News Flash – 3 July 2017

National News



Mumbai: 10 ambulances on 2 wheels to rush to your help soon



MUMBAI: The state government will launch a bike ambulance service in a month, with 10 bikes as a pilot project which will kick start from the city. The Royal Enfield bikes are being converted into ambulances with medical equipment. All bikes will be deployed in the city to reach patients and accident victims quickly. The bike ambulances will have a medical kit, trauma medical management kit and airway management kit, with few tablets to give patients, if needed. Maharashtra is the forth state after Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat, to start two-wheeler ambulances. Eleven BAMS/BUMS-qualified doctors have been trained to operate the bike ambulances. These doctors will work under the Emergency Medical Service (EMS), with 24 other doctors who work for the 108 medical service. The bike ambulance staff will be a part of EMS. A state health department official said, “As soon as the emergency medical helpline gets a call, the bike ambulance will reach the site and provide basic medical aid till a proper ambulance reaches. The bikes will provide first-aid, to stabilize patients till they get shifted to an ambulance.” The bikes will work more effectively in narrow lanes and slum pockets, where four-wheeler ambulances may take time to reach,” the official said.


The bikes will have a computerized database system, which will keep all medical records of patients in a tabular format. Public health minister Deepak Sawant told TOI, “The bike ambulances will help in a city like Mumbai, where the traffic jam issue is critical.” He added that the doctors have been trained and the attachment of accessories to the bikes was in its last stages. Maharashtra, 4th state to launch bike ambulance:


* Maharashtra will be the fourth state, after Karnataka, Kerala and Gujarat, to launch a bike ambulance service in India


* Karnataka was the first state to start the ambulances in April 2015


* In Kerala, Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisation (SSSO) had launched the Sai Aid On Wheels project in December 2016


* The Gujarat government launched the service in January, under the Suraksha Setu programme of the home department, to provide medical services in remote tribal areas.



CISF gets best airport security award from World Quality Congress


NEW DELHI: The security provided by Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at Delhi airport has been awarded the ‘best airport security’ by the World Quality Congress (WQC). It is the first time that a central paramilitary force has been recognized by WQC for its standards and professionalism in providing security. Around 56 million passengers use IGI airport every year. The independent body usually awards private sector companies for their standards in providing quality service. The award will be given to the CISF at WQC’s annual event in Mumbai on July 6. The achievement comes barely three months after Airport Council International‘s airport service quality (ASQ) rating found that security at Delhi airport was better than Heathrow, Dallas, Los Angeles, Dubai and Paris airports. When contacted, CISF director general O P Singh told TOI, “CISF has continuously excelled and evolved in providing security as a service and our men posted at the airports have demonstrated leadership qualities while dealing with thousands of passengers every day, taking care of threats and partnering with different stakeholders”.


Singh said ending the stamping of hand baggage’s of domestic travelers at Delhi and other airports, reducing wait time during checks, use of modern technology at every corner of the airport and courteous behaviour were part of CISF’s excellence. “It’s a proud moment for us,” he added. Around 4,000 trained CISF personnel secure the domestic and international terminals of Delhi airport round the clock. Another senior CISF official said those deployed for security of the airport were often so busy that they didn’t get time for food or water and it was because of their commitment that Delhi airport had not witnessed any untoward incident. Security at airports like Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata are considered to be sensitive due to regular bombing and hijacking threats from Islamic terror outfits like al-Qaida, Islamic State, Lashkar-e-Taiba etc., apart from fears of smuggling of drugs and banned items. The central force secures 59 airports in India and keeps introducing new modules to keep its personnel and commandos abreast of changing modus operandi of terrorists who target such installations. Issues related to adherence to standard operating procedures vis-a-vis airport entry and exit by passengers and official staff, and further easing of security procedures for differently-abled flyers are also regularly reviewed by CISF.



