News Flash – 9 October 2018

National News



Loco runs into buffer at LTT, derails and damages pipeline

GOING TOO FAR: The damage at LTT after the accident involving the Pawan Express at 4am on Monday.



Mumbai: A long-distance train engine rammed into the buffer on a platform at Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) on Monday morning. No one was injured. The locomotive of the Pawan Express was derailed by the impact and while train operations were not hit, a pipeline was damaged and much water was wasted. “The reason behind the accident will be known only after the inquiry is completed,” CR chief PRO Sunil Udasi said. The locomotive pilot, S K Chaturvedi, was not under the influence of alcohol, showed tests. Sources said he had handled mail and express trains for eight years. “We will ascertain the speed of the train based on the log and video recordings available from the CCTV footage,” an officer said. The incident happened at 4 am and it took four hours to re-rail the locomotive. After a similar accident involving an electrical multiple unit (EMU) at Churchgate in June 2015, the railways had installed auxiliary warning system at platforms that handle EMUs.



Climate change report pushes for new global warming target


New Delhi: The special report on global warming by a UN body has set the tone for the upcoming climate conference in Poland where countries will now have to make efforts to align their pledges with the 1.5-degree Celsius goal—a more stringent target than the existing agreement to limit average temperature rise within 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. The report of the UN’s Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released at Incheon in South Korea on Monday, clearly shows how half a degree of warming makes a big difference, adversely impacting global population and overall ecosystem through intense heat waves, sea level rise, melting of Arctic ice, erratic rainfall, reduction of farm yield and vanishing of living species. In fact, limiting warming to 1.5 degree Celsius rather than 2 degrees Celsius could result in 420 million fewer people being exposed to severe heatwaves, says the report. The report claims it’s possible to meet the new warming target, provided countries make “rapid and far reaching” transitions over the next 10 to 20 years in land use, energy, industry, transport to cut emissions and reach ‘net zero’ by 2050 —25 years earlier than what they planned under the 2-degree Celsius goal.


India and many other countries are already facing impact of 1 degree Celsius of global warming. It’s therefore important for all the nations to make efforts towards limiting the warming. It’s scientifically possible to do that. India has already taken several actions in the direction,” ministry of earth sciences secretary M Rajeevan told TOI. The report says the world will need annual average investment of $2.4 trillion between 2016 and 2035 (which is 2.5% of present world GDP) in energy system alone to limit the global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius. Interestingly, it also talks about changes in lifestyles to enhance mitigation and adaptation options, the point India has consistently been flagging after getting it inserted in the preamble of the Paris Agreement. “The new report from the IPCC has served as a final warning that we must get our act together — now and quickly,” said Sunita Narain, director general of the Centre for Science Environment (CSE), while asking the global communities to build a coalition to support the massive transformation required to achieve the 1.5-degree target. The IPCC’s report was accepted by all countries, including India. Though the US, which moved to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, too accepted the report, it has not endorsed it.



“By refusing to endorse the findings of the IPCC’s 1.5-degree Celsius report, the US has again given a clear signal that it would continue with its climate regressive agenda, which includes obstructing the work of the UNFCCC and promoting fossil fuels like coal and gas,” said Chandra Bhushan, deputy DG of the CSE. Since the report examines pathways available to limit warming to 1.5 degree Celsius and what it would take to achieve them and what the consequences could be, it will be a key scientific input at the Katowice Climate Change Conference (COP24) in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change. The Paris Agreement, adopted by 195 nations at COP21 in December 2015, included the aim of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change by “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre -industrial levels.” The reference period 1850-1900 is used to approximate pre-industrial levels.



