News Flash – 18 June 2018

National News



Mumbai: Rain, strong winds bring down trees and branches

Colaba received 58mm of rainfall and Santacruz 48.6mm on Sunday till 8.30pm.



MUMBAI: Heavy rain and strong winds on Sunday brought down trees at several locations in the city, disrupting traffic movement. The weather department predicted that one of two parts of the city may witness heavy rainfall on Monday. Colaba received 58mm of rainfall and Santacruz 48.6mm on Sunday till 8.30pm. The BMC’s monitoring devices recorded the highest rainfall at Mulund east (89mm), Mulund west (76m), Powai (76mm) and Bhandup west (75mm). Temporary waterlogging was reported at four spots in the suburbs. There were 21 incidents of trees or branches collapsing, said the BMC’s disaster control room. There were no casualties. At Goregaon, an auto driver had a close shave when a tree fell on his vehicle. “On the Marol-Maroshi road stretch, two trees fell in a span of three hours, creating traffic congestion,” said activist Godfrey Pimenta. Five high-end cars parked near Thane’s Teen Hath Naka were crushed after a tree crashed on them. Officials said no injuries were reported, but 10 firemen and five personnel from the regional disaster management cell took four hours to clear the debris. At Jogeshwari, a person sustained minor injuries after a building’s boundary wall collapsed and damaged many vehicles. Services on all three suburban railway lines were affected due to rains coupled with mega block, inconveniencing commuters. Traffic snarls were reported on Eastern Express Highway and Link Road between Andheri and Kandivli with many people travelling by road due to the mega blocks.



One dead in fire at Borivali high rise



MUMBAI: One person died while another was injured after a fire irrupted in the electric metre box of a 13-storey building in Borivali on Saturday evening. Jaya Ramesh Gharasiya, was declared dead after she was taken to Shatabdi hospital. According to fire brigade officials, around 5.15 pm on Saturday there was fire which erupted in the electric metre box of Dharmkshetra building no.3, Shimpoli Road in Borivali (W). Immediately fire engines, water tankers and one ambulance were rushed to the spot. A fire brigade official, who was present at the site, said that fire started from the electric metre box and the wires started burning thereby releasing thick and toxic smoke. “While the fire was extinguished within a few minutes but the smoke from the fire spread through the duct on the first floor of the high-rise. The entire area was completely smoke logged. Several residents had already managed to escape from the high-rise. However, two women fell unconscious and were rushed to Shatabdi hospital,” said the fire official adding the deceased was a house help. He said that they were informed that she was within one of the flats on the first floor and came out after the fire irrupted and started to spread. According to civic officials, Jaya Ramesh Gharasiya,55 was declared as brought dead at the hospital and while she sustained no burn injuries but there was smoke all over her body. Meanwhile another who was injured in the incident Laxmi Yarola – 35, is in a stable condition.



Rain, preventive measures help blunt dengue, chikungunya scare

Doctors in the districts say frequent fogging and awareness campaigns have also helped keep the number of dengue and chikungunya cases down.



BENGALURU: It is that time of the year when hospitals are usually flooded with cases of dengue and chikungunya, but not this year. Members of the medical fraternity are hailing the rain gods. They say the incessant rain has prevented breeding of mosquitoes and has kept the diseases in check. On June 30, 2017, the state had recorded 2,892 cases of dengue and 413 cases of chikungunya. As on June 12 this year, data from the state health department show only 1,107 dengue cases although there has been a rise in the number of chikungunya cases — 739. The highest number of dengue cases, 313, this year has been reported in BBMP limits, followed by 84 in Dakshina Kannada and 73 in Shivamogga. Dr B G Prakash Kumar, deputy director, National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, says preventive measures launched by local self-governments in conjunction with the health and family welfare department have also made an impact in keeping the number of dengue cases down. “The continuous rain has been a natural remedy for vector-borne diseases,” Prakash said. “There will be cause for worry if the rain is intermittent”. Dr M N Lokesh, chief medical officer, public health, BBMP, concurred, saying, “Unlike last year when it rained intermittently causing water stagnation and consequently helped dengue mosquitoes to breed, this year, continuous rain has prevented breeding”. While the numbers are heartening, TOI found worrying lapses in state health infrastructure, which, if checked, could reduce incidence of disease. For example, there is no facility to conduct dengue tests at primary health centres in many districts; all suspected cases across the state are referred to respective district level hospitals.


