News Flash – 14 October 2019

National News



1 Staffer Killed, Six Hurt in Fire at Grant Road Building

Three firemen suffered injuries during the firefighting operation at Aditya Arcade, a commercial building on Lamington Road.



Mumbai: A 22-year-old man died and six others, including three firemen, suffered from suffocation and other injuries after a major fire broke out in a ground plus-five-storey commercial building at Grant Road on Sunday morning. Firemen, using a ladder, rescued 10 people—mostly employees—trapped on the upper floors and the terrace of Aditya Arcade on Lamington Road. “We also used the recently procured cutters to cut window grilles to rescue people,” said chief fire officer P S Rahangdale. The building’s firefighting system was not working, said sources. The fire brigade will probe the cause of the blaze and violations in the building and has asked the BMC to examine its occupation certificate. Around 6am, the fire brigade got a call about the blaze in Aditya Arcade, which houses 80 shops, godowns and offices, mostly selling electronic items. Eyewitnesses said the fire started in the electrical duct on the first floor and spread through the building. Systematic Imports, which occupies the entire first floor, suffered losses worth crores.



Firemen found an unconscious man, Uttam Kumar, who was employed in one of the offices, on the third floor and rushed him to the nearby civic-run Nair Hospital, where doctors declared him dead on arrival. Since the smoke and heat made the rescue operations difficult, firemen used thermal imaging cameras to locate the flames. Three firemen Avinash Pardeshi, Sudan Gore, Nandkumar Vayal were also taken to Nair Hospital. Gore and Vayal were discharged after treatment. “We have admitted one firefighter who had inhaled fumes and complained of breathing difficulty. We have kept him under observation,” hospital dean Dr Ramesh Bharmal said. The D B Marg police took three injured staffers Deelip Choudhary (40), Ashok Choudhary (23) and Bharat Choudhary (23) to JJ Hospital in Byculla. “All three complained of breathing difficulty; they didn’t have any other visible injuries. Since they were stable, they were discharged around 9.30am,” said Dr Sanjay Surase, medical superintendent, JJ Hospital. The fire was brought under control after 12 hours at 6pm and cooling operations began. “Only after inspection of the entire building can the actual cause of the fire be confirmed,” said a fire officer.



International News



12 Hours 4 Syria Hospitals Bombed, Culprit: Russia

A hospital in Syria’s Idlib was destroyed by a Russian airstrike on May 5.



Syria: The Russian air force has repeatedly bombed hospitals in Syria in order to crush the last pockets of resistance to President Bashar Assad, according to an investigation by New York Times. An analysis of previously unpublished Russian air force radio recordings, plane-spotter logs and witness accounts allowed NYT to trace bombings of four hospitals in just 12 hours in May and tie Russian pilots to each one. The 12-hour period beginning on May 5 represents a small slice of the air war in Syria, but it is a microcosm of Russia’s four-year military intervention in Syria’s civil war. A new front in the conflict opened this week, when Turkish forces crossed the border as part of a campaign against a Kurdish-led militia. Russia has long been accused of carrying out systematic attacks against hospitals and clinics in rebel-held areas as part of a strategy to help Assad secure victory in the eight-year-old war. Physicians for Human Rights, an advocacy group that tracks attacks on medical workers in Syria, has documented at least 583 such attacks since 2011, 266 of them since Russia intervened in September 2015. At least 916 medical workers have been killed since 2011. Social media posts from Syria, interviews with witnesses, and records from charities that supported the hospitals provided the approximate time of each strike. NYT got logs kept by flight spotters on the ground who warn civilians about incoming air strikes and cross-checked the time of each strike to confirm that Russian warplanes were overhead.



We then listened to thousands of Russian air force radio transmissions. The recordings were provided by a network of observers who insisted on anonymity for their safety. Spotter logs from May 5 and 6 put Russian pilots above each hospital at the time they were struck, and air force audio recordings from that day feature Russian pilots confirming each bombing. Videos obtained from witnesses confirmed three of the strikes. Bombing hospitals is a war crime, but proving culpability amid a complex civil war is extremely difficult, and until now, Syrian medical workers and human rights groups lacked proof. Russia’s position as a permanent member of the UN security council has also shielded it from scrutiny. “The attacks on health in Syria as well as bombing of civilian facilities, are definitely war crimes, and they should be prosecuted at the level of the International Criminal Court in The Hague,” said Susannah Sirkin, director of policy at Physicians for Human Rights. But Russia and China “shamefully” vetoed a UNSC resolution that would have referred those and other crimes in Syria to the court, she said. The Russian government did not directly respond to questions about the four hospital bombings. Instead, a foreign ministry spokesman pointed to past statements saying that the Russian air force carries out precision strikes only on “accurately researched targets”. The UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, opened an investigation into the hospital bombings in August. The investigation is still ongoing.



Japan sends in Troops after Deadly Typhoon Kills 33


Japan: Japan sent tens of thousands of troops and rescue workers on Sunday to save stranded residents and fight floods caused by one of the worst typhoons to hit the country in recent history. At least 33 people were killed, public broadcaster NHK said. Another 15 were missing and 187 injured by Typhoon Hagibis, which paralysed Tokyo on Saturday and dumped record levels of rain around Japan. About 100,000 homes were left without power. Rescue efforts were hindered after more than 20 rivers in central and northeastern Japan burst their banks and dozens more overflowed although their banks were still intact, NHK said. Evacuation centres filled with residents, while some people perished as they sought shelter, NHK said, adding a 77-year-old woman fell about 40 metres to her death during an airlift.

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