Saturday, February 20, 2010

ANIYUG'10 Animation Film Festival

ANIYUG'10 Animation Film Festival Kerala Cochin  

Toon Arts India and Kerala Cartoon Academy in association with Directorate of Film Festivals,Government of India EMS Library and Kerala Press Academy Conducting ANIYUG’10.
ANIYUG'10 includes Cartoon Animation Film Fest and Seminars on the latest trends and future of the animation industry.

Inaguration will be February 28th Evening and Screening of Animation film festivals and Seminars will be on March 1st 2010 At EMS Library Hall,Thrikkakara, Ernakulam,Kerala and Kerala Press Academy,Thrikkakara.

ANIYUG’10 Entry FREE , For Registration Call Kerala Press Academy-0484-2422275 SUPPORTED by EMS Library, Toon Arts India,Gov of India ,Kerala Cartoon Academy

Mohanlal-Rafi Mecartin film : "China Town"- Onam Release

Mohanlal and his right hand man producer Antony Perumbavoor have firmed up their next big film for Aashirwad Cinemas. It is going to be titled China Town and will be directed by Rafi Mecartin, who last did the super hit Hello with the star. China Town will be an out and out comedy entertainer with some action.

Kavya Madhavan has been signed to play Mohanlal’s heroine in the film. Please note Kavya is not Mohanlal’s pair in Joshy directed Christian Brothers, where she is Dileep’s pair. The shoot of the film will start in Goa from May 10 and after that in Pondicherry. China Town will be Mohanlal’s 2010 Onam release through Max

Mohanlal’s long delayed Alexander The Great completed its last patchwork shoot in Kochi

Mohanlal’s long delayed Alexander The Great completed its last patchwork shoot in Kochi. The film directed by Murali Nagavally is produced by Anugraha Cine Arts VBK Menon. The movie also features new Mumbai model Meenaksi Dixit, Bala, Siddique, Saikumar, Jagadeesh, Ganesh, and Nedumudi Venu. Alexander The Great is going to be Mohanlal’s big Vishu release on April 14, 2010.

Mohanlal speaks against Thilakan by supporting Mammootty

Superstar Mohanlal has finally broken the silence that the Big M's had maintained for the last few weeks regarding the controversy raised by actor Thilakan. Mohanlal, while interacting with a prominent daily yesterday said that Megastar Mammootty's silence in the Thilakan issue should not be mistaken as cowardice. Mammootty is maintaining a silence merely because of the respect that the industry has towards Thilakan as a senior actor. Mohanlal also said that Mammootty would never snatch a role from Thilakan, and added that most people in the industry have had first hand experience regarding Mammootty's goodness. He said that if there was an attempt to isolate Mammootty, he would strongly oppose it. It was not on Mammootty's behest that AMMA issued a notice to Thilakan. On the other hand it was because Thilakan had repeatedly caused injury to the association's reputation. Mohanlal affirmed that attempts to break up AMMA would be sternly dealt with. He also spoke in support of the fans' associations, when he said that it was not right to blame the fans' association for some anonymous phone call that someone receives.

South Indian actress Asin makes her comeback in Kollywood with Vijay’s remake of Malayalam movie ‘Bodyguard’

South Indian actress Asin makes her comeback in Kollywood with Vijay’s remake of Malayalam movie ‘Bodyguard’. As known earlier, the Malayalam film featured Dileep and Nayanthara in lead roles. With the film turning to be hit at box office, Vijay couldn’t refuse the offer of Siddhique for remaking this film. Earlier, producer R.B. Choudary of Super Good Films was supposed to produce the film, but seems like there has been a change in plans. Now Sivaraju Venkatraju of Geetha Chitra International, who has previously produced Vijay’s Priymanavale in 2000, is going to produce the film. It’s worth mentioning here that Vijay and Siddhique have earlier delivered a mind-boggling family entertainer ‘Friends’, which is considered as all-time favorite of film buffs. Vijay and Asin have already worked together in a couple of blockbusters– Sivakasi and Pokkiri.

Private Practice will be resumed: KGMCTA

The Thiruvananthapuram unit of Kerala Government Medical College Teachers Association (KGMCTA) decided to resume private practice without receiving non-practicing allowance.

KGMCTA also decided even to face suspension as punishment if the government is going to punish them for indulging in private practice.

KGMCTA also pointed out that the suspensions of Dr Vargeese Thomas and Dr Sugandhi David on the basis of a news channel cannot be justified.

Kissing video on net claims lives of school girl, boyfriend

An 18-year-old school girl and her paramour allegedly committed suicide after video clippings of her kissing a classmate were posted on the internet, police said Saturday.

Pravitha, a student of Class 12 at a school here, and Bineesh, a 27-year-old electrician, who is believed to be her boyfriend, were found hanging from a tree at the latter's residence here, police said. The video of the girl kissing a classmate was recorded by another student with a mobile phone camera a few days ago and was found uploaded on the internet. The clipping was also circulated as MMS, they said.

The student, who had taken the mobile phone to an internet cafe for copying the video on a CD, has been arrested following a complaint by the school's Parent Teachers Association. Meanwhile, the girl's family said she went missing since Friday night.

The Pravitha was wearing a 'mangalsutra' and a vermilion mark on her forehead, traditional symbols sported by married Hindu women, when the bodies were found Saturday morning. The school had since banned use of mobile phone by students.

Cracker blast kills student in Thiruvananthapuram

A student Sreethu (Sumi-22) was killed on Saturday when the crackers kept inside her house at Gandhipuram (near Sreekaryam), blasted around 12.30 pm.

Sreethu is the daughter of Sundaresan-Saraswathy couple. She was a student of Health Inspector Course at Dale View College, Kattakada

There were some crackers (bought in the Diwali season) left at her house which was earlier kept at her own shop adjacent to the house. This caught fire somehow. Owing to the blast the concrete layers in her house were broken. She was alone at the time of incident.

The rescue operations were taken by the locals at first and later by fire force. Rural SP N Gopalakrishnan who visited the place told the meadiapersons that the shop had a valid license. Sreethu’s body is shifted to Medical College mortuary.

Parambikulam Tiger Reserve opened in Kerala

Union minister of state for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh has inaugurated the Parambikulam Tiger Reserve at Anappadi in Kerala's Palakkad district on Friday.

Situated at the Sungam range of hills between the Anaimalai Hills and Nelliampathy Hills, Parambikulam Tiger Reserve is the 38th Tiger Reserve of India and second of Kerala.

Earlier known by the name of Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary, the reserve contains around 20 Tigers besides being an abode for 51 species of Reptiles, 204 species of birds, 160 varieties of butterflies and other species.

In his address, Ramesh showed concern over the dwindling Tiger population of the country that is facing threat from poaching, mining and operation by real estate mafia.

"The extinction of Tigers is because there is a real-estate mafia, mining mafia and there is a crime syndication which wants to finish-off all Tigers and lay claim to the forest land and that is the real danger. The danger is not just to Tigers but it is to the forest land itself," he said.

He said the Central government would pay Rs2 crore annually to each tiger reserve.

"It would also meet the expenses incurred for relocating people from the core area.

Nearly one lakh families were living in the core areas of tiger reserves and 3,000 families relocated. The Centre would pay Rs10 lakh each to the family willing to relocate. There was no compulsion to move out," he added.

In India, the tiger population has dwindled to about 1,400, which is 60% fewer than in 2002. Some 40,000 tigers were thought to be in India at the start of the 20th century, but now an estimated one tiger per day is dying.

Athulya to be commissioned by April

Athulya, Kerala IT’ s latest smart space at Infopark Kochi, with a seating capacity of 4000, is expected to be commissioned by April.

The new complex, situated on 7.1 acres of land in Infopark SEZ, has a total built up area of 5.5 lakh square feet and is a perfect blend of intelligent workspaces, state-of-the-art infrastructure and 360-degree support facilities and lifestyle amenities, seamlessly integrated within one complex to create a singular business environment of hi-technology companies, an Infopark Kochi press release said.

It can house a software development block (with an area of 3.5 lakh square feet), a cafeteria building and multi-level car parking.

Principal Secretary IT, Dr Ajay Kumar said Athulya, with its state-of-the-art facilities will provide world-class working infrastructure for companies who are keen to set up a global work environment in the state.

'We have already received interests from some well known IT/ITES companies to take up space here and we see Athulya playing a vital role in the growth of IT in Kerala in 2010-11, he said.

The building has been designed as an energy efficient structure for considerable savings in power and air-conditioning systems. The other facilities also planned in the building are: preventive maintenance with 24x7 back-up, large and efficient floor plate with design flexibility to convert to smaller modules, un-interrupted and redundant quality power and water treated system, housekeeping and security facility of high standards, SEZ benefits for IT units setting up office.

he CPI state assistant secretary KE Ismail on Saturday said Tata sells land in Munnar

The CPI state assistant secretary KE Ismail on Saturday said Tata (Kanan Devan Hills Plantations Company Pvt Ltd) which has grabbed government land at Munnar is illegally selling it. He demanded those lands seized by Tata and other big encroachers should be evicted. He also said is the largest encroacher of government land in Munnar. Every encroached land in Wayanad should be evicted.

Kottapuram Bishop Dr Francis Kallarakkal was Saturday appointed new Archbishop of Verapoly Archdioceses

Kottapuram Bishop Dr Francis Kallarakkal was Saturday appointed new Archbishop of Verapoly Archdioceses.

The order by Pope Benedict XVI appointing Kallarakkal was read out simultaneously in Rome and Kochi.

As the church bells tolled, the order appointing the new Archbishop was read out by the Chancellor at a function at the Bishop's house here.

Kallarakkal is the 8th Archbishop of Verapoly and succeeds Archbishop Daniel Acharuparambil, who passed away on Oct 26 last year.

Indian Association of Cancer Research meeting opens

Cancer researchers and doctors from all over the country associated with the Indian Association of Cancer Research (IACR) are meeting here for four days to discuss the latest developments to combat the disease.

