News Flash – 8 May 2017

National News



Mobile smuggling racket busted, 11 customs officers transferred



MUMBAI: Eleven customs officers have been transferred after a surprise inspection at the Sahar air cargo complex found that a group of importers has been smuggling mobile phones and accessories. During a surprise check in April-end, officials of the Central Intelligence Unit of the customs found the consignments were cleared without examination. The consignments were ready to leave the import shed when the officials intervened, a source said. In the past few months, 600 consignments were imported from Hong Kong and cleared through air cargo complex by importers, sources said. The imports were handled by two customs house agents. Around Rs4 crore duty was evaded. Customs investigation found that the addresses of the importers in the records were fake. “All the importers were first timers and such huge imports in a short span should have caught the attention of the officials. Moreover, the Hong Kong based traders have not supplied to anyone except these importers,” a source said. These traders could be shell companies and not the real masterminds, the source added. Chief Commissioner of customs Devender Singh did not respond to a text message.

The importers declared the product and value thus evading duty, an official said. Imports of mobile phones attract a duty of around 28%. In some instances, branded phones were declared as cheap ones as it involves violation of intellectual property rights. Some of the accessories such as chargers did not meet the Indian certifying standards, the official added. A 100% examination of consignment is carried out if traders, instead of manufacturers, supply goods. In the present case, most of the suppliers were traders, not manufacturers. “All imports were physically assessed and examined and not cleared automatically through the electronic facilitation mode. This shows that officers were aware of the imports,” an official said. Meanwhile, officials from the directorate of vigilance inspected the air cargo complex and sought a detailed report from the commissioner. “The vigilance department had suggested transfer of all officials who were part of clearing goods. Everyone except two officers who were assigned a supervisory role were transferred,” a source said.



Taxiing Jet plane hits another at IGI Airport

The tail wing of Jet Airways Flight 9W603, bound for Srinagar, hit the wing of a Jet Airways aircraft bound for Patna (9W730) when the planes were preparing for take-off.


NEW DELHI: Disaster was averted at IGI Airport here on Sunday when the tail wing of Jet Airways Flight 9W603, bound for Srinagar, hit the wing of a Jet Airways aircraft bound for Patna (9W730) when the planes were preparing for take-off. At about 2.48 pm, sources said, when the two aircraft were taxiing to runway 29, the Srinagar-bound plane began to turn and its tail wing struck the wing of the static Patna-bound plane. The tip of Flight 9W603‘s right tail wing broke off and got stuck in the inside rear of the Patna-bound aircraft’s wing, sources said. Both aircraft were guided to the parking bay for examination. The crews of the two planes have been de-rostered pending investigation. All passengers were safe.

“Two Jet Airways flights – 9W603 from Delhi to Srinagar and 9W730 from Delhi to Patna – were involved in a ground incident during taxi while preparing for departure from IGI Airport on May 07, 2017. All guests and crew on board both aircraft are safe and are being taken to the terminal for re-accommodation on subsequent flights,” a Jet Airways spokesperson said. “The aircraft are currently being inspected by the Jet Airways engineering team. The airline has reported the event to the regulatory authorities. Both sets of crew have been de-rostered pending investigation,” the spokesperson added.



Woman lured with car as free gift for e-shopping, duped of Rs 61,000



Mumbai: There’s no such thing as a free lunch, leave alone a free car. A 32- year-old woman working for a hospital in south Mumbai learnt this the hard way recently. The woman, who had received a courier about being the lucky winner of a car for shopping on an online portal, ended up losing Rs 60,500. The police said this is the latest trick in the fraudster’s book. A day after she received the courier, the woman got a call from a person who identified himself as Rajesh Gupta and claimed to be from the shopping portal. He asked for personal details to get the car registered in her name and asked her to deposit cash in one bank account for insurance and transportation fees, said a police officer. “To her, it seemed so genuine that she deposited the cash,” he said. She was left disillusioned after she failed to get delivery of the car. She contacted the portal’s office only to learn that they had not come up with any such scheme nor was any Rajesh Gupta working with them, said the officer. A case of cheating has been registered at the cybercrime police station.



