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.