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PM Modi to make whirlwind tour of Ockhi affected states on Tuesday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi would visit Lakshadweep,Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Tuesday to assess the damage caused by cyclone Ockhi, which left a trail of destruction in the two states and the Union Territory.The Prime Minister, on a one-day visit, would review the situation arising in the aftermath of the cyclone and status of relief operations at Kavaratti, Kanyakumari and Thiruvananthapuram, official sources said. Modi would fly to Agatti from Mangaluru at around 7.35 AM and leave for Kavratti. After nearly an hour’s programme, he would return to Agatti and fly to Thiruvananthapuram, official sources in Lakshadweep said. On reaching the state capital at around 1.50 PM, he would take a helicopter to Kanyakumari, where he will meet officials and assess the damage caused by the cyclone.The Prime Minister would also get a first hand report from the some of the affected fishermen, district officials at Kanyakumari told PTI. Modi would return to Thiruvananthapuram and visit Poonthura, a nearby fishing village from where some of the deceased fishermen hailed. The Prime Minister would then meet Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and some of his cabinet colleagues, including revenue minister E Chandrasekharan and Fisheries minister J Mercykutty at the Raj Bhavan, according to sources in the Chief Minister’s office.Chief Secretary K M Abraham would also give a presentation on the calamity and the devastation caused in coastal regions of the state capital, including Poonthura, Vizhinjam, Pozhiyur and Adimalithura. After the meeting,the Prime Minister will leave for Delhi.Also readCyclone Ockhi: Rahul Gandhi writes to PM Modi, seeks special package for Kerala, Tamil Nadu and LakshadweepThe Kerala Chief Minister had earlier met Union Home minister Rajnath Singh and sought central assistance of Rs 1,843 crore. The state also wanted the Centre to declare the devastation caused by the cyclone as a national disaster. According to government estimates, 70 persons have so far lost their lives in Kerala in the cyclone and around 105 persons are still missing.Meanwhile,search operations are continuing for the missing fishermen with the state government seeking support of local boat owners. The government has decided to extend the search operations up to Goan shores. The cyclone that hit the state on November 29-30 had also caused large-scale damage to crops and property.

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Cyclone Ockhi: Torrential rains in Tamil Nadu,Kerala; eight dead

Torrential rains pounded southern districts of Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Kerala crippling life and claiming eight lives — four each in the two states — as a deep depression in the Bay of Bengal intensified into cyclonic storm ‘Ockhi’ on Thursday.Both the state governments put the official machinery on high alert as the cyclone, lying 60 kms south of Kanyakumari, was forecast to dump more rains in south Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the next 24 hours. The storm was expected to move toward the Lakshadweep archipelago and hit the islands on December 2. A bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department said gale wind speed reaching 65-75 kmph gusting to 85 kmph was very likely along and off South Kerala during next 48 hours and along and off south Tamil Nadu during next 24 hours.Fishermen in coastal regions in southern parts of the two states were advised not to venture into sea for the next 24 hours, it said. Madhavan Rajeevan, Secretary in the Earth Sciences ministry, said in New Delhi that Lakshadweep in the southern part of the Arabian Sea will start experiencing heavy rainfall and strong winds from tomorrow. “It will hit the islands on December 2,” Rajeevan said. Tamil Nadu government deployed state and national disaster response force teams in Kanyakumari district, which bore the brunt of the rain fury.Also readCyclone Ockhi: 4 killed in Kanyakumari, storm likely to intensify in next 24 hoursIt asked officials to shelter people living in low lying areas in the southern districts in multi-purpose evacuation centres. Chief Minister K Palaniswami, who reviewed the situation, said in Chennai state Ministers and senior IAS officials have been assigned to affected districts to monitor relief work. Also, electricity personnel with necessary equipment have been rushed to restore power distribution that was affected due to trees falling over electric poles, Palaniswami said.Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management R B Udhaya Kumar, deputed to Kanyakumari to take up relief work on a war footing, said people in the affected areas have been shifted to safer places. He said nearly 3,000 electric poles have been uprooted in the district, affecting power supply. Besides Kanyakumari, Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts were among those battered by the rains.Educational institutions remained closed in southern districts such as Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Viruthunagar and Thanjavur. Three men and a woman were killed when trees fell on them in different areas in Kanyakumari district, officials said. In Kerala, the state government put the official machinery on a high alert and ordered the evacuation of people living within 100 metres from the coast and also sought help from the Navy, Coast Guard and the Air Force to assist people in distress.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan held discussions through video conferencing with the Collectors of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alapuzha, Pathnamthitta, Idukki and Ernakulam districts and gave them necessary directions to take steps by coordinating various government agencies. The state reported four rain-related deaths, including an elderly couple who were electrocuted when they came into contact with a snapped live wire in front of their house at Kattakada near Thiruvananthapuram.The rains accompanied by gusty winds left a trail of destruction in Kanyakumari district, in the southernmost tip of the country, uprooting more than 500 trees, State Disaster Management Agency said. “Do not come out of homes in Kanyakumari, Tuticorin, and Tirunelveli stay safe indoors and take precautions do not panic,” it said in a tweet. Southern Railway said it has partially cancelled some trains in Tirunelveli-Kanyakumari-Thiruvananthapuram sector.Due to bad weather, a scheduled two-day programme of Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi, which was to begin tomorrow in Kerala, has been cancelled, party sources said. Thiruvananthapuram and its coastal stretch were witnessing heavy rains accompanied by strong winds since this morning. In several places, electric posts got uprooted. Vizhinjam coastal police said they received information that at least 57 fishermen, who had put out to sea from Thumba to Pozhiyur since yesterday, were yet to return. Twenty nine traditional boats which had set out from Poonthura were also out in the sea, police said. A Kochi report said Navy deployed four ships and two aircraft to assist in the search and rescue of fishermen onboard six boats and a marine Engineering vessel reported to be missing in the sea near Vizhinjam. The Southern Naval Command was also gearing up for any humanitarian assistance and disaster relief that may be required in view of the cyclone in the southern parts of Kerala, a Defence release said.
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Yogi Adityanath


