News Flash – 29 August 2017

National News



4 coaches of Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derails



MUMBAI: Four coaches and an engine of Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto Express derailed near Titwala area in the early morning hours today, wounding some passengers and affecting rail traffic on the section, a railway police official said. The Nagpur-Mumbai Duronto derailed between Vasind and Asangaon stations at 6.40 AM. The accident occurred near Maharashtra’s Titwala area, officials said. This is the second derailment in Mumbai in the past one week. Injured passengers have been rushed to a hospital. Train services between Kalyan and Kasara section have been completely affected.



Out to report stolen car, woman robbed of purse



New Delhi: A woman, out to register a complaint about her stolen car, was targeted by snatchers near K block, CR Park. The woman said she had found her Hyundai Creta missing on August 23. When she tried to file a complaint on Delhi Police’s website, she found the server down. “I got to know that the website would remain offline till Monday and decided to register a complaint manually at the police station,” she said. The next morning, she stepped out of her house and walked towards the police station near CR Park Shiv Mandir when two men on a bike came from behind and snatched her purse. The youths aged 20-25 also dragged her for some distance as she held onto her purse. She then fell and got injured. “This happened around 1.45pm. The men were wearing white helmets and rode a black motorbike,” the woman said in her complaint. The purse had her licence, locker keys, house keys and some cash. She said the men rode away towards P block. She went to the police station and an FIR of robbery was registered. However, she was told to file the car theft complaint on the police website. CCTV footage of the stretch is being scanned, but the police believe it to be the handiwork of a UP gang. Locals have alleged that the area has become a transit route for criminals due to easy escape routes to Noida.



SoBo receives record 125mm rain in 12 hours



Mumbai: Heavy rain lashed south Mumbai on Monday, with waterlogging in some areas, even as the eastern and western suburbs remained comparatively dry. In fact, the day’s downpour is probably the highest recorded at the Colaba observatory in a span of 12 hours. The IMD has also warned of very heavy rainfall in parts of the city on Tuesday. However, there is no high tide warning. For the first time this year, the IMD’s Colaba observatory recorded 124.6mm of rain on Monday, as SoBo witnessed a continuous downpour. In contrast, the Santacruz observatory recorded moderate rainfall of 33.3mm. In fact Monday’s heavy rain is likely to reduce this year’s shortfall at Colaba, which has recorded 1,462.8mm of rain from June 1 this year till August 28, 258mm below normal. There was waterlogging on DN Road, near Hutatma Chowk, where work for Mumbai Metro is currently in full swing. Rain water accumulated near the barricades kept rising as there was no provision for drainage. Water also accumulated in the CST station subway owing to a technical fault in the air suction hydraulic pumps created recently for the BMC’s viewing gallery above the subway. Rain water from the gallery entered the air duct, flooding the subway. Civic officials said they are attending to the issue and Monday’s continuous rain led to the situation. At Santacruz, the total rain recorded this year has been 1,914.1mm, which is 50.5mm above normal for June to August. So far the Colaba observatory has already recorded 71.24% of the season’s required rain while the Santacruz observatory has recorded 85.77% of required rain for the entire season. Monday’s incessant rain did not even spare the civic headquarters. Rain water started accumulating in the changing room of municipal security guards situated near gate number seven of the BMC building. During afternoon, the rising water level which was already ankle-high, forced security guards to change their dresses by climbing on chairs.


The BMC’s automatic weather stations also recorded significant rainfall in the 24 hours from August 27-28 (8am-8am). Rain recorded at the BMC’s headquarters was highest at 102mm while in other parts of the city like Worli it was 63.75mm, Vikhroli it was 111.96mm, Bhandup was 90.63mm and Byculla received 78.21mm rain. Meanwhile, in the 10-hour period on August 28, between 8am-6pm, rainfall recorded by the Colaba weather station was 109.47mm, Fort was 109.73, at Masjid Bunder it was 43.15mm. The suburbs received negligible rain for instance Malad recorded 5.81mm, Goregaon got 8.38mm and Mulund received 7.58mm. In Juhu, a 50-year-old man was injured after a part of the ceiling of a third-floor flat in Samudragupt building collapsed. He has been admitted to the Cooper Hospital. K S Hosalikar, deputy director-general (western region), IMD, said currently two weather systems are active which is bringing significant rainfall to the city. “There is an upper air circulation over south Rajasthan and neighbourhood owing to which there are clouds over the west coast. There is also a low pressure area over south-east Orissa and its neighbourhood. Both these systems are acting together, indicating a lot of rainfall activity. Further enhancement in rain activity is expected for the next 48-72 hours,” said Hosalikar. He added the existing rainfall deficiency may significantly reduce in the next two to three days. “Not just Maharashtra, the next few days will be significant for entire central India,” he said.



