Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Priest who 'abused' boys absconding


KOCHI: A church priest who took boys for pleasure trips and dining in high-end hotels, as a means to lure them into sexual acts with him, has been absconding since complaints were raised  against him recently.

Since December 22, the main priest of a significant church at Kaloore has not turned up for conducting mass in the church. Currently, the assistant priest is carrying out his duties. “The tainted priest mostly hobnobbed with senior students. He used to conduct trips for them in posh cars. He also took them to have lunch and dinner in big hotels. This was how he attracted the boys towards him,” according to reports.

The boys who went to Saturday’s ‘Thirubalasakhyam’ and Sunday classes often fell prey to the priest’s homosexuality. In the third week of December, a boy disclosed to his parents the priest’s misdemeanour. Following this, three parents and a few party men jointly manhandled the priest.   

Though Elamakkara police visited the church in this, they didn’t receive any written complaint, according to the SI.
The three parents and Catholics Association have apprised higher church officials of the matter.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I am scripting a film: A R Rahman

MUMBAI: After composing music for 12 films, including three Hollywood, Oscar-winning musician A R Rahman is turning scriptwriter and producer with an untitled film.

"I am scripting a movie which I will co-produce. It is in the process," Rahman told reporters at the press conference of Shankar's upcoming film 'I'.

The 47-year-old 'Jai Ho!' hitmaker, who composed music for 'I' and 'Kochadaiiyaan: The Legend', said he is happy to work with two stalwarts of Indian cinema Rajinikanth and Shankar in the same year.

"2014 is an eventful year for me. I have done 12 films this year. I did three films in Hollywood and also worked with Rajinikanth and Shankar," Rahman said.

Rahman gave music for biographical sports drama 'Million Dollar Arm' and 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' besides scoring for upcoming biopic on Brazilian football legend Pele.

Both 'Million Dollar Arm', 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' and Kochadaiiyaan: The Legend' are in the long-list of Oscars for the best original score.

Action hero Suresh Gopi set to join BJP

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Malayalam super star and action hero Suresh Gopi is set to join BJP. He is said to have offered a Central minister’s post by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For that, he would be first made a Rajya Sabha member. 

Liquor policy: CSI church casts doubts on KCBC stand

KOTTAYAM: CSI church Deputy moderator Bishop Thomas K Oommen has said that KCBC’s change in stand vis-a-vis the government’s liquor policy gave room for several doubts. He reminded the strong opposition raised initially by the KCBC against the government’s liquor policy.  

The bishop added those who sided with KPCC president V M Sudheeran in the policy later ditched him.

VS stand wrong, should correct it: CPM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPM State Secretariat, in a statement today, remarked that Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan’s stand in the Krishna Pillai memorial case was wrong  and the party could not accept it. It also took exception to VS making public statements not in line with the party stand and therefore, asked him to rectify his “mistake”.    

“Achuthanandan, in a statement earlier, defended the memorial case accused Latheesh Chandran and asked the party to spurn the police report in the case. VS very well knows Latheesh who harbour anti-CPM sentiments. He who even dared to burn the effigy of live party leaders was expelled from the party much earlier.”

“Latheesh had not just anti-party feelings but had animosity against the party; he constantly tried to destroy the party. When
Alappuzha district committee repeatedly asked VS to remove him from his personal staff team, when the former was the chief minister, VS favoured him. The same state of mind he is possessing now, as well,” the statement said.  

MS Dhoni retires from Test cricket

MELBOURNE: India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni has retired from Test cricket, the India cricket board said on Tuesday.

"MS Dhoni has chosen to retire from Test Cricket with immediate effect," the BCCI said on its Twitter feed.

MS Dhoni has played 90 Tests for India, scoring 4876 runs, and has 294 dismissals as wicket keeper.

Former captain Ganguly had recently said of Dhoni, "He just has not really got the team going at Test match level. That's up to the selectors but he has had a lot of time as captain, close to 60 Test matches. I think he has had a lot of time. I think Dhoni is a good captain. The record he has in one-day cricket, he is a good captain. But in Test conditions overseas, it has just fallen away a bit."

Since 2011, Dhoni has led his team to only two Test wins overseas, and despite some good individual performances, India lost the ongoing Test series in Australia.

Monday, December 29, 2014

CI suspended for coming to Sannidhanam in jeep


SABARIMALA: A circle inspector was suspended for coming to Sannidhanam in his jeep after breaking rituals. Kalpetta CI Subhash Babu let for Sannidhanam in his jeep from Pampa early Monday morning at 2 am. Cops who were on duty at Marakkoottam informed Sannidhanam special officer N Ramachandran about the act. He immediately directed the CI to go back. It is heard that two sub inspectors were also with him. The police have taken into custody the jeep brought from Kalpetta.

ADGP Padma Kumar had asked the special officer to submit a report on the incident. The officer was suspended on the basis of the report submitted. The forest department has registered a case against him for trespassing into the prohibited area in his jeep. Permission has been given only for the tractor to go that way and that too for the purpose of Sabarimala. The suspended CI is camping in Pampa.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

CM announces Rs 5 lakh compensation to kin of blast victim

BENGALURU: Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah Monday announced a compensation of Rs five lakh to the kin of a woman who was killed in the low-intensity explosion outside a popular restaurant here that also left three persons injured.

Speaking to reporters after visiting the injured at a hospital here in the wee hours, Siddaramaiah said the government would provide a compensation of Rs five lakh to the family of the woman, who succumbed to injuries sustained in the explosion last night.

The Chief Minister, who earlier rushed to the blast site from Mysuru, said best treatment would be provided to the injured.

He said compensation would also be given to the injured, but did not specify the quantum.

The chief minister said he has called a high-level meeting here today in the wake of the blast in front of a restaurant that killed one woman and injured three others, and maintained that the incident happened despite police being on high alert.

The victim identified as Bhavani had come on a visit here from Tamil Nadu and was killed and three others, including one of her relatives, injured in the blast triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) in front of the Coconut Grove restaurant on a busy road in the heart of the city around 8.30 pm yesterday.

City Police Commissioner M N Reddi confirmed that Bhavani, in her 30s, succumbed to injuries at Mallya Hospital, where she was rushed in a serious condition. Her relative Karthik, who was also injured, is hospitalized but out of danger.

Two more injured - Vinay and Sandeep - are undergoing treatment at HOSMAT hospital.

The restaurant is close to the fashionable Brigade Road and MG Road, dotted with bars and restaurants with teeming crowd on weekends.

VHP to continue 'ghar vapsi' programme

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Announcing plans to continue with their 'ghar vapsi' programme in Kerala, Vishwa Hindu Parishad Saturday asserted that no forcible conversions were taking place here and said it would help those who wanted to embrace Hinduism.

A batch of people would reconvert to Hinduism at a function to be held here on January 1, VHP State General Secretary Bhargava Ram told reporters here.

