News Flash – 4 December 2017

National News



Cargo complex security guard held for ‘ISIS terror threat’



MUMBAI: Five days after a ‘terror’ threat note was found at the airport cargo complex, a 24-year-old man working as a security supervisor at the cargo complex was arrested on Sunday. The accused, Akshay Gaikar (24), who resides in Bhandup, had left the note “as a prank,” said the police. Last Tuesday, a note found in a toilet at the cargo complex read: ‘Attack the cargo on 26.01.18 or anytime – ISIS’. Officials from Sahar police station said that Gaikar has confessed to having left the note. “He says he wanted to check the alertness of the police and hoped that his act would help beef up police presence at the complex,” said a police officer. Another officer said Gaikar claims he was inspired by a similar note that was found in the airport toilet two years ago. “He had got a video on his office WhatsApp group about a “terror threat scrawled in the men’s washroom at the airport in 2015. That note also claimed it was by an ISIS member,” said this officer. The police said they zeroed in on Gaikar after quizzing at least 350 employees at the cargo complex. DCP Anil Kumbhare said Gaikar does not seem to have any specific motive in putting up the note.



Businessman robbed of Rs 3 lakh from bank counter



NEW DELHI: A 44-year-old man allegedly was robbed of approximately Rs 3 lakh on Thursday after some women fled with his bag from his bank‘s cash deposit counter. Police officers said that the victim has been identified as Mahender Kumar, who is a local milk distributer. He told cops that he goes to the bank daily to deposit the day’s revenue. On Thursday, Kumar had gone to the bank and had kept a bag which reportedly contained Rs 3 lakh on the cash deposit counter. He told cops that the money was kept on the other side of the glass wall. He said that he sat on the chair alongside the counter to wait for the cashier to arrive. In midst of this, a woman reportedly came and fled with his bag of cash. Police officers found that a group of women were seen roaming in the bank in the CCTV cameras installed inside. A case under sections of theft has been registered and an investigation has been initiated based on the footage recovered from the CCTV cameras. Police suspect it to be the work of a women gang as three associates were seen with the woman who had stolen the bag.



Thieves walk in as guards, loot jewellery store in Rohini



NEW DELHI: A group of thieves targeted a jewellery shop in Rohini‘s Budh Vihar area on Saturday morning. The gang members, dressed as security guards, decamped with silver and gold jewellery. “The incident took place around 3.20am. A case of theft has been registered against the accused and further investigations are on,” said DCP (Rohini) Rajneesh Gupta. The accused reportedly fled with 23 kg’s of silver jewellery and 350 grams of gold jewellery. Initial probe revealed that the showroom did not have a dedicated security guard but instead relied on the common guard for the whole neighbourhood. The lone guard told police officers that he saw several men approaching him with some carrying batons that are usually carried by security guards. They asked him for the jewellery shop’s address. Two men then grabbed the lone guard’s arm and took his mobile phone. They threatened to kill him if he didn’t remain silent. While two of them held the security guard hostage, the others went ahead with breaking into the showroom.


The men, who used special tools to break the lock of the shutter, emptied the showroom’s safes and reportedly came out of the shop after 30 minutes. They then fled away on motorcycles. Police sources said that the gang members were seen in several CCTV cameras installed near the showroom and efforts are on to ascertain their identity from the visuals. Details about the motorcycles used by them are also being sought from the transport department. Nearby police stations have also been informed to check if there have were any reports of motorcycles being stolen from other areas. Cops are also questioning the showroom’s employees to obtain more information about the incident. A list of former employees, who had recently quit the job, is also being prepared to check if any of them were involved in the burglary.



Bengaluru schools use tech aids to rev up security on campus


BENGALURU: In September, a school in Marathahalli averted potential danger by denying entry to an unidentified woman who claimed to be a student’s aunt and even tried to bribe a security guard. While this was one of the instances where timely action paid off, schools across Bengaluru are going the extra mile to avoid security lapses. From metal detectors and micro-chip escort cards to end-to-end CCTV cameras, they are making use of technology to keep kids safe. At KK School in Varthur, children from LKG to Class IV are not allowed to board BMTC buses like older students. “Parents have to pick up children or they will be sent home via the school transport. Parents have also been issued identity cards. If they are sending guardians to pick up the kids, the school has to be informed in advance,” said principal M A Khan. Tristha Ramamurthy, founder and executive director, Ekya School, said the campus manager has to fill a security checklist which includes checking of gates, locks, visitors and CCTV footage every day. “We do not have rooms that are secluded or dark. Every room has a glass panel that assures visibility of any activity taking place. Each campus is designed with safety in mind. Staff rooms are strategically situated so that teachers can keep an eye on corridors and students’ activities,” Tristha claimed.


