Fire in Delhi hotel kills 17, raises questions of safety

The fire broke out in a congested area in central Delhi. (File/AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019
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Fire in Delhi hotel kills 17, raises questions of safety

  • The blaze broke out before dawn at Hotel Arpit Palace in a congested part of central Delhi
  • Most of the victims were sleeping when the fire broke out, believed to have been caused by a short circuit

NEW DELHI: The death toll rose to 17 from a fire that tore through a hotel in New Delhi on Tuesday, a senior official said.
The fire broke out before dawn at the budget Hotel Arpit Palace in a congested part of central Delhi.
“We have confirmed with hospital authorities, the toll is now 17 including a child,” Sunil Choudhary, a fire brigade official, told AFP.

The incident raised fresh questions about safety standards in poorly regulated hotels catering to the less affluent.
A wedding party had booked a large part of the 35-room hotel. Among the dead were a woman and a child who tried to escape by jumping from a window, the Indian Express said. Television showed pictures of broken windows.
Virendra Singh, deputy fire chief, said 35 people had been rescued from the hotel located in the shopping district of Karol Bagh. Most of the victims were sleeping when the fire broke out, believed to have been caused by a short circuit.
Authorities in Delhi have frequently launched raids to enforce building codes, fire safety measures and evacuation procedures but these steps have failed to check rampant violations by builders in a rapidly expanding capital city of more than 18 million people.
Last week, a fire broke out in a hospital in a Delhi suburb, forcing emergency evacuation of patients. Nobody was hurt.

(With Reuters, AFP)


NASA investigating first crime committed in space: report

Updated 25 August 2019
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NASA investigating first crime committed in space: report

  • Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of improperly accessing her partner’s private financial records while aboard the International Space Station
  • McClain’s lawyer said the astronaut accessed the account only to monitor the couple’s combined finances

WASHINGTON: US space agency NASA is investigating what may be the first crime committed in outer space, The New York Times reported Saturday.
Astronaut Anne McClain is accused of identity theft and improperly accessing her estranged wife’s private financial records while on a sixth-month mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS), the Times said.
The astronaut’s spouse Summer Worden filed a complaint earlier this year with the Federal Trade Commission after learning McClain had accessed her bank account without permission, while Worden’s family filed another with NASA’s Office of Inspector General, according to the newspaper.
McClain’s lawyer said the astronaut had done nothing wrong and accessed the bank records while aboard the ISS in order to monitor the couple’s combined finances — something she had done over the course of their relationship, the Times reported.
NASA investigators have contacted both women, according to the newspaper.
McClain, who returned to Earth in June, gained fame for being one of two women picked for a historic all-female spacewalk, but NASA scrapped the planned walk in March due to a lack of well-fitting spacesuits, sparking accusations of sexism.
Worden said the FTC has not responded to the identity theft report, but that an investigator specializing in criminal cases with NASA’s Office of Inspector General has been looking into the accusation, according to the Times.