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Mid-air fire on Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru flight as laptop explodes

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a shocking incident, a laptop exploded in an IndiGo flight on Saturday last week.The laptop on Thiruvananthapuram-Bengaluru flight suddenly starting emitting smoke and the airline crew had to use a fire-extinguisher to stop the fire, according to a TOI report.The incident happened when passengers complained of burning smell on the flight and found it coming from a black bag. Soon, the airline crew took charge of the matter and asked the passengers to move away from the nearby seats and sprayed extinguisher over the laptop. They kept the burning laptop in a water container till the plane safely landed.There have been no reports of injured so far. Currently laptops and tablets are not allowed in the check-in luggage.

Kerala: BJP workers protest outside secretariat to protest transport minister’s resignation in land encroachment case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Hundreds of BJP workers today converged in front of the secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram and staged a protest demanding immediate resignation of Transport Minister Thomas Chandy, who is facing allegations of land encroachment for a luxury lake resort owned by him in Alappuzha district.The protesters began assembling in front of three gates of the secretariat since 6 AM and raised slogans against the minister.The Secretariat houses offices of ministers and bureaucrats.Only the cantonment gate was spared by the protesters to enable ministers and staff to enter the premises.The agitators drawn from four districts of Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathnamthitta and Thiruvananthapuram, also wanted action against the Congress leaders named in the judicial commission report on the Solar scam.Inaugurating the protest, BJP state President, Kummanam Rajasekharan said there was no question of any compromise on the demand for Chandy’s resignation.General Secretary, AN Radhakrishnan said the party would launch a series of agitations on the chandy issue.Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan should seek Chandy’s resignation, he said.A crucial meeting of the LDF held here yesterday had decided to entrust Vijayan with taking an appropriate decision on the matter.NCP nominee, Chandy, a businessman-turned-politician, was inducted in the state cabinet 8 months ago following the resignation of A K Saseendran after a sleaze audio clip with a woman went viral.There have been demands from the Opposition Congress-led UDF and BJP after Alappuzha district collector T V Anupama confirmed that paddy field had been reclaimed for laying the road to his resort, besides there was encroachment of backwaters constructed by the resort for its parking space.The State Advocate General C P Sudhakara Prasad had recently told the state government that the collector’s report had legal binding and cannot be ignored.

BJP successfully caricatured Rahul Gandhi in past, but narrative has changed: Shashi Tharoor

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The BJP had “very successfully caricatured” Rahul Gandhi but the tactic is no longer working because the people now see the Congress vice president as an “effective opponent” to the ruling party, former minister Shashi Tharoor has said.The Congress MP in an interview to PTI said the narrative had “changed very very clearly” in the past few months and people were now openly expressing “doubts and misgivings” about how the Narendra Modi-led BJP government was performing. People are also more willing to see the Congress as a viable alternative to the BJP, the Thiruvananthapuram MP said.”The BJP had very successfully caricatured Rahul Gandhi in the past. That is no longer working because Rahul Gandhi is seen as a rather effective opponent to the BJP…As this changed narrative proceeds, you are going to find more and more momentum behind the Congress,” he asserted. Tharoor said a change was visible with the Congress’s recent victory in the by-election in Gurdaspur in Punjab and of its ally in Vengara in Kerala, and claimed the BJP’s attempts to conduct yatras in places such as Kerala and Gujarat had “fallen flat”.”I also feel very strongly that the people are beginning to ask when is the government going to keep the promises it has made…We are already riding much higher in people’s estimation than we were in the April or May of 2014, of that there is no doubt,” the 61-year-old leader said. His comments assume significance as Gandhi is expected to take over the reins of the Congress party soon.Last month, while addressing students at the University of California in the United States, the Congress vice president had said the impression that he was a reluctant politician was a result of a campaign against him by the other political camp.”There is a BJP machine, about a thousand guys, sitting on computers that basically tell you about me,” he had said. Tharoor said when Gandhi takes over, there will be “fresh energy” injected into the party.Noting that there was still time for the general election, Tharoor said Congress’s credibility was on the rise. “I would say that the narrative has changed very very clearly. People are now openly expressing doubts and misgivings about how the BJP government and Mr Modi are performing,” he said.Asked if the state elections were any indication of the 2019 poll outcome, Tharoor said drawing conclusions from the state elections “may not always be the wisest way forward”. “My gut instinct says we are doing well…In the next 12 months some very clear patterns will emerge,” he argued. The former minister of state for external affairs, who has been vocal in criticising the government’s stand on the Rohingya Muslims, said forced deportation would “give India a very bad name in the international community”.Tharoor answered in the affirmative when asked if India’s stature in the world arena would take a hit if the Rohingyas were deported. “You cannot start off with the presumption that they are terrorists. Many of them are women and children, they are obviously innocents,” the former UN under secretary general said.

