News Flash – 20 November 2018

National News



3 minors drown in trench dug by CR for Panvel station work

The girls and their parents had come to Panvel from Amravati on Monday to make a living here.



Navi Mumbai: Three minor daughters of balloon-seller couple drowned in a trench at a construction site near Panvel station. The family had come from Amravati to Panvel on Monday by train to earn a living. The trench, abutting Panvel station railway tracks, was created by the Central Railway while carrying out platform extension work. Senior inspector Yogesh More said, “The incident occurred on Monday at1.30pm near Panchasheel Nagar at platform number 7 of Panvel railway station. The platform is being extended to facilitate halts for long-distance trains”. The deceased have been identified as Resham (13), Rohita (10) and Pratiksha Bhosale (8). “The family arrived in Panvel and took shelter near the trench where they cooked. In the afternoon, the three girls entered the trench for bathing and drowned. As their parents were not around, they could not be rescued. Prima facie, we have registered an accidental death case”. Central Railway’s senior PRO Anil Kumar Jain said, “The work site area is cordoned with steel sheets and was cut-off from the platform side where work is underway. The kids trespassed into the cordoned area, presumably from the nearby settlements”. On being asked why there was no guard at the site, Jain said, “As the site was fenced with metal sheets from all the sides, there was no access pathway to enter the site. Hence, it was not necessitated to provide a security guard”.



Blaze at illegal Karol Bagh factory kills four


New Delhi: Four workers were charred to death at a clothes ironing workshop at Beadonpura in Karol Bagh after a steam boiler caught fire. The deceased, two men and two women, got trapped due to cloth piles blocking the entrance. The owner has been arrested and booked for culpable homicide. Another worker who tried to save the others suffered severe bur n injuries and is battling for his life. Police said the factory was running illegally on the first floor of a house in the congested Gaffar Market. The fire department was informed about the incident around 12.25pm when workers in an adjacent factory noticed smoke coming out of the first floor. “At first, I noticed smoke and then there was a minor explosion. I could hear women calling out, but their voices died down after the explosion,” said Nanaksar, a tailor in the adjacent factory. Fire officials said though they reached Beadonpura within a few minutes, the congested road forced them to park their vehicles at a distance and they had to use pipes to douse the flames. “We deployed two fire tenders to control the flames. The bodies were discovered during the search operations later,” said chief fire officer Atul Garg. The deceased were identified as Aarti (28), Aasha 38), Ram Naresh (40) and Bagan Prasad (55).


Additional DCP (central) Amit Sharma said the preliminary inquiry has revealed that Ajeet, the injured worker, was pouring a white solvent in a spray machine when it suddenly caught fire. Fire officials suspect that the solvent may have dripped on an exposed wire which led to spreading of the blaze. The solvent usually has petroleum due to which it is highly inflammable. “We have registered a case under IPC Section 304,” Sharma added. The second floor houses another workshop producing buttons. Two families from Bengal stay on the floors above. “Earlier, this area used to be residential colony. However, over the past few year’s illegal factories have cropped up. We complained to the civic authorities and police, but to no avail,” said Parmanand Kumar, a neighbour. Sources said the factory owner, Ajay Khurana, is a resident of Tilak Nagar. He had rented the apartment 20 years ago. He told police that he was present at the factory, but fled when the fire broke out. The bodies of the workers were found in a room at the back of the building from which they had tried to escape, but got asphyxiated due to the smoke.



Dengue stings more: 148 cases in one week



Hyderabad: With 148 cases of dengue reported from across the state in the last one week, the season of the vector-borne disease remains at its peak. As per official records of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme, the number stands at 3,723 cases so far this year, compared to 2,412 during the same period last year. Although the dengue season typically begins in July and continues till November, the numbers come down towards the end of the season. Last year however the season extended till January. Maximum number of cases (over 92%) are being recorded from GHMC limits, said health authorities. “This could be because of residential areas being ‘over crowded’ and not having proper drainage and sanitation systems. Going by the numbers this year, it is likely that dengue season will extend up to February,” said a senior official from the state health department. Moreover, dengue spreading mosquitoes do not necessarily need dirty water but can breed even in clean water which might be stagnated. “Overcrowded areas mean more garbage is dumped and hence more chances for the mosquitoes to breed,” explained Dr Hari Kishan, consultant physician, Apollo hospital Hyderguda adding that at least 15-20 cases are being recorded each week in the hospital alone.



