News Flash – 27 April 2017

National News



Three army men martyred as terrorists attack Kupwara army camp in J&K



SRINAGAR: Three army men were martyred this morning after terrorists attacked an Army camp in Jammu and Kashmir‘s Kupwara district, reported Times Now. Two terrorists were gunned down in the exchange of fire. An encounter between security forces and terrorists is still under way.


Monsoon on its way, only 7% desilting done



MUMBAI: The BMC claims to have completed 6.95% of desilting work at various nullahs in the city, western suburbs and eastern suburbs so far. Meanwhile 8.83% of desilting of Mithi River has also been completed. Desilting of nullahs is important in order to avoid overflowing during monsoons. The cleaning of major drains in the city began on April 1 while cleaning of smaller drains started on April 7. Like last year, this year too no contractor was showing interest in desilting of drains and therefore the BMC got its ward-level officials to initiate cleaning of minor nullahs. Around The BMC will be spending Rs 60 crore for cleaning of major nullahs and Rs 29.62 crore for minor nullahs.


Burglar injured in gun battle with cops



NEW DELHI: Two burglars who were trying to break into an apartment in Rohini shot at policemen after getting cornered on Tuesday night. A teenager had noticed them hiding behind a parked car after which her father called the police. When the cops returned fire, one of the robbers was hit on his hand and back. The other escaped on a police patrol bike. Around 3.50am, the police received a call from one Sanjay Jain informing about the burglars presence inside Ahimsa Apartment, Rohini Sector 9. Jain’s daughter, who was studying for her medical examinations, had noticed them hiding behind cars parked in the society when she went downstairs to check for her admit card in the post box. Jain alerted the society guards and called the cops. An ERV team and cops on a patrol bike reached the apartment and the guards asked them to check the rear gate. The two men were found with their faces covered carrying backpacks trying to scale the gate. Asked to surrender, the burglars started shooting with country-made weapons. The shot missed head constable Rajesh and constable Ashok. When they fired in retaliation, their bullets struck one of them, later identified as Nitin (24).

While the cops were pinning down Nitin, his associate boarded the patrol bike and drove off. An assistant sub-inspector tried to stop him, but he was knocked down and threatened with the gun. “SHO Prashant Vihar Surender Rathee reached the spot and took Nitin to Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital. He has suffered five bullet injuries on his hand, back and legs and was operated upon on Wednesday evening,” said DCP (Rohini) Rishipal. Nitin, a native of Kasganj in UP, had been staying in Rohini for the past one year. His father retired from the army in 2006 and is bedridden. His family members are yet to arrive in Delhi. Cops found housebreaking equipment in his backpack, apart from a country-made pistol, four live rounds and one fired bullet. A case under Arms Act and IPC sections 186 (obstructing a public servant from conducting his duties) and 353 (attacking a public servant to deter him from duty) has been registered against him. Teams are trying to track his associate with the help of the GPS device in the patrol bike that he used to escape.


Many Bengalureans lose cash to sim card swap fraud



BENGALURU: If you are using a cellphone number with a 3G sim card and your online banking account is linked to it, you could be the next victim of a thriving ‘sim card swap fraud’. At least 30 Bengalureans have reportedly fallen prey to scamsters, losing huge sums of money since mid-2016. For insurance executive Aroop Ghosh (39) from Domlur, the ordeal began when he attended a phone call at his lunch table in mid-February. “The male caller claimed he was calling from a mobile service provider and confirmed with me if I was still using a 3G sim. He told me that there is an offer for easy swapping to 4G for better internet speed and sent me a 20-digit number by SMS after disconnecting the call,” he said. An ignorant Ghosh took the bait by texting the 20-digit number to the mobile service provider’s helpline and selected option 1 to confirm the 4G swap as advised by the conman. “Within a few seconds my sim card got deactivated and it remained so,” rued Ghosh. The following day, electronics good worth over Rs 2 lakh were purchased online using his HDFC bank account.

According to an investigating officer with the CID’s cybercrime unit, the modus operandi is thus: The culprits obtain a new 4G sim for the victim’s cellphone number by either impersonating him at an outlet of the service provider or online, using the 4G sim swap page on the service provider’s website. The new sim is then delivered to the given address within a day. “The culprits then call the victim claiming to be executives from the service provider and send the 20-digit number printed on the new 4G sim card via SMS and convince him or her to activate it. Once the 3G sim on the victim’s cellphone becomes inactive, the 4G one on the fraudsters’ cellphone becomes active. The fraudsters then use it to receive OTPs,” the officer added. Investigators suspect the scamsters must be obtaining victims’ confidential bank account or card details, including cellphone details, from bank insiders. “They try every number pertaining to the accounts and some 3G sim card users fall for it,” the officer added. Over 30 victims of the SIM swap fraud have approached cybercrime police stations of state CID and Bengaluru city police (BCP) since mid-2016. Some like Manish Raj, a city-based BPO employee, who are tech aware have also fallen prey to the fraud. “I didn’t receive a call but only an internet-generated SMS with the 20-digit number from the fraudster, which I carelessly activated and lost Rs 30,000 from my ICICI account,” recalled Raj. Names of victims have been changed on request.

