Thursday, March 31, 2016

Argument over candidates’ list hots up; Chandy sticks to his stand

EW DELHI: The Congress High Command is trying to reach a consensus among Congress candidates regarding Congress candidates’ list for the upcoming Assembly election. The chief minister has stuck to his stand that no change will be allowed to the choice of candidates over which arguments exist. It has also been decided to appoint panels for all disputed seats. The election committee will take a final decision on candidates’ list.

Party president Sonia Gandhi will intervene to sort out the issue even as Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC president V M Sudheeran met Sonia Gandhi separately.

When Chennithala was for compromises, Chandy and Sudheeran have stuck to their stand. Chandy is even said to have lost his temper while responding to Chennithala’s instructions.

In between the above developments, prior to the screening committee, I Group leaders held a meeting in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Ramesh Chennithala, K C Venugopal, K Muraleedharan and K Sudhakaran. AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, who is charge of Kerala, held a meeting with A K Antony.

Going to quit journo job: Nikesh Kumar

KANNUR: LDF candidate of Azhikode constituency M V Nikesh Kumar has said he is going to leave media profession. He said he was quitting his job to enter politics.

He was speaking to media persons after visiting CPM District Secretary P Jayarajan.

Candidature: A T George turns against Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Parassala MLA A T George has come out against KPCC president V M Sudheeran in connection with the selection of candidates for the Assembly election. George said he was unaware of Sudheeran’s intentions and he himself was not subject of any allegation.     

Sudheeran’s stand has been not to give Assembly seat to A T George, who said he would speak out his mind if he was not made a candidate.

Meanwhile, Sudheeran also opposed the candidacy of Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash in Konni, citing the controversy surrounding him over land deals.

Amit Shah to launch NDA’s Kerala campaign on April 9

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: BJP president Amit Shah will launch the campaign for the National Democratic Alliance in Kerala on April 9, a party official said on Thursday.

“Shah will start the campaign at Pathanamthitta at 4 p.m,” state BJP spokesperson J.R. Padmakumar said.
Kerala goes to polls on May 16 .

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has yet to open its account in the 140-member Kerala assembly.
“Shah will meet workers in Thalassery on the 9th and after the inauguration of the poll campaign at Pathanamthitta, will leave the same day,” said Padmakumar.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, his cabinet colleagues, Deputy Chief Minister of Goa Francis D’Souza and his fellow party legislators are all arriving to campaign for the BJP in Kerala.

The party has been heartened by recent poll results. It doubled the total number of seats in the last year’s local body polls as compared to its performance in 2010 polls.

The BJP’s total seats doubled from the 2010 local body polls to reach about 1,100 out of the total 21,871 seats across the three-tier local body structure in the state. Its vote share touched 14 per cent.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP’s vote share for the first time touched double digits at 10.83 percent, up from 6.03 per cent in the 2011 assembly polls.

The state unit of the BJP has fielded its top leadership and has also managed to rope in former Indian cricketer S. Sreesanth, who will contest from the Thiruvananthapuram assembly constituency.

Two more CPI candidates finalised; official announcement today

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPI has decided to field AITUC Malappuram District Secretary Advocate K Mohandas from Manjeri constituency and K T Abdurahman from Ernad constituency as an Independent candidate. An official announcement on the two candidates will be made today.

With this, finalisation of CPI candidates for 27 constituencies is over. The party had earlier announced the names of candidates for 25 constituencies.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Commission has ended Saritha's trial

KOCHI: Solar Judicial Commission has wound up the trial of Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair. Solar Commission chief Justice Sivarajan said the above decision was taken as the accused was more often than not eluding trial proceedings in the name of shooting and other busy preoccupations.  

Saritha had deposed before the Commission that she had many things to reveal and she would submit more evidence. But she was not ready for that. “Under these circumstance, there is no point in extending the trial. Hence, we are ending the trial. Saritha was given a number of opportunities but she didn’t use that in the right way and she was also not ready to convince the Commission about the statements she had made,” the Commission blamed Saritha.                                            

If Saritha feels like submitting the evidence, she can do that through her counsel. If those evidence helps the inquiry, the Commission will examine that and take appropriate action, Sivarajan has clarified.

Sudheeran sticks to his stand, I too will opt out, says Chandy

NEW DELHI: Feud appears to be brewing within the Congress in connection with the selection of candidates after KPCC chief V M Sudheeran and Chief Minister Oommen Chandy are sticking in their respective stands. Talking to reporters here, Sudheeran said there is no situation to change his stand. There is nothing unusual over the list of candidates.

Sudheeran said holding talks during polls are quite usual. There are no big problems as shown by the media. A decision will be taken after holding talks on sitting MLAs contesting polls. Matters in connection with the candidates list and the present situation have been informed to congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, he said.  

Meantime, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has expressed his discontent to Mukul Vasnik, AICC general secretary in charge of Kerala. The chief minister strongly reacted to Sudheeran’s directive that some permanent contesters and the tainted should opt out. He said at the screening committee that if the ministers opt out then he will also do the same. I am a permanent contester, I am also tainted and so will opt out, he said. At the same time, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala is in conciliatory talks with both Sudheeran and Oommen Chandy.

Expected State Award: M Jayachandran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: National award winning Music Director M Jayachandran has said he had expected state award for his song Kathirunnu Kathirunnu in the film Ennu Ninte Moideen. “But the declaration of the award didn’t anguish me as my friend and a good music director got the award. Thank God the jury including Sharat gave the award not to one who does gimmicks on the keyboard,” said Jayachandran at a meet-the-press program at Press Club here.    

“The song is about ten year’s wait of Kanchanamala. As soon as the tune started taking shape in my mind, I decided to bring in the word Kathirunnu into the song. I mentioned this to lyricist Rafeeq Ahammed. There are three factors for the success of the song: one is Rafeeq’s lyircs, the second is its music and the third is Shreya Goshal’s rendering,” he said.

Jayachandran said Prithviraj had asked him to compose songs for the film. The actor had also informed him that Ramesh Narayan had already composed certain songs for the film. “Then I told him that I would redo his song only with his permission. I did Kathirunnu with the permission of Rameshji,” he said.

Jayachandran said he did not know that Gopi Sundar had been invited to do the background score. He had no complaints about it and his background score was beautiful.

“When a singer is selected, what is considered is his or her ability to render a song in the best possible way. Neither the singer’s language nor caste is any creterion,” he added.    

Order for quick verification against Minister Adoor Prakash

KOCHI: The Moovattupuzha Vigilance Court ordered to conduct a quick verification against five persons including Minister Adoor Prakash in the case allotting government land to sensational swamy Santhosh Madhavan. The probe should be completed within 15 days. The demand to include the chief minister in the case has been rejected. Meantime, Adoor Prakash has welcomed the vigilance quick verification. The order was passed on the plea of Girish Babu, native of Kalamassery.

The plea demanded to name Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, revenue department additional chief secretary Dr Vishwas Mehta, land owner Santhosh Madhavan, RMZ an IT Company and eco world infrastructure limited managing director B M Jayashankar as first to fifth accused.

Adarsh Prime Project Pvt Ltd, the company owned by Santhosh Madhavan had bought 95.44 acres of land at North Pravoor Puthen Velikkara village in Ernakulam district and 32.41 acres of land at Madathumpadi Village in Kodungalloor taluk, Thrissur in 2006.The government in January 2009 had taken over this land as per the Kerala land Reform Act 81 (3) of 1964 as ‘surplus land’. The plea filed by Santhosh Madhavan’s company against this verdict was rejected.  Following that, 112 acres of surplus land noticed by the government was taken over and executed the high court order and released an order on March 8 in 2013. However, the government released an order on March 2 in 2016 permitting relaxation of land Reform Act of 81 (3) of 1964 on the plea of a firm having binami links with Santhosh Madhavan. However, the revenue department announced withdrawal of the order when it turned controversial.

