News Flash – 4 November 2017

National News



74% of northeast monsoon rains in 8 day’s sinks Chennai, kills 12

The heavy rainfall that the city received overnight on Thursday completely submerged the service road along Marina Beach, appearing to merge land and sea.



CHENNAI: Rain continued to come down in sheets till late Friday night in Chennai, taking the death toll from the northeast monsoon to 12 so far, and the city’s total rainfall to close to three-fourths of the average for a season that has just got started. The city had by 8.30am on Friday — mostly from a mere eight days since the northeast monsoon set in on October 27 — already recorded 554.2mm of rainfall this year, or 74% of the long-term average of 750mm it receives annually in the rainy season, which the IMD calculates between October 1 and December 15. Chennai had till Friday recorded 441.3mm of rainfall (58.84% of the seasonal average) from the northeast monsoon, Met office data showed. Thursday’s rain was Chennai’s third-highest in history in a single day for November, behind only 452.2mm in 1976 and 246.15mm in 2015. It continued on Friday evening after a brief break, leaving the city precariously placed. Several localities reported flooding, especially of interior roads, and the showers hit traffic for a second straight day. The Chennai district collector declared Saturday, a school holiday. Most districts have recorded more than average rainfall for the season so far, the Met office said.


Heavy waterlogging hindered free vehicular movement in the city.


Water levels in temple tanks started rising after monsoon struck Chennai and its neighbouring districts. A poor monsoon last year had left several temple tanks parched, and water in them has been met with enthusiasm among residents, as it also helps recharge groundwater levels. Meanwhile, facing public ire amidst heavy rains and inundation, the Edappadi K Palaniswami government went on the offensive on Friday, listing out various flood-prevention as well as rehabilitation measures undertaken by the government. Leading the charge, CM Palaniswami, who visited Mudichur and Perungalathur along with his deputy O Panneerselvam, said: “We have seen Bengaluru and Mumbai getting inundated during rain. But due to the execution of the (disaster management) plan envisaged by Amma’s government in 2015 on how to remove flood water from low-lying areas, there is not much water stagnation today. People are unaffected”. A stretch of 300km, out of 386km-long drain network project, has been completed at a cost of Rs 1,100 crore in Chennai, as announced by Jayalalithaa during her tenure, Palaniswami said.



Hours after getting pay, 2 constables lose money to ATM con



MUMBAI: Within three hours of salaries being deposited in their bank accounts on October 31, a cop attached to the Worli Traffic police and a woman constable from Cuffe Parade police station lost Rs 25,500 and Rs 20,000 respectively. The traffic police constable said his money was withdrawn in three transactions from an ATM at Vijay Nagar in Ghaziabad between 10.40pm and 10.50pm. “I received alerts on my phone. In the first and second transaction, the fraudster withdrew Rs 10,000 each time and in the third, Rs 5,500,” he told TOI on Friday. He has registered a case with the DB Marg police station. The Cuffe Parade police station has received an application from the woman constable. She said Rs 10,000 was withdrawn twice from her account. “The bank has reversed the transactions and deposited the money into her account,” said DCP (zone I) Manoj Sharma. Police officials suspect that at least 15-20 police personnel may have fallen victim to the fraud. A source said Axis Bank officials had found that accounts of four police personnel were compromised and action had been initiated.


An Axis Bank spokesperson said, “The matter is being investigated. Axis Bank has been proudly serving the Maharashtra Police Force since 2003. We are committed to providing them with excellent services as always and protecting the interests of our esteemed customers”. The two victims confirmed that other police personnel too had lost money within three hours of receiving salaries. “Most of the victims have accounts in the bank’s Dadar and Worli branches. The traffic police constable has an account at the Worli branch and the woman cop at the Dadar branch,” said an officer. In June, 2013, 29 Axis Bank accounts, including 13 salary accounts belonging to Mumbai police officials, were hacked. The con emerged after a few constables complained to their superiors about bank messages regarding cash withdrawals, which they claim were never made by them. A total of Rs 13 lakh, some of it in Euros, were withdrawn through cloned debit cards from ATMs in Greece. The bank had reversed the transactions.



90% of Delhi buildings flout safety norms: PIL



NEW DELHI: Around 90% of buildings in Delhi do not comply with safety norms and there are over 1,700 illegal colonies where people’s safety has been compromised, a PIL in Delhi high court contended, prompting it to issue notices to the Centre and Delhi government, besides the three municipal corporations and Delhi Development Authority (DDA). A bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar was upset over the state of affairs in Delhi relating to illegal construction and unauthorised colonies. It also lambasted the government authorities for playing with the lives of citizens of Delhi in gross violation of laws. The PIL, filed by advocate Arpit Bhargava, contended that Delhi currently has over 1,700 unauthorised colonies with more than 50 lakh people living in them. Bhargava argued that the safety norms as stated in NCT of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Second Act, 2011 and National Building Code, 2005 and other related laws in all these colonies have not been implemented by the authorities.


Therefore, directions have been sought “to stop regularisation of any unauthorised colony till infrastructure development has taken place in all such colonies and safety norms are complied with”. “Despite regularisation of all these unauthorised colonies, very few sanctioned plans are applied for and obtained before starting any new construction, thereby leading to massive illegal construction compromising on safety of people,” the PIL said. The petitioner claimed that illegal constructions have come up in violation of the National Building Code 2005 for seismic zone IV, in which Delhi falls, and the order of the high court that no building should be allowed to come up without complying with the norms. Bhargava also sought fixing of accountability on the officials who had allowed such unauthorised colonies to come up and strict action against them. The PIL claimed that in a court order it was revealed that merely 10-15% of Delhi’s buildings comply with the building code.