The annual meeting of the IACR was formally inaugurated by Dominic Presentation, MLA Saturday evening.

Prof E P Reddy, Director FELS Institute of Cancer Research, Philadelphia, US, Dr Reetha Mulherkar President IACR, Dr Thanuja Teni, Secretary IACR and Dr Prem Nair, Medical Director, Dr T S Ganesh, Chairman Cancer Institute and Institute of Molecular Medicine, were among those who spoke.

The IACR, founded in 1980, is based at the Tata Memorial Centre at Mumbai and is the only society for cancer research.

The association's aim is to advance research in all the aspects of cancer, promote interaction among scientists in this field and spread awareness about cancer among the common people.

Over 300 doctors are attending the meeting from all over the country. Eminent Pathologist Dr K Naresh from London will deliver the annual oration on 'Lymphoma, a common cancer', while two keynote addresses would be on targetting tumour blood vessels.

Special sessions would be held on gastrointestinal malignancies, cancer stem cells and on new drug development where eminent experts from all over India will speak.

Minister Balan reiterates conspiracy charge

Minister Balan reiterates conspiracy charge
T’PURAM: Kerala Electricity Minister A K Balan Saturday termed as `unfortunate' Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's statement that the proposed Athirappally hydel project in Thrissur could not be given clearance.

Reiterating his charge that Ramesh's statement was part of a `conspiracy' to sabotage the project, he told reporters here that it came at a time when the matter was still before the Expert Appraisal Committee of the Centre.

The committee was formed after Kerala State Electricity Board replied to a notice from the Environment Ministry providing details about the project. With Ramesh's Friday's remarks, the committee could not now take an independent stand on the issue and would be "ineffectual", Balan claimed.

He said the proposed 163 MW project had been given clearance by Environment Ministry thrice--in 1998, 2005 and 2007, after the respective expert panels approved the project.

"No new environmental threat has been pointed out and there is no reason to deny clearance now," he said.

Kerala Government always addressed environmental issues in a positive way, he said and claimed only a `small minority' was opposing the Athirappally project.

It was unfortunate on the part of the Union Minister to come out with `misleading statements on a project approved by local people,' Balan said.

Dismissing Balan's charge of `conspiracy', Ramesh had Friday said the state bio-diversity board listed the project's adverse impact on environment. Besides, the district panchayat and various environmental groups have opposed the project on environmental grounds, he had said.

The Kerala government should not politicise the Mullaperiyar dam issue

The Kerala government should not politicise the Mullaperiyar dam issue, but work towards protecting the interests of the public, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, MLA said Saturday.

Speaking to reporters here, he said the Supreme Court verdict on the matter in 2006 was against Kerala's interests.

The then UDF government called an all party meet and disucssed the matter without giving political colour to it. A dam security authority was formed by convening a special legislative assembly session, he said.

He urged the LDF government to submit a favourable report before the Apex court appointed committee and said the security of people be protected and water released to Tamil Nadu, as per the agreement.

On the statement of Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, that government would implement a "second land reform", the MLA said the Chief Minister should fulfil his promise.

He blamed the government for not taking a favourable approach over the encroachment issue.

Former national secretary of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha and trade union leader V H M Rafeeque passed away

Former national secretary of the Hind Mazdoor Sabha and trade union leader V H M Rafeeque passed away here after a brief illness, family sources said.

He was 55 and is survived by his wife, three daughters and a son.

Rafeeque was a former DCC General Secretary and an active member of the Cochin Thuramukha Thozhilali Union and a former Kochi corporation councillor.

He was also a film producer.

Friday, February 19, 2010

District Superintendent of Police (Kollam) Harshita Attaluri yesterday led a crackdown on illegal sand-mining

District Superintendent of Police (Kollam) Harshita Attaluri yesterday led a crackdown on illegal sand-mining in the district. Raids were organized simultaneously at all the three police sub-divisions of Kollam, Karunagapally and Punalur in the district. The raids began at 6 a.m. Sources said the early morning raids surprised the sand mafia because yesterday mornings are usually parade time at police stations. As many as 56 cases were registered and 31 persons allegedly engaged in unauthorised sand-mining arrested following the raids. Over 26 vehicles were taken into custody. Twelve country boats and 4 mining motors were also seized. Eight cases were registered under the jurisdiction of the East Kallada station. Seven cases were registered under the Sasthamcotta police station and six each at the Chathannur and Ezhukone police stations.

Spirit seized @ KATTAPPANA

Excise Department officials arrested one person and seized a car which was used to smuggle 200 litres of spirit at Vandiperiyar yesterday. The spirit was hidden in secret chambers beneath the seats. Driver of the car Sherif, 39, of Bheemapally in Thiruvananthapuram was arrested. On interrogation it was revealed that he had smuggled spirit on earlier occasions provided by an agent from Tamil Nadu

Raise disability pension

The Kerala Disabled Welfare Committee called for the disability pension provided by the State government to be raised to Rs.1, 000, and asked the government to take responsibility for the comprehensive welfare of the disabled. The organisation conducted a dharna outside the Collectorate on Thursday.

A modern fire-fighting vehicle has been commissioned at the Karipur International Airport

A modern fire-fighting vehicle has been commissioned at the Karipur International Airport.The Panther 6x6 fire-fighting vehicle is designed to ensure that airplane fires can be doused before it reaches the fuel tank.Rosenbauer, an Austrian firm that has designed the vehicle, claims it takes only two minutes to reach any segment of the runway and can achieve a speed of 80km/hr in 30 seconds.Panther's maximum speed is 120 km/hr and it can spray water even while running.The vehicle can carry 12,500 litres of water and can pump 7,000 litres of water in a minute.

The vehicle can accommodate a five-member crew and is also fitted with infra-red lights to work during fog cover or night.It can spray water up to a distance of 95 metres. The maintenance of the vehicle is being undertaken by the company itself.The Panther also follows all regulations imposed by the civil aviation authorities on airport safety and fire-fighting regulations, according to Rosenbauer.Besides being commissioned at important airports in the country, including Thiruvananthapuram, the airports in Tiruchirapalli, Mangalore and Guwahati are expected to get Panthers soon.

JD(S) leader dead

Janata Dal (Secular) State committee member P.I. Ittoop died at his house here yesterday . He was 82. Ittoop was undergoing treatment for cancer for the past three years. He is survived by his wife and four children. The body will be kept at the Janata Dal district committee office for the public to pay their last respect till 3 p.m today. The funeral will be held at 3 p.m. at the Devamata Church cemetery at West Hill here.

The Kozhikode Vigilance Inquiry Commissioner sentenced a village officer and a village man

The Kozhikode Vigilance Inquiry Commissioner and Special Judge yesterday sentenced a village officer and a village man in Kannur to rigorous imprisonment of one year and a fine of Rs.4, 000 each for taking bribe to issue a certificate of residence from the village office eight years ago. Pronouncing the judgment here, Vigilance judge M.K. Kuttikrishnan found the village officer K. Rajagopalan, 60, of Parasinnikadavu and village man A.K. Rahim, 50, of Thana, Kannur, guilty of taking a bribe of Rs.200 from Naluvayil Mashood for a certificate of residence for his wife. The couple had submitted an application for obtaining the certificate on April 18, 2002. But the accused demanded a bribe of Rs.200. The applicant informed the Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau (VACB). Both the government servants were caught while accepting the bribe the next day

The class I officers of the Life Insurance Corporation of India went on strike

The class I officers of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), who went on strike as part of their nation-wide protest demanding parity in wages with central public sector unit officers, held a demonstration in front of the LIC office here on Thursday.

Janshatabdi through Kottayam sought

The Railway Ministry must come up with an action plan and time frame to complete the much delayed rail-doubling and electrification works in the Mangalore-Thiruvananthapuram sector and the introduction of new trains in high-passenger-density corridors, the State Committee of the Railway Passengers’ Association has demanded. Passengers have for long been demanding that a pairing train to the Thiruvananthapuram-Kozhikode Janshatabdi Express ply in the morning from Kozhikode to the State capital, through Kottayam. This would benefit passengers who now pack themselves into crowded trains that ply to and from Thiruvananthapuram. The Railways must also introduce a modern signalling system in Kerala, to speed up trains and prevent delays, said U. V. Dinesh Mani, general secretary. Expressing concern at railway development in the State stagnating for many years, he said that Kerala urgently needs more passenger and suburban trains, since roads are getting choked like never before. The State Government must hand over land so that doubling works can be speeded up.

‘Brahma 2010', an arts and technical fest

‘Brahma 2010', an arts and technical fest, opened up the wonders of science and technology before students who turned up at the Adi Shankara Institute of Engineering and Technology at Kalady near here on Thursday. Exciting models designed and operated by students of various branches were displayed on the occasion. Students of the Department of Electrical and Electronics came up with electric wiring system models and fun games like mind reader. Smart city was another attraction on the occasion. According to the students, it showcases the working model of a modern city with automatic street lights and smart home with burglar alarm, water level indicator and letter box indicator.

UDF councillors to stage protest

The UDF councillors of the Kochi Corporation will stage a dharna in front of the corporation office against the “mismanagement and financial loss the civic body has sustained at Brahmapuram solid waste treatment plant.” The dharna will be held on February 24 as part of the decision to take the campaign to the masses. The decision was taken at a meeting of the UDF councillors and the district leaders of the front, which was held here yesterday. The front will organise a convention of its leaders at a later date for charting out an extensive campaign against the “misrule” in the civic body, A.B. Sabu, the UDF leader in the Kochi Corporation Council said. The UDF delegation registered its protest at an all-party meeting held on Friday against the curtailing of council proceedings by the Mayor when faced with opposition and clearing the council agenda without discussion, he said.

Justice J Chelameswar to be Chief Justice of Kerala

Guwahati Chief Justice J.Chelameswar is being posted as the Chief Justice of Kerala in place of Chief Justice S.R.Bannurmath who has retired from service.

The Supreme Court collegium has made the recommendation to the President in this regard.

