News Flash – 30 March 2018

National News



Chemical factory in Malur catches fire; no casualties



KOLAR: A major fire broke out at a chemical factory in the industrial area of Malur in Kolar on Thursday at 10am, causing a loss of nearly Rs 10 crore. There were no casualties. Fire personnel had a tough time as flames engulfed the entire structure of Banashankari Chemicals Private Limited; barrels of oil were stored in its warehouse. The fire spread to neighbouring factories too. Employees working in these buildings were rushed to safety. A short circuit is suspected to have triggered the fire. Kolar district fire officer Raghavendra said 25 fire tenders from Bengaluru and Kolar were pressed into service. “It took over six hours to douse the flames. There were over 3,000 barrels of oil and chemicals stored in the factory. Thick smoke emanating from the building made things worse. We suspect short circuit caused the accident, though the possibility of a chemical reaction cannot be ruled out,” he said. Mani, a security guard, said there were nine workers in the factory when the accident occurred. “Initially, they tried to bring the situation under control with the help of fire extinguishing tools available in the factory. When their efforts went in vain, they alerted the fire station,” he added. The factory, owned by G N Murthy of Nelamangala, has been manufacturing thinners for the past 15 years, said P Mahendra, secretary of the company.



Close shave for 77 passengers as ‘all four’ gear wheels of Indigo aircraft burst on landing

Angry scenes erupted at the airport around midnight.



HYDERABAD: Seventy-seven IndiGo passengers had a close shave at Hyderabad airport on Wednesday night as tyres of an aircraft coming in from Tirupati burst on landing. The mishap led to the closure of the runway, disrupting 31 flights and leaving over 2,000 flyers stranded. The runway, which was closed at 10.04pm, resumed operations only at 2.22am. While the airport has a second runway, sources said it does not have night landing facility and hence could not be used. In fact, it is only used when the primary runway is under maintenance, said a source. While IndiGo claimed that only one of the tyres burst, GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL) confirmed that all the four gear wheels burst on landing. “Since all four main gear wheels burst, the aircraft was rendered completely immobile. An IndiGo team, supported by Hyderabad airport officials, changed two of the tyres as per disabled aircraft recovery plan, post which the aircraft was safely towed away and operations resumed at 0222 hours on March 29,” a GHIAL spokesperson said. “It took longer to resume operations as IndiGo’s towing equipment wasn’t working efficiently. Alternative arrangements had to be made by the airport staff to remove the aircraft from the runway and clear it for subsequent arrivals and departures,” a source said. IndiGo, however, denied the claims.


“It could have been a major tragedy considering all the main landing wheels, both on the port (left side) and starboard (right side), burst. The aircraft fell right on its belly. At that speed, passengers could have been seriously injured. This is a very unusual occurrence,” said a private airline staffer familiar with the incident. Angry scenes erupted at the airport around midnight as sleep- and food-deprived flyers started to grow impatient with hardly any updates coming their way from airline operators or airport authorities. “After the first hour, there was just no place to sit. We stood for six hours at a stretch,” said Sreekesh Yeniganti, a Hyderabad resident travelling to Delhi for a job interview. “Forget food, even water was scarce. Nobody seemed interested in giving information to passengers”. “I was worried about my two young children. After a point, I didn’t know how to calm them down. I could only find some dry rice to feed them. It was depressing and infuriating,” said Anita R, who was travelling to Bengaluru.



Alert residents help policemen nab two burglars in Padappai



CHENNAI: Alert residents helped police nab two burglars when they broke into an auditor’s house in Neelamangalam near Padappai on Tuesday. The auditor, Srinivasan, was in New Delhi on an official tour last week. Some of the residents found some movements inside the auditor’s house. Finding it suspicious, they went near the entrance of the house only to find the main door broken open. The residents could make out that there were burglars inside the house. They acted swiftly and latched the main door from outside. They also locked the back door. They then informed the police. On information, the Manimangalam police personnel rushed to the spot and spoke to the suspects. However, the suspects refused to come out of the house fearing that the angry residents may attack them. The police personnel assured them to protect them, and finally they came out of the house after an hour. When they stepped out of the house escorted by police personnel, some of the irate mob pounced on the two suspects and attacked them with sticks and logs. The two suffered injuries in the attack. Preliminary inquiries revealed that the duo -Ramesh and Anand – are residents of Sholinganallur. The Manimangalam police have registered a case and arrested the duo. They were produced before a magistrate court and were remanded in Puzhal prison.



