News Flash – 24 October 2018

National News



Robbers break open two ATM’s, loot Rs. 23 Lakhs

Both the ATMS at Tamluk and at Debra were broken with a gas-cutter, police said.



Tamluk/Debra: Robbers looted about Rs 23 lakh from two ATMs, one at Tamluk in East Midnapore and the other at Debra in West Midnapore, early on Tuesday. The distance between the two ATMs is about 50km and investigators are not yet certain whether the same gang was involved. The police in both districts said gas-cutters were used to break open the two unguarded ATMs. At Tamluk’s Kankdia Bazar, a gang looted Rs 20.28 lakh from a nationalised bank’s ATM after allegedly breaking open the machine with a gas-cutter. The loot was discovered on Tuesday morning, when the customers went to withdraw cash from the ATM. Tamluk police station, about 11km away, was immediately informed about it. The cops found the wires of all the four CCTV cameras within and outside the ATM snapped. On inspecting the ATM, the police confirmed that gas-cutters were used to break the machine and then, the cash was looted. Sleuths have spoken to the bank authorities and are now trying to gather CCTV images recorded till just before the CCTV camera wires were cut off.


About a month ago, robbers had allegedly snatched Rs 40,000 from a woman after she exited the Kankdia branch of another nationalised bank. Four bike-borne suspects allegedly dragged the woman for about 2.5km till she fell to the ground, sustaining critical injuries. She was treated in a Kolkata hospital but succumbed a fortnight later. The police arrested four suspects and recovered the entire sum. At Debra, masked robbers looted about Rs 3.27 lakh from an ATM of a private bank along NH-6 after allegedly breaking open the machine, also with a gas-cutter. They fled with the case where the cash was stored in the ATM. Locals, who were out at that early hour, noticed the ATM had been broken into and called the Debra police station. Sleuths found that the screens of three of the four CCTV cameras had been smashed and the lower part of the ATM missing. The police called the bank authorities, after which Debra branch officials reached the spot. West Midnapore SP Alok Rajoria said, “The robbers used a gas-cutter to break open the ATM. We have requested the CID to investigate the case.” The police said the ATM was last replenished on Monday morning.



Government considers doubling city’s CCTV network with 5,000 cameras


Mumbai: In July, after a series of burglaries in shops in the Malad-Borivli belt, the police went through CCTV footage and noticed a common pattern. In most cases, a man with a pronounced limp was captured on camera. Ultimately, when a night patrol team spotted a person with a similar limp at a shop in Malad, they knew they had their suspect. After a short chase and scuffle, the police overpowered Shivkumar Dubey, putting an end to his crime run. Two years after the city’s CCTV network was started, the police have reported hundreds of arrests made possible with footage from the network, and also privately installed cameras in housing societies and commercial complexes. Now the state is considering a proposal to almost double the extent of the network by adding 5,000 cameras.


“The proposal is to cover by lanes and blind spots in the city. At present, the network covers Mumbai’s main roads and traffic junctions,” said a senior official. The cost of procuring and installing the new cameras is estimated to be Rs 300-400 crore, he said. Officials said that apart from aiding the police to solve crime, Mumbai’s CCTV network has also helped impose traffic discipline. Since the network’s installation in October 2016, over eight lakh e-challans have been issued to motorists for violating traffic rules, they said. According to the government, the 4,746 cameras in the network are working at a 96% operational rate, though experts say that it is only of late that such a high efficiency has been achieved. Meanwhile, the state cabinet on Tuesday increased the scope of the city’s CCTV project and cleared additional funds of Rs 41 crore, taking the cost of the entire project since its inception to about Rs 980 crore.



1st bitcoin ATM in Bengaluru seized, co-founder held


Bengaluru: A 37-year-old man was arrested here on Tuesday for running India’s first bitcoin ATM kiosk, which police called illegal as it had been set up without approvals. Harish BV, from Tumakuru and co-founder of Unocoin Technologies, Rajajinagar, operated the kiosk at Kemp Fort Mall on Old Airport Road. The kiosk facilitated cryptocurrency deals. Central Crime Branch sleuths seized a teller machine, two laptops, a mobile, three credit cards, five debit cards, a passport, five seals of Unocoin company, a cryptocurrency device and Rs 1.8 lakh. Harish was produced before the I additional chief metropolitan magistrate court which sent him to police custody for seven days. Cops said more arrests are likely. According to police, the kiosk was a platform for bitcoin buyers and sellers. Police requested public not to be lured by the prospect of making huge profits and invest money in cryptocurrencies. Unocoin co-founder Sathvik Viswanath defended his company’s business model, saying it’s perfectly legal for Indians to buy, own or sell bitcoins. “We got a lot of bad press after the finance minister announced a ban in February 2018.