Solar scam: Kerala govt to register vigilance case against former CM Oommen Chandy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday said that the solar scam inquiry commission has found former CM Oommen Chandy and his office to be involved in the multi-crore solar scam in the state. The government has decided to register a vigilance case against the former CM.A criminal case will also be filed against former Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.Addressing the media in Thiruvananthapuram, the CM Vijayan said, “A criminal case will be registered and fresh inquiry will be conducted under anti-corruption law”. The commission was appointed after allegations of fraud worth crores of rupees were made against prime accused Saritha Nair and her accomplice Biju Radhakrishnan.The duo allegedly duped people by offering solar panel solutions through advanced payments and used the names of political higher-ups, including that of former Chief Minster Oommen Chandy, to canvas business.The CPI(M)-led LDF, then in opposition, had launched an agitation following reports of Saritha’s links with the office of the chief minister.Meanwhile, Chandy had maintained that the charges against him and his office were “politically motivated” and had denied any wrongdoing.Set up in October, 2013, the commission had held 353 sittings, examined 214 witnesses and 972 documents.(With Agency Inputs)

Body of missing girl recovered from river nearby Panathur

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The body of a four-year-old girl, who had been reported missing under mysterious circumstances at Panathur in the district since the evening of August 3, was recovered today from a nearby river, police said. Her decomposed body was recovered at 2.30 PM, about two km from her house from Bankupayam river following a joint week long search by the police and locals, Circle inspector Sunilkumar, who headed the Special Investigating Team formed to trace the girl, said. Besides the local police, Fire and Rescue Service personnel and Coast Guard, NDRF personnel from Thiruvananthapuram were also pressed into the search operations. The girl went missing from her house compound at Panathur after she returned from an Anganwadi centre. Police had suspected that the child might have have slipped into the drain in front of her house as her slippers and umbrella were found there. Earlier, it was also suspected that the girl might have been kidnapped as some villagers had reported citing nomads in the area on the day.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Brinda Karat hits out at Jaitley for his speech in Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>CPI(M) politburo member Brinda Karat today criticised Union minister Arun Jaitley for his speech in Kerala and alleged that it had hit the peace process initiated by the state government there. Jaitley had yesterday urged the Kerala government to put an end to the “politics of annihilation” and allow the opposition to function freely. Karat, who was here to attend a party meet, told reporters that the Union finance minister’s speech in Thiruvananthapuram was beneath the dignity of a central minister and claimed that it had provoked the people of Kerala to trigger an unrest in the state. She alleged that since the BJP had “failed to break” the CPI(M) “through money and muscle power” in Kerala, it was now resorting to killing the cadre of the Left party “with the help of the RSS”. Karat alleged that the law-and-order situation was “worse” in the BJP-ruled states, compared to Kerala. “Records show that political killings have increased in a state like Uttar Pradesh among others,” she claimed.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA EXCLUSIVE: Books or ‘khadi’ handkerchiefs to replace bouquets presented to PM Modi during his domestic trips

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Books or ‘khadi’ handkerchiefs will replace bouquets that are presented to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to greet him during his domestic trips, the government has said.The PM had recently appealed to people that they should give books instead of bouquets as greetings to push reading and knowledge. The PM had also said that ‘khadi’ products as gifts can provide employment to a large number of underprivileged people.The Union Home Ministry issued directions to all states, UTs and establishments on July 12 that no bouquet be presented to the PM during his tours in India. The missive under the title “arrangements during visits for the Prime Minister within India” says: “…at the best a flower along with a khadi handkerchief or a book may be presented…”The letter also asks all states and UTs to suitably sensitise all concerned to ensure the instructions are complied with.Addressing the launch of PN Panicker National Reading Day celebrations in Kerala on June 17, the PM had urged people to “give a book instead of a bouquet as a greeting”, saying that there is no joy greater than reading and no strength greater than knowledge.”Such a move can make a big difference”.Modi made the same appeal on Twitter the same day, which had Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor’s attention. The Congress leader had tweeted: “Some minds think alike! I’ve been saying this for years in Thiruvananthapuram!”About a week later, during his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio address, the PM urged people to stop exchanging bouquets and instead gift khadi products.”One can also use a khadi handkerchief to welcome people, and be a support to the innumerable underprivileged people. When I was in Gujarat, I had set a tradition of welcoming people by not giving bouquets, but books or handkerchiefs instead,” he had said.”The lifespan of a bouquet is very short. You receive it in your hand for a moment and then abandon it. But when you present a book, it becomes a part of the household, a part of the family,” the PM had said.The expenses are reduced as well, and the gift is well utilised too, the PM had said, adding, “I say this, thinking of the historical value of such gifts”.The PM had also recalled his last visit to London, where Queen Elizabeth had invited him to lunch with her. “…when she showed me a small thread-spun khadi handkerchief, her eyes lit up. With great respect, and in an emotion-filled voice, she said, that Mahatma Gandhi had sent this handkerchief to her as a wedding gift”.GIFTING THE PMThe Home Ministry’s missive under the title “arrangements during visits for the Prime Minister within India” says: “…at the best a flower along with a khadi handkerchief or a book may be presented…”

