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Saturday, January 25, 2014

‘Biggest’ global hacking network busted, Pune man held

New Delhi: In an FBI-aided operation, security agencies in India, China and Romania on Friday conducted simultaneous raids to unearth what is being termed as the biggest international hacking network, possibly involving corporates, associations and powerful individuals. 

    In India, the CBI conducted raids at four places including Mumbai, Pune and Ghaziabad and arrested the alleged mastermind in India—31-yearold Amit Vikram Tiwari, son of a former army colonel, sources said. 
    The scandal could have a link with the Indian Premier League. According to highly placed sources, people connected to IPL had approached the Punebased Tiwari for hacking into some accounts. But due to a dispute over pay
ment, the work was not completed. 
    The CBI is investigating the IPL connection. Officials refused to divulge details but hinted that some people associated with the tournament wanted high-level hacking done. 
    Primary investigations reveal corporations and individuals had been approaching the hackers with assignments ranging from marriage disputes to corporate rivalry. These jobs involved 
hacking into emails, financial records and other sensitive information of individuals and organizations. 
    Officials say 900 email accounts were hacked between 2011 and 2013 by global hackers including Tiwari, 171 accounts belonged to Indians. Tiwari, who is suspected to be the main hacker in India, was in touch with people abroad. 
Email passwords for $250-500 
New Delhi: The CBI has helped bust a global hacking network based on FBI inputs. Sources said the master-hackers could be based out of the country. It's learned that most clients who approached Amit Tiwari for hacking into email accounts and websites were foreigners. 
    "It has been alleged that a number of internet websites advertised that the operators could get access to email accounts in exchange for a fee varying from $250 to $500. On getting the payment, these operators shared email password with customers," said CBI spokesperson Kanchan Prasad. 

    The CBI has booked Tiwari and unknown hackers for criminal conspiracy, theft of information and Section 66 of Information Technology Act. A special court in Pune has put Tiwari in transit remand till January 27 to enable the CBI to produce him at a Delhi court to seek his police custody, special public prosecutor Vivek Saxena said. 
    The CBI, in coordination with the FBI, is probing the national security implications of the scandal. It wants to find out if government records were hacked into. Financial fraud is another angle the CBI is probing. 
    Sources say that payments were being received by hackers 
through Western Union money transfer and web-payment portal paypal.com
    There's speculation on why the FBI has been tracking the case. It is suspected that the agency came into the picture after accounts related to the US government or big US corporates were hacked after. The FBI could have tracked the hosting sites to India, China and Romania. In India, Tiwari and his fellow hackers were using two primary websites, one of which was in Pune. 
    CBI director Ranjit Sinha said the agency had registered two FIRs against suspected operators of hacking websites. "The operation is a product of an interna
tional investigation coordinated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Combating Organized Crime (DCCO) of Romania, CBI and the Ministry of Public Security of China. Raids in the three countries were carried out simultaneously," said Sinha. 
    The FBI officials had been reportedly holding regular meetings with CBI in New Delhi over past few months and a preliminary enquiry in the case was registered last month. It was decided that coordinated raids would be conducted in the three countries. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

More than 700 offences logged in rly safety week

Mumbai: The government railway police (GRP) recorded 721 offences between January 2 and 8 when Railway Safety Week was observed. 

    Illegal travel in coaches reserved for women and the disabled ranked among the highest violations with 106 cases on Western Railway (WR) and 77 cases on Central Railway (CR). Sixty-seven runaway kids were also found on the city's suburban network. 
    "Valuables that had been stolen from commuters during 2013 were returned during the safety week. These included Rs 3.37 lakh cash, gold ornaments worth Rs 27.50 lakh, 83 cellphones and a laptop worth Rs 20,000," said assistant commissioner R Redkar. 