Justice Jasti Chelameswar was born on June 23, 1953 at Pedda Muttevi, Movva Mandal in Krishna District at Andhra Pradesh, India. His father was late Jasti Lakshminarayana, a lawyer at Machilipatnam, Krishna District.

He had his earlier education up to class XII at Hindu High School at Machilipatnam in Krishna District and Graduated in Science (Physics) at Madras Loyala College.

Graduated in Law from Andhra University Visakhapatnam, in 1976, he was enrolled as an Advocate in High Court of Andhra Pradesh at Hyderabad in the year 1976 and practised under a senior Advocate Dr. B. Bhimaraju, former Public Prosecutor, High Court of A.P., P. Rajarao, Ex. Government Pleader High Court of A.P. and K. Srinivasa Murthy, a leading Advocate in High Court of A.P. Specialised in Constitutional Law, Election Laws, Central Excise, Customs, Income Tax and Criminal Law.

He was appointed as Standing Counsel of A.P. Lokayukta in 1985 and 1986. He also worked as Government Pleader for Home Affairs in High Court in the years 1988 and 1989. He was designated as Senior Counsel in the year 1995 and appointed as Additional Advocate General on 13.10.1995.

Elevated as Addl. Judge of High Court of Andhra Pradesh on 23.6.1997 and as Judge w.e.f. 17.05.1999.

He assumed the charge of the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court (The High Court of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Tripura, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh) on 03.05.2007.

SriLankan Airlines offers new experience

SriLankan Airlines has geared up to change the travel experience of its customers in a multi-dimensional manner. As part of “Change in the way you fly,'' the airline's front line staff from cabin to ground crew will sport a brand new look and a warmer smile.

But the charm, elegance and grace of the Monara (peacock) will be preserved as hundreds of stewardesses undergo this transformation. The new colour palette in the iconic Kandyan sari plays with the soft hues of sea blue splashed with the delicate multi-hued motifs of the peacock feather with its iridescent bursts of electric orange mottled with dark, light blue and white.

KPCTA has decided to launch an indefinite strike from the first week of March

The Kerala Private College Teachers’ Association (KPCTA) has decided to launch an indefinite strike from the first week of March to press for payment of UGC pays scales as a package. It general secretary G. Jayakrishnan said the decision was taken by the high power committee of the Association at its meeting yesterday there was no favourable response from the government to the association’s demands despite its staging different forms of agitations.

Pipe burst disrupts water supply

The supply of drinking water to many areas coming under the PTP Nagar distribution zone of the Kerala Water Authority was cut off yesterday morning when a distribution main originating from the reservoir at PTP Nagar burst near Vettamukku.

This line had burst at a nearby point two months ago. The areas affected included Maruthankuzhy, Vettamukku, Valiavila, Thirumala, Kunnappuzha, Thrikkannapuram, Poojapura, Karamana, Killippalam, Nedungad, Karumam, Thaliyal and Kalady.

Infopark complex to be ready for allocation by April

The Infopark campus in Kochi is all set to augment the IT infrastructure in the State. The Athulya complex coming up on the campus will be ready for allocation in April, the Department of Information Technology (IT) said here yesterday. Situated on 7.1 acres of land at Infopark SEZ, Athulya has a total built-up area of 5.5 lakh sq ft and can house a software development block (with an area of 3.5 lakh sq ft), a cafeteria building and a multi-level car parking.

The total seating capacity of the building is 4,000.The complex is designed to blend intelligent workspaces with state-of-the-art infrastructure, support facilities and lifestyle amenities to create a singular business environment for hi-tech companies. “Athulya will provide world-class working infrastructure for companies seeking a global work environment in Kerala. We have already received enquiries from some well known IT/ITeS companies to take up space here. Athulya will play a key role in the growth of IT in Kerala in 2010-11,” Ajay Kumar, Principal Secretary, IT, said.

Tata group owned Kanan Devan Hills Plantation (KDHP) company was the "largest encroacher"

Tata group owned Kanan Devan Hills Plantation (KDHP) company was the "largest encroacher" of government land involving "thousands of acres" in the hilly Munnar region, the district administration alleged in a report submitted in the Kerala High Court Friday.

In a 470-page Action Taken Report, the Idukki District Collector said that there was gross violation and encroachment by the Tatas.

Action had been taken for encroachment against KDHP, but it had been stayed by different courts, the report said.

Tatas had also violated lease conditions and was collecting rent from Munnar town area claiming it was their land as per land board award, it claimed.

Among the allegations against the Tatas were unauthorized construction of dams and electric fencing, even violating the elephant corridor.

A special team to identify boundaries of villages at Munnar has been constituted.

Student dies as bus run over him

A tenth standard student of St. Mary’s School, Pattom, died in an accident when a bus he tried to enter through front door ran over him soon after he fell down losing balance. Aby (15) is the son of Vijayan-Deepa couple of Thamalam.

The incident happened near the petrol pump at Kesavadasapuram in the evening.

Nephew of CPI (M) district secretary M M Mani, and some other party leaders have encroached land at Munnar

In a report submitted to the Kerala High Court the State Government said the nephew of CPI (M) district secretary M M Mani, and some other party leaders have encroached land at Munnar.

The son of Mani’s brother Lambodaran, Lajeesh have encroached lands at Chinnakkanal Village. The 105 hectre land he seized through fake title deed is government land.

CPI (M) leader V X Albin has also encroached lands in the Chinnakkanal Village through seven fake deeds.

Dr Varghese P Thomas and Dr Sugandhi David were suspended for private practice

The state president of the Kerala Government Medical College Teachers Association (KGMCTA) Dr Varghese P Thomas and Dr Sugandhi David were suspended for private practice. The suspension was followed after the instruction of Health Minister P K Sreemathi.

Though Dr Varghese had informed that it was with the consent of the government that he conducted private practice and that the government order relating to this does not prevail as its duration has ended, the minister said his statement was not true.

Sibal has agreed to make changes in new rules

A national body of unaided professional educational institutions Friday said Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal had agreed to make certain changes to the rules and regulations recently introduced by the ministry in the private self-financing educational sector in the country.

The Minister gave the assurance to a 15-member delegation of the Federation of Associations of Managements of Unaided Professional Educational Institutions in India when it met him in New Delhi recently, federation President Dr G P C Nair claimed in a statement here.

The new rules had stipulated that only M.Tech holders can be appointed as lecturers in colleges instead of B.Tech and only PhD holders can be appointed as Associate Professors and Professors. The Minister had assured that this clause will not be implemented for three years when it was pointed out that M.Tech and PhD holders were in shortage, the release stated.

On a request from the delegation, the Minister has extended the last date for submission of student data by colleges up to March 7. The delegation also brought to the Minister's attention the incident of imprisonment of certain college authorities in cases connected with pledging of college property in banks for loan.

Farmers' concerns on EFL to be addressed : Forests Minister Binoy Viswom

The Kerala government would take steps to address farmers' concerns about the identification of ecologically fragile lands, Forests Minister Binoy Viswom said here Friday.

In a statement here, he said the government had set up a special mechanism to settle disputes regarding EFL land holdings upto two hectares with a view to protect the interests of farmers.

The LDF government had amended the 2005 EFL Act, enabling farmers apply for exemption within a period of six months, which had expired. As many farmers could not submit their applications within the stipulated time, the government was considering extending the deadline, he said.

He said the government wanted farmers to get the maximum benefit out of the amendment to the EFL Act.

Malayali terrorist Sabir caught in Bangladesh

Highly placed sources hint that the key terrorist in charge of terrorist activities in South India, K P Sabir alias Ayub of Kannur, has been under the custody of Bangladesh.

National Investigation Agency (NIA) had earlier found out that Sabir was somewhere near the India-Bangladesh border.

Sabir was caught with the help of Bangladesh Detective Branch. Nazir and Shafaz were also caught by Bangladesh Detective Branch.

Last month Sabir had made phone calls to Kerala. He made calls to the number 9388820202 used earlier by Sufiya Madhani. He used Hindi and Urdu in these calls and the duration of the calls were hardly one minute. NIA, central investigation agencies and police found that the mobile number Sabir used belonged to a fisherwoman. NIA officers who tapped the telephone heard the voice of Sabir enquiring where “Ustad” was, and when there was no reply he became unhappy.

It was Sabir who directed Nazir and others. Sabir was charged along with Nazir in Nayanar murder attempt case. It is he who planted bomb at Coimbatore Press Club.

Sabir fled to Dubai when police tried to catch Indian Mujahideen activists. He frequently changed his hideout and had resided in a few gulf countries.

A native of Aluva, Sabir stayed along with Nazir in Pune. A few months ago he with two others hid in a religious centre. He had left Kerala before 10 years.

Sabir, who got training by ISI, has skill in using GPS (Global Positioning System) and secret communication system.

A 22-year-old man died as he was attacked by an elephant

A 22-year-old man died as he was attacked by an elephant with its trunk during a temple festival near Wadakkanchery on Friday. The deceased was identified as Puthenveetil Kumaran Sreenadh (22). Tension prevailed in the area as the elephant ran amok after the incident. — Staff Reporter

The Bharatiya Janata Party will stage a dharna in front of Thrissur Corporation

Bharatiya Janata Party will stage a dharna in front of Thrissur Corporation on February 22 as part of their national campaign against the rising price of essential goods, the District president B. Gopalakrishnan has said.

Talking to mediapersons here on Friday, he alleged that the police had been trying to weaken the Skymart money chain fraud case.

University employee’s suspension evokes protests

The suspension of a University of Calicut employee for writing a letter to a National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) peer team that inspected the campus recently has evoked wide protests.

The university authorities, on Friday, told the staff members who complained to Vice-Chancellor Anwar Jahan Zuberi against the suspension of P. Krishna Kumar that the institution would not brook indiscipline.

U.V. Rajagopal, general secretary of the Calicut University Staff Organisation, said similar letters exposing the university would be sent to all higher authorities. A meeting of the Syndicate held on Thursday decided to suspend Mr. Krishna Kumar as it found him guilty of “making scandalous and wild allegations with imputations and motive against the University in general and its statutory officers in particular.”