SC to hear Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple theft case

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> The Supreme Court on Tuesday will continue to hear arguments in the Sree Padmanabha Swamy temple theft case. Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar will hear on Amicu Curiae Gopal Subrahmanyam?s latest report on the status of various works undertaken to strengthen the spiritual and temporal infrastructure of the temple. It is on the basis of this report, the apex court is expected to take stock of the security arrangements, maintenance and restoration works in the temple. The situation of the state of security in the temple emerged after eight diamonds, which were part of the tilak of the Sree Padmanabha Swamy idol in the temple in Thiruvananthapuram, were reported missing in August 2015. The matter is being investigated by the crime branch after an FIR was registered in August 2016.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

77 liquor outlets open in Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>At least 77 liquor outlets in three star and above classified hotels were opened on Sunday after Kerala government renewed their licenses as part of its new liquor policy, with tipplers making a beeline to the bars. The CPI(M)-led LDF government had last month unveiled its new liquor policy by deciding to open closed bar outlets in three star and above category besides permitting serving of toddy in these hotels from July one.As the bars opened their doors at 11 am today, heavy rush was seen in various outlets, with the early visitors not hiding their glee at the government’s decision. “We are happy that the bars have opened. We can quench our thirst after a hard day’s work without fearing police”, said an early visitor to a bar in the state capital. In Kollam, tipplers welcomed the opening of bars by bursting crackers.Kollam DCC president Bindu Krishna led a march of Congress workers before a bar which opened today with party workers distributing ‘sambaram’ (spiced butter milk). The LDF government had decided to renew the bar licenses of bars of three star and above category, which were open until Mar 31, 2014, when the previous Congress led UDF government decided to allow only bars in five star category hotels.The bars, which opened today, also have to follow the 500 metre stipulation from state and national highways as laid by the Supreme Court. Government has also renewed the licenses of 2112 toddy shops.While the maximum number of 20 bars were opened in Ernakulam district, in Thiruvananthapuram 11 bars opened while in Thrissur nine opened this morning. The bars will remain open from 11am to 11pm.Meanwhile, Bar Hotels Association sources said they were planning to move the High Court to challenge the government’s decision to renew licenses of bars in three star and above hotels. This was against the principles of equality, the sources said.As part of government’s liquor policy, the age limit for consumption of liquor has been increased from the 21 to 23. Government took the decision to reopen the outlets considering fall in state revenue and increase in the consumption of intoxicant substances.The UDF policy had resulted in the closure of 712 bars below the five-star category as part of its aim to ensure total prohibition in 10 years time. A majority of these closed bars were later converted to beer and wine parlours.While describing the UDF’s liquor policy as a “total failure and impractical”, the LDF government has made it clear that it was against total prohibition, but was for abstinence.

Plea seeking production of girl who bobbitised godman

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A habeas corpus petition filed in the Kerala High Court seeking production of a girl who bobbitised a godman was withdrawn following a statement filed by police. In the statement, police informed the court that their investigation has revealed that the girl was not under any illegal detention but living with the father, mother and brother at a rented house at Nedumangad. Police also said the girl was given police protection after she gave a written complaint that petitioner Ayyappadas sexually exploited her giving false assurance to marry her. The petition was filed in the high court last week alleging that the young woman who bobbitised the godman was abducted from her house and was illegally confined at a place in Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram. In the habeas corpus petition, Ayyappadas had claimed that he and the girl were in love for more than a year and he used to visit her house occasionally. He had alleged the girl was taken away forcibly from her house as a result of a criminal conspiracy hatched by some people close to the godman. It was done at a time when investigation into the case was progressing, he had submitted. The plea was filed two days after the police had approached a court in Thiruvananthapuram seeking permission to conduct scientific tests, including lie detector, on the young woman victim. The 23-year-old woman had allegedly cut off the genitals of the godman when he reportedly tried to rape her at her home in Pettah in Thiruvananthapuram last month. The woman in her complaint had stated that the accused has been known to her family for the past few years and has been harassing her since she was a minor. He frequented her home for performing pujas and used to assault her during the visits, the complaint had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bobbitising case: Plea in HC alleges woman’s abduction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A petition was filed in the Kerala High Court today alleging that a young woman who bobbitised a godman was abducted from her house and was illegally confined at a place in Nedumangad in Thiruvananthapuram. In a habeas corpus petition, a man claimed that he and the girl were in love for more than a year and he used to visit her house occasionally. He alleged the girl was taken away forcibly from her house as a result of a criminal conspiracy hatched by some people close to the godman. It was done at a time when investigation into the case was progressing, he submitted. The plea comes two days after the police had approached a court here seeking permission to conduct scientific tests, including lie detector, on the young woman victim. The 23-year-old woman had allegedly cut off the genitals of a man when he reportedly tried to rape her at her home in Pettah in Thiruvananthapuram last month. The woman in her complaint had stated that the accused has been known to her family for the past few years and has been harassing her since she was a minor. He frequented her home for performing poojas and used to assault her during the visits, the complaint had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kerala: 103 deaths reported due to various types of fevers, govt initiates mass sanitation

