Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hartal in Kasargod in protest against murder

KASARGOD: The hartal called by the CPM in protest against the murder of their activist in Uduma has started in the district. A CPM activist identified as Balakrishnan (45) of Mangad was stabbed to death last night.

Balakrishnan was attacked by some unidentified goons while returning after attending a funeral of his relative. Muslim League is behind the murder, alleged the CPM.

Keralite doctor found guilty of rape charges in Australia

MELBOURNE: A 39-year-old doctor from Kerala was found guilty by Australian Supreme Court of raping two women during consultations, even as he pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Manu Maimbilly Gopal was arrested on March 1 at Melbourne International Airport while waiting to fly to Kochi after contacted by local police about the sexual assault claims.

Gopal was accused of digitally penetrating two women after telling them they needed internal vaginal examinations when they complained of abdominal pain during separate visits to a Sunbury medical clinic in February last year.

He was found guilty after a two-week trial.

Justice Geoffrey Nettle remanded him for a pre-sentence hearing on September 26, according to 'The Age' newspaper.

The report said that Gopal took his first victim, an 18-year-old full-time student suffering from stomach cramps, to the consultation room and locked the door.

"(The young woman) told you that she didn't understand what the internal examination would involve, where it was going to be," Crown prosecutor Lesley Taylor said in her closing address to the jury.

The examination took up to four minutes and Gopal did not take notes.

The victim after the examination said she "crumbled" and her boyfriend had to hold her up as she cried uncontrollably.
"She said the perfect word to describe how she felt was violated," Taylor said.

The other victim was a mother of four who went to see the doctor because of bad pain to her right side.

Gopal told the woman that her symptoms could have something to do with her ovaries and he needed to do an internal examination.

The woman asked if it was really necessary but Gopal insisted. In this also, Gopal made no notes of the vaginal examination.

Three Keralites killed in TN accident

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Three Keralites were killed and four sustained serious injuries in an accident that happened at Virutha Nagar in Tamil Nadu.

The car carrying a team from Ayirooppara at Pothencode in the capital city proceeding to Rameswaram from the capital city was involved in the accident. The injured in an unconscious stage has been admitted at the Madura Rajaji Hospital.

The dead has been identified as Sajeev of Pothencode, car driver Arun Kumar of Ayirooppara,  and Shibiraj. Sreejith, Madhu, Surendran and Anil Kumar are the injured.

The team in the Travera Car owned by Arun Kumar’s brother left for Rameswaram early Wednesday morning.  The accident happened at Neikkarapatti between Virutha Nagar and Kallikkudi. The car which lost control overturned after hitting the divider. Many fell on the road after the door of the vehicle opened. The kin of the dead has left to bring back the bodies.

Escaped remand prisoner caught

ATTINGAL: A remand prisoner who escaped from the Attingal district jail was captured within 24 hours by the jail officials. The prisoner has been identified as Sugunan (32) of Attingal.

It is suspected that he may have escaped through the wall which was short.

Asst jailor Sudarshan identified him when he was having tea at a tea stall near his house in Korani early Wednesday morning. He immediately informed his colleagues and they surrounded and caught him. He was later handed over to the Attingal police.  He was jailed for stealing Rs 8000 from a hundi on September 13.

Govt to provide temporary help to KSRTC

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government may come to the rescue of KSRTC by providing a temporary relief in the wake of the Supreme Court withdrawing the diesel subsidy.

The government may give the excess liability of Rs 22 crores after the subsidy was withdrawn by the Supreme Court. The government is likely to provide relief to KSRTC for the next two months.

A decision may be taken at the next cabinet meet. Other decisions will be taken on the basis of the talks held with oil companies today. The government may approach the centre for help.

Veliyam Bhargavan passes away

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Veteran CPI leader Veliyam Bhargavan, who led the party in Kerala for long, died here Wednesday, sources said.

Bhargavan (85) had been keeping indifferent health for quite some time and the end came at a city hospital where he was admitted a few days back following respiratory troubles, party sources said.

He was a member of the CPI national council since 1971 and had served as the party's state secretary from 1998 to 2010, before stepping down from the post citing poor health.

Known for his unsullied record, Bhargavan had chosen to remain on the organisational front during most of his decade’s long public life.

Though an architect of the present LDF, Bhargavan was a tough negotiator within the front to secure the interests of his party.

Bhargavan who plunged into politics at a young age and displayed exemplary skills as organiser of workers, suffered physical torture for leading struggles of transport workers.

 He was elected to the state assembly in 1957 and 60, after which he kept himself off electoral scene, concentrating entirely on the organisational front despite pressures from within the party to contest polls.

