News Flash – 2 July 2018

National News



After 4 months, 2 held for stealing cash from ATM’s



Chennai: All it took was a matchstick to disable keypads of old ATM machines, and some practice for two men from Bihar to steal nearly Rs 1 lakh. On Sunday, their four month-long trick ended when police caught them red-handed. Police arrested the two men, identified as J Manohar Kumar and S Munna Kumar, both 26, near Ezhilagam, their primary area of operation. A few months ago, some people lodged a complaint with the Anna Square police station claiming money was being withdrawn from their account, without their knowledge, after they used the SBI ATM on Kamarajar Salai. A police team collected CCTV camera footage from all the ATMs in the area and were on the lookout for suspicious activity. Police realised that the duo was targeting kiosks with two ATMs. Explaining the modus operandi, a police officer said, “They first inserted a match stick near the zero digit on the keypad to disable it. When customers entered the kiosks, the suspects would accompany them.


Since the keypad was disabled the customers would repeatedly enter the PIN, which the two would see and memorise,” he said. They would then suggest the customer shift to the other kiosk. Once the customer left, the duo would remove the matchstick and enable the keypad, enter the PIN and withdraw money before the transaction was timed out. It took three months for police constable M Shankar to zero in on the suspects using the CCTV camera footage. In a similar incident last week, an army man lodged a complaint with the Anna Square police stating Rs 20,000 was withdrawn from the ATM in Ezhilagam. The constable kept a watch and caught the two red-handed. During interrogation they said both of them were graduates from Gaya in Bihar and had learned the keypad disabling tactic online. They confessed to having stolen from other ATMs in Chintadripet.



1 month down & Mumbai has already received 37% of required rainfall



MUMBAI: June was a month of windfall for Mumbai as far as rain is concerned with the city receiving 794mm since the onset of monsoon on June 9. This is way more than the required June rainfall of 523mm. This also means that the city has already received almost 37% of the season’s required rainfall—2,164.8mm. Weathermen attributed the above-normal rainfall to the early monsoon onset this year. Since 2013, monsoon had been missing its June 10 date with the city and had been arriving late. In the 24-hour span between June 24 and 25, the city recorded its second highest rainfall for June in a decade at 231.4mm. This was also the wettest monsoon day of the season so far. In 2015, 283.4mm rainfall was recorded in a 24-hour span on June 19. Ajay Kumar, scientist from IMD Mumbai, said the city and suburbs are likely to witness above-normal rainfall throughout the season. “Heavy rain has been forecast for the coming week for Goa and Konkan, which includes Mumbai. Rain may continue to remain over the region till Thursday,” said Kumar. The city saw a dry weekend with very light rainfall in parts of the city and suburbs. Maximum temperatures were seen hovering around 32-33°C.



Villagers lynch 5 near Nashik on suspicion of child-lifting

Policemen try to reason with the mob incensed by social media posts.



NASHIK/MUMBAI: Social media rumours about child-lifters claimed five more lives on Sunday as a group of men visiting a Dhule village in north Maharashtra were lynched by a mob despite police intervention. Around 5,000 villagers from Dhule’s Rainpada, around 160km from Nashik, were present at the scene on Sunday morning when a mob set upon the visitors on suspicion of them being child-lifters. Rumours about child-lifters operating in the tribal districts of Dhule and nearby Nandurbar have been flying thick and fast in recent days, both on social media and through word of mouth. Dhule police said a crowd at the weekly market began questioning the five men moments after they got off a state transport bus. One of them had reportedly attempted to speak to a child. “The villagers got into an argument with the men when the latter failed to give answers to their satisfaction. They started thrashing the men,” police said. The mob kicked and punched the victims and also hit them with stones and any object they could lay their hands on. A team from Pimpalner police station took the injured men to a gram panchayat office. However, more villagers gathered around the office and broke down the panchayat office’s door, assaulted the police and clobbered the five men to death, sources said. Three policemen were said to be injured in the attack. At least 17 people have been detained for being part of an angry mob that broke open the panchayat office’s door, assaulted the police and then clobbered five nomadic tribesmen to death at Rainpada in Dhule district on suspicion of them being child-lifters. Personnel from the State Reserve Police Force in Dhule were called in to provide back-up. The victims were later taken to the Pimpalner rural hospital, where they were declared dead.


