News Flash – 27 June 2018

National News



Security Guard falls 11 floors to death as snag hits lift

Everest building is around 15 years old.



MUMBAI: An security guard died after falling down eleven floors into the empty elevator shaft of a 18-storey building in Bandra on Tuesday morning. Police said the elevator appeared to have malfunctioned as its doors opened on the 11th floor though the cabin had not arrived. Lift inspectors from the Public Works Department examined the lift and will prepare a report. Based on the report and a preliminary probe, the Bandra police would decide about registering an offence. Radheshyam Harijan (60), worked at Everest society on Hill Road for the last 10 years. Originally from Uttar Pradesh, he leaves behind a wife and five children. Around 8.45pm, Harijan went to the 11th floor to pick up car keys from one of the residents as he washed their vehicle. As nobody answered the door, he decided to go back and summoned the elevator. The elevator cabin was on the 17th floor. But the elevator door opened on the 11th floor. Harijan did not notice the missing cabin and stepped inside. He fell 11 floors down the empty shaft and landed in the elevator duct in a pool of blood.


Harijan’s colleagues heard a loud thud in the elevator shaft and sensed something was amiss. They informed the society manager who summoned the fire brigade and the police. Officers from the fire department retrieved Harijan’s body. He was pronounced dead at Bhabha Hospital in Bandra at 10.40am. The body was sent for an autopsy. Everest building is around 15 years old. “Lift maintenance was outsourced. We have learnt that the contract ended last month. If it transpires that the elevator door opened due to a defect that went undetected by the maintenance firm, we could register a case,” said a senior police officer. The police have recorded an accidental death case for now. “We want more clarity on how did the incident occurred,” said Harijan’s nephew, Kripa Shankar Raghunath.



Cash firm detects loss of Rs 5L from ATMs, staff booked



NEW DELHI: In an apparent incident of rigging of ATM machines, a firm that replenishes several machines across Delhi-NCR has reported loss of cash amounting to more than Rs 5 lakh from multiple kiosks located in northwest Delhi. DCP (west) Vijay Kumar said a case has been registered at the Rajouri Garden police station in west Delhi, based on the complaint filed by the firm, against its two employees who were responsible for calibrating the machines in that area. It was found that at least four ATM machines had been tampered with by manipulating the internal system. A preliminary probe revealed that the company noticed the loss of cash during an audit. On further investigation, it was found that four ATMs located near Kingsway Camp were replenished with amount less than what was being shown in their system. The firm told police that the two suspects, who are the custodians for their designated routes, were handed Rs 2.97 crore, which were to be distributed in 26 ATMs on that route. The suspects allegedly siphoned off small amounts from some of the kiosks.


The suspects tampered with the systems of these ATM machines by feeding the internal computer wrong information. The machines displayed that the required cash amount had been replenished, even as the suspects siphoned off Rs 50,000-Rs 2 lakh from them. The rigging was detected only when the cash firm was given the receipt of the amount transacted from the ATM machines by the bank. A deficit of at least Rs 5 lakh has been confirmed so far, with the possibility of the amount rising further. Investigating officers are now checking the CCTV footage of various locations, such as the office vault where the two suspects are seen carrying the cash for deposition and the cameras installed in the ATM kiosks. Police have also taken the route chart which was used by the two suspects and their call records are being analysed to ascertain the involvement of more people in the case.



Face recognition tool to aid cops manage security at key zones


KOLKATA: Kolkata Police is all set to install a state-of-the-art face recognition system (FRS) at important crossings and malls of the city. The modern biometrics tool — now in use in several countries and across several police forces — is likely to see its trial run as part of a pilot project in south Kolkata. While Surat Police was the first in the country to use it, Delhi Police too had tasted success installing the same. To start with, the authorities will install 34 internet protocol (IP) cameras at Presidency Correctional Home, Quest Mall and at two crossings — Park Street and Free School Street and Park Street and Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Road. “These stretches witness maximum footfalls and pose security challenges during festivals. We want the pilot project to address certain concerns of ours after which we will install it in areas like the central business district,” said a source. The tender for the same has been issued by Kolkata Police on Monday. The system will have two important functions — one, scanning, capturing and then comparing faces to match with statistics to find out if a particular person has been blacklisted by the cops and two, recognizing a VIP and then upgrading his\her security. Mostly used in forensic investigation, the technology can enhance poor quality latent face images, search against their mugshot databases and locate potential suspects. Another important part of the system is integration of existing video surveillance systems and matching of faces in real-time against a watch list of individuals to trigger an alert.


The tender document recognizes the functional requirements for the system — some basics include working on real-time basis and working even with partial occlusion of face, glasses, scarf and even major changes of facial expression. But the specifics sought by Kolkata Police in the tender document have led to the conclusion that the cops are planning to invest big time in this technology. “We have sought for a system that will have the provision to take multiple samples of the same face and the alerts so generated by the system should have the provision to be pushed to mobile phones of the law enforcement personnel for instantaneous response,” claimed an officer at Lalbazar. Police said they are also aware of the shortcoming of biometrics and that these steps will go hand in hand with the traditional police sourcing. Experts too have pointed to recent grey areas in the biometric face recognition system. “German hackers were able to trick a scanner with a picture of the device owner’s eye and a contact lens. This was in the same month that a top financial institution’s voice recognition security system was fooled by a journalist. The dangers of biometric authentication such as facial recognition is that it is not entirely immune to potential attack and therefore should not be relied on as the sole means of verifying a user,” said an expert from a private firm which is likely to take part in the bidding.