Leaking railway over bridge poses threat


BENGALURU: The railway over bridge on Miller’s Road is posing a threat to commuters as its corroded tin base has started leaking and is falling in bits and pieces on vehicles and people passing underneath. The leakage caused by rain results in creaking sounds and often scares commuters who are now avoiding the road while trains pass overhead. “This is one of the oldest bridges in the city. I have been seeing it ever since I moved nearby 25-30 years ago,” said Nishad Khan. “I see people waiting for trains to pass so that they can cross the area under the bridge,” he added. Bridge number 841 B connects Cantonment Railway Station to Bangalore East and Whitefield stations. Most trains passing through Cantonment take this route. “The tin base has withered completely and can fall anytime. Is the railways waiting for a tragedy to happen before taking up the maintenance work,” asked Krishna Ramanathan, a commuter on the stretch. Naresh R, another commuter, said, “We have to wait for six to seven minutes at the traffic signal ahead of the bridge, and if any train passes, then the wait gets extended by another three to four minutes. The condition of bridge is so bad that you can actually see through it. This is dangerous, but the railway authorities do not seem to be concerned”. Officials deny leakage: Railway manager, Bengaluru division (SWR), R S Saxena said, “As per reports from officials, the bridge is in good condition and there is no leakage at all.” According to SWR records, the bridge was included for maintenance in 2015 along with other bridges at Rs 1.59 crore. But no change seems to have occurred on the ground.



Mumbai in the grip of the deadly swine flu!

If you experience any flu-like symptoms, get yourself tested at the nearest clinic.



Mumbai: After malaria, dengue and gastroenteritis, the latest outbreak that’s giving Mumbaikars sleepless nights is the swine flu. In the past few weeks, the H1N1 virus engulfed the city at a fast pace, with 16 cases being reported by the Civic Health Department in the span of just a single day! In fact, according to BMC reports, since January this year, there have been 285 confirmed cases, with 10 swine flu-related deaths, an alarming cause of worry for those who tend to neglect a bout of cold and flu. The sudden rise in cases has been attributed to the unprecedented temperature fluctuations in the city and the high moisture content in the atmosphere.  Since the symptoms of this respiratory illness are similar to the seasonal flu, it’s difficult to detect it. Dr. RK Singal, principal consultant, director and coordinator of medical and allied services, shares, “Patients experience fever (100 degrees F or greater), cough, nasal secretions, sore throat, fatigue and headache. Some may also get rashes, body (muscle) aches or pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. In more serious cases, one can develop respiratory symptoms such as shortness of breath. If the infection persists, it can lead to pneumonia and seizures, which can be fatal.” The flu can last from three to seven days with more serious infections lasting up to 10 days.


Avoid crowded places and large gatherings: According to Dr. Padmaja Keskar, executive health officer of the BMC, if you notice you’re suffering from any of the above symptoms, contact a doctor or the nearest medical health centre or hospital, especially in case of persistent symptoms like cough, cold and fever for more than four days.” Dr. Ramesh Pakle, general surgeon, suggests, “Try home remedies such as paracetamol for fever, body ache and sore throat and steam inhalation for a runny nose before going to the doctor”. Since the flu is transmitted from person to person by inhalation or ingestion of droplets containing virus from those who sneeze or cough, its best to limit contact with others. The most susceptible to the flu are children (aged six months and up), pregnant women, people above the age of 50 and those with medical conditions such as heart or lung diseases (asthma, COPD, emphysema), diabetes or anyone with weakened immune systems.


Tips to safeguard yourself: Frequently wash your hands with soap. If that’s not possible, keep a hand sanitizer with you. Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes. The virus can survive on surfaces like telephones and get transferred to your finger. If you have symptoms of flu, stay at home. Avoid going to work or school, especially crowded places. Infected people can wear surgical masks to prevent the virus from spreading. Dr. Singal, “Vaccination is the best way to prevent or reduce the chances of getting infected with influenza viruses. But any medication/vaccination needs to be taken under the guidance of your health expert”.



Talks fail, 1,000 cinema theatres in Tamil Nadu to stay shut from today



CHENNAI: Nearly 1,000 theatres across Tamil Nadu will remain shut on Monday, the first day of an indefinite strike called by theatre owners to protest against the state’s imposition of 30% entertainment tax in addition to the 28% Goods and Services Tax (GST) on film trade. This will mean curtains in cinema halls at least for now for 10 Tamil films that released in the past two weeks in Tamil Nadu – the only state in the country that has announced a separate tax in addition to GST. Last-minute talks on Sunday by producers to resolve the impasse and persuade the theatre owners not to go ahead with the strike, which they first threatened on Friday. Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation president Abirami Ramanathan on Sunday evening announced that cinema hall owners would proceed with the strike – to the agony of the producers of recently-released films. Tamil Films Producers Council president Vishal, batting for the producers affected, on Sunday asked the theatre owners to call off the strike or at least to defer it by a week. ‘Ivan Thanthiran’ director R Kannan posted a message on Saturday that his film, which hit the theatres on Friday, will suffer a major loss if theatre owners go on strike from Monday. “They announced the strike without prior notice,” Kannan said. “How will I pay back loans I took to make this film?”


