News Flash – 15 June 2018

National News



NE floods, landslides kill 9; 1.6 lakhs hit in 7 Assam districts

A man rows a boat carrying villagers from the flood affected area in Karimganj district of Assam on June 13, 2018.



AGARTALA/IMPHAL/GUWAHATI: Heavy rain and flooding in the last 48 hours have claimed the lives of nine people across Assam, Tripura and Manipur, disrupted train services and rendered thousands of people homeless. In Tripura, three people lost their lives after being swept away by flood waters and one was killed in landslides. In Khowai district, strong currents swept away a farmer and the bodies of two others were found near the banks of the Manu river in South Tripura district. The state government has declared a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the kin of the deceased and sought the assistance of the Army and NDRF. According to reports, the flood situation in Unakoti, North Tripura, Dhalai, Khowai and Gomati districts has turned critical in the last 24 hours following torrential rain in the upper catchments of Mizoram Hills and Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh. Revenue department officers said over 13,000 people have been shifted to 200 relief camps and over 50,000 rendered homeless. In Manipur, two people, including a child, drowned in rivers on Wednesday, a police officer said. In Assam, two people lost their lives in landslides in the Mahur area of Dima Hasao district and another one drowned at Bokakhat in Golaghat district on Thursday. Over 1.6 lakh people have been affected in Hojai, Karbi Anglong East, Karbi Anglong West, Golaghat, Karimganj, Hailakandi and Cachar districts. In Karimganj alone, over 70,000 people have been hit.



Post BeauMonde blaze, all highrises to be inspected for fire safety norms



MUMBAI: Following Wednesday’s fire at BeauMonde Towers, the Mumbai Fire brigade will undertake inspection of all highrise buildings to check whether all firefighting norms have been adhered to. At the civic standing committee meeting on Thursday, Corporator questioned the BMC why firemen had to carry out the firefighting exercise manually when there was a 90 metre hydraulic platform. BMC officials said there were space constraints in placing the hydraulic platform. BeauMonde Towers had firefighting equipment, but its fire lift did not aide in firefighting operations. A senior fire official said water had seeped into the lift shaft. “The fire lift was rendered non-functional. Besides this lift was also within the core building area where the blaze had erupted which meant using it is not recommended,” said the official. Officials said that prima facie short circuit appears to be a cause for the fire. An official said the flat had a lot of combustible material like wooden claddings, the fire spread rapidly.



Men drill through roof to rob store



NEW DELHI: A jewellery store in north Delhi’s Dariba Kalan at Chandni Chowk was ransacked and items worth over Rs 5 crore were stolen by unidentified men. Police said the men drilled a hole through the roof and got inside the shop. The matter was reported by the owner of the store, who reached there and found the store ransacked. A police team reached the spot and registered a case against unknown persons. The owner told the police that he had a CCTV camera installed, which was disabled by the criminals. This makes the police suspect an insider to be involved in the crime. The accused men used a drilling machine to make a hole, big enough to allow them make swift movements. There were guards around the store, but none of them apparently got a hint about the incident. DCP (north) Jatin Narwal said they have registered a case and are calculating the exact amount of the loss.



Container vessel catches fire while approaching Kolkata, 11 crew rescued

The ship’s company made immediate efforts to control the situation but due to high winds, the fire quickly spread to nearly 60 containers.



KOLKATA: After a valiant firefighting effort lasting for over eight hours, the 22-member Indian crew on board the MV SSL Kolkata finally abandoned ship around 8.30 am on Thursday. Eleven of them have already been rescued by the Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Rajkiran that sailed from Haldia late on Wednesday after receiving an SOS from the stricken vessel. “The 147.85-metre-long ship had sailed from Krishnapatnam for Kolkata with 464 containers on board. Shortly after midnight there seems to have been an explosion in one of the containers. The ship was then near the Sandheads – an anchorage for the Kolkata and Haldia ports – in the Bay of Bengal. The ship’s company made immediate efforts to control the situation but due to high winds, the fire quickly spread to nearly 60 containers. As the ship started losing stability, the captain decided to manoeuvre the vessel to a shallower part of the Sandheads. Its location was about 55 nautical miles off the Sandheads when Coast Guard Dorniers and the ICGS Rajkiran made contact around 8.30 am on Thursday,” a senior Coast Guard official said.


By then, the captain had ordered the crew to abandon ship as nearly 70% of the ship was on fire. Despite bad weather and rough sea, 11 of the crew were picked up by the Coast Guard vessel. More Coast Guard ships with external firefighting systems are already on their way from Visakhapatnam to try and douse the major fire. Since the vessel is maneuvering in shallow area off Sandheads, the grounding and consequent oil spill from its fuel (211 MT) cannot be ruled out. The ships from Visakhapatnam and Chennai are embarking pollution equipment for controlling possible oil spill threat, K R Nautiyal, ADG and Commander, Coast Guard, Eastern Seaboard, confirmed. At the Coast Guard’s Regional Headquarters (North East) in Kolkata, IG and commander K S Sheoran is monitoring the rescue operations and coordinating with the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), Haldia Dock Complex, Dhamra Port and owner/agent of the vessel for firefighting and search and rescue operations. “We are also monitoring the situation closely. One of our tugs has already been dispatched from Haldia to the spot of occurrence. We are also doing our best to prevent any oil spillage,” KoPT chairman Vinit Kumar said.



