News Flash – 27 December 2017

National News



Rowdy revellers thrash Home Guard



Kolkata: A group of revellers on Monday dragged a Kolkata Police home guard personnel out of a bus and assaulted him brutally with bricks and bamboos after he protested against their misbehavior. Two of the youths have been arrested while the remaining four are absconding. Around 2.45 pm on Monday, Biswanath Sardar, who lives at Ramkrishnapur, got off a local train at the Park Circus station and boarded a state bus of the C-23 route. The bus was relatively empty and he took a seat in the rear. Six youths, who boarded the bus at Park Circus, started moving around clicking selfies. “According to what Sardar told us, the youths began climbing up on the seats to click selfies in various poses, disturbing other passengers. They were also abusing each other. Sardar protested when the driver applied brakes and one of the youths fell on him. The youths started slapping him and forced the driver to stop. They then dragged Sardar out and pushed him to the ground before assaulting him with whatever they could lay their hands on. Finally, locals intervened and alerted a police sergeant. When more policemen arrived, the youths attempted to flee but Akhtar Alam (19) and Md Irfan (22) were nabbed,” a police officer from the Topsia police station said. The two have been charged with attempt to murder and committing a crime with common intention. Sardar is posted at the Pragati Maidan police station on EM Bypass.



Poor visibility: 9 flights cancelled, 4 diverted, 83 late



BENGALURU: Eighty-three flights were delayed, nine cancelled and four diverted as dense fog enveloped Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) in the wee hours of Tuesday. The dense fog also resulted in suspension of airport operations for over three hours, from 4.37am to 7.49am. The departure of four Indigo and one Jet Airways flights and arrival of three Indigo and one Jet Airways flights were cancelled due to poor visibility. While 25 arrivals and 55 departures were delayed, four flights – one British Airways, one Emirates, one Indigo and one Jet Airways — were diverted to Chennai. To compensate for the inconvenience caused to passengers due to operations being suspended early in the morning, the authorities did not shut down the airport for three hours during noon for scheduled runway maintenance that takes place every Tuesday.


Sundar M Metri, director at India meteorological department (IMD), said: “There’s nothing out of the ordinary in the fog condition and flight delays; fog is natural during this time of the year, normally spanning from the second week of December to February. Fog is formed due to the presence of a clear sky, slow wind speed and absence of clouds. These factors are common during winter. Also, the current situation doesn’t have anything to do with pollution. Fog formation also takes place due to thermal radiation, where fog is formed due to cooling of the land after sunset”.



Most Hyderabad riders flout helmet rule, only one-third wear safety gear


HYDERABAD: Call it alarming if you will, but increasingly a higher number of young two-wheeler riders in Hyderabad are involved in road mishaps, with a high percentage of disability and mortality. In fact, the average age of road accident victims in the city is 32.4 years, reveals an international research study. Interestingly, the mishap rate is higher among young men than women in the city. Six out of 10 road accidents (60%) involve two-wheeler riders and two out of 10 pedestrians (20%). Auto rickshaws account for about 10% of all road mishaps while the rest are accounted for by four-wheelers. Incidentally, only one-third of two-wheeler riders wear helmets and this perhaps explains the high mortality rate among this group. Over-speeding is also a major contributory factor for mishaps involving two-wheeler riders. A joint team of researchers from Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, USA, Indian Institute of Public Health, Hyderabad, Department of Epidemiology, World Health Organisation, and Collaborating Centre for Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion, Bangalore, conducted a study of road traffic victims receiving medical treatment. The study was published in the recent issue of the Journal of Surgery. As many as 5,298 road traffic victims in the city were part of the study, which found that while the average age of road injury patients was 32.4 years, nearly 87.3% of the victims were men.


