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Tamil Nadu

Death toll in Tamil Nadu due to cyclone Gaja rises to 33

The death toll due to cyclone Gaja, which hit Tamil Nadu's coastal districts on Friday, has increased to 33, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Saturday.

 
Coast Guard conducts aerial survey of Cyclone Gaja affected areas
The death toll due to cyclone Gaja, which hit Tamil Nadu's coastal districts on Friday, has increased to 33, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said on Saturday.
 
Speaking to reporters at Salem, about 350 kilometres from here, Palaniswami said that 20 men, 11 women, and 2 children died due to the cyclone that crossed the Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. on Friday.
 
The cyclone left a trail of destruction in Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Cuddalore, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts, damaging houses, huts and crops.
 
Palaniswami said about 70 livestock and several goats, poultry and deer have also died due to the cyclone.
 
Some 127,000 trees were uprooted by the strong cyclonic winds that touched a maximum speed of about 120 kmph, the Chief Minister added.
 
He said supplies of water, milk and food were being distributed to the people affected by the calamity.
 
About 177,500 people are staying in 351 relief camps in the cyclone-affected areas.
 
The Chief Minister said about 30,000 electricity poles were broken, and 105 power sub-stations affected. About 10,000 personnel have been sent to the cyclone-affected coastal districts to repair the installations.
 
Meanwhile, actor Rajinikanth appreciated the members of his Rajini Makkal Mandram for their work in providing relief to the cyclone-affected people.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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Cyclone Gaja claims 13 lives, leaves trail of destruction in TN

Severe cyclonic storm Gaja battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 13 people and several livestock dead and a trail of destruction in several districts.

 
Cyclone Gaja wreaks havoc in TN’s Nagapattinam
Severe cyclonic storm Gaja battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 13 people and several livestock dead and a trail of destruction in several districts.
 
Authorities said the cyclone crossed the coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. with wind speeds of about 110-120 kmph.
 
So powerful were the gales that the roof-sheets of the Nagapattinam railway station were damaged. Thatched and tiled roofs of several houses were also damaged in the strong cyclonic winds.
 
A ship was grounded in Karaikal Port in Puducherry.
 
Traffic on the highways was affected owing to fallen trees while communication links in Vedaranyam were also affected.
 
Traffic out of hill station Kodaikanal was affected due to fallen trees.
 
In some places like Pudukottai walls of houses collapsed due to rains.
 
Apart from fallen 12,000 electricity poles in seven districts, 102 power sub-stations in districts like Nagapattinam, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur were affected.
 
According to the state power utility, about 500 km of power supply lines were affected by Gaja. Officials said it would take at least two days to restore power supply in full in districts like Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur.
 
Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said in Salem, some 350 km from the state capital, that 13 persons had lost their lives in the cyclone.
 
He said a sum of Rs 10 lakh would be paid to each family of the dead. For those severely injured, a sum of Rs 100,000 would be paid and those who suffered minor injuries would get Rs 25,000.
 
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About 82,000 people living in low-lying areas have been sent to 471 relief centres, the Chief Minister said, adding the preventive measures helped keep the death toll low.
 
Relief centres were set up in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself.
 
According to officials, 28 livestocks were killed in cyclone.
 
Owing to strong winds, an Indigo Airlines Chennai-Trichy flight was not able to land in Trichy and was sent back.
 
R. B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said all the trees felled by the cyclone were being removed.
 
Piles of felled trees blocked traffic in parts of Nagapattinam and Vedaranyum.
 
Several universities in Tamil Nadu have postponed their examinations slated for Friday. Schools remained closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry, including Karaikal.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast scattered heavy to very heavy rain over Tiruchirapalli, Namakkal, Dindigul, Madurai, Theni, Karur, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Nilgiris and Virudhunagar districts of Tamil Nadu.
 
According to Chief Minister Palaniswami, the Fisheries Department will estimate the damage to the fishing boats before paying compensation to the fishermen.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Chief Minister Palaniswami and enquired about the cyclone damage.
 
IANS
 

(Our News Desk can be contacted at desk@netindian.in)

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10 dead in Kerala, TN, several fishermen missing as cyclone Ockhi heads for Lakshadweep

Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands on Friday.