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With over 100 deaths being reported since January in Kerala due to various types of fevers, government appealed to the people on Sunday to join the government’s mass sanitation drive on a war footing.According to Health Department sources in Thiruvananthapuram, as many as 103 people, including women and children, have succumbed to various types of fevers including H1N1, leptospirosis and dengue from January till date.Of the total 103 deaths, 53 people have died of H1N1 and 13 due to dengue, the sources said. Breeding of mosquitoes due to piling of waste was considered to be prime reason for the spread of fever and other communicable diseases, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said, adding social hygiene was essential to keep diseases at bay. “Political party activists, representatives of local self government institutions and members of socio-cultural outfits and clubs should take part in the sanitation drive on war footing,” he said in a statement.Stating that the government had already stepped up its sanitation drive with the support of local people, Vijayan said fever cases have reduced in those places where waste management and mosquito control measures have been implemented effectively. He said the government had ensured enough stock of essential medicines and the service of doctors in all government hospitals.Meanwhile, Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala visited Vijayan at his official residence in Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday and submitted a memorandum with some suggestions to tackle the crisis.He alleged that 117 people had died due to fever in the state since January. At least an average of 20,000 persons are arriving at state hospitals seeking treatment for fever. “Youngsters and children are succumbing to viral fever” and there was emergency situation, he said.Chennithala also said the health department had failed miserably in containing the fever and blamed state Health Minister KK Shylaja for not rising to the occasion. Refuting the charges, the Health Minister said the opposition was trying to take political mileage over the situation. A united effort is needed to overcome the situation, she said in Kochi.

Centre planning waterway transport project: Minister

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>: Union Minister of State for Highways and Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan has said the central government was planning for an inland waterway transport project between Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai via Kanyakumari and Nagapattinam. The government was working on developing inland water transportation across the country, the Minister said. “We are planning to commence an inland water transportation project to connect the coastal stretch between Thiruvananthapuram and Chennai via Kanyakumari and Nagapattinam. The coastal districts in these areas will get excellent connectivity,” he told reporters here last night. The Union government was planning to give shape to the project through a joint venture with the Tamil Nadu government, he added. Referring to the ongoing road construction projects between Vikkiravandi-Thanjavur and Nagapattinam-Thanjavur stretches of National Highway 45C and 67 respectively, Radhakrishnan said work had been expedited with a view to completing them at the earliest. The Minister further said the Union Railway Ministry was now undertaking a survey to lay a new railway line connecting all the eastern regions of Tamil Nadu. Charging that Tamil Nadu government lacked strong leadership, he said the Chief Minister should take decisions in a bold manner for rapid development.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bombs hurled at CPI-M office in Kozhikode; none injured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Some unidentified persons hurled two bombs at the CPI-M district office here early today, police said. They said no one was injured in the incident which left window panes in the front portion of the building damaged. One of bombs exploded while another was recovered from the compound of the office and defused, police said. A group of persons came and threw the bombs at the office at about 1.30 am, they added. CPI-M sources said party district secretary P Mohanan arrived at the office a few minutes before the incident but escaped unhurt. They alleged that RSS activists were behind the attack. The incident came two days after bombs were hurled at the BJP district office in Thiruvananthapuram. BJP had alleged that CPI-M workers were behind the June 7 incident when two unidentified persons threw a ‘petrol’ bomb. The attack on BJP office came in the backdrop of the attempt to manhandle CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury in New Delhi by two members of a fringe Hindu outfit.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Day-cares to be under CCTV surveillance in Ker districts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Seeking to ensure safety of children in daycare centres, Kerala police has made CCTV cameras mandatory in such institutions in three districts. Thiruvananthapuram Range IG, Manoj Abraham has directed all police station under his range to ensure that CCTV cameras are installed in all day-care centres. With this order, the cameras would be installed in day care centres in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam and Pathanamthitta, police sources here said. The directive was given in view of the alleged torture of a child by a caretaker in a day-care centre in Kochi last week. CCTV cameras, installed in all rooms accessed by children, would help parents ensure that their children are safe at the daycare centres, they said. The caretaker of a day-care centre in Kochi, Mini, was arrested following video footage aired by news channels, purportedly showing her assaulting a two-year-old child at the facility on May 23. The incident triggered wide protests and concern about the safety of children in day-care centres in the state.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Conditions favourable for onset of SW monsoon onset in Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Conditions are ‘favourable’ for the onset of South-West monsoon in Kerala by tomorrow, the Indian Meteorological Department said today. While south Kerala has been receiving widespread rains since early today, only few places have received rains in the northern parts. However, it is likely to improve by tomorrow, IMD Thiruvananthapuram Director S Sudevan told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Elderly women in coastal Kerala go to literacy classes to

