News Flash – 21 July 2017

National News



Two Ex-Employees held for theft at Mumbai Mall



MUMBAI: Two former employees of an apparel and accessories store, located in Malad’s Infinity-II mall, were recently arrested for stealing products worth Rs 38000. The police are now probing if the duo had committed similar crimes at any other store. On the night of July 12, trolley bags, shoes, shorts, shirts and trousers worth Rs 37545 were stolen from Wildcraft at Inifinity-II mall. The theft occurred while the shop was shut for business. It was discovered the next morning and a complaint was lodged with the Bangur Nagar police. Investigators went through the store’s CCTV footage and quizzed all employees. They suspected the involvement of two ex-employees Dharmendra Yadav, 23, and Ravi Naishan, 22. On questioning, it was learnt that the duo had made duplicate keys to the store entrance during their employment there. They were aware of the store timings and well-acquainted with the mall’s security. “On July 15, the two accused were arrested on charges of theft,” said senior inspector Santosh Bhandare. Yadav was found in Jogeshwari while Nishan was held from Kandivali. Police suspect the duo might have similarly taken up temporary jobs at other establishments and stolen products there. Further investigations are on.



Techie lies bleeding on Pune road, passersby click photos



PUNE: A 25-year-old software engineer, who was bleeding severely after being knocked down by a hit-and-run accident, died because he did not get timely help from passersby at Indrayani nagar corner in Bhosari on Wednesday evening. Shockingly, the onlookers chose to shoot videos and click photos of the accident rather than take the engineer, Satish Prabhakar Mete, to hospital. Kartikraj Kate, a dentist from Bhosari who stopped to help Mete, took him to Yashwantrao Chavan Memorial Hospital in Pimpri where he was declared dead by the doctors. Mete is from Aurangabad and was living in Moshi and working in Bhosari. Kate told TOI that he was on his way to his clinic in Bhosari around 6.30pm on Wednesday when he noticed a crowd at Indrayani nagar corner. “When I slowed down, I saw a badly injured man lying on the road. He was soaked in blood but was conscious,” he said. Kate said the man was bleeding profusely and his face was covered with a cloth. “He was moving his hands and legs. People had gathered around him. Some clicked photographs of the accident scene, while some one shot a video too. But none of them was ready to help him,” he said.


Kate then flagged down an auto rickshaw. “There were passengers in it, but the driver was helpful. He told them to disembark and put the accident victim in his vehicle,” he said. Mete had sustained severe head injuries and was bleeding from the nose and ears. Kate noticed tyre marks on his stomach. On the way to hospital, Kate tried to save the man’s life by giving him cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Kate said, “However, after some time, he stopped responding. The doctors took an electrocardiogram at the hospital and declared him brought dead. His life could have been saved had the onlookers around taken him to the hospital immediately”. Senior inspector Bhimrao Shingade of the Bhosari MIDC police station told TOI that Mete was involved in a hit-and-run accident. He has appealed to people to contact the police station on 020-27130003 if they have noted down the registration number of the vehicle or if they have any information about it.



Fire in godown in Anand Parbat, shops in Lala Lajpat Rai market



NEW DELHI: Two incidents of fire were reported in central Delhi this morning. However, there were no reports of injuries to anyone. A fire broke out at a two-storey godown, used to keep confectionery items, in the Anand Parbat area around 6.35 am, a senior officer from the Delhi Fire Services said. Ten fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the blaze was put out by 9.10 am, he said. Another incident of fire was reported from Lala Lajpat Rai market opposite Red Fort. A call about a fire in 15-16 makeshift shops in the market was received around 7.20 am, said the officer. Sixteen fire tenders were sent to douse the flames, which could be controlled only by 8.50am. A short-circuit is suspected to have triggered the blaze.



