News Flash – 5 December 2017

National News



Cyclone Ockhi: Schools in coastal districts shut on Tuesday


MUMBAI: Following the weather warning from India Meteorological Department‘s (IMD) Mumbai observatory, the state government announced a precautionary holiday on Tuesday for schools in Mumbai, Sindhudurg, Thane, Raigad and Palghar districts. IMD on Monday issued a warning for rain or thunder showers for the city and suburbs beginning from Monday night due to the cyclonic storm Ockhi, which was 670km south-west of Mumbai. Squally winds, with speed reaching 50-60kmph and gusting to 70 kmph very likely along coastal areas, said weather officials. Education minister, Vinod Tawde said, “There is a possibility of very windy storm though not heavy rains so we have asked schools from coastal districts Sindhudurg, Ratnagiri, Thane, Palghar and Mumbai to remain closed on Tuesday.” City schools sent out messages to parents late in the evening after receiving instructions from the school education department.



Mumbai: Lodge cybercrime cases at your local police station



MUMBAI: Lodging complaints relating to cybercrimes will be a lot easier now. From this Saturday, one has to simply walk into you’re the police station to lodge a complaint regarding bank card fraud or hacking for instance. Every city police station will have a separate cybercrime cell from December 9. Currently, complainants were told by local police stations to visit the lone cybercrime police station at Bandra-Kurla Complex to lodge complaints due to staff shortage although one could lodge a complaint even at the local police station. Deputy commissioner of police (cybercrime) Akbar Pathan told TOI that each team, which will be led by an officer of inspector rank, will be armed with a tablet phone to handle and probe cyber offences. “The tablets will have apps that will be updated regularly with latest probe techniques,” said Pathan. Currently, a batch of police personnel is undergoing training on how to go about handling such complaints. Four more batches will be trained. At least 651 personnel from 93 police stations will be trained from December 4 to 8. To improve cyber detection and to improve conviction rate, the police department has put up a proposal to the state government to set up a separate cyber court. The move to have a cybercrime cell at each police station was initiated by police commissioner DD Padsalgikar due to the rise in number of white collar crimes and shortage of staff at the only cyber police station. Cybercrime lawyer Prashant Mali said two cyber experts must be posted at police stations. “Or they must have police officers to register and handle only cybercrime cases at police stations,” said Mali.



‘Ockhi’ skirts Maharashtra, Coast Guard rescues 19 more



MUMBAI: As the cyclone Ockhi averted the Maharashtra coast and Mumbai, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Monday rescued another 19 fishermen from the Arabian Sea, top officials said here. Inspector General K.R. Nautiyal, the Commander – ICG West Region, said these fisher folk were rescued by ICGS Shoor from a remote island and Lakshadweep & Minicoy Isles, off India’s southwest coast. With this, the number of fishermen rescued reached 176 and seven stranded sailors of a vessel since the Ockhi hit on November 29-30 in south India and is now veering towards south-west Gujarat. “The ICG has deployed 12 ships, three Dornier aircraft and two helicopters for sea-air coordinated search and rescue (SAR) assistance to the fishermen stranded at sea,” Nautiyal said. Besides, five merchant vessels are also helping out in the SAR efforts and helping rescue fishermen mostly off the Kerala coast. The ICG stations on the west coast are offering all assistance from first aid and food to the rescued people, and have advised to remain inside the Harbour till the stormy system subsides. The ICG West Region is disseminating adequate precautionary advisories to the coastal states of Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka and Union Territories of Daman & Diu for the likely recurving of Ockhi and making landfall along south Gujarat coast near the Gulf of Khambat.


The oil handling agencies at Bombay High oil fields around 175 km north-west of Mumbai have also been advised to initiate cyclone contingency measures and evacuate personnel from the oil platforms well in time, Nautiyal added. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 fishermen reached Maharashtra coast over the past weekend, landing at various points in Sindhudurg and Ratnagiri districts, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said. While 952 fisher folk in 68 boats reached on Saturday to Sindhudurg, another 321 came in 28 boats in Ratnagiri on Sunday. “They are safe and being looked after with all arrangements made for them to make them feel at home,” Fadnavis said in a tweet. They include 69 boatloads from Kerala, 25 from Tamil Nadu and two from Karnataka. Local authorities including the Maharashtra Maritime Board and the district collectors have been entrusted the responsibility of the welfare of the fisher folk till weather permits them to return.



Four held for burglary, Rs 80 lakh worth jewellery and Rs 5 lakh cash recovered

A house in Mukundpur was raided and the stolen items seized.



