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.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Kerala to get 4th intl airport; commercial ops by May 2016

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy will lay the foundation stone of the state's fourth international airport at Kannur tomorrow and its commercial operations are expected to start in May 2016.

The state government has 35 per cent stake in the airport, and the terminal would have the capacity to handle 2,000 passengers at a time, Minister for Ports and Airport K Babu said here today.

The work contract for the 75,000 sq ft integrated terminal building has been awarded to L&T Construction Buildings and Factories at an estimated cost of Rs 498 crore.

As per the contract, work has to be completed by May 2016. If the company failed to do so, it would have to pay five per cent fine. In case of completing the project before time, they would be paid bonus, he said.

Construction of runway would also be carried out by the same company with an estimated cost of Rs 694 crore and nearly 10 per cent of work had already been completed, he said.

The runway work is expected to be over by December 2015, the minister said.

On equity participation, he said, though 21 per cent of shares were earmarked for public sector undertakings, only 19 per cent had been purchased so far.
Kerala-based Federal Bank, South Indian Bank and State Bank of Travancore had already taken shares, he said.

The other airports in the state are at Thiruvananthapuram, Neddumbassery in Kochi and Karipur in Malappuram district.

Nurses to reach Kochi tomorrow morning, says Chandy

NEW DELHI: Nurses who were in the hands of Sunni insurgents in Iraq have been released, said Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. Talking to the media, he said that the nurses will reach Kochi Saturday morning at 7 am.

The nurses are presently in Kurdistan and are safe. Within an hour, they will reach the airport. The nurses were freed with the collective effort of all, he said.

Chandy expressed satisfaction on external affairs ministry’s intervention on the issue. It is not a person’s success issue instead a humanitarian one.

Notice for govt on HM’s plea

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The central administrative tribunal issued a notice to the state government on the plea filed by former headmistress of the Cotton Hill School Urmila Devi, who was transferred for criticizing education minister in a public function.

The headmistress was first transferred to a school in Attingal, 25 kilometers away from the capital city. She was later posted to the model school in the capital city following a plea filed.

No need to panic on price rise; states should take action: FM

NEW DELHI: Blaming hoarders for the rise in food inflation, finance minister Arun Jaitley today said there is "no panic situation" and asked the states to take measures to crackdown on hoarding and black marketing to rein in prices.

"When production of food items is higher than last year and still prices rise, then it means that intermediaries are keeping the stock somewhere," Jaitley said at a conference on food inflation.

He said the test of the good governance is how to de-hoard the stock kept by intermediaries into the market to rein in prices. "This is the biggest challenge."

Stating that prices of some food items increase every year during the July-December period due to hoarding, Jaitley said: "There are reports of below normal monsoon this year. Hoarders are taking advantage of the situation."

"Prices of some items had touched Rs 70-100 per kg last year. Prices are still lower this year. There is no panic situation," he said.

The Minister asked the state governments to assess the problem as action taken after price rise creates panic in the market.

Noting that prices of crude oil have increased due to tension in Iraq, Jaitley said there are, however, indications of softening of prices.

He was addressing the conference of state food and consumer affairs ministers to discuss measures to check food inflation. The meeting was also attended by Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh.

Jaitley also mentioned that prices of onion, potato, rice, pulses and milk have increased because of different reasons.

Inflation rose to five-month high to 6.01 per cent in May due to rise in prices of essential items like vegetables, fruits and cereals.

In order to check prices during the coming festival season, Jaitley urged the states to assess the supply-demand situation and take effective measures in advance to boost supply.

He also asked the state governments to set an example of good governance as there is no reason for price rise when production is at a record level and supplies are adequate.

Emphasising on the need for coordinated efforts to control prices, Jaitley said both the Centre and states should prepare a joint-action plan in this regard.

The Finance Minister highlighted measures taken by the Centre in the last few weeks including additional allocation of 5 million tonnes of rice for poor and imposition of minimum export price on onion and potato.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Kerala HC for Enactment Against 'Forced' Hartals

KOCHI: Observing that 'forced' hartals were 'illegal', Kerala High Court today said there was a need for enactment of a law granting suo motu powers to a competent authority to deal with matters relating to claims, assessment of compensation and recovery for those who have suffered losses during such shut downs.

"There is need for enactment of law granting suo motu powers to a competent authority to call for claims, assessment of compensation and recovery etc in cases in connection with loss during hartals," the court said.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Shaffique made the observations disposing of a batch of petitions against 'forced' hartals.