A smart wallet that will be very, very hard to lose


BENGALURU: If we take a look at the things we stuff in our wallets — cash, visiting cards and tickets — all of them have an electronic variant, in today’s tech-savvy world. As a result, wallets are becoming redundant, with smartphones and their endless apps and features replacing them. In an attempt to keep the wallet relevant even in the 21st century, a startup has come up with a smart wallet that not only acts as a powerbank and Wi-Fi hotspot, but also comes with groovy security features such as distance alarms, GPS tracking and even a tiny camera that gets activated when lost. The idea for the wallet was born when in 2014, when engineer Azat‘s three-year old daughter hid his wallet behind the stove and he spent more than a month getting the lost documents reissued. Following the incident, he went on the hunt for a Bluetooth enabled wallet, only to find they had limited tracking range. After two years of testing, prototyping and design development, a crowd-funding campaign was launched to mass produce the wallets and became a big hit.


The wallet boasts of many state-of-the-art features. It has a thin, lightweight built-in power bank powerful enough (2,000 to 5,000 mAh) to fully charge your smartphone on the go, and can work both wirelessly or with a hidden cable. It can also act as a Wi-Fi hotspot, which makes it very convenient to have an uninterrupted internet connection. The smart wallet also has impressive features that will make it very hard to either misplace it, thanks to two features — a Bluetooth alarm system that will notify the owners every time they leave their wallet behind, and an inbuilt global GPS system that can track the wallet anywhere in the world in real-time. Apart from these, its connectivity systems ensure that the owners will get notifications when they forget their phone behind, and a push button on the wallet that will make your phone ring, even when it’s on silent mode. It’s most impressive feature is the presence of a pinhole-sized camera in the wallet that becomes active only when the owners report it lost. It is programmed to take a snapshot of whoever opens the wallet first and email the pics to the owner.



Garbage piles up, Old City stares at disease outbreak



CHARMINAR: Overflowing drains and garbage has come to haunt Old City residents. Fearing that these might lead to an outbreak of diseases, locals now hope the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) takes immediate steps to address the same. Most affected are residents of Syed Ali Guda, Natraj Nagar, Ganga Bowlil and Ambedkar Nagar. They complain of foul smell emanating from overflowing drains. People also point out how stagnant rain water and garbage has turned it into breeding ground for mosquitoes. “The surroundings have also become difficult to live in. My grandson has been hospitalised because of high fever. If the civic officials’ apathy continues, then water borne diseases may spread across the Old City,” said S Saber a local of the area.


Other residents from Syed Ali Guda also aired similar concerns – about bad roads and poor drainage system. “The civic authorities are well aware of the conditions here. We have registered multiple complaints with them. Overflowing drains compel us to stay indoors. The mosquito menace haunts us all night. Residents’ health here is being compromised,” said Nasreen Begum. Ayesha Butul, a resident of Errakunta complained how garbage strewn around the area had not been lifted for the last several weeks. “Nobody bothers to hear our pleas. When it rains the streets get filled with water. Garbage is not lifted for days together. If the trend continues, the GHMC officials may have to face public wrath,” she said.



Fire & panic in glass office building on clogged lane


KOLKATA: A fire in a modern glass office building with a century-old heritage facade located in a narrow meandering street sparked panic through the densely packed office-cum-residential neighbourhood in south Kolkata and had the entire city glued to the television as they watched a tense drama unfold with an act of daredevilry that encapsulated the desperation of those trapped within. For a while, it also rekindled haunting memories of three past tragedies in which people had died in fires. Luckily, there were no deaths in Thursday’s fire though eight persons fell sick after inhaling the toxic smoke. It was around noon that fire broke out on the third floor of a six-storeyed building with a glass curtain wall at 12 Pretoria Street. The address that once-housed a neo-classical British-era house of palatial proportion had been sliced in half to carve out two individual houses. Two thirds of one building had then been demolished, retaining only the facade, behind which a glass building — Aspirations Vintage — had been constructed four years ago. It was in one of several offices housed in the glass building that the fire started.


