News Flash – 29 August 2018

National News



Woman mugged on train hopes robber gets off drugs


Mumbai: Being dragged off a running train by a robber and suffering serious injuries upon landing on the tracks would have left even a seasoned traveller shaken, but not Pratibha Tripathi. The 58-year-old, who is currently recuperating in a hospital, says she has no qualms about taking a train again but would definitely be more cautious in future. On Sunday, the GRP had arrested Muqaddar Idrisi for robbing Tripathi, who said the coach was occupied with “very few passengers” and no one saw her getting mugged. “I had boarded Udyan Express at CST around 8.10am on August 22. Most passengers board this train from Dadar Terminus. My seat was closest to the door. It did not occur to me that travelling alone was unsafe and I should venture further into the coach where a few other passengers were seated,” she told TOI. Tripathi says she hadn’t seen Idrisi board the coach at CST. “I wonder where he was hiding and if he had entered the station so early in the day with the sole aim of robbing someone. I was sitting with my bag in my lap when he suddenly came and snatched it. I instinctively held on to the bag. Everything happened in a flash and I couldn’t even shout out for help. As he ran towards the door and jumped off, I got dragged along and landed on the tracks,” she said.


Tripathi thanks her “stars” that she did not lose consciousness. “I had no identity proof on me and the cops wouldn’t have been able to track down my family had I been unconscious. I was bleeding and couldn’t get up. But the motorman of the next local train played my saviour. He saw me waving frantically from the tracks and halted the local. He then got a few other passengers to help carry me into one of the coaches. When the train reached Byculla, a stretcher had already been arranged for and an ambulance was waiting for me. The cops were also helpful in retrieving my suitcase from Udyan Express. Had the motorman not halted in time, I would have probably bled to death on the tracks,” said a grateful Tripathi. Idrisi splurged a sum of Rs 5,000 that Tripathi had kept in her handbag. “I identified him from a photograph shown to me after the arrest. I don’t know much about his background and have been told that he is hooked to drugs. I hope he reforms but it will be difficult unless he kicks the drug habit,” she said. When asked if she wanted Idrisi to be punished, Tripathi replied that a spell behind the bars would be sufficient.



Waterlogged roads slow down parts of capital



New Delhi: The capital and its neighbourhood received heavy showers early Tuesday morning, which resulted in waterlogging on a number of stretches by the time people went out for work. The Safdarjung station received 49.6mm rainfall till 8.30am and another 11.6mm in the following nine hours while Palam received 101mm in a 24-hour period. Najafgarh recorded the highest rainfall at 148mm. “Lodhi road, Ridge and Ayanagar received 22.2, 6.8 and 54.3mm of rainfall respectively, while Gurgaon also received heavy rainfall,” said a met official. Traffic crawled in parts of south and southwest Delhi, with the met office saying light to moderate showers would continue over the next three days. “Most of the rain occurred on Tuesday and we expect sporadic spells over the next two days at some locations across NCR. Light to moderate rain could occur in the next couple of days,” said B P Yadav, IMD deputy director general. Humidity levels, however, continued to stay on the higher side and oscillated between 82 and 100%. Met officials at the IGI airport said no flight diversions were reported. “Palam received 71mm of rainfall in just a 3-hour period between 5.30am and 8.30am. This is the highest monsoon rainfall in a 3-hour period this season, however no flight diversions took place as there were no strong winds associated with this intense activity,” said R K Jenamani, met head at IGI airport. The maximum and minimum temperatures on Wednesday could be 32 and 26 degrees Celsius respectively.



Wi-Fi, CCTV’s in these 100 coaches

The coach has been designed at the Modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareli.



New Delhi: Railways on Tuesday displayed the first of its initial 100 ‘smart’ coaches at the Safdarjung railway station, which will be introduced in the network equipped with features like vibration-based sensors to indicate when maintenance is required, CCTV cameras, free Wi-Fi, GPS-based passenger announcement system and a central computer system that can be operated from a remote location also. The system was inspected by Ashwani Lohani, Chairman Railway Board (CRB) to assess the features, while a total of 100 such new coaches are planned to be rolled out in the first phase. “This was the first such coach and the features were on display for testing. Once more coaches are ready, we can decide on which trains they can be used,” said a senior railway official. The smart coach has been designed at the Modern Coach Factory in Rae Bareli, which will carry out work on the remaining coaches. The coach has a central processing unit called ‘PICCU’ (passenger information and coach computing unit).



