This monsoon, Lepto emerges biggest killer with 12 deaths
Mumbai: Even as monsoon is slowly withdrawing from the city, dengue and leptospirosis claimed a life each in the first fortnight of September. Monsoon-related ailments have claimed 19 lives this year, of which 12 deaths were due to leptospirosis. The latest victim of the bacterial infection was an Andheri (W) resident who died within 48 hours of hospitalisation. The 37-year-old man was admitted with a history of high fever, chills and body ache for three days and several episodes of vomiting. The BMC’s public health department said the man, who was an alcoholic, died of acute respiratory distress syndrome and multi organ failure. Leptospirosis has emerged as the biggest killer this monsoon, claiming a total of 12 lives. It’s also the highest number of leptospirosis deaths recorded in the last three years; there were seven casualties in 2017 and nine in 2016. BMC’s executive health officer Dr. Padmaja Keskar said that leptospirosis cases have shown a decline with rains tapering off. However, intermittent showers have led to a spurt in dengue, malaria and viral infection cases.
The BMC report stated that nearly 2,400 hospitalisations in the first two weeks of September were caused by dengue-like illnesses. Over 300 malaria admissions were also recorded. The dengue casualty was a 46-year-old woman from Malad, who the BMC claimed, had returned from Uttar Pradesh seven days before contracting the viral disease. The woman presented a history of fever, headache and body ache four to five days prior to getting hospitalized on September 1. Civic officials claim she was taken to hospital in a critical condition and succumbed within two hours of admission. City doctors have witnessed a marked increase in mosquito-borne ailments. Following the dengue death, nearly 1,000 homes were screened in Andheri (W). The civic insecticide department is already carrying out a screening drive in all 24 wards. In 1,209 localities that were surveyed across the city, they found 2,911 dengue-causing aedes aegypti’s breeding sites and 228 malaria-causing anopheles breeding spots. A case of cholera was detected from M-East ward—it covers Deonar, Anushakti Nagar, Govandi and Mankhurd— making it the 10th cholera case of this year.
Muthoot heist: Four get 6 years RI
Hyderabad: In the 2015 Mini Muthoot robbery case, a local court in Sangareddy on Wednesday awarded four convicts six-year rigorous imprisonment besides asking them to pay fine of Rs. 10,000. The Sessions Court in Sangareddy awarded six-year rigorous imprisonment to the four convicts — Laxman Narayan Mudhong alias Bhayya, Ganesh Pandurang Bhonsle alias Patil, Murugan alias Subhash and Tilok Chand Kumar Pal, who have been in jail since their arrest in 2016. On February 4, 2015 the gang members entered Mini Muthoot Finance, RC Puram branch, in the first hour of business posing as customers seeking a loan. While speaking to the staff, one of the gang members whipped out a pistol and threatened to kill them. They went to the strong room and looted 3.95 kg of gold belonging to customers. Emboldened by the heist, the culprits committed another dacoity at Muthoot Finance, RC Puramin 2016, wherein 41 kg of gold was robbed by posing as CBI officers. After the 2016 offence, Cyberabad police cracked the case by arresting several accused, including the four from Maharashtra and Karnataka. It was during investigation of the second case, police came to know about the role of Narayan and other convicts in the 2015 Mini Muthoot case too. They were involved in four robbery cases at Muthoot branches. Two cases were registered at RC Puram police station, while one each was booked at KPHB and Gulbarga in Karnataka. Recently, the trial in the 2016 dacoity case too got underway.
82-hour fire monster beaten. Can future fights be shorter?
Kolkata: A 310-strong force of dogged firefighters battled the Bagri Market blaze for four days to finally emerge victorious on Wednesday afternoon, having reined in the fire in a little over 82 hours. But the second-longest fire — after the Nandaram Market inferno that had blazed for 100 hours in 2008 — raised a few questions about the force’s preparedness and ability to tackle such infernos in congested localities of the city. “The fire has been put out,” fire services deputy director Abhijit Pandey announced at 1.05pm on Wednesday. “We have accessed every pocket in the building and doused the fire. There is no raging blaze in any part of the building. But there may be some residual fires in some pockets, for which we are conducting a cooling down process. Fire pockets will be doused in a pinpoint manner,” said Pandey. The cooling process will take at least 12 hours more. Policemen later climbed on top of the Mehta Building opposite Bagri Market and aimed at its windows with guns loaded with rubber bullets to smash the glass panes. “The hot smoke that is trapped in the building needs to escape. That will help cool the building faster,” said a cop. Pandey’s announcement brought palpable relief among the emotionally drained shop owners, who had suffered heavy losses in the fire and the physically exhausted firemen, each of who had spent 15 sapping hours every day to fight the fire for the last four days. From Wednesday afternoon, they looked relaxed for the first time, sitting in groups and sipping cold beverages. The senior officials chatted with police officers, discussing the next course of action. For the firemen, there will be some introspection on whether things could have been handled differently. For instance, what would the department do in future if hawkers’ stalls and overhead cables continue to pose an obstruction to hydraulic lifts. “Had we been able to use the lifts, the fire could perhaps have been contained to the first floor. Maybe it could then have been doused on Sunday or Monday itself,” said a firefighter.
