News Flash – 16 October 2018

National News



Robber breaks into vacant bungalows in Vasai, makes himself at home for months


Mumbai: Rajkumar Nishad, 25, is a classic unwelcome houseguest with a criminal twist. He breaks into vacant bungalows in the Vasai-Virar region, loots them at leisure while staying for weeks and months in them using the facilities and food stored inside. He was recently arrested after spending over three months in the bungalow of an NRI in Vasai. Acting on a tip-off, around two weeks ago a trap was laid and Nishad was arrested from a vacant two storey bungalow located at Ambadi Road in Vasai (west). It turned out the owners, based in Dubai, had no clue. “They learnt only after we contacted them,” said investigating officer Asif Baig. Nishad, who also goes by the name Brijesh, has confessed to having robbed and stayed in six vacant bungalows in the jurisdiction of Vasaigaon and Manickpur police stations in Vasai. Cops suspect he may have targeted many more. A number of NRIs and business families in Mumbai have invested in sprawling one-and two-storey bungalows in the region. They visit barely twice a year and the houses remains unattended (without security) for months. Many of these bungalows have closed circuit televisions (CCTVs) which are damaged by the thieves.


A few months ago, Nishad had broken into a vacant bungalow in the Stella area of Vasai (west). He stayed for a few days and left along with valuables, an LCD TV and a car. Interestingly, he abandoned the car at a distance outside another vacant bungalow. What the cops didn’t know was that Nishad had parked himself in that bungalow. “He used to take a shower, bring meals from outside and eat it inside the comfort of the bungalow,” said Baig, adding that he never switched on the lights. He stole gold, silver ornaments, cash and expensive goods from the NRI’s bungalow. Nishad got trapped when the police were questioning another thief in connection with another theft. He spoke about Nishad and how he operated. It emerged that though Nishad used to operate alone initially, he later roped in an accomplice as he would get bored in the sprawling houses. The police said Nishad would scout for vacant bungalows. After being convinced the occupants would not return for days, he would carry out a robbery and stay in it. The police have recovered goods worth Rs 3 lakh. Most of the other valuables had been sold off.



AI Air Hostess falls 30 feet from parked plane at city Airport



Mumbai: An Air India flight attendant fell from the rear door of a parked Boeing 777 onto the tarmac in Mumbai on Monday morning, suffering serious injuries. The distance from the door to the ground, sources said, could have been around 9 metres, or about 30 feet. The accident occurred at 6.10am, when Harsha Lobo (52) and her cabin crew colleagues were readying the aircraft for a 7am departure to Delhi. “The step ladder wasn’t aligned to the door when she opened it. She slipped and fell through the gap between the door and the ladder, onto the tarmac,” said a source. “Though seriously injured, she wasn’t unconscious”. Lobo suffered a compound fracture on the right leg, fractures in both heels and soft tissue injury in the chest, abdomen and lower spine. “She also suffered a sprain in the neck (cervical spine sprain),” said Nanavati Hospital’s COO Dr Rajendra Patankar. This is the second accident in recent years involving an Air India staffer at Mumbai airport. On December 16, 2015, in a freak accident, service engineer Ravi Subramanian died after he was sucked into the live engine of an A319 aircraft that was being readied for a Hyderabad flight. Elaborating on Monday’s incident, a cabin crew member said, “The normal procedure is that after a step ladder is aligned to an aircraft door, the ladder operator climbs up and taps the window of the door to indicate to the crew that the door can be safely opened.


After a crew member opens the door, a red rope is fastened across it till the time it is opened for passenger use. Air India has begun an investigation. The key question is whether the step ladder operator had wrongly indicated that it was aligned to the door or whether the flight attendant opened the door before she got the indication. An airline spokesperson said, “(The flight attendant) fell while closing the door… She has been admitted to Nanavati Hospital”. Praveen Tonsekar, a business class passenger who was on the flight, said the passengers were unaware of the accident. “We had all boarded by 7am. The doors were locked. But after 15 minutes, the captain announced that the flight was awaiting air traffic control clearance. Then, at 7.30am, he announced that there were some technical and safety issues. Finally, around 8.05am, the aircraft pushed back for departure,” he said. “It was only after I landed in Delhi after 10am and was on my way for my meeting that a friend called to tell me about the accident. It’s very sad. I did see the crew group up and talk among themselves, but I thought they must be discussing the technical issue that led to the delay”.