Kutch man who made bomb hoax call to city airport held



AHMEDABAD: City crime branch on Thursday morning arrested 27-year-old Pritesh Trivedi, a resident of Gandhidham in Kutch, for making a hoax bomb threat call to the ATC tower of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International (SVPI) Airport. He allegedly told the ATC that a bomb had been planted inside an international flight in a soft drink can. Trivedi, who is a 10th pass, is involved in medical equipment trading and scrap business. The caller has been charged with sedition and also for spreading rumours which can spread panic and unrest in society. “He will be produced in the court on Friday,” said ACP B C Solanki. “This is the first time that an accused has been charged with sedition for making a bomb threat call. Earlier, a Mumbai-based jeweller was charged with the anti-hijacking act of 2016 for putting a chit in the washroom of an aircraft threatening hijacking of the flight,” Solanki said. The accused told the special operation group (SOG) officials that he often watches serials on air crashes and hijackings and wanted to check whether Gujarat police is competent to tackle such situations. “We told him that he can rest assured as with his arrest Gujarat Police has proved that it is competent to handle such situations,” added a senior SOG official.


According to SOG sources, the airport received a call at about 1.28am on March 16, 2018 and the caller claimed, “A man is coming in an international flight with a bomb kept in a soft drink can. Till now you might have got the intelligence inputs. This is the same type of bomb which exploded in an Egyptian aircraft. I am an Indian undercover agent”. Solanki said the call was received on a landline number of ATC. “From BSNL, we got a four-digit number. We then contacted two internet providers and tracked the original number which was from Gandhidham of Kutch. On Thursday morning, we swooped on the address and arrested Trivedi. We have handed him over to Sardarnagar police for further investigation,” added Solanki. SOG officials said that Trivedi had used a mobile application to mask his original number. Police said Trivedi used to remain awake till late in the night and call Kutch police control room several times. “He used to see foreign serials and then test Indian police’s alertness,” said an SOG official.



International News



Gunmen attack central Mali hotel, kill 1 and hurt 2 others



BAMAKO, MALI: A government official in Mali says gunmen killed one person and wounded two others in an attack on a hotel frequented by aid workers and businessmen in central Bandjagara city. Interior security spokesman Amadou Sangho says four gunmen entered the Hotel la Falaise late Wednesday, opening fire on a soldier standing guard. He fired back but was killed. Two civilians, including a hotel employee, were wounded. The attack comes days after Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga visited Bandjagara, promising to defeat Islamic extremists. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, though jihadists have increasingly carried out attacks in central and northern Mali. It is the first such attack in Bandjagara. The Dogon region once was a major tourist site, but jihadist violence since 2012 has reduced visits.



Russia to expel 60 US diplomats, close down American consulate in St. Petersburg



MOSCOW: Russia’s foreign minister says Moscow will expel the same number of diplomats from the nations that have expelled Russian diplomats over the poisoning of an ex-Russian spy in Britain. Sergey Lavrov said US Ambassador Jon Huntsman has been summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, where he was given notice that Russia is responding quid pro quo to the US decision to order 60 Russian diplomats out. Lavrov said Moscow will also retaliate to the US decision to shut the Russian consulate in Seattle by closing the US consulate in St. Petersburg. Lavrov said the same approach will be applied to other nations that expelled Russian diplomats this week. Two dozen countries, including the US, many EU nations and NATO, have ordered more than 150 Russian diplomats out this week in a show of solidarity with Britain.

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