He said 'home coming' was not a new happening and it became a controversy only after Congress and Left parties tried to derive political mileage over the issue in the recent Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

He alleged that most of the conversions from Hinduism to other religions took place due to appeasement.

The conversion issue has been in the limelight in Kerala since past one week after some members of a particular community reconverted to Hinduism as part of the 'ghar vapsi' (home coming) programme of the VHP.

Stone hurled at train injures woman passenger

ALAPPUZHA: A stone hurled at a moving train injured a woman passenger on Saturday. She was traveling to Ernakulam from Thiruvananthapuram. 

The injured is Sanuja (47),  a native of Poovachal and an employee of Tourism directorate.     

It was Thiruvananthapuram-Indore Express that came under attack from anti-social elements, according to the police. The stone fell on Sanuja’s chest. Though the police tried to take her to hospital, she was not willing for it. After that she was allowed to take rest on the train till her destination. 

Quarrying at Mookkunnimala: Vigilance case against 40

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The vigilance Saturday registered a case against forty persons in connection with the quarrying at Mookkunnimala.

The FIR was produced at the special vigilance court in the capital city.

Quarry owners, government officials and Pallichal panchayat president are the accused in the case.

Thrissur creates Guinness record in Santa Clause gathering

THRISSUR: A total of 18,112 people dressed as Santa Clause gathered at the Shakthan Thampuran Market ground here, registering a Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of Santa Clauses. 

The Official Adjudicator of the Guinness World Records Limited, Lucia Sinigagliesi said Thrissur has made world record in the largest gathering of Santa Clauses. 

Announcing this here, she said there were 18,112 Santa Clauses in the Shakthan Thampuran Market grounds at the heart of the city, the scheduled venue for the largest gathering of Santa Clauses. 

The gathering was organised by Thrissur Diocese in cooperation with local people. 

The function also marked the end of the month-long Christmas celebrations here. 

The previous record of the largest gathering of Santa Clauses was in Ireland on December 9, 2007, she said.

Don’t ever think of fishing in troubled waters, says Antony

NEW DELHI: The present problems in the congress in Kerala is only a small ripple in a teacup, said congress working committee member and former union minister A K Antony. Nobody should ever think of fishing in troubled waters in the present scenario of the party.  

Talking to reporters on his 75th birthday in Delhi, he said the leaders of Kerala are capable to solve the problems. Whatever disputes occur, the leaders unite whenever there is a problem in the party. If all the leaders move jointly, the UDF government will be able to retain power in the state. ‘Congress free India’ is only BJP’s day dream. My tenure in the Kerala Politics is almost over, he said.

Disputes in congress natural, says Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Disputes and differences of opinion in the congress on policy matters are quite natural, said KPCC chief V M Sudheeran.The strategy on the problems affecting the public has been conversed in the party always, he said.

Talking at the function organised to celebrate the 130th foundation day of the congress at the KPCC headquarters, he said the disputes in the congress are not personal. However, it will not affect the functioning of the party. If any lapses are found, the party will move forward solving all that, he said.  

The party will discuss the different approaches’ on policies. Some differences of opinion may end soon and some will take more time. However, they will not affect the functioning of the party badly, he said.

Woman killed in Bangalore Bomb blast, 1 injured

One person died while another was injured in an explosion triggered by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) on Sunday in front of a popular restaurant on a busy road in Bangalore.

The blast occurred around 8.30 pm near Coconut Grove, a famous restaurant on Church Street, close to the fashionable Brigade Road.

A man and a woman were hit by the shrapnels and were rushed to a nearby hospital, City Police Commissioner M N Reddi told reporters at the site, as police cordoned off the area.

The woman identified as Bhavani succumbed to her injuries while the other person is reported to be out of danger.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up Karnataka Chief Minister S Siddaramaiah and assured him that all help will be given by the Centre.

Singh said the Chief Minister apprised him of the situation.

"At about 8:30 pm on the Church street outside the restaurant called Coconut Grove there was an explosion heard. We have found that there was improvised explosive device that was used by some culprits and in this explosion two persons have been injured," Reddi said.

"As far as the current information is concerned the IED that has been used is like a low intensity bomb and some shrapnels have obviously hit the individuals who have been injured. This is the information we have," he said.

Reddi said the entire city police force had been mobilised and added that additional force from Karnataka State reserve police had also been sought.


Internal security division experts along with the forensic team, dog squad as well as anti-sabotage check team have rushed to the spot.

"This is one incident that has happened. Two persons are injured, no fatality," Reddi said.

Reddi said no one has claimed responsibility for the blast.

Asked if there was any threat perception to the city, Reddi said, "there has been threat perception in general, in view of the fact that there are festivities, in view of the fact that New Year's eve coming..."

He said there has been "some amount" of threat perception but that has been generic and there has been an alert in general.


The country's information technology hub was hit by bomb blasts in 2008, 2010 and 2013.

In serial blasts caused by IED at nine places in 2008, two persons were killed and 20 others injured.

Two bombs exploded outside the cricket stadium hours before an IPL match, leaving 15 persons injured in 2010. A third bomb was defused.

In 2013, a bomb blast outside the state BJP headquarters in the crowded Malleshwaram area just ahead of the Assembly polls had left 16 persons injured.




Indonesia halts search for missing AirAsia plane as night falls

JAKARTA: Indonesia called off until first light a search for an AirAsia plane with 162 people on board that went missing on Sunday after pilots asked to change course to avoid bad weather during a flight from Indonesia's Surabaya city to Singapore.

Indonesia AirAsia Flight QZ8501, an Airbus 320-200 carrying 155 passengers and seven crew, lost contact with Jakarta air traffic control at 5:31 am local time (4:01am IST). No distress signal had been sent, said Joko Muryo Atmodjo, an Indonesian transport ministry official.  

On board were 155 Indonesians, three South Koreans and one each from Singapore, Malaysia and Britain, plus a French pilot, the airline said in a statement, correcting earlier information.

Tatang Kurniadi, head of Indonesia's National Committee of Safety Transportation, expressed hope of locating the aircraft quickly and said it was too early to detect any of the so-called electronic pings from its black box recorder.

"We are using our capacity to search on sea and land. Hopefully we can find the location of the plane as soon as possible," he told a news conference.

"What I need to emphasize is until now, we have not found out how the plane fell or what kind of emergency it was."

Indonesia AirAsia is 49% owned by Malaysia-based budget carrier AirAsia, which has had a clean safety record since it began operating 13 years ago. The AirAsia group also has affiliates in Thailand, the Philippines and India.      

The aircraft had accumulated approximately 23,000 flight hours in some 13,600 flights, according to Airbus.

The pilots of QZ8501 "was requesting deviation due to en-route weather before communication with the aircraft was lost," the airline said in a statement.  

