News Flash – 23 October 2017

National News



Theft reported on Delhi-Mumbai Rajdhani Express: Woman loses valuables worth RS 1 lakh



Mumbai: Yet another theft case has been reported on a Delhi-Mumbai train. A Bandra resident travelling by Rajdhani Express was robbed of cash and jewellery of a total value of Rs 1.09 lakh early on Sunday morning. Rajdhani Express, a premium train, has witnessed a spate of thefts in recent months. The latest comes barely three weeks after a man was arrested for targeting train passengers on the Delhi-Mumbai corridor. The railways had then announced it would install cameras on Rajdhani and August Kranti trains. The complainant, Nisha Jain, was travelling with her family. In her first information report registered with the railway police’s outpost at Mumbai Central, Jain has stated: “My purse had jewellery worth Rs 30,000, gift cash cards of Rs 17,000 value and Rs 45,000 cash besides other valuables”. The family of three was in coach B-2 and occupied berths 57, 58, 59. Jain’s complaint states that they were awake till the train pulled into Ratlam around midnight. Jain told TOI that she had tucked the purse beside her shoulder with a shawl thrown over it. “But when the train reached Vadodara, my purse was missing,” she said, adding that she informed the railway police. She said the coach attendant said he had seen a woman alighting at Vadodara. “I showed him photos of the purse on my phone and he confirmed that this woman had alighted with a similar one. She added that the railway police later informed her that they have spotted a woman alighting with a purse from the coach at Vadodara station. “I suspect some insiders are in cahoots with the culprit. Their role must be probed,” said Jain.



Nearly 50% drop in Diwali fire calls due to ‘greater public awareness’



MUMBAI: Fire calls received during Diwali this year have witnessed almost a 50% drop compared to last year. Officials attributed this drop to greater public awareness. This year, fewer crackers were burst during Diwali too. Statistics show that fire calls received on Laxmi Puja day this year and a day after that (October 19-20) have been 35, while there were 64 calls last year on those days. In fact, last year, 12 out of the 64 calls received were between level 1-4, which requires the fire brigade to reach the site and monitor the situation, apart from starting fire-fighting operations. Anything above level 4 is a brigade call, which means it is serious. For instance, the fire at Kalbadevi’s Gokul Niwas building, in which four fire officers were killed, was a brigade call. But this year, two out of the 35 calls were of level 1 and 2, one of which was in Worli and the other was in Marol. Mumbai Fire Brigade‘s chief fire officer P Rahangdale said this was a positive sign that calls have reduced during Diwali. “This keeps up with the trend on how annually to the number of fire calls is reducing. One reasons for this is awareness that we are trying to create through all modes of communication. Volunteer training programmes started by us are also helping us to reach out to more people. People are probably realizing the importance of taking precautions,” says Rahangdale, adding that most calls were due to crackers flying and coming in contact with combustible material in highrises in the city. Fire brigade officials said people often store combustible things in their galleries, which leads to fires spreading further. Last year, due to Diwali celebrations, a fire cracker caused a massive blaze in a 10-storey commercial structure at Lower Parel, leaving residents of a 37-storey residential highrise opposite traumatized. While no one was injured, it took the fire brigade over two hours to bring the blaze under control.


Fire calls during Diwali (Oct 19-20)

2017 | 35

2016 | 64

Drop in fire calls annually






Past incidents

* Oct 18, 2016 | Two persons died in a blaze in a duplex in the 25-storey sea-facing Maker Tower at Cuffe Parade

* June 6, 2015 | Seven persons, including a woman, died and 28 were injured in a blaze on the 14th floor of the 21-storey Lake Lucerne building in Powai

* May 9, 2015 | Four senior fire officials were killed when Gokul Niwas, a four-storey building in Kalbadevi caught fire and a large portion of it collapsed on them. Chief fire officer Sunil Nesarikar died in this fire.



Mobile phone emits smoke on Indore-Delhi flight, plane lands safely



NEW DELHI: In yet another scare of its kind, a mobile phone is feared to have caught fire mid-air on a flight which required the device to be first sprayed with fire extinguisher and then be kept in water till the plane landed safely. The latest case happened Friday on Jet Airways’ Indore-Delhi flight. The airline said smoke was seen emanating from a guest hand bag on 9W 971. “Jet Airways crew (took) all necessary steps, precautionary measures as per the prescribed guidelines. Since the smoke emanated from a mobile device, the handheld item was taken into custody for further investigations. There was no injury to guests or crew or (damage to) any part of the cabin. The aircraft landing was safe and uneventful. At Jet Airways safety is of paramount importance and all crew are trained to handle such situations,” a statement by Jet Airways said.