"His death is not just a loss to the party but for the whole of Kerala where he distinguished himself on account of his qualities as an astute and selfless politician of unflinching ideological commitment and determination," CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member M P Achuthan said.

Defence Minister A K Antony, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, CPI (M) stalwart V S Achuthanandan and BJP leader O Rajagopal also expressed deep sorrow at the death of Bhargavan.

KSRTC pumps to be given for rent to Supplyco, says Aryadan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Veteran CPI leader Veliyam Bhargavan, who led the party in Kerala for long, died here Wednesday, sources said.

Bhargavan (85) had been keeping indifferent health for quite some time and the end came at a city hospital where he was admitted a few days back following respiratory troubles, party sources said.

He was a member of the CPI national council since 1971 and had served as the party's state secretary from 1998 to 2010, before stepping down from the post citing poor health.

Known for his unsullied record, Bhargavan had chosen to remain on the organisational front during most of his decade’s long public life.

Though an architect of the present LDF, Bhargavan was a tough negotiator within the front to secure the interests of his party.

Bhargavan who plunged into politics at a young age and displayed exemplary skills as organiser of workers, suffered physical torture for leading struggles of transport workers.

 He was elected to the state assembly in 1957 and 60, after which he kept himself off electoral scene, concentrating entirely on the organisational front despite pressures from within the party to contest polls.

"His death is not just a loss to the party but for the whole of Kerala where he distinguished himself on account of his qualities as an astute and selfless politician of unflinching ideological commitment and determination," CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member M P Achuthan said.

Defence Minister A K Antony, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, CPI (M) stalwart V S Achuthanandan and BJP leader O Rajagopal also expressed deep sorrow at the death of Bhargavan.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Youth held with brown sugar

KOLLAM: A youth was arrested by the Kollam east police with brown sugar worth Rs 1.5 crores. He has been identified as Mukesh alias Mujeebanu (25), native of Marthandam. Codeine, a type of brown sugar, was seized from him. Police said the stuff was brought from Afghanistan.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

BJP declares Narendra Modi as its PM candidate, Advani sulks

New Delhi: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was on Friday appointed as Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, despite the most senior leader LK Advani's opposition. 

The formal announcement was made by BJP president Rajnath Singh after the parliamentary board meeting, which was attended by Murli Manohar Joshi and Sushma Swaraj, who too were said to be opposed to Modi's project at this juncture, but finally toed the majority line. 

Rajnath Singh, who made the announcement after hectic back-to-back meetings, said the decision was "unanimous" and taken keeping in view the popular mood and aspirations. 

He said it was done as per the party's tradition where the Parliamentary Board, the highest decision-making body of the party, takes the decision. 

Once Rajnath Singh made the announcement, BJP stalwarts, including those who were said to be against the announcement earlier, offered him garlands and bouquets. 

Rajnath Singh and Modi hugged one another. Modi touched the feet of former president Murli Manohar Joshi as a mark of respect. 

Accepting the party decision, Modi gave a slogan "nayi sonch, nayi ummeed" (new thinking, new hope) and said the BJP will go the 2014 polls with the plank of good governance and development while fighting against corruption and price rise. 

Vithura victim turns hostile, says court

KOTTAYAM: The Vithura victim has turned hostile, informed the special court in Kottayam. The court announced it after the victim failed to identify the accused during trial.

She failed to identify Aluva municipality chairman Jacob Moothedath and former Addl DGP K C Peter.

When the case was considered earlier, the victim told the court that she cannot remember them as the incident happened years back.

11 cases in connection with the Vithura assault were considered today. 25 cases have been charged already.

No bail for Salim Raj

KOZHIKODE: The First Class Judicial Magistrate Court in Kozhikode rejected the bail plea of seven persons including Salim Raj, former gunman of the chief minister, for trying to abduct a youth in the district. The court accepted prosecution’s argument that if bail is granted to them, they may influence the witness.

Rejecting the plea, the court said, “What Salim Raj and his aides did was a serious offence. The action is not suitable for a civilized society and will only help to create anarchy in the society”.

IOC strike: Talks fail, trucks to be seized

PARIPALLY: The government Friday decided to seize the trucks so that there will be no shortage of cooking gas during the Onam season. The strike started by the workers of the Indian Oil’s Corporation plant in Parippally entered the fourth day. The talks to end the strike held in the presence of Labour Minister Shibu Baby John failed yesterday. The talks failed due to the absence of the representatives of the truck contractors.

