News Flash – 3 October 2017

National News



Elderly Security Guard found murdered in Mundka



New Delhi: A 60-year-old Security Guard was found murdered in a godown in outer Delhi’s Mundka on Sunday. The body was found by a nearby shop owner. Police said the man was smothered in what appeared to be a robbery attempt gone wrong. “Prima facie, it appears that the man was smothered. We have not ruled out the possibility of this being a case of robbery,” said Pankaj Kumar Singh, deputy commissioner of police. They suspect the involvement of a gang involved in several burglaries in the area. The victim, Bajran Singh, hailed from Rajasthan. Police said while there were no visible injury marks on the body, they were waiting for the autopsy report. “The post-mortem will be conducted on Monday,” Singh said. A man who runs a paan kiosk near the godown found the guard lying unconscious and informed the police. The guard was rushed to hospital where he was declared dead on arrival. A case of murder was registered at Mundka police station. The pan seller said when Singh, a regular to his shop, didn’t turn up on Sunday morning, he decided to check on him. He found him tied with a rope. Police said they were analysing CCTV footage for clues. They haven’t ruled out personal enmity as a motive. Singh had been working at the godown for 11 months.



Motorman blacks out, falls off train



BURDWAN: Passengers aboard the 37913 Howrah-Katwa local had a close shave on Monday when the engine’s motorman fell unconscious, bringing the train to an abrupt halt in West Bengal‘s Burdwan district. Sources said the train was just 7 km away from the last station, Katwa, when motorman I Halder, 45, lost consciousness and fell onto the track, which caused serious injuries to his head. The train remained stationary for nearly two hours, following which some passengers de-boarded their coaches and spotted the driver. Halder was subsequently taken to Katwa on an e-rickshaw and admitted to a hospital. After the accident, railway officials sent another motorman and guard to complete the rest of the journey. “It is possible that the motorman fell ill and went to the door where he lost consciousness and fell. He was moved to the Katwa hospital by guard B Ram and some passengers, where he received 12 stitches to his head. He was shifted to the Eastern Railway’s BR Singh Hospital in Sealdah where his condition is serious but ‘stable’, a senior railway official said, adding that the an investigation has been ordered.



Caller tipped off victim’s kin, but phone’s missing


MUMBAI: Bindravati Teli, a resident of Kapilavastu district in Nepal, was performing her household chores on Friday when she received a phone call from her husband Tilakram’s number. A stranger at the other end said briefly that Tilakram had been injured in a stampede and was being taken to KEM Hospital. A similar call went out to almost 50 people, from Tilakram’s relatives to acquaintances at his native place and co-workers in Mumbai. Then the phone fell silent. The co-workers who rushed to the hospital were heartbroken to find that Tilakram was not among the injured, but on the list of 23 deceased. After Bindravati arrived in the city, Tilakram’s body was the last of the 23 Elphinstone foot over-bridge stampede victims to leave the KEM mortuary on Monday evening. Tilakram’s friends and family members are grateful to the stranger for the crucial phone call but are intrigued about what happened to the phone. “Our guess is the SIM card was discarded. Tilakram had a Samsung phone. Police said they have not found any mobile phone. The stranger was humane enough to inform us, so we didn’t bother to complain,” said Dilip, who knew Tilakram for three years. Nepali citizen Tilakram had made Mumbai his home for almost two de cades.


Dilip said Tilakram was a daily wage earner who supported his family by working in the vegetable market at Dadar Plaza. “On Friday, he decided to head to the Dadar flower market hoping to make some extra money since it was Dassera. He had been doing that for several years,” said Om Prakash Teli, Tilakram’s brother-in-law. Bindravati arrived in the city at 1.30am on Monday, after a tumultuous 48 hours on train. She was inconsolable, and said she had almost brushed aside the phone call as a prank till a few more people in her neighbourhood in Nepal were contacted. “I left home thinking he was injured and would recover soon. But that was not to be. My children (pic, right) and I are staring at an uncertain future. How will I send them to school?” she said, fighting tears. The couple has four children between three and 12 years who are attending school in Nepal. She has received a railway compensation of Rs 5 lakh. They are now expecting another Rs 5 lakh from the state government.



