Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Missing Children: Cops to record details of unescorted minors in city

In a state wide effort to trace and reunite missing minors with their families, the Maharashtra police, following a directive from the state government, has undertaken a campaign wherein all unescorted minors as well as those in the company of beggars, hawkers and other such people will be photographed and interviewed by police personnel.

The photographs of the children will also be uploaded on a state government- run website so that anyone can go through them and look for their missing children.

According to Maharashtra police sources, around 15,000 minors have been reported missing from 2010 till date, and the Ministry of Women and Child Development recently instructed the police to undertake the campaign to try and trace as many of them as possible.

The campaign, Operation Muskaan, will be enforced from July 1 to July 31 this year.

The Maharashtra Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was appointed as the nodal agency to spearhead the campaign, and accordingly, the CID issued instructions to all police units in the state and also conducted a training programme for them earlier this month.

“We held a one-day training programme for heads of Juvenile Aid Police Units (JAPUs) of all commissionerates and districts in the state on June 25, during which we instructed them about the campaign. The same instructions were also sent out in writing to all unit heads. The idea is to create a database of all the minors in the state as well as to try to trace missing children,” said Additional Director General of Police Sanjay Kumar, CID.

Explaining the working of the campaign, Kumar said that policemen have been instructed to photograph any minor that they come across at spots like railway stations, bus stops, temples, traffic signals, as well as those in orphanages and remand homes, and also fill out a questionnaire after speaking to them.

The questionnaire has only basic questions seeking information about the child, and in case the policeman find anything suspicious, further action can also be taken. “It is a common sight to see a woman with a child at traffic signals or such places, and the child might not always be hers. If the policeman who speaks to the woman and the child in her company finds something suspicious, action like DNA comparison can also be taken,” said Kumar.

All the photographs taken by the policemen will then be uploaded to the stater government website Anyone in the country can access these photographs in case they are looking for a missing child.

On Tuesday, the Navi Mumbai police and the Mumbai Railway Police announced that they would be kicking off the drive from July 1.

“Any minors that are found to be kidnapped or runaways during this drive will be handed over to the Child Welfare Committee. Their parents can then approach the CWC and take them into their custody as per the legal process,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (crime) Suresh Mengade, Navi Mumbai.

The Railway police’s drive, meanwhile, will focus on all minors staying in or working in commercial establishments on railway premises, said a Railway police officer.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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Haryana to launch campaign to trace missing children

Haryana Police and Women and Child Development Department have decided to jointly launch a month long campaign 'Muskaan' from Wednesday to trace and rescue missing children in the state.

DGP Y P Singhal and DG of Women and Child Development Department Amneet P Kumar informed this on Tuesday to concerned officers of both the departments. The drive aims to trace the missing, destitute and separated children and re-unite them with their parents, Singhal said.

The campaign has been divided into two parts. Under the first part, those children would be identified who have either gone missing or got separated from their parents and living like destitute, while the second part is to re-unite them with their parents or guardians, the DGP said.

He said that the first campaign of this kind was launched in the country in January 2015 in which 3,000 missing children were traced. "Out of these 99 were from Haryana," Singhal said. During the previous campaign, it has come to light that missing children are residing in shelter homes, working as domestic helpers or child labourers, living on railway stations or on bus stands and involved in begging, the DGP added.

He said that under the campaign, missing children would be searched on all these places by a team headed by a Sub Inspector constituted in each of the 21 districts, the DGP said.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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'Operation Smile' to trace missing children across Bihar

To unite 346 missing children with their parents, the Bihar Police will launch 'Operation Smile' across the state from Wednesday.

The month-long operation will be conducted under direct monitoring of its nodal agency, CID (Weaker Section), and directions have been given to all 971 police stations in the state to trace the missing children.

CID Additional Director General Alok Raj said 'Operation Smile' is being launched as per the direction of the Supreme Court to run a special campaign from July 1 to 31 to locate all missing boys and girls and rehabilitate them.

It is part of a nationwide campaign.

"As per a survey conducted by us between January 2013 and September 2014, a total of 2,874 children were missing. Out of that 2,528 were recovered. Under this operation we will try to recover the remaining 346 missing children," Raj said.

"The missing children are mostly used in human trafficking, organ trade, forced labour and as workers in hazardous industries. The number of the missing children could be more, as the data available with us is based on complaints received at police stations," he said.