In some districts, especially Davanagere, Chitradurga, Haveri and Hubballi, water supply system is a major source of worry. The health department, however, claims dengue testing facility is not required in PHCs as once a test kit is opened it has to be used for 30 patients. “We never have that many patients with symptoms of dengue at any point,” an officer said. “So a blood test is done and the case is referred to the district hospital”. Change water supply hours, In Hubballi, a staff of an urban primary health centre alleges that the major problem is the lack of coordination with the local self-government. With no regular water supply, residents store water in open containers which are potential breeding centres for mosquitoes. “Instead of releasing water for three hours once a fortnight, urban local bodies should release water every week for one hour or 90 minutes,” an officer said. “It will ensure water is not stored for days. This will prevent mosquitoes from breeding and will reduce the incidence of dengue and chikungunya”. Though Dakshina Kannada district recorded 136 cases of dengue and five chikungunya incidences in 2017, no deaths were reported. In 2018, the district recorded 83 cases of dengue till May 31, while no case of chikungunya was reported. Doctors say the department of health and family welfare and hospitals, including private hospitals and medical colleges in the district, are well-prepared to tackle dengue and chikungunya incidences. “We conduct door-to-door visits and create awareness on methods to prevent the spread of diseases,” said Dr Arun Kumar, district vector-borne disease control programme officer. “We frequently fog areas where positive cases are found. The Elisa test facility to diagnose dengue and chikungunya is available in Mangaluru and all PHCs send samples to Mangaluru for confirmation tests”.


The district is also well prepared for platelet transfusions — if needed — with a healthy stock of platelets at the Regional Blood Transformation Centre (RBTC), District Wenlock Hospital, KMC, Fr Muller Medical College, AJ Hospital and Rotary Hospital in Puttur, revealed Dr Sharath Kumar, RBTC in-charge. An RBTC official said: “Platelets last only for five days. Every alternative day, we hold camps to collect them and the emphasis is a little more intense this month since we generally expect the number of dengue cases to rise during the rainy season. We are fully prepared to conduct platelet transfusions in the district. Platelet transfusion is required if the patient shows symptoms of hemorrhagic shock and if the platelet count falls below 10,000 per microliter of blood. More than 90% of dengue patients do not require platelet transfusion”. Mysuru district has recorded only 13 dengue cases and four chikungunya cases this year. Last year, the district had recorded 231 dengue and 11 chikungunya cases during the corresponding period. “In spite of our best efforts last year, there was an outbreak of vector-borne diseases,” said Dr Chidambara, Mysuru district vector borne diseases control officer. “But this year, our efforts are yielding results and we are ready for any kind of outbreak”. (Inputs from Marx Tejaswi, Mouneshwar Sonnad, Sushilendra Naik, Shrinivasa M and Vinobha KT). While private hospitals are available in every nook and cranny in cities like Bengaluru, it is not the case in rural areas and patients have to depend on primary health centres.


Take the case of Narasimhalu, who resides in Pochavaram village in Telangana, on the Karnataka-Telangana border, for example. Narasimhalu had a severe bout of fever and he visited the PHC at Kunchavaram village in Chincholi taluk. “I had no choice since I would have had to travel 30km to reach a private hospital in Zaheerabad or Chincholi or Tandur,” he told TOI. Konchavaram PHC is the lifeline of around 30 villages and 20 tandas of Telangana and 12 villages and 15 tandas in Karnataka. In Vijayapura, most rural patients prefer to visit clinics nearby should they be struck down by a disease. Paravva, a villager from Muddebihal taluk, says she goes to a private hospital or clinic which is close to her village. Local private doctors say they check the patient, and if they suspect it is a case of dengue or chikungunya they then refer them to government hospitals or big private hospitals for treatment. Although PHCs function in small villages, they lack adequate staff. However, at a PHC run by BBMP in Kamakshipalya, a 35-year-old man with viral fever was very appreciative of the state of affairs. “A doctor is available in the clinic from 9am to 7pm,” he said, adding that he did not have to wait more than 10 minutes to be attended to. “They provide the medicine also. I do not have any insurance, but if I come here, I need not spend any money on treatment”.



