News Flash – 3 May 2018

National News



5 men who looted cash van and killed 2 arrested after shootout


NEW DELHI: After a shootout following multiple raids through Tuesday night, the Special Cell of Delhi Police arrested the five men who had looted a cash van and shot dead its cashier and security guard in outer Delhi five days ago. Bharat Bhushan alias Toni, the kingpin of the gang, suffered two gunshot injuries and has been admitted to hospital. According to Sanjeev Yadav, DCP (Special Cell), a special team comprising ACP Akhileshwar Swaroop and inspector’s P C Yadav and Sanjeev Kumar received information that Bhushan would come to Khair village in outer Delhi to meet his associate in an Eeco van bearing the registration number DL-3CCF-2417. Traps were accordingly laid in different locations in the area. At 5.20am on Wednesday, the car was spotted and flagged down. The driver, however, stepped on the gas and tried to escape after firing a shot. “At this, inspector Sanjeev fired a shot at the car tyre and punctured it. The driver lost control crashed the car into the road divider,” said DCP Yadav. Bhushan got down from the car with a bag in one hand and pistol in another. Police personnel armed with Glock and MP5 firearms engaged the man, who began firing at the cops. Two shots hit constable Rambir but he was saved by his bulletproof jacket. Rambir and assistant sub-inspector Lav Kumar fired back and managed to hit Bhushan on his leg. He was soon overpowered and then taken to hospital.


Some hours earlier, the police team was tipped off that the men involved in the April 26 loot of the cash van would be returning to Delhi from Haridwar on Tuesday evening. Armed with this information, the Special Cell team succeeded in apprehending Mahabir Singh (34), Deepak (32) and Gurcharan (35) from Sector 26 of Rohini at around 7.30pm. Vikas Bhardwaj (24) was arrested later from his home. The four are residents of Narela, while Bhushan lives in Gogha Dairy area in outer Delhi. “The gang was involved in a number of cash van and ATM robberies across Delhi in the past one year,” informed DCP Yadav. Four pistols, magazine and live cartridges were seized from Bhushan. Yadav also confirmed seizure of Rs 8.2 lakh that the gang had looted and a cache of weapons. On April 26, bike-borne robbers had attacked the cash van belonging to SIS Prosegur, a security company. As soon as the company employees had collected cash from a wine shop at Vardhman Mall in Narela, the three men on the bike had opened fired, killing the cashier and gunman. The former had 18 gunshot wounds and the latter, five. The assailants fled with Rs 12-lakh loot. Soon after double murder-cum-robbery, all units of Delhi Police were asked to track the gang.



Fire alarm forces Dubai flight to return to city



Mumbai: An IndiGo flight bound for Dubai returned to land in Mumbai airport over an hour post departure after a cargo hold fire alarm went off in the cockpit on Wednesday evening. IndiGo flight 6E61, with 176 passengers, two infants and six crew, operated by an A320 aircraft took off at 8pm, 40 minutes behind schedule. The aircraft had climbed up to 31,000 ft when the alarm indicating a possible fire in the cargo hold went off. “The captain gave a Mayday call and diverted the flight to the closest station, Mumbai,” said a source. A full emergency was declared at the airport with ambulances and fire tenders on standby when the aircraft landed safely at 9.20pm. An IndiGo spokesperson said the aircraft made a “precautionary air turns back due to a smoke warning in the cargo compartment”. “Passengers have disembarked. The aircraft has been inspected, it was a false alarm. The flight will depart after a change of aircraft,” the spokesperson said.



Dust storm, sudden rain bring relief from heat

The met department forecast cloudy skies on Thursday too. A drizzle may occur in some parts.



NEW DELHI: The capital saw a sudden dust storm on Wednesday evening followed by heavy rain that brought the mercury down by several notches. The Safdarjung observatory, considered as the base for weather in the capital, received 13.2mm of rainfall between 5.30pm and 8.30 pm, while several other parts of the capital reported intense showers. Met officials said the rain was caused due to a cyclonic circulation forming over Haryana, which also resulted in the dust storm and is likely to bring more drizzle on Thursday. “Delhi could see a drizzle in some parts on Thursday as well and the maximum temperature is likely to stay below normal for the next two days. The maximum, however, will start rising once again from May 6. It will touch 41 degrees by May 7,” said Kuldeep Srivastava, scientist at the regional met office.


