News Flash – 21 January 2020

National News



Mangaluru Airport on Alert as IED Found, Defused

A CCTV grab of the man suspected to have planted the bomb at Mangaluru airport.



Mangaluru: The international airport at Mangaluru was put on high alert on Monday after an “IED-like bomb” was found in the morning inside an unattended laptop bag at a ticket counter near a departure gate, and an IndiGo flight was called back in the afternoon after a threat call. The bomb was defused in the evening in a controlled explosion. CISF personnel had spotted the unclaimed bag around 8.45am. They immediately cordoned off the area and reported the incident to the police. The improvised explosive device (IED) was found packed in an iron box that contained a timer and wires, and it had about 1.5kg of silver powder used for making crackers. CISF claimed that a tall youth, wearing a baseball cap, seen in the airport CCTV footage was the suspect. The accused placed the bag near the ticket counter, took the escalator that leads to the parking area and exited the terminal and boarded an auto rickshaw, CISF authorities said. Mangaluru police commissioner PS Harsha said teams have been formed to trace the suspect. After nine tense hours, the bomb disposal squad managed to put the device into a cooling pit and defuse it. Though passenger services at Mangaluru airport remained unaffected after the scare, an IndiGo flight bound for Bengaluru was held back after the terminal manager received a call about a bomb placed onboard. The authorities deplaned 126 passengers and subjected them to checking. MIA director VV Rao said the flight, scheduled for 3pm departure, took off at 7.20pm.



Server Room that Controls CCTVs in Buses Gutted

CLOSE SHAVE: All employees were evacuated in time.



New Delhi: A fire at the Delhi Transport Corporation headquarters in north Delhi gutted the server room that controls the GPS and CCTV cameras of all buses, cabs and autorickshaws plying in the city. The fire spread to other rooms in the building and damaged important files pertaining to the RTO, employees claimed. Police are probing sabotage behind the fire. The fire department pressed 26 tenders into service to douse the flames. All employees were evacuated in time before the fire spread through the building. Fire officers said they received a call around 8.40am regarding the blaze on Rajpur Road in Civil Lines. Initially, eight fire tenders were rushed to the spot. It was found that the server room on the first floor was on fire. However, by the time the firemen could enter the building, the fire spread to the other rooms and the floor above. Subsequently, more fire tenders were called. “We had to break open the doors of a few rooms to gain access. The fire was brought under control shortly,” said a fire officer. In the fire, most of the systems connected to the server had damaged. However, senior transport officials said that the fire was not huge and affected only a portion of the first floor.



“It will not affect the core and crucial work of the department,” claimed a senior official. The additional chief secretary has asked special commissioner (administration) to conduct an inquiry to find out the cause of the fire. A complete estimate of the loss of files and corrective steps for preventive action was also ordered by him. Fire officers said the blaze probably started from the diary and dispatch section of the transport department. “It appears that a short circuit caused the fire. However, the fire only affected routine sections of the department and no major branches,” said an officer. There were concerns about driving licences seized by the transport department having been burnt in the fire. However, a transport official clarified that the people didn’t have to worry as no records were destroyed and no public dealing branch was affected. “However, our state-of-the-art operation control and command centre, from where all public service vehicles are tracked through GPS, suffered damages,” the officer added. Work at the state transport authority, MLO headquarters, enforcement wing, etc. resumed after lunch.



Man Swipes Card at Koramangala Pub, Loses Rs.4L in NY



Bengaluru: An hour after a 34-year-old software engineer swiped his debit card at a restaurant here on January 9, Rs 4.1 lakh was siphoned off from his account in 10 transactions in New York. Varun Gupta of Singasandra said he visited a pub in Koramangala VI Block on the night of January 9. After having food, Gupta paid Rs 4,181 by swiping his Axis Bank debit card using his PIN. The same night, miscreants siphoned off Rs 4,10,036 in 10 instalments in a span of 10 minutes from his account. All the transactions were through point-of-sale machines, implying that a debit card had been used. “The transactions happened via my Axis Bank debit card in New York, while I was in Bengaluru,” Gupta said, regretting that the bank couldn’t detect the fraud. Police issued a notice to The Bier Library pub management, seeking details about the machine they used to swipe Gupta’s card and details of the staff who handled the device. “This is a clear case of skimming. We are checking with other places where Gupta had used the card,” a police officer said.



International News



Human-to-Human Transmission Confirmed in China Coronavirus

A patient infected by the SARS-like virus is taken to hospital in Wuhan. The WHO will hold a meeting in Geneva on Wednesday to determine whether to declare the outbreak an international health emergency.



Beijing: The head of a Chinese government expert team said on Monday that human-to-human transmission has been confirmed in an outbreak of a new coronavirus, a development that raises the possibility that it could spread more quickly and widely. Team leader Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory expert, said two people in Guangdong province in southern China caught the virus from family members, state media said. Some medical workers have also tested positive for the virus, the English-language China Daily newspaper reported. The late-night announcement capped a day in which authorities announced a sharp uptick in the number of confirmed cases to more than 200, and China’s leader called on the government to take every possible step to combat the outbreak. “The recent outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Wuhan and other places must be taken seriously,” President Xi Jinping said in his first statement on the crisis. “Party committees, governments and relevant departments at all levels should put people’s lives and health first”. The suspicion about human-to-human transmission has sounded alarm bells in China and neighbouring countries because millions of Chinese are set to travel during the ongoing festival season around the Chinese New Year on January 25. The outbreak is believed to have started late last month when people picked it up at a fresh food market in Wuhan. One expert, Gao Fu, said the coronavirus was new and changing every day. The government has warned people, especially those in Wuhan who had the relevant symptoms, including fever and cough, to get tested at hospitals as soon as possible.



Wuhan health authorities said Monday an additional 136 cases have been confirmed in the city, raising the total to 198. Three have died. Authorities elsewhere also announced cases in other Chinese cities for the first time. Five individuals in Beijing and 14 in Guangdong have also been diagnosed with the new coronavirus, totaling 217 confirmed cases. A total of seven suspected cases have been found in other parts of the country, including in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and in Shanghai. The outbreak has put other countries on alert. Authorities in Thailand and in Japan have already identified at least three cases, all involving recent travel from China. South Korea reported its first case on Monday, when a 35-year-old Chinese woman from Wuhan tested positive for the new coronavirus one day after arriving at Seoul. At least a half-dozen countries in Asia and three US airports have started screening incoming airline passengers from central China. China’s National Health Commission said experts have judged the current outbreak to be “preventable and controllable”. “However, the source of the new type of coronavirus has not been found,” it said. Coronaviruses cause diseases ranging from the common cold to SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome. SARS first infected people in southern China in 2002 and spread to more than two dozen countries, killing nearly 800. The government initially tried to conceal the severity of the SARS epidemic, but its cover-up was exposed by a high-ranking physician. “That kind of thing must not happen again in China,” said an editorial in the nationalistic Global Times.

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