The airline did not give details of the make of the device and the number of passengers on board. The issue has been referred to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA). The regulator had some years back put in place a standard operating procedure to handle such situations. Crew are now trained to immediately spray fire extinguisher on the bag from which smoke is emanating. Once smoke stops, the device from which the smoke was coming is put in a can of water till the aircraft lands safely and then the personal electronic device (PED) is sent for examination. The regulator is examining if fire proof cases should be made mandatory on long flights, especially those over oceans which do not have any airport nearby to land as soon as possible. PEDs which catch fire and/or are emitting smoke are to be put in these boxes and the aircraft can safely fly to its destination or till an alternate airport. The DGCA had two years back banned mobiles of a particular brand from being taken on board planes as they were catching fire frequently.



Homeguard caught for committing nearly 60 ATM thefts in Hyderabad

The accused was identified as Tummala Udayakumar alias Uday Kiran, a homeguard working in Hyderabad.



KAREMPUDI (GUNTUR DISTRICT): Central Crime Station (CCS) police managed to arrest a notorious Homeguard who preyed on gullible people by stealing money from their ATM cards in the pretext of helping them withdraw cash at Karempudi village in Guntur district on Friday. The accused was identified as Tummala Udayakumar alias Uday Kiran, a homeguard working in Hyderabad. According to CCS police, Kiran from Narsaraopet has joined the service back in 2006 in Hyderabad. He worked as an escort for accused from the jails to the court. After getting the pin numbers from the victims, he would steal the ATM card and withdraw all its money. Interestingly, he learnt the skill while escorting thieves and other accused during his duty. He then would purchase ATM cards from pickpockets for Rs 100 and 200. He would then exchange the cards with the gullible people who have less knowledge about operating ATM machines in the village. Kiran has been committing the crime since 2012 and in 2016, he stole a whopping Rs 1.69 lakh from just one ATM card. Upon information, cops caught Kiran at an Andhra Bank ATM on Thursday and recovered Rs 1.2 lakh from him. Kiran has close 50 cases against him across West Godavari, East Godavari, Guntur, Vizag, Srikakulam and Nalgonda district in Telangana state. Cops registered cheating and theft cases against him and produced him before the court.



Depression leaves, but heavy rain drenches Kolkata

A vendor waits for customers at a water-logged street in Kolkata.



KOLKATA: A steady drizzle punctuated by several spells of heavy shower left Kolkata drenched on Friday, even as the depression that has been triggering rain since Thursday moved into Jamshedpur. It was predicted to travel across West Bengal and enter Bangladesh on Saturday. According to the Met office, the showers could lose intensity in Kolkata by Saturday afternoon. “The depression is now travelling in a north-northeasterly direction towards Bangladesh. As it moves further away from Bengal, the rain will turn scanty in Kolkata. The weather should improve in the city by Saturday afternoon,” said GK Das, director, Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC). As the depression travels through the state, the districts of Bankura, Burdwan and Malda could receive heavy rain. On Thursday evening, the depression had reached the Odisha coast around 8pm. On Friday morning, it lay 35 km north-northwest of Chandbali in Odisha, according to the IMD website. It said that the system will move northward for some more time and then turn north-northeast ward close to the coast. Since it was still gathering moisture, the system will continue to strengthen for at least 24 hours more and was likely to maintain its intensity.


But since the system was moving towards Bangladesh, the weather was set to improve in the city, said Das. “The intermittent rain could continue through Saturday morning. As of now, we don’t see any heavier spells. But the rain will continue and there could be light showers till Saturday afternoon,” said Das. With the depression having moved into Jamshedpur, the adjoining areas in Bengal received heavy showers on Friday. The showers were predicted to move with the system on Saturday. The rain led to waterlogging in several areas of north and central Kolkata. Stretches of Chittaranjan Avenue, Muktarambabu Street and Colootola Street had ankle-deep water on Friday morning. M G Road and parts of the Park Circus EM Bypass connector near Science City, too, was flooded. Bidhan Sarani and the Kankurgacchi underpass had ankle-deep water following a spell of heavy shower on Friday morning. Water also gushed into the Thanthania Kali temple which remained under ankle-deep water for several hours. A high tide on Thursday night had led to the flooding, according to the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. More than 300 pumps were pressed into service by the civic authorities across 17 drainage pumping stations in the city.