A second round of talks held between the collector and the truck contractors also failed. After the failure of the talks, Minister Shibu Baby John directed transport commissioner to seize the trucks under ESMA. Shortage of cylinders was affected in southern districts of Kerala.

An amount of Rs 10,000 and Rs 5200 were given to the truck drivers and cleaners last year as bonus. The union demanded Rs 15,000 and 7500 as bonus this year, but the contractors disagreed to it. As the talks failed, the contractors were not willing to pay the same amount given last year even after the minister directed it.

The minister later directed the IOC management to provide the amount. But the representatives of the management refused to give that amount.

Govt seeks explanation on protocol breach in VP’s event

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government Thursday sought an explanation from the organizers of the general administration department on the compere’s tongue-in-cheek reference to the vice president’s date of birth and rendition of the national anthem wrongly.

Minister K C Joseph admitted that there was a failure in organizing the event properly in which the vice president participated, and clarified that the organizers were informed well in advance about the protocol requirements.

The chief secretary had sought an explanation from the general administration department following a probe from the office of the vice president. The protocol breached last Tuesday when the vice president attended a function at the Senate Hall. Many VIPs including Governor, Chief Minister and ministers were present in the function organized to present the Sree Narayana Dharma Samithi’s award to Shashi Tharoor MP.

G S Pradeep remarked more than once that the vice president was born on April Fool’s day to the consternation of the entire audience and when a member of the organizing committee, Vijayaprasad, sang the national anthem beset with mistakes, the event became a protocol disaster.

‘I’ group turns against home department in TP murder case

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: K Muraleedharan MLA has turned against the home department in the T P murder case. Criticisms against the department and Minister Thiruvanchoor are strengthening after a short gap.

The inefficiency of the home department is the reason for the acquittal of 20 persons including Karayi Rajan in the TP murder case, alleged the ‘I’ group.

Murali said big sharks have escaped. The court verdict is unfortunate. The CBI should probe the case. After the arrest of Mohanan Master, the investigation in the case was in a slow pace.

K Sudhakaran MP too sought a CBI probe in the case.

Sreesanth vows to overcome crisis, stage comeback

KOCHI: Describing the life ban imposed on him by the BCCI as the biggest setback in his life, disgraced India pacer S Sreesanth on Saturday maintained he had not done any wrong and would prove his innocence in the spot-fixing scandal.

Stating that he felt very sad on hearing the BCCI's decision announced on Friday, Sreesanth said, "The BCCI action is the biggest setback in my life and I am disappointed. I will try to overcome the crisis and make a strong comeback."

Sreesanth said he did not know why he was being "framed" in this situation.

"I can tell that I have not done anything wrong," Sreesanth told reporters here.

The fast bowler said he was at a loss to understand why the BCCI took such a decision on this issue.

"The only consolation for me now is that I am at home, not in a jail," he said.

Sreesanth said he had been playing international cricket for the last nine years, but he never got any support from anyone.

"I did not get any support these years. I expected to get support this time, which did not come," he said.

Salim Raj has close links with hawala racket

KOZHIKODE: A main accused in the hawala case reviewed the things in connection with the bail plea of Salim Raj, former gunman of the chief minister, remanded for the abduction bid of a youth in Kozhikode.

Sona Abdul Majeed, a native of Kozhikode and the main accused in delivering hawala money worth Rs 336 crores to the country in 2006, was seen holding talks with the advocates of Salim in the court premises. With this, it is suspected that Salim Raj has close links with hawala racket.

Majeed was present in the Kozhikode Judicial First Class Magistrate Court when the bail plea of Salim Raj was considered. He held talks with Salim’s advocate Shaheer Singh. Salim’s relatives were also seen in the court.

Majeed obtained the name Sona for his gold smuggling business. The income tax tribunal in Kochi had imposed a fine of Rs 200 cores on him in the hawala case last week. Not only that the customs enforcement had even registered many cases against him.

Biju, Saritha lodged in Guest House

KASARGOD: Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S Nair, the first and second accused in the solar case, were lodged in a guest house. The two were lodged at the Hosdurg Guest House when they were being taken to produce at the court in Kasargod.

The remand period of the two in a cheating case in Kasargod ended today.

They were later taken from the guest house by 9 am. The investigating team said as there is no facility to house women at the Kanhangad sub jail, they were lodged here.

Monday, September 9, 2013

VS seeks Chandy’s resignation

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan asked Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to resign after confessing to his crimes in the solar case.

In the statement released, VS said the allegations leveled by the opposition and the revelation of an American industrialist that Biju Radhakrishnan, accused in the case, told him that a commission of 30% should be given to the chief minister in the solar case, are the same.