The minister’s statement was clear: Cryptocurrencies are not legal tender in India. He did not say ‘illegal tender’. There’s a huge difference. It means you bear the risk of your investment and there’s no regulation for the industry,” he said. In his 2018-19 budget speech, Arun Jaitley had said, “The government does not consider cryptocurrencies legal tender or coin and will take measures to eliminate use of these crypto assets in financing illegitimate activities”. The ATM in Bengaluru was not operational. “A few mainstream media reports projected it in a negative light. The machine is still under final testing mode and it’ll be up and running soon. It has been temporarily moved from its original place of installation,” said Unocoin. The Unocoin founder said the mall management became apprehensive after media reports. “The reason for panic is because of fake videos on Kannada and English channels. Due to this, our kiosk is not operational. We’ve been trying to actively to get these videos pulled down,” said Sathvik.



GHMC limits breed 90% Swine Flu cases in state


Hyderabad: Over 90% of the swine flu (H1N1) cases and 70% of the dengue and malaria cases recorded in the state are from Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) limits, health department authorities said, hinting at the lack of adequate sanitation in many parts of the city. While dengue and malaria cases have been reported in large numbers from upmarket areas like Banjara Hills, Begumpet and Manikonda, apart from Uppal, Nizampet, Khajaguda and Old City, especially areas along the Musi belt, cases of these two vector-borne diseases and swine flu are being reported from across the city. While dengue cases started to pick up during the month of August this year, malaria and swine flu cases have seen a three-fold jump over the last few weeks. As many as 1,426 cases of malaria and 2,644 dengue cases have been recorded up to October 8, while 154 swine flu cases have been recorded up to October 12, as per official records of the state health department. “Dengue and malaria are both vector-borne diseases and are related to sanitation. Around 70% of these cases are being reported from GHMC limits. When we see swine flu cases, more than 90% are from GHMC limits. This is due to population density and other related factors. In the case of swine flu, recent festivities like Bathukamma, Durga Puja, Navratri and Dasara have also added to the spread of the airborne virus,” explained Dr G Srinivas Rao, director of public health, Telangana.



2 Dead, 12 Hurt in FOB Stampede


Kolkata: Two persons were killed and at least 12 others injured, nine among them serious, after a stampede on the foot over bridge (FOB) at Santragachhi station on Tuesday evening. The incident occurred around 6pm after three trains arrived at the station even as hundreds were waiting to catch one bound for Visakhapatnam. South Eastern Railway (SER) officials said cross-movement on the FOB and the stairs led to the disaster. Some passengers tripped and fell and behind them trampled upon them. The deceased have been identified as Kalakant Singh (32) and Taser Sardar (54). Chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who was at the Durga Puja Carnival on Red Road when the accident occurred, rushed to Santragachhi on receiving information. After reaching the accident spot, she blamed the railways for lack of coordination and announced compensation for the dead and seriously injured. “There seems to have been some negligence and callousness on the part of the railways. When there was a change in platform at the last moment, more time should have been given for passengers to board. Naturally, there was a rush to board the trains and the accident occurred. The railways need to behave more responsibly. Why weren’t precautions taken? I was the railway minister and am still part of the railway family so I am not blaming anybody. However, since we are responsible for law and order, an administrative inquiry will be conducted by the state. The chief secretary will announce this on Wednesday. The next to kin of those killed will receive Rs 5 lakh each and those seriously injured will get a compensation of Rs 1 lakh.


Others will also be compensated after ascertaining the level of their injuries,” Mamata said. On being asked where the railways may have gone wrong, the CM said: “There was certainly some lack of co-ordination. Santragachhi is a busy station used by thousands. Why can’t there be a second FOB? How much does it cost?”. SER officials, however, said there was no change of platform and Santragachhi is undergoing major upgrade. More than a thousand people got off the Nagercoil-Shalimar Express that stopped at platform 1. These passengers climbed the FOB and made their way towards platform 6 and the exit to the station. On the way, they came across several hundred people waiting for the Shalimar-Visakhapatnam Express that was to stop at platform 2. These people were waiting on the FOB with their luggage, blocking the tracks. Passengers were also waiting on platform 1 for the Santragachhi-Chennai Express. Four trains had passed the station shortly before the incident and passengers were waiting to board four more. “At the same time, two suburban trains stopped at the station and more people got off. They too climbed the FOB and there was chaos. It is possible that somebody sparked off a rumour about a bridge collapse, which lead to the panic and stampede,” a senior SER official said. The railways have also announced a compensation on of Rs 5Lakh for the deceased and Rs1lakh for the injured.



