News Flash – 6 July 2018

National News



Woman slips off crowded local at Diva, loses leg


Thane: A 35-year-old catering firm employee lost her left limb after she slipped off the footboard of a crowded local on to the tracks near Diva station on Thursday morning. The near fatal incident has once again highlighted the need for more services on the suburban network beyond Thane, which has seen similar accidents in recent past. The tragedy took place around 7:50am when the Kasara-CST fast local started from platform number four at Diva. The woman, identified as Lata Naidu, is a Diva resident who works as a caterer in Mumbai. Police said she boarded the packed women’s coach and lost her grip due to pressure from inside the coach. She fell on the tracks near the level-crossing after Diva in the path of the same train whose wheels ran over her left leg, severing it below the knee.


Fellow passengers pulled the chain to halt the train. Alerted, station officials rushed her to a local hospital from where her relatives shifted her to another facility in Dombivli. The woman was later shifted to a Mumbai hospital for further treatment. Commuters from Diva complained that they often travel in dangerous conditions as there is very little room to board fast trains, as passengers who travel from Kalyan, Karjat and Kasara often occupy space near doors to alight at Thane. “When we try to enter, there is great pressure from inside the coach from those who want to alight at Thane, which is the next station,” said one. Activists say it is high time the administration starts heeding demands of areas beyond Thane that await dedicated local services originating from here. Commuters say authorities must probe the incident and find if the woman was pushed by train bullies. It may be recalled that last year doors of several trains halting at Diva were shut from inside by commuters, reportedly to prevent others from boarding.



Narrow escape for metro riders as metal barricade falls on train



New Delhi: Passengers of Delhi Metro had a miraculous escape when a metal barricade fell on a moving train on Violet Line on Thursday evening due to strong winds. The train came to a screeching halt, but luckily no one was harmed. However, train operations on the corridor were massively disrupted during the evening peak hours. “The train was climbing from the underground Jangpura station to the elevated Lajpat Nagar station when there was a loud noise. The train came to a halt as one of the huge metal barricades along the tracks had fallen on it. People started panicking and there was absolute pandemonium inside the train,” said Mithun Vijayan, a commuter. For about 20 minutes, the train remained stationary and there were no announcements. “Soon, two metro officials came and opened a door from the outside. They pulled up a small ladder and all passengers deboarded the train and walked towards Lajpat Nagar station. We were told that the metro will not operate now, so I walked out of the station to look for an autorickshaw,” Vijayan added.


A Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) spokesperson said, “A portion of the railing on the ramp fell on the track going towards Faridabad around 4.05pm due to strong winds and rain. All passengers were safely taken to Lajpat Nagar platform. To remove the railing, overhead electrification had to be put off between Central Secretariat and Nehru Place section”. With operations on this busy section closed, trains were run on two different loops from Nehru Place to Escorts Mujesar and from Central Secretariat to Kashmere Gate. At 5.45pm, single line operations were started between Nehru Place and Central Secretariat through the Up line (going towards Kashmere Gate) and by 6.47pm normal train movement was restored, DMRC said. The metal barricades have been in place since October 2010 when the Central Secretariat to Sarita Vihar section of Violet Line opened. It’s possible that the joints holding the barricades together gave way to strong winds. DMRC said a fact-finding exercise would take place on Friday. “The railing fell due to sudden high wind pressure and hit the side of a train. The operator stopped the train and passengers on board were evacuated on foot to Lajpat Nagar station. There was no injury to anyone,” said Anuj Dayal, executive director (corporate communications), DMRC.



Drunk Ola driver held for kidnapping 30-year-old airport-bound woman


Bengaluru: A 30-year-old airport-bound woman was allegedly attacked and abducted by the driver of an Ola cab she had boarded on Wednesday night. Kajol (name changed) was rescued after her screams and banging on the window caught the attention of other motorists who blocked the taxi’s path near the KIA toll plaza on Ballari Road. The motorists pulled Ola cabbie Suresh Kumar, 28, resident of Subbaiahnapalya, Banaswadi, east Bengaluru, out of his vehicle and called the police control room. Chikkajala police rushed a Hoysala patrol vehicle and took him into custody. Police booked Suresh under Indian Penal Code Sections 354 (outraging modesty of woman), 360 (kidnapping) and driving under the influence of alcohol. “The woman was brave and showed presence of mind. Else, the driver would have got away with the kidnapping,” a senior police official said. The Indiranagar resident and employee of a private company had booked a cab to go to Kempegowda International Airport around 11.30pm. She was going on an official tour to Mumbai and her flight was scheduled to take off at 5.10am. She told police she was worried from the time she got into the vehicle as she could smell alcohol. “I found that the driver was drunk. I noticed him repeatedly looking at me through the rear-view mirror. I covered my face with a shawl and pretended to doze. On reaching Yelahanka Junction, he pressed the accelerator and the vehicle began moving at over 100 kmph,” she said.