VS said Chandy should not delay in resigning. Talks held between Biju and Chandy in a closed room was about the solar case and the amount to be received in the deal. I had informed about this in the assembly earlier. Chandy should reveal how much amount he got in the deal. The company where Chandy has a partnership is involved in the solar case.

Nair’s statement says CM knows Saritha quite well

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The details of Sreedharan Nair’s statement given before Chengannur DySP in the solar case have been revealed. The statement says Chief Minister Oommen Chandy knows Saritha S Nair quite well but he doesn’t have any role in the case.

ADGP A Hemachandran too informed the high court the same thing. But Nair alleged that it was a fake report submitted in the court.

The statement given to the investigating team has been exposed. The statement says the chief minister had offered many things including subsidy for installing the solar plant. Chandy said only if people like you (Nair) install the plant, the shortage of power in the state can be solved, Nair said in the statement.

Nair said the statement released in my name by some television channels is to save the chief minister. Some are trying to save the chief minister by making a fake statement. In this situation, my secret statement should be exposed and I stand firm in that, he said.

Meanwhile, Nair received the notice asking him whether he is ready for a lie detector test.

Tripura claims to achieve first position in literacy

AGARTALA: Tripura government Sunday announced that the state has achieved first position in literacy in the country with 94.65 per cent literacy rate, which is even higher than Kerala.

The literacy rate in Kerala is 93.91 per cent, according to census data of 2011.

"It is a remarkable day for our state because Tripura today secured the first position in the country in literacy. It had secured 12th position in the 2001 census and elevated to the fourth position in the 2011 census, but has grabbed first position now," Chief Minister Manik Sarkar said at a function on the occasion of International Literacy Day.

When it was noticed that Tripura managed 87.75 per cent literacy in 2011 census, the government conducted a survey in all the eight districts last year which found that only 1,31,634 people in the state were illiterate, he said, adding that a special drive was made to convert those people literate.

The State Literacy Mission undertook the task of making those people literate, the chief minister added.

However, a government official said, "We have to wait till the next census (2021) to get official recognition, because the Central government only goes by the record of the census report.

Yasin Bhatkal has links with some organizations of state, says Mullappally

NEW DELHI: Yasin Bhatkal, leader of terrorist organization Indian Mujahideen (IM), arrested, has links with some organisations of the state, said Union Minister Mullappally Ramachandran. But the names of these organisations cannot be revealed right now, he said. Terrorist activities are in full swing in the state.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) had earlier stated that Bhatkal has links with the NDF.

Bail for Firoz in ADB fraud case

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court granted bail to A Firoz, former director of PRD, arrested in a cheating case registered in connection with the solar scam. He cheated a builder of Rs 40 lakh as advance processing fee for a loan from the Asian Development Bank.

Firoz was arrested after a complaint was lodged by one Salim Kabir, native of medical college, in 2009. The case is that Firoz introduced Biju Radhakrishnan and Saritha S Nair, first and second accused in the solar case, as strategic advisers and chartered accountants of the bank, and cheated the builder of Rs 40 lakhs.

Private bus strike called off in state

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Private bus operators in the state who began an indefinite strike on Sunday midnight called off their agitation Monday morning after talks with Union Minister Prof K V Thomas, officials said.
The state government will have a discussion with the bus operators on Wednesday.

The indefinite strike was called to protest the Motor Vehicles Department’s directive for installing speed governors on all heavy vehicles.

Transport Minister Aryadan Muhammed, however, told reporters in Delhi that he has conveyed to Thomas that the state government would not roll back the law.

“The law cannot be breached but we will certainly be considerate to their genuine grievances. I will meet them Wednesday. We have given them (bus operators) no assurance at all,” Aryadan said.

Commuters across Kerala are heavily dependent on private bus services as the state-owned transport
corporation has just 5,803 buses while the non-government sector operates 46,620 vehicles.

Even though many buses remained off the roads Monday, at some places buses did operate as public sentiment was against the bus operators because of the numerous accidents caused by private buses.

Since a bus accident in Malappuram district claimed 14 lives Friday, authorities launched an extensive checking of these transport vehicles and cancelled certificates of more than 300 buses.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said after the accident that the only way to rein in the private operators was to see that the law is enforced, come what may.

No compromise in executing law, says Aryadan

NEW DELHI: There is no compromise in executing law on the safety measures taken for buses, said Transport Minister Aryadan Muhammed. The government is ready to solve the problems of bus owners, the minister told reporters in New Delhi.