Heavy rain, waterlogging forces cancellation of trains by South Western Railway



BENGALURU: The South Western Railway (SWR) has announced cancellation of following trains due to heavy rain and water overflowing on tracks and delay in restoration work in flood affected section of North Frontier Railways. The cancelled trains are: Train No 22501 Bengaluru Cantonment – New Tinsukia Express journey commencing on August 29, 2017. Train No 12510 Bengaluru Cantonment – Guwahati Express journey commencing on August 30 and 31. Train No 12504 Kamakhya – Bengaluru Cantonment journey commencing on August 29. Train No 12510 Guwahati – Bengaluru Cantonment express journey commencing on August 28 and 29. Train No.12552 Kamakhya – Yesvantpur AC Express journey commencing on August School teacher in Chamba on remand for molesting girl student.



Illegally parked bikes an eyesore near Charminar, create a traffic nightmare

Two-wheelers spotted next to a ‘No Parking’ sign board at Charminar in Old City



CHARMINAR: The historical Charminar is increasingly being used as a parking zone by citizens. Locals complain that scores of two-wheelers are parked near the four minarets at all times, causing an eyesore apart from blocking the area. “This has been going on for the last several weeks or so. If any vehicle stops around the traffic police station at Charminar, cops rush to urge motorists to leave the place immediately. Surprisingly the parked motorcycles, near the traffic police station, are not being removed,” Mohd Qasim told TOI. Despite the allocation of parking slots for visitors and motorists in Charminar, many youngsters leave their bikes near the minarets. “This area is already crowded and now with such parking along the Charminar, the traffic movement stands affected. The traffic police should take immediate action against such motorists,” one of the motorist Fareed said. The traffic moving towards Gulzar Houze, Madina and motorists going towards Shahalibanda and Lad Bazaar also have a tough time due to the streaming visitors and shoppers. “Halting a vehicle for few seconds on this route causes traffic jam. Motorists face many hurdles to reach their destinations. Beside this, vehicles parked along the Charminar raises questions in every motorist mind as to why action is not taken against these violators,” Mohd Qasim, a local resident added. Locals said they want cops to ensure illegal parking is not allowed.



Blue Whale Challenge: Another case comes to light, police post awareness video


KOLKATA: West Bengal CID has posted an awareness video on the controversial Blue Whale Challenge on its official Facebook page after a case came to light. Days before the video was shared on social media, the Registrar of an engineering college had contacted an officer of the CID Cyber Cell. The Registrar had noticed a student behaving “suspiciously” and was concerned the young man may be playing the deadly Blue Whale game. He conveyed these fears to the Inspector Atanu of the Cyber Cell, who decided to look into the matter and offer guidance. The inspector reached out to the student as an online friend, with the Registrar’s help and began counselling him. Eventually, the young man admitted that he was playing the Blue Whale Challenge and had already reached the 8th level. He said the online phenomenon was not merely a game but a virtual call of death. The cyber-cell officer kept talking to the student over video calls and convinced him to give up the Blue Whale Challenge. The other party agreed. The student’s family members and teachers have heaved a huge sigh of relief at the turn of events.