The petitioners submitted that the Kerala State Road Transport Corporation, had lost about Rs eight crore on ticket sales and damage to window panes in stone throwing incidents by hartal supporters following a series of hartals in 2008.

So there should be a mechanism to compensate those who suffered losses.

The bench said only if such an enactment is there, the menace of 'forced hartals' can be dealt with.

"Forced hartals are illegal and calling for the same for any reason is becoming a normal practise," the bench held.

A full bench of the high court had in July 1997 banned bandhs and the apex court had dismissed the then Left Front Government's Special Leave Petition to get the order reversed.

However, bandhs were renamed as hartals, and are continuing to thrive in the state causing huge loss to various quarters.

CBI probe into Sunanda’s death likely

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Centre may hand over the Sunanda case to CBI as some of her family members have sought the same. The failure of the Delhi police to make any breakthrough in the case even after five months may lead the Centre to go for a CBI investigation.

Delhi Police commissioner BS Bassi met home minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday to apprise him of the progress in the case in the wake of a senior doctor at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) making some allegations statements against Tharoor and Gulam Nabi Azad. .

Singh has asked Bassi to conclude the investigation speedily and it is reported that if there is no progress in the case within a fortnight, the case may go to the CBI.

Meanwhile, Pushkar's cousin Ashok Kumar Bhat also spoke up for a CBI inquiry on Wednesday.

Kerala nurses safe, says Chandy

NEW DELHI: All 46 Kerala nurses holed up in Tikrit in Iraq are safe and have been moved out, apparently by Sunni insurgents, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said on Thursday.

Chandy did not tell the media here how he had learnt about the movement of the nurses but added that the nurses were in touch with the Indian embassy in Baghdad.

" Due to the sensitive nature of the issue, we can’t divulge more details on the mission being  planned to being back the nurses. Our main concern is their safety and our main aim is to ensure the safe return of those nurses who wish to return to India. We also expect UN’s intervention…” Chandy said at a press conference here, also attended by Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and Kerala Congress leader K M Mani
One nurse told an Indian television channel that they were being moved by the insurgents to Mosul.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

CBI ready to probe 'child trafficking'; Amicus curiae appointed

KOCHI: The CBI informed Kerala high court on Wednesday that it was ready to probe the incident in which children from other states were allegedly trafficked into Kerala. The CBI explained that since the parties in the case included people from other states, Kerala police would have certain limitations in investigating the case and hence it decided to take up the case.
When the CBI expressed its desire to probe the case, the court asked the Advocate General (AG) representing the government, if the government was averse to CBI probing the case.  The AG replied in the negative.

The State government submitted the progress report of the probe it was conducting to the court in a cover with government seal on it.  

The bench chaired by Chief Justice Manjula Chellur said a final decision on CBI inquiry will be taken after examining the report.   

To make an initial investigation, Advocate Devan Ramachandran was appointed as amicus curiae.

Keralite wins prime property in Dubai radio show

DUBAI: A newly-wed Indian woman, who was visiting her husband in Dubai, has won a prime property in her home state in a competition run by a radio station, according to a media report.

Sruthymol V, 24, won the property three months after her marriage, when she flew into Dubai on a visit visa.

Sruthymol, who has graduated in computer science and engineering, was selected as the winner of 2,500 sq ft of prime property in her home state Kerala in a competition run by Malayalam radio station Hit 96.7 FM, the Khaleej Times said.

She 'hit the jackpot' when her winning message was picked by the station's randomiser from among a whopping 4.4 million messages the channel received for the contest held to mark its 10th anniversary in June.

"He (her husband Maneesh) had promised to get me a mobile phone when I go back to India if I don't get a job. But he decided to buy the phone soon because of these contests run by Hit 96.7 FM," the newspaper quoted her as saying.

To participate in the competition, listeners had to send free messages through the channel's mobile app.

Sruthymol sent 1,922 messages in total, which is low compared to some senders who texted more than 20,000 messages.
No radio contests have given away such generous prizes to its listeners in the UAE.

"This is a record number of listener interaction under our group ARN's radio network. We are checking if it is a record at the national or international level," said Maya Kartha, deputy content director at Hit 96.7 FM.

Located close to the Kochi Smart City project, a joint venture of the Dubai and Kerala governments, the plot won by Sruthymol is valued at about Rs 4 million.

The couple wishes to build a home on the plot which is in the frontage area of a gated community being developed.

13 hurt as bus overturns

KOZHIKODE: Thirteen persons were injured, some of them grievously, when the private bus they were traveling overturned at Pottammal in the city Wednesday.

Police said the injured were admitted to Kozhikode Medical College.