News Flash – 4 August 2017

National News



Mumbai: Co-operative bank night Security Guard found killed



MUMBAI: A security guard on night duty at a Co-operative bank inside a mall in Talasari, Palghar district, was found murdered on Thursday morning. The CCTV system on the first floor of the Rajput mall, where the Thane District Central Co-operative Bank is located, had stopped functioning on Wednesday. The bank manager found the guard, Ashok Baswant (32), dead on a chair outside the bank around 8 am. Baswant was wrapped in a blanket and the manager at first thought he was asleep. Baswant’s hands and legs were tied with a nylon rope and the neck showed strangulation marks.



PWD plans elevated corridor to ease traffic on ring roads



NEW DELHI: The public works department is working on a proposal to construct an elevated corridor between Signature Bridge near Wazirabad and DND Flyway in a bid to decongest Ring Road and Outer Ring Road. The corridor, likely to be 12-13km long, will be constructed by the PWD, which comes under the Delhi government, along the Yamuna floodplain in a phased manner. Lieutenant governor Anil Baijal‘s office is reportedly monitoring the project. The corridor is being planned as the traffic volume will increase manifold on the two ring roads near Kashmiri Gate and Sarai Kale Khan once the construction of Signature Bridge and NH-24 expansion are completed. “We will also explore the possibility of connecting the elevated corridor with various bridges on the Yamuna,” a PWD official said. According to the initial plan, the elevated road will start from Signature Bridge and be merged with Salimgarh bypass (Ring Road bypass). The corridor will run parallel to the existing Outer Ring Road near Majnu Ka Tila and Ring Road near Sarai Kale Khan. The second part of the corridor will link the end of the Salimgarh bypass near ITO to the DND Flyway. In the first phase, the PWD aims to decongest the area between Signature Bridge right up to the Hanuman temple at Yamuna Bazaar.



Two constables help gang steal diamonds worth Rs 24 lakh



MUMBAI: Two police constables have been arrested for stealing diamonds worth Rs 24 lakh from a Borivli jeweller. The plan’s mastermind, a diamond agent, is on the run, but two of his associates, including a woman, have been apprehended. Both cops are attached to the local arms unit of the city police and were on leave. The jeweller has an office on LT Road, Borivli (West). A few days ago, the agent, Raj, approached him and asked if he wished to buy diamonds from a Gujarat merchant. The jeweller agreed. Raj contacted the merchant and set up a meeting at the Borivli jeweller’s office on Wednesday evening. Whenever he met the jeweller, Raj would be accompanied by a woman friend, Sujata Gaurkar. Around 4.30pm on Wednesday, the Gujarat merchant came to Borivli, bringing his own agent along. The duo went to the Borivli jeweller’s office, where Gaurkar and Raj were already present, along with another of Raj’s associates, Pranay Shah. The Gujarat merchant produced two packets containing diamonds worth Rs 24 lakh. The Borivli jeweller examined their purity and decided he wanted to buy following a brief discussion. All this while, unknown to the people in the room, Gaurkar had been texting someone. Shortly after, two men entered the room, identifying themselves as an officer and a constable from the Mumbai Police Commisionerates, Crawford market.


They claimed they had learnt that illegal diamond dealing was going on at the spot. The duo seized the diamonds and told the Borivli jeweller and Raj to accompany them in their vehicle. The jeweller protested, but the cops paid no heed. On reaching Borivli (East), the cops stopped the vehicle and asked the jeweller and Raj to alight. They gave the jeweller a phone number and told him to call on it at night and reach the commissionerate after 8pm, along with the Gujarat merchant. The cops then left, taking the diamonds with them. The jeweller sensed something amiss as the cellphone number given to him wasn’t working. He lodged a complaint at the Borivli police station. When investigators went through CCTV footage, they identified one of the cops. Both cops, Chandrakant Gavare and Santosh Gavas, were arrested. Later Gaurkar and Shah were held. It emerged that Raj had connived with the accused cops. Investigations revealed that while the diamond transaction was on, Gaurkar was in touch with the cops on WhatsApp and let them into the Borivli jeweller’s office, which was locked from inside. “We have registered a case under the IPC’s section 395 (dacoity) against all the accused. The four arrested persons were produced at a magistrate’s court and remanded in police custody till August 5,” said senior inspector Gunaji Sawant from the Borivli police station. Stolen diamonds worth Rs 13 lakh have been recovered from the arrested persons. A search is on for Raj.



