News Flash – 21 November 2017

National News



Tag traffic police with complaint, get instant help



NEW DELHI: In what could ease things a bit for commuters, the next time someone tags Delhi Police on a social media post about a traffic snarl, that person will get a call asking for the details and a traffic cop will be sent to the site to resolve the issue. This is one of the measures being adopted by Delhi Police while revamping its social media presence. On a regular day, there are 300-400 posts about traffic jams on WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter. Dependra Pathak, special commissioner (Traffic), said on Monday that he has instructed the online team of Delhi Traffic Police to pass each complaint to traffic inspectors who would act on the workable complaints. “Once the complaint is resolved, he or she will be informed that the matter has been resolved,” added Pathak. The idea behind revamping the social media presence was mooted after complaints about template replies from the traffic cop’s social media handlers. Often enough, the complainants would then retort with caustic comments. The online teams will now interact with the public on real-time information about the traffic jams, with the cops likely to take the help of Google Maps to identify congested stretches and suggest alternative routes to the complainants. In addition, the online team will also post updates on WhatsApp and inform complainants about the status of their queries.


With the aim of reducing road fatalities, the police Facebook and Twitter handles would also have safety instructions for drivers. Senior officials have consulted cartoonists and web experts to prepare animated GIFs and videos for posting on a weekly basis. Talks are also on with Google and Facebook to show traffic police social media page on a first search option when queried on a search engine. The cops also plan to re-introduce the SMS traffic alert service. The text messaging alert can be availed of by subscribing to the police service through an SMS sent to 9811452220. The police will regularly send you information about traffic jams due to vehicle breakdowns, water logging, accidents, road blocks or because of traffic diversions. Unsubscribing requires a text message sent to the same number. For this service, the cops have sought the permissions of the Union ministry of communications and information technology for bulk SMS service free of cost to the Delhi Police for a period of one year under the Mobile Seva initiative of the Centre.



Powai businessman loses Rs 6 lakh to email fraud



MUMBAI: A Powai businessmanTarun Grover (53), was duped of Rs 5.8 lakh after he fell victim to an email fraud. Grover received an email from his friend‘s email account, saying he stuck in another country and needed immediate financial help. Grover transferred the fund to the account number mentioned in the email. “Grover realized he had been duped when he checked with his friend and found out that he never made any request for financial help and is very much in the city,” said a police officer.



Delhi government issues 117-point checklist to schools on student safety



NEW DELHI: The Delhi government has issued schools a 117-point checklist for ensuring student safety in their premises and warned that there would be “zero tolerance” for any violation. The checklist, including everything from toilets to cyber security, has been prepared in the wake of the brutal killing of a schoolboy in a Gurgaon school and the rape of a minor girl by a school attendant in Delhi, officials said. “The checklist has been designed to encapsulate the minimum standards of school safety to emphasize zero tolerance against any violation in this regard. Practicability of implementation and monitoring has been kept duly in mind,” a senior official of Directorate of Education (DoE) said. Among the points listed are school safety committees, monthly safety walks to identify loopholes in security in the premises, securing boundary walls with grills, CCTV surveillance, maintaining records of every entry into the school and restricting visitors. “All toilets should be well lit and have easy release lock from inside and no lock from outside.


There should be no deployment of male staff in toilets for primary classes and all toilet visits of students up to Class 2 should be supervised by a lady caretaker,” the guidelines state. The guidelines have been issued to all schools in the national capital. The government has also directed that prior written consent be sought from parents for allowing children to stay back post school hours and co-curricular activities held beyond school timings be supervised by at least two teachers. Visits to laboratories, sports room, auditorium, library, computer room, gymnasium and assembly hall and the like should be under direct supervision of relevant teachers. Schools have also been asked to ensure cyber security in accordance with existing cyber and IT laws. This includes installation of firewall, filtering and monitoring mechanisms in all computers in the school premises, regular review of filtering and blocking policies and procedure and ensuring that children use computers under the supervision of teachers.



Curious kids give Bengaluru traffic cops a tough time

Students recited poems about traffic cops during the 13th Traffic Police Day held by the Children’s Movement for Citizen Awareness on Monday.