5 Bengal tourists die in Sikkim crash



Gangtok/Barasat: Five tourists from Barasat, Madhyamgram and Machlandapur were killed and three got critically injured after their vehicle fell into a gorge at Tinjerbung near Reshi Bazar in west Sikkim on Monday night. The vehicle skidded off the road and plunged into the gorge. All five victims died on the spot. The group was heading for Kaluk in West Sikkim from Namchi. The dead have been identified as Bibhas Pathak (42), Lily Pathak (52), Asha Lata Pathak (61), Brajendranath Pathak (71) and Niharendu Biswas (41). The driver Ashim Rai and two others, Tusharkant Pathak and Pratap Biswas, were critically injured. The victims were first taken to a Namchi hospital, which referred them to a hospital in Siliguri. Autopsies of the five victims were completed at the Geyzing district hospital on Tuesday. The victims’ bodies were handed over to relatives. A joint rescue operation was launched by a five-member team led by Geyzing Regional Transport Officer (RTO) Sonam Wangchen Bhutia. It comprised members of Pelling Tourism Development Society and police officers.


The group of 17 from Barasat and Machlandapur set out for Sikkim on Sunday. The members were travelling in two cars while descending from Chardham to Kaluk village. “We started around 5pm from Chardham for Kaluk. The journey was slow due to heavy traffic. At around 8.15pm, we reached Kaluk and went into the hotel where our rooms were booked while everybody checked in, I was waiting outside for the other car in which my husband and six others were travelling. After waiting 10minutes, I called my husband but got no response. Then I called up another relative in that car but got no response from him either,” said an inconsolable Sabita Biswas, wife of Barasat resident Niharendu Biswas (57), who died in the accident. Sumana Pathak, wife of another victim, Bibhas Pathak, too, tried to control her emotions. She tried putting up a brave face while trying to cheer up her two kids Tinni (11) and Gunja (5).



Blasts set off by country bombs kill 4 in Kanchipuram

GUTTED: In the impact, the walls of the house were reduced to rubble and the walls of neighbouring homes were also badly damaged.



Chennai: Four people, including a woman, died on Tuesday afternoon in blasts triggered by country bombs stocked illegally in a house in Kancheepuram town. Police said a mother-son duo Saira and Mushtaq Ahmed, who died on the spot, had brought the country bombs to Kancheepuram from their native Vellore district recently. They had stocked it inside their house located on a narrow lane in ward 35. According to police, around 4pm some spark or heat triggered the explosion which reverberated across the street. In the ensuing fire, the Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinder in Saira’s residence also caught fire and caused another major explosion. The walls of the house were reduced to rubble in the impact and a few two-wheelers parked nearby also caught fire, police said. With houses packed close to each other on the narrow street, the walls of two neighbouring homes were also badly damaged. In addition to the woman and her son, a man named Masthan, who was also present in the house with them, died on the spot. The bodies were burned beyond recognition, police said. Police added that a 70-yearold neighbour, Sarbhuddin Banu, was also injured in the explosion and was rushed to the Kancheepuram general hospital, where he later died of injuries. Witnesses said the fire and rescue services personnel who rushed to the spot faced difficulties given the width of the lane. They could not bring in their wide-bodied vehicle. Earth movers were deployed to break what was left of the walls of the neighbouring residences to check for bodies buried in the rubble. Police have registered a case and are probing how such a large stockpile of local explosives was brought to town and the reasons for the same.



International News



New TB drug claims to cure 8 of 10 patients



Paris: A new treatment for a drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis can cure 80% of sufferers, according to a trial hailed on Monday as a “game changer” in the fight against the global killer. Doctors in Belarus — a country with one of the highest rates of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis in the world — spent months treating patients with a new drug, bed aquiline, alongside other antibiotics. The results were startling: Of the 181 patients given the new drug, 168 people completed the course and 144 were totally cured. The World Health Organization says currently only 55% of people with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis are successfully treated. The Belarus trial cure rate — 80% — was largely replicated in bed aquiline trials in other countries in eastern Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia and is to be unveiled at a major tuberculosis conference later this week. “The results from this study confirm… that newer drugs like bed aquiline can cure and are game changers for people living with multidrug-resistant and extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis,” Paula Fujiwara, scientific director of The International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, said.

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