LDF announces candidates, manifesto on April 5

KOCHI: Convenor Vaikkom Viswam announced the names of candidates of the Left Front contesting the assembly polls. The names of 124 candidates including 92 candidates of the CPM were announced. Talking to the media, he said the names of candidates for 16 seats will be announced later. The aim of the LDF is to put an end to corruption and build up the secular state, he said.  

CPM candidates

C H Kunhambu (Manjeshwararm, K Kunhiraman (Uduma), M Rajagopal (Thrikkaripur)

C Krishnan (Payyannoor), T V Rajesh (Kalyasseri), James Mathew (Thaliparambu), M V Nikesh Kumar (Independent, Azhikode), Pinarayi Vijayan (Dharmadom), A N Shamseer (Thalassery) K K Shailaja (Koothuparambu), E P Jayarajan (Mattannur), Binoy Kurien (Peravur)

O R Kelu (Mananthavady), Rugmini Subramanyan (Sulthan Batheri), C K Saseendran (Kalpetta)

K K Lathika (Kuttiyadi), K Dasan (Koyilandy), T P Ramakrishnan (Perambra), Purushan Kadalundy (Balusseri), A Pradeep Kumar (Kozhikode North), V K C Mammad Koya (Beypore), advocate P T A Rahim (Independent, Kundamangalam), Karat Abdul Rasaq (Independent, Koduvally), George M Thomas (Thiruvambady)

K P Beeran Kutty (Independent, Kondotty), P V Anwar (Independent, Nilambur), K Nishanth (Vandoor), V Shashi Kumar (Perinthalmanna), advocate T K Rasheed Ali (Mankada), advocate K P Sumathi (Malappuram), V Abdurehman (Independent, Thanoor), P Abdul Gafoor (Independent, Tirur), K T Jaleel, (Thavanur, Independent), P P Basheer (Vengara), P Sreeramakrishnan (Ponnani)

Subaida Isahaq (Thrithala), P K Shashi (Shornur), P Unni (Ottappalam), K V Vijayadas (Kongad), V S Achuthanandan (Malampuzha), N N Krishnadas (Palakkad), A K Balan (Tharoor), K Babu (Nenmara), K D Prasenan (Alathur)

U R Pradeep (Chelakkara), A M Moideen (Kunnamkulam), K V Abdul Khader (Guruvayur), Murali Perunelli (Manalur), Mary Thomas (Wadakkancherry), Prof K U Arunan ( Irinjalakuda), Prof C Raveendranath (Puthucaud), B D Devassy (Chalakudy)

Saju Paul (Perumbavoor), advocate V Salim (Aluva), A M Yusuf (Kalamassery), S Sarma (Vypeen), K J Maxi (Kochi), M Swaraj (Thripunithura), advocate m Anil Kumar (Ernakulam), Dr Sebastian Paul (Independent, Thrikkakara), advocate Shiji Sivaji (Kunnathunadu), M J Jacob (Piravom), Kothamangalam (not announced)

S Rajendran (Devikulam), M M Mani (Udumbanchola), Thodupuzha (not announced)

Suresh Kurup (Ettumanoor), advocate Reji Skaria (Kottayam), Jaik C Thomas (Puthupally)

Raju Abraham (Ranni), Veena George (Independent, Aranmula), R Sanal Kumar (Konni)

A M Arif (Aroor), Dr T M Thomas Isaac (Alappuzha), G Sudhakaran (Ambalapuzha), advocate U Prathiba Hari (Kayamkulam) R Rajesh (Mavelikkara , advocate K K Ramachandran Nair (Chengannur)

Advocate Ayesha Potti (Kottarakkara), J Mercykutty Amma (Kundara), Mukesh (Independent, Kollam), M Noushad (Iravipuram)

Advocate D Joy (Varkala), advocate B Sathyan (Attingal), D K Murali (Vamanapuram), Kadakampally Surendran (Kazhakoottam), T N Seema (Vattiyoorkavu), V Sivankutty (Nemom), advocate A A Rasheed (Aruvikkara), C K Hareendran (Parasala), I B Satheesh (Kattakada), K Ansalan (Neyyattinkara)

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Major fire engulfs Ajman skyscraper in UAE

DUBAI: A fire erupted at a high-rise tower in the United Arab Emirates city of Ajman on Monday night, the latest in a series of skyscraper blazes in the Gulf nation.

The police gave no details on casualties in tweets confirming the blaze. Social media users shared images of the fire late Monday showing bright yellow flames spreading up the side of the building as chunks of burning material tumbled to the ground.

The Dubai-based Gulf News newspaper quoted Ajman Civil Defence director Brig. Saleh Saeed al-Matroushi as saying fire-fighters were at the scene. An official reached by The Associated Press at the civil defence confirmed that firefighting efforts were ongoing but had no further details.

Kalabhavan Mani’s viscera to be examined in Hyderabad lab

KOCHI: Police probing the mysterious death of Kalabhavan Mani withdrew from examining the viscera and blood samples of the actor at the forensic lab in Kakkanad, Kochi. The police have taken back the samples. They have now decided to send the samples to the forensic lab in Hyderabad. The presence of chlorpyrifos was noticed at the lab in Kakkanad.

However, the doctors who examined the actor at the Amritha Hospital were not able to find the presence of the pesticide in his body.  Chlorpyrifos, the insecticide has got a foul smell. If the quantity of it is more, then the doctors of Thrissur Medical College who conducted the postmortem should notice it, but they did not find it. Meantime, they expressed suspicion on some poisonous substance in his body. But they were not sure of the presence of chlorpyrifos. Based on it, they sent the samples to the forensic lab in Kakkanad. The presence of the insecticide not noticed in the private hospital and medical college was noticed in the government lab in Kakkanad.

It’s LDF’s payment seat in Poonjar, says P C George

KOTTAYAM: The decision of the LDF to give the Poonjar assembly constituency to Democratic Kerala Congress is a payment choice, alleged P C George. Addressing the media, he said persons like Faris Aboobacker and Chakku Radhakrishnan are behind it.

George said, I’ll contest from Poonjar. Nominations will be filed on April 22. Though a section of the CPM cheated me, I will contest from there as some Left activists want me as their candidate. CPM, CPI local branch area committee leaders and activists had announced their support. I started campaigning following CPM district secretary V N Vasavan’s assurance. I cannot withdraw again. As I am with the people of Poonjar on all 365 days, no special campaigning is needed. I don’t think they will desert me.

Democratic Kerala Congress don’t even have a panchayat member in Poonjar. My party has many panchayat members. The LDF contested with the support of our party and got members including district panchayat member.

Leaders of the Democratic Kerala Congress have so far not uttered a word against Oommen Chandy and P J Joseph. There were in the forefront to protect Oommen Chandy’s corrupt government. The candidate of the Democratic Kerala Congress contesting against me is a sponsored candidate. I don’t know who it is but I am trying to learn it. I had earlier stated that the LDF will not cheat me. LDF convenor Vaikkom Viswan said they have not cheated me. I am not replying for it now, he said.

Trial in palmolein case postponed to May 30

THRISSUR: The final trial in the two decade long palmolein corruption case which led to a political controversy, has been postponed to May 30. The Thrissur Vigilance Court who considered the case today for the trial postponed the case to May end. The court harshly criticized T H Musafa, the then civil supplies minister,  who was not present in the court today. It is a great relief for the congress as the trial will begin only after the assembly polls.

