News Flash – 14 May 2018

National News




Maharashtra Security Force jawan Sachin Pol’s bravery and presence of mind has been noted by his bosses. He will either get a raise or a fat cash reward.


Mumbai: A Maharashtra Security Force jawan is being hailed a hero after he risked his life to save a toddler from being run over by a train at Western Railway’s Mahalaxmi station on Friday evening. Sachin Pol had merely 2.3 seconds between sensing the danger to the girl’s life and grabbing her as she slipped out of her mother’s grasp. The woman had boarded the train with her husband (see video grabs). As he managed to pull the girl away from the gap between the platform and the running train, he himself almost went under. Both Pol and the girl suffered minor bruises and were administered first aid at the station’s medical room. Mohammad Dishaan, the father of the five-year-old, along with his wife were on their way back home to Bhiwandi after visiting the Haji Ali shrine when they tried to board a running train. While Dishaan and his wife managed to get in, the girl’s hand slipped out of her mother’s grip and she fell face down. Pol, who can be seen in the video seated on his desk and watching the couple trying to board the train, reacted with admirable speed and pulled the girl out from under the train.


Talking to Mumbai Mirror from his home in Bhiwandi, Dishaan said his wife is new to Mumbai and does not know how quickly Mumbai locals gain speed. “I was walking ahead and she was holding our daughter’s hand. The train was stationary when we went to board it, but then it started moving and picked up speed. I will be eternally grateful to the man who saved my daughter’s life,” he said. Pol is a resident of Lower Parel and has been in Maharashtra Security Force’s employment for only two years now. He makes Rs 14,000 a month. His bravery, however, will either earn him a raise or a fat reward. Principal Chief Security Commissioner, Western Railway, A K Singh, has reviewed the video and is impressed with Pol’s bravery and presence of mind. “He will be rewarded suitably,” Singh said.



Strongest thunderstorm of season disrupts life in Delhi-NCR

According to Met officials, the highest wind speed during the squall was recorded at 109km/hr at Safdarjung, followed closely by Palam at 96km/hr.



NEW DELHI/GURUGRAM/NOIDA: A squall and dust storm with a wind speed of up to 109 kmph barreled through Delhi and neighbouring areas on Sunday, affecting flight, rail and metro operations and uprooting trees. At least four people died and 26 were injured in the national capital region. According to Met officials, the highest wind speed during the squall was recorded at 109km/hr at Safdarjung, followed closely by Palam at 96km/hr. Dark grey clouds started gathering around 3pm and, within an hour, much of Delhi, Gurugram and Noida were plunged into darkness. People rushed for cover even as the strong winds and poor visibility affected traffic. Officials from the regional met office confirmed that this was the “strongest” thunderstorm activity in the past few weeks.



“The storm was quite intense, but it cleared up in a matter of hours. Such activity is common during this time of the season as Delhi has high temperatures and easterly winds with moisture are blowing. We also had a western disturbance affecting the region that led to the thunderstorm,” a senior met official said. Another spell of light rain is predicted in parts of the capital on Monday. “There will be light rain in some parts of the city on Monday, with most of the activity taking place in the afternoon or evening. However, we are not expecting wind speeds like we did on Sunday. The maximum should drop to 38 degrees Celsius on Monday,” the official said. The capital’s maximum temperature during the day had touched 40.8 degrees Celsius at Safdarjung and 41.3 degrees Celsius at Palam — before the sudden change in the weather. Till 5.30pm, Safdarjung had recorded 4.2mm of rainfall while Palam received 0.8mm during the same period. At least two loss of lives were reported in Delhi. Police said Sumwati Devi (56) was killed when a tree branch fell on her head near Patpargunj in east Delhi. She was taken to a hospital where she died during treatment, police said. Devi, a widow, is survived by her son. In another incident, a 19-year-old Rohit died in southeast Delhi’s Jaitpur when construction material fell on him. Delhi Police said they had received 255 PCR calls about trees falling on the road. Till late night, 75 trees were removed, officials added. As many as 75 poles came crashing and 61 cases of tin sheds/brick-roof wall collapse were reported, police said. “We enhanced night deployment and have kept quick-reaction teams ready.