Swift alert, CCTV footage nail killer

CCTV footage captured the crime



HYDERABAD: House owner’s timely alert and CCTV on the premises played a crucial role in foiling Mallikarjun Reddy‘s bid to escape after committing the double murder at Chaitanyapuri on Friday night. CCTV footage clearly captured Mallikarjun and his friend Vivek bringing the bodies to the ground floor from the first floor and putting them in the boot of the car. Fearing that someone on the ground floor might observe them, Mallikarjun took all precautions, but he was unaware that all his actions were getting recorded. When house owner Mahesh Reddy reached home on his bike, Mallikarjun’s plan fell flat as he told him that his nephew and niece drank Harpic and they were taking them to hospital. Vivek feigned ignorance about the murder and claimed his friend called him to get a car to shift the children to hospital. Had Mallikarjun’s attempt to hush up the murder was not noticed by the house owner, he would have left for Miryalguda in Vivek’s car to hand over the bodies to his sister and brother-in-law.



Alert neighbours save 96-year-old doctor, others after Rash Behari building fire

A P Dutta outside the building after his rescue.



KOLKATA: A fire reportedly caused due to a short circuit in an electrical meter box at the ground floor garage of a five-storey building on Rash Behari Avenue sparked panic on Sunday morning with residents, including a 96-year-old orthopaedic surgeon, scurrying for safety. The fire, which was later controlled within two hours by two fire tenders, could have been worse for adjacent to the burnt meter box were seven LPG cylinders and a parked car. Worse, just above the meter box was a bar stacked with nearly 500 liquor bottles and more LPG cooking cylinders. Recounting the incident, former professor and head of the orthopaedic surgery department at National Medical College hospital, A P Dutta, said, “Two patients had come to me then. Suddenly, there was smoke all around and we could hardly breathe. People below had started shouting fire and urged all to get down immediately. My patients and the security guard helped me get down the stairs.” The doctor, who uses crutches to walk, said he and his wife Aarti, an octogenarian, were safe but pinned the blame on the first-floor non-residential outlet. “This could have been worse,” Dutta said sitting at his chamber at 78A Rash Behari Avenue later in the day. The complex is home to six families. According to locals, the fire damaged the rear portion of a car parked near the meter box.


Fourth-floor resident Paramjit Singh claimed a similar fire had occurred in February and the residents were assured that the faults were repaired. “Again, there’s a fire today. The building security guard and locals were prompt. We could hear sporadic bursts from the electrical meter box which was in flames. Else it could have been worse.” Fifth-floor resident R K Mahajan claimed, “Seven LPG cylinders kept near the meter box and a few others in the floor above is a clear recipe for disaster. We had flagged this issue earlier but to no avail. Today, we could not breathe in the black smoke. The damage was contained but anything could have happened. Security guard Paresh had to be hospitalised”. Third-floor resident Tarun Das said, “When the fire broke out around 10:15am, everyone was at home. Suddenly, black smoke started bellowing out of the garage meter box. We nearly choked on it and started running down the stairs.” Fire brigade sources said they were examining claims that overloading led to the meter box short circuit and the subsequent fire.



West Bengal: Two killed, 19 injured in bus accident



KOLKATA: Two passengers were killed and at least 19 others were injured as the bus they were travelling in, rammed into a truck coming from the opposite direction in West Bengal‘s Nadia district on Sunday, police said. The accident took place near Nadia’s Fulia town at around 3.30 am when the bus was coming back from the coastal town of Digha to Nadia’s Shantipur. “Two passengers, Kishor Shikdar (32) and Manabendu Chatterjee (58), both residents of North 24 Parganas district, got killed in the bus accident near Fulia on Sunday. 19 others sustained injuries in the accident,” an officer from district police control said. The injured were rushed to a hospital and released after first aid as no one suffered serious injuries, officials said. The drivers of both the vehicles fled from the spot after the accident and a search for them is on, the officer added.