BENGALURU: Senior police officials were subjected to a slew of questions by school students during an interaction at the 13th Traffic Police Day by the Children’s Movement for Citizen Awareness here on Monday. Over 50 traffic police personnel from the ranks of constables to deputy commissioners of police, including DCP (traffic-east) Abhishek Goyal and DCP (traffic-north) Sara Fatima, attended the awareness drive. During the event, which saw participation of around 200 students from several private and government schools in the city, officials educated the young minds about traffic rules and gave suggestions on safe driving. Traffic cops were elated when the students acknowledged their hard work. But they didn’t spare them some tough questions. Rajakumar, a student from the Government Higher Primary School (GHPS), Devarachikkanahalli, wanted to know about bribery among traffic police. “Sir, a traffic cop caught hold of a helmet-less rider near my house and let him off when the rider gave Rs 50. Is it not a bribe and what action can you take against him,” he asked. DCP Goyal replied that the policeman could be arrested if anyone proves he did receive money, adding that giving as well as receiving bribe are punishable offences.


Another student Ajman from Wisdom International School asked what police do with the fine amount collected. Fatima replied, “Every day, traffic police should submit receipts to their respective police stations. It is then deposited in the bank next day. All fines will go to the government, and not to the police force”. She urged students to teach their parents, friends and neighbours about traffic rules. “You should also follow them strictly. You can get a licence to ride or drive once you reach 18,” Fatima said. Fourteen schools attended the event: GHPS Devarachikkanahalli, GHPS Kari Thimmanahalli, St Euphrasia’s Girls High School, St Joseph’s Indian Middle School, Army Public School, Baldwin Boys’ High School, Sacred Heart Girls’ High School, BM English School, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Prasiddhi School, Wisdom International School, Reddy Jana Sangha School, Lawrence High School and St Francis School.



Safety panel nod for Metro roll-out



HYDERABAD: In a move that finally clears the decks for the 30-km Miyapur to Nagole flag off of the much awaited Hyderabad Metro Rail, the Commission of Railway Safety (CRS) on Monday gave L&T Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited (LTHMRL) the green light to operate the stretch between SR Nagar and Mettuguda. L&T officials said they got the clearance to inaugurate the entire 30-km stretch after a team of officials from the CRS, led by commissioner of railway safety (south central circle), Ram Kripal, inspected the Hyderabad Metro Rail works over three days. The CRS team, which was in the city from November 17 to 19, inspected the civil works, tracks, Rail Over Bridge (RoB), viaducts, stations, electricals, signaling and train control systems, telecommunication, rolling stock and other systems of the Hyderabad Metro Rail, and also conducted speed trials.


An elated municipal administration minister KT Rama Rao tweeted late in the evening: “Happy to announce that Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety cleared 10-km stretch from Mettuguda to SR Nagar. All statutory clearances in place now for Hyderabad Metro. All set for launch now”. So far, the Hyderabad Metro Rail had clearances only for operating the 8-km Nagole-Mettuguda and the 12-km Miyapur-SR Nagar stretches on the 30-km Miyapur-Nagole corridor, with the 10-km Mettuguda-SR Nagar stretch being the crucial missing link. While L&T secured the safety clearance for the Nagole-Mettuguda stretch in April 2016, it got the nod for the Miyapur-SR Nagar stretch in August 2016.



Kids injured in stampede as cops defuse bomb next door

The situation would have been a lot worse had all the 4,000-plus students been in school.



JALPAIGURI: The police on Monday triggered a stampede at a school in Cooch Behar’s Haldibari town that left over 100 students injured after inexplicably choosing to defuse a grenade at the police station, which shares the boundary with the school, when classes were under way. Haldibari Girls’ School was in session on Monday with classes IX, X and XII writing their examinations when cops at the Haldibari police station next door decided to defuse a grenade that had been recovered from a field. The tremor that followed the blast caused panic among students. Fearing an earthquake, students ran out in panic, leading to a stampede with many tripping and injuring themselves in the melee. The situation would have been a lot worse had all the 4,000-plus students been in school. On Monday, only 1,000-odd students were present. “It is shocking that the police did not feel it necessary to alert us about the blast,” fumed school assistant head mistress Ishita Deb Sinha.


The injured students were rushed to Haldibari hospital in batches. While those with minor injuries were released following first aid, 48 students were admitted, of whom 14 were shifted to Jalpaiguri Super Speciality Hospital, 25km away. A class IX student suffered a leg fracture. Many others had cuts and bruises on their heads. Mamata Roy, a teacher, was hospitalised with serious leg injury. “We have cancelled Monday’s examination. We will reschedule it. But as of now, we are worried about the injured and their recovery,” said Deb Sinha. Praveen Pradhan, the officer in-charge of Haldibari PS, said the grenade had been defused after taking all precautionary measures. But he was unable to explain why alerting the school authorities weren’t part of the precautions. SP Anup Jaiswal did not take phone calls.