The final trial is crucial for Chief Minister Oommen Chandy when exists the court verdict that he would be made an accused if proof is obtained. The court had observed that the then finance minister Oommen Chandy has a role while considering his relief plea earlier. 

C Divakaran to contest from Nedumangad

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Former minister C Divakaran, who completed two-term will seek mandate from the Nedumangad constituency. A decision was taken today at the CPI state executive which convened here today. A decision was taken to give him relaxation even after some supported and some opposed him. Divakaran is presently an MLA from Karunagapally. A final decision will be taken at the state council.

When the executive granted relaxation to six persons who completed two-terms, it was decided not to give relaxation to K Ajith, Vaikkom MLA. C K Asha will replace Ajith in Vaikkom. Relaxation was also granted to E S Bijimol, P Thilothaman, Mullakkara Ratnakaran, K Raju and V S Sunil Kumar.

Those in the fray are V S Sunil Kumar (Thrissur, present Kaipamangalam MLA), P Prasad (Haripad), R Sunil Kumar (Haripad), P K Vasudevan Nair’s daughter Sharada Mohan (North Paravur), Titus (Kaipamangalam), Muhammed Muhasin (Pattambi), K T Jose (Irikkur), Eldos Abraham (Moovattupuzha), E Chandrashekharan (Kanhangad), Geetha Gopi (Nattika), Niyaz Pulikkalakath (Tirurangadi), Chittayam Gopakumar (Adoor), V V Binu (Kanjirapally), Suresh Raj (Mannarcaud), E S Bijimol (Peerumedu), P Thilothaman (Cherthala), Mullakkara Ratnakaran (Chadayamangalam), K Raju (Punalur), Shashi (Chirayinkeezhu).

Temple elephant runs amok, tramples mahout to death

MALAPPURAM: ‍A 47-year mahout was trampled to death by an elephant that went berserk at Pulmanthol in Malappuram on Tuesday.

Police said P B Anil, hailing from Puthuppalli in Kottayam was killed by the pachyderm, which was brought for Palur Alancherry Bhagwati Temple, this morning.

The tusker, which also damaged about ten vehicles in the temple premises, was brought under control after two hours, they added.

Egypt Air hijack ends; passengers freed unharmed, suspect arrested

LARNACA, Cyprus/CAIRO: An EgyptAir plane flying from Alexandria to Cairo was hijacked and forced to land in Cyprus on Tuesday but the passengers and crew were freed unharmed and the hijacker, whose motives remained a mystery, was arrested after giving himself up.

Eighty one people, including 21 foreigners and 15 crew, had been onboard the Airbus 320 flight when it took off, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.

Conflicting theories emerged about the hijacker’s motives, with Cypriot officials saying early on the incident did not appear related to terrorism but the Cypriot state broadcaster saying he had demanded the release of women prisoners in Egypt.

After the aircraft landed at Larnaca airport, negotiations began and everyone onboard was freed except three passengers and four crew, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Minister Sherif Fethy said.

Soon after his comments, Cypriot television footage showed several people leaving the plane via the stairs and another man climbing out of the cockpit window and running off.

The hijacker then surrendered to authorities.

“It’s over,” the Cypriot Foreign Ministry said in a tweet.

Speaking to reporters after the crisis ended, Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail said the hijacker was an Egyptian national but that his motives remained unclear.

“At some moments he asked to meet with a representative of the European Union and at other points he asked to go to another airport but there was nothing specific,” he said, adding that the man would now be questioned to ascertain his motives.

Cypriot Foreign Ministry official Alexandros Zenon told reporters during the crisis that the hijacker appeared to be “unstable”.

Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said the plane’s pilot, Omar al-Gammal, had informed authorities that he was threatened by a passenger who claimed to be wearing a suicide explosives belt and forced him to divert the plane to Larnaca.

Photographs shown on Egyptian state television showed a middle-aged man on a plane wearing glasses and displaying a white belt with bulging pockets and protruding wires.

Mr. Fethy, the Egyptian Minister, said authorities suspected the suicide belt was not genuine but treated the incident as serious to ensure the safety of all those on board.

“Our passengers are all well and the crew is all well... We cannot say this was a terrorist act... he was not a professional,” Mr. Fethy told reporters after the incident.

In the midst of the crisis, witnesses said the hijacker had thrown a letter on the apron in Larnaca, written in Arabic, asking that it be delivered to his ex-wife, who is Cypriot.

But the Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation (CyBC) said the hijacker had asked for the release of women prisoners in Egypt, suggesting a political motive.

EgyptAir also delayed a New York-bound flight from Cairo onto which some passengers of the hijacked plane had been due to connect. Mr. Fethy said it was delayed partly due to a technical issue but partly as a precaution.

The plane remained on the tarmac at Larnaca throughout the morning while Cypriot security forces took up positions around the scene.

Cypriot authorities have determined that the belt worn by the hijacker did not contain explosives, Egypt’s Civil Aviation Ministry said in a statement.

“Security in Cyprus confirmed that the explosive belt worn by the man who hijacked the plane was fake,” it said.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Top acting honours for Bachchan, Kangana at National Awards

NEW DELHI:  Amitabh Bachchan won the best actor award for playing a hypochondriac father in "Piku", while Kangana Ranaut scored her second consecutive best actress honour at the 63rd National Film Awards, where Hindi films won in major categories barring the top prize that went to "Baahubali".

This is 73-year-old Bachchan's fourth National award. He previously won the honour in 1990 for "Agneepath", for "Black" in 2005 and for "Paa" 2009.

Ranaut, 28, won the award for her role in romantic comedy drama "Tanu Weds Manu Returns" for her endearing dual turn as Tanu, a troublesome wife and Haryanvi sportsperson Datto. It is her third trophy at the National Awards, having earlier won best supporting actress for "Fashion" and best actress "Queen" last year.

The first part of SS Rajamouli's magnum opus "Baahubali" was announced as a surprise best feature film winner, even as last year's much appreciated "Masaan" had to contend itself with just a best debut director award for Neeraj Ghaywan.

Sharat Katariya's debut "Dum Laga Ke Haisha", a '90s set drama in Haridwar about the romance between a mismatched couple, was named the best Hindi film.

Sweeping historical romance "Bajirao Mastani" helped its director Sanjay Leela Bhansali win the best director honour.

Salman Khan-starrer cross-border drama "Bajrangi Bhaijaan" was named best popular film providing wholesome entertainment.

It’s confirmed: Mukesh in Kollam, M Naushadh in Iravipuram

KOLLAM: It has been confirmed that Mukesh will be contesting from Kollam on CPM ticket. The tempers that were running high over denying of seats to P K Gurudasan in Kollam were calmed down by CPM politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan today. At a hurriedly convened 00.meeting of District secretariat-district –constituency committee members, Pinarayi said that there was no need of thought in that line.

It was also decided to field Kollam City corporation’s former Deputy Mayor and current councillor M Naushadh from Eravipuram.

League announces three more candidates, U C Raman in Balusseri

MALAPPURAM: The Muslim League Sunday announced three more candidates for the assembly polls. U C Raman will contest from Balusseri. Parakkal Abdullah and P M Sadiqali will contest from Kuttiyady and Guruvayur respectively.

Meantime, candidate for Iravipuram, the disputed seat, has not been announced. League state chief Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal said the candidate will be decided after a decision is taken on the seat to be replaced.

Congress is demanding the Iravipuram seat. However, the League said they have been contesting there since 1980.  The congress is keen in giving the seat to RSP.

The league announced their first list with 20 candidates including Minister P K Kunhalikutty in 24 seats earlier itself.

National film awards: Pathemari best Malayalam film, M Jayachandran best music director

NEW DELHI: With the announcement of 63rd National Film award, Malayalam cinema found its pride of place for having won eight awards, which included the best actor award and best music director award.  