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of elderly women, unmindful of their failing eye sight and other ailments, in coastal Kerala, is on a mission to learn. For these women who have never been to school, the state government’s ‘Aksharasagaram’ project for improving literacy levels in panchayats in the coastal areas has come as a boon. “I want to study till I breathe my last,” 86-year-old Maniyeri Madhaviamma from Trikaripur in Kerala’s northernmost Kasaragod said, despite her failing eyesight. Echoing similar sentiments is Biyathumma (81) from Malappuram and 80-year-old Vyakulamma from Thiruvananthapuram. All the three are among the 3746 candidates, including men, who took the literacy examination here this month under the Aksharasagaram project. The project is being implemented by the Kerala State Literacy Mission Authority (KSLMA) in association with the Fisheries department. In the first phase, 81 coastal wards from 15 panchayats of Thiruvananthapuram, Malappuram and Kasaragod districts were selected for the project, P S Sreekala, KSLMA director, said. Ninety per cent of women in different age groups from the coastal areas have taken the exam. In Malappuram, a Muslim dominated area, it was like a celebration for women to attend the classes, she said. “This has given us lot of positive energy and we are hopeful more women from the muslim community will come for the classes’, she told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kerala’s all-women pongala fest gives fresh hopes to homeless

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Lakh of bricks, abandoned by devotees after annual “Attukal Pongala”, one of world’s largest all-women religious event, will soon turn out to be construction material for homeless people here. Women from various parts of the state and outside used to prepare ‘pongala’ (a mix of rice, jaggery and coconut) in fresh earthen or metal pots as an offering to Attukal Devi, the presiding deity of the temple, in makeshift brick stoves. The ritual is performed by lining up on either side of the roads in the city and its suburbs. The line used to go up to seven km radius of the city. The city corporation has come out with an innovative initiative to collect and reuse the bricks left over by devotees, to construct budget houses for poor. Corporation sources here said, the devotes abandon several lakh of bricks after ‘pongala’ every year across the city and it would be used for the construction purpose from next year under the state government’s ambitious LIFE programme. “Project LIFE” (Livelihood, Inclusion, Financial Empowerment) envisages to make Kerala a zero-homeless state by providing home for homeless. Thiruvananthapuram mayor V K Prasanth said the project would not only help poor to realise their life-long dream of building a house of their own but also keep the city clean after the mass religious fest. “The city will be full of waste and bricks after every pongala fest. Corporation staff used to launch a massive cleaning drive soon after the ritual is over,” Prasanth told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

A wanted in a cheating case in Kerala detained at airport

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A person, wanted in connection with a cheating case in Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, was today detained at the airport here, when he was trying to leave the country by an Air Arabia flight. Mohammed Riyas, a resident of Pollachi in the district, was wanted in a cheating case in Kerala and police had alerted Air Port and Railway Stations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Riyaas was detained by the immigrant officials during verification of his passport, as he was going to Sharjah, and immediately alerted local police, in the early hours of today, Police did not reveal details of the case. On information, a police team from Kerala came to the city and taken the accused along with them, police said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

200 trans athletes warm up in Kerala

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>To get as many transgender people to participate in the district-level athletic meet, each district council in Kerala appointed a coach and ground for the contingent, and participants were given three days of training.The result is a heartening turn out of 200 participants from 14 districts – the state’s Sexual Minorities Forum was expecting 20 from each district, aadding up to 280 – for the first state-level transgender athletic meet to be held on April 28 at Central Stadium in Thiruvananthapuram. The numbers fell short in the districts of Wayanad, Idduki, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta owing to smaller numbers of transgender population.The State Sports Commission also conducted gender and sexuality sensitization workshops for coaches and sports authorities. “Coaches from all the districts were invited to Thiruvananthapuram,” says event co-ordinator Anil Arjunan, “and they met activists from the community. We told them who is a transgender is, as it is an umbrella term, and discussed the issues that the community faces and factors that have stopped them from participating in sports.”The attempt is to have more transgender representation at mainstream sports events.”Many transgenders participated in sports when they were in school,” says Sree, an activist and sportsperson, “and harboured an ambition for sport but it was interrupted around the age of 13 due to ignorance and harassment from peers. This is a good opportunity for them to prove their abilities. The community has tremendous sports potential, we are as mentally and physically fit as any other citizen.”With no separate funds allotted for transgender sports as yet, state and district sports councils utilized their existing budget. “We tried for sponsors but time was limited. Next time, we will have sponsorships as well as more participation,” says Arjunan.On April 27, Sports Minister of Kerala, AC Moideen will host a dinner and cultural evening for the athletes. “This time,” says Arjunan, “we are only looking to spread awareness within the community and familiarise them with the sports authorities, facilities, arena and stadium. Next year, we will have proper selections on the district level. Based on how this goes, we are even planning a national-level sports meet.”WHAT’S IT ABOUTThere was no selection criteria for participation and the athletes will compete in two categories – male to female and female to male, across six categories – 100, 200 and 400m sprints and 4x100m relay, shot put and long jump. Each athlete can participate in at least three events.