Rs 3 crore bank heist: Conspirator nabbed in Kolkata, Malegaon jeweler arrested



NAVI MUMBAI/KOLKATA: Sleuths of Navi Mumbai crime branch seem to be inching closer to cracking the Rs 3-crore Sanpada bank burglary case with two more arrests on Monday. While Wadala resident Moinuddin Shaikh (38), one of the main conspirators of the heist, was arrested from Howrah in Kolkata, where he was hiding at a relative’s house in Panchla, jeweler Sanjay Wagh, who had allegedly bought the stolen gold, was arrested from Malegaon in Nashik district. Last week, a gang of robbers had looted over Rs 3 crore worth jewellery and cash from around 30 lockers from the Bank of Baroda branch in Sanpada by entering its strong room through the floor after digging a 40-ft-long tunnel from a shop rented in the same building.


A crime branch official claimed that the mastermind of the bank heist was Nalasopara resident Deepak Mishra. Police teams are hunting for Mishra as his arrest will enable a huge recovery of stolen valuables which he had kept with him after the robbery. On Saturday, crime branch and Sanpada police had arrested four alleged gang members from Govandi, Vikhroli and Goregaon in separate operations and recovered 500gm gold ornaments worth Rs 10 lakh that they had allegedly sold to Wagh. The suspects—Shrawan Hegde, an autorickshaw driver; Momin Khan, a Goregaon resident; Anjan Mahanti, an autorickshaw driver from Vikhroli; and Hajid Baig from Govandi—are currently in police custody. While sources claimed around 3kg gold worth around Rs 90 lakh has been recovered from Shaikh after his arrest from Kolkata, crime branch officials claimed only Rs 10,000 was found on him and he had sold the stolen gold to Wagh. Sources claimed Wagh, in turn, had already sold the stolen booty to other jewelers. Police are now trying to trace these jewelers to recover the booty.



Airport yet to get modern CCTV cams for perimeter monitoring

SECURITY? NO WORRY: AAI had planned to install high resolution security cameras to monitor compound walls around the city airport.



CHENNAI: The intruder who managed to enter the high security operational area of Chennai airport points to a security lapse which could have been averted if there was no delay in installing a high-tech perimeter intrusion detection system popular at airports abroad. Airports Authority of India (AAI) was planning to install a smart-CCTV and radar driven system to monitor perimeters and detect intruders in 2011. But the proposal has not taken off yet. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) continues to manually monitor the compound wall of the airport and the area near the runway bridge across Adyar river. Armed personnel who sit in watch towers keep an eye round the clock while private airports in Mumbai and Delhi have moved to CCTV and sensor-based modern security system. Bengaluru is planning to install a similar system in the coming months. AAI had plans to install high resolution CCTV cameras to monitor compound walls and a proposal was mooted and discussions were initiated with private companies who have experience in installing the smart CCTV and radar-driven system along the perimeter in 2011.


Perimeter intrusion detection system is mandatory as per the new rules of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) at metro airports which are included in list of high risk airports. A senior official of AAI said, “The CCTV will be able to detect unusual movement along the perimeter and alert the control room automatically. People in the control room will be able to take action and also alert CISF patrol on the ground to check the spot from where the alarm came from”. He said it would be easier for the airport to detect from where an intruder had entered and also identify weak points in security. “The man who was caught near the runway on Saturday is behaving as if he is mentally unstable and has not given his address yet. We have to take his word to determine from where he entered the airport. It is highly unlikely that he may have scaled the compound wall because we have removed all buildings abutting the wall and more watch towers have been introduced. He could have walked in probably through a gate near the ceremonial lounge, a gate which needs to be kept open all the time due to movement of cargo trucks,” he said.



International News



Rescuers battle waves, wind in hunt for missing Argentine submarine

Handout picture taken in 2014 and released by the Argentine Navy on November 18 showing submarine ARA San Juan docked in Buenos Aires.