“We have heard the pleas of the affected producers,” Ramanathan said. “We will discuss what needs to be done”. He said the decision to announce the strike had to be taken suddenly as the theatre owners were kept in the dark about the double taxation until 5pm on Friday. “A government order was passed on Friday, declaring that in addition to GST, the state will levy 30% entertainment tax which will be collected by local bodies,” Ramanathan said. The producers’ council also voiced its opposition to the 30% entertainment tax. “We met the minister for information and publicity Kadambur Raju and discussed our concerns,” Vishal said. “We are hoping that the state government will roll back the entertainment tax on Monday”. The livelihoods of more than 10 lakh people depend on the state’s film trade. Abirami Ramanathan said in addition to 28% GST and 30% entertainment tax, theatre owners have to pay an additional tax that local bodies levy. “It adds up to 68%, leaving us with just 32%,” he said. “Many theatres across the state shut on Sunday itself as it is not viable to pay such a huge percentage as tax”.



Five hurt as 25-year-old building falls in East Delhi

Five people were injured after a part of a four-storeyed building collapsed in the early hours of Sunday in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar.


NEW DELHI: Five people were injured after a part of a four-storeyed building collapsed in the early hours of Sunday in east Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar. The building housed shops on the ground floor, offices of private companies on the first floor, while the second and third floors had storehouses. Constructed 25 years ago, the building had been “sealed” in 2010 when neighbours complained to East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC) that it was tilting. Corporation officials, however, said the building was only sealed till the time it was confirmed that it was tilting. “As the building was not found to be tilting, we opened it,” said an official. Around 1.15am, local residents heard a rumbling sound and people shouting for help. Rohit, who lives in the area, told TOI that he was walking back home when he saw the building collapse. “I had a narrow escape. Had I been in front of the building, the concrete slabs would have fallen on me,” he said. Rohit called the PCR and the fire station after which five fire tenders were rushed to the spot. The people trapped inside were pulled out and the injured were rushed to a nearby private hospital.


Among those injured was 57-year-old Balkar Singh, who was asleep when the building collapsed. A slab had blocked the exit of his house. “Parts of the ceiling fell on his head due to which he was injured seriously,” Rohit said. “I was on the first floor when the building collapsed. I was lucky to escape without any injuries,” said Mohan Sharma, the owner. An east corporation official said two adjoining building were also damaged marginally. “The owners of the two buildings have been asked to carry out necessary repair work to ensure that they are safe,” said EDMC deputy commissioner Atik Ahmad. “The exact reason behind the collapse is not known. After the debris is removed, we will also test the soil to find the cause,” said Ahmad. A case of negligence has been lodged against the building’s owner.



IMD warns of very heavy rain in state


Ahmedabad: The India Meteorological Department (IMD), Gujarat, on Sunday warned of extremely heavy rain in the Gujarat region, which includes north and central parts of the state. According to the IMD, monsoon was vigorous over Saurashtra and Kutch regions and over parts of the Gujarat region. Ahmedabad on Sunday received intermittent rain in some parts, including Sarkhej, Juhapura, Ashram Road, Navrangpura, Paldi, and Maninagar. Light rainfall also occurred in the eastern parts of the city, including in Naroda, Nikol, Odhav, and Bapungar. Maximum temperature in the city was recorded at 28.9°C, 6.6° below normal. Minimum temperature was 24.7°C, 1.8° below normal. Amdavadis made the most of the pleasant weather and thronged spots such as Law Garden, Sabarmati riverfront, and Vastrapur lakefront. However, woes of citizens continued as reports of cave-ins poured in from different parts of the city. According to the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) control room, a cave-in was reported in Shahibaug near Ashok Vatika. Repair work was under way. According to AMC officials, the city has so far received 108.83mm of rain. Of this, the walled city area has received 125mm, while the areas of the new west zone — including Bodakdev, Satellite, Thaltej, Memnagar, Ranip and Gota — received 80.67mm. According to revenue control room officials, the city received only 3mm rain from 8am to 8pm on Sunday. The control room officials said that the state capital, Gandhinagar, received 34mm rain from 8am to 8pm on Sunday. Rain dampened the spirit of the people visiting Textile India in Gandhinagar.