Once word on the fire spread, offices in the first, second and third floor emptied out. But thick smoke that engulfed the building and filled the stairwell prevented occupants in the floors above from escaping. It was only when fire brigade and Kolkata Police disaster management group arrived that rescue operations began in earnest. Familiar scenes of firemen using pickaxe to break glass panels to let out thick black smoke trapped within were replayed. Kolkata had witnessed similar scenes during a hospital fire in 2011 and again at a hotel not far from Thursday’s incident site this March. One youth though did a Spiderman act before the firemen reached after negotiating the narrow lane made narrower by parked cars. Stranded on the 4th floor terrace, Sital Parida asked onlookers in an adjoining building to throw a rope across. He tied the rope to a railing and then clambered across, braving a potential 50 ft plunge. His daring “monkey crawl” reflected the desperation of those trapped in the smoke-filled glass building. From the rest of the building, occupants were lowered using ropes before tall ladders reached the spot and people trapped on fourth and fifth floor brought down. Abhinav Bharati High School next door was cleared out when the glass panels that made the facade were smashed and bellowed out, engulfing the neighbourhood.


Though there has been no casualty, fire services minister Sovan Chatterjee said it could have been deadly had rescue not been carried out in time. “The impressive glass-facade turned into an air-tight gas chamber. The smoke could not escape, leaving us breathless as we were running down the stairs. I was terrified. Once I exited the building, it felt I had been reborn,” said Sukanta Dhar, an employee in an office on the 4th floor. Fire brigade officials said fire prevention systems installed in the building had not functioned. Fire alarms, sprinklers and fire-hydrants were dud when they were needed on Thursday. “Fire safety equipment were like pieces of furniture,” said a fireman who fought nearly two hours to bring the blaze under control. Initially, 10 fire tenders were pressed into action. But they found it extremely difficult to approaching the building in the narrow lane that becomes narrower still due to parked cars. “We had great difficulty clearing the road for fire tenders. My boys had to drag cars away. People were so insensitive that they did not remove their cars even after knowing that a fire had broken out,” said local councilor Susmita Bhattacharyya. Fire Brigade officials said the fire had started from the Gas Authority of India Ltd(GAIL) office on the 3rd floor, possibly from an air-conditioning machine that had not been switched off for days. They also did not rule out a short-circuit. The cause of fire can be fully ascertained after forensic tests.



Warehouses full, but Darjeeling hurtling towards food crisis


DARJEELING/KOLKATA: The Hills may be hurtling towards a man-made food crisis, with not a single morsel of public distribution system food grain (rice or wheat) moving out of the three Darjeeling warehouses for the last 10 days and all nine main PDS distributors forced to flee the Hills with their families for safe refuge in Siliguri. Consider these figures: 20 trucks, each of them carrying 200kg of vegetables, reach the wholesale market at Chowkbazar in Darjeeling every day; more than 10,000kg of rice and flour reach the wholesale market at Darjeeling’s Beech Gali every week; trucks carrying 1,500kg of sugar replenish the 45 ration shops in 32 wards of Darjeeling Municipality. Nothing of this has been reaching Darjeeling town for the last three weeks. And, with ration shops closed since June, 670 ration dealers in Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts have their entire June allocation of 9,550 tonnes of food grain stacked in their now-shut stores. “Some of the dealers tried to open ration shops but stopped after they were thrashed by bandh supporters,” a worried state food and civil supplies minister Jyotipriya Mullick said in Kolkata on Thursday. “This crisis is entirely man-made,” he added.


It’s not that food supplies have stopped entirely. But the response of residents to the trickle that is reaching the Hills reveals their desperation: there was a stampede-like situation when small trucks laden with vegetables reached Darjeeling over the last weekend. The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, now spearheading the demand for a separate state, arranged for the vegetables to be distributed among people, well aware that a section was running out of patience. People mobbed these vehicles and GJM supporters had their hands full controlling the crowds. Susma Giri ran behind a truck, holding on to her two-year-old daughter tight in one hand and having a carry-bag in the other. The truck, laden with sacks of cabbage, reddish and squash, came to a halt in front of Darjeeling Municipality, where more than 200 men and women were already in the queue. Giri grudgingly took her position right at the back and waited for her turn. “There is no food at home. Give me some more vegetables,” Sarita Lepcha, a homemaker who had queued up for two hours, cried out to the men on the lorry handing out the vegetables. The business community in Darjeeling is too scared to speak out but traders confirm not a single lorry containing edibles has been allowed to come up from Siliguri, the primary feeder to the Hills, since the GJM-sponsored total shutdown started on June 15. “Every single shop is shut in Darjeeling and other towns.



