News Flash – 13 November 2018

National News



Courier robbed of Rs.1.5cr gold at knifepoint, gang of 4 held



Mumbai: A case of robbing gold jewellery worth Rs 1.5 crore from a courier at knifepoint last month has been solved with the arrest of a four-person gang, including an employee of the firm that dispatched the gold. Almost 85% of the loot has been recovered. On October 27, Mukesh Bukhar, a courier with a logistics firm, collected the jewellery late in the evening from a firm that hallmarks them at the Mathuradas Mill compound in Lower Parel. He was about to take a cab to the domestic airport when two unidentified people cornered him with a knife and fled with the gold. Alerted by a tip-off about excessive spending by a couple of history-sheeters in bars and brothels in central Mumbai, the crime branch picked both up. Their location on the robbery day going by data from cellphone towers showed Lower Parel. They finally broke down during interrogation, and the case was cracked on Sunday. The police arrested Suresh Doke, 36 — a courier with the hallmarking firm who masterminded the robbery — from Byculla, and Mahendra Prakash Choudhary alias Gurbit, 22, with information given by Doke’s friend Vilas Pawar alias Mama, 25, and Satish Sanap alias Satya, 25. Almost 85% of the booty has been recovered, the gang claims they spent the rest.


Doke told the police he used to watch Bukhar coming to his office alone to collect jewellery often and believed he would be an easy target. Once the group of four had worked out a plan, they followed Bukhar’s visits for nearly 10 days before robbing him. “The N M Joshi Marg police had registered a robbery offence, and the crime branch was running a parallel probe, when our officers of unit 3 got a tip-off,” said Dilip Sawant, DCP (crime). Investigating officer Sanjay Nikumbh said they learnt Sanap, originally a driver from Nashik, was spending a lot of money on beer and at a prostitution den at Kamathipura. “We kept watch for nearly 10 days before we picked him. Simultaneously, we also detained Vilas Pawar, who used to run a car servicing centre at Golapdeo in south Mumbai, and had been spending a lot recently,” said Nikumbh. Pawar is a history-sheeters with offences of assault registered against him. Sanap too has offences of theft and attempt to murder against his name. During their interrogation, they broke down and gave away the conspiracy. “It was Doke’s idea to rob Bukhar. Doke approached Pawar, who, in turn, engaged Sanap and Gurbit, who used to bring their bikes to his service centre,” said Netaji Bhople, assistant commissioner of police. The gang had planned to sell the booty, but since there was hallmarking on the jewellery, they were waiting for a chance to melt the jewellery and sell it.



Stabbed multiple times, Woman Security Guard battles for life



Thane: Panic gripped a civic run nursing college’s girls hostel at Khopat in Thane on Monday evening as a man stabbed a female security guard multiple times even as she tried to escape his onslaught. The victim, Babita Dubey (40), is battling for her life in hospital. Hostel residents, with the help of passersby, nabbed the accused, later identified as Vikas Dhanavade (36), and handed him over to the police. Dhanavade is also employed as a security guard. The Naupada police refused to divulge details about the motive for the assault, but sources claimed that it could have been a fallout of a one-sided affair. The police were in the process of registering a case against Dhanavade till late at night. According to eyewitnesses, around 6.30pm, they heard a woman scream for help inside the electric room of the Thane Municipal Corporation-run nursing college girls hostel. They saw a man holding a bloodied knife and Dubey lying in a pool of blood on the floor. Aniket Jadhav, a passerby, said when they rushed to the woman’s aid, they heard the man call her ‘my beloved’. They pinned him down and immediately informed the police. They also rushed Dubey to Thane Civil Hospital. “Her condition is serious. There are multiple stab wounds,” said Avinash Ambure, zonal deputy commissioner of police. Doctors said that she would be shifted to JJ Hospital.



