News Flash – 7 December 2019

National News



14000 Cases, Karnataka Tops Dengue List


Bengaluru: Over 35,000 cases of dengue were reported across south India till October this year, with the maximum number in Karnataka. According to information in the government’s reply to a question in the Lok Sabha during the ongoing session, Karnataka, with 14,139 cases, tops the list of states and south Indian states registering 38% of cases. The mosquito borne tropical disease has claimed 36 lives till October this year in Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The data revealed that 91,457 cases of dengue were reported across the country till October, with Maharashtra and Goa having 9,899 and 908 cases, respectively. The number for the year could go up after data for November and December is collated, officials said. Karnataka, which has relatively better health facilities in private and government sectors, has been witnessing a steep increase in dengue cases. The state had recorded 4,427 cases in 2018. Of the 14,139 cases this year, around 70% were reported within Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagar Palike limits.



A majority of dengue deaths, too, were reported in the South. While 82 people died in the country in 10 months, 56 deaths occurred in the south, with Kerala reporting 16 and Karnataka 13. According to public health experts, lack of public awareness and failure of authorities to contain the menace has led to the increase in mosquito-breeding spots in Karnataka. “The need of the hour is to create public awareness which plays an important role in preventing mosquito breeding,” said Pankaj Kumar Pandey, commissioner, health & family welfare department, Karnataka. Pandey added, “Health workers will conduct house-to-house surveys and distribute education material and a form to fill. The form has queries on their understanding of mosquito-control measures. We call it ‘Nagarikarige Ondu Saval’ (A challenge to public), which runs from November 1 to January 30, 2020”. Some experts said reporting pattern of cases could be a reason for Karnataka topping the list. The only North Indian states which reported a high number of cases are Uttarakhand (9,574) and Gujarat (8,410). Interestingly, West Bengal, one of the highly populated states, didn’t report a single dengue case.



ATM Fraud: Romanians used Indians to do the Dirty Job, Kept Own Paths Covered


Kolkata: Investigation into the ATM fraud has now established that the main Romanian module was not involved in putting up skimming machines at two ATMs in Kolkata in April this year. In fact, none of them had even travelled to Kolkata between April 7 and April 22. Instead, both skimming machines were fitted by Indians, who then removed them from the ATM machines and sold data to the Romanians at a premium, a rate much higher than when data is auctioned between gangs based in India. “We believe that Romanians have this time employed Indians to do the dirty job, ensuring they have their paths covered,” said a senior IPS officer, adding that analysis of hours of CCTV footage had led cops to arrive at the conclusion. The confirmation came on the same day when a fresh complaint of skimming was reported from the Girish Park area by a 21-year-old student. The complaint of Mahi Pandey, who lost Rs 5,000, indicated that the Romanian gang were still withdrawing money. This is the second time that a case has been reported from north Kolkata, the other being reported from Ultadanga. Since last Sunday, seven police stations have reported 71 such cases. The cops are certain that 55-odd complaints involved skimming while the rest has an element of phishing.



Prima facie, cops had received footage of them withdrawing money from a Delhi ATM. The money belonged to a Punjab National Bank customer of Kolkata. The probe team matched the footage from the PNB ATMs of Jadavpur and Tollygunge Phanri. Repeated matching efforts using latest software turned out to be negative so far. “We are sending the two footage for forensic matching. Once the confirmation comes, we will be certain about our intuition. The last time, it was a positive match, which had helped crack the case,” explained an officer from the anti-bank fraud section. The cops though claimed they had made “due progress” in the probe at the Delhi end. Besides pinpointed technical probe, two leads the eyes that popped out from behind the black pollution masks and the timing of the withdrawals made by the gang in Delhi (early morning or late night) have helped cops narrow down on the suspects in the Capital. The decision by Lalbazar to send a team to Delhi at the earliest had also helped, claimed sources. Police sources said there have several instances when the Indian and Romanian gangs have exchanged data for a premium and had even bought data using the dark web in the past. Cops believe the new Romanian module has managed to get PIN and debit card details of at least a couple of hundred customers from skimmers that they had set up at Jadavpur and Tollygunge Phanri.



Fire Breaks Out in Basement Godown

Firemen battle the blaze that broke out in the basement of the eight-storey building at 83/1A Vivekananda Road on Friday afternoon.



Kolkata: A godown in the basement of an eight-storey building on Vivekananda Road was partially gutted on Friday afternoon. It took firemen more than two and a half hours to bring the blaze under control and efforts were on to bring down the temperature inside till late in the evening. However, nobody was trapped. Employees of SBI’s Vivekananda Road branch on the first floor could safely escape after smoke was detected. The godown at 83/1A Vivekananda Road belongs to TCI Freight and was stocked with combustible material. Since the area is congested, 20 fire engines were sent to the spot. However, only seven were used to battle the flames. “Learning from past incidents, we decided not to take any risk. Only seven tenders were used and the rest were kept on standby to combat any eventuality,” said a fire department official. “The 6,000sqft space was so dark that we couldn’t even find a fire extinguisher or firefighting equipment. Once we have ensured there is no live fire in any pocket, we will carry out a thorough inspection to find out about fire safety preparedness,” said an official. Local councillor Taraknath Chatterjee said the Bagri family owned the building. “Only one member of the family, Amit Bagri, lived here. But he managed to come down safely,” he said. Cops had to shut down one flank of Vivekananda Road to make space for fire tenders.



International News



After Pearl Harbor, Shooting at US Base in Pensacola Kills 4



Pensacola (Florida): Three people were shot dead early on Friday at the Naval Air Station in Pensacola and the gunman was a member of the Saudi Air Force, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida said. The authorities have not publicly named the gunman, who was killed by a sheriff’s deputy. “He was training in aviation,” said Captain Timothy Kinsella Jr, the base’s commanding officer, who declined to comment on whether the shooting is being investigated as an act of terrorism. Saud Kabli, a spokesman for the Saudi Arabia embassy in Washington, said he was aware of the reports but did not have a comment. Four people, including the shooter, were killed in the episode at Naval Air Station Pensacola, the navy and local sheriff’s office said, the second deadly shooting at a US military installation this week.



Eleven people were shot all together, including two sheriff’s deputies who were the first to respond, one of whom killed the shooter. Both the deputies are expected to recover. Investigators and base commanders provided few details about the incident, declining to answer any questions about the shooter’s identity or the weapon used, which played out over two floors in classroom building at a base whose main function is training. In recent weeks, 18 naval aviators and two aircrew members from the Royal Saudi Naval Forces were training with the US navy, including a stint at Pensacola, according to a navy press release. It was not clear if the suspected shooter was part of that delegation. The Pensacola base has long hosted international students for flight training. On Wednesday, a sailor shot three civilians at the historic Pearl Harbor military base in Hawaii, killing two of them before taking his own life.

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