Now, traffic cops come up with helmet zones



CHENNAI: Traffic police have announced a dozen stretches in the city as ‘helmet zones’. They are planning to ensure that all two-wheeler riders passing through these stretches wear helmets. The stretches will be monitored by a police team who will check motorists at entry and exit points. Police said they have identified at least 12 such stretches in the city. “Assistant commissioners of traffic enforcement police have been asked to identify the stretches in their jurisdiction and deploy police personnel there to ensure that motorists wear helmets,” said a police officer. The officer added that the public will not be informed which areas have been earmarked as ‘helmet zones’. This will prompt the motorists to wear helmet on most of the roads in the city. In addition, people who involve in traffic violations such as driving under the influence of alcohol, riding two-wheelers without helmets and jumping red signal, have been made to watch one-hour long short films that narrate the harms of violating traffic rules. “We screen a couple of videos that run for at least an hour and the violators have to watch the videos fully,” said K Periaiah, additional commissioner of police of the traffic police.


Police statistics said at least 18,894 cases had been booked for over speeding, at least 23,552 cases for jumping signal from June to August. At least 3,115 cases were booked for using mobile phones while driving, 5,168 cases for drunken driving, 1,056 cases for overloading by goods carriage vehicles and 189 cases for carrying people in goods vehicles in the same period. From January 1 to September 17, 2016, about 5,562 fatal and non-fatal accident cases were registered in the city and this has reduced to 5,420 cases for the same period this year. As per the Motor Vehicles Act, traffic police personnel register cases under 33 heads for traffic violations and they have booked at least 14,37, 816 cases from January 1 to September 17 this year. Police have so far collected 16.39 crore fine from violators and have deposited it in the state treasury.



International News



Car bomb kills 15 Afghan army personnel in Kabul: Defence ministry spokesperson



KABUL: A suicide attacker detonated a car full of explosives outside an Afghan military training centre in Kabul on Saturday, killing at least 15 soldiers, a military spokesman said, the latest attack in a particularly deadly week for Afghanistan‘s security forces. “Army personnel were coming out of Marshal Fahim University when a suicide bomber in a car targeted them. Fifteen soldiers who were there for training were killed and four others were wounded,” Ministry of Defence spokesman Dawlat Wazari told Reuters.



Man attacks people at shopping mall in Poland, 1 dead



WARSAW: A man attacked people with a knife on Friday at a shopping mall in southeastern Poland, killing one person and sending seven others to the hospital with wounds, police said. Andrzej Wierszyna, spokesman for the police in the town of Stalowa Wola, said the attack took place Friday afternoon with a sharp tool at one of the town’s malls. The man, a 27-year-old Polish resident of the town, has been detained, he told The Associated Press. Police officer Anna Klee was quoted by the PAP news agency as saying the weapon was a knife and a 50-year-old woman died in the hospital. “He was attacking people from behind, hitting them with the knife,” Klee told PAP. Eight people in all were taken to hospitals in Stalowa Wola, Tarnobrzeg and Sandomierz, most with serious wounds, Wierszyna said.



At least 30 police die in clash in Egypt’s Western desert



CAIRO: Armed terrorists killed at least 30 policemen in a shootout during a raid on a suspected militant hideout in Egypt’s Western desert, security sources said on Friday. A number of suspected terrorists were also killed and security forces are combing the area, a statement by the interior ministry said. Egypt is facing an Islamist insurgency concentrated in the Sinai peninsula from two main groups, including an Islamic State affiliate, that has killed hundreds of security forces since 2013. Islamist terrorists have launched several major attacks, most recently targeting churches in Cairo and other cities with the loss of dozens of lives. The security sources said authorities were following a lead to a hideout deep in the desert thought to house eight suspected members of Hasm, a group which has claimed several attacks around the capital targeting judges and police since last year. A convoy of four SUVs and one interior ministry vehicle was ambushed from higher ground by militants firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating explosive devices, a senior source in the Giza Security Office said.


The number of dead was expected to rise, two security sources said. Two security sources said eight security personnel were injured in the clashes, while another source said that four of the injured were police and four others suspected militants. Egypt accuses Hasm of being the terrorist wing of the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group it outlawed in 2013. The Muslim Brotherhood denies this. The Islamist insurgency in the Sinai Peninsula has grown since the military overthrew President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in mid-2013 following mass protests against his rule. The terrorist group staging the insurgency pledged allegiance to Islamic State in 2014. It is blamed for the killing of hundreds of soldiers and policemen and has started to target other areas, including Egypt’s Christian Copts.

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