Cops scan Chhath CCTV footage to identify offenders, gather evidence


Kolkata: With a group of environmentalists planning to move court against apparent violation of National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders regarding the protection of Rabindra Sarobar during Chhath Puja, the police have started scanning CCTV images of November 13 from the Lake premises. The cops have already registered six FIRs against unknown persons and arrested one person for using a DJ box. “We are trying to ascertain the identity of the real perpetrators,” claimed a senior officer. The Rabindra Sarobar police have been drawing flak from a section of activists who claimed the cops have done little after drawing up the FIRs. Police said that they have collected enough evidence from videography that shows all arrests were in place. A source said the cops have begun to make their defence ready in case they are dragged to court. “We had written a letter to KMDA raising certain issues. The stampede-like situation could have been avoided if our suggestions were followed. But then none of us had the idea that the children and women would be at the forefront making them susceptible to the situation. Every investigation has its own pace. We will be probing all aspects before arriving at any conclusion,” a source at Lalbazar said.


Police said that local inputs on the identity of the leaders are still being collected. In one of the FIRs, police have explained at length what transpired to thousands of devotees literally taking control of the Lake on Tuesday evening. “In the morning, we ensured that no one contravened the NGT orders. As the sun was about to set, we found crowds assembling close to the gates. We made public announcements to desist them from performing any rituals and offered to take them to an alternative site in a bus. A few obliged. However, others pointed out that it was almost time for the sun to set and soon, a mob began to push, shove and jostle forward,” said an officer. Some women and kids who were at the forefront fell on the approach road and one of them even twisted her ankle. “As we rushed towards the woman to rescue her, others pushed us to move forward. We could not use force considering the sensitive nature of the gathering and we took the decision based on ground conditions,” said an officer, adding that the FIR is also based on the same parameters.



Man buys tickets to enter Airport & Steal


Kolkata: His modus operandi was simple buy the cheapest air ticket, pose as a regular flier, queue up at the busiest line inside the terminal and steal items from fellow passengers before changing the shirt and boarding a flight or cancelling the same to leave the terminal. Sajid Hussain (45), a resident of Madhupur in Jharkhand, who was arrested from the Kolkata airport on Sunday for stealing a purse with earrings, a gold chain and Rs 3,500 in cash from a passenger heading to Kochi, had been stealing valuables from fliers at Kolkata and Patna airports for the past several months, police have come to know during investigation. “He is a habitual offender. We have found CCTV footage where he is seen picking up a purse from the bag of a woman passenger on November 5. We have found evidence that he had also robbed fliers at Patna airport in a similar manner. We are questioning him further to find out if he has any associate. We also want to know if he had operated in any other airport,” said a senior officer of Bidhannagar Commissionerates. On Sunday, Kochi-bound flier Beenu Jacob, who had queued up for web check-in before a kiosk near Gate 2, complained of a missing wallet at the airport manager’s office around 7.30am. The intelligence wing of Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) was immediately alerted who began scanning the CCTV cameras installed near the kiosk but didn’t find anything suspicious as the gadgets kept on rotating for a wider coverage.