Singapore, Malaysia, Britain, South Korea and Australia offered to help in the search and any investigation. Malaysia said it was sending vessels and a C130 aircraft while Singapore had also sent a C130. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said a P3 Orion aircraft was on standby if needed.

Three Keralites acquitted on charge of killing Filipina

KOZHIKODE: A court in Kuwait acquitted three Keralites on the charge of killing a Filipina. The acquitted are Ajit Augustine of Thamarasseri in Kozhikode, Tijo Thomas of Engappuzha and Thufal of Balusseri.

The incident happened in February 20914. The case is that the victim identified as Jameela used to lend money in return of monthly interest. When Ajith failed to pay her debts, he murdered her with the help of his two friends. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Mohanlal takes to Fb to trace child artiste in his first film

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Mohanlal’s first film was Thiranottam. It happened 36 years ago. When he celebrated the completion of 36 years of his acting career yesterday, he said he is in the grip of a strange kind of wish.

To announce this, Mohanlal took to Facebook. He said on his post that he was in search of the child artiste who had acted with him in his first film. The character’s name was Unnikunju.

Ever since the shooting of the film, the star has not seen him. Later, he searched a lot for him, called up Thiranottam cast and crew members to enquire about him, but there was no clue at all.

“1978 September 3 – This day I won’t be able to forget... Life’s biggest turning point happened on this day. I got a new friend – Movie camera. Long 36 years…. Thanks to all for your love, trust and blessings. On this occasion I would like to share one of my yearnings with you. Please help me find the boy who acted with me in my first shoot (video attached)... in case you identify him….,”  thus goes his Fb post. (The post is in Malayalam).

Serial actress taken into custody for barging into priest’s house

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Poonthura Police took into custody a serial and film actress for barging into a priest’s house and creating a scene there. The actress was taken into custody earlier and is involved in many cases. She reached the priest’s house in the morning and sought his release. The actress wanted him to accompany her for the puja. However, his wife did not permit him to leave the house. The police reached the spot and shifted the three to the police station. 

Order to probe appointment of Minister Anoop Jacob’s wife

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Lokayuktha Friday ordered to probe the appointment of Anila Mary Varghese, wife of Minister Anoop Jacob, as the assistant director of Kerala Bhasha Institute.

An investigation will also be conducted against Anoop and Minister K C Joseph. Akbar IPS will conduct the probe.

The allegation against Anila is that she did not have the necessary qualification for the post.

Govt recommends CBI inquiry into Manoj murder case

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala has said that the government will recommend to the Centre to transfer Manoj murder case to the CBI. The new decision was taken after the DGP also made suggestion to the government to hand over the case to the CBI.
    
“Once a case is registered under UAPA act, the matter should be reported to the Centre within 15 days. It was under this circumstance that the government decided to recommend for the CBI inquiry. The BJP had also asked for a CBI inquiry into the case. The Crime Branch will continue investigation until the CBI takes over the case,”

Chennithala said the aim of the government is to bring all the culprits before the law. “The murder is not seen through any political angle. In Kannur both BJP and CPM have indulged in killing their political rivals. In the FIR registered in Manoj murder case, there are names of CPM activists.”    

In answer to a question, he said the UAPA law had been implied in Kerala before also.

Chennithala added that there was no chance for liquor tragedy and the government was ready to face any eventuality.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Closed bars should be examined: HC

KOCHI:  Kerala High Court has said that 418 bars – closed for the reason that they were allegedly substandard ones – should be examined. It was a high court division bench that had issued the order. For the purpose, the court has appointed a committee headed by Revenue Secretary and Excise Commissioner.

The court order is in response to the petition filed by bar owners against the government. The court has also asked the committee to submit the report before August 26. In order to formulate a liquor policy, the government was earlier given time till August 26.

The government in reply to the court instruction said it was not against the examination of closed bars. The bar licences were renewed in many cases in accordance with the Supreme Court Order.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister K M Mani has said that there was no need to show any hurry in reopening bars. The more time the bars remain closed the more it is good.  

Monday, August 11, 2014

Youth 'hacked' by sand mafia

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A youth was hacked by sand mafia’s henchmen who presumed that he had informed the police about sand quarrying. The youth with serious injuries was admitted to Chirayinkeezhu hospital.

The victim has been identified as Jayesh, 30, from Valiya Ela house at Thottavaran (Chirayinkeezhu) and the police have identified the attackers as Sharth and Shyamkumar.  

Jaeysh was attacked on Monday morning at around 8:30 at Sravilmukku-Erumakkadu junction. The team of attackers comprised ten persons. They came on bikes, waylaid him and slashed his neck and hand. He was also beaten with iron rod.
“Before attacking, they snatched away his mobile phone and checked the call list. Though they could not find the police’ phone number, they attacked him,” said the police   

Rains to continue for two more days

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The heavy downpour which started Monday morning has crippled life in the district. The roads have turned canals. Traffic snarls were witnessed when more vehicles plied due to heavy showers in the main roads. The Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rains in the state till August 13. They have asked fishermen to be cautious.

Vehicles were found stranded at Kazhakootam bypass and medical college areas for hours. The effort of the police to remove the traffic snarls did not find any result.

Power supply was disrupted at Ambalathumukku in Pettah after an uprooted coconut tree dell over an eclectic post.

Heavy rain has caused widespread damages across the district.

Panniyan refuses to respond to Sasi’s allegations

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: CPI state secretary Panniyan Raveendran refused to respond to the allegations levelled by Venjaramood Sasi, shifted and demoted in the party.

Whatever I had to say had stated it yesterday. I have nothing more to opine on the disciplinary action, he said.

Blackmail case: Kochi DCP gets anonymous letter

KOCHI: Kochi DCP received an anonymous letter in connection with the Kochi blackmailing case. The letter has mentioned about the assets and financial dealings of Ruksana, one of the accused in the case. The letter cites the details of persons handling her account. DCP R Nishanthini received the letter last week.

DCP has confirmed receiving the letter. More details have not been divulged even though the police have questioned her relatives and others.

The accused blackmails industrialists and businessmen and extorts money using the video footages shot seeing them in compromising postures with women.

Bindhya Thomas alias Surya (32) and Ruksana B Das (29) of Alappuzha are the two main accused in the case.

Jayachandran, another accused in the case was arrested from the MLA Hostel. The whole act is enacted in rented flats and hotel rooms. The police have also found out that the accused had already extorted millions by blackmailing person.

It is also alleged that the police while preparing the list had exempted leading politicians and film personalities. The gang had extorted money from NRIs also.

Suresh Gopi expresses regret over remarks against CM

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Suresh Gopi Sunday expressed regret for his derogatory remarks against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in connection with the Aranmula Airport. The actor, who is in the USA now, said that he deeply regrets if his remarks had pained anyone.

