News Flash – 18 September 2018

National News



Man held for abusing Female Security Guard who stalls entry to maternity ward



Mumbai: Agripada police arrested a 25-year-old man for allegedly abusing, threatening a female guard posted outside the maternity ward of BYL Nair Hospital on Sunday evening. Muzammil Dhanas had come from Mumbra for his wife’s delivery. Assistant inspector Yasmin Mulla said, “Dhanas’s wife was admitted to the maternity ward. It was doctors’ visiting hours and cleaning was on. The patients’ relatives were told to wait outside. Dhanas, who had gone to get medicines for his wife, returned and wanted to enter the ward”. When BMC-appointed guard, Meena Raut stopped Dhanas, he got furious and smashed the glass door, police said. “He abused Raut and the glass pieces caused abrasions on Dhansa and Raut’s faces. He threatened to beat up Raut. By then, other guards and hospital staff gathered and police were called in. We are questioning the accused,” said an officer. He was booked for outraging the modesty of a woman, creating obstacles in discharging the duty of a government servant and criminal intimidation. He was also booked for mischief causing damage to public property under Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act. Two years back, guards had been deployed when there were cases of assault on doctors by patients’ relatives.



Blast at Dombivli Pharma unit



Dombivli: Around half a dozen workers had a narrow escape as a huge explosion took place in a pharma company in phase 2 of Dombivli MIDC area around 2 am on Monday. Window grilles of five to six nearby buildings were damaged due to the impact of the explosion. The police said prima facie it seems the blast happened in the reactor of the firm during maintenance work due to increase in air pressure increase. “However, we are waiting for the report of the Industrial Safety Inspector, who visited the spot, to know the exact cause of the explosion,” a police officer said. D G Khairnar, fire officer from Dombivli fire station, said, “Five to six employees were working in different departments of the unit when the explosion took place. The staffer working in the reactor unit had gone to another department when the explosion took place, so he also escaped”. The late night explosion had caused worry among the people living in the nearby areas. Rajesh Jadhav, a resident said, “A huge explosion jolted us out of our sleep. We are worried about our safety due to the hazardous companies”.



ATM frauds trap retired IPS, steal Rs. 80,000 from account



New Delhi: A retired IPS officer of Delhi Police became the latest victim of an ATM fraud after he discovered that Rs 80,000 was debited from his account on Thursday night. A preliminary probe has indicated that someone used a skimmer device to clone the retired cop’s debit card and then carried out fraudulent transactions. DCP (south) Vijay Kumar said a case was registered under IPC Section 420 (cheating). According to the police, the 1985 batch IPS officer, who had recently retired as the joint CP (traffic), discovered two fraudulent transactions worth Rs 40,000 each from his account on Friday morning. “Even though both my cards are with me, I found two messages of cash withdrawal from my account. Upon checking, the transactions were made from an ATM located near AIIMS by someone,” the retired officer told cops. Investigating officers said that the transactions were carried out using a clone of the original card. The miscreants might have used a skimmer device at some place where the card was swiped and its data was copied. CCTV footage from the ATM is being scanned to ascertain the identity of the robbers.



106 Dengue, 30 Malaria cases in a week



New Delhi: There has been a sudden spike in mosquito-borne diseases in the city. Of the total 243 dengue cases reported this season, 106 were reported during the last one week. According to the report issued by the corporations, 106 new cases of dengue, 30 cases of malaria and 13 cases of chikungunya were reported in Delhi’s hospitals last week. Municipal officials, however, argue that a large chunk of these cases are of people who acquired the infection in other states and have arrived in Delhi for treatment. “Out of 106 cases, only 30 have been reported from areas falling under the jurisdiction of three corporations while remaining cases are of infections acquired from other states,” an official said. A report from the public health department also highlights the sudden spike in such cases found in houses.