Mr. Krishna Kumar is a clerk in the B.Com. section of the Pareeksha Bhavan.

In his letter e-mailed to the NAAC team, headed by R.C. Sobti, Vice-Chancellor of Panjab University, Mr. Krishna Kumar urged them to examine “what happens in terms of academic practice behind the facade.” He had criticised the university for making some cosmetic changes to impress the NAAC guests.

IIM-K ties up with Singapore-based Global Indian International School

The Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode (IIM-K), has tied-up with the Singapore-based Global Indian International School (GIIS) to nurture young talents and re-import international education into the country.

A three-day workshop ‘Leading Schools’ was held on the IIM-K campus as part of the programme, aimed at launching the project of nurturing global citizens. Thirty-five principals and chairpersons from the GIIS participated in the workshop.

G. Madhavan Nair has been selected for the Sathkeerthi Award

The former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, G. Madhavan Nair, has been selected for the Sathkeerthi Award instituted by the Puthur Minimol Memorial Charitable Trust. Announcing this at a press conference here on Friday, trust chairman Gokulam Gopakumar said the award carried a purse of Rs.25,000, a citation and a statuette by Kanai Kunjuraman. The award will be presented by Agriculture Minister Mullakkara Ratnakaran at a function to be held at Puthur on March 1.

A lecturer in English at a college in Iritty assaulted

A lecturer in English at a college in Iritty was on Friday allegedly manhandled by a group of persons suspected to be activists of the Sangh Parivar. The police said Pramod Vellachal, 40, senior grade lecturer at Mahatma Gandhi College, was allegedly assaulted by a group that barged into the classroom at 10 a.m. He has been admitted to AKG Memorial Hospital here.

‘Jagrata Samithis protect women’s rights’

The Jagrata Samithis, which work in tandem with the Kerala Women’s Commission, help in the social uplift of women and protect their rights, according to the Women’s Commission member Rukmini Bhaskaran.

Inaugurating a training workshop at the Municipal Town Hall in Thodupuzha on Friday, she said that jagrata samithis should be strengthened and proper awareness on the functioning of the samithis should be created among the public. She said that the Commission had considered 16,000 cases last year. Thodupuzha Dy.SP. K. G. Simon and M. M. Lissie took classes on ‘Cyber Crimes and Samithis’ and ‘Law regarding Marriages’ respectively.

Farmers urged to use new technologies

Science and technology is making tremendous changes in agriculture and allied sectors, Minister for Public Works P.J. Joseph has said.

The officials concerned should ensure that these technologies reach farmers, he said after inaugurating the ‘Wayanad ATHMA Fest 2010,’ a three-day agriculture and farmers’ development workshop-cum-exhibition.

It is being organised under the aegis of the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) at the Municipal grounds here.

Mr. Joseph said farm exhibitions played a significant role in introducing new technologies to farmers.

Farmers should be ready to imbibe and use modern techniques for better yield, he said. The State should choose technology appropriate for its manpower for achieving progress in the agriculture sector, he added.

Indian students doing well in CIE

The acceptance of the Cambridge International Examinations (CIE) in India is growing 40 to 50 per cent a year, says Ian Chambers, Regional Manager (South Asia) of CIE. CIE is a provider of international qualifications for 14-19 year olds.

It is part of the Cambridge assessment, a not-for-profit organisation and a department of the University of Cambridge.

In an interview to The Hindu, Mr. Chambers said Indian students were performing well compared with the global average.

“Indians outperform others. Nearly 38 per cent of students here achieve A star and A grades compared to the world average of 32 per cent,” he said. Mr. Chambers said that CIE has long recognised that a ‘one-size-fits-all' approach is not appropriate in international education. Therefore, Cambridge offers a range of qualifications and programmes for students aged five to 19. These include Cambridge IGCSE, Cambridge O Level, Cambridge International A and AS Level, and the new Cambridge International Primary programme.

No land acquisition for excavations, KCHR tells Pattanam residents

Residents of Pattanam in Vadakkekara panchayat in Ernakulam district, where archaeological digs have been on for three years, can now take heart. The government has no plans to take over their properties for the excavations to find the remains of a human settlement that dates back to 3,000 years.

In an unusual open letter to the people of Pattanam, the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), which spearheads the excavations, says that no property would be acquired for the excavation. Moreover, it offers to pay rent to the owners of land where researchers expect to encounter archaeological finds for the duration of the excavations. Up to Rs.10,000 would be paid to a site, depending on its size, for a month’s excavations. Again, if any object of commercial value emerges from the excavation site, the land owner would be paid the market value of the object.

Prithvraj’s "THANTHONNI"

Net poster is a poster design meant to circulate through e-mail, social networking sites and also to be used as Desktop wall papers, mobile wallpapers. These poster ideas are normally used in iTunes and ovi stores for Hollywood movies. Concept net poster launching in Malayalam Film industry through New generation star Prithvraj’s Movie "THANTHONNI" , Considering the growth of internet users and mobile users population in kerala, many of the film viewers depending surfing or mobile to grab the box office information. Observing revolutionary changes in communication and forwarding informative data ,concept of net poster will distribute the poster to personal desktops

Major Ravi's 'Kandahar'

Major Ravi's 'Kandahar' seems to be climbing right up the expectation charts with another major star joining its star cast. If reports are to be believed, its none other than Tamil superstar Surya who has given the nod to Ravi, to be a part of the film. With Surya joining the 'Kandahar' team the film looks all set to cover the major South Indian film business markets.

Major Ravi had met up with Surya yestedray morning, after which the actor had agreed to allot dates for the film. Surya in all probability would be playing Amitabh's son in the film. 'Kandahar' would be simultaneously released in Malayalam, Tamil and Hindi.

Thilakan has been barred from AMMA and FEFKA

It is known news that the veteran actor Thilakan has been fighting the powerful AMMA and FEFKA for more than a month. He had been fighting a lone battle but did not give into their demands of rendering an apology. This fight seems to have taken a bitter turn now. He has been barred from both associations as per the latest reports. In such a case, he will not be able to act in any Malayalam movie till this is sorted out.

Mohanlal starrer "Alexander the Great" had been put on hold

Mohanlal starrer "Alexander the Great" had been put on hold even though the movie was incomplete. It had been there for sometime now. According to sources, the shooting has resumed. This seems to be the last schedule which seems to be taking place in Ernakulam. It is expected to be released during Vishu and though the title sounds dynamic, it is slated to be a wholesome comedy entertainer.

Jayasurya producing the movie "Cocktail" along with Anoop Menon

Some of popular stars have already taken to production. Now, young and talented actor Jayasurya also seems to be following their path. According to sources, he will be producing the movie "Cocktail" along with Anoop Menon. The movie will be directed by Arunkumar. It will have Jayasurya and Anoop in the lead. The other details such as the leading lady and other cast members would be revealed soon.

Script writer Sajeevan turns director with the film 'Chekavar'

Script writer Sajeevan turns director with the film 'Chekavar'. 'Chekavar' would have Indrajith and Kalabhavan Mani in the lead roles. There would be two heroines in the film; Samvrutha Sunil who is getting busier in Malayalam and Sarayu who had made her debut in Thaha's 'Kappalu Muthalali'. Innocent, Jagathy Sreekumar, Suraj Venjarammoodu and Bindu Panikker have been cast as the supporting actors besides a host of other artistes. The pooja of the film was recently held at Kochi. 'Chekavar' is being produced by Pentagon Creations.

Thilakan who has been embroiled in a controversy to Hollywood

Thilakan who has been embroiled in a controversy for the last couple of weeks, said yesterday that he wouldn't mind even if he were expelled from the Malayalam film industry. He was talking at a cultural event that was organized by the Oxford Senior Secondary School. Thilakan said that he could never be expelled from his profession, even if he had to leave the Malayalam film industry. He would continue acting, whenever and wherever he got an opportunity.

The actor also revealed his plans to move to Hollywood. He said he has been invited to act in a film called 'Dam 999'. The Hollywood movie tells a story about mariners and life at sea and is based on the navarasas. Shooting of the film is expected to start in March. 'Dam 999' would be produced by Marine BizTV, world's first global maritime television channel and directed by Sohan Roy, the CEO of Aries Telecasting Limited. Thilakan repeated that he would not be bogged down by threats, and that he would continue with acting, despite pressure from different corners.

Transport Minister Jose Thettayil has expressed concern

Transport Minister Jose Thettayil has expressed concern at the stand in support of the restriction in vehicular traffic during night along the Gundalpet- Sulthan Bathery stretch of the NH 212 adopted by the Karnataka government when the case came up before the Karnataka High Court on Friday.

He said here that it was against the impression given by Karnataka when an all-party delegation consisting of Ministers, MPs and MLAs from Kerala met the Chief Minister of that State and submitted a memorandum to him on the issue. The Chief Minister too had written to his Karnataka counterpart on the issue.

Bangalore Staff Reporter writes: The Karnataka Forest Department gave a PowerPoint presentation of the Bandipur forest and the alternate roads it had suggested for vehicular traffic after night traffic was banned on two highways passing through the forest, in the High Court on Friday.

SriLankan Airlines has geared up to change the travel experience of its customers

SriLankan Airlines has geared up to change the travel experience of its customers in a multi-dimensional manner.

As part of “Change in the way you fly,'' the airline's front line staff from cabin to ground crew will sport a brand new look and a warmer smile. But the charm, elegance and grace of the Monara (peacock) will be preserved as hundreds of stewardesses undergo this transformation.

The new colour palette in the iconic Kandyan sari plays with the soft hues of sea blue splashed with the delicate multi-hued motifs of the peacock feather with its iridescent bursts of electric orange mottled with dark, light blue and white.
The airline's onboard kitchen has turned a new chapter in its in-flight meal service. It offers a tempting array of mouth watering signature dishes and cocktails. The passengers have the added choice of ordering from a new a la carte menu and having their meals literally cooked on board.