Top executive booked for unnatural sexual attack on cab driver

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>: A 60-year-old foreigner, a top executive of an Indo-Singapore joint venture firm at a Kerala airport,has been booked for an alleged unnatural sexual attack on a cab driver at a nearby hotel in September last year. Police said a lookout notice has been issued against the man, executive Vice President of the company handling ground services at Thiruvananthapuram airport, on the basis of the driver’s complaint. A company official said police had informed them about the September 3, 2016 incident. The man had allegedly left the country after the incident at nearby Nedumbassery. Police said the victim, who was traumatised, filed the petition with police only on March 22 this year, as he had suffered depression and mental agony after the incident. The FIR, which did not mention the man’s nationality,said the official allegedly beat up the driver and threatened to kill him if he disclosed the matter to others. Police said the official was booked under IPC Sections 377 (Unnatural offences) 323 (Punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation). Police have seized his hotel bill and a copy of his passport, among other things. They said a look out circular has been issued to detain him in airports as he needs to be questioned.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kerala: 85-year-old man mauled to death by stray dogs

Sat, 8 Apr 2017-12:40pm , Thiruvananthapuram , ANI
<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A pack of stray dogs attacked an 85-year-old man at Thiruvilam village in Attingal in Thiruvananthapuram district, police said.The deceased, Kunhikrishnan, had left home at 9 AM on Friday saying he was going for a hair cut. When he did not return home till night, the family members began a search for him and he was found mauled to death by stray dogs, police said on Saturday.Parts of his face and right hand were found bitten off by dogs and there were injuries on his shoulder and neck.

Conspiracy hatched at different stages in giving contract: CBI

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI today argued before the Kerala High Court that a trial was must to prove the conspiracy in giving the contract to revamp the power projects to a Canadian firm when CM Pinarayi Vijayan was power minister in 1996. Claiming that the conspiracy was hatched at different stages in awarding the contract, the CBI assailed the lower court order discharging Vijayan and six others and said a full-fledged trial was necessary to prove the conspiracy. In a criminal case, the actual trial begins only after framing of charges in the case by the court on the basis of prima facie evidence existing against the accused, who is discharged by the court in absence of evidence. The CBI was arguing on its plea against the 2013 order of the Thiruvananthapuram special court which discharged Vijayan and others in the case of alleged corruption in awarding the contract to the Canadian firm SNC-Lavalin that caused a ‘loss’ of Rs 374.50 crore to the state exchequer. The probe agency was making the submission to Justice P Ubaid during the resumed hearing on its petition against the trial court’s order. During the hearing on March 17, Vijayan had denied before the high court that there was any conspiracy in awarding a contract to the Canadian firm to revamp the hydroelectric projects when he was power minister. The decision to award the contract to renovate the three power projects to SNC Lavalin was taken by the state Cabinet, he had said. Appearing for Vijayan, senior Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve had said the original Memorandum of Understanding was signed during the previous UDF regime by erstwhile Electricity Minister G Karthikeyan in 1995. The CBI, however, did not arraign Karthikeyan as an accused, Salve had said, alleging that Vijayan was named as an accused under a conspiracy by the Congress-led UDF government. Lavalin had undertaken several other renovation projects and the CBI did never raise any doubt regarding the competence and integrity of the World Bank-approved company, Salve had said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Shashi Tharoor speaks out about petition to make him PM candidate

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Congress leader Shashi Tharoor has finally spoken out about a petition on Change.org that calls to nominate him as the UPA prime ministerial candidate for the 2019 elections. “Tharoor is a man well qualified with deep knowledge of international and national issues, who can connect with the people of India and with world leaders,” reads the online petition launched by a Thiruvananthapuram-based user.However, the Congress leader in a Facebook post on Friday said that while he was touched with the gesture, he had no such ambitions.
ALSO READ Shashi Tharoor wants UK schools to teach colonial history”I was both surprised and touched by the Change.org petition that has been circulating over the last few days suggesting a greater role for me in the Congress Party and in national politics in the 2019 elections, and by the response this has received. I do, however, feel it is time to make it clear that I neither support nor endorse such a campaign.”While I initially chose to ignore the petition, because this is not how Indian politics works, the attention it has gathered in the media, and especially on social media, obliges me to respond.
ALSO READ Shashi Tharoor: Britain came to one of the richest countries & reduced it to the poorestI thank the creator of this petition, who I understand is from Thiruvananthapuram, for his faith in me as his representative in Parliament, and thank everyone who has signed it so far for their good wishes. I have, however, discouraged those of my “followers” who have asked me about this from doing so, since I do not support such a campaign.”I am a member of Parliament for the Congress Party, nothing more and nothing less. The party has a settled leadership, which is not up for debate. When changes occur they do so through an established procedure.”I want to assure those who have nonetheless so generously expressed their faith in me that I share their aspiration for a better India, an aspiration that can best be given voice and expression through the Indian National”Congress and the values it enshrines, and will continue to work towards realizing our national destiny and upholding the principles that underpin this destiny.”I will continue, to the best of my abilities, with my work in Parliament, in Thiruvananthapuram, and in articulating my hopes for India and the ideas that make India — on those party platforms that are available to me, as well as on the national and international stage and through my writings.”Once again, I thank everyone for their faith and support, and request that the petition be withdrawn.”Jai Hind!” he wrote.Read the post here:Tharoor, the two-time parliamentarian from Thiruvananthapuram, had worked at the United Nations for over 30 years in various positions. He had also served as Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. In addition, the 61-year-old internationally known speaker has authored several books, including the latest one Inglorious Empire. Over the past few months, Tharoor has emerged as the most vocal of all Congress leaders and his popularity is at an all-time high following his book release and subsequent appearances in international shows highlighting how Britain drained India of its wealth and the fact that Great Britain had ‘historical amnesia.’