– Fraudster impersonates the victim and obtains new 4G sim card from outlet or online
– Poses as executive of mobile service provider, calls the victim offering instant 3G to 4G sim switch
– Sends a 20-digit number (printed on new 4G sim), urges the victim to send it to the service provider’s helpline to initiate the switch
– While victim’s 3G sim gets deactivated, the fraudster’s cellphone with the 4G sim gets activated with the victim’s number
– Fraudster initiates online purchases and money transfers from victim’s bank account or card after receiving OTPs on new sim.


Fake Aadhaar card racket busted: Seven arrested



AHMEDABAD: Sola police late on Wednesday night busted a racket engaged in making fake Aadhaar cards, at a house in the Chankyapuri locality in Ghatlodia. Police sources said though they have recovered five fake Aadhaar cards from the seven accused, they suspect a larger racket, with links in other states like Maharashtra, UP and MP. Inspector C L Solanki of Sola police station said they seized a computer, photographs and documents, which the accused used to make the fake Aadhaar cards. “We have arrested Nilesh Mistry of Chankyapuri, Vrushabh Kale of Washim district in Maharashtra, Saurabh Pande of Ghazipur, UP, Dilip Jagani of Nikol in Ahmedabad, Anand Pandey of Hoshangabad in MP, Chandrasinh Solanki of Bhavnagar and Mahesh Nindhot of Washim,” added Inspector Solanki.

Police sources said they suspect that fake Aadhaar cards made by the accused were used to open bank accounts, especially after demonetization. Some of the accused also used the cards to undergo clinical trials repeatedly. Police sources said they received a tip-off and raided the house in Chankyapuri. “We have sealed the premises. We are also checking several photographs found at the premises,” added a police source. Senior police sources said they have also informed their counterparts in Maharashtra, UP and MP, as most of the accused belong to these states. “It came to light during interrogation that they were running the racket since December 2016,” added a senior police official.


International News



Death toll in Turkish raids on Syria Kurds hits 28: Monitor

News Flash_1 27.04.17

The strikes underlined the complexities of the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, where twin US-backed offensives are seeking to dislodge IS from its last major urban strongholds.


BEIRUT: The toll in Turkish air raids on Kurdish positions in northeastern Syria rose to 28 killed, a monitor said Wednesday, a day after Ankara said it had targeted “terrorist havens” near its border. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of those killed were members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is battling the Islamic State group in northern Syria. Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman said 19 others were wounded in the Tuesday raids on a media centre and other buildings in al-Malikiyah, a town in Hasakeh province. Abdel Rahman said a female Kurdish fighter was among the dead. The YPG gave its own toll on Tuesday of 20 fighters killed and 18 wounded. The US State Department said it was “deeply concerned” that the strikes were conducted “without proper coordination either with the United States or the broader global coalition” that is fighting IS in Syria and neighbouring Iraq. Turkey, which backs Syrian rebel groups and which launched a ground operation in northern Syria last year, vowed to continue acting against groups it links to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). It also killed six Kurdish peshmerga fighters in northern Iraq on Tuesday in an apparent accident.

Syria’s foreign ministry on Wednesday condemned the air strikes, describing them as “a flagrant aggression by (President Recep Tayyip) Erdogan’s regime on Syrian territory”. Once allied, Damascus and Ankara have become bitter adversaries since the eruption of Syria’s conflict in 2011, which saw Turkey side with anti-government rebels. And while Turkey’s government sees the YPG as “terrorists,” the Syrian regime has maintained cool ties with them, mostly in parts of northeast Syria where they share territory. Turkey’s strikes have underlined the complexities of the battlefields in Iraq and Syria, where twin US-backed offensives are seeking to dislodge IS from its last major urban strongholds. They could also exacerbate tensions between Ankara and its NATO ally Washington, which sees the Kurds as instrumental in the fight against IS. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces — which are dominated by the YPG — are waging a five-month-old offensive for IS’s Syria stronghold Raqa. The SDF accused Turkey of carrying out the strikes “to obstruct the progress of our campaign for Raqa”. “We call on the international community to intervene to put an end to these ongoing attacks on our territory,” the SDF said in a statement published late Tuesday.


14 held in two separate French anti-terror probes



PARIS: French police have arrested 10 people in an investigation of suspected suppliers of weapons to one of the attackers who killed 17 people at Charlie Hebdo magazine and a kosher store in January 2015, the Paris prosecutors’ office said on Wednesday. Separately, police have also arrested four people in an anti-terror probe in the town of Trappe’s west of Paris, the prosecutors’ office said. It said those arrests were unrelated to the weapons probe, but gave no additional details. Arrests in the weapons investigation started on Monday, with more on Tuesday and Wednesday, the prosecutors’ office said.