Pathemari directed by Salim Ahammed is the best Malayalam film. Music director M Jayachandran got the award for the song ‘Kathirunnu Kathirunnu…’ he had composed for the film Ennu Ninte Moideen. This his first national award.

Actor Jayasurya got special reference for his acting in films such as Lukka Chippi and Su Su Sudhi Vatmeekam. 

When Gujarat got the newly instituted award titled the best-cinema friendly state, Kerala got special reference in this category.
Nirnayakam directed by V K Prakash got the award for best film with social commitment. Director Dr Biju’s Valiya Chirakulla Pakshikal was chosen as the best environmental film. Mater Gourav got the award for the best child actor for his acting in the film Ben.   

He had also won the State award in the same category.

In the non-feature film session, the Malayalam cinema got three awards. Kamuki directed by Christo Tomy got the award for the best short film. ‘Amma’ documentary’s director Neelan and Prof. Aliyar, the director of documentary on Guru Chemancheri Kunhiraman Nair got jury’s special reference.

HC stays FIR against Nikeskh Kumar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala High Court has stayed the FIR registered by the police against Reporter T V Managing Director M V Nikesh Kumar over the Company share issue.

The FIR had been registered by Thodupuzha police based on a complaint registered by a shareholder via the chief minister’s office.
The court gave the interim order in response to the plea filed by Kumar, seeking the cancellation of the FIR.

The high court observed that the arguments put forth by the petitioner for the cancellation of the FIR was prima facie maintainable.
Meanwhile, the reporter channel said in a statement that it would file a defamation case against those media who published denigrating reports against it.

Cong’s seat sharing talks with Mani group fails

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The seat sharing talks the Congress held with Kerala Congress Mani Group has failed. Though the Mani Group had demanded three more seats, the Congress didn’t give in to the former’s demand. After this the meeting was dispersed without any decision being taken.

Emerging from the meeting, Kerala Congress (M) Chairman K M Mani said he had nothing to say about the seat sharing talks then. He said the talks would continue.                            

Rajan Babu eyes Aroor

KOLLAM: JSS (Rajan Babu group) general secretary A N Rajan Babu has said he would contest as an NDA candidate if he got the Aroor seat in Alappuzha.

Rajan Babu said Kollam, Vypin and Udumpinchola constituencies had been allotted to the JSS. His party had asked for Aroor seat instead of Udumpinchola seat. In Vypin, State secretary Sudhakaran Pallathu would be the candidate.

“This will be the first election since the birth of Kerala that will witness a strong presence of the third front. The third front will be the only hope of people who are fed up with both Right and Left fronts. The third front to be led by the BJP will turn out to be a front of people who have no Right or Left leanings,” he said.  

Order suspending action against CM, Aryadan extended

KOCHI: Kerala high court has extended to two more months its order suspending the Thrissur Vigilance court order, asking the Vigilance to file a case against Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Minister Aryadan, based on the statement given by Solar scam accused Saritha S Nair to the Solar Commission.

The interim order issued by Justice P D Rajan came in response to the revision petition filed by both ministers against the Vigilance court order.

Earlier, when the petition was considered, the Single bench suspended the Vigilance court order for two months. The extension was granted, considering the expiry of the term of the previous order. 

Alleged killer of nine arrested

KOCHI: A ripper who allegedly killed nine persons over a period of ten years was arrested in Kochi on Monday. The arrested man was Ernakulam Thevara Memmanjimukku Kinattingal house resident Saviour (42) aka Kunjumon.

According to the police, he roamed around the streets in the night and took money from the pockets of those who are sleeping on waysides as he was desperately in need of money for buying liquor and drugs.

During his attempt to steal money, if the victims woke up and opposed or attacked him, he would move away. After they have fallen asleep, he resurface with stones and smash them to death.

It is also suspected that he has committed similar kinds of felony in other parts of the State.

Kunjumon came to be arrested in the case in which Unnikrishnan alias Nejunni was murdered in a shed near North Railway Station. Deputy Police Commissioner Dr Arul Krishna said other murders came to light after he was interrogated.

Unnikrishnan’s head was smashed on the ninth of this month. Initially the police didn’t get any clue and it then they got the information that Unnikrishnan’s friend had gone into hiding. In the search that ensued, he was arrested from near North over bridge on Sunday. He is understood to have killed his friend after a drunken brawl.

Police said he stole money to buy drugs and liquor; he consumed six ampules of drugs every day. He also became violent once he consumed liquor. For some time he had been admitted for de-addiction treatment in an ashram near Peechi dam. He was not married and stayed with his sister. He used to go for painting works in Kannur and other districts.

No seat for PC George, JSS

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The LDF meeting has decided not to give seats to former government chief whip P C George or the JSS led by K R Gouri Amma.  

George had asked for Poonjar seat but four seats including Poonjar seat were given to Francis George-led Democratic Kerala Congress. Thus Francis George will contest from Idukki, P C Joseph from Poonjar, Dr K C Joseph from Changanassery and Antony Raju from Thiruvananthapuram.

Though Gouri Amma had gone all over the way to the AKG centre demanding seats, the CPM decided against giving her party seats.

CPM candidates and CPM-backed independent candidates will contest in 92 seats. CPI (27), Janata Dal (S)-5, NCP-4, RSP (Kovoor group)-1, INL-3, Congress (S)-1, Scaria Thomas -1, Kerala Congress (B) -1, CMP- 1 are the seat shares.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

League announces three more candidates, U C Raman in Balusseri

MALAPPURAM: The Muslim League Sunday announced three more candidates for the assembly polls. U C Raman will contest from Balusseri. Parakkal Abdullah and P M Sadiqali will contest from Kuttiyady and Guruvayur respectively.

Meantime, candidate for Iravipuram, the disputed seat, has not been announced. League state chief Panakkad Hyderali Shihab Thangal said the candidate will be decided after a decision is taken on the seat to be replaced.

Congress is demanding the Iravipuram seat. However, the League said they have been contesting there since 1980.  The congress is keen in giving the seat to RSP.

The league announced their first list with 20 candidates including Minister P K Kunhalikutty in 24 seats earlier itself.

Margi Sathi was a brilliant artist, says Adoor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: There is no other artiste who has the body language and facial expressions of Koodiyattam and Nangiarkoothu exponent Margi Sathi, said ace director Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The artiste was honoured in a book ‘Rangashree’. She was one of the finest exponents of the two art forms, said Adoor while releasing the biography of Margi Sathi 'Margi Sathiyude Jeevithakatha Rangashree' written by Kerala Kaumudi news editor V S Rajesh by handing over a copy to Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri.

The effort of Margi Sathi, deeply studying Koodiyattam and writing 2-3 literary pieces on Nangiarkoothu, composing and then performing it, is phenomenon.  Margi’s founder Appukuttan Nair bonded me with Koodiyattam. After eight years, I took a documentary on the art from. It was Sathi who enacted the main scenes in the ten hour documentary. She really amazed me. Her acting in M P Sukumaran Nair’s Drishtantham was brilliant.

I was almost in tears when I read the introduction written by news editor V S Rajesh. It was beyond expectations. One will understand his deep love and respect towards the artiste, said Adoor.  

Kathakali artiste Nelliyode Vasudevan Namboodiri, Margi Sathi’s uncle, received the first copy of the book.  It is god’s gesture to receive the book on her. I am happy and at the same time sad, he said.  

Soorya Krishnamoorthy presided over the function. The book was introduced by writer B Murali. Press Club president R Ajit Kumar, Jai Hind TV chief editor K P Mohanan, Mathrubhumi  bureau chief G Shekharan Nair, Deshabhimani political correspondent R S Babu spoke at the function. V S Rajesh delivered the vote of thanks. Kerala Kaumudi special projects editor Manju Vellayani welcomed the gathering.