School boy commits suicide after school alleges copying

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 16-year-old boy here committed suicide allegedly after being harassed by school authorities over an incident of copying during the annual examinations.The boy, Arjun, was a plus one student of MGM school, Aiyoor at Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district, police said.Alleging that he had copied, the school authorities had convened a special meeting and summoned the boy’s parents.They allegedly insulted him in front of his parents, the classmates said.Yesterday, the boy was found hanging inside his house.School authorities have however denied the charge that the student had been harassed.

Kerala: BJP Vice President PP Vava attacked in altercation with police, loses left eye

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Kerala BJP Vice President Dr PP Vava was injured in Police Action in Thiruvananthapuram.The Dalit leader lost his left eye. The incident took place during a protest in connection with the students’ strike at the Kerala Law Academy.Noted Dalit leader, Kerala BJP VicePresident Dr PP Vava brutally injured in heavy Police Action by the Communist Govt. He lost his left eye. pic.twitter.com/CvhGK4Ci9K
February 1, 2017

Mother Teresa’s life history to be staged as docudrama

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>: The unparallelled life history of Nobel laureate Mother Teresa will soon be staged as a docudrama here next month. The city-based Chavara Cultural Centre, in association with Kala, a cultural outfit here, are jointly staging the drama to commemorate the life and services of ‘Mother’ and to raise funds for helping the destitute children fallen as cancer victims. The first show of ‘Mother Teresa’ would be held at Karthika Tirunal Theatre here on February 17, in the presence of significant personalities from socio-cultural, political and spiritual spheres of society, a release here said. Auxiliary bishop of Latin Arch Diocese of Thiruvananthapuram, Rev Dr Christudas would inaugurate the show and Malayalam University Vice Chancellor K Jayakumar would deliver the Mother Teresa Commemorative speech during the function. Mother’s embodiment of kindness, compassion and her services to the poor would be showcased in the docudrama, it said. Ambi, Vijayan Thomas, Sushama, Hithu, Praveen, Mohankumar and several others are part of the drama. The organisers have plans to stage the drama in all other districts of the state in the next six months, the release added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Hirakhand Express derailment: A worrying list of train accidents since 2016

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ajmer-Sealdah Express ​derailment – December 28, 2016:Over 50 passengers were injured when 15 coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailed near Rura Railway Station in Kanpur Rural district.Capital Express derailment – December 6, 2016:The engine and two coaches of the Rajendra Nagar-Guwahati Capital Express derailed near Samuktala Road in Alipurduar of West Bengal at around 9.15 pm on December 6. Two people died in the incident.Indore-Patna Express derailment – November 20, 2016:Indore-Patna Express derailment in Kanpur on November 20 lead to the deaths of 151 people. The Delhi Police had picked up two people from Bihar in connection with the train derailment. The Bihar Police has claimed that derailment was planned and funded by anti-India elements based in Dubai.So far, three have been arrested for planting a bomb on railway tracks in the state on October 1, 2016. A two-member NIA team to Motihari for investigation into the Bihar Police’s claimsJhelum Express derailment – October 4:Ten coaches of the Jhelum Express derailed near Ludhiana and three passengers were injured on October 4.Bhubaneswar-Bhadrak passenger train – September 29:Two people were killed in a collision between a Bhubaneswar-Bhadrak passenger train and a goods train near Kathojodi station at Cuttack.Delhi-Faizabad Express August 28:Seven coaches of Delhi-Faizabad Express got derailed near Hapur in Uttar Pradesh. There were no casualties in the incident.UP train collision with school van – July 26, 2016: A passenger train hit a school van in Badohi, eastern Uttar Pradesh. Eight children were killed and several others were injured. The collision was so impactful that the van was thrown up in the air.Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh Express – May 19, 2016:An Assam-bound train, the Kanyakumari-Dibrugarh Express derailed in Nagercoil near Kanyakumari due to a landslide. There were no casualties in the accident.Chennai Central-Thiruvananthapuram Central superfast – May 6, 2016:A side collision between Chennai Central – Thiruvananthapuram Central superfast near Pattabiram and a suburban train injured seven people.Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore Express – May 1, 2016:Twelve coaches of Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore Express derailed in the wee hours on Sunday near Karukutty station, around 45 kms from Kerala. Over 40 people were injured in the incident.

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