Kitchen fire sparks panic among residents of Ballygunge building

The kitchen of the third-floor flat gutted.



KOLKATA: A fire broke out inside the kitchen of a third-floor flat in a seven-storey building at Ballygunge’s Dover Park on Friday afternoon following a piped gas leak. The Drolia family, which had then gathered in the dining hall for their lunch, managed to rush out of the apartment to safety. A driver and a local priest used fire extinguishers to check the flames from spreading till fire brigade officials reached the spot. According to locals, the building — Maruti Sadan — has 20 flats, including a penthouse on the top floor. The third floor flat 4-B belongs to Vimal Drolia who is a stock broker. His wife, daughter, son-in-law, their relative and two maids were at home when the fire broke out at their 2000 square feet flat. Locals said when one of the domestic helps lighted the stove, fire broke out due to a piped gas leak. All the residents immediately evacuated the apartment and called the firemen. A driver and a local priest also came to their rescue and checked the flames from spreading by using fire extinguishers. Later, firemen arrived and brought the flames under control.


“We were inside the apartment, having our lunch when the fire broke out. We immediately evacuated the apartment and alerted our neighbours. I called the fire brigade and they came in sometime. Luckily, there were no injuries to any of the residents. But we are all very traumatised,” said Tanuj Drolia, a family member. A neighbours said, “I immediately rushed down when I heard about the fire on my floor. Luckily, fire brigade officials took action promptly and the fire could be controlled in time”. Four fire tenders were called, among which three were pressed into service and one was kept on stand-by. “The fire broke out following a gas leakage in the kitchen. It took us about 30 minutes to douse the flames. No one was injured and all the family members and other residents had evacuated the building. The kitchen area and some part of the living room were damaged after the furniture caught fire,” said a fire brigade official.



Flood alert sounded across Noyyal river



TIRUPUR: The Tirupur district administration has issued a flood warning to people living on the banks of Noyyal river. There has been a consistent flow of water in the river since the river’s catchment areas in Coimbatore district have received a good rainfall. More than 250 houses are located along the river banks in many places including Jamunaipallam and Sangilipallam. “Since the water flow was consistent, we wanted to alert people, especially the ones in the low lying areas. “It is common for people to not realise the rise in water level, especially if they return home during night,” a senior revenue department official said. “Nevertheless, the people need not panic because it’s just a precautionary alert. We will keep an eye on the water level and take appropriate action, if needed,” he added It is to be noted that seven persons were washed away when flash floods hit the houses located on Noyyal River banks in 2011.



International News



Elderly man, 9-year-old girl killed as strong quake hits Japan

Passengers from a train walk along railroad tracks following an earthquake in Osaka, Japan.



TOKYO: An elderly man and a young girl were killed, with several other people also in “cardiopulmonary arrest”, after walls collapsed in a 6.1-magnitude earthquake that hit Osaka in western Japan on Monday, public broadcaster NHK said. Japan does not confirm deaths until a formal examination has been made and generally uses the term cardiopulmonary arrest in such cases. NHK said an 80-year-old man and a 9-year-old girl had been killed by collapsing walls. Live footage showed burst water mains and a house on fire after the quake hit Japan’s second-biggest metropolis just before 8am (2300 GMT Sunday) as commuters were heading to work. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government was assessing damage and that its top priority was the safety of residents. The epicentre of the earthquake was in the northern part of the prefecture, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. The agency originally put the quake’s magnitude at 5.9 but later raised it to 6.1. No tsunami warning was issued. Kansai Electric Power said no irregularities had been detected at the Mihama, Takahama and Ohi nuclear plants after the quake. Kansai also said more than 170,000 households were without power in Osaka and neighbouring Hyogo prefecture.