The actor said that he never wanted to criticise the chief minister. I criticised for implementing projects without collecting sufficient details. I came to know that many including Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan wanted me to withdraw my statement.  I am expressing regret now as Ministers like Ramesh Chennithala or Aryadan Muhammed should not ask me to express my regret tomorrow.  

While speaking at a function, organised by Kerala Children's Literature Institute at Kollam, the actor had said that if the chief minister is not in the know of things, he should try to learn from knowledgeable people.

Raveendran suicide case: Accused in police custody

NEDUMANGAD: Accused in Kochi blackmailing case, arrested in the suicide of Venjaramoodu native Raveendran will be in police custody. The three accused Bindhya Thomas, Ruksana and Jayachandran will be in police custody for four days.

The accused were produced at the Nedumangad Magistrate Court Monday morning. Jayachandran was brought from Kochi and produced in the court here as per the directive of the court. The police have also registered the arrest of Jayachandran in the suicide of Raveendran.

HC sceptical over transparency in Plus Two allocation

KOCHI: The High Court has said that it has its own doubts over the transparency in the allocation of new Plus Two batches. The division bench said that the transparency factor should be examined.

The court was considering the petitions which said that the new Plus Two batches were allocated flouting norms.

Expressing its dissatisfaction over the government not submitting documents related to Plus Two allocation, it asked the government to submit before the court all relevant documents on Wednesday. The court also asked the government to clarify the follow-up action to Cabinet sub-committee’s report in this regard.       

The court, however, said that it was not going to examine the allegations put forward by school managements, one by one. “But it need to be examined whether general credentials were followed by the government while sanctioning new Plus Two batches,” the court said.

The government later submitted that it would soon file a detailed affidavit regarding Plus Two issue.

Sachin under attack in RS for absence, granted leave

Sachin Tendulkar was again under attack in Rajya Sabha Monday for his prolonged absence even as the cricket icon sought to control damage by applying for leave for the entire Budget session, which was granted amid strong opposition from members.

Members cutting across party line termed his long absence as “disrespect to House and nation” and there were demands for seeking an explanation from him particularly when he was here in Delhi to attend a programme near Parliament last week but did not come to Rajya Sabha. The issue cropped up during Zero Hour as soon as deputy chairman P J Kurien sought permission of the House for grant of leave to Tendulkar, who has attended the House only three times since his nomination over two years back.

Kurien said Tendulkar has sent a leave application expressing inability to attend the 232nd session (current session) of Rajya Sabha on account of “professional and personal commitments and family exigencies.” Naresh Agarwal (Samajwadi Party) immediately objected to grant of leave to him saying, “Sachin Tendulkar had come to Delhi to attend a function at Vigyan Bhawan near Parliament, but did not come to the House. Members’ views are unanimous that he has no respect for the House.” Tendulkar was at a programme in Vigyan Bhawan, nearly 3 km from Parliament, on August 8 where he said he could not attend the House because his elder brother had to undergo a heart surgery. Responding to Agarwal’s contention, Kurien observed, “So many members remain absent for various reasons and it is for the Chair to investigate why they didn’t come. You cannot object.”

Monday, July 14, 2014

Karthikeyan calls on Sudheeran, expresses wish to resign

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Speaker G Karthikeyan called on KPCC chief V M Sudheeran. Reports say that he has informed Sudheeran his wish to resign from the speaker’s post. He had recently hinted his interest to return to active politics.

Kochi Corporation flouted coastal regulation zone rules: CAG

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CAG has pulled up the Kochi Corporation for giving permission to 19 companies including DLF to construct building without conforming to Coastal Regulation zone rules. In its report CAG said sanction was given to 19 buildings which sit on lands that encroached the lagoon in Chilavannoor region.

Stop memos were given to buildings that had started construction without proper permits. But construction went on, despite the memo. Most buildings have up to 20 storeys. Even, buildings have come up in areas under archaeological protection zones, where plots have been levelled using sand. The condition that the permission of Coastal Regulation Zone Management Authority is required to construct buildings in costal zones was neglected.

The rule is that construction activities should not be carried out in places within a distance of 100 metre from the river coast. But the CAG pointed out that a three-storey building in the name of prominent industrialist M A Yousafali is just 10 metres away from a river coast.

Madhany released from jail, says his innocence will be proved

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: PDP leader Abdul Nasar Madhany was released form Bangalore Parappana Agrahara jail at around 8 pm today. From jail he was directly taken to Saukhya hospital for further treatment.

While coming out of the jail he told media that he was fully confident that his innocence would be proved. “ I first thank God for this as I am a staunch believer in God. I am happy about Supreme Court granting me a relief, though it is a short one. Though my eyes’ light is setting, I can see the light of justice rising,” said Madhany.

He said he respected and would obey the Supreme Court ruling and all bail conditions imposed on him. He would think about seeking extension of his one month bail after discussing his health condition with doctors.

Later, to another question, he said he was not afraid of Modi governmet as he had faith in judiciary.

PSC appointments to be speeded up, says Chandy

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the assembly from now on PSC appointments would be speeded up. The government is planning to conduct appointments within a year, he said.

The government will hold talks with PSC to extend the tenure of the rank list of LD clerk.

The departments have been instructed to report vacancies on time, he said.

Lorry driver arrested based on Saritha’s complaint

KILIMANOOR: When hardcore criminals roam in the City unabashedly, a tipper lorry driver was arrested on Monday for the mere reason that he didn’t switch on his vehicle’s indicator. Who is responsible for the police’ lightning action? It is none other than solar scam accused Saritha S Nair.

The incident leading to the arrest happened at 7:30 am today. She was travelling in her car to Ambalappuzha court via MC Road. When she reached Kilimanoor and at the road before Kuravankuzhy, she saw a tipper taking a right turn without its right indicators blinking.

Her car overtook the lorry and blocked its way. She scolded the lorry driver for “violating the rule”. She also informed top traffic officials.

Within minutes, traffic police reached the spot and arrested the driver.

Though Saritha also had to go the traffic police station to give a written complaint, she was allowed to leave the station soon for appearing in the court.

Congress may plunge into crisis if Ganesh is made minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Groupism in the Congress may reach a new level if Ganesh kumar is made a minister. If that happens, I Group may dare to go for an open ‘fight’ with Ganesh Kumar and Oommen Chandy.

Reports reaching here say if there is any move to induct Ganesh into the cabinet at the instance the chief minister, I group will register its protest and dissatisfaction with the high command.

It is reported that KPCC president V M Sudheeran will also not favour the induction of Ganesh into the cabinet. Though he has not made any public statement in this regard, he may clarify his stand in party conclaves.  

Meanwhile, expectation are high in Kerala Congress-B camp. They are sure that Ganesh will be made a minister again in the cabinet shake-up. They say the chief minister had given them the assurance in this regard. A few leaders close to Ganesh have also shared this secret of Ganesh’s possible elevation with certain leaders of Congress allies.