MAR DEL PLATA (Argentina): A multinational armada of aircraft and vessels battled high winds and raging seas Sunday as they intensified their search for a missing Argentine submarine, after apparent attempted distress calls raised hopes the 44 crew members may still be alive. There has been no contact with the ARA San Juan, a German-built diesel-electric sub, since early Wednesday. An air and sea search is under way with help from countries including Brazil, Britain, Chile, the United States and Uruguay. Hopes of finding survivors were revived when the navy said Saturday that its bases had received seven satellite calls attributed to the submersible. The signals were received at 10:52 am (1352 GMT) and 3:42 pm (1842 GMT), but they did not lock in, thus preventing a full connection. However, the navy was unable to confirm that those calls originated from the submarine. “The communications are so short and the signal so low,” Argentine navy spokesman Enrique Balbi said, later adding the military has yet to have contact with or detect radar from the sub. The calls revived hopes that the submarine has surfaced, but a powerful storm that has whipped up waves reaching seven meters (23 feet) in height has made geolocation difficult, officials said. Balbi said weather conditions were not expected to improve before Tuesday. Despite the bad weather, “10 aircraft, both domestic and foreign, are in a search rotation 24 hours a day, each in a different area,” he said. There is a feeling of “cautious enthusiasm,” naval expert Fernando Morales told C5N television. He said the attempt to use a satellite phone indicates that “the submarine had to emerge to a depth that allowed the call”. The last regular communication with the San Juan was early Wednesday, when the submarine was 430 kilometers (270 miles) off Argentina’s coast in the Gulf of San Jorge. Rescuers are focusing on an ocean patch about 300 kilometers in diameter, radiating from the last point of contact. US Southern Command has deployed a Navy P-8A Poseidon patrol and reconnaissance plane with a crew of 21, along with a NASA P-3 research aircraft, and other equipment and personnel.


The US Navy has deployed two unmanned underwater vehicles that use a sonar system to create an image of large sections of the sea floor. Britain’s Royal Navy said it had sent the HMS Protector, an Antarctic patrol ship. Balbi said it was following the northward course the submarine would have taken toward Mar del Plata. Relatives of crew members unfurled a flag at the naval base that read: “Be strong Argentina, We trust in God, We wait for you”. “We will do what is necessary to find the submarine as soon as possible,” Argentine President Mauricio Macri wrote on Twitter. All land communications bases along the coast were ordered to scan for any follow-up signals, as family members of the missing waited nervously in the coastal city of Mar del Plata. Claudio Rodriguez, whose brother Hernan is aboard the submarine, was hopeful, saying the satellite signals suggested the vessel was still afloat and would be found. “They’ve got to be afloat. Thank God,” he said. Among those on board is Argentina’s first female submarine officer, 35-year-old weapons officer Eliana Krawczyk. The navy has not ruled out any hypothesis. A spokesman said the most likely scenario given is that an electrical problem may have unexpectedly cut off the vessel’s communications. The TR-1700 class submarine had been returning from a routine mission to Ushuaia, near the southernmost tip of South America, to its base at Mar del Plata, about 400 kilometers south of Buenos Aires. It is one of three submarines in the Argentine fleet. Sixty-five meters long and seven meters wide, it was built by Germany‘s Thyssen Nordseewerke and launched in 1983. It underwent a refit between 2007 and 2014 to extend its use by about 30 years. At the Vatican, Argentine-born Pope Francis said he offered “his fervent prayer” for the safety of the submarine sailors.



Small tsunamis detected in New Caledonia and Vanuatu after magnitude 7 undersea quake



SYDNEY: A powerful magnitude 7 undersea earthquake struck east of New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands in the South Pacific on Monday, sending small tsunamis towards New Caledonia and neighbouring Vanuatu, where authorities ordered evacuations. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) in Hawaii issued a tsunami warning for coastlines within 300 kms (186 mile) of the epicentre, but later said the danger had largely passed. Monday’s quake, initially reported as magnitude 7.3, struck at a shallow depth of 10 km (six miles) about 82 kms (51 miles) east of New Caledonia. It was the second major tremor in the same area in just over 12 hours and the third in the past month. “We are a little bit scared, we have had an earthquake last night and today it was quite a big one,” said Wayan Rigault, communications manager at Hotel Nengone Village on the island of Mare, which is the closest landmass to the epicentre. Rigault said there was no immediate damage, but guests were on alert for a formal evacuation warning.


Small tsunamis were detected and waves may have reached up to one metre (three feet) above the high tide level in parts of New Caledonia and smaller in Vanuatu, the PTWC said. “Minor sea level fluctuations…may continue over the next few hours,” a statement from the agency said. Vanuatu’s National Disaster Management Office advised people in southern provinces to evacuate coastal areas for higher ground. New Caledonia’s civil security agency made no plans to evacuate coastal places immediately. Authorities in Australia, New Zealand and Hawaii said there were no tsunami threats to the coastlines of those countries.



Truck and minibus collide head-on in Pakistan, killing 17



ISLAMABAD: Pakistani police say that a head-on collision between a mini-bus and a truck has killed at least 17 people and injured six in the country’s south. Police officer Rab Nawaz says the loaded truck crashed into the van near the town of Khairpur on Monday morning. He says those injured are in critical condition and that the death toll could increase further. The police also say the passengers included women and children. The cause of the crash was not immediately known. An investigation is underway. Road accidents are common in Pakistan because of poor road conditions and disregard for safety standards and traffic rules by drivers.

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