Trucks are not being allowed to cross Darjeeling More in Siliguri. There is no stock of food in Darjeeling,” a senior office-bearer in the association of rice wholesalers of rice in Beech Gali said. The administration says it is monitoring the situation but there is very little it can do. “Darjeeling has a monthly requirement of 9,550 tonnes of food grains, which caters to 8.75 lakh people. This translates to 11 kg of rice or wheat per head every week. We supplied the entire June-July quota by July 11. We have 52,000 tonnes of food grains stored in over 50 warehouses in Siliguri to meet further requirements. We have ensured that supplies have reached the three warehouses off Darjeeling,” minister Mullick said in Kolkata. “But there is very little we can do if the agitators are bent on inconveniencing the very people on whose behalf they claim to speak,” he added. Chowkbazar near Darjeeling railway station is the main hub from where vegetables and edibles reach smaller towns like Sonada, Ghum, Tung Sung, Singmari, Aluabari, Patleybas and Dali. But the indefinite shutdown has cut off the entire supply chain and the food shortage in kitchens is gradually reflecting on the streets in the Hills.



Now, you can get loan up to Rs 15 lakh from ATM



CHENNAI: India’s largest private lender ICICI Bank on Thursday launched a service for instant disbursal of personal loans through ATMs. The service would enable existing salaried customers of the bank to get pre-qualified personal loans in their savings account instantly. So how it does work? The application process is in a few simple steps. The loan can be up to Rs 15 lakh based on the customer’s credit history and CIBIL score. Once these boxes are ticked, then the customer gets the amount credited to his account without any paperwork. The repayment tenure for the personal loans is 60 months and customers at the ATM can select pre-approved loan offers. The screen then flashes with multiple amounts, depending on the customer’s eligibility. If the customer accepts the auto populated interest rate, processing fee and EMI — then he/she needs to confirm the whether the terms and conditions are acceptable. Enter their debit card PIN, and the amount gets credited. “The offering of instant personal loan at ATMs enables our customers to receive funds conveniently, when they choose to opt for the loan,” says Anup Bagchi, executive director, ICICI Bank.



Woman killed in TN fireworks manufacturing unit blast



MADURAI: A woman worker was killed and seven others – all women – suffered injuries in a blast at a fireworks manufacturing unit at Puliparaipatti – 12km away from Sivakasi town in Virudhunagar district – on Thursday afternoon. The accident occurred at VGR Fireworks around 3.15pm. VGR Fireworks is a medium size unit licensed by Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation, Chennai office. G Parameswari, 55, of P Thiruvenkidapuram was killed on the spot due to the impact while seven other women — V Ponnuthai, 50 from P Thiruvenkidapuram, S Pandiammal, 30, G Rani, 32 and T Vasantha, 37 from Ayyampatti, R Gandhi, K Muthu and M Andichi from A Lakshmiapuram — suffered injuries. According to officials, Pandiammal and Rani who suffered minor injuries were discharged after treatment while others are admitted to Centre of Excellence to treat Burn Injuries at Sivakasi. Ponnuthai and Vasantha were in critical condition as they suffered 100 % burn injuries. Preliminary investigations revealed that the women were sitting under the tree and working on 1000 wala type of fireworks when the accident occurred. Fireworks should not be manufactured outside working sheds and it was a violation of explosives norm. The blast triggered chain explosions in working sheds but other workers managed to flee from the factory in time. Due to the impact, three sheds were damaged and one of the room was reduced to rubbles. Fire and rescue department personnel rushed from Sivakasi and doused the fire. The victim’s body was recovered. The Maraneri police registered a case.