Let only CNG vehicles ply in city on bad air days: EPCA


New Delhi: The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution Control and Prevention Authority (EPCA) on Monday asked a task force led by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to consider banning all vehicles, except those running on CNG, in the capital during bad air days, keeping in mind the high pollution levels post-Diwali in the city. The EPCA urged the task force to “consider” this measure and to recommend if it needed to be brought into the National Capital region (NCR) soon, if the next few days see continuation or deterioration of the air quality. “We will, based on this discussion and review of the air quality situation, inform you tomorrow of this or other measures that would need to be taken to contain pollution in the region,” EPCA chairperson Bhure Lal said in a letter to NCR authorities. “Public health is of utmost priority and this emergency step may be the only option we have,” the letter, a copy of which is with TOI, states. Earlier in the day, the task force relaxed the ban on construction activities in NCR and also partially allowed trucks entry into Delhi. “In view of poor dispersion, low temperatures and high humidity during night hours, construction activities and truck traffic (into Delhi) may be permitted only during daytime between 6am to 6pm… Enforcement agencies should keep strict vigil and ensure firm actions against the violators,” it said. The ban on industries using coal and biomass, including brick kilns, will be lifted on Tuesday. This ban did not include power plants and waste-to-energy plants.



Dengue cases rise to 1,875 in capital



New Delhi: Nearly 280 fresh cases of dengue have been reported over the last week in Delhi, taking the total number of people diagnosed with the vector-borne disease this season to 1,875, a municipal report released on Monday said. According to the report, there has been one death due to dengue this year till November 10. At least 1,114 cases were reported in October only. Also, 450 cases of malaria and 141 of chikungunya have been reported this season till November 10 the report said. Of the 1,875 dengue cases this year, 374 were recorded in September, 58 in August, 19 in July, eight in June, 10 in May, two in April, one in March, three in February and six in January. Two malaria cases were reported in February, one each in April and March, 17 in May, 25 in June, 42 in July, 82 in August, 138 in September and 130 in October, according to the South Delhi Municipal Corporation which tabulates data on vector-borne diseases in the city. Doctors have advised people to take precautions to ensure there is no breeding of mosquitoes inside the homes.



7,000 policemen to manage traffic, crowd at Ghats



New Delhi: More than 7,000 cops from Delhi Police and paramilitary forces would be deployed around the 1,055 Ghats across the city on Tuesday, which is nearly double the number posted last year. Police expect more than one lakh devotees to gather at the Ghats at a time. Cops have advised commuters to avoid roads around ITO, ISBT Kashmere Gate and Pushta Road as they are expected to be crowded. Areas around Chhath Ghat, Shyam Ghat and Hathi Ghat in central Delhi are expected to draw maximum number of devotees. Police also expect snarls on Vikas Marg and Delhi Noida Link Road. Additional personnel will be deployed at railway stations, interstate bus terminals, malls, metro stations and market places. A team of SWAT commandos and Parakram vans will also be stationed at key positions in the city. Joint commissioner (traffic) Alok Kumar said that traffic and local police personnel will be deployed around the Ghats to manage additional crowd. While most devotees are expected to walk to the Ghats, cops would stop vehicles carrying devotees ahead of the spots to avoid congestion. “We have requested the Ghat authorities to assist us in managing the crowd since Tuesday morning,” said Kumar.



Four women students from Hyderabad injured as Elevator crashes 40 feet, 1 critical


Bengaluru: Four woman students of Symbiosis Law School Hyderabad, in the city for internships, were injured, three of them seriously, when an elevator plunged around 40ft to the ground from the third floor of a hotel in Frazer Town on Sunday night. Police said the students were heading back to their room in Silver Nest Apartment, on the corner of MM Road and Bourdillon Road, after dinner at 9.30pm when the lift cable snapped just when they were trying to exit the elevator car. Three of the students were trapped in the elevator car as it hurtled down, a police officer said. “The fourth student, who was getting out of the lift, fell through the open door and landed on its roof,” he said. Apartment staff rushed the students to a hospital nearby for emergency care before doctors referred them to Hosmat Hospital. Doctors at the hospital said Tanushree Bose, 24, was in critical condition at intensive care unit. They said Akshara M, 20, who had displaced fractures of bones in the right leg and dislocated an ankle joint, underwent multiple emergency surgeries, while Falaq Patel, 20, suffered an ankle fracture and also underwent a surgery. Doctors said they treated Ishika, 20, who escaped with minor soft tissue injuries, in the hospital’s outpatient ward.