Met officials say the dust storm hit the capital around 4.30 pm, with Safdarjung recording a maximum speed of 59km/hr at 4.45 pm. A drizzle was reported around parts of the capital around 5.30 pm and the intensity increased by 7pm, during which the temperature fell to around 25 degrees, officials said. Operations were also affected at the IGI airport during the time and 15 flights were diverted. Delhi had also received light rain on Sunday night due to favourable local conditions like high temperature and moisture. The humidity levels on Wednesday, meanwhile, were between 38-66%, met official said. Earlier in the day, Delhi had recorded a maximum temperature of 38.3 degrees Celsius, while the minimum was 27 degrees Celsius—two notches above normal. The regional met has forecast cloudy skies on Thursday and the maximum likely to be around 36 degrees Celsius. A drizzle may occur in some parts.



GPS meters with panic button to be fitted in 43,000 city autos


CHENNAI: After a five-year delay, the government is all set to begin installation of GPS-fitted digital meters, which have inbuilt printers and panic buttons, in 43,000 autos in the city in the first phase. The roll-out comes after a demonstration showed reasonable success in tracking the autos by the control centre setup by the transport department in Anna Nagar. The new digital meters, which works on the same line as those used by app-based cab aggregators like Ola and Uber, use GPS to estimate the fare based on the distance travelled, a senior transport department official told TOI. A fare receipt is generated by a printer attached to the device. The meter also has a panic button as a security measure. When pressed, the alarm signal will reach the nearest police station. The vehicles will be monitored by the control centre — which will also handle complaints — on a live GPS map. The new model does not allow drivers to run autorickshaw without switching on the meter and sends out a warning beep to the control centre if the autos are operated on the sly without running the meter, the official added. The cost of the project, announced in 2013, has shot up from ?80croreto?109 crores. After being cancelled twice, tenders were floated again last year and New Delhi-based Rosmerta Technologies Limited bagged the contract to manufacture the meters and monitor operations.



International News



11 dead in suicide attack on Libya election commission: Officials



TRIPOLI: A suicide attack on Libya‘s electoral commission killed at least 11 people in the capital Tripoli today, authorities in the violence-wracked country said. The health ministry put the toll at 11 dead and two wounded, while the internationally-backed Government of National Accord said it was dealing with “the consequences of the cowardly suicide attack”.



Southwest jet makes emergency stop in Cleveland with cracked window


CLEVELAND: A Newark, New Jersey-bound Southwest Airlines Co flight made an emergency landing in Cleveland on Wednesday after a window pane cracked in flight, airline officials and the US Federal Aviation Administration said. No one was injured in the incident, which came two weeks after an engine on a Southwest737 ripped apart in flight and shattered a window, killing a female passenger in the first US airline passenger fatality since 2009. The cause of Wednesday’s crack in one of the window’s multiple panes was not immediately known. The flight, Southwest 957, was traveling to Newark Liberty International Airport from Chicago Midway International Airport with 76 passengers on board. The crew diverted the Boeing Co 737-700 to Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport at about 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT) to inspect a layer of a windowpane, said Southwest spokesman Brian Parrish. “The aircraft has been taken out of service for maintenance review,” Parrish said. FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro, who confirmed no one was hurt, said the organization was investigating the incident.


Wednesday’s incident is damaging more to Southwest’s public perception than evidence of any systemic issue, Teal Group Fleet analyst Richard Aboulafia said. The airline said in its first- quarter earnings report it is bracing for a decline in bookings following the April engine blowout. “It’s unfortunate only from an optics and image standpoint,” Aboulafia said. “Windows are made by window manufacturers. Nothing to do with technology that’s unique to the 737 or to Southwest”. The FAA on Tuesday ordered additional inspections of fan blades in hundreds of additional engines similar to the one that failed in the deadly Southwest accident on April 17. Southwest has said it planned to complete ultrasonic inspections on all fan blades on some 700 planes in its fleet with the CFM56-7B engines, the model involved in last month’s blowout, over the next two weeks, meeting the FAA’s August deadline by mid-May. The CFM engine is made by a joint venture of General Electric Co and France’s Safran. Southwest said it has not found any cracks on fan blades inspected since the accident.



