News Flash – 9 January 2018

National News



Karnataka outbreak: 11 Maha districts on bird flu alert



MUMBAI: Eleven districts of the state have been put on alert for bird flu after some areas of neighbouring Karnataka reported an outbreak of the avian influenza virus. Animal husbandry department officials said that nearly 7,000 samples were checked in the state and none of them had tested positive. “Since these eleven districts are close to the border and bird flu is a communicable disease we have issued an alert,” said an official, adding that there was no reason for consumers to “panic”. “The surveillance is part of precaution measure,” said the official. The parts of the state put on alert also provide meat to Mumbai and nearby areas. “The demand for eggs and meat is high during the winters and so we have upped our surveillance,” said an official. On December 29, eight birds died in a chicken shop in Bhuvaneshwari Nagar in Bangalore urban area and reports from National Institute of High Security Animal Diseases, Bhopal, confirmed that the deaths were due to H5N1 influenza virus. Officials in the department said that they were trying to secure more information from districts like Solapur, Kolhapur, Sangli and Latur which are located near the Karnataka border. “We are in close contact with the district level staff on the issue and fresh samples will be drawn every day and testing will continue,’ said the official. Officials said that there has not been a single case of bird flu in the state since 2006. In 2006, Maharashtra had reported cases of H5N1 virus in Nandurbar and Jalgaon districts, and over eight lakh birds had to be culled to control the spread of the infection. “We have also come out with guidelines every year to keep a check on the disease,’ said an official.



Cold wave continues in national capital, flights and trains hit


NEW DELHI: Cold conditions prevailed in the national capital with the city recording a maximum temperature of 21 degrees & minimum temperature of 7 degrees, while dense fog led to disruption of flight and train schedule. Eight flights and 45 trains were delayed, while over 22 trains were cancelled and 4 rescheduled in view of fog. Yesterday, the maximum temperature settled at 21 degrees Celsius, while the minimum was 5.0 degrees Celsius. Delhities woke up to a moderately foggy morning with maximum temperature at 21 degrees & minimum temperatures at 7 degrees.



Fire erupts in sessions court building in Mumbai, no casualty


MUMBAI: A fire erupted on the third floor of the sessions court building on Monday morning. The fire broke out at 7am in the session’s court, which is located near the Mumbai University campus in south Mumbai. Four fire engines and water tankers along with an ambulance were immediately rushed to the spot. Civic officials said that the fire started from the third floor court room and kept spreading rapidly. The roof of the court is said to have been damaged in the incident. Local Shiv Sena Corporator Sujata Sanap said that since it was dark as electrical equipment were switched off, firefighting was a challenge for fire officials. “However they were trying hard to ensure that none of the documents were damaged in the fire. Wooden furniture in the room as well as the roof have been damaged,” she said. The fire has been brought under control now. Civic officials said the reason of the blaze appears to be the ongoing wielding work being done on the premises by the PWD.



Five men killed after fire breaks out in Bengaluru bar

A fire official inspects Kailash Bar and Restaurant near KR market on Monday.



BENGALURU: Four staffers and a former employee were killed in a fire that broke out at a bar and restaurant where they were employed in the early hours of Monday. The five men were asleep at Kailash Bar and Restaurant, located on the ground floor of the four-storey Kumbaara Sangha building in Kalasipalya, near KR Market, when the fire broke out. Although accommodation had been provided for the employees on the second floor, it was infested with bedbugs and the five had chosen to sleep in the bar.



The dead have been identified as Rangaswamy alias Kariyanna, 23, from Gubbi in Tumakuru district; Prasad Pandaiah, 20, from Tumakuru; Manjunath Gowda, 45, from Hirisave in Hassan district; Keerti Kumar, 24, from Mandya; and Mahesh Mahalingegowda, 35, from Tumakuru. Fire brigade officials said the smoke turned the bar into a gas chamber and the men had appeared to have made attempts to locate the keys and open the rolling shutter door of the bar. Of the five, police said three suffocated to death. The other two — Mahesh and Keerti — had burns and the cause of death will be known after the autopsy. It was not clear when the fire, suspected by firemen to be the result of a short circuit, broke out. Security guards of a building nearby noticed the fire and alerted police on night patrol around 3.05am. By 3.10am, two fire tenders and a water bowser with 20 personnel were at the spot. The fire was brought under control within an hour, but the scale of the tragedy came to light only later since the building had not suffered any serious damage. Also, there was none from the bar management around to alert the firemen and police of the presence of the men either. Firemen had the shock of their lives when they came upon the bodies.


“Many of us have been in this business for more than two-and-a-half decades and have seen several fire tragedies, but this was horrible,” one fireman told TOI. “Five bodies lay scattered inside the charred remains of the bar. One body was near the shutter, indicating that he had died while attempting to open the door. Two were found near the toilet, another near the cash counter and the fifth in a corner”. Police suspect the fire may have caused the power supply to shut off, leaving the five men groping in the dark. “There was more smoke than fire,” another fireman said. “A handful of tables were undamaged and only two of the men had sustained burns. It appears the flames fed on stacked boxes and plastic bottles and that gave off a lot of smoke”. The firemen pointed to palm prints over the soot on and near the light switches as evidence of the struggle of the men. “The switches were on,” a fireman said. Police identified the owner of the bar as VR Dayashankar, 58, a resident of Rajajinagar. Dayashankar suffers from health issues, west division police said. VR Prakash, 60, brother and partner of Dayashankar, and manager, Somashekar Shantabasappa, 59, were arrested later in the evening. Kalasipalya police have booked a case under IPC Section 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder), which prescribes a maximum punishment of life imprisonment, against Dayashankar, Prakash, Somashekar and Kumbarara Sangha, the building owner.