The helplines will be kept active through the night. We have been getting calls about obstructions on roads, which are being addressed individually,” Garima Bhatnagar, joint commissioner, traffic, said. The inclement weather interrupted the launch of a 140 kWp rooftop solar plant at IP Extension attended by chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. In Ghaziabad, at least one person was killed and six injured in different incidents. The deceased was identified as Rajkumar alias Raju (40) of Bulandshahr. According to police, Raju was killed when a tree uprooted by the strong winds fell on his car in Lal Kuan area. “Four other persons were injured in the incident,” police said. In a separate incident, two minor girls, aged 13 and 15 years, respectively, were injured in Pasonda village in Sahibabad as the wall of a house collapsed on them. In Noida, a 42-year-old woman died and her son was injured after a large hoarding collapsed on their bike during the dust storm in Noida Extension on Sunday evening. The woman was identified as Jaimun Nisha, a resident of Haibatpur village in Bisrakh. Her son Imran (21) is undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Noida. Gurugram, too, was greeted with a storm, followed by sporadic showers. Visibility was totally obscured by dust whipped up by heavy winds. Residents had to close their windows and doors to keep the dust off their rooms. The situation was severe in new sectors, where winds whipped up clouds of dust from the vast open fields that sprawl across the area. In several places, the wind also knocked down trees.



4 killed in lightning strike; Crop in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana take a beating



HYDERABAD/ VISAKHAPATNAM : Unseasonal rains accompanied by thunder claimed 14 lives in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh on Sunday. While nine people died and three were injured in Andhra Pradesh, five people, mostly farmers, died in Telangana in separate incidents of lightning strikes. This is the single largest casualty because of lightning strike in Telugu states on a single day in the last three years. Standing crops, spread over hundreds of acres, particularly mango, were hit hard by unseasonal rains and heavy gale. Srikakulam district was the worst affected with six people succumbing to lightning strike, followed by Mancherial district with three deaths, Kadapa and Vikarabad districts with two each, and Vizianagaram with one. All the three killed in lightning in Mancheryil district were farmers, who rushed to fields to cover their paddy produce from rain with polythene covers. The identity of two people killed in Avunupalli village of Dharoor mandal in Vikarabad district is yet to established. The victims in Mancherial have been identified as R Rajaiah, K Bapu and J Ramesh. Episodes of lightning have increased of late in Telugu states. Lightning deaths are now covered under the national calamity relief. A report from Srikakulam said a fisherman, T Appala Narsaiah, 58, was struck by lightning while catching fish in a pond at Peddakollivalasa village of LN Peta mandal. Many places in north coastal Andhra, except Visakhapatnam city, received moderate to heavy rains on Sunday. Visakhapatnam, however, experienced cloudy weather. Mango, cashew and banana plantations were the worst affected due to heavy wind and rain. District collectors have been directed to send revenue teams to estimate loss due to rains.



Hyderabad: SBI ATM dispenses torn Rs 2,000 notes



HYDERABAD: An SBI ATM machine dispensed torn and smudged Rs 2,000 currency notes on Friday night much to the shock of a businessman, who promptly filed a complaint with Vanasthalipuram police on Saturday. Though no case has been registered yet, a police official said: “We will forward the complaint to the State Bank of India’s branch concerned to resolve the matter on Monday”. Srikar Aditya withdrew Rs 10,000 from the ATM of Vanasthalipuram branch. “I was really shocked at the condition of the currency. Of the five Rs 2,000 notes, two notes were torn with one stickers tagged to it, two others were smeared with ink and some liquid and the other one had some letters and numbers missing on one side of the note,” he said. “As none of the notes is useful, I tried to deposit the cash in the deposit machine but in vain,” said Aditya. He also tried to exchange the currency notes at shops, but none of the vendors was ready to accept them. Aditya then tweeted the matter on the official SBI account, explaining his plight and filed a written complaint at Vanasthalipuram police station. “Currency notes entered into ATMs are checked for quality and authenticity. Hence, the chances of a mutilated note being disbursed from our ATM are negligible. Please note, you may exchange a mutilated note at any of our branches,” State Bank of India @TheOfficialSBI replied to Aditya’s tweet.