Emergency and trauma care centre opened at Injambakkam in Chennai



CHENNAI: A day after launching an app for 108 services, the Tamil Nadu Accident Initiative (TAI) opened the seven- bed emergency and trauma care centre at Injambakkam in Chennai to attend to victims of road traffic accidents on highways leading into the city from the southern parts. In 2016, Tamil Nadu topped the country in road accidents and counted more than 17,000 fatalities. An audit by the health department revealed that more than 70% of the accident happened on 8% of the roads, particularly highways, and deaths happened because accident victims were not able to reach hospitals and receive basic first aid. On Friday, health minister C Vijaya Baskar declared open the emergency centre at Injambakkam. This facility will cater to accident on the ECR and the OMR stretching between Mamallapuram and Injambakkam, which has a high number of accidents. EMRI operations head M Selvakumar says 108 ambulances ferry up to 10 accidents cases on these roads every day. Most of these patients were taken to the Royapettah Government Hospital. Ambulances take at least one hour to reach Royapettah Government Hospital. “Many people die on their way to hospital. An emergency centre within 10 minutes of the accident spot can act as a hub before the patient is taken to a tertiary centre,” said the health minister.


The centre is equipped with ventilators, defibrillators and other lifesaving equipment besides a minor operating table. Patients wheeled into these centre are assigned beds depending on degrees of urgency to wounds or illnesses to decide the order of treatment of a large number of patients or casualties. “There are two red-tagged beds for most critical patients, two orange beds for moderately ill patients and two green beds for patients who have minor injuries,” he said. The facility was opened after the state saw success in pilot centres they set up at Tambaram in 2013 and at Padiyanallur in 2014. Since then, more than 11,803 people have been treated in the Tambaram centre and 6,835 have been treated in the Padiyanallur centre. “Reports show that we have been able to considerably reduce morbidity and mortality among accident victims in these areas,” said health secretary J Radhakrishnan.



International News



US sends supersonic bombers over Korean peninsula

A pair of B-1B Lancer bombers soar over Wyoming in an undated file photo.



WASHINGTON: US bombers overflew the Korean peninsula as part of an exercise with Japanese and South Korean warplanes, the US Air Force said, days before President Donald Trump arrives in the region for a trip set to be dominated by the nuclear-armed North. Tensions are high over Pyongyang’s ballistic missile and atomic programmes, which in recent months have seen it test ICBMs and carry out its sixth nuclear blast. Trump’s visit will throw a spotlight on the issue, after the US President and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un traded insults and threats of war. Flights by supersonic B-1B Lancer bombers in the area always infuriate North Korea, which condemned the drill as “blackmail” early Friday. Two B-1B aircraft took off from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, and were joined west of Japan by Japan Air Self- Defense Force fighters, the US Pacific Air Force said in a statement. “The Lancers then transited overland to Korea to integrate with Republic of Korea fighters in the Yellow Sea,” the statement read, adding that the aircraft later returned “to their respective home stations”. The exercise was part of the “continuous bomber presence” mission in the Pacific and “was not in response to any current event,” the statement said. The operation follows an October 10 “show of force” in which two Lancers staged the first night-time joint aviation exercises with Japan and South Korea. North Korea in July launched two intercontinental ballistic missiles apparently capable of reaching the US mainland — described by Kim as a gift to “American bastards”. It followed up with two missiles that passed over Japan, and its sixth nuclear test, by far its most powerful yet.


Trump has warned of “fire and fury” in response to Pyongyang’s threats, and derisively dubbed Kim “Rocket Man”, who responded by calling him a “dotard”. This week the North’s KCNA news agency described the US president as “incurably mentally deranged”. Trump will on Friday set off for his Asian tour, which will include Japan, South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines. But his message risks being undermined if the North stages some kind of provocation, such as a missile test. It could be preparing for another launch, Seoul’s spy agency reportedly said Thursday. “Active movements of vehicles have been detected at a missile research facility in Pyongyang,” the National Intelligence Service told a closed-door parliamentary audit, according to the Yonhap news agency. The North habitually condemns B1-B flights as rehearsals for an attack, and KCNA said Friday: “The reality clearly shows that the gangster-like US imperialists are the very one who is aggravating the situation of the Korean peninsula and seeking to ignite a nuclear war”. Any military strike in Korea could see retaliation and rapid escalation, and much of Seoul — a city of 10 million people — is within range of the North’s artillery. The South’s President Moon Jae-In has insisted that no military action on the peninsula can be taken without Seoul’s approval. In an interview with Yonhap, Trump’s National Security Advisor H R McMaster said diplomacy was Washington’s “main effort now”.



Man claims to have explosives near White House, held



WASHINGTON: A 33-year-old man was arrested on Friday after the Secret Service said he approached one of its uniformed officers near the White House and claimed to have “dropped explosives” in the area. The incident prompted officials to put the White House on lockdown for several minutes and close nearby streets to pedestrians. The Secret Service says a sweep of the area did not turn up any explosives. Ervin Pettaway of Washington, D.C., was taken into custody and charged with one count of felony threats. The incident took place at 9:24 am, 19 minutes after United States President Donald Trump departed the White House on Marine One to begin his trip to Asia.

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