A whole new experience in in-flight entertainment also awaits movie buffs.

The airline's flight kitchen led by a team of chefs from the Hot and Cold Kitchens, Bakery, and Confectionery headed by production manager Sudhish Kumar Pande and executive chef Anthony Gibson has designed menus to pamper the palate and titillate the taste buds beyond imagination. The humble ‘Pol Roti' has been redefined and given a new lease of life.

Kerala will lose Rs.20 crore of revenue envisaged in the Budget

Kerala will lose Rs.20 crore of revenue envisaged in the Budget for the current year owing to the failure of the government in revising the rents on revenue and forest leases.

Various plantations and others holding lands leased from the government paid only nominal rent for years though the Assembly had passed a Bill to revise the rent as way back as 1980. The rents ranged from Rs.1.50 an acre to Rs.5 an acre for most of the land leased out by the erstwhile Travancore and Cochin governments, and up to Rs.250 in cases where the leases had been renewed.

Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Isaac had proposed a formula to determine the revised rent: Rs.1,300 for lease exceeding 100 acre; Rs.1,000 for lease of 25 to 100 acres; and Rs.750 for lease below 25 acres.

However, this was not implemented. Instead, the Forest Department issued a notification in November last amending the rules notified under the Kerala Grants and Leases (Modification of Rights) Act. (The Department had initially shelved its plans to issue the notification on the ground that the Finance Department would issue necessary notification. The Forest Department’s notification will not cover all the revenue leases.)

The Tata Group-owned Kanan Devan Hills Plantation (KDHP) company was the “largest encroacher”

The Tata Group-owned Kanan Devan Hills Plantation (KDHP) company was the “largest encroacher” of government land involving “thousands of acres” in Munnar, the district administration alleged in a report submitted in the Kerala High Court on Friday.

In a 470-page Action Taken Report, the Idukki District Collector said that there was gross violation of rules and encroachment by the company. Action had been taken for encroachment against KDHP, but it had been stayed by different courts, the report said.

‘kuthiyottam' at the ‘kalari' in Aranmula

The ‘Kuthiyotta-kalari' in the legendary land of Thottathumannil in Aranmula is turning out to be major religious event in Central Travancore. ‘Kuthiyottam' is associated with the ritualistic dance at the Kumbha Bharani festival at Chettikulangara Bhagavathy Temple, near Mavelikara in Alappuzha district. This is the first time that a kalari of `kuthiyottam' is being organised in Aranmula.

The ‘kuthiyotta-kalari' has been organised on the ancestral property of the Thottathumannil Nair family at Aranmula from where the wooden idol of the Chettikulangara temple had its genesis a century ago.

Capt. T.K. Raveendran Nair of Aranmula who is offering a twin ‘kuthiyottam' at Chettikulangara Devi Temple this year told The Hindu that the idol used for the ‘Chaanthaattom' vazhipadu at the temple was carved out of a special variety of jack tree that stood on his ancestral property near Aranmula Sree Parthasarathy Temple a century ago.

‘Kuthiyottam,' which has its custom and tradition rooted in human sacrifice (‘Narabali'), involves adoption of a boy child by the devotee who gives him as ‘vazhipadu' (offering) to the deity at Chettikulangara on Bharani asterism in the Malayalam month of Kumbhom.

The marina house to be commissioned in May

The country's first full-fledged marina that is getting ready on the eastern side of Bolghatty Island would be commissioned in May.

The Rs. 6-crore facility being built using tourism funds of the Centre and the State would berth 35 yachts in the first phase. It was scheduled for completion last year. A marina house is almost ready on an acre of land owned by the KTDC, while the berthing facility would come up on 1.5 acres in the adjacent backwaters. Even without a marina, 16 yachts from foreign lands are currently anchored across the waterbody. Their number was the highest in 2008, when 40 yachts called at Kochi – the port city in India that is nearest to the international sea route.

The three-storeyed marina house resembles the Dutch palace that was later converted into the Bolghatty Palace Hotel, full with wooden beams, panelling and chandeliers with antique finish. A Customs office would be housed in a room in the building, so that seafarers can directly check into the marina. They now have to wait in the outer sea for a day or two to obtain Customs clearance and other formalities, where many of them are forced to buy goods sold by unscrupulous boatmen.

“The marina house would have 20 double rooms and four suites, some facing the marina and the others the golf course on the western side,” said Jaibee Kollarmalil, the hotel's manager.

Mohanlal's China Town starts rolls from May

The shooting of "China Town" is all set to start in the month of May. The movie will be directed by the director duo of Rafi Mecartin. It stars none other than the superstar Mohanlal along with the seductive beauty Kavya Madhavan. This movie is expected to be a complete action entertainer. Sources indicate that the movie will be shot in Goa, Pondicherry and Kochi.

Ananya gained lot of popularity with her Tamil movie "Nadodigal"

Ananya gained lot of popularity with her Tamil movie "Nadodigal". The actress is now a part of Major Ravi's film "Kandahar". There were reports earlier that Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan will be part of the movie. The movie is based on the Kandahar hijack. The movie meanwhile stars the Malayalam Superstar Mohanlal in the lead, who plays the role of a commando.

Thilakan yesterday said the Malayalam film industry was in a deep crisis

Thilakan yesterday said the Malayalam film industry was in a deep crisis after major film organisations decided to boycott him. The Film Employees’ Federation of Kerala (FEFKA), of which all leading directors and technicians are members, yesterday decided not to ‘co-operate’ with the actor unless he withdraws ‘derogatory’ statements against it and apologise. Earlier in the day, Thilakan released a letter containing reply to last week’s show-cause notice issued by the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) in which he refused to apologise for his unsavoury comments against superstar Mammootty and other film personalities. He alleged the AMMA had not come to his help when he was dropped from the film Christian Brothers after he was signed and given an advance payment.

“It did not come to my defence when fans of a superstar unleashed the propaganda that I had gone mad and threatened to kill me,” the actor said. “It’s clear that AMMA’s sympathy lies with a select few, whose interests are paramount to the organisation. Now let the people decide.” He said: “Nobody can predict what would happen tomorrow. This means this is the beginning of the end. It’s the death knell for the Malayalam film industry.” The 74-year-old veteran of 147 films received India’s fourth highest civilian honor Padma Shri last year. “With FEFKA too deciding not to co-operate with me, it signals the end of me as an actor because it is they who decide who should stand in front of the camera. The decision was on expected lines,” Thilakan said.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The 15th Indo-US Air Force Executive Steering Group (ESG) conference began

The 15th Indo-US Air Force Executive Steering Group (ESG) conference began here today at the Southern Air Command Headquarters here.

The three-day conference allows the delegations of the two countries to discuss policies and mutual exchange programmes for bilateral defence cooperation, the annual conference is held alternatively in the two countries and this year the Southern Air Command has been chosen as the venue.

While the 13-member US Air Force delegation is led by Lt. General Herbert J. Carlisle, Commander 13 Air Force USAF, the 16-member Indian Air Force delegation is led by Vice Chief of the Air Staff Air Marshal P.K. Barbora.

Kerala High Court today criticised Wayanad District Collector

Kerala High Court today criticised Wayanad District Collector for classifying disputed 14 acres of land in Krishnagiri estate as government land and termed the act as illegal. The Court observed that, if the land belongs to government it must be acquired according to Land Protection Act.

A Division Bench also granted the MLA M V Shreyams Kumarand two other petitioners– George Pothen and Mohan Ancheril– police protection to continue possession of their holdings in Wayanad district.

After some tribals, who had encroached the land belonging to the MLA were evicted, the Wayanad Collector had set up a board stating that it was government land. Challenging this, Shreyams Kumar approached the High Court seeking police protection to continue possession of the land.

Two others also filed petitions seeking police protection for their lands.

Government would interfere if Thilakan's life is under threat

The State Minister for Cultural Affairs, Sri. M A Baby said today that if veteran actor Thilakan's life is under threat, the government would definitely interfere, and see to it that he is safe. The Minister was interacting with the media after distributing the prizes at the Lalithakala Academy. Baby said that Thilakan is one of the greatest actors in Malayalam. He said he hoped that there would be no threat to the actor's life. However, in the present situation, there would definitely be an investigation regarding the anonymous telephone call that Thilakan received a couple of days back. The Minister also said that he hoped the film industry would amiably solve its issues on its own. He added that differences of opinion could very well be resolved with discussions.

Vanitha-Nippon awards announced

Vanitha-Nippon awards were announced recently. Megastar Mammootty was named as the best actor for his roles in "Loudspeaker", "Palery Maanickyam" and "Pazhassi Raja". The best actress award has been announced for Padmapriya. On the other hand Superstar Mohanlal will bag the most popular actor award. Meanwhile veteran actor Madhu will receive the lifetime achievement award.

A police case has been filed against Kalabhavan Mani at Chalakudi police station

A police case has been filed against Kalabhavan Mani at Chalakudi police station. According to the complaint, Mani with 30 others had arrived at a theme park, and asked for free entry for nineteen children. When they were not given free entry, it is heard that he along with others tried to force their entry. This resulted in a scuffle and the police case was filed. Meanwhile sources indicate that he along with five others have been granted bail. Kalabhavan Mani has not yet spoken about the incident.

Mammootty starrer "Pramaani" will hit the screens on March 18th

Mammootty starrer "Pramaani" will hit the screens on March 18th. The movie was supposed to release on a later date but was pre-poned. It will complete the final stages of shooting this week. Sources indicate that Mammootty wanted to have an early release of the movie since his last movie "Drona 2010" flopped. "Pramaani" has been directed by B Unnikrishnan and also stars Sneha, Fahad Fazil, Siddique..

Prithviraj starrer "Puthiya Mukham" to bollywood

Prithviraj starrer "Puthiya Mukham" was a super hit in last year. Now, sources claim that the movie will be remade in Hindi. Popular actor and filmmaker Ajay Devgn seems to have shown keen interest in making the remake immediately. Though the remake rights have been bought, it is not sure what the amount was. Off late many Malayalam movies have been sought after for remakes.