 
Cyclone Ockhi: 8 killed, several fishermen missing
Heavy rains lashed many parts of south Kerala and south Tamil Nadu and at least 10 people have died since yesterday as cyclone Ockhi intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm and hurtled past the coasts of the two states towards Lakshadweep Islands today.
 
Four people were killed in south Kerala and five in south Tamil Nadu in rain-related incidents yesterday even as the authorities mounted a massive search and rescue operation for scores of fishermen reported missing at sea.
 
One fisherman, who was among those rescued today, died in hospital here today, taking the toll in Kerala to five, official sources said.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) issued a warning of a very severe cyclone for Lakshadweep Islands this evening and said the system was likely to intensify further in the next 24 hours.
 
In a Red message issued at 1730 hours today, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said the system, now over the Lakshadweep  area and adjoining southeast Arabian Sea, continued to move west-northwestwards with a speed of 15 kmph during the past six hours and intensified further into a "Very Severe Cyclonic Storm".
 
It lay centred at 1430 hours IST today near latitude 9.1º N and longitude 73.0º E, about 90 km north of Minicoy and 220 km south-southeast of Amini Divi. 
 
"The system is very likely to intensify further during next 24 hours. It is very likely to continue to move west-northwestwards across Lakshadweep Islands during next 24 hours and then move north/ northeastwards during the subsequent 48 hours," the bulletin said.
 
The IMD warned that, under the influence of the system, heavy to very heavy rainfall was very likely at most places over Lakshadweep area during the next 24 hours, with isolated extremely heavy falls. There could be isolated heavy to very heavy falls during the subsequent 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin also said that rainfall was very likely at many places over Kerala during the next 24 hours, with heavy rainfall at isolated places.
 
According to it, gale winds, with speed reaching 120-130 kmph, gusting to 145 kmph, were very likely over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and gradual decrease thereafter.
 
Squally winds, with speed reaching 45-55 kmph, gusting to 65 kmph, were very likely along and off Kerala during the next 24 hours and along and off Karnataka coast during the next 24 hours, it said.
 
The bulletin said sea conditions would be phenomenal over and around Lakshadweep Islands during the next 24 hours and very high during the subsequent 24 hours.
 
Sea conditions would be high to very high along and off the Kerala coast during the next 24 hours and along and off the Karnataka coast during subsequent 24 hours.
 
The cyclone could cause damage to power and communication lines due to breaking of tree branches and uprooting of large avenue trees; major damage to thatched houses, huts and kutcha houses; some damage to pucca roads; flooding of escape routes; and damage to banana and papaya trees and standing crops.
 
Storm surge of about one metre above astronomical tides was very likely to inundate low lying areas of Lakshadweep Islands, the bulletin said.
 
Fishermen along and off Lakshadweep Islands were advised not to venture into the sea during the next 48 hours. Similarly, fishermen were advised not to venture into the sea along and off the Kerala and Karnataka coasts during the next 48 hours.
 
Ships and aircraft of the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Indian Air Force (IAF) were involved in the rescue efforts at sea while teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were deployed in the affected areas in the two states and units of the Indian Army were on standby to come to the aid of the civil adminstration, if necessary.
 
Official sources here said more than 220 people had been rescued from the sea by the Navy, ICG and IAF. Many of them were admitted to hospitals here for treatment, they said. 
 
Some of the fishermen were rescued by a Japanese cargo ship in the area. As many as 37 people were rescued by Advanced Light Helicopters (ALHs) of the Indian Navy which flew between Thiruvananthapuram and the sea.
 
The ICG said it had deployed nine ships and two Dornier aircraft in the area and rescued as many as 52 fishermen so far.
 
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The International Safety Net (ISN) had been activated to advise Merchant Traffic to render assistance to stranded fishermen, it said.
 
Among others, Indian Naval Ships Sagardhwani, Jamuna and Nireekshak were in the affected areas in the Arabian Sea. INS Sharda and Shardul are also sailing out soon to augment the search effort. Both ships were in final stages of embarking HADR items for assistance at Lakshadweep and Minicoy Islands, Indian Navy sources said.
 
In Poonthura, a coastal village near here, angry groups of fishermen and their families staged protests, alleging that the government had not acted in time and not done enough as far as the rescue efforts were concerned. 
 
