News Flash – 11 January 2018

National News



7,000 booked in South Delhi in 4 days for public smoking



NEW DELHI: Smokers, beware. Delhi police have launched a crackdown on smoking in public places and has over the last four days booked 6,941 people in south Delhi for lighting up in public. Police teams are keeping a watch at markets, Metro stations and bus stops, where the maximum violations are detected. Women constituted about 30% of violators. The police drive against smoking in public is strongest between 6pm and 9pm when the most number of people are found to be violating norms. Police officers say 95% of the challans were issued against smokers and 5% against sellers vending tobacco products near educational institutions. “We have also been educating people about the hazards of smoking while challaning them. In one instance we challaned a person three times,” said DCP (south-east) Chinmoy Biswal. Police officers said that more challans had been issued for drinking publicly and that people were challaned for smoking only when caught red-handed.


Rules governing the sale of tobacco products are enforced strictly outside hospitals and policemen have been deployed outside schools to enforce the ban on sale of tobacco within 100 metres of the establishment. “We have been issuing challans under Sections 4 and 6 of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA). Apart from challaning people, we also felt the need to sensitise them about the discomfort caused to others while they are smoking in public. Such drives will continue in future, till the time we see a perceptible change,” said DCP (south) Romil Baaniya. Apart from the police, a team from the tobacco control cell has been deployed to a keep a check on the sale of tobacco to minors. Police officers say issuing a direct challan under COTPA has proven effective. Earlier, challans were issued under proceedings of kalandra where an officer would issue a challan that would be payable in the presence of a magistrate. Police sources said that system had proved less effective as violators did not provide I-cards or turn up to pay the fine.



BBMP set to introduce 100 bike ambulances in Bengaluru



BENGALURU: Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) has come up with a grand plan to introduce 100 bike ambulances in Bengaluru. Due to traffic snarls, in most of the emergency cases, patients don’t get admitted to hospitals on time, leading to deaths. The BBMP wants to put a stop to this. With the BBMP introducing “two-wheeler mobile ambulances” for the first time, the health department is providing 19 bike ambulances. The BBMP’s health standing committee that decided to introduce bike ambulances in the city is waiting for a nod from the council meeting. If any accidents take place, these bike ambulances will rush to the spot with the first aid box. Nursing course students, who have experience of treatment, will be appointed to this service. The BBMP will hire over 100 staff on the outsourcing basis, with 50% of the posts being reserved for women. On the spot they will give first aid treatment and if needed, will carry patients to the hospital in the same vehicle or arrange 108 ambulances. One bike ambulance will be provided for each ward in the BBMP area and a control room will be opened in the BBMP head office. People can contact the control room for the bike ambulance service. Portable oxygen cylinder, glucometer, heart beat testing machine, blood pressure measuring machine, incubator kit, bandage and other lifeguard drugs and equipment are available.



Chaddi gang strikes yet again, attacks Security Guard



HYDERABAD: Cocking a snook at Rachakonda police, who have been trying to catch them for the past one month, members of the notorious ‘Chaddi Gang’ struck at a flat of a US-based IT professional in Meerpet and stole 10 tolas of gold in the early hours of Wednesday. The gang created panic in the area as they latched main doors of other flats in the apartment complex before breaking into the victim’s house and attacked the security guard with stones while leaving the area with the stolen booty. At about 12.45am, three robbers wearing ‘chaddi and baniyan’ entered the Bloomingdale apartment in Agricultural Colony of Meerpet. While two offenders stood guard near the security guard’s room, the third started latching the main doors of other flats. There were eight flats in the four-storied apartment complex and except for flat number 301, people were present in the other flats. The owner of 301, Manikanta, a TCS employee, went to Florida three months ago for work and since then, his residence was locked. The offender broke the main door and entered his flat. He opened the iron safe and stole the gold, police said.


Chandramohan Reddy, who lives in a flat below Manikanta’s residence, woke up on hearing the noise and called the security guard to see what was happening. The offenders locked the door of the security guard’s room from outside, but since the window did not have a grill, he came out from there. The robbers then threw stones at him. Meanwhile, other residents of the complex also woke up and raised an alarm after finding their doors latched. Sensing that people were coming out of their houses, the three robbers fled. Some residents started searching for the offenders and saw a car (AP 09 CP 4061) suddenly speeding away. “We chased the car for some distance, but after reaching Sagar Road, they managed to speed away,” a resident told the police. Police then checked the vehicle details and realised that the car owner stays at BN Reddy Colony near Agricultural Colony. “We have found that some youngsters were in the car. On seeing locals coming towards them, they got scared and drove away,” Rachakonda DCP, crimes, K R Nagaraju, said.