Most schools have installed CCTV cameras at gates, corners as well as in buses. Santhosh Kumar, principal of Ashok International Public School, and a designated team scan camera footage every day. “At the time of dispersal, students are not allowed to stand outside the campus unless they are boarding the bus or are picked up by parents/ designated guardians,” Kumar said. Dakshayini Kanna, principal of Harvest International School, said along with CCTV cameras, staffers too monitor students during their dispersal. “We haven’t had any cases of untoward activities in our school, however we can’t ignore safety aspects,” she said. Staying ahead is important: Nagarathna Murthy, principal, Geetanjali Vidyalaya, said: “Apart from contact numbers of parents, we keep other emergency contacts as well as their neighbours to be sure that there’s always a way to get in touch with guardians of every student”. M Srinivasan, chairman, Gear Innovative International School, said: “We need to stay a few steps ahead of perpetrators and be prepared to tackle any situation. It may be cumbersome to manage over four to five security features but it must be done”.



Guard’s unclaimed bag triggers bomb alert, sends Ameerpet station in a tizzy

Bomb squad personnel check Ameerpet Metro station after the alert over unclaimed bag.



HYDERABAD: The Ameerpet Metro Rail station was in the limelight on Sunday morning after an unclaimed bag was found on the platform. After a furore over a possible bomb threat, it was found that the bag belonged to a Metro Rail guard. The incident was first reported at 7.45am on Sunday. “The officials from the command control room saw the unclaimed bag lying on the platform. They then alerted the local security and station control officer. Around 8am, Metro Rail officials alerted the police about the bag,” said Mohammed Waheeduddin, inspector at SR Nagar police station. A bomb squad was called in to check the bag, but they did not find any explosive material inside. When officials checked the CCTV footage and video recordings, they found that the bag was left by an employee by mistake. It belongs to a security guard, Satya, the SR Nagar police said. “There is nothing to worry. Due to news reports that were telecast, people panicked. The situation is under control,” the inspector added. Hyderabad Metro Rail Limited managing director NVS Reddy took objection to the way the incident was telecast. “There is no such ‘bomb threat’ call or checking by bomb squad. This is precautionary check because someone forgot an empty bag. It was handed over to its owner,” he said. Meanwhile, the passenger footfall on Sunday crossed 2.2 lakh, said Metro authorities.



Cops make another arrest in ATM fraud case



KOLKATA: Following the arrest of prime accused Vinod Kumar Shaw (37), who was involved in a number of ATM cards fraud cases, the Watgunge police on Saturday arrested Bheem Mandal (24) for also being involved in the case. Interrogating Shaw, police came to know the involvement of Mandal and a raid was conducted by a Watgunge police team at Giridih in Jharkhand from where Mandal was arrested at around 3pm on Saturday. He has been brought to Kolkata on transit remand and will be produced at court on Monday. Earlier following a complaint, Shaw was arrested from Kona Expressway and after conducting a raid at his house, the police seized a cash amount of Rs 82,800 and other articles associated to the case.



Ockhi leaves behind a trail of grief, anger



Kanyakumari: Pent-up feelings of the fisher folk over their missing men manifested in a road blockade at the Thoothoor-Chinnathurai junction from 8 am to 6 pm on Saturday with more than 1,000 furious villagers slamming the state and central governments for not taking adequate rescue measures. The protesters belonged to Erayumanthurai, Poothurai, Thoothoor, Chinnathurai, Vallavilai, Marthandamthurai and Neerody. “In neighbouring Kerala, the ministers and top government officials have camped at the affected villages in Thiruvananthapuram and supervised rescue operations. We hear that three ministers and three senior IAS officers have come to Kanyakumari. But three days after the cyclone hit, not one of them has come to the affected areas like ours,” said C. Jacob whose brother was killed in a cyclone-related incident. Killiyoor MLA Rajesh Kumar who took part in the protest for some time claimed that nearly 3,000 fishermen from the district were still missing. Agitated protesters said they would boycott the elections if the state and Centre continued to ignore them.