CISF man fires in air after mob attacks Metro security



NEW DELHI: A constable posted with CISF opened fire from his service pistol on the premises of Azadpur Metro station while trying to disperse a mob that was heckling DMRC officials during an argument over a fine on Monday night. The police said six people had been detained and an inquiry had been ordered to find out the cause of firing. Around 8pm, two people got into an argument in the unpaid area of the Metro station over exiting a token gate. DMRC personnel resolved the issue and tried to stop one of them from creating a ruckus during which the accused, later found to be a teenager from a JJ colony in the area, punched an official in the face. Soon CISF security personnel intervened and found the teenager to be drunk. CISF officials said as some security officers tried to take the teenager to the DMRC office to fine him for travelling inebriated, he refused to accompany them. While security officials tried to convince him, he spoke to his family members over the phone. Soon a group of 20-25 people, including some women, reached the station.


They started manhandling officials and one of them even dragged the CISF duty in-charge, Mohammad Umar, by his collar and tried to thrash him. When officials tried to inform the police control room, their mobile phones were snatched and a few Metro properties were also damaged, said an official. Umar then pulled out his pistol and fired a warning shot in the air. Hearing the gunshot, the people started fleeing. However, six of them were caught. DCP (Metro) Pankaj Singh said a team from the Kashmere Gate Metro police station, under which Azadpur station falls, soon reached the station and detained the six people. An FIR has been registered for preventing a public servant from conducting his duties and assaulting a public servant on duty. An inquiry has also been initiated against Umar to find out what prompted him to open fire.



Bengaluru: Scuffle over smoking ends in killing



BENGALURU: A scuffle broke out between two groups after a resident objected to youths smoking outside his house in Ashoknagar, Central Bengaluru, resulting in the killing of the 32-year-old BBMP contractor during the wee hours on Sunday. The victim, Harish Kumar, is survived by parents, brother, wife and six-year-old daughter. “Harish was watching the Dasara procession passing along the street at around 1am. By then, he noticed a few youths smoking near our compound and Harish objected to it. Some of them walked away, but a couple of them started arguing with him,” relatives told police. Around 1.30am, a group of men gathered outside Harish’s house and started smoking again, police said. Some of them were seen peeping into his residence. According to the family members, the gang had come prepared for a fight with Harish.


“Again Harish opposed and a scuffle broke out between them. He then called some of his friends who rushed to the spot. Suddenly, the two groups started clashing with each other and Harish was stabbed to death,” family members told police. His elder brother, Jagadish, had too sustained injury during the tiff. Investigators said they have identified the accused with the help of CCTV footages and shall arrest them soon. “Initially we thought that it was a pre-planned attack by old rivals. But family members say it was not a premeditated killing; instead it was a murder over sudden provocation,” Ashoknagar police said. “We have deployed two teams to nab the accused. They are still in the city,” police said.



Cloudburst triggers mayhem, Hyderabad drowns in 2-hour deluge

People struggle to wade through the flooded Raj Bhavan road on Monday.



HYDERABAD: A mammoth cumulonimbus cloudburst over a wide area of Greater Hyderabad triggered a deluge with 13.25cm rain pounding the city in just a two-hour span. At least three people were killed and several areas inundated on Monday evening. In the suburbs, at least four were killed in lightning strike at Narayankhed. As the mayhem unfolded, several cars were damaged as walls caved in and vehicles washed away with gushing water. At least 50% of city was blacked out after the rains. CM K Chandrashekar Rao has called it as an emergency situation and appealed to the citizens not to step out. Heavy rain was recorded in Bahadurpura in south Hyderabad and 12.6cm in Rajendranagar, 12 cm in Amberpet, 10.4 cm in Golkonda and rest of Hyderabad particularly south, central and west areas recorded 6-10 cm. Traffic came to standstill on most roads. While a man was electrocuted at Charminar Murgichowk after a wire snapped, a disabled man and a child were feared crushed under debris of collapsed wall in Banjara Hills Road No.10. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was pressed into service and rescue operations were on till reports last came in.