Former Chief Minister and Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, both senior leaders of the Congress, visited the area today to listen to the woes of the villagers.
 
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told newspersons that the state government had received an alert about the cyclone only on Thursday afternoon. He said the rescue efforts were also hampered by the bad weather conditions.
 
Mr. Vijayan said all possible efforts were being made to locate and rescue the missing fishermen. He said the state government had urged the Ministry of Defence to deploy more aircraft for the search and rescue operations.
 
In Lakshadweep, the authorities had issued orders for the evacuation of people from low-lying areas in Kalpeni, Minicoy, Kavratti, Agatti, Androth, Kadamath and Amini islands.
 
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OPS gets boost as more AIADMK bigwigs back him in power tussle with Sasikala

Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam received a major boost in his open power tussle with ruling AIADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala when one of her key supporters and State Minister K. Pandiarajan and party spokesman and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan crossed over into his camp on Saturday.

 
TN Education Minister Pandiarajan backs OPS
Tamil Nadu caretaker Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam received a major boost in his open power tussle with ruling AIADMK General Secretary V. K. Sasikala when one of her key supporters and State Minister K. Pandiarajan and party spokesman and former Minister C. Ponnaiyan crossed over into his camp today.
 
As Ms. Sasikala moved quickly to keep her flock together amidst reports of growing desertions, three Lok Sabha members, V. Sathyabama of Tiruppur, Ashok Kumar of Krishnagiri and P R Sundaram of Namakkal also threw in their lot with Mr. Panneerselvam today.
 
Ms. Sasikala, on the other hand, voicing concern over the delay by Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in responding to her claim to form the next Government in the state, wrote to him again today, seeking an opportunity to parade before him the MLAs supporting her.
 
Mr. Pandiarajan, the state Minister for School Education and Sports and Youth Welfare, arrived at Mr. Panneerselvam's residence, bringing cheer to the large crowd camping there and which has seen its support base growing slowly in the past few days.
 
The decision of Mr. Pandiarajan, one of the founders of well-known recruitment and consultancy firm Ma Foi, to switch loyalties is significant, given the fact that he was one of Ms. Sasikala's most ardent supporters during the past several days of political crisis in the state.
 
An indication of his impending shift was available from a "tweet" he posted on micro-blogging site Twitter this morning.
 
"Will surely listen to the collective voice of my voters & decide in a way to uphold the dignity of Amma's memory & unity of AIADMK!" he said.
 
Mr. Ponnaiyan said Mr. Panneerselvam was capable of leading the party with discipline and of running a corruption-free government.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam's Twitter handle said that state Rural Industries Minister P. Benjamin would shortly visit him to extend his support to him.
 
In her letter to the Governor, Ms. Sasikala noted that she had written to him on February 5 and February 7, seeking an appointment with him.
 
The Governor met her and nine Tamil Nadu Ministers in the evening of February 9 when she formally informed him of her election as the leader of the AIADMK legislature party last Sunday.
 
O. Panneerselvam
O. Panneerselvam
"... I submitted my elaborate presentation to invite me to form the Government as I have absolute majority. Original letter and true copy of the resolution were also handed over to Your Excellency," she said.
 
"Thus, as it has been seven long days since the Chief Minister Thiru. O. P. Panneerselvam submitted and Your Excellency accepted his resignation, taking the urgency of the situation at hand, I would like to seek an appointment with Your Excellency by today along with all MLAs who extended their support to me regarding further course of action to form the Government," she said.
 
"I believe Your Excellency will act immediately to save the sovereignty of the Constitution, democracy and the interest of the state," she added.
 
Ms. Sasikala addressed her supporters outside Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of the late Ms. Jayalalithaa, and said, "Amma has given me 1.5 crore party brothers and sisters.When they are with me,the sinister intentions of many will not  harm me."
 
"Amma is confident that I will look after AIADMK with all care," she said.
 
She said the relentless work done by Ms. Jayalalithaa had made AIADMK the third largest party. "Amma is with us now. Our Amma is now showing us the betrayers of our party," she said.
 
