News Flash – 17 August 2017

National News



Rs 10 lakh robbery on August Kranti Rajdhani in Kota



MUMBAI/ NEW DELHI: At least 12 passengers of the premium August Kranti Rajdhani Express were robbed of cash and jewellery worth over Rs 10 lakh during their 17-hour journey from Mumbai to New Delhi on August 16. The train departed from Mumbai on August 15 and the thefts are suspected to have taken place the next day after 3am when the train entered Kota division. A total of 10 FIRs have been registered in Delhi. Following three similar theft incidents on Rajdhani since last month, passengers have demanded CCTV cameras in coaches. “There has been a rise in such theft cases; they mostly take place between Kota and Ratlam stations,” admitted a railway official. WR general manager AK Gupta assured, “We will form special teams to ensure security in premium trains”. Delhi resident Rajesh Jain, who was travelling with his wife in the August Kranti Rajdhani Express, said, “We were in B-10 coach. The thieves stole Rs 18,000, but left my wallet and iPhone 6 behind.” He suggested that premium trains should have automatic door closure system so that unauthorized people do not enter the coaches at night. Piyush Singh, who is from Mumbai, said, “I was travelling to Mathura with 13 of my family members. Around 4 am, two women raised an alarm that their belongings were missing. When checked our baggage, three of my family members found their purses were missing. We lost around Rs 15,000”. Government Railway Police officials said they are verifying if the passengers were drugged and whether there was a security lapse on the premium superfast train.



West Gate mall murder: CCTV captures incident as it happened



NEW DELHI: Three days after a man was murdered inside West Gate mall in west Delhi‘s Rajouri Garden, CCTV footage capturing the incident has surfaced. The footage shows the victim’s friends rushing towards him after the accused fled from the mall. The incident, which took place on Sunday evening, was witnessed by over 200 people. None of the spectators informed the police on time. The ruckus went on for more than half an hour before the mall security intervened. Eyewitnesses told cops that the accused circled the victim, Saajan, and kicked him until he fell on the ground. Seeing this, some people in the mall tried to intervene but moved away when threatened by the accused. Cops recovered CCTV footage which captured the entire episode and helped them identify the men as well. In a footage from another CCTV camera, accessed by TOI, Saajan’s friends can be seen coming from different directions of the mall and encircling him, as if trying to figure out if he was still alive. Eyewitnesses told police that the victim’s friends dragged him down the escalator from the second floor to the first. Then the friends tried taking him through the lift, but when it didn’t arrive immediately, they dragged him down the staircase to rush him to the staircase. This account is corroborated with the CCTV footage as well. By the time they reached the ground floor, cops had arrived and the victim taken to the hospital where he was declared brought dead. The incident was a fallout of a pub brawl, wherein six youths including a juvenile stabbed Saajan when the latter slapped one of them. The same raised many questions on the mall’s security and cops took strict actions against the mall, which remained shut for two days after the incident.



Dahi Handi: 3 ‘govindas’ die, 117 injured in Maharashtra



MUMBAI: A 21-year-old ‘govinda’ died after suffering epileptic attack during the Dahi Handi celebrations on Tuesday in Palghar, while in Airoli, a 34-year-old died of electrocution while forming a human pyramid as part of the festival. Another ‘govinda’ suffered heart attack after the celebrations and died in Pune. In Mumbai, as many as 117 ‘govindas’ suffered injuries during the celebrations. The deceased in Palghar was identified as Rohan Kini, police said. “He was part of a human pyramid. He got down from the pyramid after breaking the ‘handi’. But soon, he suffered an epileptic attack and died while being taken to a hospital in Palghar around 6.30pm”. The victim in Airoli was identified as Jayesh Sarle, police said. The third death was reported from Phadke Haud Chauk in Pune. Sagar Pingale, a 26-year-old youth, suffered heart attack while he was returning home after participating in Dahi Handi celebration. He was returning home along with his friends on a two-wheeler and started feeling restless near Phadke Haud Chauk. He was taken to KEM hospital but he could not survive.