Heavy rain disrupts traffic in Delhi-NCR


New Delhi / Gurgaon: Heavy rains lashed several parts of Delhi-NCR through the night with waterlogging disrupting road traffic at many places in the national capital and Gurgaon. Rush hour traffic was thrown out of gear in Gurgaon as morning commuters got stuck in traffic snarls, including an over 5km jam on a road between Hero Honda Chowk and Khirki Daula Toll Plaza. Several residents took to Twitter to share their experiences and posted photos of the waterlogging and the gridlock. Officegoers in Delhi, too, faced a lot of inconvenience due to traffic disruptions with most opting to use the Delhi Metro rail’s services, which were delayed due to overcrowding. Several colleges here were also closed. The meteorological department has forecast more rains through the day and relative humidity at 100%in Delhi. Odisha government asked district collectors of Mahanadi river system to remain on alert as Hirakud dam authorities are to open 25 gates and release about 4 lakh cusecs of water.



let you travel in bus, auto, taxi and Metro Soon, a mobility card will


Hyderabad: One master card will soon be key to all transport modes in the city. A single open-loop National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) will soon be introduced for all modes of transport, including Telangana State Road Transport Corporation (TSRTC) buses, Metro rail and MMTS trains, autos and cabs. Based on the mode of transport availed, the fare amount would be directly deposited to the account of the respective organization (TSRTC/Metro Rail/MMTS)/ individual (driver in the case of autos, Ola/Uber), informed TSRTC officials, after the third task force committee meeting held at Bus Bhavan. The task force was formed to improve transport facilities in the state, based on instructions of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. L&T Metro Rail has already entered into a contract with SBI for implementation of the new smart card ticketing system. Officials of SBI also gave a demo of the devices they propose for utilization by TSRTC and Metro rail as part of the NCMC ticketing system. During the meeting, Roads and Buildings (R&B) department principal secretary and managing director of TSRTC Sunil Sharma stressed on the need to build a common payment system for all modes of transport for commuter convenience and to encourage use of public transport. He also urged those present to sort out a few ‘technical and commercial issues’ for early completion of the NCMC ticketing system. The auto unions represented by Amanullah Khan also welcomed the proposal.



Con job: Hiring portals fraudsters’ new abode


Hyderabad: Next time you upload your bio-data on job portals and get offers, don’t jump with joy without verifying the caller. Fraudsters scan job portals and extract contact numbers. They then lure victims by providing opportunities in their preferred domains, says cybercrime police. “The fraudsters go through job portals and extract email IDs and contact details of job seekers. After checking the preferences of the victims, they make calls claiming to be from multi-national companies and lure them with job offers. We get four job fraud cases every month,” Hyderabad additional DCP, Cyber Crime, Raghu Vir said. After a spurt of such cases, cybercrime police have requested a prominent job portal to post a disclaimer, warning people about frauds. “Now, the portal displays a disclaimer at the bottom of their homepage, warning people about frauds. It was affecting their reputation too,” police added. Till July, Hyderabad cybercrime police had recorded 32 job fraud cases. But, could crack just 40% cases. “Most offenders were traced to Delhi, Noida and Gurugram. These fraudsters take up a small place and hire a few people to sift through job portals and send phishing emails,” Raghu Vir added. Cybercrime police have also posted several posters at Ameerpet, a hub of coaching centres and tuition classes, to educate people. “Companies do not ask money for conducting interviews or hiring potential employees. If any company is asking for money, job seekers should be suspicious about it and carry out a thorough enquiry,” explained the additional DCP.



Earthquake with Epicentre in Hooghly jolts South Bengal Districts


Kolkata: A moderate-intensity earthquake that had its origin in Hoogly shook several south Bengal districts on Tuesday evening. Measuring 5 on the Richter scale, the tremor occurred at 6.33pm and had its epicentre 10km below ground level. The earthquake was felt across the districts of East and West Midnapore, Purulia, Howrah and Kolkata. While no loss of life or property was reported, in some parts of Hoogly, people stepped out of homes after the quake. According to the IMD, the earthquake occurred at latitude 22.9-degree north and, latitude 87.7 degree east. “A minor tremor was felt in Kolkata too,” said Regional Meteorological Centre director G K Das. A fault line running between Kolkata and Mymensingh in Bangladesh could have triggered the tremor, said geologist Harendranath Bhattacharya. “It’s a little unusual for an earthquake to have its epicentre in Hoogly. But the Kolkata-Mymensingh fault-line is a danger zone,” said Bhattacharya. He added that any area in this part of the country could be struck by earthquakes. “Underground plates and fault-lines may trigger a tremor anywhere in this region. Tension is building up at the plate junctures and a tremor is always a possibility. The Bengal basin has another major fault-line, between Kolkata and Siliguri,” added Bhattacharya.