It’s that sinking feeling: Sudden rain triggers Water Logging & Traffic


Hyderabad: Moderate rains lashed parts of the city on Monday, resulting in waterlogging and traffic snarls in areas such as Madhapur, Begumpet and Somajiguda, especially during the morning hours. However, the sudden downpour came as a respite for citizens with the maximum temperature dropping from 33.7 degree Celsius on Sunday to 31.7 degree Celsius on Monday evening. According to the Telangana State Development Planning Society, Madhapur received the highest rainfall of 28.8mm followed by Begumpet at 26mm, Srinagar Colony 17.5mm and Khairtabad 16.3mm. Areas that received light rainfall include Maitrivanam, Bandlaguda, Asifnagar, Balanagar, Asmangad, Mondamarket, Malkajgiri, Jubilee Hills, Nampally, Musheerabad and BHEL. Isolated areas received rain at a time when the southwest monsoon has remained weak across Telangana. In fact, the city figures among 13 districts to have registered deficient seasonal rainfall. According to the weather report issued on Monday by the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD), Hyderabad, the city has received 27% deficient rainfall between June 1to September 16. During the same period last year, the city received 24% excess rainfall. Weathermen predicted that the southwest monsoon may revive after September 19 with the formation of a low pressure over the Bay of Bengal in the next 24 hours. “It is likely to concentrate into a depression and move west northwestwards towards north Andhra Pradesh-south Odisha coasts during the subsequent 48 hours,” said the IMD weather report.



Dengue sting claims 2nd victim, but hygiene sinks


Hyderabad: A 51-year-old woman died of dengue, on Monday, while undergoing treatment at a city hospital. According to official sources, this is the second dengue death reported from Hyderabad this season. In Telangana, the toll stands at an estimated 11. Shahnaaz Begum, a resident of Pahadisharif, developed fever on September 14. While she was initially admitted to a nearby hospital, she was moved to a corporate facility the following day, after medical reports confirmed dengue. “Within 36 hours of being shifted to the corporate hospital, she succumbed to her illness,” said a relative, Mohammed Anwar expressing concern over the deteriorating health conditions of people from the area. Elected representatives from Jalpally municipality, which Pahadisharif is a part of, claimed that the situation was much the same in other areas of the municipality. “The growing mosquito menace fueled by the poor sanitary standards has put at risk the lives of residents living in places such as Shaheen Nagar, Pahadisharif, Errakunta, Wadie-Mustafa, Balapur, Sri Ram Colony, among others. While officials have been repeatedly requested to take up fogging within the municipality, there’s been no respite so far,” said MPTC, Shaik Afzal.



200 firemen battle for over 48hrs to tame Bagri flames


Kolkata: Tired firemen fought a cat-and-mouse game with the blaze at Bagri Market through Monday, their failure to tame it 48 hours after it started putting a question mark on the building’s structural stability and stretching the estimated loss for traders upwards of Rs 200 crore. A combination of factors, including the stockpiled inflammable materials and the blocked access to several corners of the six-decade-old building, meant that the flames stayed a step ahead of frustrated fire-fighters. It also started evoking unflattering comparisons with the 2008 Nandaram Market fire, which took more than a hundred hours to tame. The first signs of tentative success came only around 10.30 pm on Monday as, for the first time since the blaze started, firefighters noticed white smoke coming out of the rubble. “The change of the colour of smoke — from black to white — indicates that the fire may have run its course,” a fire official said. But that was the first good omen after two frustrating days. The fire, which engulfed the first four floors of the market till Sunday night, spread to the top two floors on Monday — often appearing to have a mind of its own — even as 200-odd firemen battled on with reinforcements from Kolkata Police, the civil defence and the Disaster Management Group.


“We had doused the fire till the third floor by 3 am on Monday. But, around 5 am, fresh flames leapt out from the floors above as new pockets of fire emerged, both in the rear and on the sides,” a fireman said. Fire billowed out of a fourth-floor window facing Canning Street and, after firemen struggled to control the flame for an hour, another flame emerged from a window facing Chitpur. Again, just as they thought that they had the fire under control after battling it for 90 more minutes, fresh flames were spotted at another section facing Canning Street. This was repeated in the evening as the fire, apparently under control after a three-hour battle from 5 pm, re-emerged in the form of fresh flames around 8 pm. A combination of factors acted as hurdles throughout the day. There were intermittent phases when fire-fighters had to wait for water as the fire-tenders were caught in traffic in the congested alleys of Burrabazar as they fetched water from Laldighi at BBD Bag and the Hooghly at Mullickghat.