‘Yugapurushan’, a biopic on Narayanguru

‘Yugapurushan’, a biopic on Narayanguru, has one of Tamil artist Thalaivasal Vijay’s best performances. Narayanguru is a social reformer who lived in Kerala. Vijay’s performance is being appreciated and audiences are impressed by Vijay’s act as the guru. He has been liked so much that he may now be called ‘Yugapurushan’ Vijay in Kerala.

Thilakan files police complaint

Thilakan who has been served a show cause notice by a Malayalam film body asking him to apologise for his outburst against film personalities has filed a police complaint alleging he received a call threatening to kill him for “defaming Mammootty”. The Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA) issued Thilakan a notice asking him to apologise in a week’s time or face action. Speaking to IANS, Thilakan said he was at a restaurant in Alappuzha when he got a call from a UAE number. “Picking up the call I heard a rough voice asking if it is Thilakan, I said ‘Yes’, and then the person addressed me using bad words and said that since I am defaming Mammootty, in a week’s time I will be killed by a person called Thamanam Shaji. I said fine and disconnected the call,” said Thilakan. He said there were other people in the restaurant at the time. “I went to the Alappuzha South Station and registered a police complaint and demanded that I should get justice,” added Thilakan. On the notice served by AMMA, the actor said he is preparing a reply. “The letter says that if I don’t apologise, I will be ousted from AMMA. This is against the law. The matter has to first go to the disciplinary committee. Anyway, since I have done nothing wrong, the question of apologizing does not arise. All I did was to react when I was prevented from pursuing my profession,” said Thilakan. Thilakan has launched a protest against film organisations for denying him an opportunity to act in the new film “Christian Brothers”. He claimed he has been flooded with calls from people expressing their support. “I got a call from a person in Kottayam asking me if I am scared about the death threat, I said no. Then he said if a hired killer comes with a knife and stands in front of me, he won’t be able to do anything when he thinks of the strong characters I have played. What more applause do I need than statements like these from my well wishers,” asked the thespian.

Allu Arjun said he simply adores Malayalam films

In the backdrop of his reigning popularity in Kerala with all his Telugu films, including the recent Arya 2, finding success with his Malayalee fans, Tollywood’s youth icon Allu Arjunhas given an interview to a Malayalam private TV channel for the first time as a Shivaratri special today (Friday). Talking about his inspiration from Malayalam films which walk away with many prestigious National Awards every year with their quality and originality, Allu Arjun said he simply adores Malayalam films and the great artists Mohanlal, Mammootty and Suresh Gopi. “I watch a lot of Malayalam movies and am really inspired by their quality and originality.

I am looking forward to do a straight Malayalam film in the near future,” added Allu Arjun, who had a tremendous opening this year in Kerala with Arya 2, which was released in around 65 screens and grossed Rs. 67 lakhs in just three days. Arya 2 has found popularity similar to what Malayalam superstar Mammootty and Mohanlal receive for their big masala films! It is now running to packed houses even in smaller stations and has taken 95 to 98% opening. The surprising thing is that Tamil superstar Ajith’s Aasal could release only in Kochi, as theatres in other areas preferred to screen Arya 2.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Student’s death: headmistress removed

The headmistress of the St. Marys High School, Vattayal, where a 12-year-old student, Fathima, was electrocuted on Wednesday, has been suspended pending enquiry by the Corporate Management of Schools of the Diocese of Alappuzha. The school is one among those managed by the Alappuzha diocese of the Latin Catholic Church here. According to a press release issued by Corporate Manager Fr. Xavier Kudiyamssery, the headmistress Letitia was being suspended till further enquiries following the allegations that the tragic incident had occurred because of dereliction of duty by school authorities.

Rs.5-crore project for Kanjikode development

The State government has sanctioned a Rs.5-crore project for the modernisation and development of the Kanjikode Industrial Development Area in the district. The government has released a sum of Rs.3.5 crore and the remaining Rs.1.5 crore will be shared by industries in the area. An amount of Rs.4.67 crore will be spent for reconstruction of internal roads, providing side drains, for retaining walls and construction of two culverts. A sum of Rs.23.3 lakh has been sanctioned for providing street-lights; Rs.2 lakh for road maps and signboards; Rs.4 lakh for two arches and Rs.3.2 lakh for a bus waiting shed.Kanjikode Industries Forum president K. Pankajakshan, in a statement here yesterday , said the modernisation and development of the industrial area would go a long way in overall growth of this industrial town.

Exploring biodiversity at Annam

Celebrating the rich diversity of plant, animal and food varieties in the State, the Annam Agro Biodiversity Festival at the Marine Grounds on Beach Road is a must-visit for those interested in learning more about the attempts to preserve our cultural, culinary and agricultural heritage and also relish healthy and tasty food. From the tasty ‘Aranmula Valla Sadya’ served for lunch to the exhibition of high milk-yielding domestic cattle breeds by Niravu of Vengeri through to the exhibition of traditional rice varieties from Wayanad, the Annam Fest is a laudable initiative.

P. Krishnaprasad, Sulthan Bathery MLA, has denied the reports

P. Krishnaprasad, Sulthan Bathery MLA, has denied the reports in a section of media alleging that he owned excess land at Krishnagiri village in Wayanad. At a press conference here yesterday , the MLA said that he was ready to quit public life if the allegations were proved. He had sent court notices to the reporters, the editors and the publishers of those media organisations which published the “false and baseless” reports, which were “seriously damaging” to his honesty and credibility. He had asked the organisations to apologise.

Good prospect for India in Asian trade

India is yet to achieve its full potential in world trade the weight of which has been showing a marked shift from the west to the east over the last few decades, according to K.P. Kannan, Professor of Development Economics, Centre for Development Studies (CDS). Delivering the keynote address at an international conference on ‘Asian Trade: The Way Forward,’ organised by the Asian Development Dialogue (ADD), a shared platform of policy makers, academia and decision makers in the public and private sectors, here on Saturday, Prof. Kannan said with appropriate policy initiatives, the country could become a major player alongside China and Japan in trade in merchandise goods and services in the Asian region.

Central aid for Pangode fish market

The development of the wholesale fish market at Pangode here is expected to pick up momentum with the release of Rs.2.25 crore as assistance from the National Fisheries Development Board, City Corporation functionaries said here yesterday. The assistance is part of a Rs.22.43 crore package announced by Minister of State for Agriculture K.V. Thomas on Friday for the development of the fisheries sector in the State. The Corporation has already secured Cabinet clearance for the transfer of 39 cents of land from the Revenue Department to start work on the Rs.8-crore project that has remained bogged down in litigation for the last five years. Work on an effluent treatment plant has already commenced.

Police to crack down on extortion

Deputy Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, C.H. Nagaraju, yesterday ordered the city police to book those who extort money from the public under any pretext, chiefly the organising of festivities in connection with local religious events. Chairing an interaction between police officers and representatives of residents’ welfare associations in the city, Nagaraju sought an urgent report on a complaint that a police officer was harassing his neighbours in the Jagathy East Resident’s Association area.

Draft safety rules for boats

The State government has published the draft of Kerala Inland Vessels Rules, which, among other specifications to ensure safety of boats and other vessels, stipulates the carrying of life-saving appliances on board all vessels operating in the inland water bodies in the State. For the purpose of the rule relating to life-saving appliances to be carried on board each vessel, the draft notification classifies ‘vessels’ into four categories.Class I constitutes passenger vessels, ferry launches and boats. Such vessels should carry on board life rafts or buoyant apparatus that could support at least 50 per cent of the passengers and crew. They should also carry with them life jackets that could cater to the need of the remaining 50 per cent of the passengers and crew.

150 Kerala villages participate in reality show on development

In a novel idea, 150 villages will vie at a reality show beginning Monday for the top slot in terms of maximum development achieved in their council.

The show to be inaugurated here by Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Monday, is titled Green Kerala Express and is being organised by the Kerala wing of Doordarshan Kendra in association with the ministry of local self government, Suchitwa Mission and the state-owned Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT).

Assistant director of Doordarshan Kendra G. Sajan told IANS that the preliminary screening of all applications submitted by these village councils are over and the shooting for the show will begin Monday.

'Around 200 village councils from across the state had applied out of which a technical jury selected 150. The programme begins with a five member team of each council appearing before an expert panel and a technical jury to present their development achievement,' said Sajan.

These councils will appear before the jury with a two minute documentary in video format on their council and another four minute documentary on what they think has been their best development project.

'Once both these videos are screened, then queries are raised by the expert panel and the technical jury. It will go on for 20 minutes. While marks would be given by these juries, an SMS poll would also be open for the people to express their opinion. After evaluating all the 150 councils, the top 15 would be selected. Then the jury will individually go to these 15 selected councils and make an on the spot assessment and the winners would be announced,' added Sajan.

The performance of these councils would be aired on Doordarshan for half an hour as the Green Kerala Express show starting March 1 till July from Monday to Friday.

The three member expert panel comprises South Indian actress Padma Priya (special invitee), former Centre for Development Studies director K.P. Kannan and Vineetha Menon, a professor at the Kannur University.

The technical panel of the jury includes experts in the field of local level development and those who have worked extensively with various agencies at the grassroot level.

The award comprises a cash prize of Rs.one crore for the best council and other cash prizes for the runner ups also.

The organisers have also decided to have a national jury with P. Sainath (award winning Indian development journalist), Aruna Roy (Indian political and social activist), Rajendra Singh (Ramon Magsaysay Award winner for community leadership in 2001) and Planning Commission member Mihir Shah, who would also sit as judges occasionally.

'Yes, our next project would be to extend this reality show to the whole of the country and for that we need to have opinions from people who are national experts and hence we have invited these top level experts,' added Sajana.

The programme got a huge boost when state Finance Minister Thomas Isaac extended a financial support of Rs.three crore for the reality show.

Ripper Surendran arrested in Tamil Nadu

The most wanted murderer Ripper Surendran, who escaped from jail after deceiving policemen, was caught again from Tamil Nadu where he was continuing with his “theft art”. Altogether there are six murder cases against Ripper including the Iringalakkuda Porathissery Mariam murder case.