Flouting helmet, seat belt rules killed 65,000 Indians last year



New Delhi: At least 98 two-wheeler riders without helmets died daily in 2017, while 79 car occupants lost their lives every day in accidents because they were not wearing seatbelts, the latest Road Accident Report has revealed. Mobile phone use when driving claimed about nine lives a day last year. While the report, based on data provided by state police and transport departments and released on Monday, shows a slight dip in fatalities— from nearly 1.51 lakh in 2016 to about 1.48 lakh in 2017—there has been a steep increase in the number of people dying because of failure to use safety gear or devices. For example, fatalities caused because of not wearing helmets rose to 36,000 in 2017 as against 10,135 in 2016. Tamil Nadu saw the highest number of deaths at 5,211, followed by UP (4,406) and MP (3,183). About 42% of the dead (in the two-wheeler category) were pillion riders. Gujarat was the only state to report more pillion riders without helmets dying as compared to helmetless drivers of two-wheelers getting killed. In cases where not wearing seat belts resulted in fatalities, Karnataka had the maximum — 4,035 dead — followed by Tamil Nadu with 3,497 and UP with 2,897 deaths.


Uttar Pradesh (1,512) saw the maximum number of deaths of drivers using mobiles phones while driving. Maharashtra was second worst with 282 deaths and Odisha reported 257 deaths. Delhi reported only three fatalities in this category. Road safety experts said the big jump in these figures is primarily due to the increased focus on identifying the exact causes of road deaths in the past two years; 2017 was the second year that the government captured deaths caused due to these three traffic violations. According to the report, nearly 67% of road deaths were due to speeding. The data also show that 22,428 people were killed in hit-and-run cases across the country and drunk driving claimed 4,776 lives last year. Failure to use safety devices, use of mobile phones, speeding and drunk driving have been identified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as the main reasons for the rise in road deaths across the globe.



Woman saves many from Gurgaon Highrise fire, but dies as locked gate traps her


Gurgaon: Swati Garg, a 32-year-old interior designer, saved many lives in a highrise tower at Tulip Orange on Sunday, knocking on doors of flats to alert other residents to a fire that had started in the stairwell just after 2am. Thanks to her, almost everyone escaped to safety, to the building’s upper floors. But Swati couldn’t. Firefighters found her dead two hours later, next to the gate leading to the 10th-floor terrace, five floors above her flat. The gate was locked, trapping Swati in a stairwell filled with thick smoke. Unable to call out for help or climb down, Swati Garg choked and collapsed next to a locked gate leading to a terrace. Firefighters found hand prints on the wall next to the gate, indicating Swati’s struggle to find a way out, before she lost consciousness and died of asphyxiation. It took almost 45 minutes for firefighters to reach the tower — a fear residents of new sectors had repeatedly expressed. Since the Haryana government is yet to build fire stations in Gurgaon’s new sectors, the nearest one at Sector 29, near Huda City Centre metro station, is 12km away.



The fire brigade received a call at 2.28am and reached Tulip Orange only at 3.10am. For a full hour, residents had to fend for themselves, along with Tulip’s facility management. Police commissioner KK Rao said a case under section 304 (culpable homicide) had been filed at Badshahpur police station against the developer Tulip Infrastructure and its maintenance agency. There are 36 flats in the tower where the fire started — four on each floor. The society has 11towers (around 500 flats). Police said the fire was caused due to a short circuit in an electricity meter on the first floor. The flames rose to the tenth floor within minutes, but remained contained to the electricity shaft of the stairwell. The stairwell is the building’s only fire exit. Swati’s mother (58) — who had recently come to live with the Gargs to help her settle into a new job — is among two people who were rushed to hospital and are being treated for burn injuries. The Garg family was among the first to react to the blaze, which started around 2.15am. They feared the electrical panel next to their flat (501) would catch fire and decided to look for a safer place — Swati woke up others on the fifth floor, her husband Girish took their four-year-old daughter, Swati’s mother and a friend who was visiting out of the flat. But in the swirling smoke and darkness, as power supply snapped, Girish and Swati lost track of each other.