"People who think they can separate our party which has 1.5 crore people will only face defeat. Amma won over the hurdles, we are facing the same situation,we will also win over it. I believe in justice and democracy," she added.
Later, Ms. Sasikala drove in a motorcade to the resort where about 120 AIADMK MLAs have been staying for the past few days and met them for discussions on their future course of action.
 
"After meeting the party MLAs, I feel happy," she said. "All the party MLAs are fine and happy."
 
She said the "created time lag", in inviting her to form the government, appeared to be intended to create a split in the party.
 
Ms. Sasikala said she and her supporters were "waiting patiently" till now for a response to their claim, adding that "necessary measures will be taken".
 
Mr. K. A. Sengottayan, who has been appointed as the new chairman of the AIADMK Presidium, told journalists at the resort that all the MLAs there would remain with Ms. Sasikala till the end. "Our only aim is to make her the Chief Minister," he said.
 
However, there has been no indication whatsoever from Raj Bhavan in the past few days on when and how the political stalemate would be ended.
 
Even as the two rival groups continued to swipe and snipe at each other, Raj Bhavan clarified yesterday that the Governor had not sent any report to the President or the Ministry of Home Affairs on the political situation in the state.
 
The clarification came after media reports which said that Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra and is holding additional charge as the Governor of Tamil Nadu, had sent a report to the Centre after his meetings with Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala.
 
"Thiru Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, Governor of Tamil Nadu has not sent any report either to the Ministry of Home Affairs or to the President of India, as reported in some of the media," a statement from Raj Bhavan said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, had submitted his resignation last Sunday after Ms. Sasikala, 60, a long-time aide of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, was chosen by AIADMK MLAs as the new leader of their legislative party and, therefore, his successor. The Governor accepted his resignation on Monday and asked him to continue in office till alternative arrangments were made. 
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister in the early hours of December 6, 2016 shortly after the death of Ms. Jayalalithaa, who was both the head of the government and the party supremo.
 
The usually reticent and self-effacing Mr. Panneerselvam made a surprise visit to the memorial of Ms. Jayalalithaa late in the night last Tuesday and then told waiting newspersons that he had been forced to resign and that he was willing to continue as Chief Minister if the people and the party so wished.
 
Ms. Sasikala was widely expected to be sworn in on Tuesday, but the Governor has not yet taken a final view on the situation confronting the state. Mr. Rao, who reached here from Mumbai on Thursday afternoon, met ten-member delegations led by the rivals, Mr. Panneerselvam and Ms. Sasikala, later that day.
 
While Mr. Panneerselvam told the Governor that he was forced to quit as Chief Minister and that he should be allowed to continue and take a floor test in the Assembly, Ms. Sasikala submitted to Mr. Rao a list of about 130 of the AIADMK's 135 MLAs and staked claim to forming the next Government.
 
The Governor is understood to be consulting legal and Constitutional experts and weighing his options.
 
Yesterday, Mr. Rao met State Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan and Director General of Police T. K. Rajendran as well as Chennai Police Commissioner S. George amidst complaints by the Panneerselvam camp that the Sasikala group was holding about 120 MLAs at a nearby resort, many of them against their will.
 
V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
DMK working president and leader of the Opposition M. K. Stalin met Mr Rao yesterday and submitted a representation in which he said the state administration could not be allowed to drift any further. He urged the Governor to take steps to ensure that a democratically and Constitutionally valid government was in place at the earliest through a free and fair floor test.
 
Meanwhile, Ms. Sasikala yesterday expelled AIADMK presidium chairman E. Madhusudanan from the primary membership of the party, a day after he threw in his lot with Mr. Panneerselvam. Mr. K. A. Sengottayan has been appointed as the new chairman of the presidium.
 
Mr. Madhusudanan, on his part, wrote to the Election Commission stating that Ms. Sasikala's election as General Secretary of the party was in violation of its rules and urging it to reject her claims in this regard.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had said on Thursday that he would issue orders to convert Veda Nilayam, the Poes Garden residence of late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, into a memorial for her. The announcement assumes significance in view of the fact that Ms. Sasikala is functioning from that house.
 
To take this a step further, his camp has launched a signature campaign outside his residence on the proposal.
 