S Sivaraman, former CPI-M MP from Ottappalam meets Chennithala, to join Congress

S Sivaraman, former CPI-M MP from Ottappalam who recently resigned from the party, Sunday met KPCC president Ramesh Chennithala here.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, Chennithala said Sivaraman had expressed his desire to join Congress.

A decision on Sivaraman's entry to Congress would be taken after discussions with opposition leader Oommen Chandy, KPCC office-bearers and senior leaders, he said.

Sivaraman is the third ex-MP to resign from CPI-M during the last one year. A P Abdullakutty, who was the first to quit from CPI(M) citing differences with the party on the question of religious faith. He contested and won the by-poll in the Kannur assembly seat on a Congress ticket last year. K S Manoj, ex-MP from Alappuzha also quit the party recently on the issue of faith.

On the CPI(M)-sponsored land agitation in Wayanad district, Chennithala said if they continued to encroach upon estates in possession of private individuals, it would lead to anarchy and breakdown of law and order.

It appeared that Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and the state government had given silent approval for the anarchic stir by CPI-M men, Chennithala said.

He sought to know the views of other constituents of the ruling LDF on the encroachment by CPI-M workers in Wayanad.

While the Opposition UDF was not against deserving people getting land, it should not be at the cost of law and order in the state, Chennithala said.

Necessary steps will be taken to protect actor

In the wake of veteran actor Thilakan alleging that he got death threat for his outbursts against superstars, Minister for Culture and Education M A Baby Sunday said necessary steps would be taken to protect his life.

'The government has the responsibility to protect the life and property of every citizen. Home department will enquire and take necessary steps to protect the actor. It will also verify whether the threat was a 'fake' or not', he told reporters.

Asked if government would intervene in solving the problem between Thilakan and Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA),he said 'people in the film sector will themselves solve the problem. They have the efficiency and patience to solve the problem', he said.

AMMA had served a show cause notice to Thilakan to tender an unconditional apology for his outburst against superstars failing which he would have to face disciplinary action.

On February 12, Thilakan lodged a complaint with police, saying he received a call from the Gulf stating that a gang had been engaged to "finish him off" within a week if he did not stop his utterances against superstars.

Thilakan had earlier alleged that Film Employees Federation of Kerala (FEFKA) and AMMA had imposed an undeclared ban on him for acting in a film directed by Vinayan, bete noire of the film outfits.

The row started when Thilakan was denied a role in the film `Christian Brothers' for which he had been booked, allegedly at the instance of FEFKA.

39th Kerala Lalithakala Akademi awards

Education and Culture minister M A Baby presented the 39th Kerala Lalithakala Akademi awards at a function here Sunday.

The K C S Paniker puraskaram was presented to renowned artist S G Vasudev in recognition of his achievements in art and services for the promotion of art.

The award carries a cash prize of Rs 1 lakh, citation and a memento.

The Kesari Puraskaram was given to R Sivakumar for his literary contributions to the promotion of Indian art.

The Padmini puraskaram was awarded to artist T V Santosh, while the Akademi Fellowships for the year 2010 have been awarded to Riyas Komu, whose art of intervention has earned him international repute and S Ajaykumar, an eminent artist and art teacher.

Sankara Menon Endowment Gold Medal, Special Mention Award and award for book on Art was also distributed.

Central policies helping big monopolies: Kerala Labour Minister P K Gurudasan

Kerala Labour Minister P K Gurudasan Sunday said the State health Insurance scheme will be expanded by including 30 lakh families.

'Traditional industrial workers will also be included in the scheme, ' he said, adding, there are about 11.78 lakh people covered under the scheme presently.

Speaking after inaugurating the valedictory meeting of the Kerala State General Insurance Employees Union, here, Gurudasan stressed the need for safeguarding public sector units.

He alleged that the Centre's policies were helping the big monopolies violate laws

CPI-M's allied outfit, were evicted from three localities in Wayanad

Over 20 activists, said to be belonging to the ruling CPI-M's allied outfit, were evicted from three localities in Wayanad district where land has been encroached over the past few days as part of what the outfits claim is the struggle for landless tribals.

Police had evicted 22 members of the pro-CPIM 'Kerala State Karshaka Thozhilali Union' from two locations of the Arapetta estate of the Harrison Malayalam Tea Plantation Ltd and four activists of a CPI (ML) faction from the Centinal Rock Estate at Munakkai in the district, Deputy Superintendent of Police Purushottam Adiyodi said.

A group of suspected KSKTU workers had claimed right over the land by encroaching it on Wednesday last claiming that the land was under the company's illegal possession.

SBT beat Vasco Goa to enter G V Raja football final

State Bank of Travancore, Thiruvananthapuram moved into the final by defeating Vasco, Goa by a solitary goal in the G V Raja All India Football Tournament here Sunday.

SBT will meet J & K Bank in the title clash today.

The lone goal in the second semifinal Sunday was scored by Asif Shaheer for the local bankmen in the third minute of the first half.

J and K had beaten Sesa Goa in the first semifinal Saturday.

Athikkudathi Parambil Surendran ,prisoner who escaped arrested

Athikkudathi Parambil Surendran, a remand prisoner who had made good his escape from custody for the second time, was arrested in Coimbatore on Sunday.

The Irinjalakuda police said they arrested Surendran, 32, accused of bludgeoning women to death in what is called ‘ripper-model attacks,’ from his hideout at Vadamadurai in Coimbatore. He was brought to Irinjalakuda.

Surendran escaped from the Government Medical College, Thrissur, where he had been admitted for treatment, on December 27. On December 17, he escaped from the sub-jail in Irinjalakuda, but was arrested from Sathyamangalam after two days. He is facing murder charge and was arrested in one case on September 10 last year. The Irinjalakuda police said the accused bludgeoned Maria, 80, wife of Alappatt Lonappan, to death in her house at Porithissery and escaped with gold jewellery weighing about 12 sovereigns. The police said he was involved in five more similar attacks.

On December 20, while he was in police custody, Surendran injured himself using the iron handle of a bucket in the toilet. Later, he was sent to Viyyur Jail. He was admitted to medical college hospital as he complained of being sick.

Police suspect terror angle to call routing cases

The Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CBCID) suspects a terror angle to several cases involving the routing of international calls through illegal voice over internet protocol (VoIP), a service that allows the transmission of voice through the Internet.

The police are investigating at least four cases in the city after the Vigilance Telecom Monitoring Cell, Chennai, detected that a grey market call centre had been functioning in the city since 2005. Some persons were arrested but the kingpins are at large, sources said.

The apparent loss to the Government of India and telecom operators amount to nearly Rs.1 crore. More than the monetary gains, the accused could have employed the technology for anti-national activities, sources told The Hindu here on Sunday. The illegal routing of international calls assumes significance in the light of emerging evidence that Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba controllers had guided the team involved in the Mumbai terror attack in November 2008 through VoIP phones.

Usually, an international call comes with a local Calling Line Identification (CLI). But the grey market call has a ‘bad CLI’ or ‘no CLI’ at all.

Sources said illegal operators had used the services of private telecom providers in routing these international calls from various places including a building complex opposite the Kerala State Road Transport Cooperation (KSRTC) bus station on Mavoor Road.

It was found that the accused had used a broadband cable box linked to an optical fibre terminating box or ‘black box’ from which the optical fibre cable was extended using a media converter to an 8-port Ethernet switch. This Ethernet cable was finally traced to a nearby house that functioned as an illegal telecom system, sources said.

This illegally system had an Internet connection with 1024 kbps bandwidth of a private telecom service provider, a bridge converter, de-link 8-port Ethernet switch, personal computer and peripherals and a Quintum Technologies VoIP gateway imported from Singapore. Sources said one P.P. Abdul Gafoor and his brother Abdul Nazer are involved in more than two cases. One of the five accused, Shafeeq, involved the Mavoor illegal call routing case is reportedly in the in Gulf. Also, there are six accused in a call routing case traced to Valiyangadi. Six of the nine accused had been arrested by the police.

Likewise, four of the five accused had been arrested in a case traced to a building on the Railway Station Link Road, sources said.

Kuttiadi project to be ready by March

The 100 MW Kuttiadi additional extension power project will be ready for commissioning next month, Power Minister A.K. Balan has said.

In a release here on Sunday, the Minister said the 25 MW Neriamangalam extension and 3.75 MW Kuttiadi tail race schemes had been completed taking the total quantity of power added to the grid by the Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) to 90 MW. The Pallivasal extension, Thottiyar and Poozhithod schemes, forming part of various schemes aimed at additional generation capacity of 730 MW, were at different stages of implementation, Mr. Balan said.

He said steps were being taken for a 2,400 MW mega power project at Cheemeni in Kasaragod district. Once the LNG terminal became a reality in Kochi, the 1,950 MW second stage of the Kayamkulam thermal power project would become a reality. Steps would also begin soon on a 1,000 MW project at Brahmapuram under the full ownership of the KSEB, the final goal being generation of around 3,000 MW power over the coming decade, he said.

The Minister said work on 206 sub-stations had been taken up as part of the Rs.1,800-crore transmission master plan.

Of these, 71 sub-stations had been commissioned and 11 kV lines drawn across a distance of 8,500 km. As many as 12,100 transformers had also been set up over the last three years. The pace of work done in transmission and distribution segment should be clear from the fact that as much as one-fourth of the total distance of 11 kV lines and the total number of transformers were put in place after the present government came to power.

Hartal at Nettayam

Political parties have called a hartal at Nettayam on Monday in protest against the demolition of a building housing the Arunachalam Memorial Grandhashala there on Saturday night. The Vattiyoorkavu police said the building owner, who recently bought the property, used an earthmover to demolish the structure after the library managers refused to vacate it.