Aryadan said, “The private bus strike is anti-democratic and against the government. Even the organisations owing allegiance to the Left did not support it. Talks will be held with the bus owners on Wednesday. The argument of bus owners that the speed governors are ‘unscientific’ is wrong. The government will solve if there is a practical difficulty in implementing it. No vengeful act will be taken against the bus owners.”

The government had not given any assurance to the bus owners and this was conveyed to Minister K V Thomas and T N Prathapan MLA who took the initiative for the talks. There is no meaning in saying the government should bear the expenses of the maintenance work of speed governors. If the bus develops a technical snag or if its tyres get punctures, should the government bear its expenses, the minister asked? 

SC grants bail to accused in second Marad case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday granted bail to 23 accused in the second Marad riots case. Bail was granted to the 23 including Muslim League Beypore constituency former president P P Moideen Koya. The apex court refused to support government’s demand to make strict the bail conditions of the accused.

The government requested the court not to allow them to enter Marad till they get bail as it is a sentimental issue. But the court directed them to produce a special plea pointing the issue.

Solar: Office of CM under purview of investigation

NEW DELHI: The office of the chief minister will also be included under the purview of judicial probe in the solar case. Permission was granted by the high command during talks held between Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and leaders of the high command in Delhi.

Chandy discussed the issue with AICC general secretary Mukul Vasnik in charge of Kerala during the talks held. Vasnik told the chief minister that the high command is not against the probe but directed him to take a decision after consulting with leaders of allied parties.

Two killed in bike-lorry collision

KOLLAM: Two persons were killed when a bike and a lorry collided in the district. The dead has been identified as Nishad Lathif and Nijum, natives of Anchal.

Govt cannot take over Harrisons land, says court

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court rejected state government’s plea requesting to permit them to take over the land of Harrisons Malayalam Ltd (HML). The division bench passed the new order after nullifying the former one on it.

The government requested to permit them to take over almost 60,000 acres of land which are in the hands of Harrisons. The government approached the court pointing that a foreign company has no right to hold the land. The court completely rejected government’s argument.

The court said the ownership rights are a constitutional issue and it should be examined in detail and asked the government to seek steps for it.

The court said the government can take legal steps if Harrisons have violated FEMA. If cases are registered in the taluk and land boards, the government can continue that.

The high court granted permission to the company to fell trees from the eight estates of Harrisons.  The court also directed the government to return the bank guarantee of Rs 18 crores received from the company for felling trees.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Private bus strike from tomorrow

KOCHI: Private buses of the state have decided to stage an indefinite strike following the decision of the motor vehicle department to confiscate buses having no speed governors.

The decision was taken at the joint panel of private buses owners meet convened here on Sunday. Commuters depending on private buses will have a tough time from tomorrow.

Limited stop bus services to be stopped

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Motor Vehicle Department decided not to renew the permit of limited stop buses in the state. The services of limited stop buses will be stopped completely before October 31. This decision taken in the wake of the Malappuram accident is applicable to KSRTC also.

The services are being stopped following the over speed of the limited stop buses. Checking will be made strict in the six routes where buses are plying over speedily.

A decision has been taken to strictly implement the order passed in 2011 in connection with the speed control. Notices will be issued to buses operating without speed governors. The motor vehicle department decided not to allow the 311 buses cancelled for not having fitness certificate to operate service without  speed governors.

Mons Joseph’s son dies

KOTTAYAM: Son of Kaduthuruthy MLA and former minister Mons Joseph passed away on Sunday. He has been identified as Emmanuel aged 11.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Life in jail for rapists of Bangalore law student

BANGALORE: A fast-track court here Friday sentenced six people to life imprisonment after convicting them for the gang rape of a law student in the Bangalore University campus last October.

Pronouncing the sentence, Civil and Sessions Judge (V) Sangannavar said all the convicts would have to spend all their life in prison till their natural death.

The sentence includes a fine of Rs 1,000 on each convict.

Though eight people were involved in the gruesome incident, the seventh accused (Raja) has been absconding since then, while the eighth is being tried separately in the juvenile justice court as he was a minor when the crime was committed.

The 21-year-old victim, who hails from Nepal, was a third year student of the state-run National Law School of India University, which is adjacent to the Jnana Bharati campus of the Bangalore University, about 20 km from the city centre.

The accused were convicted Wednesday under section 376 (g) of the Indian Penal Code for gang rape, which carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, and other relevant sections of the IPC.

According to public prosecutor Sanjya Kumar Bhatt, the court had directed the victim to claim compensation for the physical scar and lasting mental scar from the criminal injuries board.