Daihatsu Motor Co, an Osaka-based unit of Toyota Motor Corp , said it had suspended production at its factories in Osaka and Kyoto while they check for damage. Sharp Corp said its directly owned plants in the area were operating as usual, but a joint venture plant with parent Hon Hai Precision Industry said it had halted operations for safety checks. “We were sleeping and it woke us up abruptly,” said Kate Kilpatrick, 19, who was staying in a hotel in Osaka when the quake hit. “It was so terrifying because this is my first earthquake. I thought it was a nightmare because I was so confused. The whole world was aggressively shaking,” she said. Kilpatrick, visiting Japan for the first time from the United States, said alarms went off almost immediately in the hotel and a loudspeaker told guests to stay away from windows. A massive magnitude 9.0 quake hit northeastern Japan on March 11, 2011, triggering a huge tsunami that killed some 18,000 people and triggered the world’s worst nuclear disaster in a quarter of a century at Tokyo Electric Power’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.



Gunmen open fire during arts festival in US; 1 killed, 20 hurt

Police officers arrive at the site of gunfight during the art festival in Trenton, New Jersey, US.



TRENTON (US): An all-night arts and music festival turned deadly on Sunday morning when gunfire erupted in a crowd, sending people stampeding and leaving one suspect dead and 20 people injured, authorities said. Sixteen people were treated for gunshot wounds, said Mercer county prosecutor Angelo Onofri on Sunday. Four of those, including a 13-year-old boy, were in critical condition. Two suspects opened fire around 2.45 am during the Art All Night Trenton festival that showcases local art, music, food and films. One of the suspects, a 33-year-old man, was killed, authorities said. Another suspect is in custody. On Sunday, there was crime scene tape surrounding the site of the old warehouse building that now shares a parking lot with a supermarket, bank and laundry facility. Ernie Rivas has owned a shop near the site of the shooting for 17 years and said he came back from the beach Sunday morning when he heard what happened. “I’ve never seen this happen. It’s bad, I feel bad, especially on Father’s Day,” Rivas said. Theresa Brown said she’s been volunteering at Art All Night for 12 years and has never seen or heard of violence like this. She said she was leaving her volunteer shift around 2 am and heard “pop, pop, pop”. “I thought it was a car backfiring,” she said.



Suicide bomber targets Afghans celebrating truce, killing 10



KABUL (AFGHANISTAN): A suicide bomber struck in Afghanistan‘s eastern city of Jalalabad on Sunday, killing at least 10 people in the second attack in as many days targeting Taliban fighters, security forces and civilians celebrating a holiday cease-fire. Attahullah Khogyani, spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said the attack took place near the governor’s compound. Saturday’s attack, which also took place in Jalalabad, killed at least 36 people and wounded 65, according to Najibullah Kamawal, director of the provincial health department. No one has claimed the attacks, but they appear to be the work of the Islamic State group, which is not included in the cease-fire and has clashed with the Taliban in the past. The local IS affiliate has a strong presence in the province. The bomber on Saturday targeted a gathering of Taliban fighters who were celebrating a three-day truce coinciding with the Eid al-Fitr holiday. After the attack, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani announced a nine-day extension of the cease-fire. There was no immediate word from the Taliban on whether they would observe the extension. The three-day holiday and the cease-fire end Sunday.


The chairman of the High Peace Council, a government body charged with negotiating an end to the nearly 17-year war, called on the Taliban to accept the extended cease-fire and join the peace process. “We hope that the extension of the cease-fire will be announced by the leadership of the Taliban,” Mohammad Karim Khalili told a press conference in the capital, Kabul. He said there had been an “exchange of views” between the government and the Taliban over the past week, without elaborating. The Taliban have steadily expanded their presence in recent years, seizing a number of districts across the country and carrying out near-daily attacks on Afghan security forces. But over the past two days Taliban fighters could be seen celebrating the truce alongside Afghan troops and other people in a number of locations. Taliban leaders have at different times expressed interest in holding peace talks to end the conflict. But they have refused to meet with the U.S.-backed government, saying they will only negotiate with the United States directly. They have also demanded the withdrawal of all foreign forces.

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