“However, our team was at work and they later found in a CCTV footage that he was standing behind the complainant in the queue. But, we couldn’t spot him. Sometime later, a trolley staffer found an empty purse and brought it to us. We called the woman and she said it belonged to her,” said an airport official. The CISF officials then started checking the CCTV footage of the place where the purse was found and spotted a man dropping it and then heading inside the washroom. He was found coming out of the washroom in a different shirt. “We spotted the man and detained him for questioning. His replies were not satisfactory. He had a valid ticket to Imphal but he had not even checked in even as his flight was about to leave in an hour. Though he had initially denied any knowledge about the theft, we handed him over to police, who later found the stolen earrings,” said the official. Speaking about his modus operandi, police said, Hussain would buy a cheap refundable flight ticket to gain access to the airport and either get his money back or take a flight after carrying out the thefts. “He would pose as a genuine flier and always used to change his shirt after executing the crime to fool the security personnel,” said an official of NSCBI airport police station. Hossein was produced before a district court on Monday and remanded in police custody. “He used to put up at a place in Howrah. We are interrogating him to get the address,” said the officer.



Fake BPO uses al-Qaida threat to dupe British woman of £3,800


Kolkata: A 96-year-old British woman was reportedly conned out of £3,800 by a gang from Kolkata, which posed as call centre employees and tricked her by saying that al-Qaida had found a way to hack into her system. The crooks told her she would have to pay the amount — nearly Rs 3.5 lakh according to current conversion rates — to digitally protect her documents, which would otherwise be destroyed. Scared, the unsuspecting elderly woman fell into the trap and paid up. It was only when the gang again started to pressure her to pay a second time that she realized it was a con job and took legal action. She also contacted the money transfer agency, which informed her that the money had been transferred to an account in Kolkata. The woman then wrote a detailed mail to the Kolkata Police, who are now looking for the culprits. The past two years have seen the Kolkata Police, Bidhannagar Police and the CID bust at least 12 such fake BPOs. In one case, cops from Germany had to collaborate with the CID, spending three days in this city, to establish evidence against the accused. Police said, though, that this might be the first time that the al-Qaida name had been dropped. “The modus operandi is more or less the same. You have a gang leader with three to 10 employees in such offices. The usual targets are citizens living in the US, Germany, Australia and the UK.


They usually place calls through VOIP applications, like Skype, and tell the targets that their computers have been compromised and that their personal data is on the verge of being hacked or destroyed if immediate action is not taken,” the officer said. Thereafter, they usually offer a “solution” to the target, who is usually anxious by now. “They offer a solution, but, of course, in exchange for a charge that could be anything between $50 to $10,000. As told, the target usually downloads apps, such as ‘Teamviewer’ or ‘Anydesk’ or ‘Supremo’, following which the gang takes control of the system. Then, they arm-twist the target into paying an amount to get the ‘system freed’, making him/ her deposit a ‘service charge’ through money transferring channels, the police said. The police pointed out that the gangs used threats. Sometimes they said that the target’s IT returns would be compromised; at other times, they could well say that a target’s computer might crash owing to a virus “affecting systems worldwide”. At certain times, police said, they even convinced the targets into parting with their debit and credit card details, using which they would siphon off more money from their accounts. “A probe is on to nab the accused. As it is a specialized crime, the detective department will investigate,” said an officer.



Bengal Lamp residents live in fear as Dengue still stalks locality


Kolkata: Far from getting a respite from dengue, residents of Azamgarh slum, an area close to the abandoned Bengal Lamp factory, continue to live under the threat. It is the same area, barely 200m from Jadavpur University, where dengue claimed two lives in the first week of November, one of them a 28-year-old homemaker, Disha Burman. After the deaths, a special vector control team from the KMC headquarters had swung into action and a medical camp was set up for others in the area who had been down with fever. But latest reports from the locality point to a fresh dengue outbreak. Reports available from the Azamgarh slum have confirmed that four other residents have been undergoing treatment over the past four days, after having tested positive for dengue. Among the patients is a 13-year-old girl, Swastika Prasad, who has been admitted to a private hospital in Jadavpur. Ram Prasad Mondal, a 25-year youth from the slum, has been admitted to a local nursing home. Mukesh Gupta is another youth who has been undergoing treatment at a government hospital in south Kolkata.