"Justifying the maximum sentence, the judge said punishment should meet the seriousness and gravity of the crime, which involved not just the physical torture, but also the mental trauma of the victim that won't go away for long time," Bhatt said quoting from the judgement.

The judge also took into account the pubic abhorrence of such heinous crimes in recent times across the country in deciding the life sentence for those convicted.

The six convicts -- Rama and Yaliyaiah (both 23 years), Maddura, Shivanna and Erayya (all 20 years) and Doddaerayya (19 years) - are residents of Bangalore Rural and Ramnagara districts.

The incident took place Oct 13, 2012 when the victim was out on a walk in the sprawling green campus along with her male friend.

Taking advantage of the secluded spot and darkness, the gang bashed up the friend and sexually assaulted the victim after taking her forcibly into the nearby bushes.

Manju Warrier to act with Mohanlal, New Photos, images,trailer name

Celebrated Mayalayam cinema actress Manju Warrier is making a comeback after 14-year by starring in a film opposite Mohanlal.

Shooting of the film is expected to commence by October-November and it will hit theatres by March next, film industry sources said.

Manju had in July this year acted in an advertisement film with Amitabh Bachchan fuelling speculation about a comeback.

'Aaran Thamburan' was the last film in which Mohanlal and Manju were paired together and 'Pathram' was her last film. She got married to actor Dileep and gave up her film career soon after that.

Manju won the National special jury award for her performance in 'Kannezhuti Pottum Thottu' and the state award in 1996 for the film 'Ee Puzhayum Kadannu', in which she acted opposite Dileep.

She had also won four Filmfare awards for south in Malayalam.

Govt must take steps for welfare of nurses: T N Seema

NEW DELHI: Government should initiate steps including bringing a legislation to address the issue of nurses in Kerala who do not get minimum wages and are exploited by private medical colleges and hospitals, CPI-M member T N Seema said in the Rajya Sabha.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, T N Seema (CPI-M) said a large number of nurses in Kerala were being exploited by private medical institutions and they had no job security.

Seema said while private medical hospitals were on one hand exploiting patients with inflated bills, they were not paying even minimum wages to nurses who serve the patients.

She said in the absence of adequate wages nurses had to take loans from banks even as cases of sexual harassment against nurses and suicides were reported from Kerala.

Seema said there are reports that 40,000 nurses in Kerala face confiscation of their assets as they are unable to pay loans taken from banks.

"The only remedy is to bring a Central legislation to protect their working conditions," she said, asking government to bring about such a law to save the lives of thousands of nurses in Kerala.

While a number of members supported the cause of nurses, Deputy Chairman P J Kurien said, "I think it involves our sisters...They are underpaid. The sense of the House is that government needs to take some steps."

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Rajeev Shukla said, "We place on record our deep appreciation to the nurses for their services. Nurses are the most hard working people and I will convey the sentiments of the members to the Health Minister.

Five Keralites killed in Dindigul accident

DINDIGUL (TN):  Five persons were killed when the car in which they were travelling collided with a stationary bus at Singarakottai, about 25 kms from here. Those in the car were proceeding to Kottayam from Chennai. The dead has been identified as Jose (45), his daughter Jismi (18), Jose’ cousin Johnny (48), his son Jommy (30) and Sunil Kumar (32). Jose was bringing his daughter Jismi from Chennai for a treatment in Kottayam.

The incident happened last night at 11.30 pm at Pettiyaramppetti police station limits on the Dindigul-Theni national highway. The car rammed on to the Tamil Nadu Road Transport Corporation’s stationary bus.  The lives of the five cannot be saved even though they were taken to the hospital.

Jismi was a student of Satyabama Engineering College in Chennai.

Bus accident in Malappuram claims 14 lives

MALAPPURAM: 14 persons including the driver and seven students were killed when a private bus overturned near Perinthalmanna. The condition of the 25 injured is stated to be critical.

The accident happened when the mini bus ‘Friends’ overturned after hitting a tree when trying to overtake at Thelakkadam while proceeding to Alanalloor from Perinthalmanna. The passengers were mostly students who were going home after exams. The bodies of some are still stranded under the bus.

The bodies of Mariya (50) of Melkkulangara, Fazeela and Cheriyakkan have been identified. The bodies of four have been kept at Al Shifa Hospital and the rest at the Moulana Hospital.

It is suspected that over speed of the bus is the reason for the accident. Mini buses are being transported in narrow roads here.

Chief Minister and other ministers have left for Perinthalmanna. Minister Aryadan Muhammed said the bus was overcrowded and over speeded. 

