News Flash – 7 March 2018

National News



Woman killed school security guard with new boyfriend’s help



NEW DELHI: The murder of a security guard at a convent school in Seemapuri has been solved with the arrest of his girlfriend and her male friend. The woman, Anita, claimed that she had grown bored of her relationship with the victim, Devi Lal (42), and decided to kill him to start life afresh. She had also planned to rob him presuming that he had a lot of money. Lal was found dead with blunt injuries on his head and his wrist slit. His mobile phone and the locks of the school gate were missing to make it look like a burglary attempt gone awry. “The killers were tracked down by scanning the call details of the victim. It was found that he had talked with the woman a few hours before the incident. During questioning, she admitted to having planned the murder,” said DCP (Shahdara) Nupur Prasad. The 28-year-old accused woman said that she was in a relationship with Lal for a few years. He had gifted her expensive items, got her a job and even proposed marriage. In the meantime, the woman met another man, Sajid Khan, a resident of Shahdara. Khan had also promised to marry her so that she could look after his six children.


They then hatched a plan to kill him and rob his money. On March 3, Lal called the woman and she offered to meet him inside the school at night. After she entered the school premises, she helped Khan sneak in as well. While she spoke to Lal, Khan hid in a room nearby. After a few minutes, the woman took Lal near the room and Khan hit him on his head with an iron rod. When Lal fell unconscious, the woman slit his wrist to make it look like a robbery attempt. She took Rs 61,500 that he had collected from the tenants of the plot and his mobile phone before fleeing. They removed the locks of the school gate and threw them on the way. It was found that the CCTV cameras at the school were switched off after the students had left the premises. The school authorities told police that they did this to save power. Action may be taken against them as well.



Fire breaks out in Mumbai’s Kalachowkie godown


MUMBAI: A major fire erupted in a godown at Kalachowkie on Tuesday afternoon. According to civic officials, the flames are learned to have started around 11.54am from the godown of Eastern Metal Company located at Dattaram Lad Marg. Four fire engines were rushed to the spot. Firefighting operations are currently in progress.



12 masked dacoits strike gold unit, escape with 5kg booty



HYDERABAD: In a daring heist carried out in broad daylight, 12 armed dacoits struck at a gold jewellery manufacturing unit in Petlaburj and decamped with 5kg gold on Tuesday. The incident took place just a few meters away from the City Armed Reserve (CAR) headquarters. The dacoits fled after the crime, but not before taking CCTV cameras and the recording unit with them. Investigators said they suspect the involvement of a few workers associated with the unit because the culprits had complete knowledge about the premises of the unit. “A few suspects have been picked up and are being interrogated by the Charminar police. A case has been booked and the investigation is under way,” said a police officer. Twelve masked men barged into the jewellery manufacturing unit owned by Saheb Das and Dipankar, both hailing from West Bengal. Witnesses said the accused gained entry into the premises where gold jewellery is designed and threatened workers with daggers and guns.


During the hour-long heist, the dacoits, who were speaking in Hindi and Telugu, tied the hands and legs of some workers and also gagged them for trying to raise an alarm. Saheb Das, a jewellery designer collects raw gold from various jewellery shops across the city and designs jewellery for them before handing it back. Witnesses said the dacoits had backpacks on them. Immediately after the offence all of them fled from the scene, taking the CCTV unit with them. After the incident, the owners of the unit informed Charminar police, upon which a team of senior police officials, including DCP South Zone V Satyanarayana along with the CLUES team visited the crime scene and spoke with workers, who were confined in a room. During the preliminary investigation, police found that few workers, who were part of the unit might have colluded with others and carried out the crime. “We have formed 12 special teams to nab the culprits and also have leads in the case. We are confident about detecting the case very soon, ” said Satyanarayana.



Confirmed: Deadlier dengue strains now circulating in Kolkata


KOLKATA: The diagnosis is out and it does not sound very pretty for the city as it heads for another season of vector-borne diseases. Kolkata and Bengal are now more prone to the more dangerous dengue serotypes II and IV instead of serotypes I and III, which have hitherto been more predominant in the region, and this may be the cause for the sharp spike in the number of dengue deaths last year. Experts have suspected this since dengue outbreaks started turning more frequent and deadly since the start of this decade. But an Indian Council of Medical Research analysis of blood samples collected from the city and the rest of Bengal puts an official stamp on this. It has revealed that the prevalence of serotype II has jumped from 26% in 2016 to 73% in 2017. And the prevalence of serotype IV, believed to be the most potent of the dengue variants, has jumped from 11.4% in 2016 to 18% last year. Various estimates have put the number of dengue deaths in Kolkata in 2017 at around 50 and experts say the spike in the prevalence of the more dangerous strains may be the principal reason behind the spike in deaths. The comparative serotype data analysis, done by ICMR, was unveiled at a Swasthya Bhavan meeting last week between representatives of private hospitals and health officials. It confirmed the apprehension that Kolkata was now confronted with new strains that could not be effectively countered by our immune system. “Our systems are conditioned to generate antibodies for serotypes I and III, which used to be predominant till recently. But, with the viral profile changing, we are now more vulnerable to dengue. Our antibodies cannot yet counter dengue of serotypes II and IV effectively.