There will also be questions on the prudence of giving fire clearance to such buildings where firefighting systems are nonfunctional. “Had there been functioning sprinklers, the fire would have been suppressed,” said a fireman. Beyond introspection, there will also be stocktaking and lessons learnt from the fire. If the Nandaram Market fire was fueled for over four days by an astronomical stock of diesel on the top floor, huge stocks of deodorants in aerosol cans that contain propane sustained the fire for nearly four days at Bagri Market. “Water cannot douse a propane flame. For that, foam needs to be used. But unlike water, which can be sprayed from a distance, foam needs to be sprayed from close. Since the heat prevented our men from gaining access, it could not be used at all. We have to see if there is a mechanism to spray foam remotely,” said a fire officer. Deodorants were not the sole challenge that the firemen faced in the operation. The goods stacked in cardboard boxes along the narrow corridors and staircases made progress difficult. “Had the corridors and stairs been free, we could have climbed the floors or penetrated the building and tackled the fire,” said a fireman. Also, compartmentalization of the building into small shops allowed pockets of fire to develop, which were a nightmare to locate. Hours after white smoke was spotted at 10.30pm on Tuesday, indicating that the fire was no more raging, fresh flames were spotted from the second floor in the early hours of Wednesday. Extra fire tenders were summoned to douse the fire. The firemen have had to use gas-cutters to saw through the steel shutters of shops to ensure that a fire did not lurk behind. Jag Mohan, the director general of fire services, said: “The officials displayed resilience. There were huge odds but those were beaten,” he said.
Swine flu claims 2nd victim in state
Kolkata: Eight-and-half-year old special child, Sritama Roy, died of swine flu around 1pm on Wednesday. She was admitted to Institute of Child Health (ICH) on September 11. This was the second reported H1N1death in the state. On August 30, Debola Mandal, an H1N1-positive patient passed away at CMRI. None of them were from Kolkata. Debola was from Kakdweep and Sritama was from Bankura. Sritama was brought to ICH in a serious condition and was put on ventilation right away. She also had neuro-development issues and suffered from epilepsy. PICU in-charge at ICH Dr. Prabhas Prasun Giri said, “This is the third H1N1 case in our hospital this year. They all came here around the same time. We treated and sent an eight-year-old back home, but Sritama was brought in an extremely critical condition. The condition of another girl, who is on ventilation, is also very serious”. Sritama’s parents — Mainak, a part-time college teacher and Ganashree, a schoolteacher — had earlier taken the child to a local doctor. When her condition deteriorated despite medication, they rushed her to ICH.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) sensors to monitor safety of city bridges
Kolkata: The state is planning to use internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI) on bridges to prevent another Majerhat-like disaster. State urban development and municipal affairs department minister Firhad Hakim said, “These sensors will be able to monitor the structural condition of the bridges by measuring deflections. We would be able to know beforehand about the structural condition of any bridge”. According to sources from the state secretariat, the expert committee constituted under the chief secretary after the Majerhat bridge collapse has given its consent to have such sensor-based monitoring on bridges and flyovers. Officials said the sensors run by artificial intelligence would be able to gather various information, like if a bridge is taking more vehicular load than it can bear, if there is any internal structural damage, how much deflection is occurring while a vehicle is travelling on it and what res and the equipment was quite expensive. Sources from the urban development department said a long-term plan could be chalked out to install sensors in all should be the maximum deflection level. Officials said there were different types of sensors that will cater to the requirements of different elevated structure 15 bridges and flyovers maintained by KMDA as listed by the state. For this, a five-member advisory committee has been set up to conduct their health study.
Paperless boarding at airport from 2020
Chennai: Boarding flights from the city airport will be a breeze for travelers from 2020, as the airport management is set to establish camera-enabled e-gates which use facial recognition technology to verify passengers’ identity. The system will be introduced by the end of the next year. As part of the DigiYatra scheme, the Chennai airport is gearing up to introduce a biometric and face recognition system for paperless boarding of passengers from entry gates of the terminal to the boarding gates. The scheme aims to develop a digital ecosystem that will offer a seamless, consistent and paperless service experience at airports. As part of the system, e-gates with cameras and scanners will be installed at entry gates of the terminals, check-in area, security check gates and boarding gates where passengers will be allowed based on face recognition technology. The e-gate at the entry gate of the terminal will capture the QR code of tickets and face of the passengers and will match it with the database to allow entry through the gates at check in, security and boarding. A senior official at Airports Authority of India (AAI) said, “The scheme will be introduced in two phases and Chennai will get it in the second phase.