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Chandy willing to be included in the ambit of judicial probe

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Monday expressed his willingness to bring him and his office under the ambit of judicial probe into the solar panel case.

Chandy informed this during the first phase meeting with UDF leaders on terms of reference at Monday night.

The constituent parties in the UDF have opined that it would be good if chief minister’s office was also included in the purview of judicial probe

RSS leader hacked to death

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A gang of miscreants hacked a RSS leader to death. The RSS have called for a hartal in Thamalam in protest against the attack. A large contingent of police is camping in the area as it has been alleged that CPM activists are behind the attack.

Police suspect the hands of sand mafia behind the attack. The dead has been identified as Vinumon (36), son of Divakaran. The incident happened early Wednesday morning at Trivikramamangalam.

Reji alias Madhusoodanan told police that Vinumon received a call that police are coming while they were loading sand into the lorry. The gang in bikes hacked while the two reached Trivikramamangalam after the call. Reji fled to safety. The body has been shifted to the mortuary of the medical college hospital.

Tenure of PSC rank list will be extended

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The government will request Public Service Commission (PSC) to extend the tenure of its rank lists to four and a half years, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Wednesday. At present the tenure is three years.

Briefing reporters after the weekly cabinet meet, he said it has been recommended to extend the tenure for four and a half years or till the new rank list comes into effect.

An amount of Rs 5 lakhs will be given to the kin of those dead in Mumbai naval ship accident. Rs 3 lakhs would be given to the family of those killed in bus-auto collision in Thanoor. The government will give job to Rubeena Beevi, wife of Kabeer, who was killed in the accident. A house will also be constructed for the family as they are living in a pathetic condition.  A concrete road will be constructed and an amount of Rs 22 lakhs have been earmarked for it, said Chandy.

P C George calls on CM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Whip P C George called on Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Wednesday afternoon. Kerala Congress (M) chairman and Finance Minister K M Mani and Minister P K Kunhalikutty took part in the talks held.

George met Chandy following his statement against the chief minister. George later said they didn’t discuss the solar issue. I’ve met Chandy when he was the opposition leader also and there is nothing unusual in the meeting, he said.

DYFI activist brutally beaten up for showing black flag against CM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A DYFI activist was brutally beaten up by policemen while he was waving black flag against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Agriculture Minister K P Mohanan, while taking part in the protest march staged by DYFI volunteers on Wednesday.

Jayaprasad (35) was brutally beaten up by using lathi. He was punched in his stomach. The Poonthura Grade SI Vijayadas kicked Jayaprasad on his abdomen many times. Vijayadas has been suspended from service following this.

Seriously injured Jayaprasad has been admitted to Medical College Hospital here.

The incident happened when Oommen Chandy and K P Mohan arrived for the inauguration of the district storage centre of the state-owned horticulture development corporation, Horticorp at Anayara here. DYFI volunteers waved black flags at the ministers on the highway and threw eggs at their convoys.

The protestors did not spare the local MLA M.A. Wahid, who was also greeted with a black flag protest. The protestors also blocked the road, stopping the ministerial convoys. It was then that the police resorted to lathicharge.

Protest march in front of SI’s house

Following the incident, CPI (M) activists marched towards the house of SI Vijayadas at Kovalam. During the protest march, a stone was pelted at a policeman from Vizhinjam CI Office.

The protestors were stopped by policemen 200 metres away from Vijayadas’ house.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Vithura sex case victim fails to identify accused

KOTTAYAM: The Vithura sexual case victim Monday failed to identify the accused. She told the court that she cannot identify them as the incident happened years before. During trial the victim told the court that she was sexually assaulted. The incident happened in November 1995. The victim was lured by a woman named Ajitha, of Vithura with a job offer and was handed over to many persons.

Arab Marriage valid, lapses in procedural measures

KOZHIKODE: In an explanation given to Orphanage Control Board, Ciesco Yatheemkhana said there is nothing wrong in marrying off a minor to an Arab but lapses occurred in the procedural measures. They also apologized for the lapses that happened.

There is nothing wrong in conducting the marriage. But marriages of girls below 18 years should be informed to the orphanage control board. The girl’s consent letter should be produced before the board. The authorities said they could not produce it and apologized for it.

Motor vehicle strike on Wednesday to protest fuel prices

KOCHI: A motor vehicle strike has been announced in the state on Wednesday in protest against the sharp increase in petrol prices. The strike was called by the Motor Workers' Trade Union Co-ordination Committee at a meeting convened in Ernakulam.