Zika Alert: Checks on fever cases among pregnant to increase



Mumbai: Following a high-level meeting on Zika viral disease convened by the Centre on Monday, the state public health department has alerted its machinery to increase surveillance of fever cases, particularly in pregnant women. Exposure to the viral infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly (smaller head) and other congenital malformations. Dr Sanjeev Kamble, head of directorate of health services (DHS), said till date Maharashtra has not had any zika-positive case. But, since the vector that causes dengue and chikungunya, also transmits zika, surveillance has been increased. He said the state has also told the airport authorities to keep an eye on passengers from Rajasthan, where the count of zika-positive cases has crossed 60 as on Monday. An 85-year-old woman from Jaipur was said to be the first casualty of Zika virus.


Dr Kamble said as part of surveillance in the state, National Institute of Virology (Pune) was told to test samples of nearly 100 pregnant women from Pune and Nashik with fever and flu-like symptoms. “It was random sampling and not even one has come positive for Zika. Despite that we have increased fever surveillance through the community and hospitals,” said Kamble. Around 11 busy maternity centres reporting high volume child births across the state have been put on microcephaly alert. “At these centres, the care-givers will keep an eye on the head circumference of newborns, which can serve as an indicator,” said Kamble. Apart from treatment, testing facilities will be expanded. Kamble said NIV will handhold six centres, including hospitals in Solapur, Wardha and Dhule, to carry out tests. Vector control measures to curb breeding of aedes aegypti mosquitoes are also being strengthened.



72-hour pollution forecast system launched in capital


New Delhi: Ahead of the pollution season, the Centre on Monday launched an air quality prediction system that would forecast the state of the air three days in advance for various areas in the capital and several localities in Gurgaon, Ghaziabad and Rohtak. The new service is expected to not only help residents gear up for bad-air days but also equip enforcement agencies in taking pre-emptive action and issuing warnings. The Air Quality Early Warning System is based on real time data of air quality and gives details of natural aerosols like dust, SO2, NO2 as well as particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) using different satellite data and other sources. “People can access the information on air quality for the next three days through the ‘media corner’ of the CPCB website. The system is meant to issue alerts on large scale air pollution events which may occur over Delhi region,” said CPCB chairman S P Singh Parihar.



12 new Zika cases in Jaipur; no. rises to 72



Jaipur: Twelve new cases of Zika virus were detected in Jaipur on Monday, taking the total number of infected people to 72, a Rajasthan health department official said. The figures were issued after a review meeting chaired by additional chief secretary medical and health, Veenu Gupta. “Sixty out of the total 72 patients are healthy after treatment,” the official said after the meeting. Most of the cases have been reported from Shastri Nagar area here where fogging and other anti-larvae activities are being carried out to prevent the spread of the virus, he said.



Walk-in fraud: How this gang steals money via OTP


New Delhi: Crooks fraudulently getting bank customers to share their one-time password (OTP) for online transactions and then stealing from their accounts is passe. These days, such cheats can walk into banks, request a change in the customer’s registered mobile number and use the new connection to receive OTPs for transactions. These new modus operandi came to the notice of New Delhi district police while investigating a case. DCP Madhur Verma revealed that Koshi Kumar, a 30-year-old man from Jharkhand, has been arrested and he has disclosed crucial information on the activities of the gang using this method. “On September 17, we received a complaint from Rajender Singh, a resident of Janakpuri, about crooks withdrawing Rs 11.5 lakh from his current account. The victim had an account at the Ashok Hotel branch of Central Bank of India,” Verma said. During investigations led by ACP Alok Kumar’s team, the cops scanned footage of CCTV cameras in the bank and got the bank employees to give details of the accounts used in the fraudulent transactions.