Friday, July 11, 2014

I’m not marrying Bhavana: Anoop Menon

When the film ‘Angry Babies’ is running in jam-packed theatres across the State and abroad even after 25 days, Kerala Kaumudi caught up with the film’s hero Anoop Menon for a quick chat.

Menon is happy that Angry Babies continues its success run after 25 days. But he  feels that the film was released at an inappropriate time. “The film had many challenges like Monsoon, Ramzan fasting, Football fervour and above all two films namely ‘How old are you?’ and ‘Bangalore days’ were running successfully. The film had to overcome all these hurdles. By now, the film has raked in over Rs three crore,” he said.

Delving on the chemistry between him and the film’s heroine Bhavana, Anoop said, “the actress is a good friend of mine. Besides that, she is one of the best actresses. When these two factors combined, choice of Bhavana became inevitable. We used to have tiffs between us now and then but we like each other. This was something the script, too, demanded. So, when Director Saji Surendran suggested her name, I was more than happy. We had acted together in Trivandrum lodge and I was comfortable with her on that occasion." 

To a tricky question about gossips linking Anoop and Bhavana, he retorted with a smile: “I’m not in love with Bhavana. We are just good friends. She will marry next year… the person is not me but someone else…”

Anoop’s new projects are Laljose’ Vikramadithyan and Deepan’s Dolphin. “Talks are also on with Laljose and Shyamaprasad regarding their new films. A film with Martin Prakkat is almost confirmed,” he said.

It was 'ordinary' marriage for Shritha

Actress Shritha Sivadas who sneaked into the hearts of Malayalais through the film ‘Ordinary’ got married on Monday at a simple function in Ernakulam. Deepak Nambyar, a Malayali engineer now based in Dubai, tied the nuptial knot.

Cupid’s arrow struck them two years ago and they have been in love since.

Shritha got acquainted with Deepak through one of her friends. First it was just a friendship, which later turned into love. It was Deepak who first proposed marriage to Shritha. She discussed it with her parents and arrived at a decision to marry her love.  

Anyhow, Shritha will act in films after her marriage and interestingly, she has made a commitment to a director to be present on the sets 10 days from the marriage.

Scene Onnu Nammude Veedu, Money back Policy. 10:30 AM local call, Hangover, Koothara are the films she has acted in.

Deepak Nambyar has done music programmes on TV channels and has also worked for Rajendran’s Theevram.

Relief of Rs 3 lakh each to 46 Kerala nurses from Iraq

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government has declared a financial aid of Rs 3 lakh each for all the 46 nurses who were brought back to Kerala from war-torn Iraq. The amount was handed over to the nurses today.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said the compensation was immediately arranged so as to help them settle their financial obligations. Indian embassy had completed procedures to extract nurses’ pending salaries from their employer in Iraq.     

The chief minister also discussed with the nurses matters concerning their rehabilitation.

Security employee held for rape of minor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The security employee of medical college hospital was arrested for rape of a minor. The arrested has been identified as Sreekandan Nair (55) of Naruvamoodu. The case is that he lured the minor after offering her guavas. He took her to his house and sexually assaulted her. He warned her not to reveal the incident to anybody. After the incident, the child was under depression and was admitted at the medical college hospital for treatment. Seeing the employee there, she started shouted and yelling. The doctors on examination came to know about the incident. A case was registered against him and he was arrested after recording her statements.

Centre has initiated steps to start AIIMS in Kerala: Harsha Vardhan

NEW DELHI: Union Health Minister Harsha Vardhan has said that the Centre has initiated steps to start AIIMS in Kerala. “It would become a reality within five years. We have also written to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, asking him to allot land for the purpose,” he said in the Lok Sabha.   
    
Meanwhile, BJP leader O Rajagal put the blame on State government for Centre not making any budgetary allocation for AIIMS in Kerala. “The government did not give evidential information to the Centre regarding the land earmarked for the AIIMS. Without doing that, the State has been blaming Centre for no reason of theirs,” Rajgopal said.

Conditional bail for Madhani…after four years

NEW DELHI: Jailed PDP chairman and an accused in Bangalore bomb blast case Abdul Nasar Madhani has been granted conditional bail by the Supreme Court. The bail term is one month and he has been asked not to leave Bangalore during this period.

Madhani had been in Karnataka’s Parappana Agrahara jail for the past four years.   

While considering Madhani’s petition Friday morning, the court put up the question that what would happen if Madhani was granted bail. “Considering his heath rather than the importance of the case, can’t he be given bail?” the court asked.

On the other hand, the bail plea was strongly opposed by the Karnataka government. “There is evidence to prove Madhani’s role in about a dozen bomb blast cases in Bangalore. Hence, if bail is given, there is a chance for him destroying the evidence or influencing the witnesses. Also, if Madhani goes to Kerala for Ayurveda treatment, it is not sure whether he will return or not,” said the advocate who represented the Karnataka Statet.   
But the bench chaired by Justice Chelameshwar said the court was granting bail considering the procrastination in the trial and Madhani’s poor health.  

Madhani had approached the Supreme Court pleading that he did not get adequate treatment despite the court’s instruction and bail be granted to avail good treatment at his own expense.

VS makes submission over Pattoor land deal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandam again on Friday made a submission in the Assembly over controversial Pattoor land deal. He informed the Assembly that illegal construction activities were going on at the place.     

He alleged that the Vigilance report in the case was hushed up by Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.

Meanwhile, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash said steps would be taken to reclaim the ‘Poramboke’ land in Pattoor. He was answering to VS’ submission.

One more arrested in Karali Anoop murder case

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: One more accused in the Karali Anoop murder case was arrested on Friday. The arrested person is Ambu alias Vipin Raj (23) from Muttathara Ponnara Nagar. He was arrested from his relative’s house in Vattappara.

Kochukuttan alias Vipin (30) from Thazhasseri, Appichan alias Anish Alexander (24) from Chackai, Radhakrishnan (27) from Manavanagar, Joji (24) from Kamaleswaram, Vishnu (24) from Vayyamoola, Nithin (21) from Karali, Sumeah (20) and a 17-year-old were earlier arrested in this connection.

Akhil Antony (26) , allegedly involved in the case has gone into hiding.   

The police version is that Anoop had asked money from Ambu for drinking liquor at around 8 pm on Sunday near Ananthapuri hospital here. As Ambu declined the demand, Anoop picked a quarrel with him, which ended up in a serious fight. Later Ambu came with his friends to avenge the earlier incident and in the fight that ensued, Anoop was killed.       