Woman, daughter commit suicide

KOLLAM: A 31-year-old-woman and her minor daughter allegedly committed suicide by jumping into the river. The dead has been identified as Soumya (31) and her seven-year-old-daughter as Adithya.

The incident happened Sunday afternoon. They jumped into the river from the Kallukadavu Bridge.

The bodies were fished out jointly by the local people and the fire force.

CRPF to probe disrespect shown to jawan’s body

HARIPAD: CRPF will conduct a detailed probe on the allegation of disrespect shown to the body of a CRPF jawan. The body of A Anil (33), son of Achankunju of Chingoli, was brought in a decomposed state. Anil had reportedly died while trying to take his mobile which fell into a water body. His relatives refused to receive the body. K C Venugopal MP intervened and brought the issue to the attention of the CRPF authorities. Venugopal said they had assured to conduct a probe.

The body of Anil, who died in Bilaspur on March 24, was brought to Haripad, his native place by the jawans of Pallipuram army camp. The body was in a decomposed stage and had no clothes also. Anil’s relatives refused to receive the body, alleging that disrespect had been shown to it. Following that, the police talked to the collector and RDO and after assuring to conduct post-mortem again, the body was shifted to taluk hospital mortuary from the private mortuary.

Hope to put on best performance, says Sreesanth

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: I hope to put on the best performance for the BJP in the assembly polls, said S Sreesanth. Talking to reporters after reaching the capital city for the first time after announcing his candidature in Thiruvananthapuram, he said the support of youths gives him hope. I have also the support of the party and hope to get a good beginning, he said.

The party first decided to field him in Thripunithura. However, local pulse favoured Thuravoor Viswambaran and so he was shifted to Thiruvananthapuram after actor Suresh Gopi expressed displeasure in contesting. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Security guard attacked in hospital

KOZHIKODE: Party activists who came to see CPM leader and former MLA of Mananthavady K C Kunhiram, undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College, attacked the security guard and injured his eyes. Kunhiraman was to undergo a surgery Saturday morning. Security guard Devarajan stopped the activists from entering the hospital.

Ignoring his action, some activists reached in front of the operation theatre. When some more activists tried to reach the hospital, Devarajan stopped them and in a fit of rage, they attacked him causing serious injuries on his eye. There are four stitches on his eye. It is not sure whether he will lose his vision. The miscreants fled the place soon after the incident.

Bribery: Two customs officers arrested

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CBI raided the Thiruvananthapuram International airport following complaints that certain Customs Officials took bribes from passengers. In the raid conducted today, two officials were arrested. Rs 5900 unaccounted money was seized from them.

The CBI said the money was that the officials had taken as bribe from passengers. They have not disclosed the names of the officials. One of the accused was also found to have taken liquor. The CBI is continuing the examination.

Chandy not accepting KPCC chief, says VS

PALAKKAD: The KPCC is not able to curb the corrupt regime of Ommen Chandy and the latter is not accepting even the KPCC chief, said opposition leader V S Achuthanandan.

Talking to reporters, VS, who is gearing up to contest polls in Malampuzha again, said the chief minister is leaping forward with the escort of corruption cases. "The problems in the CPM in connection with the selection of candidates will end with the announcement of candidates. Party activists and the people will decide my majority.".

The campaigning time will be rescheduled to cope with the sultry weather.  Electioneering will be held in the morning and evening. VS also attended the mandalam committee meet held at the Puthusseri area committee office.

CPM approves candidatures of Mukesh, Veena George

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPM state secretariat meet has approved the candidatures of actor Mukesh in Kollam and Veena George in Aranmula. The decision of the secretariat to field Mukesh in Kollam was taken after rejecting former minister P K Gurudasan’s disapproval. District committee’s list given to CPM state leadership seeking to suggest a candidate, who has chances of winning, included the name of Gurudasan.

There were widespread protests against the candidature of Veena George. However the state leadership rejected it.  Most probably Veena would be contesting as an independent candidate.

Meantime, C M Dinesh Mani has informed the state leadership that he is not in the fray. After the withdrawal of Dinesh Mani, DYFI state secretary M Swaraj is likely to contest from Thripunithura constituency.

M Swaraj against Babu in Thrippunithura

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The CPM has decided to field DYFI State president M Swaraj against Minister K Babu in Thrippunithura. Though District Secretary P Rajeev’s name was forwarded by Ernakulam district committee, State leadership didn’t accept it. After that, former Mayor of Kochi C M Dinesh Mani’s name was suggested but that was also left out due to protest at regional level.

The State secretariat today decided to field P Hareendran from Koothuparambil.

The LDF meeting on March 28 will decide on the final list of candidates.

The Last time in Koothu parambu,  INL contested the election. In Vengara, P Jiji will be pitted against UDF’s P K Kunhalkutty.  

The lower units will again discuss new names including media person Nikesh Kumar. PC’s Geroge’s case will also be considered during the Monday’s LDF meeting

Friday, March 25, 2016

Congress candidate list on March 31

KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said the Congress candidates list for the upcoming Assembly election will be announced on March 31. He told media persons today that discussions in this regard with Congress allies would get over on Saturday.  

The screening committee and Election committee will hold meetings on March 28, 29 and 30. Following this, the candidates list will be submitted to the high command for their perusal. For this purpose, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC president V M Sudheeran will fly to Delhi. After getting the high command’s nod, the candidates list will be announced on March 31. 

Blast in Kannur

KANNUR: A high-intensity blast occurred in Kannur Podikkundil on Friday

The blast happened at Pallikunnu Rajendra Nagar colony. Two houses got devastated in the incident and about 20 houses also got damaged.

The initial report is that four people were  injured in the blast.

Meanwhile, more people are suspected to be trapped in the debris of the damaged buildings. Police and Fire force personnel have reached the place and started rescue operations.  As it is presumed to be a bomb blast, bomb squad has also been called in for examination of the site.

Actor Jishnu passes away

Popular film  actor Jishnu son of actor Rakhavan on passes away today morning 8.15am.
 He died at a private hospital in Cocin, where he was under treatment for Cancer.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Congress candidate list on March 31

KPCC president V M Sudheeran has said the Congress candidates list for the upcoming Assembly election will be announced on March 31. He told media persons today that discussions in this regard with Congress allies would get over on Saturday.  

The screening committee and Election committee will hold meetings on March 28, 29 and 30. Following this, the candidates list will be submitted to the high command for their perusal. For this purpose, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala and KPCC president V M Sudheeran will fly to Delhi. After getting the high command’s nod, the candidates list will be announced on March 31. 

Keralite dies in Gundlupet as car overturns

KALPETTA: A Malayali died at Gundlupet in Karnataka on Thursday after the car in which he was traveling overturned. Two others also got severely injured in the accident. The dead has been identified as Surendran Master (56), the son of late Kumaran from Sultan Bathery (Pazheri, Azhipuram). The injured have been admitted to a Mysore hospital.

Student falls off train, dies

KOTTAYAM: A student fell off the moving train on Thursday and died on the spot. The dead was Rajan’s son Rahul, a resident of Shankumugham in Thiruvananthapuram. The mishap occurred on Ernakulam-Palakkad Amritha Express at around 1:30 am.

From Thiruvananthapuram, Rajan and his son Rahul were going towards their relative’s house in Ernakulam.
Rahul was standing near the door of the train when it reached Pannimattam near Kottayam Chingavanam. He is known to have dozed off when he slipped and fell off the train.