“When we first got out of the flat, there was smoke all around,” Girish, a Honeywell employee, said. “We first tried to go downstairs but could not go beyond the third floor. We returned to our flat because we were suffocating,” he added. Then, wrapping themselves in wet towels, they went towards the upper floors. “By the time we reached the eighth floor, I was struggling to breathe. The door of one of the flats there was open and I got in with my daughter,” Garg said, adding there was so much smoke that he lost track of Swati and his mother-in-law. “Tulip Infrastructure, Apple (facility management company) and its managers, and officials of DTCP who gave approval are responsible for the fire and death of my wife and action should be taken against all of them,” Garg said in his complaint. Swati’s body was taken to Shivpuri in Madhya Pradesh, where she was from. Neighbour and friend Monica Singh said it was because of Swati that, within minutes, everybody on their floor had started climbing towards the terrace to escape the fire. On their way up, Swati and the others also alerted other residents. “We ran into the flats on the eighth floor for shelter and rushed to the balconies for fresh air,” said Singh. Lalita Soni, who lives in the flat opposite the Gargs’, added, “We thought Swati might have rushed to the terrace.


While taking the stairs, she seemed in a lot of discomfort.” Police said Swati appeared to have headed upstairs to open the door of the terrace to allow the smoke to go out. But no one had any idea where Swati was till the firefighters found her. “I cannot imagine what she suffered,” Girish said. Swati worked with an interior designing firm in DLF 2. Soni said she heard many women shouting and asking to be rescued. “My husband was to fly to the US and was on his flight. I called him saying he might never see me again. He de-boarded and rushed back home,” said Singh, adding that her husband ended up facing an FIR for getting off a plane that was about to depart. Singh said people had even thought of jumping from balconies to save themselves from the fire. Praveen Jain, managing director of Tulip Infratech, said it was “very unfortunate that one of our residents lost her life” but denied allegations of residents that firefighting equipment like extinguishers were not working. “At Tulip Infratech, we always ensure all precautions are taken. All Tulip buildings have necessary approvals and NOCs,” he said.



488 Dengue cases in a week, 169 from Delhi



New Delhi: In the past one week, 488 cases of dengue, 77 cases of malaria and 68 cases of chikungunya were reported in the capital. According to the latest report of the municipal corporations, of the 488 cases of dengue, 169 were reported in Delhi and the remaining was from the other states. This year, over 1,600 cases of dengue have been reported, of which 650 were from across the city along with 700 cases of malaria. Senior officials claimed that they have been regularly monitoring the major breeding grounds and notices have been issued to the violators. The report said that domestic breeding checkers found mosquito breeding in 1,92,928 households across the city till October 6. It said 1,58,067 legal notices have been served for various violations, and “22,240 prosecutions initiated”. As a pro-active measure, lieutenant governor Anil Baijal had a few months ago directed the local bodies and other agencies to intensify vector-control measures. He had also asked for regular meetings at the level of district magistrates with all stakeholders to review the situation in their respective districts. Report from the public health department also highlights the sudden spike in cases of positive mosquito breeding being discovered at houses by corporation’s domestic breeding checkers.



KIA to merge security lines for men, women



Bengaluru: Come March, security queues at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) won’t be segregated as per gender. Bangalore International Airport Limited (BIAL) will introduce smart security lanes where men and women passengers will no longer need to be screened at different locations. “For the first time in India, men and women needn’t be security screened at different locations as passengers travelling with family will be screened together,” BIAL said on Monday. BIAL, which operates KIA, has signed an agreement with UK-based Macdonald Humfrey (Automation) India Pvt. Ltd. to introduce smart security lanes-cum-automated tray retrieval system (ATRS). Once fully operational, the passenger screening capacity is expected to be increased by over 50%. The smart lanes with ATRS will automatically return empty trays to the preparation area for passengers to place their bags and belongings, ending the hassle of looking for trays and also preventing empty ones from piling up. The automated rollers will enable the trays to automatically move into the screening machine, without passengers or staff having to push them in.