Two days after Ms. Sasikala removed him from the post of AIADMK treasurer, Mr. Panneerselvam on Thursday also wrote to banks asking them to not allow any one to access the party funds without his written permission. He said his removal from the post of treasurer was illegal.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam has been always regarded as a trusted lieutenant of Ms. Jayalalithaa and had stood in for her as Chief Minister twice when she faced crises.
 
Among those who have openly come out to support Mr. Panneerselvam is AIADMK Rajya Sabha member V. Maitreyan and former Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker P. H. Pandian.
 
There has been opposition to Ms. Sasikala's elevation from a section of the public, in social media and from the Opposition in the state. They point to the fact that she has never contested any election and has no administrative experience. They also point to the fact that an appeal against her acquittal in a two-decade-old corruption case is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict could be delivered as early as next week.
 
Ms. Sasikala and two others were co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in the case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. The two others are her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22 and died on December 5 after a sudden cardiac arrest. Doctors who treated her had told a press conference here on Monday that the AIADMK leader had been treated for septicemia and a host of other medical problems.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was hospitalised on September 22.
 
He had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
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Panneerselvam's resignation accepted, Sasikala likely to be sworn in on Tuesday

Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao on Monday accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers and his successor, Ms. V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday.

V. K. Sasikala
V. K. Sasikala
Tamil Nadu Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao today accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers and his successor, Ms. V. K. Sasikala, a long-time aide of late AIADMK supremo J. Jayalalithaa, is expected to be sworn in tomorrow.
 
The Governor requested Mr. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers to continue to function until alternate arrangements are made, a press release from the Raj Bhavan said.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, had resigned from office yesterday after the ruling All India Anna Dravid Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) legislature party met here and chose Ms. Sasikala as its new leader.
 
Ms. Sasikala, 60, is expected to be sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the State tomorrow morning at a function at the Madras University auditorium. 
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had been sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, succeeding Ms. Jayalalithaa who passed away at a private hospital here late night on December 5.
 
"Chinnamma elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader," the AIADMK had said on micro-blogging site Twitter yesterday. Ms. Sasikala is referred to as "Chinamma" by party workers, just as Ms. Jayalalithaa was called "Amma".
 
It said Mr. Panneerselvam himself, known to be a long-time Jayalalithaa loyalist, had proposed Ms. Sasikala's name as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party leader.
 
"Chinnamma all set to become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," the party said.
 
Ms. Sasikala had then made a brief appearance in the balcony of Ms. Jalayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden here, dressed in a green saree and blouse, the AIADMK's colour, and greeted the crowds gathered outside with a "namaste" and then the "V" sign.
 
She later drove to the AIADMK headquarters where she said that it was Mr. Panneerselvam who had urged her first to take charge as General Secretary of the party and it was he who insisted, first, that she become the Chief Minister of the state. Ms. Sasikala has never held any position in Government before nor has she ever contested any elections.
 
She assured the people that her government would always work for the welfare of the people. "Tamil Nadu Government will follow the principles of Amma," she said.
  
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
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He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
Ms. Sasikala, along with her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi , were  co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in an 18-year-old corruption case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. An appeal against the acquittal is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict in the matter is awaited.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
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Sasikala Natarajan set to be new CM of Tamil Nadu

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, a long-time friend and companion of late party supremo J. Jayalithaa, is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs met in Chennai and chose her as the leader of its legislature party.

 
Sasikala Natarajan appointed legislative party leader of AIADMK
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) General Secretary Sasikala Natarajan, a long-time friend and companion of late party supremo J. Jayalithaa, is all set to become the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu after the party's MLAs met here today and chose her as the leader of its legislative party.
 
She will succeed Mr. O. Panneerselvam, senior leader of the ruling AIADMK, who was sworn in as the Chief Minister of the state in the early hours of December 6, succeeding Ms. Jayalalithaa who passed away at a private hospital here late night on December 5.
 
"Chinnamma elected as the AIADMK Legislature Party Leader," the AIADMK said on micro-blogging site Twitter. 
 
Ms. Sasikala, 60, is referred to as "Chinamma" by party workers, just as Ms. Jayalalithaa was called as "Amma". It said Mr. Panneerselvam had proposed Ms. Sasikala's name as the new leader of the AIADMK legislature party leader.
 