Thunderstorm lashes Kolkata, eight deaths reported from three districts



KOLKATA: A huge cloud mass that engulfed the Kolkata sky later broke open lashing Kolkata with a thunderstorm pushing the mercury to nose dive by 10 degrees on Sunday. The city also recorded a rainfall of 23.5 mm in about one and half hours. With thunder and lightning, the cloud burst open over the city along a gusty wind. Trees were uprooted at some places, tram lines got snapped and lighting struck a three storey residential building in Sinthee, luckily none was injured. The storm also disrupted flight schedules. Lighting killed at least eight in the state – five in Howrah, two in West Midnapore and one in Murshidabad by the thunderstorm that affected most parts of South Bengal on Sunday. Around 1.20 pm the regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) Kolkata had issued a thunderstorm alert for Kolkata, Howrah and Hooghly to hit these places within the next three hours. By around 2 pm the city had plunged into pitch darkness under the influence of the thick clouds. The sky opened up it came pouring down by 3 pm. “The cloud mass that had a height of 12 km and width of 30 km was generated over Hooghly, Nadia and North 24 Parganas. It moved towards the city at a slow pace in the absence of very strong wind. That is how the rain lingered,” said GK Das director (weather) at RMC Kolkata.


A squall passed over the city at 3.25 pm with a wind speed of 52 kmph. But the wind speed slowed gradually sparing trees from getting uprooted, baring one in Santoshpur. An electric lamp post also caught fire in Santoshpur in Sibtala Maathunder ward number 103. A fire tender doused the fire. Power connection to the locality was snapped. An east to west trough line from Uttar Pradesh extending up to Nagaland across Bengal and Bihar had pushed up the thunder cloud formation. Almost all southern districts of Bengal received wide moderate rainfall. There was hail storm in places of Hooghly and Howrah. The downpour left some stretches in the city under ankle deep water. Lightning struck a three storey building on 3/4C D Gupta Lane under Sinthee police station. No one was however injured. “Since the surface has already cooler chances of convective cloud formation is less on Monday in Gangetic West Bengal unless some system develops over Bihar and Jharkhand,” said Das.



Pay fine in 48 hours or have traffic police on your doorstep



CHENNAI: The next time you are booked and fined for a traffic violation and fail to pay the required sum within 48 hours, you could see a posse of men or women in khaki knocking on your door armed with summons. The police plan to introduce the system from Sunday evening. The cashless mode of paying up fines for traffic violations has become a hit with police data saying more than 50% of the offenders having completed the transaction online within 24 hours. “The feedback has been positive,” said a senior officer. Now, with a 48-hour deadline set to pay fines, the police expect more to comply. “We are going a little slow in booking cases as our personnel have to adopt the new system,” said and officer. A system to identify and track defaulters has been created. As soon as a field officer enters details of the violator, the data will feed into a computer at the control room and an e-challan will be spewed out in a few minutes. A police officer said, “The computer will prepare a list of defaulters, who failed to pay their fine amount within 48 hours that is two days”. The list will be generated every day and a deputy commissioner and an assistant commissioner in the traffic planning cell will keep tabs. The traffic planning cell will prepare summons to be served to all defaulters. Law and order personnel will be roped in to identify regular defaulters. “We are working in tandem with the transport department to bring in the default list along with their licensing data, so that more defaulters can be dealt with separately by suspending their licenses too for making frequent offences”.



International News



Indonesia’s ‘militant’ family attacks churches, 13 killed

Firefighters try to douse a blaze at the Pentecost Church in Surabaya.