    The railway crime branch prepared a list of repeat offenders. "We decided to focus on these men and take extra efforts to ensure that they remained behind bars by applying stringent charges. Out of the 10 offenders that we had identified, Mohammad Kaif Mallik (27), was arrested on Wednesday. He is a serial cellphone thief. We have recovered over a dozen phones from him," said senior inspector DD Wadmare. 
    The GRP held counselling sessions with complainants who had lodged cases for the first time and were likely to 
develop cold feet in court. The complainants and witnesses were briefed about various questions that a defence lawyer may pose.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Suffocation claims most lives, 3 families lose sole breadwinners

Mumbai: Ghatkopar residents Suresh Shah (68) and wife Dipika (65) were travelling for their annual pilgrimage to Dakor in Gujarat when they died in the train blaze early on Wednesday. Frequent AC class travelers, they were forced to take the sleeper coach as they could not get confirmed seats. 

    Suresh was known to help fellow senior citizens. Hours before boarding the ill-fated train from Bandra, the Shahs, recollected a neighbour, had attended one such evening meet. Around 2.30am, one of Dipika's friends received a call from her phone saying she had met with an accident. The Shahs were supposed to alight at Vadodara and head to Dakor by road. The couple was travelling in coach S3, where the fire is said to have started. 
    They were woken up by co-passengers but collapsed from suffocation before reaching the door. Their oldest son Nikhil rushed to the spot on learning of the incident. "They did not suffer any burn injuries. It seems they died of suffocation. Their bodies had turned black because of the smoke," said Suresh's elder brother Naveen. While Nikhil identified his mother's body immediately, it took him a couple of hours to spot his father. The bodies were kept at the Rajawadi Hospital morgue and their last rites will be carried out after the couple's youngest son arrives from the US on Thursday. 
    The family of Borivli resident Devshankar Upadhayay (48) was inconsolable as its sole breadwinner for perished in the fire. He is survived by his wife and two college-going children. His friend and fellow traveler Mehul Bhanushali, who survived, said 
Upadhyay's promptness in pulling the chain brought the train to a halt and saved several lives. While Bhanushali escaped, Upadhyay was suffocated. Upadhayay, who owned a grocery shop in Borivli, seldom took this train. 
    Nasir Pathan (50) and his brother Feroz (38), were sleeping on the top 
berths in coach S4. The only earinng members in their respective families, they were returning home to Dahud, Gujarat, after meeting relatives. They probably overslept, as they were found to have died of suffocation and the bodies did not have any marks of external injuries. 
Mystery chain-pulling halted train at Goregaon 

    The Mumbai-Dehradun Express, which started from Bandra Terminus at 12.05am, halted at Goregaon around 12.20am after somebody pulled the alarm chain in a coach which was later gutted in the fire. Passengers reportedly noticed a spark in the train. A senior railway official said, "The train was inspected and passengers questioned but nothing untoward was found and the train was allowed to proceed." At Borivli, when the train arrived a few minutes behind scheduled time, uniformed policemen visited the coach but left soon after. The train then proceeded with halts at Vasai Road (1.03am), Palghar (1.35am) and Dahanu Road (2.15am). Passengers said everything seemed normal till the train left Dahanu station. TNN 

    SURESH SHAH (68) and his wife DIPIKA SHAH (65) Coach S3 Residence | Amrut Nagar, Ghatkopar (W) Destination | Dakor, they were supposed to alight at Vadodara Purpose | Pilgrimage

    DEVSHANKAR UPADHAYAY (48) Coach S4 Residence | Borivli East Destination | Surat Purpose of visit | Business

    NASIRKHAN AHMEDKHAN PATHAN (50) and his brother FEROZ (38) Coach S4 Residence | Dahud, Gujarat Destination | Dahud Purpose of visit | Returning home after visiting relatives 
Four bodies, including that of a woman, were charred beyond recognition. WR plans to send the bodies to JJ Hospital for DNA tests

9 die as Dehradun Express catches fire near Mumbai 3 Bogies Gutted, 4 Charred Bodies Still Unidentified

Mumbai: Nine persons died when three second class sleeper coaches of the Bandra-Dehradun Express caught fire minutes after leaving Dahanu Road station, around 150km from Mumbai, in the early hours of Wednesday. 

