News Flash – 7 July 2017

National News



Card, online payments made safer; customer liability cut



MUMBAI: Electronic payments have become safer for consumers with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introducing the concept of ‘zero liability’ and ‘limited liability’ for bank customers for any card or online fraud. The central bank has also made it mandatory for banks to register all customers for text message alerts and permit reporting of unauthorized transactions through a reply to the alert message. The proposal to limit customer liability in a fraudulent transaction was floated in a draft circular in August 2016. The RBI has now come out with final guidelines and sought to make rules stricter for banks than originally envisaged. Under the new directive issued on Thursday, the onus has been placed on banks to link mobile numbers with bank accounts. “With the increased thrust of financial inclusion and customer protection and considering the recent surge in customer grievances relating to unauthorized transactions, the customer liability in these circumstances has been reviewed,” said the RBI. The central bank’s circular covers online transactions as well as face-to-face transactions in stores using electronic payments. Besides asking banks to enable replies to text messages containing transaction alerts, the RBI has asked them to allow reporting of unauthorized transactions on their home page. Also fraud reporting will be possible through other channels including phone banking, SMS, email, call centre and interactive voice response.


A customer will have zero liability in respect of a fraudulent transaction if there is contributory fraud or negligence on the part of the bank. The customer will also not be liable if there is a third party breach, without bank involvement, which is reported to the bank within three working days of receiving communication regarding the unauthorized transaction. “Banks have been compensating customers for third-party frauds. What is new is the concept of limited liability. We are not clear how this will apply when the customer has shared his password,” said an official with a private bank. In cases where the loss is due to negligence of the customer, like sharing one’s password, the RBI has said the customer will bear the entire loss until he reports the unauthorized transaction to the bank. He will cease to be responsible once he has reported the unauthorized transaction. Similarly, where the loss is caused by a third party, the customer will be liable for the transaction value if he fails to report the fraudulent transaction within four to seven days of receiving the alert from the bank. However, the maximum liability of the customer in the case of the above two transactions will be Rs 5,000 for basic savings bank account. For most other accounts, it will be Rs 10,000. For credit cards with limits above Rs 5 lakh and for current, cash credit and overdraft accounts of limits above Rs 25 lakh the maximum liability will be Rs 25,000.



Delhi: Work to set up 1.5 lakh CCTVs to begin from October



NEW DELHI: The work of installing CCTV cameras across the city—a major poll promise of the AAP government—is expected to begin from October. A budget of around Rs 250 crore has been set aside for procurement and installation of 1.5 lakh cameras in the first phase. PWD minister Satyendar Jain has written to all MLAs, asking them to identify spots in their constituencies where these cameras will be installed. “At present, we are looking at installing 2,000 CCTV cameras per constituency. The MLAs have been asked to identify spots in residential areas and market places where these can be set up. We have asked them to provide us with the lists by August 15,” Jain said. “Work of installing the cameras will start in October and it will take about four to six months to complete this phase”. PWD has been asked to complete all paperwork, including tendering, by October 1. A senior official said that the agency had been asked to work out the details of the CCTV installation at the end of 2015, but after over a year of planning and tendering, it was finally decided that MLAs will identify the locations.


Senior government officials said that the project will be modelled on the work done in the CM’s constituency. “In the chief minister’s constituency, New Delhi, more than 1,000 CCTVs have been installed using the MLA local area development funds. The monitoring of these CCTVs has also been decentralised. In other constituencies, MLAs have got some number of CCTVs installed using MLA funds. Under this proposal, they can give us up to 2,000 locations where they would like the cameras to be set up…Our focus will be residential areas and market places since Delhi Police has been getting CCTVs installed on main roads,” said an official. The cameras will be set up by PWD whereas their maintenance will be the responsibility of the vendor, which supplies them. The monitoring will be carried out by market associations or RWAs through decentralised control rooms. Footage will be kept for 30 days and whenever required, it will be shared with police. AAP had promised to install 10-15 lakh CCTVs in the city, and more in DTC buses. The project for buses is yet to kick off. Jain said that in the subsequent phases, “many more CCTVs will be installed”.



Auto driver duped of Rs 49,000 at ATM kiosk in Mumbai



MUMBAI: A 65-year-old auto rickshaw driver has fallen victim to a fraudster who siphoned off his money after lending help to deposit Rs 49,000 in a money deposit machine at an ATM kiosk on Wednesday. The incident occurred when the victim stopped at the unmanned ATM of a nationalized bank near Mithibai Junction in Vile Parle to deposit money into his son’s account to pay his college fees. Juhu police has sought the closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage to identify the accused. The incident occurred at around 11.30am, when the Mira Road resident Girish Koli found the ATM that has got the facility to deposit money. In the complaint, Koli said, “I was in the premise of the bank’s ATM when another man stepped in. I was searching the way to deposit money when the person said he knows how to deposit and took money from my hand. I gave him the account number of my son”.