“As we neared the up-ramp to the trumpet intersection leading to the airport, I noticed that the driver did not slow down. The vehicle was moving on the extreme right of the road and I asked him how he would take the ramp at such high speed. He did not answer. Raising my voice, I asked him again but there was no reply. I sensed something amiss and shouted at him to stop the vehicle but he continued,” she said. “By then, we had crossed the ramp leading to KIA. I noticed the toll plaza since the car had slowed. This was the last opportunity to save myself. I hammered on the window glass and started shouting. To my good fortune, a couple of motorists, mostly cab drivers, noticed me. They chased our vehicle for nearly 400 metres, blocked it and pulled the driver out,” she added. A spokesperson for Ola said: “We are deeply disturbed to know about the incident. The cab driver involved has been removed from our platform. We’re extending all support to the customer and assisting police in their investigation”.



Fungal infections among newborns in NICUs on the rise; docs worried


Bengaluru: The number of infants in neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) battling fungal infections has been increasing over the years, raising concerns among doctors. In the government-run Vanivilas Hospital, 6.6% of the babies treated in NICU last year suffered from fungal infections, up from 4.3% in 2015 and 4.6% in 2016. The corresponding numbers at Indira Gandhi Institute of Child Health (IGICH) were 1.3%, 1.6% and 2.2%. Fungal infections among neonatal admissions in private NICUs vary between 0 and 1%. “These days, many premature babies are treated in NICU. The increasing incidence of fungal infections is a matter of concern. Antibiotics administered to newborns in NICUs indirectly lead to infections. Fungi are not susceptible to antibiotics,” says Dr Ranjan Pejaver, neonatologist and former president of National Neonatology Forum, Karnataka chapter. However, no study has been conducted in Karnataka to analyse the mortality rate due to fungal infections in newborns. “Usage of antibiotics, prolonged NICU stay, immunological issues and hygiene are the major factors behind fungal growth. Babies with low birth weight mostly suffer from immune immaturity. Antibiotics given to infants to fight other disorders makes them prone to fungal infections,” said Dr Asha Benakappa, director, IGICH.


Authorities at Vanivilas Hospital said the data is not reflective of the condition of babies in NICU. “It is difficult to say that any baby in NICU has died due to a fungal infection. There will be comorbidity. In any government hospital, last-minute admissions are more, and the incidence of premature babies being admitted has also been increasing over the years. There are chances of babies suffering from fungal infections even before being brought to Vanivilas. Some have been infected by their mother also. Longer stay in the hospital may make it worse. However, fungal infections shouldn’t be treated only as hospital-acquired infections,” said a neonatologist working with Vanivilas. Medical superintendent Dr Geetha S said they have taken steps to prevent infections. “Adequate sanitation measures are in place. We are using disposable baby-wrapping towels, and constantly educating the staff as well as patients’ families,” she said. Doctors, however, say ensuring zero fungal infections in NICU is possible. “One-toone nursing is required in NICU. Government hospitals are overcrowded and hence chances of cross-infection are also high. Certain equipment like catheters (a hollow tube) are reused after sterilisation but they are still not hygienic enough. Fungal infections also lead to multi-drug resistance among ailing newborns,” said N Dr Karthik Nagesh, chairman and head of department, neonatology, Manipal Hospitals.



Alarming rise in dengue & meningitis cases, says study


Hyderabad: Dengue cases witnessed a sharp rise in the state between 2015 and 2017, reveals the latest report of the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence (CBHI). As per the ‘Health Status Indicators Report 2018’, released by the Centre, the numbers shot up from 1,831 to 3,083 during this period. In 2017, the total number of dengue cases stood at 2,688. Sounding a word of caution over the increasing severity of dengue, the report also highlighted a jump in cases of meningococcal meningitis (a serious bacterial infection of the lining that surrounds the brain) in Telangana, from 22 in 2016 to 117 in 2017. Cases of viral meningitis too saw an alarming rise from 80 in 2016 to 427 in 2017, as per the report. “Dengue and chikungunya are a cause of great concern to public health in India. Every year, thousands are affected and contribute to the burden of healthcare. Dengue outbreaks have continued since the 1950s but the severity of the disease has increased in the last two decades,” the report read.


