News Flash – 27 March 2018

National News



Robbers open fire, flee with Rs 16 lakh’s from cash van



NEW DELHI: Two men on a bike shot at the guard of a cash van and took away Rs 16 lakh in outer Delhi’s Sultanpuri on Monday evening. The incident happened around 5.30pm when the robbers fired two rounds at the guard, Surender Yadav, and the driver of the van, which belongs to a cash logistics firm. Yadav received bullet injuries in the shoulder and stomach. Senior police officers said Yadav and the driver were sitting inside the van that was parked near a gas agency in Sultanpuri for cash collection. The two accused men came on a motorcycle and stopped next to the vehicle. The robbers threatened Yadav and the driver at gunpoint, asking for cash. One of the men then tried to pick up a briefcase from the van. However, Yadav tried to stop him, resulting in a scuffle between the two. The accused opened fire and injured Yadav. They then picked up the cash bag and fled on their bike. They also threatened passersby on the way.


The driver of the cash van and passersby took Yadav to a nearby hospital and informed the police. DCP (outer) M N Tiwari said a case under sections of causing hurt during robbery and Arms Act was registered. Senior police officers said the guard is still in a critical condition and his statement has not been recorded yet. CCTV footage from the area is being scanned to ascertain the make of the motorcycle that was used to commit the crime and the identity of the accused. The police suspect the involvement of more people in the incident. They are trying to find out if the criminals knew the route taken by the cash van, which was going towards its office. The police have taken out a list of the current and former employees of the cash logistics firm to ascertain if they had any role in the heist. The driver of the van is also being questioned for more details and local informers have been activated in the area.



Mumbai: Pilot’s credit card data stolen, Rs 1.5 lakh’s gone in 2 days



MUMBAI: A pilot employed with a major Indian airline lost Rs 1.5 lakhs after funds were transferred using his credit card details. The victim, Romit Sharma (46), a Bandra resident registered a case on March 17 after hot listing his credit and debit cards. According to Sharma, 15 fraudulent transactions were carried out between March 15 and March 17 using his credit card details. Sharma says when he woke up on March 16, he was shocked to see a series of text alerts from the bank about the transactions. “We have sought transactions details from the bank. We have also sought CCTV footage of ATMs from where the money was withdrawn,” said a police officer.



6 children among 10 killed as crowded auto falls into well



HYDERABAD: Ten people were killed after an autorickshaw fell into a roadside agricultural well near Mondora village in Nizamabad district on Sunday. There were 14 passengers in the ill-fated auto when the mishap occurred. The deceased include three women and six children. The police had to use a crane to lift the auto from the well and deploy expert swimmers to scour the water body and fish out the bodies. According to the police, the autorickshaw was going from Muppal, the native village of the victims, to Mondora. As the vehicle was nearing its destination, the driver lost control over the wheel and the auto overturned into the well. All the victims died due to drowning. A pall of gloom descended in the nearby Muppal village. Wailing relatives of the victims rushed to the spot. Traffic on the busy road was affected as the rescue operations were on. The police blamed overcrowding for the accident as the auto was carrying 14 people against the permitted capacity of seven. Senior police officials sent the bodies to the local government hospital for post mortem examination. Agriculture minister Pocharam Srinivas Reddy spoke to the district collector and urged him to make arrangements for shifting of the bodies to Muppal.



Rattled by rise in mobile thefts, police issue advisory


KOLKATA: The south suburban police have stressed on constant vigilance and cooperation in a recent advisory to be followed on roads to avoid falling prey to pickpockets. The move comes on the heels of a spate of pickpocketing incidents in the city over a couple of months. “We arrested six persons over the last 48 hours and have recovered 40 mobile phones. We appeal to citizens to be vigilant,” an officer said. Hundreds of cellphones are being returned to their rightful owners every Saturday, police said. The police have highlighted how cooperation from public helped them nab mobile thieves on Saturday at the Ruby crossing. Chumki Chowdhury and Gour Saha, both private firm employees, deboarded at Ruby crossing from different buses on Saturday, when their mobile phones were picked from their pockets. Chumki suspected a youth who was going towards Garia and informed the cops. Their phones were later recovered by the traffic police. Lalbazar police on Monday arrested Munna Rana (26) and detained a minor from Tangra, and recovered 37 stolen phones from them. “They struck at several places in Kolkata. Two others — Md Wasim and Md Zafar — were also arrested for snatching a phone from Radhika Roy of Karaya while she was on her morning walk,” said an officer at Lalbazar.



Burglars strike at Indian Overseas Bank branch in Chennai, steal cash and gold jewellery


CHENNAI: Burglars broke into a branch of Indian Overseas Bank in Virugambakkam here and stole Rs 30 lakh in cash and gold jewellery. The burglary came to light when the bank employees reached there on Monday morning. Security Guard Shabi Lal, who was on duty on Sunday night, was missing, police said. Shabi Lal hailed from Nepal, police said. On being informed by the bank manager, a police team led by T Nagar deputy commissioner of police Aravindan and Vadapalani assistant commissioner of police Sankar visited the branch. A team of fingerprint experts were also pressed into service. Preliminary inquiries revealed that burglars had gained entry into the bank by removing the iron grill of the window by using a gas cutting machine. They also broke open the lockers with the gas cutting machine.