Minutes after the money was deposited, Koli called his son and checked whether he received the money. Koli lodged the complaint when his son did not receive money three hours after the money was deposited. “The unknown person instead of depositing the money in Koli’s son’s account he (accused) seems to have deposited to his own account. We have sought details from the bank regarding the account to which the money was deposited,” said the investigators. Juhu police senior inspector Sunil Ghosalkar confirmed the incident. “The victim has gone to deposit money when the accused followed him and duped him,” said Ghosalkar. A case of cheating has been registered against the unidentified man.



Staff protest hits metro operations across Bengaluru

Metro station at Majestic shut following staff protest.



BENGALURU: Thousands of commuters across the city, who arrived at various Metro stations to catch their trains to various destinations were welcomed by shut doors on Friday morning. Metro operations, which were supposed to start at 5 am, have remained non-starter in the wake of protest undertaken by Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) staff. Speaking to TOI, UA Vasanth Rao, chief public relations officer, BMRCL said there was a tussle between their staff and Karnataka State Industrial Security Force personnel on Thursday following which few staff members have been arrested. “Metro staff are demanding release of their colleagues and decided not to attend work until then. We are trying to resolve the issue and resume train operations as early as possible,” he added. Metro staff on the other hand are staging a protest at Byappanahalli metro station in East Bengaluru and their colleagues are supporting them by not attending the work. As a routine, first train operations from all four directions, namely Byappanahalli, Nagasandra, Mysuru Road and Yelachenahalli start at 5 am. Around 3 lakh commuters are dependent on Namma Metro network spread across 42 kms in the city.



Drug alarm: Telangana government in a huddle, bans cell phones in class, warns parents



HYDERABAD: State’s education department conducted a brainstorming session on Thursday in the backdrop of shocking police revelations about rampant drug abuse by students, particularly from elite schools. After a key meeting with district education officers and senior officials of the department, education minister Kadiyam Srihari announced no school student will be allowed to carry a mobile phone into classrooms. He also cautioned parents, requesting them to rethink what they equip their children while sending them to school or college. Srihari, also deputy chief minister, said it was time for parents to spare a thought before gifting children mobile phones, credit cards and even bikes. Parents must watch out for signs of behavioral changes in their children, like skipping homework or failing to keep pace with academics, said Srihari.


Srihari made it clear that no school student will be allowed to carry a cell phone into the classroom. The minister, however, said they can use their mobile either in principal’s room or outside the classroom. He directed district education officers to strictly implement these orders on the ground. Srihari said while responsibility for well-being of children rests with parents and educational institutions, the government on its part, will punish those involved in drug rackets. “The government is issuing specific directions to managements of schools and colleges. We also have the responsibility of not triggering panic among parents. Investigating agencies and media must exhibit restraint on this issue,” the education minister said. Any suspicious activity near schools of colleges must be immediately informed to the police, he said.



Kolkata: Unsafe buildings, flyover under 24X7 surveillance

Families from 42 Strand Road being moved into hotels.



KOLKATA: The two houses on Brabourne Road — 42, Strand Road and 2, Raja Woodmunt Street — fell silent amid the hustle and bustle of Burrabazar and looked haunted on Thursday. KMRC, the implementing agency of East-West Metro, had vacated the buildings and shifted all the residents to a nearby hotel a day before. On Thursday, the entire area – the evacuated houses, space below and above the flyover — was put under round-the-clock CCTV surveillance. The Afcons engineers were found busy taking periodic counts of different safety parameters, including soil settlement, tilting, subsidence, vibrations. If any of the parameters go beyond the permissible limits while the tunnel-boring machine (TBM) passes below Brabourne Road, immediate mitigation measures will be adopted. The TBM has already started boring and will be right below Brabourne Road flyover on Friday night. While the entire area has been kept under watch, the two buildings are high on the priority list. Apart from ensuring no one intrudes into these two buildings, the buildings are monitored so that any attempt of sabotage can be foiled. “These buildings are highly litigated. Some owners even want these buildings to be razed. Since the building is in our custody, we want to ensure its full security,” said an engineer.


The Afcons engineers have carried out meticulous search in these two buildings to ensure that not a single person stayed inside. On Wednesday night, they evicted 18 Burrabazar porters who managed to sneak into the house to catch a nap. On Thursday, powerful search lights were installed inside the buildings and above the flyover. “We will monitor the vital parameters of these buildings and the flyover for next the one and a half months, long after the TBM passes this unsafe zone. Before the passage of TBM, it will be a hourly reading and at the time passage, the reading will be taken every 15 minutes. We will record slightest distress on the structure and keep taking mitigation measures till there is no more settlement of these buildings,” said an engineer. Apart from ensuring the stability of the unsafe buildings, great care is being taken to measure the structural strength of the flyover. Sophisticated meters have been installed on either side of each pier. “These meters are linked online with our server. So we are getting minute-by-minute reading of structural issues,” he added. Meanwhile, the evacuees of these two buildings, away in a hotel on M G Road, are unaware of the goings-on at their homes. “We really don’t know what is going on in our houses. We are confident that our houses are in safe hands. We are thankful to Afcons engineers, who did everything to ensure our comfortable stay in the hotel,” said Shreya Dubey, a resident of 42, Strand Road.



Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation calls off strike



CHENNAI: The strike by the Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation’s has been called off, and theatres will start functioning from Friday (July 7) morning, said the federation president Abirami Ramanathan on Thursday. Theatre owners suspended movie screenings from July 3+ as there was “no clarity” on tax amount that would be levied after the Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into effect on July 1. The primary issue of theatre owners was that the Tamil Nadu government had not specified if it would levy entertainment tax on top of the GST. “The government has told us that it will form a committee with eight people from our (theatre owners) side and eight people from the government’s side, which will discuss whether there should be a corporation tax at all, and if so, how much,” he added. “Our demand is still that the local administration tax be removed,” he said.



International News



76 police officers hurt in clashes with anti-G20 protesters: Official

Police officers are silhouetted by fire lit by demonstrator’s



HAMBURG: At least 76 police officers were hurt on Thursday in clashes with anti-G20 protesters in Hamburg, German authorities said, as a demonstration dubbed “Welcome to Hell” erupted in violence shortly after it began. “Police are still being attacked,” said a spokesman for Hamburg’s police force, adding that most of the officers hurt sustained light injuries. Demonstrations turned violent late Thursday, as German police clashed with a group of masked anti-capitalist activists hurling bottles and stones. What should have been a peaceful march by around 12,000 people in Hamburg protesting against globalisation was halted as police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse around 1,000 far-left militants. Police called with loudspeakers on protestors to remove their masks but this was ignored and after more objects were thrown, authorities decided to separate them from the other protestors, police said on Twitter. “Unfortunately it has come to the first clashes. We are implementing corresponding measures,” read another tweet. Protesters were seen scrambling to leave the scene, while others defiantly stood in the way of water cannon trucks as they moved in surrounded by riot police with helmets and batons. Police tweeted a photo of a car and flames and said shop windows were smashed. The main “Welcome to Hell” march was then called off but thousands of people remained as night fell and demonstrators engaged in smaller skirmishes in the back streets of Germany’s second city, AFP correspondents said.


Up to 100,000 demonstrators are expected before and during the two-day Group of 20 meeting gathering Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China starting on Friday. There were 20,000 police on standby together with armoured vehicles, helicopters and surveillance drones. A holding centre for detainees has been set up in a former hardware store with space for 400 people. “War, climate change, exploitation are the result of the capitalist system that the G20 stands for and which 20,000 police are here to defend,” demonstrator Georg Ismail told AFP. Major events like the G20 have in recent years usually been held in remote locations, but Germany was forced by its logistical demands to host it in a large city with a big venue and dozens of hotels. Hamburg is desperate to avoid a rerun of the kind of major clashes seen at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa or the Frankfurt opening of the new European Central Bank building in 2015. In Hamburg, some 30 demonstrations have been announced, organised by anti-globalisation activists and environmentalists, trade unions, students and Church groups. “Welcome to Hell” organiser Andreas Blechschmidt said the motto is “a combative message… but it’s also meant to symbolise that G20 policies worldwide are responsible for hellish conditions like hunger, war and the climate disaster”. The main focus of attention inside the G20 venue on the first day of the summit on Friday will be Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Putin.


Speaking in the Polish capital earlier on Thursday in front of 10,000 people, Trump didn’t mince his words about Moscow. “We urge Russia to cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself,” he said. Arriving in Hamburg later Thursday, Trump headed to talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has vowed to defend the 2015 Paris climate accord despite the US leader’s decision to withdraw. Merkel said before meeting the US president that Trump was facing isolation within the G20 over the issue — one of several topics where the new US leader is likely to clash with his fellow leaders. “We are not going to paper over the differences but rather, we will call discord. Because there are also different opinions on some important questions,” Merkel said. Trump held a dinner with leaders of South Korea and Japan, focusing on North Korea’s successfully test of an intercontinental ballistic missile this week. He tweeted afterwards only that the meeting was “great”. In his first public remarks since the test, Trump said in Warsaw that Pyongyang’s military saber-rattling must bring “consequences” and warned he was considering a “severe” response to its “very, very bad behaviour”.



2 dead in suicide bombing in central Syria



DAMASCUS, Syria: A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of a bus station in the central city of Hama on Thursday, killing at least two people and wounding 11, according to Syrian state-run TV. The midday explosion occurred at the usually busy station where buses depart to Mesiaf, in the Hama countryside. Explosions are rare in the city, which is controlled by President Bashar Assad‘s forces. Al-Ikhbariya TV quoted Hama governor, Mohammad al-Hazouri, saying that a suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance of the bus station while being inspected by security forces, killing two women and wounding 11 others, two of them in critical condition. The TV had said earlier that the explosion killed three people in total. It was not immediately clear if the third was the suicide bomber. Hama saw some of the largest protests against Assad in 2011 that were quickly quelled. The city has remained under the control of government forces throughout the country’s civil war, now in its seventh year. Assad, who rarely travels outside his capital stronghold of Damascus, attended prayers at a mosque in Hama on the first day of the three-day Muslim al-Fitr holiday late last month.

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