Asserting that the police will also update its database of the missing boys and girls during this period, Raj said that the motto of the campaign is "Reunite me with my mother".

A standard operating procedure has been made for this purpose which will be provided to all police stations. Public awareness campaigns will be run across the state, especially at transit points like bus stands and railway stations so that common people may also lend their hand in getting the missing children located and rescued.

The CID ADG said the police will seek the help of railways and NGOs also in the campaign. Street plays and mobile vans will be used to increase the awareness.

"A website has been launched where people can upload the photographs and information about the missing children," Raj added.

The missing children in the state are mostly in the age group of 11 to 15 years.

CID IG Vinay Kumar and SP (Weaker Section) Harpreet Kaur will be monitoring their recovery. The Bihar Police is also taking the help of civil society organisation 'Prayas' in the operation.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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Two MH17 victims’ remains ‘unlikely’ to be found: Dutch minister

Chances of finding human remains of the last two victims of last year’s MH17 air crash in Ukraine were “unlikely”, Dutch Justice Minister Ard van der Steur said Tuesday.

International investigators have so far matched identities with the remains of 296 of the 298 victims on board the Malaysia Airlines flight.

The jetliner was shot down on June 17 last year in war-torn eastern Ukraine, where government troops are battling pro-Russian separatists, and all on board were killed. “The last two victims have not been identified and unfortunately it’s very unlikely this will be done,” Van der Steur said in a letter to the Dutch Parliament.

Although the two victims — both Dutch — are known, investigators have found no remains at the crash site to match their DNA, despite several retrieval missions. The last mission took place in April after an area became accessible as fighting between the parties in the conflict died down.

Van der Steur said he hoped that remains already identified would have been handed over to the grieving families by July 17 this year on the disaster’s first anniversary.

The Dutch minister said all personal belongings found at the crash site would be returned by July except for a few cameras and laptops being used in the criminal investigation.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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142 body bags recovered, 59 bodies identified from Indonesia's plane crash (update)

A total of 142 body bags have been recovered from the crash of an Indonesian military plane, an official at a hospital in Indonesia's North Sumatra capital of Medan, where the crash took place, told Xinhua by phone on Wednesday.

As the body bags may contain only parts of the bodies, it is yet unclear exactly how many bodies have been recovered.

Earlier local media reports have quoted police officials as saying that 141 bodies have been recovered from the crash.

The ill-fated C-130 Hercules plane crashed into the downtown of Medan midday Tuesday shortly after takeoff. The Indonesian military said there were 122 people aboard the plane, revising their earlier statement that 113 people were on board.

Some 59 bodies have been identified from the body bags, said Sairi Saragih, an official at the Adam Malik hospital, adding " eight of those identified bodies have been brought to the airport, to be handed over by the DVI team to their families," referring to the police's Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) team that carried out the identification process on bodies of victims from the plane crash.

Some of the identified bodies of victims would be transferred Wednesday to airports where they initially board.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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Croatia: Remains Of 19 Serbs Identified

The remains of 19 Serb victims killed during the armed conflict in Croatia 1991-1995 were identified at the Department of Forensic Medicine and Criminalistics of the Zagreb University School of Medicine on Tuesday.

The remains were excavated in Slunj, Zadar, Sibenik, Dvor, Gracac, Zitnik, Medari, Vukovar and other locations, reads the statement issued by the Serbian government’s Commission on Missing Persons.

The victims, who were identified through the DNA analysis, will be buried as their families demand, reads the statement.

The remains of a total of 1,053 Serb victims killed in operations Flash and Storm were exhumed from registered graves in the territory of Croatia from 2001 to 2014 and 685 were identified, show the Commission’s data.

Over the last 14 years, the remains of a total of 1,314 Serbs were excavated from mass and individual graves in the territory of Croatia and former Republic of Serb Krajina and 932 of them were identified, says a release the Documentation Informational Center Veritas.

The list of missing persons composed by this NGO includes another 1,871 people of Serb nationality, including 1,315 civilians, 509 of whom are women.

Wednesday 1 July 2017

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160 feared dead after two attacks on migrants in Mexico

Over 220 Central American migrants were violently attacked in two different instances in Mexico; according to Mexican newspaper Excelsior only about 60 managed to escape alive.