The arrests targeted people suspected of involvement in supplying weapons to Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people in a hostage-taking at the Hypercacher market in eastern Paris and a policewoman in another incident before dying in a shootout with police. Coulibaly was an associate of brothers Cherif and Said Kouachi, who killed 12 at Charlie Hebdo’s Paris office and also were killed in a shootout. The arrests come amid heightened security to protect the French presidential election ahead of the second round of voting May 7. A meeting of President Francois Hollande‘s national Security Council reviewed security plans today and the French leader asked for continued vigilance, a statement from the presidential palace said.


China launches first domestically-built aircraft carrier

News Flash_2 27.04.17

BEIJING: China has launched its first aircraft carrier built entirely on its own, in a demonstration of the growing technical sophistication of its defense industries and determination to safeguard its maritime territorial claims and crucial trade routes. The 50,000-ton carrier was towed from its dockyard just after 9am on Wednesday following a ceremony in the northern port city of Dalian, where its predecessor, the Soviet-built Liaoning, also underwent extensive refurbishing before being commissioned in 2012, the Ministry of National Defense said. Development of the new carrier began in 2013 and construction in late 2015. It’s expected to be formally commissioned sometime before 2020, after sea trials and the arrival of its full air complement. Vice chairman of China’s Central Military Commission and Communist Party Central Committee member Fan Changlong presided over the launch, which came just three days after the anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army Navy’s symbolic founding in 1949. Also attending was navy commander Vice Adm. Shen Jinlong, a former commander of the South Sea Fleet responsible for defending China’s claim to virtually the entire South China Sea. Reports of the launch said a bottle of champagne was broken across the ship’s bow and other craft in the port sounded their horns in celebration.

Like the 60,000-ton Liaoning, which was purchased from the Ukraine, the new carrier is based on the Soviet Kuznetsov class design, with a ski jump-style deck for taking off and a conventional oil-fueled steam turbine power plant. That limits the weight of payloads its planes can carry, its speed and the amount of time it can spend at sea relative to American nuclear-powered carriers. The main hull of the new carrier has been completed and its power supply put into place. Next up are mooring tests and the debugging of its electronic systems, the Defense Ministry said. China is believed to be planning to build at least two and possibly as many as four additional carriers, with one of them, the Type 002, reported to be already under construction at a shipyard outside Shanghai. They are expected to be closer in size to the US Navy’s nuclear-powered 100,000-ton Nimitz class ships, with flat flight decks and catapults to allow planes to launch with more bombs and fuel aboard. Along with their role in protecting China’s maritime interests, Chinese naval strategists see the carrier program as “about having naval power commensurate with China’s international status, to impress both external and domestic audiences,” said Michael Chase, an expert on the Chinese military at US think tank the RAND Corporation.

The new carrier “is likely to be seen as further evidence of China’s desire to become the most powerful and influential country in the region,” Chase said. That will be especially worrying to Indian security analysts who are already concerned about Beijing’s ambitions in the Indian Ocean, he said. India, along with Japan and Taiwan which also view Chinese carriers as threats, will likely respond by building new submarines and anti-ship missiles, said Ian Easton, a research Fellow at The Project 2049 Institute in Arlington, Virginia. China’s “expansionist behavior in the South China Sea and its aggressive efforts to undermine the security of Taiwan and Japan, in particular, have translated into a situation where few countries now trust that Beijing has benign motives,” Easton said. China claims Taiwan as its own territory to be brought under control by force if necessary, and was seen as advertising that threat when it sailed the Liaoning through the Taiwan Strait earlier this year. According to Chinese reports, the new, as yet unnamed, carrier will carry 24 Shenyang J-15 fighters, based on the Russian Sukhoi Su-33, along with 12 helicopters for anti-submarine warfare, airborne early warning and rescue operations. That compares to 85-90 fixed wing aircraft and helicopters carried by a Nimitz-class carrier.

The new carrier is part of an ambitious expansion of the Chinese navy, which is projected to have a total of 265-273 warships, submarines and logistics vessels by 2020, according to the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Naval Analysis. That compares with 275 deployable battle force ships presently in the US Navy, China’s primary rival in the Asia Pacific. The US operates 10 aircraft carriers, has 62 destroyers to China’s 32, and 75 submarines to China’s 68. The US Navy has 323,000 personnel to China’s 235,000. China has offered little information about the roles it expects its carriers to play, although its planning appears to be evolving as it gains more experience. The Liaoning was initially touted mainly as an experimental and training platform, but in December was declared to be combat-ready and has taken part in live-firing exercises in the South China Sea, where tensions have risen over China’s construction of man-made islands complete with airstrips and military structures.

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