News Flash – 28 November 2017

National News



Foreign guns firing up capital’s crime scene, triggering panic


NEW DELHI: Gone are the days when city criminals used a locally fabricated katta or a semi – automatic pistol made in Munger in Bihar. Today’s gangster loves to flaunt weapons ranging from Brazil-made Taurus pistols to Walthers and Sig Sauers. Among the 700 or so guns seized by Delhi Police in the past year have been sophisticated arms, indicating a dangerous tendency towards foreign-made weapons. The worrisome aspect is that they are also being used in gang wars due to their ease of use, reliability and precision. In the past month, eastern range cops stumbled upon weapons ranging from Glock pistols to a replica of an AK56. Both seizures were linked to the gang wars reported in east Delhi, officials confirmed. In May this year, notorious gangster Ravi Gangwal was arrested by south-east district cops with a 9mm Turkish-made Canik pistol. He had availed parole, then gone missing and was planning a big crime when the cops sniffed him out with the weapon. Similarly, in August, Delhi Police’s Special Cell recovered from two gunrunners 10 sophisticated weapons, including a German Walther and a Sig Sauer made in the US, apart from eight Chinese and Russian pistols. The arms seizure was the result of the cops stumbling upon a terror suspect operating in the Khyber area in POK communicating with contacts in Khurja, UP. When gunrunners Rehan and Qurban Anasari came to deliver the consignment to a city gang, they were nabbed near Sarai Kale Khan.


The seized weapons – some of which are used by Special Services Group of Pakistan Army – were valued between Rs 90 lakh and Rs 1 crore. Last year in June, the crime branch uncovered the first evidence of underworld use of weapons fitted with precision laser sights. Two men were caught in Najafgarh with a 9mm Taurus automatic pistol made in Brazil and a .455 bore pistol used by US army soldiers. The criminals, Gyanender and Rajiv Dahiya, were also carrying a country-made carbine with two magazines and a detachable and extendable butt. The weapons were estimated to cost around Rs 40 lakh. Police suspect the arms sellers are being helped by smugglers from across the border. The cops have never been able to find the source of the foreign-made weapons. They are also intrigued about the source of bullets used in these foreign pistols because the Indian establishments do not manufacture these. In fact, many types of ammunition are restricted in India. “During interrogation, the arrested men mentioned consignments arriving by ship,” a source claimed. “The probe also hinted at smugglers using the India-Pakistan border to bring in sophisticated weapons.” Senior police officers said that specialised units like the crime branch and Special Cell have been asked to crack down on gunrunning syndicates.



Mob vandalises Kalyan hospital, assaults staffers after youth dies in ICU



KALYAN: A 500-strong mob vandalised the Holy Cross hospital, assaulted hospital staff, policemen and media persons after a patient died during treatment on Monday evening. The rioting crowd, most of them relatives of the 22-year-old deceased, Rohit Bhoir, also destroyed furniture and equipment in the three-storeyed hospital. Seven people, including five hospital employees, a policeman and a journalist, were injured in the violence. The body of the youth, who suffered multiple cardiac attacks, was later sent to Mumbai’s JJ hospital for postmortem. The police have seized CCTV footage inside the hospital to identify the attackers. The vandals held patients and staff hostage for over three hours until police arrived in numbers. Many patients fled in fear while some took discharge once the violence ended. Members from the medical fraternity were vociferous in demanding that the assaulters be booked under the Doctors’ Protection Act that attracts an imprisonment of up to three years and a penalty of up to Rs 50,000. In addition, the Act provides for the doctor or a medical institution to be compensated for loss of property. The compensation is supposed to be twice the amount of damage. An Indian Medical Association (IMA) member rued that miscreants are seldom booked under this law, rendering the whole purpose of bringing in such an act in 2010 futile. At the time of going to press on Monday night, there was tension in the area and a heavy police force was deployed at the hospital and surrounding areas. The security detail included SRPF and a special Riot Control Team. The relatives blamed the attending doctor for negligence for the patient’s death. Police sources said Bhoir from Varap village near Kalyan was admitted on Sunday after he suffered a cardiac arrest. Hospital authorities said he was in a serious state on Sunday morning, but his condition improved by evening.