DCP Ajitha Begum is in charge of the investigation. The accused were arrested by a team comprising Shangumugham Asst Commissioner Jawahar Janarth, Pettah CI Abhilash, Vanchyoor SI Ashok Kumar, CPOs Jayakumar, Khadar and  ASI Viswanathan, CPOs Shamnath, and Shibu Vinod from Shadow Police.

M R Murali in Ottappalam Area Committee

PALAKKAD: Palakkad District committee meeting of CPM chaired by party state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has decided to include M R Murali in Ottappalam Area Committee. Murali, a former chairman of  Shornur corporation, had left CPM and formed a party called Janakeeya Vikasana Samithi   

It was also decided to include two confidants in the local committee. About 55 workers are returning to the party with Murali.

Vakkom resents transfer, resigns as Governor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Resenting his transfer from Mizoram "without consulting him", Nagaland Governor Vakkom B Purushothaman today resigned from the post.

The 86-year-old Congress veteran told PTI that he sent his resignation to President Pranab Mukherjee this morning.

Though he did not raise any political or procedural issue in his resignation letter, Purushothaman told reporters that governors had been treated in a manner which was "not fair" after the NDA Government assumed power.

"Governors are constitutional authorities. It is grossly improper to transfer them just like any other government official.That is not fair," he said.

Purushothaman, who held key portfolios in the UDF ministries in Kerala and a two-time Congress MP, said, "I feel that the governor's position has been insulted."

"The transfer was made without consulting me," he said.

He, however, said no one had asked him to resign but he took serious exception to the way some other UPA-era governors were sounded out to step down reportedly by Home Secretary.

"It was a grave mistake. How can a secretary call the governor and ask him to resign?," he said.

Purushothaman said he would return to politics as a Congress worker but would not be seeking any electoral positions.

In a reshuffle of governors on July 6, Gujarat Governor Kamala Beniwal was transferred to Mizoram while Purushothaman was transferred and appointed as Governor of Nagaland. He was also given additional charge of the office of Governor of Tripura.

Those who resigned after the NDA government reportedly asked them to put in their papers are B L Joshi (Uttar Pradesh), M K Narayanan (West Bengal), Shekhar Dutt (Chhattisgarh), Ashwani Kumar (Nagaland) and B V Wanchoo (Goa).

Monday, July 7, 2014

Murder of two in Mangalore: Bodies retrieved

KASARGOD: The bodies of Nafeer of Thalassery and Shaheem of Kozhikode, killed by a quotation gang in connection with a gold deal, were retrieved on Monday. The bodies of the two were recovered from Balanadukka in Kasargod. Three persons were arrested in connection with the incident. The details of the place where the bodies were buried were obtained from them during interrogation.  The police brought them there and recorded their statements.

The arrested were Munafath Munafir Sanaf of Kasargod, Muhammed Rizwan and Muhammed Irshad of Anangur. An employee of a jewellery shop and a gold dealer were taken into custody. A quotation gang was hired to murder the two after they fled with 4.5 kilos of gold handed over to them by a gold smuggling team.

Last year’s admissions to Karuna Medical college stand void

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  James Committee has annulled the admissions given to MBBS seats by Palakkad Karuna Medical College last year. The committee has informed this to Health University and its action follows the College’s failure to follow admission norms.

Following the allegation that there has been no transparency in the admission procedures of College, the committee instructed the college to submit before it all papers related to the admission. But when the college management failed to obey the instruction, the committee made all admissions void.   

Last year also the health university had derecognised 50 percent of the MBBS seats of Karuna Medical College as the college failed to comply with the norms set by Medical Council.

SFI says ‘no’ to strikes

KANNUR: SFI, a student’s organization owing allegiance to the Left Front, requested all students’ organizations to shelve strikes, which disrupts classes. The strike should be staged to study and not to disrupt classes, opined SFI all India president V Sivadasan.

Strikes unleashing violence is outdated. He asked students organizations to withdraw from that. All strikes should attract the public and others will not exist, he said.

However, AISF clarified that they do not agree with the stand of the SFI.

CPM central committee member E P Jayarajan MLA had the other day opined that organizations like SFI should withdraw from the old forms of strikes.

Madhani’s bail plea postponed to Friday

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday postponed to Friday considering the bail plea of PDP leader Abdul Nazar Madhani, jailed in the Bangalore blasts case.

In the affidavit filed along with the bail plea, Madhani stated that even after Supreme Court directive, the Karnataka Government failed to provide him better treatment. He also asserted that Karnataka Government did not bear the expenses of his treatment and sought to grant him bail so that he could meet the expenses.

Kerala nurses in Baghdad unsure about returning

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Seventy-four nurses from Kerala working at the Baghdad Medical City are in two minds - whether or not to return to India - following the violence in the Middle East nation, a nurse said Monday.

The nurse told IANS over phone from Baghdad that at the moment things were normal where the nurses were located, and the situation remains as it was when they arrived in January.

"Occasionally, we hear sounds of explosions... and by now, we know when a car bomb has exploded. This has been like this since we came. If you ask us, right now things are the same as we first came, so honestly we are in two minds," the nurse said.

The 74 nurses reached Baghdad in two groups. While some of them have been there for 18 months, the rest reached there in January.

"If there are no issues here, we want to be here and working. If not, we want to return. Even though we came here in January, we inked our contract in September 2013 and now the management is asking us to sign the next contract and our deadline is fast approaching," the nurse said.

She said they stay in the large hospital compound, and venture out only to send money to Kerala once in two months.

"And for that, we take the help of the hospital security staff, who accompany us to the money exchange house. If not, we are always inside the hospital compound. We have cafeteria facilities inside the campus itself and there are shops too," she said.

Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy Monday said in the state assembly that if any Keralites in Iraq wants to return, they will be brought back by the government.

UAE-based Indian entrepreneur offers jobs to rescued nurses

DUBAI: The 46 Indian nurses rescued from a hospital in northern Iraq's war zone have been offered job opportunities in India and Arabian Gulf countries by United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Indian entrepreneur Azad Moopen, a company statement said.

"We will recruit these repatriated and devastated nurses on priority at Aster Medcity, Kochi, MIMS Hospitals at Calicut and Kottakkal, and DM WIMS Medical College Hospital in Wayanad," Moopen, chairman of the Dubai-based Aster DM Healthcare, said in a statement.

"For those interested to return to the Middle East, we will accommodate them in our hospitals and clinics in the UAE, Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia if they fulfill official requirements," the statement added.

The physician-turned NRI entrepreneur from Kerala has also offered cash assistance of Rs.25,000 (around $419) to each of the 46 nurses to meet their immediate requirements.

Moopen, who is also a director of the Kerala government's department for Non-Resident Keralites' Affairs (Norka), is the second UAE-based Indian to offer jobs to the nurses after Abu Dhabi-based NMC group head B.R. Shetty made a similar offer Saturday.

