News Flash – 18 September 2019

National News



Heavy Rain Likely Today, Red Alert for Tomorrow

People returning home from work are caught in the showers at Flora Fountain.



Mumbai: Mumbai and Thane will have to brace themselves for yet another spell of ‘extremely heavy rain at isolated places’ as the IMD has issued a ‘red’ alert warning for Thursday. For Wednesday, there is a ‘yellow’ alert, indicating ‘heavy rains at isolated places’. Weathermen said the westward movement of a low pressure is likely to bring significant rain for the city. Nitha Sasidharan, a scientist from IMD Mumbai, said the warnings issued are based on the present weather conditions. “In view of the formation of a low pressure area over the west central Bay of Bengal and adjoining areas of coastal Andhra Pradesh during next 24 hours and its likely westward movement, parts of Maharashtra, including Mumbai, are very likely to witness active monsoon conditions with enhanced rainfall activity,” she said adding that they may update the forecast, if required. The IMD also updated its heavy rain forecast to ‘red’ alert in Madhya Maharashtra Ghats for Wednesday, and the Konkan region for Thursday. On Tuesday, heavy to moderate rain inundated parts of Bhiwandi, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai, Panvel and Dombivli resulting in traffic jams at several spots including Kalyan-Bhiwandi Road near Kalyan phata, in Nadi Naka bridge area and Khambalpada in Kalyan, Sion-Panvel Highway, Uran Road and Turbhe-Nerul service road adjoining Juinagar station.



While Navi Mumbai recorded an average 54mm rainfall between 8.30am and 5.30pm, Thane received an average 27.4mm rainfall. In Mumbai, the IMD Colaba observatory recorded 18.6mm rainfall in the 12-hour period ending 8.30pm, and the IMD Santacruz observatory recorded 3.4mm. The month of September, so far, has witnessed very intense rain activity, recording 913.9mm rainfall till Tuesday. The all-time highest September rainfall—920mm—was recorded in 1954. The IMD Santacruz observatory is 6.1mm short of breaching the all-time highest September rain of 920mm. The total rainfall recorded this monsoon season so far by the IMD Santacruz observatory is 3467.6mm—1391.7mm above normal. The IMD Colaba observatory has recorded a total 2399.8mm rainfall this monsoon—503.4 mm above normal—so far. The IMD has also issued warnings to fisherman and advised them not to venture into the sea on Wednesday and Thursday. “Strong winds with a speed reaching 40-50kmph are likely to prevail over western parts of west central and southwest Arabian sea during the next three days (September 17-19) and therefore, a warning for fishermen has been issued,” said a weather official.



50-Year-Old Bridge in Dahanu Collapses Due to Heavy Rains

The bridge had developed cracks since Sunday, when the taluka received over 216 mm rainfall.



Mumbai: A portion of a 50-year-old bridge connecting several villages in Dahanu and leading to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad national highway collapsed on Monday following heavy rain. There were no casualties. Road traffic was affected in Dhundalwadi and Ambesari villages of Dahanu after the two-lane bridge in Baripada village collapsed around 4.30 pm. The taluka has been receiving heavy rainfall since Sunday. The bridge also joins neighbouring Umbergaon and Sanjan villages in Gujarat. Government officials reached the spot and cordoned off the area. Locals said a new bridge has been proposed a few years ago, but it is yet to see the light of the day. State Public Works Department (PWD) officials said cracks had developed on the bridge since Sunday when the taluka received over 216 mm rainfall. All traffic, both vehicular and public, had been stopped from plying on the bridge since Sunday morning. The bridge connects to Dhundalwadi village which is the epicenter of the tremors Palghar district has been experiencing since November 2018. District officials said they were ascertaining if the bridge had weakened due to the tremors. PWD officials on Tuesday inspected the road connecting the bridge. However, heavy rains hampered work, said officials. PWD officials said work on a new bridge would be undertaken post monsoon. Villagers said work on the new bridge should be taken up on a war footing as vehicles are forced to use the narrow and uneven village roads to get to the highway.



International News



Taliban Attacks Kill 48, Close Shave for Afghan President as Bomber Targets Rally

Afghan security forces guard the site of a suicide attack near the US Embassy in Kabul on Tuesday.



Kabul: Taliban suicide bombers killed 48 people in two separate attacks in Afghanistan on Tuesday, the deadliest taking place near an election rally by President Ashraf Ghani, though he was unhurt. The attacks happened 11 days before Afghanistan’s presidential election, which Taliban commanders have vowed to violently disrupt, and follow collapsed peace talks between the United States and the insurgent group. Ghani, who is seeking a second five-year term in voting on September 28, was due to address a rally in Charikar, the capital of central Parwan province, when a suicide bomber attacked the gathering. The blast killed 26 people and wounded 42, said Nasrat Rahimi, spokesman for the interior ministry. “When the people were entering the police camp, an old man riding a motorcycle arrived on the highway and detonated his explosives, causing casualties,” said Parwan province’s police chief Mohammad Mahfooz Walizada. In the wake of the attack, bodies littered the dusty ground as smoke rose from the site of the explosion, a giant blue billboard bearing the face of Ghani’s running mate Amrullah Saleh looming over the scene. With sirens wailing, rescuers rushed to lift the wounded into the backs of pick-up trucks for evacuation. “Women and children are among them and most of the victims seem to be the civilians,” said Abdul Qasim Sangin, head of Parwan’s provincial hospital. The president was nearby but unharmed, and later took to Twitter to condemn the bombing at the rally. “Taliban tried to break this unity by targeting innocent civilians,” he wrote. “They shamelessly accepted responsibility at a time when they’re cloaking acts of terror as efforts for peace.



In a separate incident, a man on foot blew himself up in the centre of Kabul, sending ambulances and Afghan forces rushing to the blast site. “I was waiting at the entrance of the recruitment centre,” said Mustafa Ghiasi, lying on a hospital bed after being wounded in the explosion. “I was behind two men in line when suddenly the blast struck”. Twenty-two people were killed, and 38 were wounded, said Rahimi, the interior ministry spokesman. Most of the dead were civilians, including women and children, though six were security force members. The Taliban said it carried out the two attacks, and a statement issued by a spokesman for the insurgents said they were aimed at security forces. “People were given warning,” the statement said. “Do not take part in the puppet administration’s election rallies, because all such gatherings are our military target,” said the statement. “If, despite the warning, someone get hurt, they themselves are to blame”. Addressing the Kabul attack, Afghanistan’s president lashed out at the Taliban as the “coward enemy” for targeting civilians. “I offer my heartfelt condolences to victims of today’s tragedies in Kabul and Parwan and pray for speedy recovery of those who were wounded,” Ghani wrote on his official Twitter account. “We stand united in this hour of grief”. Pakistan, which denies accusations that it shelters the Taliban, also condemned the attack. “We offer our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families,” it said in a statement. Security at rallies across the country has been tight following threats by the Taliban to attack meetings and polling stations. The group has vowed to intensify clashes with Afghan and foreign forces to dissuade people from voting in the upcoming elections.

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