Tamil Nadu comes up with strategic plan to combat disasters


Chennai: Concerned at the risk posed by calamities such as cyclones, floods and water related problems and frequency of occurrence, the government has come up with an elaborate plan, setting out the priorities for stakeholders in accordance with the Sendai Framework (adopted by all United Nations member states) for risk reduction. The plan, rolled out to prepare to combat natural calamities for the period between 2018 and 2030, was released by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday. “The problems cannot be addressed within a year. The plan gives a direction to stakeholders, government departments and district disaster management authorities over a period of 13 years to reduce risks repeatedly faced by the state,” said revenue administration, disaster management, mitigation commissioner K Satyagopal. The hazard vulnerability analysis conducted at different parts of the state reveals different forms of disasters. While districts like Dharmapuri, Madurai, Coimbatore, Ramanathapuram and Salem are prone to drought, the coastal districts struggle to cope with serious pollution, siltation, coastal erosion and flooding. The Centre categorized Nilgiris district a hazard-prone area vulnerable to severe landslides. Over the last decade, more than one fourth of the annual average of fire accidents had been detected in 15 forest divisions in the state, while districts like Kancheepuram, Tuticorin and Cuddalore are home to hundreds of industries dealing with potentially hazardous material.


The government’s plan spells out an institutional mechanism for risk governance, and the roles and responsibilities of the different departments. One of the goals is to minimize the risk of urban floods with special focus on Greater Chennai Corporation and its neighbourhood that were devastated by floods in December 2015. The government identified 4,399 areas across the state vulnerable during monsoon, based on legacy data. “We are giving emphasis to an ecosystem-based approach to ensure natural flow of waterways and integrity of waterbodies to bring down the risks,” Satyagopal said. Ongoing schemes and projects of all government agencies and institutions will be selectively audited by designated agencies to ensure they address disaster risk and map the vulnerability profiles of the areas where such schemes are undertaken. The plan includes timelines for disaster risk reduction measures for each category. The deadline for coming up with a multi-hazard alert, response and tracking system is this year, while for new land use regulations to protect ecologically sensitive areas it is 2020 and 2021 for hazard vulnerability risk assessment.



International News



Germany antitrust watchdog plans action against Facebook



Bonn (Germany): Germany’s antitrust watchdog expects to take first steps this year in its probe against Facebook after finding that the social media giant abused its market dominance to gather data on people without their knowledge or consent. The probe is being closely watched in Europe amid mounting concerns over leaks of data on tens of millions of Facebook users, as well as the extensive use of targeted ads by foreign powers seeking to influence elections in the US. The Federal Cartel Office objects in particular to how Facebook acquires data on people from third-party apps — including its own WhatsApp and Instagram services — and its online tracking of people who aren’t even members. “We are conscious that this should, and must, go quickly,” cartel office president Andreas Mundt said on Monday, adding that he hoped to take “first steps” this year. He declined to elaborate. The German probe is not expected to end in fines for Facebook, in contrast to European Union probes into Google that have ended in multi-billion-dollar penalties, most recently over the pre-installation of its apps on Android smartphones. Sources familiar with the matter say, however, that the cartel office could require Facebook to take action to address its concerns if the company fails to do so voluntarily.


Facebook responded earlier this year to the cartel office’s request for information, and the authority was reviewing whether new features — such as a “clear history” option announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg in May — would address its concerns. “We need to establish whether this affects our investigation and addresses our concerns,” Mundt said. Mundt also confirmed comments he made in a newspaper interview earlier this month that he may launch an investigation into the e-commerce industry under new powers that enable the cartel office to launch sector-wide probes. The focus would be on so called “hybrid” platforms such as US e-commerce giant Amazon that sell their own products and services, but that also host third-party traders. “Our question is: what is the relationship between the platform, which itself is a very powerful trader, and the traders who use the platform?” said Mundt.



China plane makes emergency landing on just 2 wheels



China: A Chinese passenger plane with 166 people on board made an emergency landing with two wheels missing at Shenzhen airport on Tuesday, after the pilots aborted landing at nearby Macau and declared “Mayday”, aviation authorities said. The flight was operated by Capital Airlines, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) said. Capital Airlines is a unit of Hainan Airlines. The crew also reported a fault in one of the Airbus A320’s engines, according to CAAC. Capital Airlines said in a post on Weibo that it suspected the flight encountered wind shear whilst attempting to land in Macau and the crew “concluded that landing gear may have been damaged”.

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