Moopen also lauded the efforts of the Indian government and the Kerala state government for bringing back the nurses and hundreds of workers safely from Iraq.
The statement asked the interested assistance seekers to register for jobs and collect financial assistance from Aster Medcity in Kochi.

Moopen especially appreciated the efforts of Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy, who acted very promptly to address the issues, and Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for providing the necessary support.

Aster DM Healthcare employs about 4500 people in India and 5,000 abroad in over 170 establishments across the world, the statement said.

Child labour in Capital: Child line rescues six children

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Child line volunteers rescued six children from a sweet factory in the City on Monday. The rescued children are Surya, Muthu Raj, Mari Selvam, Ramar Kalinjam, Karthikeyan, and Ramkumar. For the past one month they have been working in the sweet shop at Konjiravila. They all hail from Thirunelveli and are below 15.

Following a tip off through Child Line Number1098, the workers, Manuel George and Christi Abraham, conducted an inspection in the factory and found out the under age children working in pitiable condition. Though the children said they had not been physically tortured, some of them had burns on their hands.

There were 14 children working in the factory owned by one Victor. Out of that six children are minors. The six children have been shifted to Don Bosco shelter home.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

137 other Indians reach home from Iraq, 200 more on way

HYDERABAD/KOCHI: Ending days of tension and uncertainty, 183 Indians stranded in strife-torn Iraq, including the 46 nurses from Kerala who were freed by Iraqi insurgents, arrived home Saturday to a grand welcome while 200 more were on their way.

A special Air India flight from Erbil, capital of Iraq's Kurdistan region, carrying the 183 landed in Kochi close to noon with Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and his cabinet colleagues, legislators, Lok Sabha members and state government officials waiting to receive them.

A group of 78 people from various parts of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, including nurses and construction workers in Iraq, later reached Hyderabad by the special flight and officials were making arrangements to send them to their respective hometowns.  

The external affairs ministry said that another 200 Indians to Delhi will return Saturday night by a special Iraqi Airways chartered flight from Najaf.

In the next 48 hours, approximately another 400 Indians would be returning to various destinations, including Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad, through commercial flights, said ministry spokesman Syed Akbaruddin.

About 1,200 Indians would have returned to India at government cost by Monday, while the Indian mission in Baghdad has been able to persuade Iraqi companies to send back approximately 600 other Indian nationals, while processing papers for 400 others.

Welcoming return of Kerala nurses from Iraq, Congress leader Amarinder Singh Saturday urged the government to intensify its efforts for freeing 39 Indians, mostly from Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, being held hostage in Mosul.

At Kochi, arrangements were made for three family members of each nurse to go inside the airport to receive them. A special immigration desk was set up for them. It was a mad scramble, with anxious family members hugging and kissing their dear ones.

While some cried in happiness, others were seen clutching the hands of toddlers, most of them children of these nurses, who for the past nearly three weeks never imagined such an arrival.

Sandra Sebastian, one of the nurses, told the media at Kochi airport that she was very scared when they were taken away by the insurgents. "... very afraid... will not go back," she said in broken English.

Chandy earlier said that at one point of time, he had lost all hope as the plane did not get permission to land in Erbil because of strong winds. He thanked External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj for all her efforts.

Reports earlier said many nurses protested at Erbil airport, saying they won't board the plane unless they are paid their four months' salary arrears but finally agreed after Indian officials persuaded them.

Seena, a nurse from Kannur, said for 23 days they lived in isolation at Tikrit, their workplace.

"Our patience was running out... gun-toting men came to our building in the hospital campus Thursday. They asked us to pack our things and all they gave us was 15 minutes.

"We were told to enter one of the four buses parked outside... and in a few minutes, we saw the first and third floor of our building go up in flames," she said. Another nurse said, "never in our dreams, we thought that these armed men would be our saviours".

"We had no clue... whether they were going to kill us or they would be our saviours."On our eight-hour drive to Mosul, the kind behaviour of these people surprised all of us," adding they stopped at many places and gave the nurses water, biscuits and food. Another nurse could not hide her happiness on being back with her family.

She said they came to know that the armed men represented the newly-formed 'government' of Mosul and that the nurses were a bit taken aback when they said many of the men with guns were doctors.

"Once in Mosul, they put us in a big room and we were given beds and food. We feel that the new government there helped us reach here safely. We thank each and everyone who prayed for our return and also all the authorities who helped us," she said.

The Kerala government made arrangements for the nurses to travel in hired vehicles, while the lone nurse from Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu was provided with a railway ticket to her home town.

The plane had earlier landed in Mumbai for refuelling and for taking aboard food for the passengers.

Meanwhile, UAE-based Indian businessman B.R. Shetty offered the 46 nurses jobs in hospitals he owns across the Gulf country, Nepal, Bhutan and India. In advertisements in Kerala newspapers, he asked the nurses to contact his office if interested.

Neymar ruled out of World Cup with fractured vertebrae

FORTALEZA: Brazil lost superstar striker Neymar for the World Cup after he fractured a vertebrae during his side's 2-1 World Cup quarterfinal win over Colombia.

Colombia defender Juan Zuniga kneed the 22-year-old Neymar in a crunching tackle and the Barcelona player was stretchered off in agony in the closing minutes of the game in Forteleza.

The injury and the suspension of captain Thiago Silva for the semifinal against Germany overshadowed a sensational David Luiz goal that sealed victory in one of the most physical games seen at this World Cup.

A hospital exam "showed he suffered a fracture of the third vertebra" in his back, team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar told reporters.

Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari fumed that Neymar has been "hunted" throughout the tournament and that no punishment was given for the tackle on him.

"I have been saying for three matches that Neymar has been hunted, but all the other countries say it is not true and it is only their players that are hunted."

Silva was booked for a second time in the tournament for impeding a clearance by Colombian goalkeeper David Ospina.

But in Zuniga's case "there was not even a yellow card and Thiago got a yellow card for nothing," Scolari said.

Brazil are in the World Cup semifinals for the first time in 12 years, but Scolari, who has vowed his side will win their sixth World Cup, now faces a major crisis.

Silva put Brazil ahead after seven minutes and Luiz scored a sensational 30 metre free kick to give Brazil victory.

Colombia's James Rodriguez extended his lead as the tournament's top scorer with his sixth goal in five games from the penalty spot after Julio Cesar brought down Carlos Bacca.

But Colombia now leave and Brazil must now prepare without Neymar and key defender Silva for only their second World Cup meeting with Germany in Belo Horizonte on Tuesday. The Germans beat France 1-0 earlier in the day.

Luiz's goal was another special moment in the World Cup. "Today It was great because I hit the exact point where the ball can go many ways and it is difficult for the goalkeeper," said Luiz.

And the Paris St Germain defender said Brazil had the replacements in Dante and Henrique to cope with the absence of his club teammate Silva.

"We have two players that are great players and that have prepared to play just like Thiago and myself.

