News Flash – 31 May 2017

National News



30 Harbour line services cancelled after rail fracture



MUMBAI: A rail fracture between Dockyard Road and Reay Road stations on Central Railway‘s Harbour line on Tuesday afternoon, led to thirty services being cancelled and 40 being delayed. A Central Railway spokesperson said, “The fracture was reported at 12.25pm on the down line (Panvel-bound). It took almost one and a half hours to restore the services. Trains were allowed to use the down tracks after repairs only after 2pm.” Harbour line services between CST and Wadala were suspended during the repair period as it has only two-Up and Down-tracks. If such incident occur on Western Railway and CR, services are usually diverted from Fast to Slow corridor and vice versa in case. A CR official said, “The fracture was brought to the notice of officials by a guard on a CST-Andheri train. He heard the train make unusual noise when it passed through that particular stretch”.

Explaining why the restoration of services took so long, the official said, “The fracture was 10-12 inch long and that at the head of rail. In normal circumstances, a clamp is fitted at the fractured spot and services resumed immediately and the rail is replaced later in the night”. However, in this case, the fracture was on the head of the rail. “We had to replace the rail right at that moment as clamping the track was not possible,” he added. The fracture left commuters in a spot as they had a tough time interchanging trains at Kurla to travel to CST from Navi Mumbai. Since trains were held up on the tracks while the fracture was being repaired, commuters were seen getting off and walking down to the nearest exit point. A Navi Mumbai resident, Rajesh Nair, said, “I had some work at Dockyard Road but since there were no trains, I had to take a taxi to reach my destination”.



CLAT 2017: Top scorers want to pursue cyber law, forensic psychology



Bengaluru: For Mohit Kumar of Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, a score of 138.75 out of 196 in Common Law Entrance Test (CLAT) came as a pleasant surprise. “Nobody had expected that I’d do so well,” said Mohit, who is thrilled to join one of the national law institutes, a dream he had been nurturing for years. Mohit scored 95% in science stream in Indian School Certificate (ISC) examination. Initially, he sat for CLAT because his parents wanted him to. In fact, Mohit started taking the challenge seriously only six months before the exam. “However, as I began preparing, my dedication towards my goal grew,” he added. Mohit wants to specialize in cyber law and tackle increasing number of related crimes in the country. He calls himself a strong-headed person and says nothing can stop him from reaching his goal. “My parents and teachers have been my biggest inspiration,” said Mohit, who enjoys writing poetry and sketching. Shreya Shankar of Sri Kumaran Children’s Home, who scored the highest rank in arts stream (97.8%) in Karnataka, in class 12 CBSE, has added another feather to her cap. She cleared CLAT with a score of 126.5 and is all set to join one of the top four national law schools.

Shreya was confident of scoring well as she had worked hard for it. “I had to do a lot of extra reading and worked on related topics in order to crack CLAT. Law has always been a subject of great interest for me, hence preparing for the exam was fun,” said Shreya, whose prime focus now would be law and liberal arts. Subsequently, she wants to specialize in criminal and forensic psychology. Shreya has already secured a seat in Ashoka University and Lady Shri Ram College for psychology. While preparing for an exam and scoring well was never difficult for her, the only tough choice she had to make was between music, her passion, and academics. “I have however chosen to keep music as my hobby and pursue academics for a career,” she added. She is also a trained Bharatanatyam dancer. Mohit and Shreya are among the top scorers in CLAT from Bengaluru, apart from the many others who have cracked the test with flying colours and are looking forward to a fulfilling career in law. Despite a delay in announcement of result, the impressive scores notched up by students from the state as well as the city brought much cheer on Tuesday. While the university-wise first indicative list based on merit-cum-preference will be published on CLAT website on June 5, the second and the third list would be up on June 12 and June 19, respectively. Last day for withdrawal from admission is June 21.



Eight days on, not one Delhi University form filled online



NEW DELHI: It’s been eight days since the start of the online registration for DU colleges, but not a single form has been completed. This is despite the results of all major board exams, including CBSE, being declared. Of the nine tabs on the online portal, three are still not functional, including the crucial academic details tab. The centralized registration portal went online on May 22, at which time several complaints were received of the tabs not functioning properly. DU officials had then said that some tabs, like those requiring academic details, had been disabled deliberately as a decision on moderation was awaited. On Tuesday, applicants complained that they were still not able to fill in their Class XII results. Though officials said the academic details tab would be activated by Tuesday evening, it was not working till the time of filing this report. This has also created a hold-up in the application process of minority colleges like St. Stephen’s and Jesus and Mary, which requires students to submit the registration number generated once the centralized form is completed. A DU official told TOI that the admission committee is taking time to open the academic details tab, holding meetings over “how to most fairly treat all boards after the moderation decision”.