    The accident comes exactly 10 days after another train 
fire mishap killed 26 passengers in Andhra Pradesh. 
    Five among the victims died of asphyxiation. Three —a senior citizen couple and a 48-year-old man—were from Mumbai and two brothers from Gujarat. Four others were charred beyond recognition. 
    The train had left Bandra just over two hours earlier 
with only about 100 passengers on board, said a railway official. The accident could have been deadlier as rescue began almost one-and-a-half hours after the fire was spotted and the train halted in an area without proper roads. 
    The fire, believed to have originated in coach S4, spread to S3 and S2 around 2.25am. Some alert travellers and a 
gateman swung into action and most passengers got out even before fire engines arrived at the spot. 

The train had left Bandra Terminus at 12.05am 
Around 2.25am, 7 minutes after it left Dahanu Road, level crossing gateman Jawahar Singh noticed flames 
He alerted Gholwad station master, and train was halted at Chikhle, a hilly area; three coaches were completely destroyed 
Slow speed of the train and fewer passengers helped avert bigger tragedy 

Brake binding (overheating of wheels) A short-circuit Inflammable material A careless smoker

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Accidents are avoidable, with little care

—Ravindra Sethiya.dna
A bike-borne youth met with an accident at Regal crossing while trying to overtake from the wrong side
There seems to be no stoppage restriction at the traffic signal. People tend to park on the zebra crossing while waiting for the signal to go green —Nitin Solanki.dna
Sagar Choukse

Accidents mostly are consequences of negligence or rash behaviour on roads, which people can definitely steer clear of by driving responsibly and in a disciplined manner. This is all the more poignant in face of the fact that close to 80 per cent of the deceased are youth falling between the age group of 24-35 years.

In 2013, as many as 1468 two-wheeler riders were injured while 163 riders sustained critical injuries. The experts said that not following traffic rules was the main cause behind almost all the road accidents.

Two-wheeler riders are easy prey of road accidents. As per the traffic police record, in total 1544 road accidents of two-wheelers were reported in 2013 out of which 66 riders lost their lives. 

The official record of Indore traffic police says that as many as 1424 two-wheeler riders had received injuries in total 1461 road accidents reported in the district in 2012. In this year, 65 riders died while 161 persons sustained critical injuries.

"While analyzing these road accidents, we learnt that around 80 per cent of the deceased were youth. Most of these riders died due to severe head injuries" said ASP Traffic, Anjana Tiwari.

The fact also established the need of wearing helmet while riding on two-wheelers. If these riders had worn helmets, lives of most of the victims could be saved, added Tiwari.

Brutal Arctic blast leaves 187m shivering in US At -16°C, NY Breaks 118-Yr-Old Record Of Lowest Temperature

New York: A deadly blast of arctic air that shattered decades-old records as it gripped the middle US moved eastward on Tuesday, cancelling thousands of flights, paralysing road travel and closing schools and businesses. 

    Forecasters said some 187 million people could feel the effects of the "polar vortex" by the time it spreads across the US. New York's Central Park 
hit a record low temperature for the day of -16°C, shattering a 118-year-old record, but with winds gusting to 51kmph conditions felt far colder, according to the US National Weather Service. The cold broke records in Chicago, which set a local record on Monday at minus -27°C, and elsewhere. 
    Shelters for the homeless were overflowing due to the severe cold brought by a polar air mass that produced the coldest temperatures in two decades and at least four deaths. 
    Temperatures were expect
ed to be 14°-19° celsius below normal from the midwest to the southeast, the National Weather Service warned. 
    After running into unpassable snow and ice, three Chicago-bound Amtrak trains came to a halt on Monday afternoon, stranding more than 500 passengers overnight. They had heat, water, lights and toilet facilities, according to Amtrak. As of Tuesday morning, passengers on two trains, which spent the night on the tracks in Bureau County, Illinois were being transported to Chicago by chartered bus, an Amtrak spokesman said. More than 15,000 customers in Indiana remained without power. 
    In the normally mild south, Atlanta recorded its coldest weather on this date in 44 years, when the temperature dropped to -14°C. Wholesale electricity prices in the central and eastern US spiked far above their normal seasonal level as homes and businesses needed to use more energy to warm buildings. 
    The deep freeze snarled many Americans' morning commutes with icy or closed roads and flight delays on Tuesday, with some 1,987 US flights cancelled and roughly 1,028 delayed, according to FlightAware.com. Major US cities from the midwest to the east coast were in the grip of temperatures below freezing, with Chicago at -23°C, Detroit -24°C, New York -14°C, Washington -13°C and Boston -11°C. AGENCIES 