Colombia also complained about Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo. "The referee did not help," said Rodriguez who suffered in marking but was himself booked for a tackle on Brazil's Hulk.

Roared off on by a fervent home crowd, the hosts made a fast start and were ahead inside seven minutes.

Just as in their last 16 clash with Chile, a Neymar corner kick finished at the back post and Silva escaped defender Carlos Sanchez to bundle the ball home.

Silva then had defensive duties as he got the slightest of touches to Juan Cuadrado's drive to turn it behind as Colombia tried to react.

Colombia could have fallen further behind as Ospina got down well to parry Hulk's effort before making a more comfortable save from Oscar.

Chances at both ends dried up in the second-half, despite the game still being played at a frenetic pace.

Brazil were dealt a huge blow when Silva was booked for barging into Ospina as he sought to clear the ball. Scolari covered his head in his hands.

Brazilian nerves were settled in the 69th minute when Luiz sent a wonderful dipping free-kick high past Ospina from fully 30 metres.

Yet, Colombia were back in the game 10 minutes from time when substitute Carlos Bacca was upended by Julio Cesar inside the area.

The Brazil goalkeeper was lucky just to see a yellow card from Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo. But he could do nothing to stop Rodriguez rolling home his sixth goal of the tournament from the resulting penalty.

Scolari's men saw out the final few minutes, but disaster struck when Zuniga's knee hit Neymar's back two minutes from the end of a game which saw dozens of heavy handed challenges.

25 harrowing days and nights

ETTUMANOOR: It was 25 harrowing days and nights for those Kerala nurses who had been under virtual captivation of Iraqi rebels. But nothing as feared by them happened and this sensational episode ends on a happy note, the nurses speaks well of the rebels.

Sonia and Veena from Ettumanoor reached an Iraqi hospital ten months ago. They said though the nurses were aware of the fighting going on between Iraqi soldiers and rebels, they were not aware of the fact that the rebels had captured Tikrit. It was only through TV news that they came to know about what was happening. They confirmed it when they saw rebels replacing government security officials deployed at the hospital.

The rebels entered the hospital last week as the situation became tense. Their main intention was to prepare food and have it from inside the hospital. Notably, the nurses said, right from the beginning, the rebels treated them well and never ever misbehaved with them. The food prepared by the nurses was also given to the rebel soldiers. At a point, the nurses even suspected whether the rebels would use them as human shields to facilitate their (rebels’) escape.

From the beginning the rebels took a stand to help the nurses escape from the war-torn area, thanks to Central/State government for putting proper pressure through diplomatic channels. In order to ensure the safety of nurses, when fighting became intense, they were provided a safe haven in under-ground cells. On their way to Mosul they were provided with sufficient food, water and toilet facilities. Their passport and other documents were returned to them when war-like situation worsened.

The nurses had feared whether they would be taken to Mosul general hospital to treat wounded rebel soldiers. But now, they are thankful to God for nothing of that sort happening.
     

Both governments same when it comes to ‘looting’ people: Pinarayi

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is no difference among Narendra Modi, Oommen Chandy, NDA and UPA, when it comes to ‘looting’ people. It is just that their policy is one and garb different, CPM State secretary Pinarayi Vijayan has posted on his Facebook page.

“The Petroleum ministry’s proposal is to increase the price of LPG cylinder by Rs 250 and kerosene by 50 paisa (every month). This follows a hike in petrol price by more than Rs 2 per litre. The State Electricity Board also recommends doubling the Electric Metre rent and increasing the current charge for domestic consumers,” wrote Pinarayi.

Nurses vow not to go back to Iraq

KOCHI: After about a month's long ordeal in the strife torn Iraq, 46 Indian nurses returned to their homeland today with most of them vowing not to go back risking their lives.

"We will not go back. There is no question of going back. We are not prepared to endanger our lives once again", said Sandra Sebastian, who arrived at the Kochi airport along with 45 other nurses to a warm and emotional welcome from  Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and their relatives.

Sandra, hailing from neighbouring Kottayam district, said she had gone to Iraq on August 16 last year. Since the past four months she along with other nurses have not received salaries from the Government Tikrit Training Hospital where they were working.

"Earlier, we were a batch of 23 nurses and then 15 more joined us in February this year" she said.

On being held captive by ISIS militants, Sandra and Neenu Jose, another nurse, said though they had been asked to move out earlier, they refused to do so as the Indian Embassy had not given them permission to do so, she said.

However, on July 3, they were given only 15 minutes time to pack their bag and leave by the militants.

"They told us that you are all our our sisters. You would not be harmed. But we did not believe them", Sandra said, adding, some armed doctors also travelled with them during the seven hours journey from from Tikrit to Mosul. They left the hospital at 12 pm in four buses and reached Mosul by 7 PM.

"They were given food and bed to sleep on," Neenu said. Suni Mol Chacko from Kannur said "they cannot be called terrorists. They are part of the local government".

The families of all the nurses, who had come in large numbers to receive their daughters, were moist eyed as they hugged and kissed them.

Elanji Balakrishnan from Ernakulam, said his daughter, Renu had gone to Iraq in August last year. The family had to take Rs 2 lakh loan to send her and she had not received salary for the past three months, he said.

"I had to mortgage 48 cents of land and my house to send my daughter to Iraq", the frail Balakrishnan said.

All the nurses and their families thanked Chandy and Central government for all the help in ensuring their safe return to India.

Of the 46 nurses, 45 hail from various districts of Kerala and one belongs to Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu. They said the militants treated them well.

Mareena from Kottayam was all in tears as she hugged and kissed her two-year-old daughter Reya and son Merin, whom she was meeting after 11 months. She said they were well looked after by the ISIS and had no complaints.

Shantamma, mother of Shalini, said her daughter had gone to Tikrit five months ago after taking Rs 5 lakh loan. The family is worried.

Chandy who arrived here late last night, received the nurses at the airport and the airport authorities ensured speedy completion of emigration and customs formalities.

Media personnel had a tough time as they were not allowed anywhere inside the International arrival lounge.

Airport sources said besides Chandy, Health minister V S Shivakumar, PWD minister Irabhim Kunju, Chalakudy MP and Malayalam actor Innocent and Kottayam MP Jose K Mani were present at the airport.

Though most of them looked travel weary, there were tears of joy as they spotted their near and dear ones.

As soon as they saw Chandy, they said 'Thank You', 'Thank You'.

NORKA (Non Resident Keralites Association) officials had put up two counters to provide all help to the nurses. The nurses were given Rs 5000 each and offered free taxies to reach their homes.

Children from Janseva Shishu Bhavan, holding placards 'Stop War', politicians cutting across parties, and members of Nursing Associations were seen at the airport to welcome the nurses.

Seventeen of the nurses are from Kottayam district, 7 each from Kannur and Idukki districts and rest belong to other parts of the state.