M Ramkumar, superintendent of police (Dhule district), told TOI, “We have detained 17 persons in connection with this case.” The streets of Rainpada are now virtually deserted, with policemen deployed in large numbers to maintain vigil. The victims have been identified as Bharat Bhosale, Rajesh Bhosle, Bharat Malve, Dadarao Bhosale and Appa Ingole. They were members of a nomadic tribe, which primarily makes a living by seeking alms. The community has a large presence in Solapur district. Of the five victims, Dadarao Bhosale, Bharat Bhosale and Bharat Salve hailed from Khave village in Mangalvedha while Ingole hailed from Manewada and Raju Bhosale from a village on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border in Solapur district. Dadarao is survived by his mother, wife and brother, who were also moving around with him, while Ingole was a bachelor and is survived by his mother and brother. Tension was palpable in the villages of the victims after news of the lynching’s spread. Police said another rumour doing the rounds was of a child having gone missing from Davnyapada, a village neighbouring Rainpada. Additional superintendent of police Vivek Pansare, however, clarified no child had gone missing from that village. Police are likely to rope in the cybercrime cell to trace the origin of the post on child abductors on social media.



Fire breaks out at Siri Fort Auditorium



NEW DELHI: A fire broke out on the ground and first floors of the Siri Fort Auditorium on Sunday, a senior officer from the Delhi Fire Service said. A call about the blaze was received at 11:38 am and 15 fire tenders were rushed to the spot, he said. The fire was doused at 12:35 pm, the officer said. No casualties were reported. The cause of fire is yet to be ascertained, he said.



School kids ‘join hands’ with army men to raise awareness about pollution in Hussain Sagar


Hyderabad: The sight of 20 army trucks stationed along the Tank Bund road piqued the curiosity of passersby and walkers on a cloudy Sunday morning. Soon, a horde of jolly school children began to alight from the trucks, all gung ho about the task on hand — to form a human chain around the Hussain Sagar. While there just weren’t enough of them to complete the human chain along the periphery of the lake, the children, along with their teachers and army personnel from EME, did manage to raise awareness about the pollution in the lake. “We got up at 6 in the morning, wore our PT shoes and rushed to the school, from there we came here to make this chain and send a message that we want this lake to be restored to its natural beauty,” said Lovely Tiwari, a student of Army Public School, RK Puram. Isha, a student of APS Bollarum, nods in agreement, saying, “We want to send out a message to the government, that we as future citizens of the country expect the lakes to be cleaned. I’ve heard that there have been a lot of interventions, but what we need is more focus on it”. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Tank Bund, a group of 40 volunteers armed with giant nets retrieved over five tonnes of plastic waste floating near the lake bed at People’s Plaza.


“The government has been investing money on civil engineering projects on the lake — building walkways, cycling tracks, an inlet, an outlet — but nothing is being done to restore its natural balance. These projects only add to the pollutants in the lake,” rues Madhulika Chaudhary, a green activist who works on phytoremediation project on Neknampur lake. Simultaneously, a group of army men cleaned up nearly two tonnes of waste from the lake bed at the Sailing Club. An officer from the Indian Army, who has sailed in the Hussain Sagar on multiple occasions said, “Besides adding to the beauty of the city, a large lake like this has the potential to be a hub for water sports. So the government must focus on improving the quality of lake water so that the sailors, and participants who come in have a good experience. From my time sailing, I have found that a dip in the water can leave a foul smell on. While we as sportsmen are trained to deal with all conditions, the pollution is a big turn off for the tourists”. Public intervention is essential for things to get better reckons Madhulika, saying, “Even today there was a run and people dumped wrappers and bottles right here. People also need to do their bit to curb pollution and garbage disposal”.



Serial thief escapes, held after dropping CCTV cam footage

According to police records, Venkatesan, 42, who has more than 100 cases of burglary against his name in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram.



CHENNAI: The digital video recorder of a surveillance camera, which a burglar accidentally dropped at a doctor’s house he burgled in Kotturpuram, helped police nab him on Saturday. He was arrested after he gave contradictory answers during a vehicle check, to a team formed to nab the suspect found on the CCTV footage. Police recovered a cargo truck that he bought by selling the loot from the Kotturpuram house, and a bike. According to police records, Venkatesan, 42, who has more than 100 cases of burglary against his name in Chennai, Tiruvallur, Kancheepuram, Coimbatore and Madurai, had remained elusive for more than two decades except for once in 2008, when he jumped bail. A native of Theni and believed to be a lorry driver by his neighbours, police said that Venkatesan targeted locked houses and often changed his appearance to avoid arrest. “We couldn’t trace him for so long as he rarely left evidence, including fingerprints, in the crime scenes”. During the vehicle check, the police, noticing his similarity to the suspect they were looking for, asked him why he had tonsured his head, when he confessed to the act and several other burglaries. Venkatesan was remanded in prison. The police have sent his fingerprints to the state crime record bureau (SCRB) to check for his involvement in more burglaries.



International News



Sikh election candidate among 19 dead in Afghan suicide attack

An Afghan victim receives treatments at an hospital following the suicide attack in Jalalabad.