The study also revealed that 58.2% of patients were injured while riding a motorcycle or scooter, 22.5% while walking, and 9.2% while riding auto rickshaws. “The most frequent collision type was skid or rollover (40.9%). Male victims were younger than female victims and were over-represented among motorized two-wheeler users. Patients were most frequently injured from 4.00pm to midnight. A total of 27.3% of patients were admitted. Hospital mortality was 5.3% and 48.2% of deaths were among motorized two-wheeler users,” the research study revealed. The researchers pointed out that when compared to government surveillance systems, their study showed motorized two-wheeler users to be more frequently represented among the overall population and among fatalities. They suggested further research to develop interventions to decrease mortality associated with two-wheelers. In a separate study published in the recent issue of the Journal of Public Health, the same group of researchers, besides those from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, interviewed about 5,000 two-wheeler riders.


Only 34.5% of the two wheeler riders said they follow the helmet rule and of these only 44.5% said they always wore a helmet. “Male gender, youth (below 24 years), a lower level of education and non-ownership of helmet were associated with a higher risk of not wearing helmets. Male gender, youth, no schooling, riding a lower engine capacity motorcycle and using a motorcycle for purposes other than travelling to school/ work were associated with over-reporting of helmet use,” the researchers said. Meanwhile, an analysis of the data of road accidents in Hyderabad and other parts of Telangana reveals that the fatality rate in case of two-wheeler accidents has increased in last two years. This experts attribute to an increase in the number of higher CC engine bikes on the roads, over-speeding, non-compliance of helmet rule, bad road conditions, triple riding and flouting of traffic rules, particularly at busy junctions.



Thieves leave 13 buses grounded


KOLKATA: On the first working day of the festive week, a popular minibus route between Airport and BBD Bag remained off business for the entire day. The reason: batteries of 10 out of 13 buses plying on the route were stolen when the owners, drivers and conductors were celebrating a late-night Christmas party. The incident stumped the officers of Dum Dum police station, who could not recall a similar incident. “It must be the handiwork of an organized gang. We have started a probe and are checking the footage from a CCTV camera installed at a nearby traffic post,” said a Dum Dum police station officer. In all, 13 minibuses operate between Airport Gate No. 1and BBD Bag. Twelve of them are parked on one side of Jessore Road between Gate No. 1 crossing and Nagerbazar flyover. Two of them were already under maintenance and didn’t had their batteries installed. “On the night of Christmas, the buses were parked at the usual spot as our men left the area around 1am. Around 4am, when the cleaners returned to the stand, they found the bus doors broken. The owners and drivers came running to find the bus batteries, some iron rods and wheel wrenches missing,” said Sudip Ghosh, the bus route secretary. Ghosh said there were two night guards posted in the area to prevent thefts in the bus stand where buses of five more routes are parked. However, none of the buses of other routes was touched. “We have given the details of the two guards to the police,” he said.


Drivers of the buses said they had parked their vehicles a little earlier on Christmas and in the night several of them were partying a little away from where the minibuses were parked. “The thieves must have known that there was a party going around and most of the drivers and cleaners who stay at the bus stand were at that party, leaving the parking area unattended,” said one of the drivers. The passengers, who are used to queue up at the bus stand from morning, were also stumped seeing the buses not operating. “None of the buses were moving and when we asked them the reason they told us about the theft. It’s kind of funny but we had to alter our travel plans immediately to reach office on time,” said Saikat Das, a local resident who works at a private firm in Dalhousie. The bus owners estimated that each battery of 150 AH costs around Rs10,000 to Rs12,000 and while some bus owners managed to buy new batteries by the end of Tuesday, many were still looking for cheaper second hand options till late in the night. “Some buses will start running from Wednesday but the full fleet will need some time to get back on the road,” said Ghosh.



International News



Pakistan: Two killed in US drone attack in Khurram area



PESHAWAR: A US drone fired two missiles at a vehicle today killing two militants, including a Haqqani network commander, near Pakistan-Afghanistan border in the restive tribal region in the country’s northwest, authorities said. The unmanned aircraft struck the vehicle this afternoon at the border village, Matta Sangar, in Kurram Agency. Two militants, including Haqqani network commander Jamiuddin, were killed, they said. The Haqqani network has carried out a number of kidnappings and attacks against US interests in Afghanistan. The group is also blamed for several deadly attacks against Indian interests in Afghanistan, including the 2008 bombing of the Indian mission in Kabul that killed 58 people. Officials also said a probe has been launched.

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