After clash in Ladakh, India braces for more ‘shallow intrusions’ by PLA



NEW DELHI: The Indian forces are bracing for more “shallow intrusions” or “needling probes” from China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in vulnerable spots along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), according to sources in the Indian defence establishment. This assessment comes even as the two forces held a border personnel meeting (BPM) in eastern Ladakh on Wednesday to calm down tempers, a day after Indian and Chinese soldiers pelted stones at each other near Pangong Lake. The PLA is unlikely to try anything near the already restive Sikkim-Bhutan-Sikkim tri-junction because Indian troops are militarily much better-placed there and can easily threaten China’s narrow Chumbi Valley in the region, if required, the according to India’s assessment. “But the PLA could try something in eastern Ladakh, as was seen on Tuesday, or eastern Arunachal Pradesh or Lipulekh Pass and Barahoti in the central sector (Himachal-Uttarakhand),” one of the sources said. The Indian defence establishment, however, is sticking to its belief that China will not risk a full-fledged war despite its major build-up of troops, artillery, air defence, armoured and other units in the southern part of the Tibet Military District that falls under the Western Theatre Command (WTC) of the PLA, after the Doklam confrontation erupted on the eastern front in mid-June. The stepped-up “needling” in some areas along the 4,057-km LAC, which stretches from Ladakh to Arunachal, will be part of the PLA’s game-plan to ratchet up pressure on India to unilaterally withdraw from the face-off site in the Bhutanese territory of Doklam before winter sets in November-December. “India is ready for mutual troop withdrawal to defuse the stand-off. But China is not. So, our troops are prepared for the long haul,” said the source.


But the channels of communication are also being kept open, with some sweeteners thrown in for good measure. Though the PLA declined the invite for the August 15 celebrations at different BPM points on the LAC, Indian soldiers did hand over “sweets” to their Chinese counterparts at multiple locations, including Doklam, on Tuesday. On Wednesday, at the longish BPM held at Spanggur Gap in Chushul sector of Ladakh in the afternoon, official sources said the two armies led by brigadier-rank officers discussed the “incident” at the Pangong Tso (Tso means lake) as well as the need “to strengthen the existing mechanism to maintain peace and tranquility” to avoid confrontations. Usually, the troops pull back after some jostling and banner drills in the disputed “Finger-5 to Finger-8” (mountainous spurs) area on the northern bank of the 134-km long Pangong Tso, two-thirds of which is controlled by China as it extends from Tibet to India. But on Wednesday, they hurled stones and used iron rods to injure each other for the first time in recent years, in a clear indicator of the tense situation prevailing along the entire LAC. Pangong Tso, which is located at an altitude of 13,900-feet across the Changla Pass, and other areas like Chumar, Trig Heights and Depsangin eastern Ladakh have emerged as major flashpoints over the recent years. Indian troops till some years ago were at a huge disadvantage in the Pangong Lake, saddled as they were with old patrol boats. There were even a few instances of faster and sturdier Chinese boats ramming into Indian ones to disable them. But after the Indian troops inducted 17 new high-speed interceptor boats, each of which can carry 16 to 18 soldiers, they have been conducting strong reconnaissance and area domination patrols in the region over the last few years.



What you need to do in case of floods


Several parts of Bihar, Assam, West Bengal and UP are deeply affected by floods.



  1. Listen to the radio or television for information
  2. Pack a bag with important items in case you need to evacuate; don’t forget to include necessary medications in your packing
  3. If advised to evacuate your home, do it immediately
  4. If there is possibility of a flash flood, move immediately to higher ground
  5. Bring in outdoor furniture, move essential items to an upper floor
  6. Use a stick to check firmness of the ground in front of you
  7. Avoid floodwaters: May be contaminated by oil, gasoline, raw sewage, or electrically charged from underground or downed power lines
  8. Find out if community water supply is safe to drink
  9. Beware of areas where floodwaters have receded as roads may have weakened and could cave in
  10. Do not walk through moving water; even 6 inches (15 centimeters) of moving water can make you fall



Two houses in Kolkata collapse, 15 in 6 weeks



KOLKATA: Two houses in the city collapsed over the last 48 hours, taking the total number of collapses in the city to 15 in the past one-and-a- half months. The first incident was reported from 65, Burtolla Street on Tuesday. “Around 2.30pm, a wall of the G+4 building crumbled. All the eight occupants in the house were rescued. The police have now asked KMC to identify all dangerous buildings in ward 22 where the incident has taken place. The other collapse was in the Hatibagan area on Wednesday. According to police, a protruding portion of a cornice on the second floor collapsed around 9.15am. Though no person was injured, two motorbikes parked underneath the section were damaged.