International News



8 wounded in France mosque shooting



MARSEILLE: Eight people including a girl were lightly wounded late Sunday in a shooting in front of a mosque in the southeast French city of Avignon, the prosecutor’s office said, ruling out terrorism. According to initial accounts taken on the spot, at least two men got out of a car around 10:30pm near the mosque and opened fire, including with a shotgun, the prosecutor’s office said. None of the wounded had life-threatening injuries, it said. “From what we know this evening, the mosque was not targeted. The fact that it happened in the street of the religious establishment was unconnected with it,” the prosecutor said, ruling out terrorism. Witness accounts mentioned four men in the car, all hooded. The criminal investigation department has taken charge of the case. The shooting comes a few days after a man on Thursday attempted to drive his car into worshippers outside the Creteil mosque in southeast Paris. The driver, a 43-year-old Armenian who suffered from schizophrenia, hit barriers and pillars outside the mosque with his 4×4 without causing any injuries before crashing into a traffic island. According to a source close to the investigation, the suspect had made “confused remarks in relation” to a string of jihadist attacks that have struck France, killing 239 people since 2015. Following a van attack against worshippers leaving Finsbury Park Mosque in London on June 19 which left one dead and 11 injured, France’s Muslim community has also felt threatened. Some Muslim officials have described the Paris incident as an attack and called on the authorities to “strengthen protection of places of worship”.



Huge fire engulfs new flats in London



LONDON: A major fire today broke out at a new under-construction block of flats in London after blazes reportedly began from their solar panels. At least 80 firefighters and 12 fire engines were pressed into service to tackle the fire. London Fire Brigade said nobody was inside the building at the time of the incident. The incident comes days after a devastating fire gutted Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey residential building in west London on June 14, killing at least 80 people. Officials said that flames engulfed the roof of the Bow Wharf building, close to Bethnal Green and Mile End area of the city. The block is a brand new “residential waterside development” where five houses and 19 apartments are set to sell for as much as one million pound (USD 1.30 million) each. The exact cause behind the incident remains unknown. An eyewitness wrote on Twitter: “Brand new building not finished so no one in it. But it is caught inside now. Whole thing going to go up. Looks like solar panels caught alight”. The entire development comprises 24 units in total, including some affordable housing. Construction and development firm Rooff Limited and H20 Urban are joint venture partners and contractors on the half-acre site at the junction of the Regents and Hereford Union canals in east London. Work on the development started in late 2015 and is due to be completed this year. In the Grenfell tower incident, cheap cladding used on the exterior of the building was blamed for the rapid spread of the fire and hundreds of other tower blocks around the UK have since failed fire safety tests on their cladding.



10 injured as volcano erupts on Indonesia’s main Java island


JAKARTA: A volcano popular with tourists erupted Sunday on Indonesia‘s main island of Java, injuring 10 people, an official said. Sileri Crater at Dieng Plateau spewed cold lava, mud and ash as high as 50 meters (164 feet) into the sky when it erupted, said National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. He said the sudden eruption occurred at around 11:30am, when there were about 17 visitors around the crater. Ten people were injured and were being treated at a hospital. Soldiers and police officers were dispatched to the scene, while local residents and visitors were asked to evacuate the area in case of further eruptions, Nugroho said. Sileri is the most active and dangerous among some 10 craters at Dieng Plateau. Its most recent eruption was in 2009, when it unleashed volcanic materials up to 200 meters (656 feet) high and triggered the creation of three new craters. Dieng Plateau, located in the Central Java province district of Banjarnegara, is a popular tourist attraction because of its cool climate and ninth-century Hindu temples. It sits about 2,000 meters (6,600 feet) above sea level. Some 142 people were reportedly asphyxiated in 1979 when the volcano spewed gases.



CNPC gas pipeline blast kills 8, injures 35 in China



BEIJING: At least eight people died and another 35 were injured in a natural gas pipeline explosion in southwest China’s Guizhou Province on Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported. The explosion occurred at around 10 a.m. local time (0300 GMT) in Qinglong County at a pipeline operated by China National Petroleum Corp, triggered by a landslide after days of heavy rain. Xinhua said earlier that the gas line was an extension of a pipeline that pumped gas from neighbouring Myanmar to southwest China and that the fire was put out in the afternoon. Four of the injured are in critical condition, it said.

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