JALALABAD: A suicide bomb attack in a city in eastern Afghanistan where President Ashraf Ghani was visiting killed at least 19 people, including the only Sikh candidate in upcoming legislative elections, officials said Sunday. The attacker struck a market located hundreds of metres from the provincial governor’s compound where Ghani was holding meetings, governor spokesman Attaullah Khogyani told AFP. Of the 19 killed, 17 were Sikhs and Hindus, provincial health director Najibullah Kamawal told AFP. Another 20 people were wounded in the attack. Avtar Singh, the only Sikh candidate running in the October 20 parliamentary and district council elections, was among the dead, an Indian embassy official said. In a statement the embassy condemned the “cowardly terrorist” attack. The attack was claimed by the Islamic State group. There were scenes of anguish at the hospital where grieving relatives wept and hugged each other as they waited for news of their loved ones. “It is over for us, we are finished, they have massacred us, at least 10 of us,” a man told AFP, too upset to give his name. Small communities of Sikhs and Hindus reside in what is otherwise an overwhelmingly Muslim nation. It is not clear if they were the intended target of the attack. Interior ministry spokesman Najib Danish confirmed a suicide bomber carried out the attack — the latest in a series of recent deadly assaults in the restive province. Ghani’s spokesman said the president was still in Nangarhar but was “away from danger”. Ghani arrived in Jalalabad earlier Sunday to open a hospital, part of a two-day visit to the province bordering Pakistan. The attack came a day after Ghani ordered Afghan security forces to resume offensive operations against the Taliban following the expiry of the government’s 18-day ceasefire.


The government’s unilateral truce overlapped with the Taliban’s three-day ceasefire for Eid, but the militants refused to prolong it. The unprecedented ceasefire over the holiday capping Ramadan triggered spontaneous street celebrations involving Taliban fighters, security forces, and war-weary civilians. But it was marred by two suicide attacks in Nangarhar that killed dozens of people and were claimed by IS, which has a smaller but relatively potent presence in Afghanistan. IS was not part of the ceasefire. The attack comes as US envoy Alice Wells visits Kabul as part of efforts to ratchet up pressure on the Taliban to engage in peace talks. The Taliban have so far ignored Ghani’s offer of peace negotiations. Instead, they have insisted on direct talks with the United States, which Washington has repeatedly refused. Wells said that since the Afghan government and United States were willing to start talking without preconditions, the onus was now on the Taliban to respond. “Right now it’s the Taliban leaders… who aren’t residing in Afghanistan, who are the obstacle to a negotiated political settlement,” Wells said in remarks embargoed until Sunday. Wells, who is due to hold talks in Pakistan on Monday, said Islamabad also needed to do more to squeeze the Taliban and get them to the negotiating table. “Pakistan has an important role to play… but we have not yet seen that sustained and decisive action on the part of Islamabad,” she said.



Japan eases North Korea missile alert system: Report



TOKYO: Japan has lowered its military readiness level against North Korean missiles as Washington embarks on delicate nuclear negotiations with Pyongyang, a report said today, citing multiple unnamed sources close to the matter. The report came as Japan finds itself under pressure to soften its hardline stance against Pyongyang following US President Donald Trump‘s landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un last month. Japan’s Self Defense Forces on Friday dropped their programme to always deploy Aegis warships in the Sea of Japan (East Sea) that detect and intercept incoming missiles, the Asahi Shimbun reported. But Japanese forces will remain ready to intercept missiles detected via spy satellite images, the newspaper said. Japanese defense officials told the Asahi that Tokyo was following in the footsteps of the United States, which has already lowered its alert level in the Indo-Pacific region. Japan has also suspended public evacuation drills simulating a North Korean missile attack. Japanese defense ministry officials were not available for immediate comment. Japan has long maintained a tight-lipped stance about its exact defense posture against North Korea, including the locations of the high-tech Aegis vessels.


As concern has grown in Tokyo about Japan being left on the sidelines in the diplomatic negotiations with North Korea, hawkish Prime Minister Shinzo Abe last month said that his government has approached Pyongyang to arrange a summit with Kim. After his own meeting with Kim, Trump unexpectedly announced plans to suspend joint military exercises between the US and South Korea that had previously been seen as a vital measure to contain the North Korean threat. South Korea’s new president Moon Jae-in also favours a softer approach towards Pyongyang and has met Kim twice during the recent remarkable detente on the Korean Peninsula. But the outlook of the North’s denuclearization efforts remain unclear at best, with the Washington Post reporting Saturday that Pyongyang plans to keep some of its nuclear stockpile and production facilities while potentially concealing them from the US.

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