News Flash – 22 October 2018

National News



Attacker Dog Squad to Guard key city buildings



Mumbai: The city police are likely to have a dog squad to protect vital installations in the city. These canines will be trained in sniffing out suspicious stuff and also to attack if the need arises, said a police source. Already, the police use the services of dogs to sniff out explosives, narcotics and the trail of a fugitive. The new squad of attack dogs will be deployed to protect at least two dozen vital installations of strategic and defence importance across the city. These include Mantralaya, Raj Bhavan, the chief minister’s bungalow, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, the office of the state top cop among others. “A plan for this new squad for this purpose is being chalked out,” said a police source. “The canines will be trained in sniffing out suspicious items and could even attack a suspected subject”. This squad of dogs is likely to be a combination of different breeds—Labrador, German Shepherd and Rottweiler. The squad, which is yet to be named, will not be stationed at one place. “The dog squad will carry out its duties at different places in a given day and won’t be dedicated to a particular place,” said a senior police officer. “For instance, it could be taken to one place in the morning and a few hours later could be transferred to another spot”.



41 cases of Leprosy found in Mumbai, 3,000 in State



Mumbai: Forty-one leprosy cases were detected during a door-to-door survey carried out between September 24 and October 11 by state health department officials. In the rest of Maharashtra, 3,000 confirmed cases were found in the same drive. “Usually, we detect 4,000 cases a year across the state, but we have found over 7,000 new cases in four drives carried out across the state this year,” said a senior state health official. Leprosy is a bacterial infection that has an incubation period of five to 20 years. “People don’t realise that a skin infection that refuses to go could be a symptom of leprosy. It does not itch or pain so they don’t pay attention to it,” said Dr Raju Jotkar, who heads the leprosy programme in the city. The country declared elimination of leprosy in 2005 as the number of cases had dropped to less than one per 1,000 people. While the numbers are still under control, public health experts fear a resurgence because of lack of funding and awareness. Around 10% of the cases are nowadays found among children under the age of 15 years.



75 die of H1N1 in state in October 38 on Ventilator


Mumbai: Seventy-five people in the state have died of swine flu so far this month, taking the H1N1 death count in Maharashtra to 244 till October 18 this year. Of the 244 casualties, the maximum number of deaths occurred in the last two months. The latest state health report revealed that Nashik accounted for most with 76 deaths, followed by Pune city (64) and Pimpri Chinchwad (33). Satara with 28 deaths and Kolhapur which witnessed 17 were also hit hard. Moreover, the condition of 38 patients is currently critical and they have been put on ventilator support at different hospitals in the state. Of them, 29 patients are undergoing treatment at hospitals in Pune. Director of the state health department, Sanjeev Kamble, said that a large number of people who succumb to swine flu also suffer from other associated illnesses or co-morbid conditions. Health experts attributed the sharp rise in swine flu cases and deaths in the state in the last two months to extended rainfall, fluctuations in day and night temperatures and co-circulation of other influenzas. As assessment of deceased patients has shown, a delay in treatment was one of the main reasons for the complications and resultant death


Another state health official said that they have asked medical practitioners to administer oseltamivir to patients with co-morbid conditions within 24 hours. Analysis shows that the H1N1 virus hit the state harder in 2017 than the previous year. In 2017, a total of 777 people died of swine flu in the state. Since the 2009 swine flu pandemic, 2015 was the worst year for the state when the virus had claimed 905 lives. The virus activity attained two distinct peaks in 2017. According to scientists at National Institute of Virology in Pune, the virus’ transmission was at an all-time high first in summer (March/April) and then again during monsoon (August/September). Since 2009, the California strain of the virus had been doing the rounds in India. However, since January this year, scientists at the Pune institute have been seeing only the Michigan strain of the virus. Experts said the new strain could be behind the increase in cases and mortality. This is yet to be scientifically proven. State surveillance officer Pradip Awate said, “As per the NIV scientists, the molecular markers of virulence do not indicate that the Michigan strain is more virulent than the California strain”.