Met officials issue 48-hour heavy rain alert across Telangana


HYDERABAD: Bengaluru received 184cm rainfall in the intervening night of Monday and Tuesday, the highest recorded in a 24-hour period in the last two decades. It began pouring around 11 pm on Monday and continued till about 4am on Tuesday, which is nearly 88% of the total rain expected over the entire month, said the state disaster monitoring centre. While Tuesday was largely cloudy , there was heavy rain in the evening. The overnight rain flooded several parts of the city, submerging parking lots and entire road stretches, and snapped power in vast swathes since the early hours of Tuesday. The city will witness heavy showers during the next 48 hours, the Indian Meteorological Department said on Tuesday. “Heavy rain is very likely to occur at isolated places in all the districts of Telangana,” the warning reads. Meteorologists attributed the warning to the presence of a cyclonic circulation, lying over South Andhra Pradesh and also adjoining areas. A trough is also seen extending along the east coast. Due to these weather systems, scattered light showers along with few moderate spells are possible to occur in Hyderabad and adjoining areas over the next two to three days.


“However, between August 16 and August 18, we predict that the intensity of these rains would increase over most parts of Telangana,” said Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist, Skymet (a private weather forecasting unit). The IMD indicated that moderate to heavy rains are expected in several parts of Telangana on three days. The state usually receives 713.5 mm of rainfall during the monsoon. “Though there has been a lull in the monsoon for now, the formation of rain-bearing systems over the western Bay of Bengal, shows that the state would receive rains after August 15,” Telangana State Development and Planning Society Meteorologist Y V Rama Rao said. The states records show, it usually receives 373.2 mm rainfall du ring the first week of August. However, this season, Telangana logged just 346.9 mm of rains. Experts, predict the deficit would end in the next two months. During previous spell of rains, several low lying areas were inundated and water entered houses in a few localities on August 8.



Dum Dum turns disease ground zero with 3 more deaths



KOLKATA: A three-square-kilometre area in South Dum Dum Municipality has emerged as the city’s monsoon disease capital, with three residents – two suffering from dengue and the third from swine flu – dying over Monday and Tuesday. Three-and-a-half-year-old Shreyansh Sinha of Bediapara died at Institute of Child Health, where he tested positive for H1N1. Doctors said they were hamstrung by the scarcity of Tamiflu, the medicine essential in treating swine flu. “The parents got the medicine 34 hours after he was admitted here,” an ICH doctor said. Even as the news of the swine flu death spread in Bediapara, two others from neighbouring wards died of dengue over Monday and Tuesday. Purba Sinthi home-maker Moumita Dey, 30, who was two months into pregnancy and had tested positive for dengue, died on Monday at a private hospital. Another home-maker, a 53-year-old resident of Fakir Ghosh Lane, barely a kilometre from Purba Sinthi Road, died on Tuesday. She underwent treatment for dengue and died of cardiac arrest five days after her release from hospital. Dengue has claimed at least 12 lives in the past two months, most of them from Dum Dum.



Close shave for family after fire & cylinder blast



Chennai: Residents of a house in MM Colony, Aminjikarai, had a close shave after a fire broke out in their bedroom at 6am on Wednesday. The residents escaped unhurt as they were sleeping on the verandah outside the house at the time. The fire spread to the kitchen and caused an LPG cylinder to burst before fire and rescue personnel arrived to put it out. The incident occurred at the residence of Vasan, a flower vendor, his wife Revathi and three children. Vasan had rented out a house on the second floor of the building from the owner Idayatullah. Vasan and his family members woke up after they noticed thick smoke emanating from the house. They rushed inside to collect some of their belongings and left the house immediately as the fire was spreading. Other residents in the building also came out of their houses on hearing the commotion. After one of the residents informed the fire and rescue personnel, a team of fire tenders from Koyambedu and Kilpauk rushed to the spot and put out the fire. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained.