Apart from the four, many others have been down with fever. According to Shiva Prasad Roy, a businessman whose 16-year-old daughter has been down with fever for the past 48 hours, at least 10 other residents of the area also had fever now. “With the death of two neighbours and the spread of dengue, we are living in fear. My daughter is also at risk as she has been running a high fever for two days. Tomorrow, I will take her to a KMC clinic for a blood test,” he said. Nirmala Devi, another resident, complained about absence of a sustained anti-dengue drive on the part of the civic body. “The civic officials were caught napping. They took some action only when the deaths occurred. We want a sustained drive or we can’t combat the disease,” she said. But a KMC health official claimed a constant vigil was being carried out. “Now that the disease is fast spreading, it seems we are sitting idle. But in reality, we have been striving hard to eradicate it from here,” the official said.



Government may be ‘dressing up’ data about H1N1


Chennai: Almost every day for the past two months H1N1 deaths have been reported across the state, yet the official toll for the viral disease released by the public health department on Monday for 2018 is 23. Hospitals, both private and public, have reported around 1,500 admissions of category C patients, who have breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness, low blood pressure and high grade fever along with sore throat, cough and cold. “There would be at least an equal number of people who were treated with oseltamivir for high fever, sore throat, cough and cold at home,” said director of public health Dr K Kolandaswamy. But such patients were removed from state case records. Deaths of those with co-morbid chronic conditions such as heart or kidney failure, respiratory disorder or immune compromising conditions were not included as being caused by H1N1, he said. “If patients have chronic conditions, H1N1 won’t be the cause of death. Their poor immunity and body condition caused by the disease has led to death. It is a scientific way of recording deaths,” said Kolandaswamy, who is also the registrar of births and deaths.


Former public health director Dr S Elango said it was important to include category B as cases. “People with other ailments are admitted after they test positive. Even if co-morbid conditions worsened H1N1 and led to death, it should be recorded. Doctors list more than one cause for death. Case sheets and death summaries will record H1N1,” he said. “Reporting all deaths may eventually help the state as people will understand the seriousness of the disease,” he said. Most Chennai hospitals said they notified all H1N1 cases to local health authorities. “Health officers from the city corporation have visited patients’ houses and even distributed medicines to bedside contacts,” said Kanchi Kamakoti Childs Trust Hospital medical director Dr S Balasubramanian. As tests are not required for H1N1 patients in category A and B they are not recorded, said a corporation official. “Category C patients being treated at hospitals are all recorded. We get the list from the hospitals, keep a track of the condition and prescribe preventive medicines to families”. The number of H1N1 cases particularly in Chennai, Coimbatore and Vellore remain high. “Most people who picked up infections had history of hospital visits for other ailments. Lack of adequate sterilisation of wards and hand hygiene among patients increases risk. We have seen a visible difference in places where sterilisation rules and protocols are followed,” Dr Kolandaswamy said.



International News



Google News may shut down in EU over ‘link tax’



London: Google may shut down its Google News service in the European Union (EU) if a proposed “link tax” for using news stories comes into force in member countries, the Guardian reported. According to the new copyright directive, adopted by the European Parliament on September 12, tech giants must pay for work of artists and journalists which they use. To put the rule changes into effect, individual member countries would have to draft local laws. Google is deeply concerned about the current proposals, which are designed to compensate struggling news publishers if snippets of their articles appear in search results, Richard Gingras, the search engine’s VP of News told the Guardian. The future of Google News could depend on whether the EU was willing to alter the phrasing of the legislation, he said. “We can’t make a decision until we see the final language,” he said. This is not the first time an attempt is being made to charge Google for links. In 2014, Spain passed a law requiring aggregation sites to pay for news links. Google then decided to close down the service for Spanish consumers. Traditional media outlets blame Google for sucking up much of the advertising revenue, the Guardian reported. But many news websites also depend on the service to drive traffic to their websites. Google News is not directly a profit-making business for the company, while it does encourage users to spend more time on the company’s websites, Gingras said, adding that the search giant does not put any advertising in Google News.

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