-year-old child, who also had an underlying heart condition. She had tested positive for falciparum malaria and died of cardiac failure. Malaria cases in August saw a near 30% increase from July and 100% rise compared to June.


“The weather in Mumbai currently is very conducive for mosquito breeding. There are intermittent showers and bright sunny days. This is the time for active breeding,” said Dr Rajan Naringrekar, BMC’s head of insecticide department. He cautioned that dengue cases will see a rise from here as the monsoon starts to recede. Naringrekar said residents should take caution and keep terraces clean and dry. He said those using tarpaulin sheets should eliminate water stagnation. “Aedes aegypti mosquito, that causes dengue, can lay eggs even in a spoon of water,” he said, adding that every breeding spot destroyed can kill 100-150 larvae. Following the deaths, BMC carried out a screening drive in those areas where the deceased lived. In the 1169 houses surveyed, it found seven fever cases. The insecticide department also inspected 568 houses and found breeding in four. All four dengue deaths this year were recorded in August. Among the latest victims were a 20-year-old man from C ward (Bhuleshwar, Marine Lines, Dhobi Talao) who were infected with dengue and malaria. “Mixed infections can be serious, and in his case, it had led to liver and kidney involvement,” said the civic official. The other two dengue victims were from H west (Bandra, Khar) and Parel. Both the 35-yearold man and the 52-year-old woman died of multi-organ dysfunction caused by dengue shock syndrome. Positive cases of dengue as well as dengue-like illness have seen a significant jump. Nearly 1,200 hospitalizations were attributed to dengue-like illnesses in the last 15 days.



Retired Banker, journo among 25 duped by conman at ATM’s


Mumbai: Sakinaka police on Wednesday arrested a college drop-out from Odisha for duping at least 25 persons, including a retired banker, of lakhs of rupees in the past four months, after convincing them that the unguarded ATM they were at had drained of money or was non-functional. Before the victims could think of cancelling their transaction on the ATM, Sambhav Achariya (28) would convince them to leave and advise them on what to do after entering ATM premises. Police received complaints from a retired chief bank manager from Odisha on June 29 and a freelance journalist on August 9 that they were duped of Rs36,000 and Rs25,000 respectively. Both pointed out how the bank delayed transaction alerts. Police said he targeted 25 kiosks of one nationalised bank in Andheri (E&W), Bandra, Borivli, Kandivli and Malad. “Achariya wore the same shirt as he considered it lucky since he started committing offences in May. His used to target around six persons each time he visited Mumbai twice a month, and would splurge some of the Rs 1.5 lakh he got on shopping. He would stay in a 3-star hotel, fly from Odisha to Mumbai and back, and would pre-book an SUV before his arrival here. Achariya is in judicial custody but we could get his custody after another case is registered against him by a retired bank manager,” said a police officer. DCP (zone X) Navinchandra Reddy supervised a team of senior inspector Kishore Sawant, inspector Sunil Mane, sub-inspector Sandip Salunkhe and detection staff, that first detained the SUV driver who Achariya would contact. “We learnt that he would come to Mumbai airport on August 28. We followed the SUV and arrested him from the hotel room. Achariya said he targeted victims here as he did not get huge sums in Odisha,” police said. The bank’s officials were not available for comment.



40 services to be available at doorstep from September 10



New Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party government will roll out the scheme of ‘doorstep delivery of services’ in Delhi from September 10. According to officials, 40 services, including caste and income certificates, learners’ and permanent driving licence, marriage certificates, ration cards, transfer of ownership of a vehicle, old age and handicap pension scheme, and new water and sewer connections will be available at the doorstep for an additional fee of Rs 50. Making the announcement on Twitter on Friday, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal called it a “revolution in governance”. “Doorstep delivery of services: A revolution in governance. A big blow to corruption. Super convenience for people. Happening for the first time anywhere in the world. Starts from September 10 (sic),” the CM tweeted. The Delhi cabinet had approved the scheme in November 2017 but the government later charged lieutenant governor Anil Baijal with stalling it. The LG’s office approved the project in January 2018.According to a senior government official, VFS Global, one of the biggest visa and passport service providers in the world, will run the doorstep services in Delhi. The company, he said, has set up a call centre and appointed ‘mobile sahayaks’, who will go to the households for collection of documents at the appointed time and carry devices to collect biometric data, too. The applicants will have to call the helpline number 1076 to place the request for a service and the call centre will give the list of documents the applicant will have to provide for that particular service.