The students arrived in Bengaluru on Saturday night and were to report for their internships at Udayshankar Associates on Monday. “The elevator door opened on the third floor and we began to exit when it went crashing down with three of us inside,” Akshara told TOI. “Tanushree, who stepped out first, lost her footing and tumbled backward, landing on the roof of the elevator car”. Hosmat Hospital medical director Dr Ajith Benedict Ryan said Tanushree sustained the worst injuries. “She will on Tuesday undergo surgeries for fractures to the pelvis, sacroiliac joint (near the base of the spine) and sacrum (tail bone),” he said. “Akshara has already had several emergency surgeries”. Police have lodged a case against the owner of the establishment. Silver Nest Apartment Manager N Zafar said the elevators in the building had been “serviced” on November 2. “We even had the lift in question repaired completely last month after a few people complained of sudden jerks while it was moving,” he said.



Airport staff get training to tackle any Emergencies



Bengaluru: Cargo movement and transportation of ‘dangerous goods’ are the biggest concerns of Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) authorities, said disaster management experts on Monday. They were speaking at the National Disaster Management Authority’s (NDMA) six-day basic training programme being held to enhance preparedness of emergency handlers to respond to chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies. Over 50 members are taking part. “We’re focusing on safe handling of chemicals and mitigating chemical warfare agents and preventing biological emergencies such as the spread of Ebola and Zika viruses. The threat for India and Bengaluru now is chemical and biological disasters. At airports across India, frisking is done bare-handed. This must change,” said Dr Kunal Sharma, consultant, disaster management, NDMA. The event will end with a mock drill and a mass-sensitization programme on November 17.



90% Swine Flu cases in state fall under GHMC jurisdiction


Hyderabad: Out of 480 swine flu cases recorded since August this year, 215 have been reported from Hyderabad, 82 from Ranga Reddy and 80 in Medchal district, largely covering the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits. The three put together account for over 90 percent of the H1N1 cases recorded in the state, said health authorities. 21 new cases were detected on Monday. Despite the concentration of numbers, health authorities assure that the scenario is under control and there is no need to panic. “While the numbers are on a rise, the fact that the cases being reported sporadically is a relief. In case of more cases coming from certain locations in a cluster, it will be troublesome but so far we have not found that. We are continuously monitoring cases to find out if there is a pattern,” said Dr G Srinivasa Rao, Director Public Health, Telangana state. The H1N1 virus activity is currently at its peak and is likely to be that way until the month of January. While the numbers are likely to increase further, insiders say that a large number of public meetings and events in the recent past could be a reason for a spike in numbers in the GHMC limits, the abysmally low numbers from districts might also be due to massive under-reporting. “Although district level officers have been trained for identifying serious cases of swine flu and routing them to the nodal centres for treating such cases – at the Gandhi Hospital, Osmania General Hospital and the Niloufer hospital for Paediatric cases- identification of symptoms of swine flu cases is still a challenge. Since the symptoms of the H1N1 virus are similar to that of influenza and common cold, unless its severe, the disease can easily go unreported,” said a senior health department official.



Fire in CCU at School of Tropical Medicine

Fire engines at the School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, on Monday.



Kolkata: A fire broke out in the CCU at the School of Tropical Medicine, Kolkata, on Monday morning. Six out of seven patients had to be shifted to the general ward. The seventh patient, who was critical, was transferred to the CCU of Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata. Three fire tenders were deployed and the flames were controlled within 1.5 hours. The patients will be moved back to the CCU on Wednesday after the place is cleaned and fumigated. The blaze originated from an air-conditioner on the ground floor. Fortunately, the CCU was housing only seven patients at the time, which made evacuation easier. “We have shifted six patients to the general ward. One patient was critical and has been sent to the CCU of Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata. Nobody was injured in the fire,” said a nurse on duty. “The internal firefighting system was satisfactory,” said a senior fire department official. The CCU is a highly sanitized zone where outsiders’ entry is restricted. But on Monday, several outsiders including firemen, cops and disaster management squad rushed into the place wearing shoes and carrying water jets, stretchers and other equipment. Additionally, smoke from the fire has also affected some parts of the ward. “The CCU will stay in operational for a couple of days. We need to thoroughly clean it and fumigate the entire place to make it ready to house critical patients again. We cannot let patients catch any infection,” said a senior medical official. In October, a fire had broken out in the pharmacy department of Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata damaging medicine worth several crores. Hundreds of patients had to be evacuated, most of whom spent hours in the open for want of space.



