News Flash – 3 July 2018

National News



A portion of WR bridge collapses on track in Mumbai; all train services stopped

The incident has disrupted trains’ movement on the route.



MUMBAI: In a major safety scare, pedestrian portion of the Gokhale Road Over Bridge collapsed on the Western Railway (WR) around 7.30 am. All services on WR have been suspended. A WR official said, “The incident happened around 7.30 am when the slab fell on platform no. 7 and 8 at Andheri“. WR said that the bridge, which located in between Andheri and Vile Parle has been maintained by the BMC.




The bridge is major link for movement of traffic from Andheri East to West. WR official said that it will take at least 4 to 5 hours to restore services as OHE on all the lines has been damaged. Fired bridge personnel have rushed to the site.



Mumbai night life: BMC plans to allow 31 malls, 4 hot spots to stay open 24/7


MUMBAI: Soon, you might be able to go for dinner or even shopping at malls even in the dead of night, if a BMC plan gets the police go-ahead. The civic body has written to the police commissioner seeking opinion over allowing 31 malls and four popular spots to remain open 24/7. In May, BMC commissioner Ajoy Mehta wrote to the police commissioner for keeping malls and shopping centres open 24×7 referring to the Maharashtra Shops and Establishments (Regulation of Employment and Service Condition) Act, 2017, which provided for shops and establishments to remain open 24/7 if not restricted by the state in public interest. The Act, notified in December, covers shops, hotels, restaurants and malls, but excludes bars, pubs, wine shops and discotheques which currently have restricted timings. According to civic sources, the list includes all the 31 malls Mumbai and four roads/areas: shops and establishments around Churchgate railway station, CSMT, the airports and the Gateway of India.


A civic official said, “This is only a preliminary list and we plan to include more commercial establishments in the months to come. Once we receive an opinion from the police we would write to the state government as well about the proposal”. The BMC commissioner confirmed to TOI that they have written to the police. “We have initiated the process and want to want to prepare the list in consultation with the police, so we have sought their opinion. Depending on the experience the further course would be decided,” he said. Viren Shah, president of the Federation of Retail Traders Welfare Association, said the proposal may be a feasible for establishments in malls to remain open throughout the night, but not for retail standalone shops. “Staying open 24/7 would also mean employing staff overtime and other additional overhead costs like electricity. Besides there are also questions over whether the shops would get customers past midnight,” he said.



Low intensity earthquake hits Delhi



NEW DELHI: A low intensity earthquake measuring 2.8 on the Richter scale hit the national capital in the wee hours of Tuesday. According to the National Centre for Seismology, the tremors hit at around 3:47 am at a depth of 17 km. However, there are no immediate reports of any damage to property.



Rains lash parts of Delhi-NCR, flights diverted


NEW DELHI: Rains lashed several parts of the national capital and the NCR region in the evening after dust-laden winds swept the city, even as the maximum temperature settled at 37.8 degrees Celsius. Humidity levels oscillated between 77% and 49%. “The maximum temperature was recorded at 37.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above the normal while the minimum temperature settled at 29.9 degrees Celsius, two notches above normal,” an MeT Department official said. At least 24 Delhi-bound flights were diverted to other destinations due to rains in the city. Most of the diversions took place between 8.45and 9.45pm. They included five Air India flights, besides flights of other private carriers, sources in the Delhi airport said. Jet Airways in a tweet informed that delay in departure and arrival of planes could range up to 30 minutes. While the day was sunny and sultry, rains lashed a few areas around 8pm. The weatherman has predicted partly cloudy sky for tomorrow morning with possibility of rainfall in some areas towards the evening. “The maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to settle around 38 degrees Celsius and 30 degrees Celsius, respectively,” the official said. On Sunday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 36.4 degrees Celsius while the minimum temperature had settled at 29 degrees Celsius.



Telangana Health Status: Swine flu, chikungunya cases decline; dengue cases up



HYDERABAD: As per the latest ‘Health Status Indicators Report 2018’ released by the Centre, among the major diseases, swine flu cases saw a slight decline (from 2956 to 2165) between 2015-2017, chikungunya cases too declined from 2067 to 663 during the period in Telangana state. Dengue cases, however, saw a sharp rise during the period from 1831 to 3083 in the state. With dengue cases increasing substantially in other parts of the country, the report sounded an alert on the increasing severity of dengue. “Dengue and chikungunya transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes are a cause of great concern to public health in India. Every year, thousands of individuals are affected and contribute to the burden of health care. Dengue outbreaks have continued since the 1950s but severity of disease has increased in the last two decades,” the report read.


While no chikungunya and dengue deaths were recorded officially, 21 swine flu deaths (majority of which were in the city) were recorded during the year 2017 alone. During the year 2017, a total of 2688 dengue cases, 2165 swine flu cases and 2688 cases of malaria were recorded in the state. The 21 swine flu deaths were down from 100 deaths during the year 2015. Much like in other parts of the country, swine flu cases declined steeply from 2956 in 2015 to 166 in the year 2016 and again increased to 2165 in 2017- in the process registering an overall decline. The countrywide tread too saw a drastic increase in number of cases and deaths during the year 2015 as per the report. “The number of cases and deaths drastically increased in the year 2015. A total of 42592 cases (across the country) were recorded during 2015. In 2016, the cases decreased to 1786 and again increased to 38811 in 2017,” read the report. Local authorities meanwhile say that swine flu deaths in the state have been prevented to a large extent due to a high detection rate and ‘is a much high accessibility to investigations’.