4 trapped in office fire on Park Street, rescued

Fire officers at the spot on Park Street on Wednesday.



KOLKATA: Four persons were evacuated safely after a fire broke out in an office located on the third floor of a seven- storeyed building on Park Street on Wednesday. The fire broke out at 7pm. It took over three hours for five fire tenders to douse the fire. “We got a call around 7.15pm from one of the persons who was trapped inside the office. Initially, two fire tenders with ‘self-contained breathing apparatus‘ rushed to spot. Three additional fire tenders were sent to provide support, ” a fire department officer said. Fire officers said the fire started in the AC and spread very fast. “The firefighting equipment in the office was faulty. We need to investigate the matter further,” the officer added.



Fancy a watch, purse or keychain to protect against robbers


CHENNAI: After a series of chain snatching and mugging incidents in the city created panic among people, a 65-year-old electrical engineer from Kerala and his wife, a retired teacher, have come up with a unique security alarm in the form of a watch, pouch and key chain that can be used at home, during a walk and while riding a vehicle. The gadget is equipped with an alarm that calls out “Kaapathungo, yaravadhu irunkinga?” (Help! Is anybody there) in case of a robbery. Each of the three items is fitted with an alarm that is set off by a button on the device. It took three years for the electrical engineer to develop the device at his home. He began work on it after his teenage daughter was pushed from her two-wheeler by some trouble makers. Named Usha the life saver, the device can either be worn as a wrist watch at home, carried like a pouch or, when riding a vehicle, attached to a key chain. Designed to alert neighbours in case of forced entry or break-ins, the wrist watch contains a button which when pressed triggers an alarm that can be installed in the house. The watch also comes with a speaker which is audible up to 500ft.


The alarm has been designed to operate on a 12-volt battery, so irrespective of power cuts, it is always active. The system works on radio frequency and costs between Rs4,500 and Rs9,500. “The speaker is also fitted with a bright red lights that can be spotted by neighbours. This can also be used when a person is in need of medical help like in case of a heart attack,” said K G Radhakrishnan, who resides in Nolambur. The pouch, is a portable device, which is equipped with a panic button, it can be used when a person is going out. The device is fixed inside the pouch and also has a speaker that can be worn over normal clothes. Once triggered the alarm sound travels up to a distance of 200ft. The third device is specially designed for women who commute in two-wheelers. While the panic button is in the key of the vehicle, the speaker can be hidden anywhere on the scooter. “The rider can easily press the button since it is in the key chain,” said Radhakrishnan. This can alert anyone who is 250ft away.



International News



Blast at India-developed hydroelectricity project in Nepal



KATHMANDU: A bomb has exploded at the office of a major hydropower project being constructed with Indian assistance in Nepal, the second such incident at the facility in over a month. An unidentified group exploded an improvised explosive device in the office of Arun III hydropower in Tumlingtar, nearly 500 km from here, on Wednesday. The explosion did not cause any serious damage and no one was injured in the incident, according to the police. Security arrangements have been intensified following the incident, he said. No group has so far claimed responsibility for the blast. On April 29, a CPN Maoist faction had exploded a bomb at the office of the project weeks before its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A Project Development Agreement (PDA) for Arun III was signed with India’s state-owned Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam (SJVN) on November 25, 2014 in the presence of the then Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and visiting Indian Prime Minister Modi.



Saudi Arabia says new Yemen missile intercepted

A photo distributed by the Houthi Military Media Unit shows the launch by Houthi forces of a ballistic missile aimed at Saudi Arabia on March 25, 2018.



RIYADH: Saudi air defences on Thursday intercepted a ballistic missile fired from rebel-held territory in neighbouring Yemen, state media reported, as a Riyadh-led military coalition pushes a major offensive to capture a strategic port. The missile was intercepted over Khamis Mushait in the kingdom’s south, but no casualties were reported, the coalition said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency. The Iran-backed rebels claimed in a statement that the missile hit a Saudi air base. The insurgents, who have ramped up missile attacks against Saudi Arabia, are often known to claim successful strikes. The kingdom, which leads a military coalition that has fought the insurgents since 2015, usually claims to intercept most missiles. The latest strike comes as Yemeni pro-government forces are locked in heavy fighting with rebels as they press a Saudi and UAE-backed offensive to retake the key aid hub of Hodeida. On Sunday, Saudi air defences intercepted a ballistic missile over the southern city of Jizan, but no casualties were reported, state media said. A day earlier, three civilians were killed in Jizan when Huthi rebels fired a “projectile” at the province, according to the coalition. Saudi Arabia last month tested a new siren system for the capital Riyadh and the oil-rich Eastern Province, in a sign of the increasing threat posed by the rebels’ arms. Riyadh accuses its regional rival Tehran of supplying the Houthis with ballistic missiles, a charge Iran denies. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other allies intervened in Yemen in 2015 to push back the rebels and restore the internationally recognised government to power after the Huthis ousted it from swathes of the country including the capital Sanaa. Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since the alliance intervened in Yemen in March 2015, contributing to what the UN has called the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

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