Though the train was stopped pulling the chain and an attempt was made to rescue him, his life could not be saved.
The rescue operation was carried out by RPF oficials, passengers and Railway employees.

Chingavanam police reached the spot and initiated further action. The body has been kept in Kottayam Medical College hospital.

Mananthavady couple set themselves on fire

MANANTHAVADY: A husband and wife in Mananthavady committed suicide on Thursday by setting themselves on fire. The victims have been identified as Rajan (60) and his wife Vimalakumari (40), who were the residents of Settlement colony in Mangalady in Edavaka Gramapanchayat. They set themselves on fire after dousing their bodies with petrol.  

The incident happened around 12:30 am. Though both were shifted to the district hospital, Vimalakumari died soon after that and Rajan died in the morning.

Rajan had married Vimalakumari only a few months ago. She had three sons in her earlier marriage. The bodies of the couple are kept at Mananthavady District hospital mortuary.    

CI Sajeevan and SI Vinod Valiyattoor reached the spot and initiated further procedures.

V D Rajappan passes away

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Popular Kadhaprasangam artiste and comedy film actor V D Rajappan breathed his last on Thursday morning. He died at a private hospital in Kottayam, where he was under treatment for old-age related diseases.

Rajappan was admitted to hospital on March 8.

Rajappan who started his Katahaprasangam career at the age of 22, has acted in about 50 Malayalam films. He started off as a comedy star. Kakka, Kuyilinethedi, Engane Nee Marakkum, Attakalasam, Man of the Match, Kusrithikkattu and Panchavadi Palam were his hit films.

In his Kathaprasangams, he humorously narrated the stories which had animals and vehicles as main characters. Dogs, Ox, Buffalo, Frog, Hen and Snake were his popular characters.

He also used parodies of Malayalam film songs in his programmes. The fame of his stories like Priye Ninte Kura, Kumari Eruma, Mak Mak, Chikayunna Sundari and Ennennum Kurangettan crossed seas to foreign lands.  

Ali Babayum Ararakallanmaraum was his last film. He withdrew from the film scene as his health started deteriorating.

He is survived by wife Sulochana and sons Rajesh and Rajeev.

Keralite dies in Gundlupet as car overturns

KALPETTA: A Malayali died at Gundlupet in Karnataka on Thursday after the car in which he was traveling overturned. Two others also got severely injured in the accident. The dead has been identified as Surendran Master (56), the son of late Kumaran from Sultan Bathery (Pazheri, Azhipuram). The injured have been admitted to a Mysore hospital.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Election commission removes restrictions on drinking water supply

KOCHI: The State Election Commission has removed the restriction placed on the supply of drinking water in the state. The commission made the submission in this regard in the high court today. The court, meanwhile, asked the government to distribute water, subject to certain conditions so as ensure that the service is not made a political tool. The court also strictly asked politicians not to interfere in the distribution of drinking water.   

Earlier, the commission had prevented the distribution of drinking water in vehicles, citing model code of conduct in the wake of Assembly election. After this, the cabinet met urgently and decided to take legal recourse, if the commission didn’t budge.  
In the model of conduct it is specified that if an area is declared as drought-hit, drinking water can be distributed. The chief minister had also said at a press conference recently that the commission was interfering in the government’s day-to-day activities.

It was NCP MLA Thomas Chandy who had moved the high court pleading that severe drought had affected Kuttanad of Alappuzha district and permission be granted to distribute drinking water. While considering Thomas Chandy’s petition, the court also directed the government to sanction Rs One crore for the project regarding the distribution of drinking water.

It’s good that film stars contest elections: Adoor

KOCHI: Film director Adoor Gopalakrishnan has said that it is good thing that film stars come out in the public to contest elections. But those who contest should have appropriate political approach and backgrounds. He said this at the press conference held today to announce the new film he is going to direct with Dileep and Kavya Madhavan in leading roles.

“Persons from all walks of life including the cinema field can enter politics if they have some political leaning. Even engineers and doctors can contest elections. We can’t find fault with that. Director Ramu Kariat has been elected as an MLA. K B Ganesh Kumar was also able to shine as a minister. Those who are interested can follow his footsteps. But in my case, I am not game for politics. Nobody has approached me to join politics or contest elections. Even if somebody asks me, I shall not. I want to remain in my field…,” Adoor said.

Congress’ candidates list will give importance to new faces: Sudheeran

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Congress’ candidates list will give importance to new faces, said KPCC chief V M Sudheeran. Talking at the district special convention of the party held at the Priyadarshini Hall in the capital city, he said the list would be the best candidates’ list of the state.

The BJP and the CPM are committing murders in the name of communalism and politics. The CPM has turned a terrorists’ organization. They are practicing politics of elimination. The party should be ready for a retrospection. The mission of the BDJS is to implement the policies of the Sangh Parivar and to collect people for the BJP, he said

Those feeling aged should opt out, says K Muraleedharan

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Those feeling aged should opt out of contesting, said K Muraleedharan MLA. He said this in response to KPCC chief V M Sudheeran’s opinion that those who have been legislators for consecutive terms should make way for others.

Murali said winning consecutively from a seat should not be counted as a fault. They became MLAs by gaining the public’s approval. It is not correct to publish a letter written against the government. Protests should be raised at party venues, he said.

HC rejects plea on appointment of information commission

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court Wednesday rejected the plea against the appointment of former DGP Winson M Paul as the chief information commissioner and other commission members.

A bench led by Justice Muhammed Mushtaq said the appointment was as per procedures. The court also decided not to interfere in government’s decision. Somanathan Pillai, a native of the capital city, approached the high court questioning the appointment of Paul as the chief information commissioner.

The government produced the documents related to the case in the court.  When the case was considered earlier, the court had ordered to maintain status quo. Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan also the selection committee member had opposed Paul’s appointment.

Sudheeran’s bomb turned damp cracker: Kodiyeri

KANNUR: Alluding to CPM leader P Jayarajan getting bail from Thalassery court, party State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said the bomb saved by KPCC president V M Sudheeran for the election has turned a damp cracker. “The development has shattered the hopes of the RSS and Congress, who wanted to keep Jayarajan behind the bars during election time,”Kodiyeri said at a press conference here on Wednesday.      

“Under pressure from the BJP, the CBI trapped Jayarajan in a fake case. The CBI cut a sorry figure before the judge by making funny illogical arguments in the court. Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has asked BJP State president Kummanam Rajasekharan to make sure that Jayarajan remained in the jail till the election got over. He was trapped with this intention,” Kodiyeri alleged.

Kodiyeri said cases were forged against Jayarajan as the BJP could not tolerate the fact that many of their men were leaving the party to join the CPM. A chunk of BJP-RSS leaders like O K Vasu, Asokan and Sudheesh are  cooperating with the CPM.  “Seeing the CPM as a big threat to the RSS and BJP, Mohan Bhagwat connived with Amit Shah to trap Jayarajan. Welcoming this, Sudheeran also engaged in wool-gathering,” he alleged.

Suresh Gopi under pressure to contest polls

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Actor Suresh Gopi is under pressure to contest the assembly polls from the Thiruvananthapuram Central constituency in the capital city. As part of it, there are chances for the BJP central leadership to hold talks with him. Though the party had earlier requested him to contest the polls, the actor did not budge to it. He had briefed them that he is not interested in contesting but will be active in electioneering. Many leaders of the state wants the actor to contest the polls in the capital city. The party think his candidature will be able to give a tough contest. The state leaders had earlier spoken to him.

It is also hinted that party national chief Amit Shah, reaching the state today, may hold talks with him. Even if they don’t meet personally, they may have a telephonic conversation. However, the party leaders have not confirmed it. No party programmes have been fixed for Amit Shah reaching the state from Chennai Wednesday night. He is coming to the state to meet RSS activist Amal Krishna seriously injured in a clash at Kattaikkonam. He will leave the state by 9.30 pm. The state leaders are likely to meet him.