The automated lanes will be installed in the domestic and international checkpoints by the year-end. “Replacement of existing manual lanes will be undertaken in a phased manner to ensure minimal disruption to airport operations. The project will be completed by March 2019,” the release said. “This advanced technology will bring down waiting time for passengers at security checkpoint and improve passenger experience,” said a statement from BIAL. “The new system will accelerate the process of human and carry-on luggage screening by reducing waiting time and congestion, offering an easy and efficient travel experience for passengers,” it added. “With the smart security lane, we can process more passengers in a secure and controlled environment, improving overall operational efficiency and enhancing safety and security,” said Javed Malik, COO, BIAL. “Having installed similar solutions in many European, West Asian, North America and south-east Asian airports, Macdonald Humfrey has the expertise to implement this project at the Bengaluru airport, and will play a huge role in reshaping aviation security in India,” said Mick Macdonald, president Macdonald Humfrey (Automation) Ltd.



37 new Swine flu cases in week, hospitals to prepare isolation wards


Hyderabad: With 37 new cases of H1N1 (swine flu) being detected in first week of October a huge jump from one or two cases being detected in a month the state health department has issued a memo asking health facilities to look into ‘preparedness and effective management’ of swine flu cases. Hospital superintendents in district hospitals have been asked to keep isolation wards ready, inspect them, ensure proper upkeep and put in place satisfactory arrangements, in anticipation of further increase in swine flu cases. On Monday alone, nine new cases of H1N1 were detected. “In view of the transmission season and increasing trend of H1N1 cases in the state, there is every need to maintain strict vigil and close monitoring to contain the spread of the disease in the state,” read the memo. The memo also specified a treatment protocol and bracketed patients, with symptoms, into three categories for the purpose. In case of patients who report mild fever with cough or sore throat (category A), authorities have suggested that they be confined to their homes for 48 hours and put through monitoring. Testing has not been recommended for such patients.


For category B patients, who have cough or sore throat with high grade fever and are in high-risk category (such as pregnant women, children, elderly and patients with co-morbid conditions), the memo recommended the need for home isolation and treatment with oseltamivir (medicine for swine flu). Patients who have all the symptoms of the first two categories along with breathlessness, chest pain, drowsiness, fall in blood pressure, sputum mixed with blood, bluish discoloration of nails are defined as ‘red flag’ signals. It also made H1N1 test mandatory for children with severe influenza like symptoms, and recommended immediate hospitalization and treatment with oseltamivir and broad spectrum antibiotics. In case of patients with co-morbid conditions (diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, undergone any organ transplantation), immediate shifting to Gandhi Hospital and Niloufer Hospital for Paediatrics cases has been ordered. “The staff is adequately trained and other requisite equipment and treatment facilities have been kept ready at these hospitals,” said the internal advisory to all health facilities in the state.



Cyclone may hit coastal Andhra Pradesh



Visakhapatnam: A cyclone is expected to hit the coastal parts of north-coastal Andhra Pradesh on Thursday, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD). The cyclone has been named ‘Titli’ and is predicted to be of a strength that could be fatal to people and property. This will be the second cyclonic storm in the Bay of Bengal this year. The first cyclone, called the ‘Daye’, hit Odisha last month. According to the present track of the weather system, it was identified as a ‘‘depression”, or a lower grade of the cyclone, on Monday over the Bay of Bengal. The depression could intensify into a cyclone on Wednesday, and hit the coast on Thursday, the IMD said. Fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea till further instructions from the IMD.



Cyclone, rain may ruin early birds’ Puja plans


Kolkata: The run-up to Durga Puja could be marred by a prolonged rainy spell triggered by an approaching cyclone, warned the Met office on Monday. A deep depression brewing over southeast Bay of Bengal and adjoining north Andaman Sea is likely to intensify into a cyclone by October 10. It could hit the Andhra-Odisha coast on the morning of October 11, leading to heavy showers in Kolkata and south Bengal on October 12 and 13. While the rain could weaken after that, possibility of sporadic showers during the pujas is not being ruled out. “Over the next 24 hours, the depression will turn into a deep depression. By October 10, it will turn into a cyclone and approach the east coast, hitting land somewhere between Odisha and Andhra. The impact on the coastal districts of Bengal and Gangetic Bengal, including Kolkata, will be substantial. We expect heavy rain in the city on October 12 and 13. Drizzles are likely on October 14 but it’s still too early to predict if the showers will continue during the Pujas,” said Regional Meteorological Centre (RMC) director G K Das. Kolkata could start receiving drizzles from Wednesday evening, hours before the cyclone hits land. Rain is set to intensify along the coastal districts and Kolkata during the next three days. The cyclone, which is yet to be named, was stationed 950kms south of Kolkata in the east-central Bay of Bengal, 720km south-southeast of Gopalpur and 690kms southeast of Kalingapatnam.