NEW DELHI: Three people were arrested and a juvenile apprehended for burgling a house in Gujranwala Town area in northwest Delhi on Monday. The four had stolen jewellery worth Rs 80 lakh and cash amounting nearly Rs 5 lakh. All of it was recovered. A team led by ACP Hukma Ram arrested Deepa (30), Kunti (24) and Rohit Kumar (24) at Mukundpur on Sunday. On Saturday evening, the owners of the house returned home from a wedding to find the safe empty. Their two maids, Deepa and Kunti, were at home then. Police saw a man walk out in a CCTV footage, but found the entry was friendly. The two maids were questioned. They said they had no idea who it was, but the theft could be the handiwork of a family member. But more CCTV footage was scanned and the two maids were seen walking away from the house. This pointed the needle of suspicion towards them. Deepa and Kunti were questioned again. This time, two women officers interrogated them and both maids gave contradictory statements. When pushed further, they confessed to their involvement in the crime. Kunti had plotted the crime over a month ago. She had worked at the house for seven years and was trusted by the family. She said she wanted money to send her seven-year-old son to a good school. She sought help from her brother-in-law, Kumar, who was a plumber. He came to Delhi specifically for that. A rented house in Mukundpur was raided and all the stolen jewellery and cash seized. A juvenile who was involved was apprehended too.



Kolkata: Worried about children’s safety, parents turn to tech for help



KOLKATA: After the sexual assault on a four-year-old kid, city parents are now turning to technology to keep a track of their child’s movement. While some parents are trying to be more active on WhatsApp groups, others are exploring several mobile apps, which might help in keeping a track of their children. Sudipta Basu Ray, mother of a Class IV student of the school, felt that it would be helpful if it was a possibility to stay in touch with teachers not just other parents through a WhatsApp group. “Every school has parents’ groups but that doesn’t help track your child. If teachers are there on the platform, then we can interact directly with them and find out immediately if a child is safe. This is necessary for parents, who have no access to the interiors of a school,” said Basu Ray, a teacher herself. Another parent of a Class VIII student has decided not to send her daughter to school till she feels confident about safety measures there. “I am feeling extremely uneasy and have lost faith in the school. Ever since the incident, I have been searching for ways to be in touch with my daughter during school hours. I have heard about an app that can track location of my child. Since cell phones are not allowed inside school premises, I am exploring other options, including a GPS patch, which is in use in other countries.


The patch can be attached to the arm or the school bag of the child. If necessary, I will try and get with the help of an acquaintance, who lives abroad,” said the worried parent. A private firm employee, whose daughter is a high school student, has already been surfing to explore other tech options. He, too, has stumbled upon GPS patches and antennas. “These apps will only help if you want to track your child’s movement. It won’t be of any help if something terrible happens within the campus,” he pointed out. Debarshee Saha, father of a Class III student believes that school WhatsApp groups should also include teachers, who update the parents about their ward’s whereabouts within the premises. “Using technology would be infringing upon the school’s discipline. So, exchange of information between teachers and parents on a real-time basis is the most logical option,” said Saha. Loora Ray Sarkar, mother of a class IV student at St James’ School, felt that boys too were not safe either. “I have no complaints against security arrangements at my son’s school. But it’s frightening that such sexual predators are on the prowl. Even boys are not safe,” said Loora.



Next spell of rain in Chennai from Thursday: Met



CHENNAI: The city may get its next spell of heavy rainfall from Thursday, the Met office has announced. Weathermen have issued an early warning to fishermen, asking them to avoid deep sea fishing from Monday. District officials have deputed workers in fishing hamlets to sound the warning. The city and its suburbs are likely to get one or two spells of light rain on Monday. Latest weather models indicate that a system which was earlier predicted to approach the Chennai coast may now move away towards south Andhra Pradesh. If the system moves as predicted, the city may be saved from very heavy rainfall.



International News



More North Korean ‘ghost boats,’ bodies wash up on Japan’s shores



TOKYO: Three bodies and a dilapidated wooden boat believed to have come from North Korea washed ashore in northern Japan on Monday, coast guard officials said. The coast guard said a Japanese fishing boat picked up a male body floating off the coast of Sakata in Yamagata prefecture and two more bodies washed up on a nearby beach an hour and half later. The bodies were decomposed, but one of them had a lapel pin thought to be North Korean. Officials are investigating if the bodies were from a boat that washed ashore Saturday. Winds and water currents push dozens of boats onto Japan’s northern coasts annually. Rickety North Korean fishing boats are particularly vulnerable because they lack the sturdiness and equipment to return home. But the alarming pace over the past few weeks has prompted Japanese authorities to step up patrols. Twenty-eight of the vessels _ dubbed “ghost boats”  were detected in November, up from just four in November last year. Usually, only the boats or fragments wash ashore. It is very rare for survivors to be rescued and brought ashore by the Japanese.


The increase may be related to a campaign led by Kim Jong Un to boost fish harvests as a means of increasing sources of protein for the nation, which continues to fall short of food self-sufficiency and remains vulnerable to health problems caused by the lack of a varied, balanced diet. In order to reach their quotas, the North Korean fishermen may be taking more risks and venturing farther from their usual waters. Japanese authorities are also holding 18 people from two other boats. They claim to be North Korean. The first batch of 10 landed on a small uninhabited island off southern Hokkaido on a damaged fishing boat and allegedly stole electronics appliances and other items from an unmanned shelter while temporarily taking refuge from rough seas. Japan’s coast guard rescued them last week. Eight other survivors who lost their boat but managed to swim ashore in Akita have been transferred to immigration. Japanese officials said the 10 are being investigated for possible theft, while the other eight are expected to be sent home via China.

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