“The moderation policy is still in court and sub justice. We want to tread carefully in the matter of marks,” the official said. However, the activation of the academic details tab does not translate into a decision on the moderation policy as DU admission committee members themselves have said that, at this stage, they are not involved in the formulation of the cut-off. The DU admission form has been online since 2012. However, this is the first time that students have been unable to upload their academic details while in the middle of the admission process. The inability of applicants to finish their forms has brought them to the open house in large numbers, putting a great deal of stress on the officials answering questions and volunteers deployed across the campus. A volunteer at the university told TOI that she’s even getting questions on her cellphone about the application process, because “they are not able to move forward in application, nor are helpline volunteers able to answer technical questions”.



Patients have a difficult time as 90% of chemists down shutters in Bengaluru



BENGALURU: A majority of chemist shops in the city remained shut on Tuesday as part of the one-day nationwide protest against the “stringent” regulations on the sale of medicines. The strike was called by the All India Organization of Chemists and Druggists (AIOCD) which says the new regulation asking chemists to upload all information related to sale of medicines on a portal cannot be adhered to. Chemists are also opposing online pharmacy, which they say, poses a threat to their business. Around 90% of the drug stores in Bengaluru were shut on Tuesday; the worst hit were in K R Puram, Yelahanka, Sahakaranagar, Kammanahalli, Vijaynagar, Kempepura, Malleswaram, Ramakrishna Hegde Nagar and Bagaluru. While queues were seen outside pharmacy stores on Monday night, many searched in vain for an open shop on Tuesday. Manisha GB, 55, who had a fall in washroom last Wednesday, said, “My son queued up at the Apollo Pharmacy in Sahakarnagar till 10pm on Monday night to get the medicines. We even bought and stocked up other medicines”.

Sreyashee S, 24, a techie who has recently shifted from Kolkata and lives in Kammanahalli with her ailing mother, said, “My mother suffers from acute asthma. She started having breathing troubles early Tuesday following which I rushed to get her medicines. Not one shop was open and I had to ask a friend who lives 17 km away in Koramangala to bring them as a few shops were open there.” She had to skip work on Tuesday to buy her mother’s emergency medicines from those few stores that were open. A large number of chemists, along with the members of the Bruhat Bengaluru Chemist and Druggist Association, gathered at Bannappa Park near Corporation Circle from 10am to 12pm to protest online sale of drugs. “We are raising our concerns about online sale of medicines. Anyone can order any medicine online without even having to show doctor’s prescription,” said Harish Kumar, general secretary, Bruhat Bengaluru Chemist and Druggist Association. “We are also protesting the Centre’s implementation of the e-portal system which makes it mandatory for druggists to upload all details related to sale of medicines, something which is not possible. Rural areas don’t have electricity for more than 12 hours, so how can the government expect chemists there to use e-portal?” said Kumar. Chemists are also protesting the sudden fall of cost margin from 20% to 16% for all drugs falling under the Drug Price Control Orders.



Man crushed to death while attempting selfie before moving train

Sampath Kumar and Sravan before the tragedy struck.


HYDERABAD: In a bizarre yet tragic incident, a man died while another lost his hand when the duo was run over by a moving train while clicking selfies on Tuesday. The incident took place at Alwal Railway station near Secunderabad. Sampath Kumar, who is working as Dumper operator in GodavariKhani, went to nearby Alwal railway station to receive his friends. Kumar and his friend Sravan were trying to take a selfie on their phone while standing on the railway track. The duo thought that as the train was far away from them they click a selfie or two before it reaches the railway station. But, unfortunately, the train advanced very fast and hit both. Sampath was crushed to death on the spot while his friend Sravan survived but lost his hand. Sampath, who came to Secunderabad to attend a friend’s marriage, is survived by his wife and two children. Confirming the death, railway police said “One youth has died another got injured in Alwal after being hit by train while taking selfies”.



Fire breaks out in Chennai textile showroom

Smoke kept emanating from all seven floors of the building.


CHENNAI: A fire broke out in Chennai Silks textile showroom at T Nagar here on Wednesday morning. No casualty was reported. A security guard, who saw smoke emanating from the ground floor, alerted fire personnel around 4.54am. Eight fire tenders from T Nagar, Egmore and Kilpauk rushed to the spot and were trying to extinguish the fire. Smoke kept emanating from all seven floors of the building. Firemen said the fire could have caused electric short circuit. However, the exact cause was yet to be ascertained. Twelve men who were working in the canteen on the seventh floor were rescued using a sky lift.



Dengue, chikungunya soften city for Zika strike



Ahmedabad: The Aedes aegypti mosquito amid us is the sole propagator of the feared Zika virus. In all of 2016, this mosquito species had health officials in Ahmedabad on the edge, as it caused a sudden spike in the number of dengue and chikungunya cases. In 2016, Ahmedabad registered 2,852 dengue and 447 chikungunya cases. In 2016, Gujarat registered the highest number of chikungunya cases, 2,920, since 2010. A glance at confirmed cases reported by government hospitals alone shows the wards that are vulnerable or may act as pacemakers for the deadly Zika disease and spread to neighbouring areas. Maktampura ward in New West Zone, which has recorded the highest number of dengue cases, shares boundaries with posh areas like Bodakdev, Prahladnagar, Shrinandnagar, Bakeri City and Vejalpur. Similarly, Behrampura, Kubernagar and Shahibaug may lead to a rapid spread of the virus in neighbouring areas as well. “Anti-vector activities should be intensified in areas which have long been long ignored or only partially attended to in special drives,” said a senior state health official. “A virus knows no ward boundaries,” he added.

