News Flash – 11 June 2018

National News



Break after Day 1 splash: Met says heavy rains not likely in 24 hours


MUMBAI: After a day of heavy rain, the city remained considerably dry on Sunday. Officials from the India Meteorological Department(IMD) Mumbai said that heavy rain was not expected in the next 24 hours. The Colaba and Santacruz observatories recorded 1.1mm and 0.5mm rain on Sunday. But expecting heavy rain, the municipal corporation had cancelled leave of important officials on Sunday. The IMD officially declared the onset of monsoon on June 9. The rainfall recorded by the IMD from 8.30am to 8.30pm between June 9-10 by the Colaba and Santacruz observatories was 164mm and 100mm respectively. The rainfall recorded by the Colaba observatory falls in the ‘very heavy rain’ category. “We are not expecting any enhanced rain activity over next 24 hours. The monsoon has not advanced to the western parts of the country on Sunday. The low pressure system that was formed over north-east portion of Bay of Bengal is also expected to turn into a depression by Monday,” said Ajay Kumar, a scientist from IMD Mumbai, said. The maximum temperatures, which had dropped to around 28 degrees Celsius on Saturday, rose again. The maximum temperatures recorded by IMD Colaba and Santa Cruz observatories was 33 degrees and 33.1 degrees. The relative humidity level also remained high with the IMD Colaba and Santacruz observatories recording 87% and 75%. Meanwhile, even as the city witnessed heavy rain on Saturday, the catchment areas that supply water to Mumbai remained dry. The two lakes—Tulsi and Vihar—recorded rainfall of 100 mm, but civic officials said these reservoirs meet 1-2% of the city’s water requirement. Major lakes like Bhatsa, from where Mumbai gets 50% of its water supply, received 6mm of rain. “We have water stock till July 31 and are hoping that in the coming days there should be rainfall in the catchment areas,” said a civic official.



Mumbai-Howrah Mail derails, 1,600 stranded for over 7 hours


MUMBAI: Three coaches of the Mumbai-Howrah Mail derailed near Igatpuri around 2 am on Sunday, badly affecting services on Central Railway till Sunday morning. Nobody was injured. The unaffected coaches were de-linked from the others and moved away to Nashik Road station after which the affected part of the track was fixed. After six hours, the rest of the 10 coaches which were still at the site were towed away by an engine to Nashik Road. It is here that the two parts of the train were linked again and train resumed its journey. It took nearly two hours to join the two portions of the train, said railway sources. The outstation train was packed with more than 1,600 people, most of whom were returning from vacation. Passengers had a narrow escape “Passengers were fast asleep when they were woken up by a sudden jerk and a loud noise when the train derailed. Many passengers were unable to sleep all night, leading to fatigue and frustration due to the delay,” said an official. The cause of derailment is being probed. Officials said they will check if the heavy onslaught of rains late at night and the condition of tracks had anything to do with the mishap.



Dust storm affects Delhi metro services on Blue, Red Line

Delhi Metro’s Blue Line spans from Dwarka Sector 21 to Noida City Centre.



NEW DELHI: Services on the Red Line and Blue Line of the Delhi Metro were affected briefly on Saturday due to some snags on a few stretches after a dust storm, with winds gusting up to 70kmph, hit the national capital in the evening, officials said. “Due to sudden dust storm and rain around 5pm, there were a few cases of track circuit signaling drop reported on Line 1 (Red Line) and Line 3 (Blue Line) and external object striking overhead electrification near Janakpuri East,” a senior DMRC official said. “This had no major impact on overall services, except minor regulation of trains on affected stretches. Trains on all lines are running normal otherwise,” he said. Red Line connects Dilshad Garden in east Delhi and Rithala in the western part of the city. Blue Line spans from Dwarka Sector 21 to Noida City Centre. Both are two of the longest and busiest routes on the metro network. The dust storm accompanied with light rain pushed the temperature in Delhi down by a few notches on what was a sultry day.



Schools, colleges shut in rain-hit coastal Karnataka

Schools and colleges have been shut in the coastal districts of Karnataka on Saturday due to heavy monsoon rains lashing the region, officials said.