China’s Flood Alert helped Avert Disaster



New Delhi: China’s proactive approach on sharing hydrological data with India averted a crisis in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam as timely flood alerts helped central and local authorities take precautionary measures and evacuate people to safer places. China had last year stopped sharing data after the standoff between Indian and Chinese troops at Doklam, making it difficult for the Central Water Commission (CWC) to predict floods in north-eastern states. Sharing of data resumed this year after both the countries signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to China in June. The MoU is meant for sharing hydrological data from May 15 to October 15 every year. “China, however, shared data with us even beyond the cut-off date of October 15 when it encountered an emergency situation (landslide-induced blocking of the main stream of Yarlung Zangpo/Brahmaputra river) to its side,” CWC chairman S Masood Husain told TOI on Sunday. China had also kept Indian ambassador in Beijing in the loop. The ambassador, in turn, was in touch with the cabinet secretary and chief secretaries of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. Asked about the situation on Sunday, the CWC chairman said it was absolutely normal and there was no need to panic.



First Police Museum: An ode to fallen Heroes, 2,000 years of policing


New Delhi: A large number of visitors thronged the National Police Memorial museum, the first one in the country dedicated to police officers, on the first day after its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. As soon as you enter the corridor of the museum, which has five galleries focusing on different segments, you will be able to see examples of over 2,000 years of policing from the ancient till the recent times. These include the Kautilya system of law and order in 310BC, southern literature on policing and constables of Lanka. The first thing inside the museum is the rank structure, starting with constable, head constable, leading up to director general of police and director of intelligence bureau. The next installations are dedicated to the forces guarding the border and Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The central protection forces make up most of the next segment, with installations focusing on CISF, SPG, NSG, RPF, Bureau of Civil Aviation Security, CPRF and IB. The displays of weapons like 5.56mm and 7.62mm rifles, .455 bore revolver and 9mm carbine are expected to be huge hit among youngsters. There are other installations about police bands and buglers and Indian police in postal stamps/philately. The 1,600 sq. meter museum takes visitors on a walkthrough describing police forces in each of the 30 states and six Union territories.


There are special sections dedicated to role of women in police and the animal squads — dog squad, camel squad, mounted police (horses) and pigeon post. For those inclined towards research-oriented work, there is a section highlighting the role of Bureau of Police Research and Development, LNJN National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science and National Technical Research Organisation. The most interesting segment is the one dedicated to martyrs and outstanding police operations. Sources said this is an evolving section and more stories would be added over time. Currently, there are about nine stories laid out in the martyrdom section, including Hot Springs Ladakh in 1959 where three police officers were killed, Akshardham attack in 2002 (Operation Vajra Shakti), Maoists attack Dantewada in 2010, and martyrs of Uttarakhand floods in 2013. A special film on 26/11 and an installation on Vandana Malik, the first woman IPS officer martyred in 1989, are also displayed in this section. Other police operations include Operation Puttur (2013), Noorbagh encounter (2003), and killing of forest brigand Veerappan. A section is also dedicated to gallantry awards and police contribution in international operations.



Ailing Hyderabad: District worst affected by Malaria outbreak, ranks 2nd in Dengue


Hyderabad: Denizens in the twin cities have been asked to protect themselves against mosquito-borne diseases after official figures showed Hyderabad as the worst affected when it comes to malaria, and second worst affected district in terms of the dengue cases. Apart from the dreaded swine flu virus affecting many in the city, dengue and malaria cases continue to tumble in large numbers, making it a deadly concoction of viruses. In the last two weeks, Hyderabad recorded 40 cases of malaria, while 70 dengue cases were recorded in the same period. Mahbubnagar recorded the highest number of dengue cases with nearly 150 in the last two weeks alone, authorities said. “Mahabunagar is also having a spurt in swine flu cases currently. Dengue is also expected to increase in the district as well as Hyderabad city due to the recent rainfall and fluctuation in temperatures. The three viruses together pose a huge threat to people and they need to be doubly careful,” said a senior official from the state health department. Dengue and malaria cases are expected to go up further due to the recent rounds of rainfall and subsequent waterlogging in various parts of the city. The viruses thrive in lower temperatures and authorities expect the numbers to go up in the next two weeks. About 1436 cases of malaria, 2644 cases of dengue and 244 cases of chikungunya were recorded across the state, since the beginning of the year up to the second week of October.