International News



Falling tree kills 11 at religious festival in Portugal



LISBON: At least 11 people were killed by a falling tree during a religious festival on the Portuguese island of Madeira, local media reported on Tuesday. SIC television said 35 others were injured when the tree fell outside a church in a village in the hills overlooking Madeira’s capital Funchal. The accident happened during a major Roman Catholic festival marking the Assumption, or entry into heaven, of the Virgin Mary, mother of Jesus. Emergency services were not immediately available to comment but were expected to give details later in the day.



Israeli firm offers ‘anti-terrorism’ adventure to tourists

Tourists are taught how to use a gun in a two-hour anti-terror course.



EFRAT, PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES: The foreigners yell “fire, fire, fire” before shooting their automatic weapons as Israeli instructors look on — but this is no military training. The 20 or so Jewish tourists from South America are on an “anti-terrorism” course run by former Israeli soldiers in the occupied West Bank. Their targets are balloons nearby. “The aim of the training is not to teach you how to shoot,” Eitan Cohen, one of the instructors, says to the group, “but to make you understand what we do here in Israel to fight terrorism”. The tourist attraction offers an unusual option for visitors coming to see Jerusalem’s holy sites or to float in the Dead Sea. But while it may be exhilarating or instructive for some, others find it offensive, accusing the company of profiting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory and fears of “terrorism”. The company is called Caliber 3, located near the Israeli settlement of Efrat south of Jerusalem, and it began in 2003 as a training camp for professional security personnel such as police. The instructors, including ex-soldiers who say they served in elite units, use their experience gained through Israel’s various conflicts. Since 2009, it has also become an attraction for tourists who are taught how to handle weapons, participate in paintball or learn Krav Maga, the self-defense method using boxing and martial arts developed by the Israeli military. They pay a little over $100 to participate. One programme sees the tourists stumble onto a “terrorist attack” in a simulated market with plastic fruits and wooden stalls. Instructors are disguised, including one wearing a Palestinian-style headscarf. Suddenly, instructors in fatigues yell at the tourists to get on the ground, then they stop a “terrorist” with a knife — not the person with the headscarf. Cohen, 41, debriefs them and tells them to always be alert in a crowd. He has a Rambo-like look: fatigues, sunglasses perched on his forehead, rifle slung over his shoulder and a pistol on his belt.


Caliber 3’s website says he is a former sniper and member of elite police units. “I’m going to show you the values of soldiers in the Israeli army and how we fight against terrorists,” he says to the tourists, who take photos of him with Israeli flags in the background. Dan Cohen, 49, came from Caracas with his family to vacation in Israel and decided to add the training to his itinerary. While his children play paintball nearby, he and his wife Lili listen attentively to the instructor before a crash course in handling automatic weapons and firing on a balloon stuck to a target. “We came here thinking we were going to do something completely different,” he says, adding they wanted to learn “how to shoot” and “react in a terrorist situation, God forbid”. “But what we really learned is how the soldiers make quick decisions and understand what is wrong and what is right in these situations, and how hard it is to understand”. But some Palestinians say they see the company as another insult. Mohammed Burjieh, a 38-year-old teacher in the neighbouring village of Massara, cut off from Efrat by Israel’s controversial separation wall, accuses Caliber 3 of exploiting fears over “terrorism”. “The settlers who run this company create fear (of Palestinians) among tourists so they spread it when returning to their countries,” he says. Around 25,000 tourists, mainly American, but also Chinese, Canadian and South Americans, participated in the training last year, according to the firm. Another instructor, Yoav Fleishman, wearing a black t-shirt emblazoned with the words “Combat Instructor”, says “we are explaining to tourists the difficulties of this war, which is very different from classic warfare”. After the tourists complete the two-hour training, Cohen provides an assessment, but also a message. “We must protect civilians while keeping our moral values,” he says to applause.

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