A tender will be floated in a month to install the system at Pune, Varanasi, Kolkata and Vijayawada. This will act as a pilot. Once it is found to be hassle-free, it can be introduced at other airports quickly”. Bengaluru will be the first airport to have it in the first quarter of next year. Chennai has a chance to get it sometime after mid next year. He also said that the tender would be awarded in such a way that the same company could be asked to install the system in a few more airports. But there will be a separate tender for phase 2. Passengers will have to register in DigiYatra to use the e-gates. They will get an ID number and submit it to a desk at the airport when they travel for the first time after registering. The photo of the passenger and biometric details will be captured one-time at this desk. Passengers can then walk in through the e-gates paperless for subsequent travel. “It is voluntary. We cannot force everyone to register,” he added. However, the benefits are many. “Passengers can beat the queue. The airport operator can find out where the congestion is while airline staff will be able to locate a passenger inside the terminal”. The system will also ensure high security as passengers will be verified before entering the terminal.
Burglars cut power supply, loot shop
Chennai: Burglars disconnected the power supply to street lights in Kodungaiyur and escaped with cellphones worth Rs.6 lakhs on Tuesday night. Paulraj, 42, of Gandhi Nagar, Kodungaiyur, runs a mobile shop in the locality. He is a member of DMDK. On Wednesday morning, his employee Surendar came to open the shop, when he realised the locks and shutter were broken open. He found cell phones worth Rs.6 lakh missing from the shop and Rs.1 lakh cash missing from the locker. Police said the shop was opened a week ago and the burglars switched off the lights to ensure their image doesn’t get captured in the CCTVs installed in the locality. Kodungaiyur police have registered a case and launched a hunt for the miscreants. They have lifted finger prints from the scene of crime and sniffer dogs were also pressed into service.
Car hits crowd outside London mosque in fresh “Hate Crime”
London: A car crashed into a crowd near a mosque in the UK in a suspected hate crime incident which left three persons injured, prompting Scotland Yard to launch a probe. According to the Metropolitan Police, the car’s occupants — three men and a woman, all said to be in their mid-twenties — were “behaving anti-socially, drinking and allegedly using drugs” outside the al-Majlis al-Hussaini Islamic prayer centre in the Cricklewood area of London when they were asked to leave the private car park, sparking a “confrontation” with a large group of people outside the centre. “Comments of an Islamophobic nature were allegedly made by the group in the car. The car then reportedly sustained minor damage by some of those outside the centre. It proceeded to make off at speed colliding with the three victims as it left,” the Met said. Two people in their twenties suffered minor injuries and a man in his fifties was hospitalized for a serious leg injury. “This incident is not being treated as terror-related but the hate crime aspect of the collision is being looked at by detectives as an aggravating factor,” the Met Police statement said. No arrests have been made in the case so far as police appealed for information from the public The Hussaini Association, which had organised a lecture at the mosque, called the collision “a suspected premeditated Islamophobic attack”.
Air pollution linked to higher risk of dementia
Paris: Urban air pollution, mostly from vehicles, is associated with an increased risk of dementia, according to research published on Wednesday. The link remained even after heavy drinking, smoking and other well established risk factors for dementia were ruled out, the researchers reported in medical journal BMJ Open. Worldwide, about 7% of people over 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s or some form of dementia, a percentage that rises to 40% above the age of 85. The number afflicted worldwide is expected to nearly triple by 2050, posing a huge challenge to healthcare systems. “Primary prevention of all dementia is a major global public health concern for the coming decades,” the researchers wrote. Chemicals cast off by tailpipe pollution such as nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and soot are known to boost the risk for heart disease, stroke and respiratory problems, especially asthma.
But whether they also make Alzheimer’s and other kinds of dementia more likely has remained unclear. To find out more, a team of researchers led by Iain Carey of the University of London’s Population Health Research Institute combed through health records for 131,000 people living in Greater London who, in 2004, were aged 50 to 79. None showed signs of dementia when the study began. Based on residential addresses, the scientists estimated yearly exposure to both NO2 and fine particulates known as PM2.5, and then tracked the health of the participants over a seven-year period. During that time, nearly 2,200 patients — 1.7% of the total — were diagnosed with dementia. The fifth of these patients living in the most heavily polluted areas were 40% more likely to be afflicted than the fifth residing in areas with the least NO2 and PM2.5.