It also raised an alarm over both types of meningitis, which can spread through coughing and sneezing. “The total number of cases and deaths (in Telangana) due to viral meningitis were 7,559 and 121 respectively in 2017. Neighbouring AP accounted for the maximum number of cases (1,493) and maximum number of deaths (33),” the report stated. While no chikungunya or dengue deaths were officially recorded, the report showed that Telangana registered 21 swine flu deaths (majority of which were from Hyderabad) during 2017 alone, a drop from the 100 deaths recorded in 2015. The year also saw as many as 2,165 swine flu cases being recorded from the state, apart from 2,688 cases of malaria. Speaking about swine flu deaths, local authorities said the situation is gradually improving in the state due to a high detection rate and ‘higher accessibility to investigations’.



500 in Kailash await rescue



New Delhi: The government on Thursday said that 883 Kailash Mansarovar Yatra pilgrims were evacuated from Simikot region of Nepal in the last three days and over 500 were still awaiting rescue flights. External affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar told reporters that the Indian Embassy in Nepal had undertaken a massive exercise to evacuate pilgrims both from Hilsa and Simikot and “if the weather holds we will be able to get them out in the near future”. In the last three days, 883 stranded pilgrims have been evacuated from Simikot to Nepalgunj and Surkhet. “At least 675 pilgrims were evacuated from Hilsa to Simikot. Fifty-three civilian flights were operated to get the pilgrims out and 142 chopper sorties were carried out,” Kumar said. “The situation is fast returning to normal. We have around 50 pilgrims in Surkhet and 516 in Simikot. Evacuation efforts are ongoing”. He added there was no crisis situation and pilgrims were stranded because weather had packed up. “If you see the advisory we have put up on our website, especially for pilgrims taking the Nepal route, there is always a chance that when you are passing some of these points the weather could pack up. It just happened that civilian aircraft could not operate because of adverse weather conditions.



International News



‘Race against water’ as rain threatens Thai boys in cave

Thai personnel attend to rescued passengers of a tourist boat that capsized in rough seas at a port in Phuket on Thursday. One man died and dozens of Chinese tourists are still missing after the boat sank as high winds whipped up rough seas, officials said, confirming that rescue operations have been suspended for the night.



Mae Sai: Thai rescuers on Thursday said they may be prodded into a complex extraction of 12 boys and their football coach from a flooded cave if forecast rains hammer the mountainside and jeopardise the rescue mission. Thirteen sets of diving equipment have been prepared for the team, who have endured 12 nights underground in the Tham Luang cave complex in northern Thailand, a saga that has transfixed a nation and united Thais in prayers for their safe return. Water is being pumped out from the deluged cave round-the-clock, reducing the flooding by one centimeter an hour. But with rain forecast to begin on Friday, the Chiang Rai provincial governor helming the unprecedented rescue effort conceded the mission was now “a race against the water”. “Our biggest concern is the weather. We are calculating how much time we have if it rains, how many hours and days,” Narongsak Osottanakorn said, without providing further details. In a sign of increased urgency, Narongsak said medics and Thai Navy SEAL divers are assessing whether the boys are fit and well enough to be taken out early — apparently softening his instance on Wednesday that “no risk” will be taken with the evacuation.



Qaida-linked terror group bans plastic bags in Somalia

People at a food distribution centre for the displaced in Somalia. The Shabab statement said plastic bags posed a threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike.



Somalia: Over the years, the Shabab, a terrorist group in Africa that has pledged allegiance to al-Qaida, have banned music, cinemas, satellite dishes and humanitarian organisations. This week, they added a new item to the prohibited list: plastic bags. Residents of areas controlled by the group, which operates out of Somalia, will no longer be able to use plastic bags, out of respect for the environment. The announcement prompted a flurry of mocking memes on the internet, some calling the Shabab the first eco-friendly terrorist organisation. The statement banning the use of plastic bags was published on, a pro-Shabab website that is believed to be run by the terrorist group’s media office. The website aired an audio recording from Mohammed Abu Abdullah, the Shabab’s governor in the Jubaland region, who said that plastic bags “pose a serious threat to the wellbeing of humans and animals alike,” a statement that was repeated in a Twitter message posted on a Shabab associated account. The announcement was also broadcast on Radio Andalus, the group’s radio station.


Harun Maruf, the founder of the Investigative Dossier radio shows in Somalia and the co-author of ‘Inside Al-Shabaab,’ explained in a Twitter post: “The militant group has reportedly issued a general directive banning plastic bags, and gave environmental and health risks to the livestock as reasons for taking the move”. He added, “Things that Shabab has NOT banned: Bombings, assassinations, targeting civilians”. “I heard they banned plastic bags via social media,” Mohammed Abdullaahi Ali, a medical student in Mogadisu, said. “I see it as a good decision, but they must ask themselves: Why do they also ban humanitarian workers from operating in Shabab-controlled areas?” He added, “I don’t know why sanitation, and the health of the environment, is important but not the health workers”.

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