Oil prices shoot up 
The price of oil rose to near $94 a barrel on Tuesday as unusually cold weather in the US was expected to fuel demand for energy. By mid- afternoon in Europe, benchmark US oil for February delivery was up 42 cents to $93.85 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Monday, the contract fell 53 cents to settle at $93.43 a barrel. AP


Cold wave freezes north India, fog hits air, rail & road traffic

Delhi's 2nd-Worst Fog In 8 Yrs Affects Over 600 Flights

    Frigid conditions showed no signs of abating as the mercury hovered several notches below normal in north India and a thick fog enveloped the region, throwing life out of gear. While flights were diverted and cancelled in New Delhi and Lucknow, rail and road traffic was disrupted in Rajasthan. 
    A total of 463 flights (232 arrivals and 231 departures) were delayed in New Delhi between 1am on Sunday and 11.15am on Monday as the second-worst fog spell in the past eight years hit airport operations in the city. Another 137 flights (74 departures and 63 arrivals) were cancelled and 52 diverted to other airports. Many passengers were forced to wait for several hours at various terminals. 
    The city recorded its most dense spell of fog since 2010 between January 4 and 6. Low visibility conditions set in around 5.30pm on Saturday and improved only around 11.30am on Monday, resulting in 42 hours of dense fog. The good news is that the dense fog 
hours will reduce considerably over the next three days. 
    Met department officials said that a calming of winds and a drop in temperatures led to the formation of fog on Saturday. It was initially not very dense but by 2.30am on Saturday, visibility had reduced considerably. Poor visibility conditions remained for three hours. 
    "There was not much change in the situation through the day. All through Saturday afternoon, visibility fluctuated between 400m and 600m. At 6.30 pm, the situation suddenly worsened due to heavy moisture incursion from west Delhi. By 8.30pm, visibility at IGI Airport fell to 
zero and flights were severely affected in the blinding conditions," said Dr R K Jenamani, director in-charge, IGI Met. 
    The fog in New Delhi upset flight schedules as far as Jaipur, Lucknow and Amritsar, where most of the flights were diverted. 
    There was chaos at Lucknow airport after the 20 Delhibound flights diverted there crowded the tarmac. The tarmac has the capacity to accommodate 24 planes at a time and with the sudden landing of 20 flights diverted from Delhi, it was chock-ablock with planes. 
    Lucknow airport also saw up to four Delhi flights and one Mumbai flight being can
celled because of heavy fog conditions, leaving hundreds of passengers in the lurch. Likewise, three flights to Kolkata were delayed. More than 5,000 passengers were reported to be stranded on Monday morning. 
    Another 13 Delhi-bound flights were diverted to the Amritsar airport. Most of the airlines had made boarding and lodging arrangements for the travellers to stay overnight in Amritsar but the passengers of a few low-cost operators complained that no arrangement was made for them. "Most of the 1,800 passengers who landed here were given accommodation while some had to spend the night at 
the airport," said a senior official at Amritsar airport. 
    The fog also led to around 20 trains running late, two being cancelled and 11 getting rescheduled in Delhi on Monday. The Jharkhand Express from Hatia to Anand Vihar was running up to 15 hours late. Rajdhani trains coming from Guwahati, Ranchi, Patna, Howrah, Mumbai and Bhubaneswar were running late and high-priority trains such as the Howrah Rajdhani and Sealdah Duronto had to be rescheduled. 
    In Rajasthan, foggy conditions affected rail and road traffic. Vehicles were moving at a snail's pace and some trains were running behind schedule. In a fog-related incident, at least 10 vehicles rammed into each other on the Delhi-Jaipur national highway at Chandwaji, 100km from Jaipur. 
    The intense cold wave sweeping across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh continued unabated in most parts with the mercury dropping to a record-breaking minus 2.1 degree Celsius at Hisar. Residents of Srinagar in Kashmir Valley were digging out 2.3mm of snow that fell overnight, with the temperature plummeting further two notches to minus 2.3°C. 