The cops established that on August 31, two persons had arrived at the bank and one of them impersonated the account holder. They requested a change in the registered mobile number and filled in the prescribed form. Once the new mobile number was registered, the crooks carried out online transfers from the victim’s account using the OTPs sent to the new phone. The Rs 11.5 lakh withdrawn in this manner was transferred to six different accounts held in a bank in Dwarka and then withdrawn through ATM’s and cheques, the cops discovered. After the crime, the mobile phone on which the OTPs were sent was switched off. Police, however, tracked one of the men to Jharkhand through technical surveillance. On his arrest, he spilled the beans on Vinod Kumar, the alleged kingpin, now being pursued by the cops. Cheque books of Syndicate Bank and Bank of Baroda and the mobile phone used in the crime were seized. “The role of bank employees is being probed and we are trying to ascertain the exact number of people duped by the gang,” said DCP Verma.



Sting in the weather: Swine flu claims 6 lives in 15 days


Hyderabad: The frequent fluctuation in day time temperatures over the last two weeks has not only led to an alarming rise in cases of dreaded H1N1 (swine flu) virus, but also resulted in significant increase in the count of influenza, dengue, malaria and viral fever patients across Telangana. From Hyderabad alone, six swine flu deaths have been reported in last 15 days, with the last two being reported on Monday morning. Apart from private facilities, the load of influenza and fever cases has shot up drastically even in government hospitals, with the Fever Hospital recording 1,600 out-patients per day. Of them, 600-650 are cases of influenza fever, said doctors who point out how the number, this time, is more than double the usual count of cases recorded at the facility. “Typically November-December is when influenza cases peak. We are already seeing an increase in cases and the number of out-patients has doubled up as compared to two months ago. The change in weather and temperature fluctuations make the conditions favourable for viral activity,” said Dr K Shankar, director, Institute of Preventive Medicine and superintendent of Fever Hospital. The influenza-like fever patients at the hospital are being tested for Influenza A, dengue and H1N1 (swine flu). As per latest records, 320 new cases of dengue and 61 cases of malaria were detected in the first week of October in the state. On Monday, six patients admitted at the Gandhi Hospital were tested positive for swine flu while three more were suspected of being affected by the virus. While influenza is a self-limiting viral fever, a close watch has to be maintained to look out for other types of viruses, said experts, as many viral fevers are difficult to confirm.



Deshapriya Park fire sparks panic



Kolkata: A fire at a residential building opposite Deshapriya Park puja pandal around 2.30pm on Monday caused panic in the area. The Disaster Management Group (DMG) was pressed to action and the fire was doused within half-an-hour. According to preliminary investigation, the fire started from a short-circuit in the air-conditioning machine. Cops said none was injured or trapped inside the building Home Guard assaulted, one held: A Jadavpur resident was arrested on Monday for assaulting a home guard, who was on duty at Gariahat crossing. The incident took place at 12.10pm when Saikat Dey, the home guard, was assaulted by the passerby. The accused was later identified as Deepanjan Sen. The home guard was rescued by a traffic sergeant and was arrested by Gariahat police. Private bus hits man: A 67-year-old person, identified as Gopinath Ghosh, was seriously injured and rushed to Maniktala ESI hospital on Monday after a Ultadanga-bound private bus on route 215A hit him at Kankugachi crossing at 6pm. Ghosh sustained severe injuries. Cops said the bus hit Ghosh while he was trying to cross the road.



International News



10 Die in France Flash Floods unseen in more than a century



Paris: Flash floods tore through towns in southwest France, turning waterways into raging torrents that killed at least 10 people, authorities said on Monday. People had to be helicoptered from the roofs of their homes as overnight storms dumped the equivalent of several months of rain in a few hours. Initially, the French interior ministry announced 13 deaths from the floods in the Aude region. But French PM Edouard Philippe said after visiting damaged areas that the number was corrected to 10. Authorities said some victims had been counted twice. In the town of Villegailhenc, resident Ines Siguet said floodwaters rose so quickly after the rains swept in from the Mediterranean that residents fled to rooftops. Siguet, 17, posted video of a ripped-up road where a bridge used to stand. “There’s nothing left. There’s just a hole,” the teenager said. “It was very violent.” The River Aude, which flows through Carcassonne, Trebes and other towns, reached levels unseen since floods in 1891.

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