Thieves spray sedatives, decamps with cash and jewellery worth several lakhs



KOLKATA: Thieves entered a three storey house near Sinthi crossing off BT Road and decamped with cash and gold ornaments worth over four lakhs. The residents claimed they woke up to a drowsy feeling and suspect that someone had sprayed sleep inducing spray to put them in deep sleep and ensure that the operation went smoothly. The incident happened between 3am and 5.30am on Thursday when Pritam Niyogi and his wife Inakshi went to sleep in the first floor room, while keeping a door leading to the verandah closed but not bolted from inside. “I woke up around 5.30am with a drowsy feeling and found the verandah door ajar. I stepped forward to close it when I saw a shiny small bag in which jewelleries are kept lying on the floor. I turned around to find the almirah open and immediately woke up my wife. Even she was feeling drowsy,” said Niyogi, who runs a sweet shop in the ground floor of the same house.


Cops suspect the thieves must have climbed the room after scaling the waist high iron grille and entered the house. “It looks like the thieves entered the house through the verandah and left through another door inside the house that leads to another balcony that shares the terrace of the adjacent building. They possibly jumped to the other building and fled. We have found two vests possibly left behind by the thieves,” said an officer investigating into the case. A senior officer at Lalbazar later said they suspect someone known to the family must have given the thieves the tip-off about the cash and different entry and exit points of the house. “The thieves knew where the almirah keys were kept and that the cash was kept at a cupboard beside. They didn’t touch any other items, not even our cellphones that were lying beside the pillows. Hence, we suspect the thieves had definite insider information about the incident,” said the officer, adding they were questioning the domestic helps and employees at the sweet shop but none was arrested till late in the evening.



19-year-old held for ATM robbery bid



NEW DELHI: A 19-year-old boy, who had dropped out of a prominent school in Delhi Cantt a few years ago, was arrested on Thursday in connection with an ATM heist attempt in Mayur Vihar recently. Police said the boy had fallen into bad company due to his drinking habit. He was in dire need of money and had convinced his friends to loot the ATM two weeks ago. However, his plans were foiled when cops appeared on the spot. When challenged by the policemen, he opened fired at them before escaping. According to police, the accused and his friends had stolen a Honda City car from Patel Nagar and reached the ATM in Mayur Vihar Phase 1. They entered the ATM booth but could not extract money. In the meantime, two cops patrolling the area spotted the group with a black box. On seeing the policemen, the accused dropped the box and one of them fired two shots with a country-made pistol. Nobody was hurt though. Police said the accused boarded the car and fled. Investigations revealed that the same group had planned to strike at another location in east Delhi. A trap was laid and the main accused was caught. Sixteen stolen mobile phones were seized from him. He told the cops he was involved in a case of robbery at Chanakyapuri. While he was in jail in 2016, he had come in contact with some criminals, who were involved in more than 35 heinous cases, including robbery and murder.



Thane: Elevated stretch on EEH promises to cut travel from 45 minutes to 15


THANE: Travel between Mumbai, Ghodbunder Road and Nashik may become smoother and mush faster, thanks to a 7km elevated freeway proposed by the Thane Municipal Corporation. It will bypass major traffic junctions along the Eastern Express Highway (EEH). The six-lane flyover, proposed to be constructed on the lines of the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, will connect Mulund Toll Naka to the Golden Dyes Junction, jumping over the busy Teen Haath Naka, Nitin Company and Cadbury intersections. It will also be over six railway lines at Kopri. The road promises to bring down a travel time of 45 minutes to just 15 minutes. The multi-deck road project was initially planned as a solution for congestion at Teen Haath Naka, one of the world’s most congested intersections, but will now be redrawn to extend it. The development followed a presentation by Thane’s municipal commissioner, Sanjeev Jaiswal, before the Union minister of road transport and highways, Nitin Gadkari, early this week in New Delhi.