This also explains why haemorrhagic dengue was so frequent last year, often leading to deaths,” microbiologist Irfaan Akhtar said. Serotypes I and III, which were more common till recently, have slid sharply. Serotype I was responsible for 52% of the cases in 2016; it dipped to just 3.3% last year. Serotype III cases plunged from 9% in 2016 to 4% in 2017. Director of health services Ajay Chakrabarty admitted that the data comparison revealed a worrying trend. “Serotype IV has gone up, which probably explains the rise in the number of deaths triggered by platelet loss. The blood samples were analysed by ICMR. Our immune system is not ready to counter the new strains for they have hitherto been rare in our state. This is also the reason why many had repeat dengue attacks last year, which was unusual,” he said. R N Tagore International Institute of Cardiac Sciences consultant Arindam Biswas agreed: “A large number had dengue for a second time last year, which showed that their immune system was not ready to counter the virus. A second attack itself is dangerous; but, with serotype IV triggering a platelet drop, the combined effect has been disastrous,” he added. The problem is that a section of experts feels that the worse is yet to come. “Serotype IV has just started showing an upswing. There may be a sharper jump next year in the number of cases it triggers. The consequences then may be even worse,” Akhtar said. The next three-four years would be crucial for Kolkata and Bengal, Chakrabarty felt. “We must try and control dengue epidemics till we grow a resistance to the new strains,” he said.



Gujarat: 30 killed after wedding party truck falls off bridge, government announces compensation



Ahmedabad: A truck carrying 60 people from a marriage party overturned and fell into a drain on Rajkot-Bhavnagar highway. Initial investigation suggests that the driver lost control causing the truck to swerve off the bridge and falls eight metres on to a dry riverbed. 30 people have been reported dead and the injured have been reported to a local hospital. Meanwhile, Gujarat government has announced a compensation of Rs 4 lakh for the families of the deceased and a probe has also been ordered into the incident.



International News



Russian transport plane crashes in Syria killing all 39 on board



MOSCOW: A Russian military transport plane crashed in Syria on Tuesday, killing all 39 people on board, Russian news agencies quoted the defence ministry as saying, sharply raising the death toll from the Kremlin’s intervention in the Syrian war. President Vladimir Putin, who is running for re-election later this month, declared in December that the Russian mission in Syria was largely completed, but casualties continue to mount. The defence ministry was cited as saying that the plane, a Soviet-designed An-26, crashed at Russia’s Hmeymim air base in Latakia Province and that initial information suggested the incident may have been caused by a technical fault. “According to the latest updates, the An-26 transport aircraft, which crashed while landing at Hmeymim airbase, was carrying 33 passengers and six crew. All of them were members of the Russian Armed Forces,” Interfax news agency quoted the defence ministry as saying. “The crew and the passengers were killed”. Originally, Russian news agencies cited the defence ministry as saying that 32 passengers and crew were killed in the crash, but this was later revised. Russian state TV cited military officials as saying the aircraft had not been brought down by enemy fire. It said the crash happened as the plane came into land at Hmeymim, and that it came down around 500 metres (550 yards) short of the runway. Putin, on an election campaign stop in the Ural mountains, was briefed on the crash via telephone by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu and expressed his condolences to the relatives and colleagues of those killed, the Kremlin said.


Costly campaign: Russia’s armed intervention in Syria turned the tide of the conflict in favour of Putin’s ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It has been portrayed inside Russia as a display of Russia’s resurgent military might. It has, though, come at a cost. According to a Reuters tally based on official announcements before Tuesday’s crash, 44 Russian service personnel have died in Syria since the operation started in September 2015. In one incident last month, Syrian rebels shot down a Russian warplane. The pilot ejected and died on the ground in a gunfight with rebels. In addition to those deaths, in December 2016 a plane carrying a Russian military orchestra to Syria crashed in the Black Sea, killing all 92 people on board. Under a decree signed by Putin, the Russian authorities do not have to disclose all deaths of service personnel in Syria because they are classified as a state secret. The official toll does not include private military contractors who, according to people familiar with the deployment, are in Syria fighting in support of the Russian operation. Moscow denies they exist. About 300 men working for a Kremlin-linked Russian private military firm were either killed or wounded in Syria last month when their column was attacked by US-led coalition forces, according to three sources familiar with the matter. Russian officials said a handful of Russian citizens may have been killed in that incident, but said they were not members of Russia’s armed forces. Opinion polls indicate most Russians support the Syria operation. But Dmitry Gudkov, a former member of parliament and a member of the anti-Putin opposition, said the Kremlin had questions to answer about the campaign. “How does the draw-down of forces look now? For the sake of what are these people dying? When will this senseless war end?” Gudkov said in a social media post.



23 migrants likely dead on trip from Libya to Italy: IOM



GENEVA: The International Organization for Migration said on Tuesday that 21 migrants were missing, and had probably drowned, after two boats, a rubber dinghy and a wooden boat, set off from Libya for Italy and had to be rescued. IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a regular UN briefing in Geneva that all 132 people on the rubber dinghy had been rescued, but 21 were missing from the 51 on the wooden boat, and two dead infants had reportedly been discovered on board, bringing the likely death toll to 23.



Magnitude 6.7 quake hits Papua New Guinea



New Guinea: An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.7 hit Papua New Guinea, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) said. The quake was recorded 130km (80 miles) east northeast of Lake Murray at 1413 GMT at a depth of about 33km, according to the USGS website.



Japanese volcano erupts, dozens of flights grounded

An aerial view shows Shinmoedake peak erupting between Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, southwestern Japan on March 6, 2018.



TOKYO: A volcano in southern Japan that appeared in a James Bond film has erupted, shooting smoke and ash thousands of metres into the sky and grounding dozens of flights to and from a nearby airport. The Meteorological Agency says the Shinmoedake volcano erupted violently several times on Tuesday, shooting up ash and smoke up to 2,300 metres in its biggest explosion since 2011. It said some lava was rising from inside a crater at the volcano. The volcano, seen in the 1967 James Bond film “You Only Live Twice,” has had smaller eruptions since last week. Entry to the 1,421-kilometre-high volcano was restricted. About 80 flights in and out of the nearby Kagoshima airport were cancelled. Japan has 110 active volcanoes.

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