Police launch traffic training for ambulance drivers



KOLKATA: The Kolkata Police has launched a special training for ambulance drivers in the city. Among other things, the drivers are being taught that basic traffic rules cannot be violated even if they are carrying patients. More importantly, they are being warned against using the beacon when there are no patients in the ambulance. “We have sent across the message that they will be fined heavily if caught,” said a senior officer at Lalbazar. In mid-May, a young chartered accountant was killed after a 17-year-old youth at the wheel of an ambulance rammed into him at the Lake Gardens-Lords Bakery crossing. A police probe had later revealed that the owner and the usual driver of the vehicle had handed over the keys to his relative and helper to park it to a side.


A couple of months earlier, a 78-year-old man being shifted to a hospital in a private ambulance met with an accident on the Howrah bridge when the driver lost control and crashed into a yellow taxi. Cops said they hoped the training will prevent a repeat of these accidents. Though the present training is limited to drivers from big corporate hospitals, sources said the problem does not lie with them. “It is the private players – those who hardly follow any regulation – who are our biggest headache,” said an officer. Cops said each traffic guard has been asked to prepare a list of such operators and keep a central data bank. And the local police will ensure that all the drivers get verified. “We cannot let drivers without any proper experience take the wheel. We were forced to challan around 39-58 cases in 2016-2017. This cannot be allowed when we are handling vehicles that transport people to hospitals,” said an officer.



International News



Explosion reported at Central Texas hospital



GATESVILLE: Emergency crews are converging on a Central Texas hospital where a large explosion has been reported. The incident was reported about 2:30 pm local time on Wednesday at a construction site at the Coryell Memorial Healthcare System hospital in Gatesville, 58 kilometres west of Waco, Texas. Hospital spokeswoman Carly Latham told KWTX-TV of Waco that there were injuries, but she didn’t have any totals or information on severity. She said she hadn’t heard of any deaths. Witnesses say the explosion happened when a generator exploded in an addition to the hospital that was under construction. A spokesman for the Texas-New Mexico Power Company says the explosion knocked out power for a large portion of the city. Patients were being evacuated from the hospital and from two nearby nursing homes.



4 injured in rare shooting in Hong Kong

Police officers stand guard at the Quarry Bay Park after a shooting in Hong Kong.



HONG KONG: Four people were injured in a rare instance of gun violence in Hong Kong on Tuesday, police said. No other details were given in a brief police statement, although local media reports said a female suspect was apprehended at a shopping mall close to Quarry Bay Park where the shooting occurred. Citing police, the website of the popular Apple Daily said the four victims were brothers and sisters in their sixties and seventies and that the assailant was a relative. It cited police as saying the shooting was motivated by a financial dispute. Apple Daily said two suffered head wounds while the other two were shot in the arm. There was no immediate word on their condition. Firearms are tightly controlled in Hong Kong and such shootings are highly unusual, usually restricted to armed robbers and members of organized crime groups known as triads. The Asian financial hub is considered generally safe, although thieves this year have twice attacked jewelry stores using hammers. According to police statistics, 10 murders were recorded between January and April this year, up by two from the same period last year. It wasn’t clear whether firearms were used in any of those killings.



Portugal says ready to take in some Lifeline rescue ship migrants



LISBON: Portugal said on Tuesday, that it was ready to take in some of the 233 migrants on board the Lifeline rescue ship, which is currently stranded off Malta‘s coast. The migrants will be “distributed around several countries including Portugal”, Portuguese Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita said, speaking after Malta said it would only allow the vessel to dock if other EU states agreed to take in some of those onboard.



UK temperatures may hit record June highs as heatwave continues



Britons enjoyed sweltering heat for the third day running on Tuesday with temperatures reaching 30 degrees Celsius in Wales and possibly set to hit record June highs this week, the Meteorological Office said. Portmadog in North Wales was the hottest place at 30.6 C, with Tuesday in general only a shade below Monday’s highs. Temperatures are expected to peak on Thursday at around 32 C (90 Fahrenheit). Britain’s highest-ever temperature for June was 35.6 C recorded in the southern port of Southampton in 1976. A high pressure system is expected to stay over most of Britain into next week and health and emergency services are offering tips on staying cool. Police were issuing open-water warnings to stop people tempted to bathe unsafely and several wildfires were reported in northern England. Twitter and Facebook were replete with dogs bathing in fountains and rivers, some even wearing sunglasses and hats. “With temperatures into the low thirties over the next couple of days, there is a chance we could beat Northern Ireland‘s all time record of 30.8 degrees and Scotland’s June record of 32.2 degrees,” the Met Office said. The heatwave had yet to reach Scotland’s northernmost Shetland Islands, however, where temperatures were around 15 C and skies cloudy. Shetland Library tweeted: “Went out for an ice cream at lunchtime, to celebrate that everyone ELSE in the country is having a #scorchio #heatwave”.

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