News Flash – 20 June 2017

National News



Island city RTO to go cashless soon


MUMBAI: The island city RTO has appealed to citizens to go “completely cashless” from Monday, when it comes to applying for a learner’s and permanent driving licence, renewal of licence, duplicate licence and international driving licence. “As far as possible, applicants should make online fee payments when uploading documents and proof of identity/residence. This can be done through net banking, credit/debit cards and other online payment processes,” said regional transport officer (Tardeo) Govind Saindane. “If there are hiccups in making online payments, we will still have a standby offline counter to accept cash,” he said. Sources said the transport department wants to encourage maximum citizens to go cashless while applying for licences and also new vehicle registrations at RTOs across the state. “If we stop accepting cash at counters, it will reduce the burden at RTOs, which are short-staffed,” said a senior official. It will also reduce work of issuing close to 1,000 payment receipts at RTOs daily.


For those unfamiliar with the online process, especially for e-payments, the government has provided e-governance centres, where you can seek assistance for RTO-related work. The centres will help you pay fees and book appointments by uploading documents. All this comes for a convenience fee of only Rs 20. There are 216 such e-governance centres in Mumbai metropolitan region. Saindane said, “The online system, including fee payments, will definitely keep touts at bay.” He said people, instead of going to touts, should apply on their own from home or office. “The government has introduced upgraded versions of Sarathi 4.0 (mainly for learner’s and permanent driving licences) and Vahan 4.0 (car registrations, renewals and paying taxes online) which will make it easier to apply for any RTO-related work,” he said. Sources said touts charge Rs 200-500 for licence-related work but at an e-governance centre, you have to pay only Rs 20. A government-approved official will help you feed data into the computer, upload proof/documents, pay fees (online transaction) and give you an appointment receipt for a learner’s licence. Similarly, the official will also help you operate the Vahan 4.0 software for transfer of vehicle or change in ownership.



Fuel tanker overturns in Delhi, huge traffic jam on Ring Road


NEW DELHI: A petrol tanker overturned near the Moolchand underpass on Tuesday morning causing injuries to two people and leading to a huge traffic jam. The tanker was carrying 20,000 litres of petrol, a lot of which spilled on the road after it overturned. Efforts are underway to clear the tanker from the road and traffic police are on the scene to clear the snarls.



More than 21,000 women went missing in Karnataka from 2014-17



BENGALURU: In 2014, as many as 5,989 women were reported missing across Karnataka. The number climbed to 6,316 in 2016. A total of 21,053 women have gone missing between 2014 and May 31, 2017, of whom 17,777 have been traced so far. Senior police officials say many of these women may have left home willingly. In some cases, they may have been kidnapped for reasons like personal rivalry or family-related issues. The others, police say, could have fallen prey to human trafficking rackets. The figures were recently revealed by home minister (in-charge) G Parameshwara in the legislative assembly. “What is really worrying is the number of women who unknowingly become the targets of miscreants. Women from a poor financial background are easy prey as culprits lure them with job offers,” police sources said.


The concern was discussed during the ongoing assembly session, and the government claimed it had established nine anti-human trafficking units across the state. “They have been set up in Bengaluru, Hubballi-Dharwad, Mysuru, Belagavi, Mangaluru, Dakshina Kannada, Raichur, Kalaburagi, Davanagere and Vijayapura. Officials working in these units have been trained to collaborate with local police stations,” Parameshwara said. However, experts say there’s a lack of communication between the nine units and local police stations. “As soon a woman’s missing complaint is filed in a police station, her details along with a photograph are forwarded to all stations across the state and to the nine units. Due to lack of internet knowledge and other technology-related problems, officials at the anti-human trafficking units find it difficult to trace the victims. That’s why many cases remain unsolved,” a senior police officer said.



Met presses alert for heavy rain in most parts of state



Hyderabad: While the average rainfall recorded across Hyderabad on Sunday night stood at 2.4 millimetres, certain parts of the city witnessed significantly heavier showers, with many registering rainfalls of up to 40 mm. According to officials from the local India Meteorological Department (IMD) office, the city will continue to receive heavy showers over the next 24 hours. In a warning issued on Monday, the department said: “Heavy rain is very likely to occur at isolated places in all districts of Telangana for next 24 hours”. Apart from the monsoon effect, officials from the Met department said it is also the trough extending along the east coast and supplying moisture laden air that is leading to the regular bouts of rainfall. “Humid winds from the Bay of Bengal are blowing over the region and are accelerating the formation of rain-bearing or cumulonimbus clouds in the city. That is the reason Hyderabad is witnessing these showers,” said Mahesh Palawat, chief meteorologist with Skymet, a private weather forecasting unit. He predicted that the weather will continue to remain pleasant but humid across the city even as the mercury levels take a southward turn. On Monday, the maximum temperature in the city slipped to 27.2 degree Celsius.



Ghost of Vardah still haunts Chennai

The cyclone uprooted most of the trees in a mango grove at Ekkattuthangal. The corporation is yet to remove the debris.


CHENNAI: Enthusiasts of the paranormal believe – against all scientific reason to the contrary – that natural calamities synonymous with death, like the 2011 tsunami that struck Japan and Hurricane Katrina that devastated the US Gulf Coast from Florida to Texas in 2005, leave in their wake an inexplicable rise in supernatural occurrences. More than six months after Cyclone Vardah’s violent gale winds pounded the city at speeds of up to 90kmph, uprooting more than 1.5 lakh trees, snapping cables and tossing aside temporary structures, Chennai has been left with some ghosts of its own. The spectres of Vardah, which struck the city on December 12, 2016, however, no fragments of the imagination: they are palpable and as unwelcome as they are widespread. The felled trees that the corporation is yet to clear and traffic lights that remain on the blink are a nuisance, residents say. Tucked away in Ekkattuthangal, for instance, is a mango grove and park that once had dozens of trees. The cyclone uprooted most of the trees but the corporation is yet to remove the debris. This upsets people who frequented the grove for a morning walk.