Also hindering the fight were the market’s heavily compartmentalized floors. “The partition wall between shops at Bagri Market are thin and don’t provide enough insulation from the heat that radiates from the source of the fire. This means materials stored in a shop adjacent to the one on fire may not catch fire, but goods stocked two-three shops away, which are more inflammable, may do so. This causes the fire to jump and leads to its rapid and unpredictable spread,” said a fire official. Mayor and state fire minister Sovan Chatterjee blamed the obstinacy of the fire on the inflammables — perfumes, deodorants and chemicals — stocked inside. He also pointed out that the narrow corridors and stairways blocked with goods made fire-fighting difficult. But the losses mounted with the unsuccessful hours and, by Monday evening, traders estimated that goods worth more than Rs 200 crore had gone up in smoke. Kapuria Medical Agency proprietor Soma Kapuria was one of those who watched their money being devoured by the flames. “I watched the fire climb from one floor to the next, gutting everything in its path.


I don’t know how we will survive this tragedy,” she said, slumped outside 3 Amartala Lane, another market that had been gutted in a fire last year. State Forensic Science Laboratories officials visited the site around 2.30 p.m. and warned cops to not to allow too many traders to go to the fourth and fifth floors at the same time. “The vibrations and the pressure of people walking on the already-crumbling floors may lead to a collapse. We have asked cops to not to allow too many people at a time on the upper floors,” said a forensic official. Times View: Fighting fires, at the best of times, is a difficult task. At places like Bagri Market, where there are hurdles at every step, dousing a fire quickly is an improbable task. The fire brigade must focus on these hurdles its personnel have faced at Bagri Market and take corrective action at other similar establishments.



International News



Airport of the future, manned by non-humans

ITS OWN MASTER: A Driveless Cargo Document Delivery vehicle (CADDY) operates during a test drive at the Changi Airfreight Terminal in Singapore.



Singapore: Imagine landing at a major airport and the only human official you meet on your way through the terminal is a customs officer. Singapore’s Changi Airport, voted the world’s best for the past six years by Skytrax, is pursuing that goal of extensive automation with such vigour that it built an entire terminal to help test the airport bots of the future. Here’s an idea of what Asia’s second-busiest international airport is implementing. As a plane joins the long line to land, it’s detected, identified and monitored by an array of cameras and technology that bypass the traditional control tower. Once at the gate, a laser-guided aerobridge positions itself to let passengers disembark, while automated vehicles below unload baggage, dodging others that are delivering robot-packed meals or processing cargo. The passengers head to automated immigration turnstiles that face-scan and thumb-print them, then head to collect their luggage, which baggage bots have already delivered to the carousel. Under the gaze of an actual human — the steely eyed customs official — they head out to queue for a driverless taxi.


Changi opened its Terminal 4 last October partly with the idea of using its smallest and newest facility to test and develop automation. The goal is to have it all working for its gigantic Terminal 5, a monster building that would be able to handle 50 million passengers a year when it opens at the end of the next decade. “Airports are getting bigger and bigger and need to process higher and higher volumes of passengers,” said Jeffrey Lowe, managing director at Asian Sky Group in Hong Kong. “Given the need to provide quick and efficient — seamless — service to passengers, automation is the only way to do this on a large scale”. Singapore has plenty of reasons to embrace airport bots. The city-state has a limited domestic talent pool that is aging and increasingly unwilling to do manual jobs like baggage handling or packing food trays. It also needs to keep improving Changi to stay ahead of competition from neighbors that are upgrading and extending their own airports. Including services such as maintenance, cargo and other related services, Changi and related aviation businesses and services employ some 21,000 people, contributing about 3% of GDP. So the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and government-controlled companies are banding together to automate.



Germany Rolls out World’s 1st Hydrogen Train


Germany: In a breakthrough for a green fuel, two hydrogen-powered trains went into commercial service on Monday on a rail line in northern Germany near Hamburg. The trains, which will serve cities including Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven, will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells that generate electricity through a chemical reaction. The trains are being promoted as a cheaper alternative to stringing wires on rail lines that are not electrified. Hydrogen-powered vehicles produce no emissions of carbon dioxide, which is blamed for climate change, or other pollutants. The trains were made by Alstom, a French firm that has received extensive state support for developing them.

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