The applicant can fix the day and time when he wants the mobile sahayak to visit his house to collect the form, documents and the fee, said the official. Once the document is ready, it will be sent to the applicant through Speed Post. According to officials, the service will ensure that the applicant does not have to visit the office and stand in a queue to apply for the service. However, the applicant will have to visit the office once for certain documents, such as a driver’s licence, where his physical presence is a must. “The service will be available from 9am to 9pm on all days, including Sundays,” an official said. “We are planning to add 60 more services in the next few days”. LG Baijal had initially sent back the proposal to the government for reconsideration. He had argued that the proposal in the present form had implications on “safety and security of women and senior citizens, possibility of corruption and bad behaviour, breach of privacy, loss of documents and adds unnecessary expenditure on government and people”. He had also said 35 of the 40 services being offered in the first phase were already online. Baijal had suggested that a better model be put in place that provides for full digital delivery of services and facilitates access to bridge the “digital divide”. The AAP government had, however, argued that despite most services being digital, there were long queues at government offices and people were suffering.



Home Guard slanders student online after denied seat on bus



Mangaluru: A Home Guard has been suspended for posting a student’s photograph online without his permission and making derogatory and communally sensitive remarks against him. The boy’s fault: He refused to vacate a seat on a bus for the guard. Around five days ago, Home Guard Subhashchandra, aged around 30, boarded a bus at Uli in Bantwal taluk in the morning. Seeing a youth seated, he demanded that the boy vacate the seat for him. The boy, who was on his way to college, refused. Subhashchandra allegedly let loose a string of abuses at the student, drawing the attention of all passengers. But matters did not end there. The Home Guard followed the student to his college and then barged into his classroom. He forcibly took a photograph of the boy and later uploaded it on social media. Linking him to a girl from another community, Subhashchandra allegedly made communally sensitive statements.


Dakshina Kannada routinely makes headlines for moral policing by vigilantes who oppose interactions between boys and girls of different communities. As the post went viral, the student and his parents reportedly received threat calls from a group of people who identified themselves with an outfit. The student and his parents then sought police help. Subhashchandra apologised to the parents and the student and admitted that the online posts were untrue. Police said the parents had withdrawn their complaint and no FIR was filed. District Home Guards commandant Dr Muralee Mohan Choontharu said Subhashchandra has been suspended. Choontharu said his services may be terminated if a police complaint is registered against him.



‘Gold diggers’ break into city store, flee with Jewellery worth Rs.7 lakhs


Hyderabad: Burglars broke into a jewellery store at IDA Bollarum on the outskirts of the city on Friday by digging a hole in the rear wall of the shop and decamped with gold and silver ornaments. Owner of Nakoda Jewellers Sanjay Borida claimed that the offenders took away Rs 7 lakh worth jewellery. Police probe could run into rough weather as the CCTV cameras in the shop and nearby areas are not functioning. “The unidentified burglars broke the glass shelves and stole nine tolas of gold and other silver ornaments,” a police official said. Sanjay received a phone call from another shopkeeper in IDA Bollarum at 6 am detailing how he saw the former’s store being burgled. Sanjay rushed to the store only to find a gaping hole in the wall. “The burglars initially entered a store room behind the store by breaking the door lock. After entering the store room, they dug up the hole in the rear wall of the jewellery store and sneaked in,” police said. Sanjay went home after closing his shop at 9 pm on Thursday. A burglary case under sections 457 and 380 of the IPC has been registered and an investigation launched.



Kolkata woman in hospital with swine flu, raises outbreak scare


Kolkata: A 55-year-old woman from Kolkata has been admitted to a city private hospital with swine flu, raising the scare of an outbreak. She is the third H1N1virus patient to be treated at the hospital since last month. Even though the number of swine flu cases has been low this year, the virus may have started spreading on the city fringes, fear doctors. A woman from Kakdweep in South 24 Parganas succumbed to swine flu at another private hospital on Wednesday. So far, she is the only H1N1 casualty in the state this year. The Kolkata woman was admitted to Fortis Hospital off EM Bypass about ten days ago. Even though she had been in a critical state, her condition has improved considerably, according to doctors at the hospital. “She had very high fever and excruciating body ache when she was brought to the hospital. The virus led to a lung ailment that deteriorated her condition. But fortunately, she responded to treatment and is on the path of recovery. We hope to be able to discharge her within two days,” said Fortis consultant Angshuman Mukherjee who has been treating the woman. Early July to mid-September is the peak H1N1 season, according to experts. Outbreaks generally happen in mid-July but this year few cases have been reported. In 2017, five swine flu deaths were reported in Bengal while more than 200 had been affected.