Private buses will also partake in the strike. The oil companies have hiked the price of petrol by Rs 2.35 per litre and diesel by 50 ps on Saturday night. Union Petroleum Minister Veerappa Moily wanted to hike the price of diesel by Rs 5/litre.

Court criticizes govt in Salim Raj’s land deal case

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court criticized the government in land deal case involving Salim Raj, former gunman of the chief minister. The court criticized the government for producing only the documents in Malayalam in connection with the land deal case.

The court said the government is behaving like ordinary litigants. A division bench led by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur asked why the government is behaving like this when the documents can be obtained from the registration department within minutes. The government is not considering the cases seriously, suspected the court. The division bench directed the government to produce the English version of the documents tomorrow.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Ranjith Maheshwari will not get Arjuna Award for now

NEW DELHI: India’s Malayali triple jumper Ranjith Maheshwari will not get Arjuna Award for the time being as the sports ministry is reconsidering its decision on giving the prestigious award to him, following reports that he took drugs during an Open Championship held at Kochi in 2008.

During the 48th Open national athletics meet in Kochi, the urine sample of Maheshwari had tested positive for the banned stimulant, ephedrine. He was provisionally suspended and disqualified.

As per the eligibility rule for the award, as amended on March 15, 2010, it states that athletes found positive for use of drugs banned by the IOC will not be eligible for the award.

Court stops a 14-year-old girl from married off

KANNUR: Days after a minor Muslim girl's marriage and divorce sparked a public outcry in Kerala, a court today intervened to stop the marriage of a 14-year-old girl from the community which was to be held here on Monday.

Acting on an application from Jessy Manat, Child Development Project officer, Mattanur, seeking prohibition of the marriage which was to take place at Keecheri, the Judicial First Class Magistrate, Anit Joseph, passed the order.

The court said from the records she was satisfied that the proposed marriage was to be held in violation of provision of Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2007 and in the interest of justice, the marriage was being prohibited.

"Any violation of the order shall be punishable as per law", the Magistrate held.

The Muslim girl is studying in a high school in Dubai and her parents are also settled there. The groom hails from Keecheri.

The Childline officials in Kannur came to know about the impending marriage and informed the Child Development Project Officer, who in turn made enquiries and found it to be true.

The development comes days after a 17-year-old girl from Malappuram district, who was forcibly married off to a UAE national in July, was divorced.

The UAE national's mother, who hails from Kozhikode, her second husband and another relative have been arrested. The groom, Jasim Mohammed Abdul Kareem, who hails from Ras al-Khaimah, is the first accused in the case.

Five officials of the orphanage, of which the girl was an inmate, have also been arraigned as accused in the case.

State alone cannot control price rise, says Mani

KOZHIKODE:  Price rise is a global phenomenon and the state alone cannot control it, said Finance Minister K M Mani. There is an increase in price and the government will do everything to control it, he said.

It is the responsibility of the government to reduce the burden of the people when the prices of essential commodities are surging during the Onam season. The government will take necessary steps to curb the rising prices of essential commodities.

Govt will try its best to get sitting judge, says Thiruvanchoor

KOZHIKODE: The government will try its best to get a sitting judge for the judicial probe in the solar case, said Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan. The chief minister will send a letter again to the high court registrar seeking the service of the judge, he said.

The chief minister decided to write a letter directly considering the demand of the opposition. The government wants a sitting judge for the probe and will try honestly to get one.

Price rise not a new phenomenon, says Vayalar Ravi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Price rise is not a new phenomenon and the central and state governments were making earnest efforts to check inflation, Union Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi said Sunday.

In an apparent reaction to KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala's criticism against the Congress-led UDF government for not effectively intervening in the market to arrest price rise, Ravi said the policies of the government were not the reason behind increase in prices.

"Price rise is not a new phenomenon. The policies of the government are not responsible for it. The Centre and state are making earnest efforts to arrest price rise," he told reporters at Kozhikode.

KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala had yesterday written an open letter to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy asking the government to intervene effectively in the open market to check increasing prices.

The government should try again to get a sitting judge for the judicial probe in the solar case. In reply to a question, he said the centre will not take any steps obstructing the investment of NRIs.

Speed governors to be made mandatory: Rishi Raj Singh

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: State Transport Commissioner Rishi Raj Singh on Saturday said that speed-controlling device such as speed governors will be made mandatory for vehicles.

He said that the fitness certificate of vehicles not having the speed governors will be cancelled.

Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed has sought a report from Rishi Raj Singh in connection with the accident that happened in Tanur, Malappuram, on Friday which resulted in the death of 8 people.