“The grove doubled up as a park for children and older people like me would come here for a walk,” Ekkattuthangal resident Gokul N said. “Now there’s nothing but fallen trees and debris”. Corporation officials said the grove is under the purview of Defence Colony authorities and clearing up the place is their responsibility. The grove may be mostly out of public gaze, but the damage at MRTS stations in Triplicane, Chepauk and Indira Nagar, near the IT corridor, is an eyesore. “My friends visited Chennai recently and were shocked at the state of the MRTS station,” said B Gautham, who frequently uses MRTS trains. Senior officials said the Railway Board has sanctioned funds to repair damage to the stations. Several traffic signals have been dysfunctional after Vardah struck the city. “Some of the signals out of order since December are in busy spots, like near the DGP’s office on Kamarajar Salai and on Whites Road,” said Sridhar S, who uses a motorcycle to get to work.



488 malaria cases in 17 days of June



AHMEDABAD: At a time when the civic body and the state government have intensified their efforts to destroy mosquito breeding sites and curb spread of vector-borne infections, malaria cases appear to be on the rise. According to data of the civic body, the city registered 488 cases of malaria in the first 17 days of June. AMC health officials have also confirmed that they have received complaints of polluted water supply from at least 10 areas in the city. The weekly health report of Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) states that six more cases of vector-borne infections including four cases of dengue and one each of chikungunya and falciparum malaria were also registered during this period. “While there are fresh cases reported in the past week, a large chunk of cases is still those of recurring infections,” said Bhavin Solanki, in-charge medical officer, health, AMC. In fact, 2,743 cases of malaria were reported from January to June this year in the city. Six cases of cholera were also reported this month. These cases were reported from Navrangpura, Khadia, Dariyapur, Maktampura and Amraiwadi wards, according to AMC data. A 55-year-old man succumbed to swine flu infection in Ahmedabad on Saturday. Civic body officials confirmed the death on Monday. The man was a resident of Sardarnagar and had been admitted to Civil Hospital, Asarwa, where he died of swine flu.



International News



Shootings kill or injure 19 US children each day: Study



CHICAGO: Shootings kill or injure at least 19 US children each day, with boys, teenagers and blacks most at risk, according to a government study that paints a bleak portrait of persistent violence. The analysis of 2002-14 US data is billed as the most comprehensive study on the topic. While it mostly confirms previously released information, it underscores why researchers view gun violence as a public health crisis. The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention involves children and teens through age 17. It was compiled by analyzing death certificates and emergency room reports. Among the findings published Monday in the journal Pediatrics: The yearly toll is nearly 1,300 deaths and almost 6,000 nonfatal gunshot wounds most of them intentional. Most deaths result from homicides and suicides, while assaults caused most of the nonfatal injuries. The annual death rate is nearly 2 out of 100,000 children the rate is double for blacks while nonfatal gunshot wounds injure almost 8 out of 100,000 kids each year.


Suicides increased from 2007-14, from 325 to 532. The suicide rate increased 60 per cent over those years to 1.6 per 100,000. One-third of these kids were depressed and most had experienced a recent crisis, including relationship breakups and problems at school. Homicides fell from 2007-14, from 1,038 to 699, the rate dropping by 36 percent to less than 1 per 100,000. Most unintentional deaths resulted from playing with guns and unintentionally pulling the trigger. Most victims were bystanders although among kids up to age 10 in this group, more than 40 per cent accidentally shot themselves. The report notes that unintentional shooting deaths may be significantly underreported, which was highlighted in a report by The Associated Press and USA TODAY Network. The news organizations found during the first six months of 2016, minors died from accidental shootings at their own hands, or at the hands of other children or adults at a pace of one every other day, far more than limited federal statistics indicate.



Presumed death toll in London tower blaze rises to 79


LONDON: London police said 79 people were dead or missing presumed dead after a devastating tower block blaze last week. London Police Commander Stuart Cundy said the toll from the Grenfell Tower blaze could still change but probably not as much as it had in recent days. He also said that five people who were reported missing had now been found safe and well.



Paris attack driver dead, arms recovered from car: Reports

Criminal police inspect the body of a suspect at the scene of an incident in which a car rammed a gendarmerie van on the Champs-Elysees Avenue in Paris.



PARIS: France’s interior minister has said that a driver who rammed a car carrying explosives into a police convoy on the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris has died after the ‘attempted attack’ on security forces. Agencies report that firearms like Kalashnikov, handguns, and gas bottles were found in the car. Interior minister Gerard Collomb told reporters near the scene Monday that the man’s motives weren’t immediately clear. But French police said, the 31-year-old man from Paris suburb had been flagged for extremism. Bomb squad officers are at the scene on the city’s most famous avenue, which is popular with tourists. It was the second major incident on the avenue this year. An attacker defending the Islamic State group shot and killed a police officer on the Champs-Elysees in April, days before a presidential election, prompting an extensive security operation. Collomb said the attempted attack on security forces on the Champs-Elysees shows the threat is still very high in the country and justifies the state of emergency. He said he will present a bill Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting to extend the state of emergency from July 15, its current expiration date, until Nov. 1. He says the current situation in France shows a new security law ‘is needed’ and the measure would ‘maintain a high security level’ beyond the end of the state of emergency. France has been under a state of emergency since the November 2015 attacks by Islamic extremists in Paris.

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