“That many dengue and chikungunya test reports from private hospitals that were not confirmed by the state laboratory could indicate the Zika virus presence, as symptoms of all three are the same. Had the medical fraternity known, more doctors would have been vigilant,” said the official said. A May 2016 research paper published by four National Institute of Virology scientists— Devendra Mourya, Pratip Shil, Gajanan Sapkal, and Pragya Yadav — called “Zika Virus: Indian Perspectives”, states that their unpublished findings at the NIV laboratory suggests that there is a similarity between E proteins of Zika virus and dengue viruses. “ZikV E-protein amino acid sequence has been compared with dengue type 2 (DEN2). It should be noted that among flavi viruses, ZikV is closest to DEN2 with 54% identity and 81% similarity”. The DEN 2 dengue virus is one of the three most common strains in dengue infections in the city.



International News



Hundreds of thousands evacuated as cyclone hits Bangladesh



DHAKA: Cyclone Mora hit Bangladesh on Tuesday packing winds of up to 117 kilometres per hour (73mph) after authorities evacuated hundreds of thousands of people from low-lying coastal villages. The severe cyclonic storm made landfall on the coast between Cox’s Bazar and the main port city of Chittagongat 6:00 am (0000 GMT), the Bangladesh Meteorological Department said in a special weather bulletin. Bangladesh had raised its highest number 10 weather danger alert as the storm approached with officials quickly evacuating more than 300,000 people to cyclone shelters. “They have been evacuated to at least 400 cyclone shelters, schools and government offices in the coastal areas,” Golam Mostofa, senior government bureaucrat who is coordinating the evacuation, told AFP. Mostofa said they had not received any reports of casualties so far but some houses have been damaged and trees uprooted.


The weather office has said the cyclone could unleash a five-foot (1.7 metre) high storm surge around Cox’s Bazar, Chittagong and several other coastal districts on the Bay of Bengal which are home to millions of people. The local administration has called in all fishing vessels and advised them to remain anchored, while the Chittagong port authority has postponed activities. Bangladesh is routinely hit by bad storms between April and December that cause deaths and widespread property damage. In May last year, Cyclone Roanu hit the southern coast of Bangladesh leaving 20 people dead and forcing half a million to flee their homes. Flash floods and excessive rain led to landslides in hilly areas, which caused most of the casualties. “But this time we are more prepared,” disaster management authority spokesman Abul Hashim said.



Nighttime, early morning bombings in Baghdad kill 31


BAGHDAD: A massive bombing by the Islamic State group outside a popular ice cream shop in central Baghdad and a rush hour car bomb in another downtown area killed at least 31 people on Tuesday, Iraqi officials said. Later in the day, bombings in and around the Iraqi capital killed seven more people. The attacks come as IS militants are steadily losing more territory to U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in the battle for Mosul, the country’s second-largest city. The Sunni extremists are increasingly turning to insurgency-style terror attacks to detract from their losses. The nighttime attack outside the ice cream parlor in the bustling Karrada neighborhood killed 17 people and also wounded 32, police and health officials said. A closed-circuit camera captured the moment of the explosion, the video showing a busy downtown avenue, with cars driving down the street when the blast strikes. A huge fireball then engulfs a building, forcing the cars to scramble to get away. Other videos of the attack posted on social media show wounded and bloodied people crying for help on the sidewalk outside the ice cream parlor.

In the second attack, an explosives-laden car went off during rush hour near the state-run Public Pension Office in Baghdad’s busy Shawaka area, killing 14, a police officer said. At least 37 people were wounded in that attack, he added. In separate online statements, IS claimed responsibility for the two attacks, saying its suicide bombers targeted gatherings of Shiites. The Associated Press could not verify the authenticity of the statements but they were posted on a militant website commonly used by extremists. Later on Tuesday, seven people died and 19 were wounded in four separate bombings in and around Baghdad, officials said. The attacks targeted commercial areas and a patrol of Sunni anti-IS tribal fighters, they said. No group immediately claimed those attacks. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

The attacks came just days into the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims fast during daylight hours. After sundown, families break their fast and Baghdad’s restaurants and cafes quickly fill up with people staying up long into the night. During Ramadan last year, another section of Karrada was hit by massive suicide bombing that killed almost 300 people, the deadliest single attack in the Iraqi capital in 13 years of war. The attack was also claimed by IS. Details of how the militants managed to stage Tuesday’s attacks were not immediately clear. After last year’s attack, Iraqi authorities stepped up security in Karrada, especially in the area of the bombing. In the northern city of Mosul, Iraqi troops are pushing IS fighters out of their last strongholds. Iraqi commanders say the offensive, which recently entered its eight month, will mark the end of the IS caliphate in Iraq, but concede the group will likely increase insurgent attacks in the wake of military defeats.

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