Fire on banks of Bellandur Lake worries residents; authorities says it is minor



BENGALURU: Bellandur Lake, it appears, is never out of the news. On Sunday, a fire was reported from the banks of the lake in southeast Bengaluru. According to Mahendra Jain, additional chief secretary, who visited the waterbody, it was an accidental fire caused by people cutting dry grass at the spot. “When I reached the lakebed around 4.30pm, there was some smoke, but barely any evidence of a fire. The flames spread over a tiny patch — 50ft x100ft — of the massive 900-acre lake. I spoke to people and it appears the fire might have resulted from a stray cigarette or a beedi butt. It was not intentional nor related to the lake’s pollution,” he said.

The incident took place on the edge of the lake bordering the BWSSB sewage treatment plant and Belur-Nagasandra Road. Seema, a resident who lives on the opposite side of the lake, said the fire may have started out small but the flames soon spread. “The fire started around 12.30pm and we all saw it; it lasted for 2-3 hours. However, once the flames starting growing, we decided to inform the authorities. We had hoped such incidents wouldn’t occur after the NGT order. On February 16 too, a portion of the lakebed caught fire. We are concerned about the lake,” she said. Sarfaraz Khan, joint commissioner, health and SWM, BBMP, said the civic agency would, on Monday, meet farmers and grass-cutters working in the area to discuss the effects of such activities.



50 homeless as fire breaks out in South Delhi



NEW DELHI: Over 50 families were rendered homeless after a fire broke out at a slum in south Delhi‘s RK Puram Sector 9 on Sunday. The occupants of the shanties were all labourers and said that they have lost all their belongings and cash in the fire. Fire officials said that 10 fire tenders were rushed to the spot and the fire was doused within an hour. No casualties were reported. A short circuit is said to have started the fire. Before the fire tenders could reach the spot, locals from the area started filling buckets of water and poured them on the houses to douse it. According to cops, all the residents of the shanties were evacuated in time and no casualties were reported. The fire was brought under control within an hour.



At 44.5°C, Gandhinagar hottest city in Gujarat



AHMEDABAD: Most parts of the state continued to reel under severe heat wave and maximum temperature ranged between 41 and 44 degree celsius. The state capital Gandhinagar recorded the highest maximum temperature of 44.5 degree celsius on Sunday. According to India Meteorological Department (IMD), the mercury in 11 towns crossed the 40 degree celsius mark on Sunday. The maximum temperature during the day remained above normal in many parts of Gujarat including Saurashtra and Kutch. Apart from Gandhinagar, Surendranagar was the second hottest town in the state with 44 degree Celsius maximum temperature. Ahmedabad, too, witnessed scorching heat during the day as the maximum temperature shot to 43.3 degree celsius which was 1.9 degree above normal. The minimum temperature was recorded at 26.0 degree celsius which was 0.3 degree below normal. Relative humidity ranged between 49% and 17% on Sunday.

The life was thrown out of gear in the city with people preferring to remain indoors even on Sunday to avoid the extreme heat. The hot winds continued to blow all through the day and even the evening could not bring any respite from the heat. Looking at the current weather conditions, the IMD officials said there would not be any respite from the heat in days to come. The officials said that the day temperature would remain between 42 and 43 degree celsius at several places in Gujarat. The day temperature in Ahmedabad is also likely to hover around 43 degree celsius for the next two to three days. Meanwhile, doctors have advised that special care should be taken of the elderly and children, as they tend to get dehydrated even while being indoors. They should be continuously given liquids. Medical care should be sought for symptoms like loose motions and vomiting.