While an outbreak seemed unlikely this season, the H1N1virus has been mutating, said Mukherjee. “There is no evidence as such, but the virus has been changing each year. The fever has been getting prolonged and more intense. It is worrying, especially for the elderly and those with low immunity. The latter are more likely to succumb to the virus if the symptoms keep getting more intense,” said Mukherjee. Last month, a Kolkata-based techie had been admitted to Fortis with swine flu. Early diagnosis and treatment is important, added the consultant. “Treatment protocol is simple unless there are other complications. Tamiflu is the principal drug, while proper fluid intake and nutrition are also important. Most recover quickly,” he said. Swine flu invariably affects the lungs and leads to respiratory distress. It could get very severe for those with low immunity. The silver lining is that the H1N1 season is almost over. “The virus is most potent during the monsoon and outbreaks are common. Since we have crossed the halfway mark, a major spread seems unlikely. But sporadic cases will continue to be reported, particularly from the city fringes where awareness is low,” said a senior consultant.



Man ‘helps’ boy use ATM, steals Rs. 9,000/-



Chennai: Police arrested a middle-aged man on Friday, three days after he stole Rs. 9,000 from a 16-year-old boy who sought his help to withdraw money from an ATM in New Washermenpet. On Monday, Sibi went to an ATM to withdraw Rs. 5,000 from his mother Jayalakshmi’s account. Since he did not know how to use the machine, Sibi sought the help of a man waiting outside the ATM. The man, later identified as Dandapani, 45, withdrew Rs. 11,000 using the card Sibi carried, but gave the boy only Rs. 2,000, saying the account had insufficient funds. On reaching home, Sibi gave his mother the money, and said the account was dry of funds. Puzzled, Jayalakshmi checked her messages to see Rs. 11,000 was withdrawn. Jayalakshmi preferred a complaint with the New Washermenpet police, who skimmed through CCTV camera footage and nabbed Dandapani, of Cuddalore, on Friday. They recovered Rs. 7,000 from him and a court remanded him in judicial custody.



Government begins study on 4 rivers to forecast floods in real time



Chennai: Taking a cue from weatherman, the Tamil Nadu State Disaster Management Authority (TNSDMA) will provide advanced flood forecasting and likelihood of inundation in their respective areas for city residents. Nearly three years after the December 2015 deluge in Chennai, the state government has kick-started a study on real-time flood forecasting and spatial decision support system for Adyar, Cooum, Kosasthalaiyar rivers and Kovalam basins. The study carried out by the Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financial Services Limited (TNUIFSL), which will cover localities in the Chennai Metropolitan Area (CMA), explores setting up of automatic weather and rain gauge stations for information on a real-time basis. The project looks at establishing 100 automatic weather and rain gauge stations in the river basins. Commissioner of revenue administration K Satyagopal said it would provide details on locations, where these automatic weather stations should be installed. “Based on the inputs regarding the raise in water levels in these basins, which would be available on a real-time basis, we can forecast the streets likely to be inundated in the vicinity of the streams.


The information would be passed onto the district administration concerned for alerting the local people and evacuation,” he said. Forecast on inundation, Satyagopal said, could be done from 48 hours to every one hour. “Such a study on flood forecasting is being carried out for the first time in the state,” he said. Chennai had witnessed five major floods in the past 50 years between 1976 and 2015, with the December 2015 deluge the worst. The development comes close on the heels of the Comptroller and Auditor General charging that the December 2015 floods were man-made, wherein the government was unprepared for the floods. As many as 289 lives were lost and 20 lakh houses were inundated in the first week of December 2015. Apart from the automatic weather stations, the study would map the water bodies and depth of the lakes in and around the city. Installing river flow level meters in the entire basin areas of the four rivers running in Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur districts and parts of Vellore is also part of the study. Official sources said that TNUIFSL has appointed a consultancy firm for the study that would be completed in two years.



International News



Amsterdam stabbing: 2 hurt, attacker shot



Amsterdam: Police in the Dutch capital shot and wounded a suspect on Friday following a stabbing at Amsterdam’s busy central railway station. Amsterdam police said in a series of tweets that two people were injured in the stabbing and the suspect was then shot by officers. All three people were taken to a hospital. Police said the motive for the stabbing was under investigation and “all possible scenarios are being kept open”. Police said that two platforms were closed to train traffic, but the station wasn’t evacuated. Trams to and from the square in front of the station were stopped as police and emergency services converged on the area. Red and white police tape kept members of the public away from the scene.

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