Wind speed along the coastal districts of Bengal and north Odisha could reach 75km/hr on October 10 evening, according to a bulletin released by IMD. Sea condition will remain rough from October 9 to 12 and fishermen have been advised to return to coast by the night of October 8. “Rain could be heavy to very heavy on the last two days. Once the system hits land and weakens, the impact could start dwindling. Generally, once a big system moves away, the weather tends to be clear. But it remains to be seen how much moisture is left behind. Depending on that, sporadic showers could continue on October 14 and the next few days. We will have a better idea on Wednesday,” added Das. The advancing cyclone has kept Puja revelers worried. Amid the impending gloom, the Met office also had a glimmer of hope for pandal hoppers. “There is nothing yet to suggest that the rain will continue beyond October 14. A big system like a cyclone sucks out moisture from the atmosphere, leaving the conditions dry. Only if there is residual moisture after the cyclone passes away that Kolkata could receive rain during the pujas,” added the scientist.



108 ambulance service number down for 2 hours



Chennai: People seeking emergency medical services on Monday afternoon were in for a shock on finding that the ‘108’ ambulance service number was down for a couple of hours. A technical snag at the Anna Road telephone exchange of BSNL Chennai Telephones led to the disruption in services. An official spokesperson of the ‘108’ ambulance services said operations were temporarily affected for two hours before being restored at around 3.45pm. “All district managers and emergency management executives were alerted and the ambulances were advised to collaborate with nearby primary health centres and hospitals. We requested that the police control room number ‘100′ be used instead,” he said. A temporary alternative number, 40170100, was made available and flashed on TV channels and FM radio even as a team of software engineers from BSNL was roped in to resolve the issue, the spokesperson added. BSNL Chennai Telephones said the control card of the Anna Road power plant was affected due to a technical snag that resulted in 20,000 connections of the Anna Road telephone exchange being hit. “After attending to the fault on a war footing, the exchange was restored at about 5.30pm. However, connectivity to the ‘108’ service was restored within two hours of the fault being reported by rerouting all calls through Mambalam telephone exchange,” BSNL spokesperson Vijaya said. The issue relating to the emergency services number came to BSNL’s notice at around noon following complaints, she said, adding, “The problem with the ‘108’ number was resolved by 2.30pm”.



International News



Italy threatens to shut airports to block “Germany’s asylum rejects”



Rome: Italy’s far-right interior minister Matteo Salvini threatened on Sunday to shut the country’s airports after media reported that Germany planned to send charter flights of rejected asylum-seekers to Italy. “If someone in Berlin or Brussels thinks of dropping dozens of migrants via non-authorised charter flights in Italy, they should know that there is not and there will be no airport available,” Salvini tweeted. “We will close the airports like we closed our ports,” he added in reference to Italy’s decision this summer to ban migrant rescue boats from entering its harbours. His comments came after German news agency DPA reported on Sunday that Berlin intended to start returning rejected asylum-seekers to Italy via chartered flights. The first flight was due to leave on Monday, with another scheduled for October 17, according to DPA. The migrants were mainly Nigerians who had entered the European Union via Italy, the agency said. Similarly, Italian newspaper La Republica reported on Saturday that Germany’s federal migration office was sending letters to asylum-seekers, warning them of their “imminent” return to Italy under the so-called Dublin rules. That controversial regulation assigns responsibility for migrants to the nation of first entry. However, Germany’s interior ministry told DPA later Sunday that “no deportations (of migrants) to Italy are planned in the coming days”. Immigration remains a hot-button issue among European Union members despite a major drop in arrivals following the 2015 peak of the continent’s migration crisis.

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