An initial study by civic officials reveal that the speed of vehicles on the freeway is expected to increase to at least 50kmph against the present average of 20kmph. “Travel time between Mulund Toll Naka and Majiwada will not be over 15 minutes after that. Presently, it takes as much as 45 minutes to cover the distance,” said an official. Once completed, Nashikand Gujrat-bound traffic from Mumbai, along with that from Ghodbunder Road, can effortlessly zip past city traffic in both directions, saving time and fuel. The approximate height of the flyover will be around 15metres above ground, and will be designed keeping in mind the proposed Metro line running along the stretch and an elevated railway station planned in the vicinity. The cost of the initial elevated road, which was to be just 1.5km long, was around Rs 240 crore, but will now see an escalation.



Double the trouble: Swine flu now part of Kolkata’s virus load



KOLKATA: Swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, is now a part of the city’s germ load along with the ordinary flu, dengue and malaria, according to experts. With people travelling between countries more frequently, the virus, which had been imported to Kolkata from North America in 2009, has turned endemic though the number of affected has not been exceptionally high this year. So far, six have succumbed to the virus in the state and more than a dozen are under treatment across private hospitals. A 37-year-old man from Behala, who died at the CMRI Hospital on Tuesday evening, was the last victim. Once a contagious virus like H1N1 infiltrates a thickly populated city like Kolkata, it is difficult to get rid of it, said microbiologists. “It has mutated and become a permanent member of the city’s viral load. Now, it will be difficult to contain its spread during the season since H1N1spreads very easily through droplets. In a city like Kolkata, any crowded place is potentially dangerous. But swine flu is not a fatal infection, so there is no need to press the panic button,” said Irfaan Akhtar, consultant microbiologist and infection control officer, Fortis Hospital. The Behala resident, who died of swine flu on Tuesday, had been admitted to hospital on Sunday. He had all the symptoms of H1N1, including a severe breathing disorder. He had been kept in an Isola his condition didn’t improve. The death was confirmed by the health department on Thursday. “We have just received a report from the hospital. It will be checked,” said BS Satapathy’ , director of health services.


Even if symptoms are severe, they can be easily controlled with paracetamol or Tamiflu – a dedicated swine-flu drug – unless the patient suffers from low immunity. “Children and the elderly are vulnerable. Also, people suffering from diseases like asthma, blood sugar or COPD are at risk. So are pregnant women. But if you take drugs early enough and prevent dehydration, then you should be safe,” said Debkishore Gupta, head, infection control unit, CMRI Hospital. A few hospitals like CMRI and Fortis have set up isolation wards for swine flu patients. “It is a very infectious virus, so patients must be quarantined. We already have a unit in place,” said Gupta. The prevailing weather condition in Kolkata is ideal for the H1N1 virus to thrive, pointed out microbiologists. “Intermittent rainy and dry spells lead to temperature fluctuations. Over the last fortnight, the maximum temperature has been jumping from 28-30°C to 34-35°C. This is ideal for H1N1 to thrive and spread. What is more alarming being that the virus transmits very easily,” said Akhtar.



Tech apps offer safety net to combat dark online games



CHENNAI: A 14-year-old boy committed suicide a few days ago in Maharashtra, which police suspect could be the fallout of playing an online social media ‘game’ — The Blue Whale. Over a hundred teens are supposed to have lost their lives across the globe playing the game, which is said to have challenges ranging from cutting one’s wrist to walking down a dark alley, while keeping others updated through photographs. Amid speculations that the death is the first in country as a result of the game, the incident has parents, educators and society deeply worried, as well as seeking solutions on how to keep their children shielded from the dark side of technology. Chennai-based Learn Tron, for instance, which works with over a dozen schools in India and the Middle East that use the tablet as a tool for imparting learning, has an app called “Fokus”, which allows the device to be controlled by the school administration. “The administrator can whitelist and blacklist apps including native ones like the camera in a tablet. A centralized dashboard is available to the administration to control all the tabs in one click. During school hours, students can only access the learning app and nothing else, unless permitted by the school,” says Kuljit Chada, co-founder, Learn Tron. These controls are applicable within school hours alone. Another firm, eKavach, founded by Noopur Raghunath, offers website, app and time management. In this, the parent has complete control over the apps and websites the child can access besides the time the child spends on the internet. App rating and applicable age details will be sent to the parent for every app on the child’s device. “A parent can set various schedules like study time, family time and select relevant apps and sites that will be accessible during those time periods,” says Raghunath.