International News



Earthquake damages buildings on Greek island; 2 killed, 100 hurt


KOS: A powerful earthquake struck Greek islands early morning today, damaging buildings and a port, killing at least two people and causing more than 100 injuries, authorities said. The island of Kos was nearest to the epicentre and appeared to be the worst-hit, with two deaths and structural damage to older buildings. Minor damage — cracks in buildings, smashed windows and trashed shops — appeared widespread, according to city officials. “The rest of the island has no problem. It’s only the main town that has a problem,” Kos Mayor Giorgos Kyritsis told state-run Greek media. “The buildings affected were mostly old, and were built before the earthquake building codes were introduced”. Rescuers were checking for trapped people inside houses after the quake struck in the middle of the night. Kyritsis said the army was mobilised along with emergency services. The island’s port was among structures that sustained damaged and a ferry en route there was not docking, the coast guard said. Giorgos Halkidios, Kos regional government official, said the number of injured was more than 100. “Two or three of them are in serious condition and are in surgery,” he said. He said the injured included people who were underneath a building that collapsed. Ferry services were suspended due to damage at Kos’s main port, where a 14th-century fortress also was damaged. A minaret from an old mosque also was damaged.



Greek officials said the quake was 6.5-magnitude. It was centred 10 kilometres south of Bodrum, Turkey, and 16 kilometres east-northeast of Kos with a depth of 10 kilometres, according to the US Geological Survey. According to Turkish disaster officials, the earthquake had a magnitude of 6.3, and more than 20 aftershocks have been recorded. Esengul Civelek, governor of Mugla province, said there were no casualties according to initial assessments. She said “there were minor injuries due to fear and panic”. In Bitez, a resort town about 6 kilometres west of Bodrum, the quake sent frightened residents running into the streets. Hotel guests briefly returned to their rooms to pick up their belongings but chose to spend the rest of the night outside, with some using sheets and cushions borrowed from nearby lounge chairs to build makeshift beds, according to an AP reporter on the scene. Greece and Turkey lie in an especially earthquake-prone zone.



Clashes between herdsmen, farmers kill 33 in Nigeria



KANO, Nigeria: At least 33 people were killed in clashes between cattle herders and farmers in Nigeria‘s northern Kaduna state, a police chief told AFP Thursday. Two days of violence between herders and farmers erupted on Sunday in Kajuru village, 50 kilometres (30 miles) outside the city of Kaduna, said state police commissioner Agyole Abeh. “A total of 33 people were killed in the violence between Fulani herdsmen and farmers,” said Abeh. “The violence started when some villagers attacked a young Fulani man and his father, which led to the death of the young man after he was admitted in hospital”. The victim’s kinsmen gathered from nearby settlements and launched a reprisal attack on the village, killing six men, said Abeh. In response, the youth from the farming communities “mobilised and went into the bush attacking and burning Fulani settlements they could find”, he added. “Our men were contacted but before they could deploy, the attackers had killed 26 people, mostly women and children and injured several others”. Security personnel have since been deployed to the area to maintain peace. Nigeria’s Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has ordered reinforcements in Kaduna state following the clashes. He condemned what he said were the “needless deaths” and expressed frustration with the security challenges in southern Kaduna.


Osinbajo promised to ensure that the “perpetrators of these dastardly acts” were identified and brought to justice, he said in a statement issued on Wednesday evening. Southern Kaduna has seen a spate of deadly clashes between the predominantly Christian farmers and Muslim Fulani herders, a historically nomadic people who graze their cattle on the land. Originally, the clashes were over land and water rights disputes. But ethnicity and religion have been playing a larger role in the conflict after post-election violence in 2011 that saw hundreds of Muslims killed and forced to flee the area. Without a national strategy in place to address the conflict, tensions between herdsmen and farmers have not subsided, and tit-for-tat killings have become common. Experts blame a heavy-handed, militarized response by the government, and incendiary comments from political and religious leaders for fanning the flames of animosity.

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