But on Monday morning, his health worsened due to multiple cardiac arrests. Around 10.30am, the doctor informed his relatives about his deteriorating condition. They soon started gathering inside the hospital. After news about his death at around 3.45pm spread, relatives and neighbours from Varap village reached the hospital and started blaming the doctor. They created a ruckus and turned violent, ransacking the hospital and assaulting the staff and the doctor. The mob was seen accusing doctor of negligence and blaming him for not allowing them to shift the patient to another hospital. However, the hospital denied the allegation. Amit Garg, head of department, said, “We gave proper treatment and even informed them about the patient’s health from time to time. Our doctor also spoke to his relatives and explained why we could not shift him to another hospital”. Dr Ganesh Pawar, resident physician at the hospital, said, “Some of relatives forcibly squatted inside the ICU, enquiring about each patient. We gave them all information but after the youth died at 3.45pm, his relatives started assaulting the staff.” Pawar added that fearing for their lives, the staff locked themselves inside the room. The mob continued kicking the door and damaging equipment. They also attacked a local journalist, Ketan Betawdkar, with a sharp object when he was trying to record the incident on his video camera. A policeman who tried to save Ketan was also attacked with a sharp weapon. The mob also assaulted a few other policemen. Another witness who had come to meet his father in the ICU said, “We hid inside the ICU. From the window I saw the mob had kept people hostage on the second floor.” Deputy commissioner of police Sanjay Shinde said, “We will register a case against all those who were involved in violence and take strict action against them”.



Abandoned cash bag triggers bomb scare at metro station



NEW DELHI: An unattended bag found lying at Dwarka Mor Metro Station created a scare on Monday morning. However, it was later found that the bag contained over Rs 1 lakh in cash. It was returned to the owner by CISF after a team of the bomb detection and disposal squad (BDDS) checked its contents. Officials said the bag had mistakenly been left behind by a passenger who took another passenger’s bag in a hurry. The passenger was later identified through CCTV surveillance with the contents returned within hours of being discovered.



GES in Hyderabad: Schools declare holiday on Nov 28 amid traffic restrictions



HYDERABAD: Several schools in the city declared a holiday on Tuesday fearing traffic jams following heavy VIP movement and traffic diversions owing to the Hyderabad metro rail and the Global Entrepreneurship Summit inauguration (GES). Among few schools which declared holiday are Jubilee Hills Public School, Phoenix Greens International School, Euro School, Kennedy High the Global School, Silver Oaks, Manthan International School, Maharishi Vidya Mandir, Meridian (Madhapur) to name a few. Other schools such as Chirec International School, Glendale Academy, Delhi Public School (Nacharam) and Rockwell International declared half day for all the students. “Tomorrow i.e. 28th November 2017 is declared as a school holiday due to heavy traffic diversions on school transport routes,” reads an email sent to all parents by the Euro School, Gachibowli management. While other schools in areas such as Jubilee Hills continued to function, several parents chose to keep their wards at home fearing heavy traffic flow towards Madhapur and Hitech City. “I don’t want my son to be stuck in traffic for hours after attending eight hours of school. I will rather choose to keep him home and study,” said Rachna Parekh, a mother of a 12-year-old who goes to a Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated school in Jubilee Hills. Not just schools, several junior and degree colleges, coaching institutions in Madhapur have also declared a holiday.



GPS helps reduce response time of 108 ambulances in Tamil Nadu

A 108 ambulances in Tamil Nadu



CHENNAI: The number of people the Tamil Nadu government-sponsored 108 ambulance service ferried to hospitals in Tamil Nadu in October went up by at least 10% despite a less than significant jump in the number of calls it received. The Emergency Management Research Institute (EMRI), which runs the services, on Monday said its ambulances in October ferried more than 1.21 lakh patients, a quarter of them pregnant women. “The government added 50 ambulances to our fleet. In addition, GPS-enabled dynamic allocation ensured we serve more people,” said M Selvakumar, head of operations. The average trips made by an ambulance went up from 4.76 in September to 4.84 in October. The 900-fleet service usually turns down requests if vehicles are not available nearby. In case of a delay, callers look for alternatives. “That was minimised when we used the GPS-enabled facility. We allotted even vehicles that were passing by. So we can reduce response time”.


In 2016, Tamil Nadu topped the country in road accidents and had more than 17,000 fatalities. A health department audit revealed that more than 70% of accidents occurred on 8% of the roads, particularly highways, and deaths happened because victims were not able to reach hospitals or receive basic first aid before the golden hour. In the 108 control room, staff attending calls can track real time movement of ambulances. “All our ambulances are now equipped with GPS-enabled devices and their movements are being tracked. The devices get us vital information on where the patient is being taken and how long a trip takes,” a senior official said. In November, the state launched ‘Avasaram 108’ to prevent inaccurate location information from delaying ambulances by several minutes. The app, which can be downloaded from Google Playstore, automatically detects the location of the caller, with latitude and longitude details, and alerts the call centre. In the past three weeks, it has recorded more than 26,000 downloads. The call centre has received 7,823 calls through the app, the statement said.



International News



Thousands flee as Bali raises volcano alert to highest level

Glowing light of hot lava is seen during the eruption of Mount Agung as seen from Amed in Karangasem.