BENGALURU: Schools and colleges have been shut in the coastal districts of Karnataka on Saturday due to heavy monsoon rains lashing the region, officials said. The coastal districts of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada, Uttara Kannada and south interior districts of Kodagu, Shivamogga and Chikkamagaluru have been receiving heavy rainfall over the last few days due to an active Southwest monsoon in the state. “All the schools and colleges in the district were given a holiday on Saturday as a precautionary measure due to heavy rains,” an official from Dakshina Kannada district Deputy Commissioner’s office told IANS over phone. According to the data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD), the coastal districts of Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada received an average of over seven cm rainfall. The Southwest monsoon, which set in the southern state on June 4, has been causing widespread rains in coastal and south interior regions, IMD Bengaluru centre’s forecast-in-charge C.S. Patil told IANS earlier.


The pre-monsoon rains, accompanied by thunderstorms and gusty winds, wreaked havoc in the state inundating low-lying areas, uprooting trees and snapping power lines and damaging roads in coastal, central and south interior districts over the last week. The Met Office has also issued heavy rainfall alert in the coastal districts over the next few days. “Sea condition is likely to be rough to very rough over the Arabian Sea. Fishermen are advised to be cautious while venturing into sea off the Karnataka coast,” an IMD advisory said. Moderate to heavy rainfall is likely to continue over coastal districts and south interior districts, it added. The state capital Bengaluru has received light rainfall measuring up to three mm till 8.30 a.m. on Saturday. The weather office predicts light rainfall to continue in the city over the next few days.



Fire breaks out in mall, movie-goers evacuated


KOLKATA: People enjoying their weekend morning show at City Mall in Barasat had a harrowing time after a fire broke in the ground floor food court of the mall and dense smoke engulfed the entire five-storey mall. The fire broke out around 10.30am and four fire engines were reached the spot to douse the flame. At least 150 people, who were watching an English movie, had to evacuate from the hall’s back door. “Some of the moviegoers could have died in suffocation or stampede had there been more people in the morning show,” said Badal Dhar, a local trader. “The smoke was first spotted around 10.40am at a momo counter of the ground floor food court. We rushed down from the first floor and initially tried to douse the fire ourselves but we had informed the fire brigade. We also brought all the customers out of the mall safely within 15 minutes. But some of our mall employees were confined due to dense smoke and were later rescued by fire brigade officials,” Pradip Sarkar, a mall employee told TOI. Ambarish Das, a Madhyamgram resident, who went to watch the movie Jurassic Park with his wife and daughter, was visibly shaken while recalling the horror. “While the movie was on, a mall employee alerted us. When people got the smell of smoke, they started panicking and tried to rush out through a single-point emergency exit,” Das told TOI. The fire brigade officials, however, suspect that the fire sparked off by a short-circuit. “After an initial probe we suspect there were no proper firefighting equipments inside the mall. We are, however, investigating the exact cause behind the fire,” a senior fire brigade official said.



Flood alert sounded along Bhavani

The water level in the Pillur reservoir has crossed 90 feet against the capacity of 100feet, prompting the administration to issue a flood warning.



COIMBATORE: The district administration on Sunday issued a flood alert to people living along the banks of Bhavani river in Mettupalayam as the water level of Pillur reservoir reached its maximum capacity. As the water level had crossed 90feet against its full level of 100feet on Sunday morning, the officials of public works department (PWD) held discussion with the district collector who in turn issued flood alert to the people. “We inform the district administration a few hours ahead of the estimated time to reach the maximum capacity to create necessary awareness among the people,” said a PWD official. The collector has advised the people to move to safer locations and not to cross the river. Only a few millimeters of rainfall were recorded in the recent days in the dam region, said the official, attributing the increase in water level to heavy rainfall in catchment areas, including Upper Bhavani and Avalanchi.


The water level in Kunda dam in the Nilgiris has reached the maximum capacity and 12,000 cusecs of water was being released to the Pillur reservoir, the official said. As the water level has crossed over 95.5 feet around 12.30pm, 6,000 cusecs of water is being released through two sluice gates from the reservoir, the official added. There is an increase in water flow to the reservoir than the previous years, said the official attributing it to the increase in rainfall this year. Usually, the water would be released during early July. This year, we have started to release water almost a month ahead of the usual time due to the early start of southwest monsoon, the official added. The authorities, on Saturday, had restricted public from entering Kovai Kuttralam falls in Coimbatore and Monkey falls in Pollachi due to heavy water flow.



