News Flash – 10 December 2019

National News



4 Security Personnel Killed in 2 Incidents of Fragging in Jharkhand



Ranchi/Bokaro: Four security personnel died in two separate instances of fragging in Jharkhand on Monday. An assistant commandant and an assistant sub-inspector of the CRPF died on Monday night when personnel of the paramilitary force shot at each other at Gomia block of Jharkhand’s Bokaro district, where they have come on duty for the third phase of polling in the state. The number of casualties could go up as several other personnel were also injured in the firing, DGP K N Choubey said. Police are investigating the case to ascertain what led to the firing. In Ranchi, a jawan of the 4th battalion of Chhattisgarh Special Auxiliary Police, deputed on poll duty in Jharkhand, shot dead his commander before training the gun on himself and committing suicide around 6.30am on Monday at the Khelgaon transit camp. Two other personnel sustained minor injuries from ricocheting bullets. Commandant of 4th battalion of CSAP, BR Aachla, said, “Apart from being an alcoholic, he was also under mental stress and this probably led him to fire at his commander”.



ATM Fraud accused held after Auto Chase through Delhi Lanes


Kolkata: The detective department on Monday claimed to have cracked the great Kolkata ATM fraud case with the arrest of a Romanian after a dramatic auto chase through south Delhi lanes. The arrest came exactly eight days after the gang struck in the city and siphoned money from the accounts of over 71ATM users. The cops arrested Siliviu Florin Spiridon (28), a resident of Constanta in Romania, from Greater Kailash around 5pm on Monday. “The accused had been putting up at a rented apartment at the E2 block of Greater Kailash along with three others. We are trying to identify them. Spiridon had started withdrawing money from November 30 using skimmed data from Kolkata and continued doing so till December 3,” said a police officer. Between December 3 and December 6, he used data at ATMs to dupe around 200 accounts-holders from Delhi. He had initially withdrawn money from Greater Kailash ATMS within a radius of 200 metre. But unlike last time, he had now been scanning ATMs in a 5km radius across south Delhi and withdrawing money at will,” said joint CP (crime) Murlidhar Sharma. “Our men scanned through 250 Romanian tourist visa entries provided by FRRO and matched their photographs with those found at ATMs. We then kept vigil at Greater Kailash and Safdarjung Enclave ATMs for past 72 hours.



It was finally around 7.30am on Monday morning that we got our match at a Bank of India ATM in Safdarjung. He realized that he was being spotted and sprinted to get away from cops. He boarded an auto and got off in Greater Kailash. We followed him in another auto but lost track once he took the by lanes. It was only around 3pm after a door-to-door enquiry that we got him. He was detained and finally arrested,” said Sharma. The accused claimed to be a crew member of a Romanian airline. Cops said the accused had used tourist visas to visit India thrice this year first on March 20, then on July19 and finally on October 14. “We found 24 caps, around a dozen sunglasses and a huge stock of costly clothes along with the latest iPhones and costly gadgets. Skimming devices, accessories, magnetic strips, batteries, pinhole camera chip and laptops have been seized from his rented residence,” said an officer. A police team has been stationed at Delhi to carry out further raids and ascertain the identify the three men with whom he was putting up. Police are bringing Spiridon to Kolkata on transit remand. “He has been trying to skirt questions. We need to ascertain if he had set up the skimmers himself or hired someone to do the job. The greater possibility is that this job was done by Indians from whom he bought data,” said an investigating officer.



Man Tries to Break Open ATM in City



Chennai: Police have launched a search for a man who attempted to break open an ATM on Mount-Poonamallee Road using iron rods in the wee hours of Monday. Officials of a private bank noticed the man, who appeared to be in his 30s, damaging the ATM and alerted police. Based on the information, police rushed to the spot and found the machine damaged. The accused fled from the scene before police arrived. CCTV camera footage in the ATM showed a man waiting outside and checking the locality for passersby. After confirming that they were no security guard or public on the premises, he tried to break the ATM for nearly 10 minutes using an iron rod. The SRMC police registered a case and collected the footages from the ATM. Police confirmed that no cash was stolen and launched a search for the man. Further investigations are on.



International News



Volcano Eruption in New Zealand Kills 5

An aerial photo of White Island, 50km off New Zealand’s mainland, after its volcanic eruption on Monday. The eruption sent a plume of steam and ash about 12,000 feet into the air. White Island is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano. About 70% of the volcano lies under the sea.



Whakatane (New Zealand): A volcano on a New Zealand island erupted on Monday with a towering blast of ash and scalding steam as tourists were exploring the moon-like surface, killing five people and leaving perhaps two dozen others missing and presumed dead. Police said that the site was still too dangerous hours later for rescuers to search for the missing but that aircraft had seen “no signs of life”. “Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island,” police said. “My god,” Michael Schade tweeted as he posted video of the eruption. “My family and I had gotten off it 20 minutes before, were waiting at our boat about to leave when we saw it. Boat ride home tending to people our boat rescued was indescribable.” His video showed a wall of ash and steam around White Island and a helicopter badly damaged and covered in ash. The terrifying disaster immediately raised questions of why people were allowed to visit the island some 50km off mainland New Zealand after scientists had noted an uptick in volcanic activity in recent weeks. Police deputy commissioner John Tims said the number of missing was in the double digits but he couldn’t confirm an exact number. Fewer than 50 people were on the island when it erupted, and 23 had been taken off, including the five dead, he said.



Tims said there had been no contact with any of the missing. He said New Zealanders and foreign tourists were among the dead, missing or injured. Most of the 18 who survived were injured, some suffering severe burns, he said. Some of the visitors were passengers from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas. “We will offer all possible assistance to our guests and local authorities. Please keep all those affected in your prayers,” the cruise line said. The ship had left Sydney last week and had been scheduled to sail to the New Zealand capital of Wellington on Monday night, but Royal Caribbean said it would instead remain in port on neighbouring North Island until more was learned about the situation. The eruption sent a plume of steam and ash about 12,000 feet (3,660 meters) into the air. The GeoNet agency, which monitors volcanoes and earthquakes in New Zealand, had raised the alert level on White Island on November 18 from 1 to 2, on a scale where 5 represents a major eruption, noting an increase in Sulphur dioxide gas, which originates from magma deep in the volcano. It also said at the time that over the previous weeks, volcanic tremors had increased from weak to moderate strength.



PM Jacinda Ardern, who travelled to the region, said the focus remained on the search-and-rescue mission for now and questions about whether tourists should be visiting would be addressed later. Brad Scott, a volcanologist with research group GNS Science, said the alert level was often raised and then later dropped again without any eruption. He said there hadn’t been any major incidents with tourists visiting the island in the past, though there had been some close calls. Scott said it was not for him to say whether the island was safe enough to host tourists immediately before Monday’s eruption. After the disaster, GeoNet raised its alert level to 4, later dropping it to 3. “In the scheme of things, for volcanic eruptions, it is not large.” said Ken Gledhill from GeoNet. “But if you were close to that, it is not good”. Twelve people were killed on the island in 1914 when it was being mined for Sulphur. Part of a crater wall collapsed and a landslide destroyed the miners’ village and the mine itself. The remains of buildings from another mining enterprise in the 1920s are now a tourist attraction. The island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit every year. The island is also known by the indigenous Maori name Whakaari.

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