Units that let mosquitoes breed fined Rs.24 lakhs by corporation



Chennai: The health department of Greater Chennai Corporation has collected more than Rs.24.45 lakhs between September and November as a fine from business establishments which allowed mosquitoes to breed on their premises. Aiming to take preventive measures against the spread of dengue and H1N1, the civic body has intensified source-reduction activities and inspections to check for mosquito breeding spots. In the past three months, 605 breeding spots were identified across 15 zones and establishments were penalized for allowing water to stagnate and become conducive to breeding the dengue-causing Aedes aegypti mosquitoes. For adult mosquito control, 45 vehicle mounted fogging machines have been deployed across 15 zones. According to sources, certain divisions in Thiru Vi Ka Nagar, Ambattur and Kodambakkam zones were found to have concentrated cases of fever. “When dengue cases surfaced in these divisions, intensive work was carried out including fogging and spraying of mosquito larvicide. Mass programmes for source reduction and educating the public in nearby houses within the 500m radius was conducted,” said an official. “From 6.30am onwards, in each division across a particular zone, source reduction work is carried out,” said a zonal health officer.


The official added that each sanitary inspector has to inspect at least one sector consisting of 80 houses at ward-level to check for fever cases through the day, check and attend to larva-breeding and mosquito density, monitor fogging and spraying activities besides handing out pamphlets and educating residents on vector-borne diseases. The civic body identified 325 breeding sites in October when a fine of Rs.12.34 lakh was collected. Ambattur area — that has over 2,000 industries — saw a number of cases where larva was found breeding in huge spots and numbers. “Several rooftops and objects dumped across industrial premises were found to breed mosquitoes in large numbers. A penalty from Rs. 10,000 to Rs. 50,000 is levied depending on the severity,” said a sanitary officer. “Open trays and containers, tires and pots were found in several areas which were checked for source reduction,” the officer added. “Schools and industries, besides office premises, are being cleaned and checked for mosquito breeding. As children have been found more susceptible to infections, at ward-level checks have been intensified in clearing school premises,” the official added.



International News



228 missing in California’s deadliest wildfire; toll at 31


California: More than 200 people were missing early on Monday in California’s deadliest and most destructive blaze on record, one of two fires raging in the state which have killed at least 31 people and forced more than a quarter of a million evacuations. The so-called Camp Fire northwest of Sacramento burned down more than 6,700 homes and businesses in the town of Paradise, more structures than any other wildfire recorded in California. The fire had burned more than 111,000 acres and was 25% contained by late Sunday, officials said. Its death toll of 29 now equals that of the Griffith Park Fire in 1933, the deadliest wildfire on record in California. At least 228 people were still missing, according to Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea. In southern California, the Woolsey Fire has scorched at least 85,500 acres and destroyed 177 structures. The blaze was only 15% contained. At least two people have died in that fire, according to officials from the statewide agency Cal Fire.


The blaze has forced the authorities to issue evacuation orders for a quarter million people in Ventura and Los Angeles counties and beachside communities including the Malibu beach colony. Hot, dry winds were expected to whip up the fires burning in both tinder-dry southern and northern California until Tuesday, officials said. Officials urged residents to heed evacuation orders. “Winds are going to blow for the next three days. Your house can be rebuilt but you can’t bring your life back,” chief Daryl Osby of the Los Angeles fire department said Governor Jerry Brown asked US President Trump to declare a major disaster to bolster the emergency response and help residents recover. Trump has criticised the California government, blaming poor forest management for the infernos.



Hit by rockets, Israel pounds Gaza, kills 3



Gaza City: Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip killed three Palestinians on Monday after a barrage of rocket fire into its territory from the enclave, as renewed violence threatened to derail efforts to end months of unrest. The warplanes bombed the studios of Hamas’s TV station in the Gaza. The flare-up came after a deadly Israeli special forces operation in the Gaza Strip on Sunday that left Hamas vowing revenge. Israel’s military said it had so far struck more than 70 militant sites in response to over 200 rockets fired from the Hamas-run territory on Monday afternoon into the evening. Missile defences intercepted 60 of the rockets and most others fell in open areas, though some hit houses and other civilian structures. Medics said seven Israelis were wounded. The army said an Israeli bus was hit by an anti-tank missile from the Gaza Strip.

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