6 flats burgled in one Vatva complex

Gold and silver jewellery, cash and other valuables have been stolen from the flats



AHMEDABAD: Thieves burgled six flats at Shakti Gardeniya flats in Vatva on Saturday night. Rajnish Rai, the occupant of one flat, has lodged a complaint with Vatva police station while other five residents got their statements recorded by police. According to police sources, gold and silver jewellery, cash and other valuables have been stolen from the flats. According to Rai’s complaint, while he with his family was staying at their flat in Maninagar, he got a call at about 5am from his neighbours, informing him about a theft in his flat. “Rai rushed to Shakti Gardeniya and found that the lock on the main door was broken and the house was ransacked. He reported that jewellery and cash were stolen from his house. We were also informed that five other flats were burgled in different blocks of the same apartment complex. We have recorded the statements of the other victims and are hunting for the gang,” added a senior police official. Thieves usually target shops and showroom in the winter as roads are empty due to cold at night. “However, this is new trend, where the flats burgled were all locked and their occupants were out. Normally houses and flats are burgled on summer nights, when occupants sleep on the terrace or have ACs on, which allows thieves to operate under the cover of the noise from ACs,” added a senior police official.



International News



Cold wave claims 7 more lives in Nepal; toll reaches 24



KATHMANDU: Intense cold weather in Nepal has claimed seven more lives, taking to 24 the death toll due to severe winter conditions over the past week in southern part of the country, according to a media report. More than half of the them, 14, were reported from Saptari district while five each in Rautahat and Siraha districts in the Tarai region, it said. Seven people, including a 7-month-old child, lost their lives due to excessive cold in various municipalities of Saptari district last night, the Himalayan Times quoted senior police officials as saying. The locals of Saptari have sent a memorandum to Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, demanding relief materials for those vulnerable to cold. In Rautahat, two people died due to freezing cold last night, Superintendent of Police Yagya Binod Pokhrel said. Rautahat District Administration Office said warm clothes and blankets were being distributed to the poor and in Dalit settlements of the district. In Siraha, a five-year-old child died due to excessive cold, taking the number of deaths due to cold wave in the district to five, according to the report.



Heavy snowfall wreaks havoc in China; 21 killed

Chinese workers remove snow near the Imperial Palace in Shenyang, in China’s northeastern Liaoning province on January 8, 2018.



BEIJING: Heavy snowfall in China continued to wreak havoc on Monday, damaging houses, agriculture and power facilities, with authorities saying 21 people have been killed and millions hit in the last one week. The provinces that have been badly hit by the weather are Anhui, Henan, Jiangsu, Hubei, Hunan, Shaanxi, Shanxi and Chongqing Municipality, the China National Commission for Disaster Reduction said. More than 3,700 people have been relocated and 14,000 are in need of emergency assistance, said the commission, noting that over 700 houses had collapsed and nearly 2,800 were damaged, state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The weather has affected more than 233,100 hectares of farmland, with more than 8,100 hectares destroyed, causing direct economic losses of 5.55 billion yuan ($854 million), it said. Nineteen expressways in northeast Liaoning province have been closed or controlled since snow started last night, according to local transport authorities. The snow will result in icy roads, the local observatory said in its forecast. Liaoning will see temperatures plunge by up to 10 degrees Celsius due to the snowfall, it said. In Xinyang city, central China’s Henan province, snowfall from Wednesday to Friday, the worst since local records began in 1951, killed one person and injured three others.


Primary and middle schools in the city have suspended classes since Thursday. The disaster flattened 26 houses and damaged over 2,000 hectares of crops, causing total economic losses of 219 million yuan ($33.8 million), officials said. In eastern China’s Anhui province, quilts and coats have been distributed to residents to withstand the biting cold, following heavy snow since Wednesday, the worst in Anhui since 2008. The snow has affected 1.5 million people and damaged over 160,000 hectares of crops, causing total economic losses of 3.5 billion yuan, Xinhua quoted the provincial government as saying. Meanwhile, the meteorological authority today renewed a yellow alert for a cold front across the country. From tomorrow to Wednesday, the temperature is expected to drop by six to eight degrees Celsius in northern, northeastern, central and southern China, including parts of Inner Mongolia and Yunnan, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said. China has a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system, with red being the most severe, followed by orange, yellow and blue.



6 killed in Madagascar cyclone as thousands displaced



JOHANNESBURG: Authorities in Madagascar say six people have been killed in a cyclone. The government says Cyclone Ava also displaced more than 13,000 people on the Indian Ocean island over the weekend. A government bulletin on Monday says the danger has passed and all cyclone alerts have been lifted. The island nation was hit hard by a cyclone in March that left at least 50 people dead and damaged the Sava region in the northeast, which produces about half of the world’s vanilla.

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