International News



Bali volcano hurls lava and ash, airport unaffected


DENPASAR: The Mount Agung volcano on the Indonesian tourist island of Bali erupted Monday evening, ejecting a 2,000-meter-high (6,560-foot-high) column of thick ash and hurling lava down its slopes. The Indonesian geological agency’s Agung monitoring post said explosions from the mountain began just after 9 p.m. and lasted more than 7 minutes. “Flares of incandescent lava” reached 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) from the crater, it said, setting fire to forests at high elevation on the mountain. Nearly 700 people fled Banjar Galih village, about 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) from the crater, to an evacuation center, said a resident, Ketut Budi. “I saw smoke rising and the volcano rumbled very loud,” he said. “We came here with motorcycles and those with cars helped carry other people”. It was the volcano’s first explosive eruption since a dramatic increase in activity last year that temporarily forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people. The alert status for Agung has not been raised from its current second-highest level and the exclusion zone around the crater remains at 4 kilometers (2.5 miles). National Disaster Mitigation Agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said the explosions Monday night were “thunderous” and hurled white hot rocks from the crater.


The volcano was periodically erupting ash Tuesday, which was drifting west. The island’s airport, to the south, was still operating normally. Bali’s international airport closed for half a day on Friday because of volcanic ash from Agung, disrupting travel for tens of thousands. The island is set to host World Bank and International Monetary Fund meetings in October. Monday’s eruption was “strombolian,” the geological agency said, which is the mildest type of explosive volcanic eruption. It warned people living near rivers to exercise caution, particularly in wet weather, because of the risk of fast-moving flows of muddy volcanic debris. The volcano, about 70 kilometers (45 miles) northeast of Bali’s tourist hotspot of Kuta, last had a major eruption in 1963, killing about 1,100 people. Authorities lowered its alert status from the highest level in February after seismic activity quietened. Indonesia, an archipelago of more than 250 million people, sits on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” and is prone to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Government seismologists monitor more than 120 active volcanoes.



More than 270,000 displaced by southern Syria fighting: UN


AMMAN: A regime offensive in southern Syria has forced more than 270,000 people from their homes, the United Nations said Monday. “We were expecting the number of displaced in southern Syria to reach 200,000, but it has already exceeded 270,000 people in record time,” said Mohammad Hawari, the spokesman for UN refugee agency UNHCR in Amman. Nearly two weeks of ferocious air strikes and barrel bombing have seen regime forces retake swathes of rebel-held territory in the southern province of Daraa. The southwest was an early hotbed of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad and defeat there would leave rebels with just one remaining stronghold — the area around Idlib province bordering Turkey in the northwest.



Found alive on 10th day, Thailand boys’ cave ordeal not over

A family member looks at a photo near Tham Luang cave complex, as members of under-16 soccer team and their coach have been found alive.



MAE SAI: Twelve boys and their soccer coach found alive after ten days trapped deep inside a flooded cave will have to bear their ordeal for longer while rescuers work out how to bring them safely out, the governor of Chiang Rai province said on Tuesday. Divers struggled through narrow passages and murky waters to discover the boys late on Monday night on an elevated rock about 4 kilometres (2.5 miles) from the mouth of the cave. A video shot by rescuers in flickering torchlight revealed boys clad in shorts and red and blue shirts sitting or standing on the rock above an expanse of water.



“How many of you are there – 13? Brilliant,” a member of the multinational rescue team, speaking in English, tells the boys. “You have been here 10 days. You are very strong”. “Thank you,” one of the boys says. One of the boys asks when they will get out of the cave, to which the rescuer answers: “Not today. You have to dive”. Two British divers, John Volanthen and Rick Stanton, were first to reach the boys, having had strong experience in cave rescues, according to Bill Whitehouse, the vice chairman of the British Cave Rescue Council (BCRC). They found the group along with a team of Thai navy SEAL divers. Rescuers had been focusing on an elevated mound, which cavers have named “Pattaya Beach”, in the cave complex’s third chamber, knowing that it could have provided the boys with a refuge when rains flooded the cave. “The SEALs reported that… they reached Pattaya Beach which was flooded. So they went 400 metres further where we found the 13 … who were safe,” Narongsak told the cheering group of reporters. JUBILATION: The boys survival was greeted with jubilation nationwide by Thais who have followed every twist of the harrowing story. Relatives of the boys, who have been at a shelter near the cave hoping for a breakthrough, were seen cheering, smiling and receiving calls after being given the news. Rescuers shook hands and congratulated each other as occasional cheers broke out.


Aged between 11 and 16, the boys went missing with the 25-year-old after soccer practice on June 23 after they set out to explore the Tham Luang cave complex in a forest park near Thailand‘s northern border with Myanmar. Rescuers now have to decide how best to get the group out in their weakened condition. They have been given energy gels to sustain them while a plan is worked out to bring them to safety. Options considered included waiting until water levels subsided, or teaching the group to use diving gear to navigate the flooded cave. “If you ask me now while we are still assessing all sides then I don’t think they will be home soon,” Chiang Rai governor Narongsak Osottanakorn told reporters. The group’s health was assessed overnight by medical teams which will continue to check the health of the group on Monday, said Narongsak, explaining that the boys had sustained light injuries. “We categorized their health condition as red, yellow or green, red being the most severe injuries, yellow being mild and green being light. Yesterday, unofficially, we assessed that most are in the green category,” said Narongsak. Narongsak said rescue workers would now focus on the “rescue” phase and then a handover to medical teams waiting outside the cave.

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