Dengue claims 53-yr-old on Bijoya Dashami; state toll crosses 15


Kolkata: When the city was bidding adieu to Goddess Durga on Saturday night, a family from Kanchrapara was busy preparing for the last journey of one of its members, who died of dengue. Fifty-three-year-old Laxmi Banerjee died at a city hospital on the night of Dashami — five days after being detected with dengue. Banerjee’s death certificate mentions dengue hemorrhagic fever as one of the causes of death. The vector-borne disease has claimed more than 15 lives in the state this year so far. The death toll includes at least eight children. Virologists fear the dengue menace may continue for some time till the mercury starts dipping. The resident of Sidheswari Lane in North 24 Parganas’ Kanchrapara had been suffering from fever since October 12. On the advice of the local doctor she was initially taken to a government hospital in Kanchrapara. Doctors in the hospital suspected dengue and shifter her to another government hospital in Sealdah, where her blood samples tested positive for dengue on October 14. According to the family members, Banerjee’s condition kept deteriorating despite treatment. They shifted her to a private hospital in Kolkata on October 15 as she needed better facilities.


“We shifted her thrice, but there was no improvement in my wife’s condition. Her platelet count had dipped. The platelet transfusions and ventilation support did not help either,” said her husband Narayan Banerjee, a former employee of Indian Railways. According to a source at the Kolkata hospital, the patient’s platelet count had dipped as low as 62,000 per microliter of blood and she was brought to the hospital in a very critical condition. “The patient also had chronic kidney problems and diabetes. These factors only worsened her condition and made the job a tough one for doctors attending to her,” said a source at the hospital. Doctors declared her dead around 10.40pm on Saturday, citing dengue hemorrhagic fever, sepsis and multi organ failure among reasons for the death. Banerjee was a resident of ward number 7 under Kanchrapara Municipality. The civic body swung into action on getting the news of the death, taking up vector control exercises. But locals said that it was too little and too late. “Such drive to combat mosquito breeding should have been taken up before the onset of the monsoon. It’s unfortunate that the civic body waits for deaths to happen before coming up with such knee-jerk reactions,” said a local resident.



Three women die of H1N1 infection in Southern Tamil Nadu



Madurai: Three women died of H1N1 infection in two hospitals in the state over the last two days. Two of the women were from Madurai, while the other was from Nagercoil. Meenakshi, 41, of Karumbalai, was admitted to the Government Rajaji Hospital in Madurai on Friday morning with high fever. She died on Friday evening. Sources in the health department said it was a confirmed case of H1N1 infection. The woman, however, had other health complications, including diabetes and viral pneumonia, they added. On Sunday evening, 70-year-old Veerammal of Anupanadi, Madurai, died in the Government Rajaji Hospital. Dean of the hospital, Dr D Marudhupandian, said Meenakshi tested positive for H1N1 virus in the hospital, while Veerammal tested positive in tests by another hospital and negative in those done by GRH. “We will have to wait for other results to confirm if Veerammal had H1N1infection,’’ he said. Teresa Josephine Rani, 60, from Nagercoil, who had been admitted to Asaripallam Government Hospital in Kanyakumari on October 12 after she tested positive for H1N1, died on Saturday evening. Sources said four people were undergoing treatment for H1N1 infection in GRH in Madurai.



International News



Taiwan train crash kills 18, injures 175



Taipei: Eighteen people died and 175 were injured when a train derailed in Taiwan on Sunday, authorities said, in the island’s worst rail disaster in more than three decades. Four carriages overturned in the crash, which occurred on a line popular among tourists when all eight cars ran off the tracks on a bend near a station, officials said. A total of 366 passengers were onboard. It was unclear what caused the crash. A probe was under way to find out the cause of the crash, Taiwan Railways Administration said. “The train was in pretty good condition,” deputy chief Lu Chieh-Shen said. As of 9.35pm (local time) all rescue operations had ended.



China coal mine mishap kills 2, leaves 18 trapped



Beijing: Two people died and 18 were trapped in a coal mine in China on Sunday after a rock burst destroyed part of a mining tunnel, state broadcaster China Central Television reported. The spontaneous fracturing of rock — a kind of earthquake induced by excavation — took place around 11pm (local time) Saturday in Shandong province. Part of a water drainage tunnel was destroyed in the burst, said the official Xinhua news agency, and two people were killed by fractured rocks that fell in the tunnel. More than 300 people were working inside the mine at the time of the rock burst, and most were successfully lifted to safety. Eighteen remained trapped underground late on Sunday. Two people who were trapped have been rescued, according to China Central Television. The incident “has nothing to do with workers’ operations,” an official with the Shandong Coal Mine safety supervision bureau said. The official, surnamed Tian, said nearly 140 rescuers were dispatched. Ventilation has returned to around 200 metres of the damaged tunnel, Xinhua said. The cause of the accident was being investigated. In August, 13 miners were killed in a mine explosion in southern China. Rock burst accidents are often caused by fractures due to mining.

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