In one case, survivors of the attack say they were shot at by men in military uniforms. In the other case, they were brutally attacked by unidentified people armed with rifles, pistols and machetes.

The first case occurred in Las Choapas, Veracruz state, some 400 miles southeast of Mexico City. About 100 Central American migrants, including women and children, were traveling on a local freight train when they were suddenly attacked by various men armed with shotguns, handguns and machetes.

And according to Excelsior, only 44 managed to escape alive. There is no information as to the whereabouts of the remaining 56 or more migrants that were attacked, and authorities have not offered any information, which has drawn the condemnation of various human rights groups who are demanding an investigation.

However, as of the night ot June 17, no Mexican government office had responded. The second case occurred in Sonora, near the border with the United States. There is no official information regarding this case either, but according to local media, more than 100 Central American migrants were attacked by at least two men dressed in military uniforms, according to reports on Tuesday by national and international migrant organizations.

Survivors of the attack say the group was traveling toward the border in five vehicles when one of their vehicles broke down, forcing them to stop and take a break. At that point men dressed in military attire appeared. They ordered them to the ground and randomly started shooting at them. The migrants then dispersed and fled away into the desert.

Excelsior says just 16 of those migrants have so far been accounted for. Apparently, more than 84 are still missing. RELATED: 57 Migrants Freed from Kidnappers in Mexico “Some of the survivors said that they saw a number of their comrades fall to the ground during the shooting, but their intentions to escape did not allow them to see how many of them,” local media reported. According to news agency Aristegui Noticias, a 17-year-old migrant told the organizations in an interview that the migrants walked for over 10 hours without water through the desert after having escaped from the shooting. “It was the worst day of my life,” he said.

Another survivor said that “now the only thing I want, after this experience, is to hug and be close to my family.” RELATED: Mexico's Solalinde: Migrant Protest to Go Ahead Despite Threats The organizations reporting the case included Fundar, the Migrant Shelter of Saltillo, Border with Justice, Mission for Migrants and Refugees, among others. They said the armed attack against these migrants is further evidence of the violence that thousands of Central American migrants face during their dangerous trek across Mexico.

The irony, they added, is that the majority are fleeing from violence in their countries of origin, as well as poverty, in search for a better life. Recently, as statistics on the rising deportation rate of migrants in Mexico were released, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission has expressed concern over the “stepped-up actions reportedly being taken against migrant persons and those who defend their rights in Mexico,” noting that migrants and human rights defenders “continue to be targets of attacks in Mexico.”

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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Navy adds ocean rescue teams after 2014 ferry accident

South Korea's Navy launched new rescue teams Wednesday to beef up its emergency response to maritime accidents after the sinking of the ferry Sewol killed more than 300 people last year.

Three rescue operation teams, each composed of about 15 deep-sea divers, will kick off their operations under three Navy fleets covering the eastern, western and southern waters, the Navy said in a statement.

The new teams are mainly tasked with initial-stage response and rescue operations in maritime disaster situations, with captain-level officers heading the teams, according to the Navy.

The creation of the rescue teams is part of the Navy's efforts to prevent a repeat of last year's ferry sinking, it noted.

Succumbing to strong currents and overloading, the 6,825-ton ferry Sewol sank off the southwest coast on April 16, 2014, leaving 304 people dead or missing, most of them high school students on a field trip.

The high death toll was mainly blamed on government rescue bodies' fumbled disaster response in the initial stage of the accident.

With the deployment of new diving gear and search equipment, the teams will be able to dive as deep as 58 meters for an extended time, the Navy added.

"Since the Sewol accident, the Navy charted a plan on improving its rescue capacity and has steadily advanced that capacity to rescue speedily and systematically in a maritime accident," according to the statement.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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Toll in Darjeeling hills landslides rises to 28

Heavy rainfall since Tuesday triggered landslides across Darjeeling district, leaving scores of people trapped.

"So far we have recovered 28 bodies. Several others are still missing," Darjeeling Superintendent of Police Amit Javalgi said.

According to Javalgi, 20 bodies were recovered from Mirik, six from Kalimpong and one each from Sukhiapokhri and Gorubathan areas of the district.

The landslides have snapped the hills' link with Sikkim as the Rohini-Garidhura Bridge was washed away. National Highways No 31 and 10 also remained blocked due to debris from landslides.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she was monitoring the situation in the Darjeeling hills and would visit the area during the day.