Earthquake rattles southern Iran, 31 injured



TEHRAN: A magnitude 5.2 earthquake struck a remote, mountainous region in southern Iran on Wednesday, injuring at least 31 people and disrupting power and communication lines, state media reported. It says the temblor rocked the town of Sisakht, some 700 kilometres south of Tehran, causing people to rush out into the streets. The town has a population of 10,000. Footage showed cracks in the walls of buildings. The semi-official ISNA news agency quoted Jalal Pouranfard, the head of provincial emergency services, as saying 18 people were transferred to medical centres and another 13 received treatment. Iran is prone to near-daily earthquakes as it sits on major fault lines. In November, a magnitude 7.2 quake hit western Iran, killing more than 600. In 2003, a magnitude 6.6 quake flattened the historic city of Bam, killing 26,000 people.



44 people missing in Sao Paulo building blaze and collapse: Firefighters



SAO PAULO: Forty-four people were listed as still missing on Wednesday after a 24-storey building used by squatters in central Sao Paulo was engulfed in fire and collapsed, the Brazilian city’s fire department said. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster yesterday only three were unaccounted for, including one man who was seconds from being successfully rescued by firefighters before the building suddenly crashed down. “The fire department is continuing to search, currently with 31 vehicles, 78 firefighters,” the department tweeted. “44 missing”. There was no indication whether the large number of missing were considered likely to have been killed and buried under the rubble, or whether they simply were not there at the time. The building, a disused former police headquarters, was occupied by 146 homeless families, officials say, blaming lack of even basic fire prevention measures for the accident. Officials have not given a specific cause for the blaze. Sao Paulo is Brazil’s financial capital and the most populous city in Latin America, but suffers huge economic inequality. Poor families often squat in disused buildings or set up tents and shacks on vacant land, sometimes next to wealthy areas. President Michel Temer, who is Brazil’s most unpopular leader on record, with single-digit approval ratings, got a hostile reception when he briefly visited the scene. “We want housing!” a crowd chanted before he hurriedly left.



86 killed in Nigeria suicide blasts: Gravediggers



KANO: Gravediggers on Wednesday said they buried 86 people from a double suicide bombing in northeast Nigeria, nearly three times more than the official toll. Two blasts ripped through a mosque and market on Tuesday in the town of Mubi, Adamawa state, in an attack that bore all the hallmarks of Boko Haram jihadists. The official death toll on Wednesday rose to at least 29 but local residents, a hospital source and rescue worker told AFP that many more died. One worker at Mubi’s only cemetery said they were “shocked” to hear about the lower toll. “We worked up to 9:00 pm burying bodies. By the time we closed, we had 76 graves. We buried 76 people yesterday (Tuesday),” he said, asking to remain anonymous. “Today, as at 3:00 pm (Wednesday), 10 more bodies were brought in and buried. These people died overnight from injuries, obviously”. Another gravedigger, who also asked for his name not to be used, supported the account. “We hope we are done with the burials,” he added. Imam Garki, head of operations for Adamawa and Taraba states at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said two of the 11 people critically injured had died overnight. “The total number of deaths is 30. The others are responding to treatment,” he said.


Ahmed Sajo, information commissioner for Adamawa state who gave the lower death toll of 29, said it was “possible people could have identified their relations and taken them home without going to the hospital”. “In that case, we have no way of knowing how many of such cases there were. it’s possible some people could have buried their dead without taking them to hospital”. Conflicting death tolls are not uncommon in Nigeria and the authorities have previously under-reported casualties in the Boko Haram conflict. Tuesday’s attack came a day after US President Donald Trump promised his visiting Nigerian counterpart, Muhammadu Buhari, greater support in fighting the Islamist extremists. Buhari and the military have long maintained the Islamic State group affiliate is a spent force and on the verge of defeat but repeated attacks and raid in the northeast suggest otherwise.

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