SURABAYA (INDONESIA): Coordinated suicide bombings carried out by members of the same family struck three churches in Indonesia‘s second-largest city on Sunday, police said, as the world’s most populous Muslim nation recoiled in horror at one of its worst attacks since the 2002 Bali bombings. At least seven people died at the churches in Surabaya along with the six family members, the youngest of whom were girls aged 9 and 12, according to police. Another 41 people were injured. Indonesia’s president condemned the attacks as “barbaric”. National police chief Tito Karnavian said that the father detonated a car bomb, two sons aged 18 and 16 used a motorcycle for their attack, and the mother and her two daughters wore explosives. Karnavian said the family had returned to Indonesia from Syria, where until recently the Islamic State terror group controlled significant territory. IS claimed responsibility for the attacks in a statement carried by its Aamaq news agency. It didn’t mention anything about families or children taking part and said there were only three attackers. Indonesia’s deadliest terrorist attack occurred in 2002, when bombs exploded on the tourist island of Bali, killing 202 people in one night, mostly foreigners. But the fact that children were involved in Sunday’s attacks in Surabaya shocked and angered the country. Jemaah Islamiyah, the network responsible for the Bali attacks, was obliterated by a sustained crackdown on militants by Indonesia’s counterterrorism police with US and Australian support. A new threat has emerged in recent years, inspired by IS attacks abroad.


Experts on militant networks have warned for several years that the estimated 1,100 Indonesians who travelled to Syria to join IS posed a threat if they returned home. Karnavian identified the father as Dita Futrianto and said he was head of the Surabaya cell of Jemaah Anshorut Daulah, an Indonesian militant network affiliated with IS that has been implicated in attacks in Indonesia in the past year. He identified the mother as Puji Kuswati. The attacks occurred within minutes of each other, according to Surabaya police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera. Karnavian said Futrianto drove a bomb-laden car into the city’s Pentecostal church. Kuswati, with her two daughters, attacked the Christian Church of Diponegoro, he said. Based on their remains, Karnavian said the mother and daughters were all wearing explosives around their waists. The sons rode a motorcycle onto the grounds of the Santa Maria Church and detonated their explosives there. A witness said the woman arrived at the Diponegoro church carrying two bags. “At first officers blocked them in front of the churchyard, but the woman ignored them and forced her way inside. Suddenly, she hugged a civilian, then (the bomb) exploded,” said the witness, a security guard. At Santa Maria, a Catholic church, a witness said, “I saw two men riding a motorbike force their way into the churchyard. Soon after that, the explosion happened”.



At least six dead as bomb, gun battle rages in Afghan city

Smoke rises from the site of a blast.



JALALABAD: At least six civilians were killed when terrorists detonated bombs and stormed a government building on Sunday in an ongoing assault in the eastern Afghan city of Jalalabad, officials said, underscoring deteriorating security in the country. There were two explosions near the city’s directorate of finance, the Nangarhar provincial governor’s spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP, adding that “a number of attackers” had entered the building. “Security forces are in the area chasing and fighting them,” he said. “So far six civilians (have been) killed and 33 wounded. One attacker is also down. The clearing operation is ongoing”. “Around noon a big boom shook our building,” Qaisar, an employee, told AFP from a Jalalabad hospital. “I then saw at least two armed attackers entering the building. My friends ran to hide and I jumped from a window. “I have broken my leg and arm but was able to get out of the building. Some of my friends are still stuck there”. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack. Jalalabad is the capital of restive Nangarhar, which borders Pakistan. Some areas of the province are a stronghold of the Islamic State group but Taliban fighters are also active there. It was the latest deadly violence to strike Afghanistan as terrorist groups step up attacks and US-backed Afghan forces intensify air strikes and ground offensives. The assault comes days after suicide bombers and gunmen launched apparently coordinated attacks on two Kabul police stations on Wednesday, killing at least ten people.


April saw a series of attacks across the country targeting voter registration centres as Afghanistan gears up for long-delayed legislative elections due in October. The Taliban and IS have made clear their intentions to disrupt the elections. Officials are concerned that a low voter turnout will undermine the credibility of the poll. The Taliban recently launched their annual spring offensive, in an apparent rejection of a peace talks overture by the Afghan government. Their Operation Al Khandaq will target US forces and “their intelligence agents” as well as their “internal supporters”, a Taliban statement said on April 25. But the Islamic State group has also stepped up their attacks in recent months, particularly in Kabul. Nine journalists, including AFP’s chief photographer in Kabul Shah Marai, were among the 25 people killed in a double suicide blast claimed by IS in the capital on April 30. Kabul has become one of the deadliest places in the country for civilians as security forces struggle to keep the militants at bay following the withdrawal of NATO combat forces at the end of 2014.

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