Train runs over 3 youths crossing tracks near Kodambakkam station



CHENNAI: A suburban train on Sunday night fatally knocked down three young men, including a computer applications graduate, near Kodambakkam railway station. Police said M Manoj, 25, J Prashanth, 20, and A Karthi, 24, all friends who lived in Kodambakkam, were going to attend a festival at the Kollapuri temple at Periya Raja Pillai Thottam when the train from Chennai Beach to Tambaram ran over them on the tracks around 10.45pm. Police suspect that all of them may have been drunk at the time. Unable to stop the train after the accident, the motorman informed Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel and the station master of Mambalam Railway Station, the next halt, about the incident. Sivakumar, GRP deputy superintendent of police, Egmore, and his team rushed to the spot and sent the bodies to the Government General Hospital for autopsy. Some people in the area told police that they saw the three men walking towards the tracks near the Kodambakkam Railway Station. A case was registered under the CrPC Section 174 (unnatural death) and the bodies were handed over to their family members on Monday after postmortem.



International News



Harvey brings death, destruction to Houston as flood waters rise


HOUSTON: Floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey, which has already killed at least seven people in Texas and was expected to drive tens of thousands from their homes, will likely rise in the coming days, officials warned on Monday as heavy rains continued to pound the US Gulf Coast. National Guard troops, police officers, rescue workers and civilians raced in helicopters, boats and special high-water trucks to rescue the hundreds of people still stranded in and around Houston, the nation’s fourth-largest city. The storm was the most powerful hurricane to strike Texas in more than 50 years when it came ashore on Friday near Corpus Christi, 220 miles (354 km) south of Houston, and the worst was far from over as the National Weather Service issued numerous flood warnings across the region. US President Donald Trump plans to go to Texas on Tuesday to survey the damage and may in the future visit Louisiana where the storm is now dumping rain. Trump, facing the biggest US natural disaster since he took office in January, has signed disaster proclamations for Texas and Louisiana, triggering federal relief efforts. Harvey has killed at least six people in Harris County, where Houston is located, said Tricia Bentley, a spokeswoman for the county coroner’s office, including a man who died in a house fire on Friday night and an elderly woman driving through flooded streets on the city’s west side the next day. A 60-year-old woman died in neighboring Montgomery County when a tree fell on her trailer home while she slept, the local medical examiner said on Twitter. With other people missing, the death toll could rise. Both of Houston’s major airports were shut down, along with most major highways, rail lines and a hospital, where patients were evacuated over the weekend. As of Monday evening 267,000 Texans were left without power in the southeast corner of the state.


One of three main rivers crossing Houston, the Brazos, was expected to crest sometime on Tuesday at 59 feet (18 meters), the National Weather Service said. The San Jacinto River was expected to crest over Interstate 10, the major east-west artery through Houston. The Harris County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management issued a “shelter in place” warning to residents of La Porte and Shore acres, about 25 miles (40 km) east of Houston, after a chemical leak was caused by a ruptured pipeline. As stunned families surveyed the wreckage of destroyed homes and roads flooded or clogged with debris, Texas Governor Greg Abbott warned Houstonians to brace for a long recovery. “We need to recognize this is going to be a new and different normal for this entire region,” Abbott said. Harvey was expected to linger over Texas’ Gulf Coast for the next few days, dropping another 10 to 20 inches (25 to 51 cm) of rain, with threats of flooding extending into Louisiana. In scenes evoking the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, police and Coast Guard teams have rescued at least 2,000 people so far, plucking many from rooftops by helicopter, as they urged the hundreds more believed to be marooned in flooded houses to hang towels or sheets outside to alert rescuers. Harvey’s center was about 100 miles (160 km) south of Houston and forecast to arc slowly toward the city through Wednesday, with the worst floods expected later that day and on Thursday. Schools and office buildings were closed throughout the metropolitan area, home to 6.8 million people, as chest-high water filled some neighborhoods in the low-lying city. The US Army Corps of Engineers said Monday that it was releasing water from the nearby Addicks and Barker reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou, the primary body of water running through Houston. “The more they release it could go up and it could create even additional problems,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner warned. But the release was said to be necessary to prevent an uncontrolled surge of water, which Turner said “would be exponentially worse”.