Burglars loot 40 Lakh gold, 7 lakh from house of businessman

The house at Dhandeeshwaram, Velachery.



CHENNAI: Burglars broke into the house of a businessman in Velachery on Saturday when the occupants were away and decamped with 40 lakh worth of gold and 7 lakh cash, the police said. The owner of the house S Elangeswaran, 47 who runs a supermarket at Dhandeeshwaram in Velachery and lives in the same locality, said, “My brother Maheswaran Shanmugam and I were out of town. We went to attend a festival at our native place in Sivaganga. Rest of our family members left for other places in Chennai”. “We informed our neighbours that we will return on Monday. Our maid who came on Saturday morning saw the lock on the main door broken and informed the neighbours,” he added. When asked why such a big amount of gold and cash was kept in the house, Elangeswaran cited personal reasons. He added he had almost 200 sovereigns of gold and the thieves left behind 30 sovereigns. Inquiries revealed that the burglars targeted the house after keeping watch for long. The Velachery police have registered a case and are going through CCTV camera footage collected from nearby houses. They suspect it may be someone very close to the family. Over the last week, burglars have looted about 121 sovereigns of gold jewellery worth 29 lakhs, 3kg silver ornaments and 6 lakh cash from different houses at Kodambakkam, Palavanthagal, Arumbakkam and Virugambakkam.



International News



19 Afghan police killed in Taliban attack on base: officials



KUNDUZ, AFGHANISTAN: At least 19 Afghan police officers were killed in a pre-dawn raid by the Taliban on a base in northern Kunduz Saturday, officials said, hours before the militants announced an unprecedented ceasefire. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which Kunduz provincial governor spokesman Nehmatullah Taimuri said also wounded five members of the local police force in Qal-e-Zal district.



Fire hits Iraq’s biggest ballot warehouse before recount: Security official

Smoke rises from a storage site in Baghdad, housing ballot boxes from Iraq’s May parliamentary election.



BAGHDAD: A fire ripped through Iraq‘s biggest ballot warehouse today where votes for the eastern Baghdad district were stored, before a recount ordered by parliament, a security official said. The cause of the blaze was not immediately known but it comes as Iraq prepares for a manual recount of around 10 million votes following allegations of fraud during the May 12 legislative election that saw a surprise victory for populist Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr. The senior security official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said the fire broke out in a warehouse located in Al-Russafa, one of the largest voting districts in eastern Baghdad. Around 60 percent of Baghdad’s two million eligible voters had cast their ballots in the May election in Al-Russafa district. A column of black smoke billowed from the warehouse and could be seen across the capital. Two hours after the blaze erupted firefighters backed by 10 trucks were still struggling to put out the fire, an AFP reporter said. “The room where voting machines and other election equipment were stored was destroyed by the fire,” Imed Jamil, an election commission official for Al-Russafa told AFP.


“The ballot boxes were stored in another room,” he said, adding that the fire would not affect the recount. Interior ministry spokesman General Saad Maan visited the scene and told reporters that “most of the ballot boxes were stored in another building and have been preserved”. On Wednesday Iraq’s parliament ordered a manual recount at all polling stations – although no timetable has been announced – and sacked the commission which oversaw the polls. The election was won by Sadr’s electoral alliance with communists, with long-time political figures pushed out by Iraqi voters who were hoping for change. But the result was contested following allegations of fraud namely by the veteran politicians, including parliamentary speaker Salim al-Juburi. According to intelligence services, tests of electronic voting machines – used for the first time in Iraqi elections – produced varied results, appearing to give credence to the fraud claims.



US F-15 fighter jet crashes into sea off Japan’s Okinawa



TOKYO: A US military F15 fighter jet crashed in waters off Japan’s southern island of Okinawa, where the bulk of US forces in Japan are based, during a routine training mission on Monday, US Forces Japan said in a statement. The pilot, the only person in the aircraft, ejected successfully and was recovered by search and rescue crews, the statement said. A board of officers would investigate the incident, it said. Many residents of Okinawa associate the US military bases with crime, accidents and pollution and want them moved off the island. A series of emergency landings and parts falling from US military aircraft have highlighted safety concerns. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government is moving ahead with a contentious plan to relocate the US Marines’ Futenma airbase from an urban area in central Okinawa to the less populated Henoko district of Nago city in the island’s north.

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