Posters against Minister Babu in Thripunithura

THRIPUNITHURA: Posters in the name of youth congress were seen against Minister K Babu in the Thripunithura constituency. The posters have asked to investigate the role of the minister behind the shifting of vigilance judge Vasan at a time when the code of conduct exists. The posters were seen on the Sanskrit College Road, Puthiyakavu, Choorakad and Kannankulangara. Some posters were also stuck near his house.

The posters were seen on the walls booked for the UDF. Another thing to be noticed was that the posters were seen in between the convention of the assembly constituency of the youth congress. Group squabbles were severe here during the time of the bypolls. These posters were seen as part of projecting the youth congress against the minister.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Sudheeran lacks guts to ask Chandy not to contest: V S

HIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has said KPCC president V M Sudheeran doesn’t have the guts to tell Chief Minister Oommen Chandy not to contest the upcoming Assembly election. “That is why he is dragging my name into his speeches in the name of Congress leader T N Prathapan,” VS said on Tuesday.  

“I will be contesting the election according to the party decision. For that, Sudheeran and his friends need not worry. Over the past 46 years, Ommen Chandy has donned the role of an MLA, opposition leader and chief minister. Now it is his 11th turn. So, Sudheeran wishes Chandy didn’t take part in the election as a contestant. But, Chandy is paying hardly any attention to his words and Sudheeran finds satisfaction in making big statements against Chandy,” VS said.     

VS alleged that Chandy was trying to finish Sudheeran’s political career by lining up others in the party against him after the KPPC president talked against his corruption. “Sudheeran has lost all energy to stand up and confront Chandy. This why he has misused my name and unfortunately, Kerala is witnessing Sudheeran remaining a mute spectator to Chandy’s looting,” he said. 

Probe against CM: Govt's stand sought

KOCHI: Kerala High Court has sought the stand of the government over solar case accused Saritha S Nair’s petition, seeking inquiry into the chief minister’s  alleged role in the solar scam.

 Justice B Kemal Pasha had issued the order.

In the solar scam case, Saritha is an accused in the petition filed by Kallelil Sreedharan Nair. Though Chief minister also has a role, I was being made the main accused,” mentions Saritha who also seeks re-investigation into the case or a CBI inquiry into it.

Around 35 killed in ISIS attacks in Belgium

BRUSSELS: Around 35 people were killed and over 200 injured today in a series of explosions that ripped through Brussels airport and a metro train, the latest attacks claimed by Islamic State militant group to rock Europe.

Security was tightened across the jittery continent and transport links paralysed after the bombings that Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel branded "blind, violent and cowardly".

"This is a day of tragedy, a black day," Michel said on national television. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Foreign Minister Didier Reynders warned that authorities fear suspects could still be at large in the city that is home to both NATO and the European Union.

The bloodshed came just four days after the dramatic arrest in Brussels of Salah Abdeslam -- the prime suspect in the Paris terror attacks claimed by the Islamic State group -- after four months on the run.

Belgian authorities had been on alert after Abdeslam, Europe's most wanted man, told investigators he had been planning an attack on Brussels.

Two blasts shattered the main hall of Zaventem Airport at around 8:00am (1330 IST), with prosecutor Frederic Van Leeuw saying there was probably at least one suicide bomber.

A third hit a train at Maalbeek metro station in the heart of the city's EU quarter, just as commuters were making their way to work in rush hour.

Pierre Meys, spokesman for the Brussels fire brigade, told AFP at least 14 people had been killed at the airport, while Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur said "around 20" died in the underground blast. More than 200 people have been wounded, several critically.

Witnesses said victims lay in pools of blood at the airport, their limbs blown off. There were chaotic scenes as passengers fled in panic, with a thick plume of smoke rising from the main terminal building.

"A man shouted a few words in Arabic and then I heard a huge blast," airport baggage security officer Alphonse Lyoura told AFP, his hands bloodied.

"A lot of people lost limbs. One man had lost both legs and there was a policeman with a totally mangled leg."

An army team later blew up a suspect package at the shuttered airport, with media reporting police had found an unexploded suicide vest.

At Maalbeek station, paramedics tended to commuters with bloodied faces as the streets filled with the wailing of sirens.

At least two Polish nationals and a Briton were confirmed among the injured in a city that is the EU's symbolic capital.

The bombings triggered a transport shutdown, with flights halted and metro, tram and bus services all suspended.

Airports across Europe swiftly announced they were boosting security, including in London, Paris, and Frankfurt. Across the Atlantic, New York and Washington ordered extra counter-terror officers to crowded areas and train stations.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Presence of Opium, Ganja in Kalabhavan Mani’s urine sample: Toxicology report

KOCHI: In the toxicology report on Kalabhavan Mani’s urine sample, traces of opium and ganja were spotted. The report was available from Kochi Amrita hospital where the late actor was admitted for the last time.

The hospital authorities handed over the report to the police investigating the case. But it is also doubted whether the above substances had entered Mani’s body through the medicines he had taken prior to his death. More investigation may be needed in this regard. The police became suspicious after Mani’s blood samples contained Chlor Piriphos along with Methyl & Ethyl Alcohol. Toxicological test was sought after this. The report was prepared by Toxicology head of the hospital Dr V V Pillai.
Meanwhile, police’s inference is that the pesticide didn’t enter Mani’s body during the boozing session at his Padi outhouse. It might have entered his body the next day morning.

The boozing session took place on March 4 between 8 pm to 12 midnight. The actor became unconscious the next day morning. He also became exhausted after vomiting between 7 and 8 am that day, which usually happens soon after pesticides enter the body, according experts.

Police probe’s focus now is Mani’s close friends Arun, Vipin and Murukan. Medical negligence, if any, will also be looked into.

I’ve given up my desire to become MLA, says Cherian Philip

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: I have given up my long cherished desire to become an MLA at least once, said Left fellow traveller and political thinker Cherian Philip. EMS Namboodiripad had years before addressed him as an activist with no desire and this has turned to be true now, he posted in his Facebook page.

As I don’t want to be defeated for the fifth time, I have given up my desire to become an assembly member. The words of the communist ideologue EMS have become true. I don’t have the fate to become an MLA maybe because the major portion of my life was spent on the corridors of the MLA Hostel. I will raise my head and work for the social activities as long as I can.  Will react to things which I believe is right, he said.

Kerala University Youth fest: Mar Ivanios emerge champions

Mahalakshmi Kalathilakam; Arjun Kala Pratibha

CHENGANNUR: With 167 points, Thiruvananthapuram Mar Ivanios college has emerged champions in the just concluded Kerala University Youth festival.

Thiruvananthapuram Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology came second. The third place went to Karyavattom University Campus.

S Mahalakshmi of Mar IVanios College became Kalathilakam and K S Arjun of Mar Baselios College of Engineering and Technology became the Kala Prathibha.

VS seeks action against Adoor Prakash

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has written to the SC/ST Commission seeking action against Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash for his action that allegedly amounted to ruining the life of Sholayur adivasis.

“According to the Zero landless (citizens) Project 2015, giving swathes of land in Palakkad Sholyur will adversely affect the Adivasis as 50 per cent of them are residing here. Mannarkkad Additional Thasildar, Ottapalam Sub-collector and Palakkad Distrcit Collector had submitted reports to the government in this regard.

The officials had reported that the above hillside land, which is not good for construction works, is 100 m away from Kallakkara Oor where 140 adivasi families are residing.
Even then the minister had taken a decision that would adversely affect the adivasis. The minister is said to have threatened the officials who reported the above facts. Under these circumstances, the Commission should interfere to stall the minister’s anti-adivasi steps,” wrote VS, who also plans to take legal course as the ultimate step.