Bank officials said the burglars had managed to break open only two lockers. The value of the stolen gold jewellery was yet to be ascertained. Police collected footages from CCTV cameras in the bank and were checking them. Police found the gas cutting machine inside the bank. They recovered a ladder, which the burglars used, from outside the building. Many customers who have their valuables in the bank lockers gathered outside building. Police were trying to pacify them. The bank operation was temporarily halted citing police investigation. Police is inquiring if there is any link between the missing security guard and the burglars.



International News



14 EU states expelling Russian diplomats over UK spy attack: EU chief



VARNA, BULGARIA: Fourteen EU states are expelling Russian diplomats in a coordinated response to the nerve agent attack on a former spy in the English city of Salisbury, EU President Donald Tusk said Monday. “As a direct follow-up to last week’s European Council decision to react to Russia within a common framework, already today 14 member states have decided to expel Russian diplomats,” Tusk told a news conference in Varna, Bulgaria. “Additional measures including further expulsions are not to be excluded in the coming days and weeks”. The move came after British Prime Minister Theresa May addressed fellow European Union leaders at a summit in Brussels to urge them to support Britain’s assessment that Russia was to blame. The 28 EU states issued a statement saying they agreed it was highly likely Russia was responsible for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4, and ordered the recall of the bloc’s ambassador to Moscow. Germany, France and Poland have so far said they will each expel four Russia diplomats, the Czech Republic and Lithuania three, Italy, Denmark and the Netherlands two, and Latvia one.



Three years on, Yemen war at deadly impasse



DUBAI: Three years after Saudi Arabia and its allies joined the Yemen war, triggering a devastating humanitarian crisis, the conflict is at a deadly impasse. Iran-backed Houthi rebels remain in control of large parts of the country including the capital Sanaa and government forces have struggled to retake territory, despite the support of a coalition led by the powerful Saudi military. And as the conflict rumbles on — with 27 million people caught in the middle — cracks are beginning to show in the unity of the coalition. On March 26, 2015, Saudi Arabia, joined by the United Arab Emirates and other allies, launched an operation aimed at reinstating the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi. Multiple rounds of UN-brokered talks between the warring parties have failed and UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed threw in the towel last month. His successor, Martin Griffiths, arrived on Saturday to a political quagmire that grows more complicated by the month. One thousand days of war have further punished a people already living in the Arab world’s most impoverished country. Nearly 10,000 people have been killed since 2015, as one million people fight cholera and another eight million look famine in the face. And analysts say there seems little hope of the situation changing. “While there does not seem to be a serious push by either party to divide Yemen, there seems to be investment in maintaining the status quo of weakness and that hinders the chance of a political solution,” said Yemeni analyst Majed al-Madhaji.


Territorial control has not changed hands much over the past year: the Houth is control Sanaa and much of the north, while the south is nominally under the control of Hadi’s government but is now effectively in the hands of rival separatist forces, which include troops trained by the UAE. Long marginalised in Yemen, the Houthis have consolidated their grip on power after the death of their onetime ally Ali Abdullah Saleh, the ex-president killed by rebel forces in December. “Even if the Saudi-led coalition… advances along the Red Sea coast, as it appears to be doing, the Houthi front will not collapse,” said Robert Malley and April Longley Alley of the International Crisis Group. “The most the Saudis can hope for is prolonged guerrilla warfare in the inhospitable northern highlands,” they wrote in a column this month. The Saudi-led alliance is meanwhile starting to show signs of unravelling, analysts say. A spokesman for the Saudi-led coalition declined to comment. The official narrative from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi has been one of unconditional support for Hadi, who has lived in the Saudi capital since 2015. But reports that Saudi Arabia could be open to talks with the Houthis have been swirling, and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir hinted at a press conference in Washington last week that the Iran-backed Houthis could “play a role” in Yemen’s future. “Although neither the Saudis nor the Emiratis have yet split from the coalition, signs of tension have emerged,” said Rice University’s Kristian Coates Ulrichsen.


“The two combatants face very different perceived and actual threats that range from border security and territorial incursions for Saudi Arabia to the region-wide campaign to crush Islamist groups in the case of Abu Dhabi,” Coates Ulrichsen wrote in a Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS) memo. “This has produced distinct alignments with local forces on the ground, with the Saudis backing president Hadi and the Emiratis supporting various factions and militias in southern Yemen that reject Hadi’s leadership”. Saudi Arabia’s military has little battle experience, with the Yemen operation marking its first major campaign. The UAE, which deployed troops to Kosovo in the 1990s, has had more impact on the ground, working closely with the Yemeni army and training southern troops. This has given them the upper hand in southern Yemen, where they back the separatists who wrenched control of the south from Hadi, their former ally, in January. But despite divergent priorities, analysts say the coalition will likely hold strong. “We cannot bet on the differences between them,” said Madhaji. “The fact that they need each other precedes any disagreement between Saudi Arabia and the UAE. “There are clear political differences between the two but what unites them is the joint need to manage the complex military situation on the ground”.

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