KARANGASEM: A rumbling volcano on Bali could erupt at any moment, authorities warned Monday as they raised alert levels to maximum, accelerated a mass evacuation and closed the main airport, leaving thousands of tourists stranded on the Indonesian resort island. Massive columns of thick grey smoke that have been belching from Mount Agung since last week have now begun shooting more than three kilometres (two miles) into the sky, forcing hundreds of flights to be grounded. Some 40,000 frightened people have fled their homes around the volcano but as many as 100,000 will likely be forced to leave, disaster agency officials said, after raising the alert to its highest level. The exclusion zone around Agung, which is 75 kilometres (47 miles) from the beachside tourist hub of Kuta, has also been widened to 10 kilometres. Makeshift tents and community centres filled up Monday as nearly two dozen villages were emptied of their inhabitants, including farmers reluctant to leave precious livestock behind. “Continuous ash puffs are sometimes accompanied by explosive eruptions and a weak booming sound,” the National Board for Disaster Management said earlier Monday. “The rays of fire are increasingly observed at night. This indicates the potential for a larger eruption is imminent”. Agung rumbled back to life in September, forcing the evacuation of 140,000 people living nearby. Its activity decreased in late October and many returned to their homes. However, on Saturday the mountain sent smoke up into the air for the second time in a week in what volcanologists call a phreatic eruption — caused by the heating and expansion of groundwater. Then on Monday so-called cold lava flows appeared — similar to mud flows and often a prelude to the blazing orange lava seen in many volcanic eruptions.


“I’m very concerned because I left my house behind and I’m also worried about family,” said 36-year-old farmer Putu Suyasa, who fled with some relatives from a village eight kilometres away from the volcano. “The mountain is spewing thicker smoke than before”. Dewa Gede Subagia was a teenager when Agung last roared. “I am very worried because I have experienced this before,” the now 67-year-old told AFP from one evacuation centre. “I hope this time I won’t have to evacuate for too long. In 1963, I left for four months”. Mt. Agung last went off in 1963, killing around 1,600 people in one of the deadliest eruptions ever seen in a country with nearly 130 active volcanoes. The airport in Bali’s capital Denpasar, a top holiday destination that attracts millions of foreign tourists every year, has been closed. Some 445 flights were cancelled, affecting more than 59,000 passengers, officials said. Colin Cavy, a French dive-master who has been in Indonesia for a couple of months, was nervously looking at his now-expired visitor visa. “I need to go to the immigration office,” he said. While there was dismay from some tourists who were unable to return to their homes and jobs, others took events in their stride. “What can I say? We have to cooperate because this is a natural disaster,” said Indian visitor Krisna Mustafa. Many were told that it could be several days before they could leave. “My 7:00 am flight this morning got cancelled, just when we were about to board,” said 23-year-old Indonesian tourist Merry Handayani Tumanggor.


“Now we have to stay in Bali again — the earliest we can go is on Friday, they say”. The airport on nearby Lombok island east of Bali, also a popular tourist destination, was closed for a night on Sunday but reopened on Monday morning. Officials announced late Monday that Lombok airport has been closed again until Tuesday morning due to the volcanic ash and at least 47 flights to and from the island have been cancelled. The Australian government put out a travel advisory on Sunday, warning that volcanic activity “may escalate with little or no notice”. “Past eruptions of Mount Agung have shown this volcano’s potential to cause significant impacts,” it added. Dozens of Balinese Hindus took part in ceremonies near the volcano on Sunday, offering prayers in the hope of preventing an eruption. Officials have said the activity could be a magmatic eruption — one which involves the decompression of gas and results in the spewing of ash — and advised people near the mountain to wear masks. Indonesia is the world’s most active volcanic region. The archipelago nation with over 17,000 islands lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” where tectonic plates collide, causing frequent volcanic and seismic activities. Last year, seven were killed after Mt. Sinabung on the western island of Sumatra erupted, while 16 were left dead by a Sinabung eruption in 2014.



Toll from Greek floods rises to 23 as 2 new deaths reported

A man sits atop a jeep as it is driven through a flooded street in Mandra, northwest of Athens.



ATHENS, Greece: Greek authorities on Monday raised to 23 the death toll from heavy flooding near Athens this month, after one more body was found and an injured woman died in hospital. The Fire Brigade said the man’s body was found buried in mud near a bus station in the small town of Mandra, west of Athens, that suffered the brunt of the Nov. 15 flash floods. It was not immediately clear whether the victim was the person listed as missing following the floods, which also damaged about 1,000 buildings. The Health Ministry also said Monday that an elderly woman who had been hospitalized with severe injuries as a result of the flooding, died over the weekend. Officials have blamed the disaster – one of Greece‘s deadliest floods in decades – on poor town planning and insufficient flood prevention measures, as much of the afflicted area had been built on filled-in torrent beds. Torrents of water descending from a nearby mountain turned roads into racing rivers of mud and debris in the modest working-class district of Mandra and nearby Nea Peramos, flung cars into buildings, swept away walls and inundated a major highway.

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