Mass floods displace three million in India
At least 130 people have died, and more than three million displaced, as violent monsoon rains stall India.
The Brahmaputra river burst its banks, submerging the north and north-eastern regions of India. Nepal and Bangladesh have been severely affected too.
The center of attention has fallen on Mumbai, India’s financial capital.
Mumbai recorded its highest rainfall in 14 years. Cars have submerged underwater and life has come to a standstill.
According to the BBC, India has not only witnessed unusually high rainfall this year, but it has also witnessed a simultaneous rise in both heatwaves and cold waves.
Heatwaves have increased 10-fold, while cold waves have increased 20-fold. The reason behind this has to do with climate change.
India is the third-worst polluter in the world, followed by the U.S. and China at the top. India is a rapidly developing economy with a massive population. Green energy comes at a price, and it’s a price most poor people cannot afford.
The country took half-hearted measures in the recent budget buy providing limited subsidies on electric vehicles. However, the problem is much bigger and requires bolder moves.
Under the current right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, environmental regulations have torn to pieces. If anything, this makes India worse off in dealing with the environment.
At the same time, India is investing in solar and nuclear energy.
The effects, however, are being born by the people. An unclear environmental agenda, with poor urban planning in Indian cities, has aggravated these natural disasters.
The monsoon season lasts from June to September and unleashes its fury across South Asia every year.
More than 1,200 people died in storms and landslides last year when India’s Kerala faced its worst floods in nearly a century.
A call centre that had dozens of employees attempting to dupe Canadians into handing over money via various types of phone scams has been shut down by Indian authorities, according to a statement from a New Delhi police deputy.
According to Sameer Sharma, the “swanky international scam call centre” targeted Canadian citizens, with the call centre coming to police attention on Friday.
By Sunday, more than 30 people were arrested, with 55 computers and 35 phones being seized in the search. Police also took flow charts from the call centre, which served as scripts for employees to better scam customers.
Sharma said police arrived while “several” scam calls were still in progress, with computers containing multiple Canadian phone numbers on their screen. Thee supervisors were also on scene.
“The supervisors … were asked about the activity going on there but they could not give any satisfactory answer,” he said.
“On sustained questioning, they divulged that they were engaged in calling [Canadians] and impersonating [themselves] as genuine Canadian police.”
Police say suspects are mostly in their late teens and early 20s, though some are closer to 40.
The 32 employees were arrested for violating the Indian Telegraph Act, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act, and the Information Technology Act.
Four men who are believed to own the call centre were not present at the time of police arrests, and are currently being sought by police, according to Sharma.
Delhi police also mentioned that they were aware of a Canadian who was scammed out of nearly $14,000 by the now-defunct call centre.
Sharma detailed the scam, saying that victims are typically greeted on the line by a man falsely claiming to be calling from Service Canada. They then claim that the victim is under threat of some type of identity fraud, or that suspicious activity had been detected under the victim’s SIN number. Victims are then pressured to call back, and eventually, are made to pay hefty fees and payments in order to “settle the matter.”
Payments were typically made in prepaid credit cards, gift cards, or cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin. Police also discovered software that could receive bitcoin payments, according to Sharma.
Police say the SIN scam is one that’s new to the scene, and that potential victims should instead seek to settle all potential fraud cases with local courthouses or RCMP, rather than unverified Service Canada calls.
Police also remind the public not to put too much faith in caller IDs or displays, as scammers typically use programs to create false names while calling potential victims. This also allows the scammers to make their calls appear as though they’re being made in Canada.
Anti-scam centres also note that any number requesting payment via Amazon or iTunes gift cards are major red flags, as they are often difficult to trace back and recover.
265 websites worldwide, with 13 in Canada, are spewing fake news with Indian lobby money.
For instance, the New York Journal American, a daily newspaper that ran until 1966, was brought back online by the Srivastava Group.
A website shows the location of every news outlet that is controlled by the Srivastava Group.
The list of websites in Canada that are spewing, or have spewed, fake news are:
- The Acadian Recorder in Halifax, NS
- Times of New Brunswick in New Brunswick
- 24 Hours Montreal in Montreal, QC
- Canadian Illustrated News in Montreal, QC
- Quebec Telegraph in Quebec, QC
- The Jewish Tribune in Ottawa, ON
- Toronto Telegram in Toronto, ON
- Niagara News TV in Niagara, ON
- Times of Manitoba in Manitoba
- 24 Hours Edmonton in Edmonton, AB
- 24 Hours Calgary in Calgary, AB
- The Kamloops Daily News in Kamloops, BC
- 24 Hours Vancouver in Vancouver, BC
The NGO discovered EP Today, which is a “self-proclaimed magazine for the European Parliament”, publishing “a large number of articles and op-eds related to minorities in Pakistan as well as other India-related matters.”
“EU DisinfoLab quickly discovered that EP Today is managed by Indian stakeholders, with ties to a large network of think tanks, NGOs, and companies from the Srivastava Group. We also found that the IP address of the Srivastava Group is also home to the obscure online media ‘New Delhi Times’ and the International Institute for Non-Aligned Studies (IINS), which are all based at the same address in New Delhi, India,” the report further said.
The New Delhi Times has close to 200 thousand followers and is, surprisingly, verified on Twitter.
IINS was the NGO that organized the visit of 27 European Members of Parliament to the Indian-administered region of Kashmir. This was an attempt by the Modi government to garner international support for his occupation of Kashmir. A good portion of those MEPs were from the far-right bloc in the EU Parliament.
The reason for these organizations and websites was listed by the NGO in their tweet:
The websites seem to have a lot in common. As the report, highlights:
- Most of them are named after a defunct local newspaper or spoof real media outlets;
- They republish content from several news agencies (KCNA, Voice of America, Interfax);
- Coverage of the same Indian-related demonstrations and events;
- Republications of anti-Pakistan content from the described Indian network (including EP Today, 4NewsAgency, Times Of Geneva, New Delhi Times);
- Most websites have a Twitter account.
Think kids are spoiled? Well, this video may just prove you right.
A young driver allegedly pushed his new BMW into a river. Why? Because his parents got him the BMW instead of the Jaguar that he wanted.
The man, who goes by the name “Akash,” said the car was “too small” for him and his friends.
A video shows the car slowly submerging into the waters of Yamunanagar, Haryana in the northern Indian state. The vehicle had to be pulled out via crane.
Witnesses said that the man jumped out of the vehicle before the car reached deep waters and that those nearby helped the man reach land safely.
A police official said: “The youth was arrogant and kept insisting that he be given a Jaguar as a BMW is a little small for him and his friends inside. We would do a preliminary investigation but this seems to be a personal matter. We will proceed according to the law.”
The 22-year-boy’s father said, “I wanted to give my son a birthday present. We could only afford to give him a BMW, while he kept on insisting that he be given a Jaguar. He said the vehicle was too small but we thought he will be okay.
“We never imagined he would do anything like this.”
Rainy days aren’t fun when they go this way. Hard torrential rains have caused flooding across the Greater Toronto Area, forcing the TTC to close at least one subway station.
According to CityNews, Kipling Avenue was closed Bethridge Road and Belfield Road, as well as part of Highway 401 at Kipling was also submerged.
Torrential rains caused flooding on several roadways across the GTA and forced the TTC to close at least one subway station.
Kipling Avenue was closed between Bethridge Road and Belfield Road while a portion of Highway 401 at Kipling was also said to be underwater.
The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority has warned that all shorelines, rivers, and streams should be considered “hazardous” at the moment, as heavy rain will increase water levels.