Met department said that around 4.45pm a severe cumulonimbus clouds developed over city in 30 minutes. This formed cumulonimbus shelves which in turn merged to form a massive cloud umbrella. Moisture content from Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea supported atmospheric instability in the last lap of monsoon. IMD Hyderabad director Y K Reddy said, “We predicted thunderstorms. Upper air cyclonic circulation over Rayalaseema and neighbouring areas and upper air trough from Odisha to Kerala across Telangana and Karnataka favoured cumulonimbus cloud formation.” Each cloud shelf is as wide as 6-8 km radius and merged to cover the entire city. GHMC commissioner B Janardhan Reddy told TOI, “Amberpet, Golnaka, Musheerabad, Rajendranagar, Monda Market have been worst hit”. Water was flowing at Cyberabad police commissionerates office at two-and-half foot height. Padma Colony in Nallakunta was also inundated. Water also entered the Nehru zoological park at Miralam Tank.



Gear up for Red Road show, but brace for traffic detours


KOLKATA: The state promises a grand end to the festivities with the second edition of the Red Road carnival. More than 60 award winning pujas will participate in the show on Tuesday , with over 25,000 onlookers cheering them on. The state has even roped in a big name from the film world to be the chief guest at the event. Though the carnival is scheduled for the evening, cops have cautioned against traffic diversions in central Kolkata from the morning. Red Road, which was partially shut to traffic on Monday , will be completely off limits for traffic on Tuesday. “We will deploy 2,000 cops to man the area from Kidderpore Road to the Babughat sector on one side and from KC Das Crossing to Birla Planetarium on the other,” said an officer. Cops have also erected six watch towers to keep an eye on revellers. According to DC (traffic) Solomon V Nesakumar, a total of 67 pujas will take part in the carnival. Major organizers like Sree Bhumi, Ekdalia Evergreen and Salt Lake FD Block -which have large idols -will start bringing them to the venue from Monday midnight onwards. The police will be providing a pilot car for each of the remaining pujas to escort their idols to the venue from 11am. “It is a way to reach out to many people who could not visit our pujas,” said Saptarshi Basu of Ballygunge Cultural Association, the tableau of which will be led by men in dhotis and punjabis, and women in red-and-white sarees.


Green chairs have been placed near the dais from where the chief minister, her ministers, key bureaucrats and senior police officers will view the carnival. At the two ends -near Fort William in the south and Howrah Union Ground in the north -visitors will have to sit on white chairs. “Seating has been arranged for more than 25,000 people,” said a representative of the decorator overseeing the arrangements. Those who won’t manage to reach Red Road can catch the show live on giant screens put up around the area. All the pujas will line up in front of Plassey Gate off Strand Road at 4pm. Keeping in mind the problems that arose last year, food and drinking water will be arranged at Kidderpore Road and Strand Road. Each organizer will be allowed to take four vehicles and a maximum of 50 performers and club members to the event. “Out of the 67 pujas, around 30-35 will proceed to Bajekadamtala Ghat for immersion after the show. The rest will either go back to their respective localities or Nimtala Ghat for immersions,” said a source.



Tamil Nadu airport plans, a tragedy of gross errors



Chennai: It all started in 1999 when the Tamil Nadu government, along with the Airports Authority of India (AAI), decided to develop a new international airport in Chennai. Ever since there has been a series of tragedy of errors. The state government entrusted the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) with identifying the land for the project and Scott Wilson Kirkpatric, was appointed as technical consultant for the same. Five locations — Manapakkam belt, West Tambaram, Maraimalai, Sriperumbudur and areas near Vandalur — were identified. However, AAI preferred the land near Pozichalur/Anakaputhur/Cowl Bazar, making the technical consultant irrelevant. This option had to be dropped for political reasons. AAI then chose two sites — Manapakkam belt and Sriperumbudur. The state government issued a GO in this regard in 2007. Now, the Sriperumbudur project has also been shelved. The irony is that it is the public that suffers due to government’s indecisiveness. Residents of Sriperumbudur, whose pieces of land were notified for the project, had to suffer for almost 10 years. Both time and money spent on land identification, acquisition and feasibility studies (by International Civil Aviation Organisation) went down the drain. The government will now repeat the same ritual.