"Chinnamma all set to become the next Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu," the party said.
 
Ms. Sasikala made a brief appearance in the balcony of Ms. Jalayalalithaa's residence in Poes Garden here, dressed in a green saree and blouse, the AIADMK's colour, and greeted the crowds gathered outside with a "namaste" and then the "V" sign.
 
Ms. Sasikala later drove to the AIADMK headquarters where she said that it was Mr. Panneerselvam who had urged her first to take charge as General Secretary of the party and it was he who insisted, first, that she become the Chief Minister of the state. Ms. Sasikala has never held any position in Government before nor has ever contested any elections.
 
She assured the people that her government would always work for the welfare of the people. "Tamil Nadu Government will follow the principles of Amma," she said.
 
She is expected to meet Governor C. Vidyasagar Rao in the next day or two and stake claim to form the next government in the state.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam, 65, was Finance Minister in Ms. Jayalalithaa's Cabinet and was also handling all the portfolios held by her after she was admitted to the Apollo Hospital here on September 22.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam had stood in as Chief Minister for Ms. Jayalalithaa twice in the past. On September 29, 2014, he took over the position when Ms. Jayalalithaa resigned after being sentenced to four years in prison by a special court in Bangalore in a corruption case. Ms. Jayalalithaa returned to office on May 23, 2015, twelve days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in the 19-year-old corruption case.
 
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He had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Ms Jayalalithaa was cleared of all charges in 2002 and returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms. Sasikala's control over the party was in evidence in the manner in which she carried out Ms. Jayalalithaa's last rites and then took hold of the reins of the AIADMK a few days later. Since then, there has been a clamour from a group within the AIADMK that, after being chosen as the new General Secretary, she should also take charge of the Government. Ms. Jayalalithaa held both the posts and they argued that it was better if the same person held both positions.
 
Ms. Sasikala, along with her nephew Sudhakaran, who is Ms. Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and her close relative Ilavarasi , were  co-accused with Ms. Jayalalithaa in an 18-year-old corruption case, in which they were all acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in May 2015. An appeal against the acquittal is pending before the Supreme Court and its verdict in the matter is awaited.
 
The Karnataka High Court had allowed Ms. Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore. The special court had sentenced Ms. Sasikala, Sudharakan and Ilavarasi  also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
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Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest in hospital

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital in Chennai for the last three months for a lung infection, suffered a cardiac arrest on Sunday evening, the hospital said.

 
Tamil Nadu CM Jayalalithaa suffers cardiac arrest
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, who has been undergoing treatment at the Apollo Hospital here for the last three months for a lung infection, suffered a cardiac arrest this evening, the hospital said.
 
"The Hon'ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nau who is undergoing treatment at Apollo Hospitals, Greams Road, Chennai, suffered a cardiac arrest this evening," the hospital said in a statement late tonight.
 
"She is being treated and monitored by a team of experts, including Cardiologists, Pulmonologists and the Critical Care Specialists," the statement added.
 
The hospital said Ms. Jayalalithaa was on extracorporeal membrane heart assist device and was being treated by a team of expert doctors and critical care specialists.
 
The hospital said Dr Richard Beale from London had also been consulted and he had concurred with the line of treatment by its cardiologists and pulmonologists.
 
"Our prayers are with her and we hope she will recover soon. We request all of you to pray for her good health and well being. The Hon'ble CM is the beloved leader of the masses. Please join us in praying for her speedy recovery," the hospital said in a series of posts on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Tamil Nadu Governor Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao, to inquire about Ms. Jayalalithaa's heath.
 
Mr. Rao, who is the Governor of Maharashtra, is holding additional charge of Tamil Nadu, since August 31 following the end of the tenure of Mr. K. Rosaiah. He told Mr. Rajnath Singh that he would leave for Chennai tonight.
 
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Hundreds of workers of Ms. Jayalalithaa's party, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), her supporters and leaders of the party began converging outside the hospital after hearing of the news of her cardiac arrest. Police stepped up security arrangements outside the hospital as a precautionary measure.
 
Earlier in the day, the AIADMK had said that Ms. Jayalalithaa would soon decide when she would leave hospital and return home after doctors had declared that she had fully recovered.
 