Mani was under severe pressure, say aides

THRISSUR: Actor Kalabhavan Mani in his last days were under severe depression, revealed his aides under police custody.It is hinted that this is likely due to the diseases suffering including liver cirrhosis. He had told his friends to find some other job for him. Police will be investigating their statements.

His rest house in Padi is only 400 metres away from his house. The statement of the actor’s wife Nimmy that he had not visited them after February 20 is quite serious.  Police has found that the actor had visited them only one or twice after January. He has gone for one or two programmes and rest of the days, he was in the outhouse. The police inspected the reasons for being estranged from his family.  His friends had revealed about some family problems. The actor’s father-in-law who had so far not appeared before the media will be questioned again. His family members will also be questioned.

The doctors in their statement given to the police had not revealed the presence of insecticide when he was taken to the hospital in a serious condition, even when he was admitted and even while conducting the post mortem. If any toxic substance is found in the body, then it smells. There are chances for foams to come out of the mouth. However, in Mani’s case it was different and so his viscera would be sent for examination again. In the meanwhile, police said probe on his financial dealings is in the last phase. They will investigate the bank accounts of his aides. Binami dealings of huge amounts were seen.

Actor Asokan also in poll fray

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chances for the four actors in the super hit film In Harihar Nagar to enter the poll scene are gathering momentum. Following the news that Mukesh will contest from Kollam, Siddique from Aroor and Jagadeesh from Pathanapuram, now comes the report that Asokan will also contest.
It is reported that it is the CPI which is planning to field Asokan from Harippad.

Meanwhile, the actor has said if he is offered the candidature, he would not deny it.

KPAC Lalitha withdraws from fray, cites health problems

THRISSUR: Actress KPAC Lalitha has withdrawn from the Wadakkancherry Assembly constituency where she was portrayed as the CPM candidate. She has informed her decision to the party leadership. She conveyed her decision to the reporters who came to her house Monday morning. She cited serious health problems for the withdrawal. She told reporters that she was informed about the candidature by CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan when she was in Pune.

I did not oppose then. I reached the state only yesterday. I respect, love and honour the communist party and so I did not oppose when Kodiyeri contacted me. When I reached the state, I cannot even stand for an hour. I have pains on my legs and has a problem in walking, she said.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

VS seeks quick verification against revenue minister

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Opposition leader V S Achuthanandan has written to Vigilance Director seeking Quick verification report against Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash, who has allegedly perpetrated corruption by handing over wet lands to reports under the cover of Zero landless (citizens) Project 2015.  

VS has also expressed his willingness to present evidence in this regard, if it is necessary.

“When the lands in Alappuzha are worth lakhs of rupees, the lands in Sholayar the land is available for a fair price of Rs 500 per cent. In that case government’s move to hand over One acre 60 cent land in Alappuzha worth crores of rupees as quid pro quo arrangement for receiving lands in Palakkad Sholayar is part of high level corruption. This pertains to last phase of Oommen Chandy’s corruption before he quits office. We would like to know KPCC president V M Sudheeran’s response in this regard. The UDF is doing research on corruption in new areas,” he wrote. 

Those who eye promotion will stand by govt: Jacob Thomas

KOCHI: DGP Jacob Thomas has come out with a veiled criticism against former DGP Winson M Paul, who was recently elevated as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC). “Those who eye promotions will only stand by the government,” he said this at a function in Kochi on Saturday.  

“Five years ago people used to ask who the corrupt were and now they have started asking who the biggest corrupt is. The Vigilance was taken outside the purview of the Right to Information act to protect the corrupt. I was surprised to see the order in this regard,” said Thomas.  

The Kerala high court had asked the government to continue the status quo in the recruitment of the CIC. Not only that, it was also asked to submit documents regarding the appointment. Winson M Paul was appointed as the CIC, bypassing the dissent of Selection Committee member and Opposition Leader V S Achuthanandan.  

Sree Narayana Guru's family member dies

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Sree Narayana Guru’s family member Chempazhanthi Thunduvila house Janardhanan (97) died on Saturday morning. He breathed his last at a private hospital here due to old age-related illness.  

Janardhanan was Guru’s second sister Kochu’s daughter Janaki’s son. During the Second World War, he served in several countries, being a soldier in British army. Later he joined the State police. After retiring in 1974, he had been the manager of Sivagiri for some time. He lived the rest part of his life, writing poems and learning Guru’s writings.

At the age of eight, Janardhanan, for the first time, met Guru when he reached Chempazhanthi. When Guru attained Samadhi, he was 11 years.

The last rites will be performed on Chempazhanthi Thunduvila house premises at 10:30 am on March 21.
He is survived by wife Lalithabai, offspring Rajeevan (Abudubai), Sheela, Mohan (Dubai), Shaji (Dubai) and Dr Prakash (Cosmopolitan hospital). His son Babu had died earlier.

Sheeja, Jotsna, Sanjeev (Retired Under secretary, secretariat) Sajina and Smita are his children’s in laws.

SP Unnirajan to oversee probe into Kalabhavan Mani's death

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: SP P N Unnirajan has been assigned the duty of overseeing the investigation into actor Kalabhavan Mani’s ‘unnatural’ death.

Unnirajan is Anti-temple Theft squad SP in the Crime branch. Crime branch DySP Sojan has also been included in the investigation team. The current chief of the probe team Thrissur Administration DySP Sudarshan will continue in the team. The team has been expanded to help collect scientific evidence and find the real reason for Mani’s death.

Kummanam seeks CBI inquiry into Kalabhavan Mani’s death

CHALAKKUDY: BJP State chief Kummanam Rajasekharan has sought a CBI inquiry into the death of actor Kalabhavan Mani. He said the police were not able to crack the case even 15 days after his death. He made this comment to media persons after meeting Mani’s family members in Chalakkudy.

“Several persons have now come under the cloud of suspicion. So a CBI inquiry will be essential to bring out the truth. Now what are coming out are cooked-up stories about his death. Mani’s death was not a coincidence. Through a comprehensive inquiry, the real culprit can be brought before the law, howsoever powerful he may be,” he said. 

CPM-DYFI protest against KPAC Lalitha’s candidature

THRISSUR: The grumbling within the LDF over the selection of actress KPAC Lalitha as CPM candidate has become louder in Wadakkanchery. Here and in nearby areas posters have started appearing against the selection of KPAC Lalitha.

The words on posters express the dissent of the CPM cadres over KPAC Lalitha’s candidature and they convey messages like, “We don’t want a person with no previous experience in politics”.

Earlier, the CPM leadership had instructed that the cadres should not make such public statements.
It had also warned of strict action against those not maintaining party discipline. But, the posters have been put up neglecting all those warnings. Though Lalitha’s candidature was decided, no official declaration was made in this regard.

Meanwhile, KPAC Lalitha has been out of station for shooting purposes and today she will be returning home. The poster campaign was started considering this fact as well.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Bottle recovered from septic tank of outhouse

THRISSUR: The police team Saturday opened and examined the septic tank of the outhouse of Kalabhavan Mani as part of the probe. A small plastic bottle was recovered from the tank. The team is verifying whether the presence of pesticide found in his body was brought in this bottle.

The police have summoned actors Jaffar Idukki and Sabu for more questioning on the death. The police have asked the two to appear before them later today.

In the meanwhile, the actor’s manager Joby said they don’t have the habit of storing pesticides in the outhouse. He said fertilizers are not used as it was a nutmeg estate. He told reporters that he is not aware how the stuff came there.