A three-day national seminar on ‘Health, food, and agro-biodiversity changing paradigms’

A three-day national seminar on ‘Health, food, and agro-biodiversity changing paradigms’ began at the Cosmopolitan Club here yesterday . It is being organised as part of Annam, a national food and agro-biodiversity festival. Environmental activist Vandana Shiva, who delivered the keynote address at the seminar, said the scientific community, which takes great pride in having invented the genetically modified (GM) crops, should also have the moral responsibility to categorically tell the people how safe such food variants are. “The onus is on the same scientific community to tell the people categorically that the GM crops would not negatively affect man or Earth,” she said. Shiva said mass production of any homogeneous crop would erode food security and threaten food safety. Only the preservation and promotion of heterogeneous food crops and vegetables would, in the long run, ensure food security of people, she said.

Anil Ambani, Kokilaben on Sabarimala pilgrimage

Industrialist Anil Ambani and his mother Kokilaben arrived here Saturday evening on a one-day pilgrimage to the Sabarimala temple, police said.
Ambani's party also includes two relatives and the family doctor. Alighting from the helicopter that flew him here, Ambani got into the driver's seat of a white Mercedes Benz for the journey to the temple town.

Speaking to IANS over phone from Sabarimala, Deputy Superintendent of Police V. Varadarajan said that all security arrangements were in place and Ambani will pay obeisance at the shrine late Saturday night. 'He will stay at the guest house here and return early tomorrow (Sunday) morning for another darshan before returning,' Varadarajan added.

This is reported to be Ambani's first visit to Sabarimala and he will walk up the hill to the temple, which will take around two hours from the base camp at Pamba.

Exploring biodiversity at Annam

Celebrating the rich diversity of plant, animal and food varieties in the State, the Annam Agro Biodiversity Festival at the Marine Grounds on Beach Road is a must-visit for those interested in learning more about the attempts to preserve our cultural, culinary and agricultural heritage and also relish healthy and tasty food. From the tasty ‘Aranmula Valla Sadya’ served for lunch to the exhibition of high milk-yielding domestic cattle breeds by Niravu of Vengeri through to the exhibition of traditional rice varieties from Wayanad, the Annam Fest is a laudable initiative.

P. Krishnaprasad, Sulthan Bathery MLA denies charge

P. Krishnaprasad, Sulthan Bathery MLA, has denied the reports in a section of media alleging that he owned excess land at Krishnagiri village in Wayanad. At a press conference here yesterday , the MLA said that he was ready to quit public life if the allegations were proved. He had sent court notices to the reporters, the editors and the publishers of those media organisations which published the “false and baseless” reports, which were “seriously damaging” to his honesty and credibility. He had asked the organisations to apologise.

Opposition leaders visit encroached land in Wayanad

The top brass of the Congress-led opposition in Kerala Friday visited a piece of land that is occupied by Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) supporters, along with activists of a tribal organisation, here.

The CPI-M and the Adivasi Skehma Sabha claim that the land belongs to the government and had been encroached upon by Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader George Potham, who is now aligned with the opposition.

The opposition team, led by Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy, included the top leaders of all the allies of the United Democratic Front (UDF).

The CPI-M had initially said the opposition delegation will not be allowed to come anywhere near the land.

With the opposition adamant, the leaders of the ruling Left Democratic Front (LDF) mellowed down and when Chandy and his team arrived along with a huge security cordon of police officials, they were received by local CPI-M legislator K.C. Kunhiraman and the Wayanad CPI-M district secretary C.K. Saseendran.

The CPI-M supporters and the tribal activists gave a memorandum to Chandy, saying the land was encroached and it should be given to the landless.

Chandy told them that the rule of law has to be adhered to and any forceful takeover like this would be counter productive.

Lucky Hill encroachers evicted

The Meppadi police on Sunday evicted and arrested the encroachers who had seized the land at Lucky Hill at Meppadi in Wayanad. The KSKTU activists including women and around 50 families
had encroached the HML land at Lucky Hill.

The High Court will take up the encroachment case once again on Monday. Amidst all this, CPI (ML) workers on Sunday again seized land at Mundakai.

150 Kerala villages participate in reality show on development

In a novel idea, 150 villages will vie at a reality show beginning Monday for the top slot in terms of maximum development achieved in their council.

The show to be inaugurated here by Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Monday, is titled Green Kerala Express and is being organised by the Kerala wing of Doordarshan Kendra in association with the ministry of local self government, Suchitwa Mission and the state-owned Centre for Development of Imaging Technology (C-DIT).

Assistant director of Doordarshan Kendra G. Sajan told IANS that the preliminary screening of all applications submitted by these village councils are over and the shooting for the show will begin Monday.

'Around 200 village councils from across the state had applied out of which a technical jury selected 150. The programme begins with a five member team of each council appearing before an expert panel and a technical jury to present their development achievement,' said Sajan.

These councils will appear before the jury with a two minute documentary in video format on their council and another four minute documentary on what they think has been their best development project.

'Once both these videos are screened, then queries are raised by the expert panel and the technical jury. It will go on for 20 minutes. While marks would be given by these juries, an SMS poll would also be open for the people to express their opinion.
After evaluating all the 150 councils, the top 15 would be selected. Then the jury will
individually go to these 15 selected councils and make an on the spot assessment and the winners would be announced,' added Sajan.

The performance of these councils would be aired on Doordarshan for half an hour as the Green Kerala Express show starting March 1 till July from Monday to Friday.

The three member expert panel comprises South Indian actress Padma Priya (special invitee), former Centre for Development Studies director K.P. Kannan and Vineetha Menon, a professor at the Kannur University.

The technical panel of the jury includes experts in the field of local level development and those who have worked extensively with various agencies at the grassroot level.

AIIEA calls to mobilise public opinion against insurance bills

The All India Insurance Employees’ Association (AIIEA) on Saturday asked insurance employees to mobilise public opinion against the two insurance bills-- Insurance Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2008 and LIC Act (Amendment) Bill, 2009 --referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament.

J Gurumurthy, secretary of Standing Committee (General Insurance) AIIEA said they have decided to secure from the policy holders and general public over 20 lakh postcards addressed to the Prime Minister demanding the withdrawal of the two Insurance Bills in the national interest. Already over 18 lakh policy holders have sent the postcards to the Prime Minister, he said.

Man running children's home held

The owner of a children’s home in a village in Kanyakumari District, wanted by police for allegedly harassing 76 inmates, most of whom are from Manipur and Assam, has been arrested from Kerala. Police said

Shaji, founder of the Bethesda Blessing Home at Pallavi, was arrested in Palakkad last night by a special team formed to nab him after the harassment came to light during investigations by Child Welfare Commission.

Shaji was produced in a court and remanded to judicial custody, they said. During investigations, the commission officials found that the children had been harassed by Shaji and that the home had no approval. All the children have been rescued and shifted to a home in Tirunelveli District from where they would leave for Assam tomorrow, police said.

Environmentalist hails decision on BT brinjal; slams MNCs

Noted environmental activist Vandana Shiva Thursday hailed the Center moratorium on commercial cultivation of BT Brinjal and said GM crops contained harmful elements that could throw open the future generations to complex diseases.

The future generation could suffer from complex diseases due to the harmful elements present in GM crops, she said. Lashing out at corporate and multinational giants, she said these firms were "thrusting" junk food habits on people, leading to complex diseases.

The increasing affinity towards fast food culture is part of "deliberate" efforts by MNCs in pursuit of capturing food processing sector by tending to spoil India’s biodiversity, she said on the sidelines of a food festival here.

Food processing units in India should be set up in rural areas to safeguard the rich bio-diversity in the interest of disease-free society in future. The "toxic and pesticide laced" food marketed in India would would spoil health of the future generations, she said.

The influx of edible soya and palm oil have adversely hit coconut cultivators in Kerala and the "misinformation" campaign against highly nutrient coconut oil was being made under pressure from the MNCs, she said.

The five-day ’Annam’ Food and Agro-biodiversity festival, organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action in association with various government institutions, was formally inaugurated by Union Minister of State for Agriculture K V Thomas.

Houseboat ride becomes cheaper

India’s not-to-miss tourist experiences like a ride on the Palace on Wheels or stay at the Lake Palace are often beyond the means of most Indians, but the economic slowdown has brought at least one experience within the reach of the middle-class -- Kerala’s houseboats.

For long patronised by rich foreign tourists, the backwater cruise industry in Kerala has woken up to the benefits of winning domestic tourists who virtually kept it afloat when the waves of the global economic slowdown hit the Indian shores in 2008-end. An overnight cruise through the coconut lagoon - an experience that the National Geographic Traveler has ranked ahead of viewing the Taj Mahal - is now cheaper by at least 20 per cent, if not more, than the period preceding the slowdown.

"A single bedroom houseboat can be hired for as low as Rs 6,000 a day and the rates include all meals for a couple... there were days when the same ride would have cost Rs 10,000-15,000," says Kochumon alias Sanish, who captains ’Sandra’, a well-appointed two bed-room houseboat that in its earlier avatar as ’kettuvallam’ (rope-tied country boat) ferried rice and spices in the Kuttanad region, the state’s rice bowl.

Compared to this, a ride on the Palace on Wheels costs anywhere around Rs 2,00,000 per person per week.

"We are seeing a lot of interest from tourists from the north, especially Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and Haryana and rates are no longer prohibitive," said Anil James, a houseboat operator. A typical backwater cruise takes tourists on a 40-km journey through the Vembanad lake, India’s longest spread over 1,512 sq.km, with a stopover at night by idyllic fishing villages whose people and tourists alike shop from a floating market ’Triveni’ operated by Kerala Consumerfed.

‘Encroachments: CPI urged to prove sincerity’

Ramesh Chennithala, KPCC president urged the CPI leadership to prove their sincerity in fight against illegal encroachments. Speaking to the media here, Chennithala opined that the revenue ministry should act, if the CPI leadership is true on their claims.

He alleged that even the CM is adopting a stand favourable to the encroachers.

Chennithala demanded that all encroached land should be taken back and handed over to the landless S Sivaraman ex-MP who resigned from Congress called upon Chennithala.

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