Women in tears wondered where the lone BJP MP and minister of state for finance and shipping was when those who voted for him were in distress. Their key demand was to establish a rescue control centre in their area to help trace missing fishermen. Other demands included declaring fishermen missing for a long time dead and to provide ₹10 lakh compensation each to the families. They claimed the government had failed to intimate the fishermen in advance about the cyclone. Other demands included providing government jobs for a family member of the missing and dead fishermen’s family based on their qualification and inducting fishermen on priority basis in the Coast Guard, Navy and Marine Police. They cleared the road only after senior police and revenue officials promised to establish a control room at Chinnathurai and that a senior monitoring officer would visit them on Sunday and listen to their grievances.


VOLUNTEERS COME FORWARD TO HELP: At a time of disaster, several clubs and organisations have come forward for volunteer in rescue works. Around 35 volunteers from Maanaanvilai Sports and Service Club have been helping Tangedco officials to restore power supply at Karungal and neighbouring pockets. The volunteers have cut more than 150 fallen trees. They have also hired an autorickshaw, generator and filled fuel to pump drinking water at eight orphanages.



International News



UAE denies claim of Yemen missile attack against its plant

Photo shows under-construction Barakah nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi’s Western desert.



DUBAI: The United Arab Emirates on Sunday denied a claim by Yemen‘s Shiite rebels that a rebel missile had been fired toward the country’s under-construction nuclear plant. The rebels, known as Houthis, earlier in the day claimed they had launched a missile toward the plant in Abu Dhabi in the first such strike toward the country. “The National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority denies the claim that the Houthis fired a missile toward the country,” the UAE‘s state-run WAM news agency said. “The UAE possesses an air defence system capable of dealing with any threat of any type or kind”. The statement added that the nuclear power plant was well-protected. The National, a state-aligned newspaper in Abu Dhabi, also reported that Barakah‘s operations were “unaffected on Sunday, while sources on the ground confirmed there were no signs of an attack to the structure”. The newspaper did not elaborate. The UAE is a major US ally that hosts some 5,000 American troops and is the US Navy’s busiest foreign port of call. The US military’s Central Command, which oversees its Mideast operations, as well as the Pentagon, had no immediate comment. The USD 20 billion Barakah nuclear power plant is in Abu Dhabi’s far western desert. The first of its four reactors, being built in the UAE near its border with Saudi Arabia, is scheduled to come online in 2018.


The UAE, like other US Gulf allies in the region, has the Patriot Missile defense system capable of shooting down ballistic missiles and is the only international client to have on delivery the US-made Terminal High Altitude Area Defence system. The Houthis last month had targeted the Saudi capital, Riyadh, with a ballistic missile that was intercepted by Saudi air defences. It was the deepest strike inside the kingdom since the war between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis and their allies began in March 2015. But for the Houthis to launch a missile from Yemen at the UAE, it would likely have to fly over Saudi Arabia’s vast southeastern desert in order to reach Abu Dhabi. Today’s claim came amid heavy fighting in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where the Houthis are facing off with fighters loyal to the country’s former president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in the fifth straight day of street fighting as the alliance between the two unravels. The Houthis have accused Saleh of striking deals with the Saudi-led coalition, which has been waging an air campaign against the Houthi-Saleh alliance for nearly three years. Since the recent clashes erupted, the Saudi coalition has been targeting the Houthis and backing Saleh’s camp to control Sanaa.


The UAE is an active member of the coalition and its forces have mostly focused on securing the southern region of Yemen. Senior Houthi official Deif-Allah al-Shami told The Associated Press that the missile fired toward Abu Dhabi was a “message to the United Arab Emiratis for its political and financial support to Saleh”. He said that the UAE has hosted members of Saleh’s family, including his son who was an ambassador to the UAE and believed to be residing here during the conflict. Al-Shami also said the rocket attack was a message that “we will continue to target every nation that participated in the aggression against Yemen”. At least 100 Emirati soldiers have been killed in the war, which was launched to dislodge the Houthis from Sanaa after they overran the capital and kicked out the internationally-backed Yemeni government from power. The conflict has killed more than 10,000 Yemeni civilians and pushed millions to the brink of famine.

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