International News



Death toll rises to 17 in California mudslides, 17 missing


SANTA BARBARA: The death toll from devastating mudslides in affluent communities along a stretch of Southern California coastline rose to 17 on Wednesday after two more bodies were recovered, the local sheriff said, and the number of people missing also climbed to 17. The two additional fatalities were discovered as some 500 rescuers using search dogs, helicopters and thermal-imaging equipment dug through waist-deep mud for victims or survivors of the mudslides, which were triggered by a heavy downpour early on Tuesday. Three more people were rescued from the path of debris on Wednesday. None of the dead have been publicly identified. “We realize that this is going to be a long and difficult journey for all of us and our community,” Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told reporters at a late afternoon news conference. The walls of mud that roared through foothills and valleys sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the sprawling Los Padres National Forest also destroyed 100 single-family homes, damaged hundreds of other buildings and injured 28 people, said Amber Anderson, a spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department. A major north-south highway along the coast, U.S. Route 101, was closed in both directions and not expected to reopen until next week. Among the damaged properties were historic hotels and the homes of celebrities including television personality Oprah Winfrey and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres, who both live in the upscale hillside community of Montecito, known for its natural beauty and proximity to Los Angeles.


Verdant hillsides that had provided estates with a sense of seclusion were largely denuded by last month’s historic wildfires, making them vulnerable to the massive mud and debris slides that sent boulders crashing into homes, turned highways into raging rivers and shredded cars into tangles of metal. One resident of Toro Canyon described being awakened before dawn Wednesday when his home began shaking and he heard sounds like those of a freight train and snapping wood. “What they were was a bunch of trees that were being snapped by the mud and boulders and debris that were sliding down Toro Canyon,” Jonathan Reichlen, 45, who owns an urban landscaping company, said in a phone interview. “I just kind of waited it out because I did not want to go down to Toro Canyon while … the mudslide was actually going on,” he said. Reichlen said he had emergency food supplies and water but no hot food and was trying to figure out a way to get safely out of the canyon. It was the latest blow to a region still rebuilding after the wildfires. “First we got burned out at our ranch that caught on fire and now we’re flooding, so the last month has been pretty bad,” said Charles Stoops, as he stood in front of his house, which was surrounded in mud 3 feet deep, or nearly a meter. Officials have ordered residents in a large swath of Montecito to stay in their homes so that rescuers can better go about their work. Helicopters were ferrying people out of the Romero Canyon neighborhood, where about 300 people were cut off after a massive debris flow blocked the road into the area.


The mudslides closed several historic hotels, including The Four Seasons Biltmore, which had just reopened on Monday after repairing wildfire damage. The courtyard of the 90-year-old Montecito Inn, built by silent movie actor Charlie Chaplin, was filled with a thick crust of debris driven by the slides. The disaster followed a violent rainstorm that dumped as much as 6 inches (15 cm) of water onto areas northwest of Los Angeles. Winfrey posted videos on Instagram showing her wading through nearly knee-deep mud on her Montecito property and later inspecting the damage. “There used to be a fence right here. That’s my neighbor’s house. Devastated,” she said. Talk-show host DeGeneres posted a picture of a mud- and debris-filled street outside her Montecito home on Twitter, saying she did not yet know the condition of the house itself. Former tennis star Jimmy Connors said in a tweet that he and his wife, Patti, had been evacuated by helicopter on Tuesday from their home in the posh hillside community. The number of fatalities surpassed the death toll from a California mudslide on Jan. 10, 2005, when 10 people were killed as a hillside gave way in the town of La Conchita, less than 20 miles (30 km) south of the latest disaster. Last month’s wildfires, including the Thomas Fire, which became the largest in California history, not only burned away trees, grass and shrubs that held soil in place, but also baked a waxy layer into the earth that prevents water from sinking deeply into the ground.



Death toll in Madagascar cyclone rises to 33 as 22 missing

Fallen trees are seen on the street in the aftermath of tropical cyclone Ava in Toamasina, Madagascar on January 5, 2018.



JOHANNESBURG: The UN humanitarian agency says the death toll from a cyclone in Madagascar has reached 33. A statement on Wednesday cites Malagasy authorities and says another 22 people remain missing. Tropical Cyclone Ava struck the Indian Ocean island over the weekend, causing the evacuation of more than 24,000 people. The new statement says more than 34,000 children are out of school and road access to some areas in the country’s south has been cut off.

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