International News



Wildfire spreads in southern Georgia, forces evacuations



FOLKSTON, Ga: Seventy-nine people in St. George in Georgia‘s southernmost county have been evacuated after a wildfire in the Okefenokee Swamp began encroaching onto private property. West Mims Public Information Officer Michael Davis told The Associated Press on Saturday evening that firefighters will be battling the blaze, on the Georgia-Florida line, through the night. Davis says that there are 60 bulldozers, eight helicopters and three heavy air tankers on the scene to help fight the fire in the tiny, rural town. The wildfire started by lightning on April 6 and has since burned more than 150 square miles (389 sq. kilometers) on public lands. It has burned almost entirely within the Okefenokee refuge boundaries — and some public forestland in north Florida – for the past month, but escaped fire breaks around the refuge on Friday and has burned an estimated 1,000 acres on private land. Earlier Saturday the St. George emergency manager said the entire unincorporated community of about 2,000 people was under a mandatory evacuation order, according to West Mims Public Information Officer Michael Davis.

Davis said the emergency manager later clarified that the evacuation was not mandatory and that only the people in the homes closest to the fire were asked to leave. The fire is now within 3 miles (5 kilometers) of the community, Davis said. The area, on the Georgia-Florida line, is also under a dense smoke advisory that is expected to impact visibility in the towns of St. George, Callahan, Ratliff and northern Duval County near the Jacksonville International airport. A temporary shelter has been opened in the gymnasium at the Folkston Elementary School. Boat right said it will stay open indefinitely. “We’re not sure what’s going to happen right now, so it’s open until further notice,” he said. He encouraged residents to bring whatever personal items they might need for an extended shelter stay.



Twin blasts in Philippine capital kill at least two



MANILA: Two explosions in the Philippine capital on Saturday night killed at least two people and injured four others, police and witnesses said. The blasts occurred in the same area in Quiapo, where there are big slums, within two and a half hours of each other, according to police and an AFP photographer who witnessed the second explosion.



Pakistan International Airlines pilot sleeps on flight, risks 300 lives

Captain Amir Akhtar Hashmi taking a nap on the London-bound flight.


KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines has taken a senior pilot off-duty for allegedly sleeping on a London-bound flight, risking the lives of over 300 passengers on board by handing over the aircraft to a trainee. Captain Amir Akhtar Hashmi had taken a two-and-a-half-hour nap in the business class passenger cabin on April 26 soon after flight PK-785 took off from Islamabad for London, the Dawn reported. The airline was initially reluctant to take action against Hashmi, a former president of the highly influential Pakistan Air Lines Pilots Association (PALPA), but later caved in to “pressure from above”. PIA spokesperson Danyal Gilani said that Hashmi was off from flying duty due to the investigation under way, but refused to share any further details. Another first officer, Mohammad Asad Ali, who was under training, was also in the cockpit.

Hashmi, an instructor, gets paid over Rs 1,00,000 each month to train pilots, and was supposed to train Ali Hassan Yazdani during the flight. However, instead of performing his duty, Hashmi went for a quick lie-down, the report said. The flight was carrying over 305 passengers – 293 in the economy class and 12 in the club class. The development has surfaced at a time when a top PIA official, facing serious allegations of corruption, left the country yesterday after he was given a special exemption by the Interior Ministry to fly abroad for a month even though his name is still on the country’s no-fly list. Bernd Hildenbrand, the suspended CEO of the national flag carrier is under investigation on charges of corruption amounting to billions of rupees. The Federal Investigation Agency is probing the corruption charges against him.



Gas leak in coal mine in central China kills 18 workers

In this October 31, 2016 file photo, rescuers work at Jinshangou Coal Mine in Chongqing, southwest China.


BEIJING: Eighteen workers were killed in a coal mine accident in central China’s Hunan Province, local authorities said on Monday. As many as 55 people were working in the mining shaft when a gas leak took place at the Jilinqiao colliery in Huangfengqiao Township, Youxian County on Saturday. The rescuers brought the remaining 37 miners to safety and rushed them to hospital, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. Investigators are still testing substances in the poisonous gas. Police have detained those responsible for accident pending investigation China, which is the world’s largest coal producer, witnesses frequent deadly accidents in mines. In March, 17 coal miners were killed when a lift used to move workers fell down a shaft in northeastern Heilongjiang province.

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