In Jalpaiguri district, at least 5,000 people were affected by water-logging and their misery was compounded by the release of over 5,000 cusecs of water from the Teesta barrage.

The district administration has issued a red alert over the Teesta and Torsa rivers touching danger levels.

While the Sashastra Seema Bal and Disaster Management personnel are engaged in relief and rescue operations, North Bengal Development Minister Gautam Deb said the army has been called to help in the rescue operations.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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141 bodies recovered from Indonesia plane crash

The death toll from the crash of an air force transport plane in the Indonesian city of Medan jumped to more than 140 on Wednesday, indicating a growing list of victims from the neighborhood where the plane went down.

North Sumatra police major A. Tarigan told TVOne that 141 bodies have been recovered from the rubble of a residential area where the C-130 Hercules crashed shortly after takeoff on Tuesday.

A three-storey building was left in ruins and a car destroyed on the ground when the C-130 Hercules crashed in Medan on the island of Sumatra shortly after take-off on Tuesday.

The plane's manifest showed there were 113 people on board the plane - 12 crew and 101 passengers - when it came down.

Air force chief Agus Supriatna said he did not think anyone survived the crash.

"No survivors, I have just returned from the site," he said. It is thought many of the passengers were families of military personnel. At least one child has been confirmed among the dead.

The local search and rescue agency told AFP news agency that three people were killed on the ground. Rescue teams were using heavy machinery to remove the mangled wreckage of the plane as they combed the through the rubble.

Air Marshal Supriatna said the pilot told the control tower the plane needed to turn back because of engine trouble. "The plane crashed while it was turning right to return to the airport," Mr Supriatna said.

Novi, who works at an international school near the accident site and goes by one name, said she heard the aircraft and saw it flying very low before it crashed. "It was very scary," she said, adding that she rushed to the site with her colleagues but the wreckage and plumes of smoke looked "very bad".

Janson Halomoan Sinagam said several of his relatives were on the plane when it left Medan, a city of two million people, on its journey to the remote island chain of Natuna.

"We just want to know their fate," he told a reporter from MetroTV, weeping. "But we have not yet received any information from the hospital."

Indonesian President Joko Widodo tweeted: "May the families be given patience and strength... May we remain protected from disaster."

Hitching rides on military planes to reach remote destinations is common in Indonesia, a sprawling archipelago that spans three time zones.

Between 2007 and 2009, the EU barred Indonesian airlines from flying to Europe because of safety concerns.

The country's most recent civilian airline disaster was in December, when an AirAsia jet with 162 people on board crashed into the Java Sea en route from Surabaya to Singapore.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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Brooks County: New law could speed the identification of dead undocumented immigrants

Action taken during this past legislative session could help speed the process of identifying the hundreds of undocumented immigrants who’ve perished while trekking across the rugged ranchlands of Brooks County. Under one bill, the Texas Forensic Science Commission is required to establish methods of extracting DNA from bodies found within 120 miles of the South Texas border.

Lawmakers also approved new funding to assist the creation of DNA profiles of the immigrants’ remains. Hundreds of the unidentified victims are buried in Sacred Heart Cemetery in Falfurrias. Last year, for the first time, more undocumented border crossers – 115 – died passing through Brooks County than the Arizona desert. 30 bodies have already been recovered this year, according to the McAllen Monitor.

The measure addressing the immigrants deaths was written by Edinburg Representative Terry Canales and was a last-minute amendment to a bill sponsored by McAllen Senator Juan Hinojosa.

Wednesday 30 June 2015

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Five dead, 10 missing after ship sinks off Cameroon coast

Five people died and 10 are missing after a ship carrying 27 people from Cameroon to neighboring Equatorial Guinea sank off the coast of Tiko, an official said.

Five bodies were retrieved by deep-sea divers from the marine military corps, Divisional Officer for Tiko, Che Patrick Ngwashi, told reporters.

“Most of the passengers were business people,” he said.

The sinking occurred in heavy rain and violent wind, the ship’s captain, Eusevio Andreu Mejia, said in an interview. Of the 12 people rescued, eight were from Equatorial Guinea.

The search for the missing 10 people continues. The ship is yet to be found.

Wednesday 1 July 2015

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