eKavach also offers safe image and text search across search engines. “If a child searches for words like porn or sex, a pop up will block the search and a real time notification will be sent to the parent,” she says. The app has a geo-fencing option so a parent can track the child’s location remotely. Raghunath has seen a lot of interest from parents in other countries including the Middle East but tepid interest from India. While some parents remain averse to giving young children a mobile device or a tab, there are others who believe it is an unavoidable necessity. Academicians say the power of technology cannot be undermined. With new age tech like virtual and augmented reality, learning has become a lot more engaging. “I encourage teachers to ask their students to use the internet. Digital literacy is about knowing how to use the web and using it right, both equally important,” says Manveen Chadha, principal, Velammal World Preschool. Given that it is at home that children typically get to access social media or internet games, it becomes an added responsibility for the parent. “Parents have to take age appropriate actions to detox kids from excess exposure to screen and over dose of technology. When parents are unable to manage the child, they give them a gadget and these gadgets become proxy parents,” says Shefali Tyagi, principal, National Public School. As adults and kids get engulfed in a world of selfies, Instagram posts and comments, finding that balance between the real world and reel world has become crucial. “Sometimes children find more acceptance in a virtual setting than in real life. They are looking for ways to make sense of life and they get firsthand information from the internet. Open communication with little judgment is key,” says Kavita Varma, clinical psychologist.



International News



Firefighters extinguish blaze in Dubai residential skyscraper

A fire is seen in the upper reaches of the 1,105-foot-tall Torch Tower skyscraper in Dubai.



DUBAI: Firefighters have extinguished a blaze that swept through one of the world’s tallest residential buildings in Dubai early on Friday, forcing occupants to flee their homes as burning debris showered down the sides of the 79-storey tower. Dubai’s civil defence authorities said firefighting squads put out the blaze by around 4.00 am (0000 GMT) and were cooling the 1,105 foot (337 metre) tall Torch tower. The tower was evacuated and no injuries were reported, authorities said. Flames shot up the sides of the building in the city’s upscale Marina district in the second blaze at the structure since 2015. Firefighters and police sealed off surrounding streets, which were partially covered by dust and debris. By 4.00 a.m. the exterior of the building showed no sign of fire as residents and onlookers stood around staring up at the building, according to a Reuters witness. “We were sleeping and we woke up to the fire alarm and people screaming. We ran down the stairs and it took us about 10 minutes to reach from the 50th floor,” a resident who gave his name as George, said.


“The fire was very strong at that time, about 1 a.m. Then it started calming down over the next two hours. It started on the 67th floor, that’s what we were told,” he added. Another resident, whose name was Mohammed and lives on the 12th floor, said the top part caught fire first and then lower levels followed as debris fell. The government said it is working on providing shelter for the ones affected by the fire. Residents and eyewitnesses have been posting images and photos of the 79-story skyscraper on fire on social media. Hundreds of people were evacuated in 2015 from the same building when a massive fire swept through the tower. Dubai is one of seven emirates that make up the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a Gulf Arab trade and investment hub.



Floods kill 7 and leave 27 missing in northern Vietnam



HANOI, Vietnam: Flash floods triggered by heavy rains have killed seven people and left 27 others missing in northern Vietnam. Disaster official Luong Tuan Anh said Thursday two people died and 13 are missing in the worst hit province of Yen Bai. Some 900 government forces have been mobilized to search for the missing. The other casualties were reported in the neighboring provinces of Son La and Lai Chau. A government delegation led by Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung is in the area to direct relief efforts. Vietnam is prone to floods and storms, which kill hundreds of people each year.

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