Close shave for passengers as diverted plane's tyre bursts 

New Delhi:Over hundred passengers aboard an AI flight to Delhi had a close shave when the plane had to make a rough landing in Jaipur after it was diverted from Delhi due to fog. The Airbus A-320 was coming from Imphal via Guwahati and damaged its wing when a tyre burst upon landing. 
    By the time the plane reached Jaipur, visibility had fallen dramatically. But by then the plane ran critically low on fuel. The pilot had no option but to declare a fuel emergency and land blind. TNN 
'Polar vortex' puts US in deep freeze Trains Stop, Schools Shut As Mercury Dips To Sub-Zero Levels Chidanand Rajghatta TNN 
Washington: Trains froze, schools closed, and people largely stayed indoors as a "polar vortex" descended on more than half the United States on Monday, plunging temperatures to record subzero levels in many parts of the country. 
    The country's midwest and the mountain region got the worst of what is described as a mass of dense, frigid, arctic air. Temperature in Fargo, North Dakota was forecast at -35°C. With windchill, that was expected to go down -51°C in some places —not quite cryogenic but getting there — the coldest it had been in more than two decades. 
    Among major cities Chicago, known as the 'Windy City', was bracing for at least -28°C with wind chill, while New York and Washington DC were relatively lucky with about -10 and -12°C. The first flight delays and cancellations began happening on Monday morning, and passengers on an Amtrak train 
from Detroit to Chicago were stranded for more than nine hours after both the trains' engines froze. 
    The extreme cold front came on top of more than a foot of snow in some places making travel treacherous. People were cautioned to stay indoors and officials warned that exposed flesh could become frostbitten and tyre seals might leak. The National Weather Service used the term "Particularly Danger
ous Situation" (PDS) for the first time to warn denizens of the twin cities in Minnesota (Minneapolis and Saint Paul). 
    The day began fairly enough on Monday with temperatures in -4 to -10°C in the mid-Atlantic region. But they were expected to fall 40 degrees in course of the day, driving people indoors by the evening as the "polar vortex" extended its cold stranglehold on the country. 
    A "polar vortex" is a per
sistent, large-scale cyclone and they are typically found around either north or south poles. It is rare for them to swing as far as this one has into densely populated areas. But as many on social media remarked, this is just a reminder as to who is in charge of the planet: the only winner in this cold war is Mother Nature. One small mercy: It will all be over in 24-36 hours when temperatures will return to the normal winter cold.

CHILL KILL: A man catches drifting snow on his face in Kansas on Sunday. (L) A woman slips on ice during a freezing shower in Roosevelt Island, New York

Citizens can call for blood from today Free Hi-Tech Ambulances To Be Launched In A Month

Mumbai: The Blood on Call scheme will be rolled out in Mumbai and the rest of the state on Tuesday when chief minister Prithviraj Chavan inaugurates the project at Sir J J Metropolitan blood bank. The public health department has been carrying out pilot projects in Satara and Sindhudurg over the past year. 