Torrential rain also hit areas more than 150 miles (240 km) away, swelling rivers and causing a surge that was heading toward the Houston area, where numerous rivers and streams already have been breached. About 5,500 people were in shelters as of Monday morning, city officials said, with Federal Emergency Management Agency director Brock Long forecasting that 30,000 would eventually be housed temporarily in shelters. Regina Costilla, 48, said she and her 16-year-old son had been rescued from their home by a good Samaritan with a boat. She worried until she was reunited with her husband and large dog, who had been left behind because they did not fit into the boat. “I’m not complaining; we’re alive,” said Costilla. “When I saw the forecast of the storm I said I’ll be happy if we get out with our lives”. In Rockport, National Guard troops passed out water to residents as utility crews worked to restore power in the city, amid reports of sporadic looting. Houston did not order an evacuation due to concerns about people being stranded on city highways now consumed by floods, Turner said. Abbott, who had suggested on Friday that people leave the area, declined to second-guess the mayor on Monday, telling reporters, “Decisions about evacuations are something that are behind us”. Gasoline futures hit their highest in two years as Harvey shut down multiple refiners, knocking out about 13 percent of total US refining capacity, based on company reports and Reuters estimates. Almost half of the US refining capacity is in the Gulf region. The nation’s second-largest refinery was shut down in Baytown, and the nation’s largest refinery in Port Arthur was weighing shutting down with a final decision expected Tuesday, sources told Reuters. The floods’ path of destruction could destroy as much as $20 billion in insured property, making it one of the costliest storms in history for US insurers, according to Wall Street analysts.



Car bombing at busy Baghdad market kills 12 people

People and security forces gather at the scene of a car bomb explosion in the wholesale Jamila market in Baghdad’s Shiite district of Sadr City on Aug. 28, 2017.



BAGHDAD: A car bomb ripped through a busy market area in eastern Baghdad on Monday morning, killing at least 12 people, Iraqi officials said. The explosives-laden car went off at the wholesale Jamila market in Baghdad’s Shiite district of Sadr City, a police officer said. The explosion also wounded 28 other people, he added, saying the death toll was expected to rise further. A medical official confirmed the casualty figures. Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to journalists. A plume of thick black smoke billowed from the area and people were running away in panic. At the site, twisted metal and shards of glass littered the pavement, along with vegetables and other goods sold at the market. “It was a thunderous explosion,” said Hussein Kadhim, a 35-year old porter and father of three who was wounded in his right leg. “It sounds that the security situation is still uncontrollable and I’m afraid that such bombings will make a comeback”. At least one soldier was seen being evacuated from the scene, which was sealed off by security forces. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility in an online statement on its media arms, the Aamaq news agency. The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the statement. Sunni militants consider Shiites to be apostates and Shiite-dominated areas are prime targets for IS. The bombing came as US-backed Iraqi forces are in final stages of recapturing the northern town of Tal Afar from IS, about 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Syria’s border. On Sunday, Iraqi military said it had “fully liberated” Tal Afar’s town center from IS militants. On Monday, the troops fought at the outskirts of al-Ayadia district, about 10 kilometers (6 miles) northwest of Tal Afar, where most of the militants fled. Tal Afar was one of the few remaining towns in Iraq still in IS hands following the liberation of Mosul in July from the Islamic State group. The Sunni militant group still controls the northern town of Hawija, as well as Qaim, Rawa and Ana, in western Iraq near the Syrian border.



Japan to take ‘full steps’ to ensure public safety: Abe



TOKYO: Japan will take “full steps” to ensure the safety of its people following a North Korean missile test on Tuesday that passed over the country, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said. The firing comes days after Pyongyang launched three short-range missiles in what was seen as a minimal provocation after the start of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian South Korean-US joint military exercises. But today’s flight path represents a significant escalation by Pyongyang, which earlier this month threatened to fire a salvo of missiles towards the US territory of Guam. Any such flights would have to pass over Japan. “North Korea launched a ballistic missile which appears to have flown over Japan,” Abe said in televised comments. “We will immediately collect and analyse details and the government will take full steps to protect Japanese people’s lives”. The “unidentified ballistic missile” was launched at from Sunan, near Pyongyang, the South’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a statement, saying it travelled east “and over Japan”. Japan’s top government spokesman said the missile flew over the country’s northernmost island Hokkaido and then fell into the Pacific, some 1,180 kilometres (733 miles) east of the coast. “So far no fallen objects have been confirmed to have fallen inside Japanese territory,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told an emergency press briefing. “There is no report of damage to aircrafts and vessels” in the area, he added.

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