Meanwhile, the existing airport was expanded by adding two terminal buildings and extending the second runway. The estimated cost of Rs1,808 crores was revised to Rs2,500 crores. The passenger handling capacity was increased to 23million after expansion. Now, AAI wants to spend another Rs2,500 crores on phase II expansion to demolish the old buildings and construct an integrated terminal. AAI says that this will increase the passenger handling capacity to 30 million per year. As per an AAI traffic forecast for 2014-2015 to 2025-2026, the maximum passenger movement will be 25.67million in 2025-2026. The new terminals built under phase I expansion should take care of this. Any further expenditure to increase the terminal capacity will be wasteful, as a greenfield airport will be built eventually. AAI claimed that extending of second runway to 3,117metres would increase the runway capacity to 50 aircraft per hour. But, the capacity before the expansion was 36 or 40 aircraft per hour as per the Scott Wilson Kirkpatric study – enough to bring in 35 million passengers per annum. AAI now says that the runway capacity will be increased from 32 aircraft per hour to 40 after the phase II expansion. The authorities will need to answer why they did not think of rapid exit ways, straightening the taxiway and a new parallel taxiway before spending `600crore to extend the secondary runway beyond the Adyar River.



International News



Massacre in Las Vegas: Gambling on gun advocacy, US loses big time as 59 die in carnage


Rescue personnel gather at the intersection of Las Vegas Boulevard and Tropicana Ave.



WASHINGTON: “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas,” has long been the sly tourism promotion slogan for Las Vegas, whose fortunes built on gambling and gamboling gave it the moniker Sin City. To that, add gun violence. In what is being described as the Shooting in Las Vegas+ , a lone gunman massacred at least 59 people, shooting from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino before he killed himself even as a SWAT team stormed in. More than 500 people enjoying the country music show below were injured in a five-minute long stream of firing during which he discharged hundreds of rounds from one or more automatic weapons he had stocked in the hotel room he had checked into. The gunman was later identified as Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, a state that has a middling ranking in the country with regards to gun ownership laws. Police found in excess of 10 rifles in the room but said he had no significant criminal record. No motive had been established at the time of writing. His family members said they were shocked. The attack was the deadliest shooting in the United States since 49 people were killed at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando+ , Florida in June 2016. The US media noted that each episode of gun violence in America is now getting deadlier than the previous one as the pro-gun lobby, which backed President Trump even as he warmed up to it, continues to prevail in the debate over gun control.


The carnage began shortly after 10pm local time when thousands of tourists and fans of country music were enjoying a performance by singer Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Harvest Festival outside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino near the famous Las Vegas “Strip.” Videos showed the rat-a-tat-a-tat of gunfire erupting during a song, but it appears it was initially mistaken for fireworks, and the song continued. As realization dawned that it was gunfire and people were flailing and falling to bullets, the singer bolted from the stage and voices shouted ”get down! get down!” For many, it was too late. President Trump later tweeted his ”warmest condolences+ and sympathies to the victims and families” even as a furious debate erupted yet again about the country’s lax gun laws which allow people to own powerful automatic weapons that even law enforcement in many countries are not allowed to possess. “Automatic weapons are legal but lawn darts are not for safety reasons,” raged one anti-gun activist on social media, even as Second Amendment advocates recited family arguments for the right to bear arms There will be more agonizing over Second Amendment and gun control before matters recede, just like they do with fires and stampedes and railway accidents in India.



This, after all, is a country that barely acted beyond words when school children were massacred in the Sandy Hook incident. Las Vegas though is no ordinary town. It is one of the most visited cities in the world, clocking an incredible 42 million visitors in 2016 and soaking in more than $ 10 billion in gambling revenues alone. Much of this gambling and gamboling takes place on the “Strip,” a 7 km long road that has a dense concentration of hotels, casinos, and convention centers. The city holds more than 20,000 conventions every year and had an astonishing 167,000 hotel rooms – more than New York, Orlando, or Chicago, and in fact, the most in any city in the world. The city is also the site of many movies, from the storied Meet Me In Las Vegas and Ocean’s Eleven to Bond’s Diamonds Are Forever to Jason Bourne to the cult hit franchise The Hangover. On Monday morning though Las Vegas was nursing the kind of hangover it had never experienced before.



Fifteen people dead after attack on Damascus police station

Photo shows damages after a suicide car bomber struck a police station in Damascus



MOSCOW: Fifteen people were killed in an attack on a police station in the Syrian capital of Damascus on Monday, Russia’s RIA news agency cited its correspondent as reporting from the scene. The dead included five policemen and 10 civilians the agency reported. Citing a source in the Syrian security services, RIA said the attack had been carried out by four suicide bombers. The pro-Damascus al-Mayadeen TV channel said four militants carried out the attack, killing more than 10 people.

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