    As part of its plan to enhance healthcare facilities in the state, the government also looks to launch a free emergency ambulance service within a month with the first 50 high-tech ambulances, fitted with advanced equipment, being ready to hit the road. 
    After the launch of the blood scheme, patients' families will no longer have to run helter-skelter, looking for the right group. They can simply dial 104 and place an order. A call centre will alert the nearest district blood bank to deliver the blood. Each bottle will cost Rs 450; for delivery within 10 km, an extra Rs 50 will be charged and for 11 to 40 km, the amount will be Rs 100. The health department promises that the blood will reach within an hour of a request being placed. The state has also notified private hospitals that it is mandatory for them to be part of the scheme. They will have to register with their district blood banks. 
    With the ambulance service, the government aims to offer medical help to accident victims and other critical patients in the crucial "golden hour". "A total of 972 hi-tech 
ambulances will be part of the emergency medical service. We already have 50 ambulances ready and another 150 is expected by month-end. We plan to launch the scheme by January-end or by mid-February. The health department plans to exhibit the ambulances at the Republic Day parades," health minister Suresh Shetty told TOI. 
    But Thane and Navi Mumbai will have to wait a little longer as the launch is planned in Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and a few rural areas first. 
    According to a senior health department official, over 230 ambulances will have advanced life-support facilities and doctors onboard, who will administer emergency treatment. "The hi-tech ambulances will have enhanced equipment to treat cardiac and other critical pa
tients. For instance, these ambulances will be fitted with a defibrillator, a device used to counteract fibrillation (irregular contraction) of the heart muscle," the official added. The rest of the ambulances will have basic life-support facilities but those equipment will be far more advanced than those found on regular ambulances. "By March, all 972 ambulances, with advanced as well as basic lifesupport systems, will be on roads," Shetty said. 
    About the private ambulance tariff dispute, Shetty claimed most of the problem will be solved once the emergency medical services are rolled out. "Why would citizens call for private ambulances, when they would have the option of getting hi-tech government ambulances for free?" the minister said. 


    972 ambulances will be launched in the state under emergency medical services (EMS) 

    Among those, 230 ambulances will have advanced lifesupport system, while the rest will have basic lifesupport facilities. But even the basic facilities will include health equipment that are not found on regular ambulances 
The high-tech ambulances will have equipment to treat cardiac as well as other critical patients. For instance, they will be fitted with a defibrillator, a device used to counteract rapid contraction of the heart muscle and treat cardiac patients. Even doctors will be present on these ambulances who will be able to administer initial and emergency treatment 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snowstorm lashes US: 1,600 flights cancelled, NY declares emergency

Boston: A winter storm slammed into the US northeast with howling winds and frigid cold, dumping nearly 2 feet (60cm) of snow in some parts and whipping up blizzard-like conditions on Friday. US airlines cancelled more than 2,300 flights nationwide ahead of the storm, especially at New York and Boston airports. 
    By Friday morning, about 1,600 flights were cancelled nationwide, according to the aviation tracking website FlightAware.com
    Governors in New York and New Jersey declared states of emergency, urging residents to stay at home. Hundreds of schools were shut down in Boston and New York, extending the holiday break for tens of thousands of students. 
    "This is nothing to be trifled with," New York governor Andrew Cuomo said. "People should seriously consider staying in their homes," he added. The storm has led to at least nine deaths as it sweeps across the eastern half of the US. 
    Slick roads have caused traffic deaths in Michigan, 
Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. A massive pile of salt fell on a worker at a Philadelphia storage facility, killing him. And authorities said that a woman with Alzheimer's disease froze to death after she wandered away from her rural New York home. 
    Forecasters said temperatures were plummeting to well below freezing, and wind chill readings could hit minus 23 degree celsius. 
    Outreach teams were searching streets in New York City and Boston for
homeless people at risk of freezing to death. 
    Some major highways in New York state were shut down overnight, and some commuter trains around New York City were operating on a reduced schedule. Amtrak planned to run trains on all of its northeast lines on Friday but operate on a modified schedule, spokeswoman Christina Leeds said. 
    New Jersey governor Chris Christie ordered nonessential state workers to stay home on Friday. AP

GROUNDED: Tourists leave a station during a snow storm in Boston. Winter storm dumped nearly 2 feet (60cm) of snow in some parts of US

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