The hospital has said several times in the past few weeks that the Chief Minister, called "Amma" by her supporters, was well enough to return home whenever she wanted. Her party said she was involved in taking government decisions and also speaking on occasion to those who were allowed to meet her.
 
Ms. Jayalalithaa was admitted to the hospital on September 27 for treatment of dehydration and fever. Later, there were reports that she was also being treated for a chronic lung infection and that he had been put on respiratory support. Specialist doctors from London and Delhi had been flown in to monitor her condition.
 
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Jayalalithaa returns as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu

AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on Saturday, 12 days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in an 19-year-old corruption case and paved the way for her return to the top job in the state for the fifth time after a gap of eight months.

 
Jayalalithaa sworn in as Tamil Nadu CM
 
 
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa was sworn in as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu here today, 12 days after the Karnataka High Court acquitted her in an 19-year-old corruption case and paved the way for her return to the top job in the state for the fifth time after a gap of eight months.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah administered the oaths of offie and secrecy to Ms Jayalalithaa at a ceremony at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, as many as 28 other Ministers were also sworn in, including Mr O. Panneerselvam, who had functioned as Chief Minister since September 29 after she had been forced to resign following her conviction by a special court in Bangalore in the case.
 
Mr Panneerselvam will be Finance Minister, a portfolio he had held in her previous Cabinet.
 
The Governor had accepted the resignation of Mr. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers with effect from the forenoon of yesterday and requested him and his Council of Ministers to function until alternative arrangements were made.
 
Later yesterday, Ms Jayalalithaa, who was elected as the leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party, had called on Mr Rosaiah and staked her claim to form the new government.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa will have to get elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly within six months in keeping with Constitutional requirements.
 
Mr Panneerselvam had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. Like this tim, she was then, too, cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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On May 11, the Karnataka High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of the special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state. The acquittal by the High Court meant that Ms Jayalalithaa could return as Chief Minister.
 
The three co-accused who were acquitted along with her are her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each by the special court.
 
Sasikala was among the more than 3000 people present at the ceremony. Others present included film stars Rajnikanth, Sarath Kumar and Prabhu and industrialists N Srinivasan and A C Muthaiah.
 
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Jayalalithaa acquitted in corruption case, paving way for her return as TN CM

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was on Monday acquitted by the Karnataka High Court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was today acquitted by the Karnataka High Court here in an 18-year-old corruption case, clearing the way for her return to the top job in her state.
 
The High Court allowed Ms Jayalalithaa's appeal against the verdict of a special court in Bangalore which had, on September 23, 2014, sentenced her to four years in prison and asked her to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Reading out the operative part of the judgement at 11 am in the court, Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy said the appeals by Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused had been allowed and that they were acquitted of all charges.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, 67, had also been barred by the special court from contesting elections and that verdict had meant that she had been disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly and ceased to be the Chief Minister of the state.
 
Today's acquittal means that Ms Jayalithaa, supremo of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), can return as Chief Minister.
 
After she had stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29 last year.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case. She was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, a film star-turned-politician, and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The special court had sentenced the co-accused -- her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew Sudharakan, who is Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son, and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi -- also to four years in prison and fined them Rs 10 crore each.
 
 
Jayalalithaa acquitted by Karnataka HC in corruption case
Celebrations broke out among Ms Jayalalithaa's supporters all across Tamil Nadu as well as outside the high court here, where they had gathered in large numbers.
 
Hundreds of people who had congregated outside her Poes Garden residence in Chennai since early morning burst firecrackers, danced and distributed sweets as soon as news of the verdict by Mr Justice C R Kumaraswamy ame in.
 
Mr Panneerselvam and many of his Cabinet colleagues also turned up to congratulate her.
 
On October 17 last year, Ms Jayalalithaa had been granted bail by the Supreme Court in the case after the Karnataka High Court had turned down her application.
 
Along with her, the apex court also granted bail to Ms Natarajan, Mr Sudhakaran and Mr Ilavarasi.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Ms Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In 2011, Jayalalithaa had appeared in the Bangalore court for four days to answer more than 1390 questions posed by the judge.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections last year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state.
 
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10 dead, 50 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed on Friday morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.

 
10 dead, 50 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least ten passengers died and about 50 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
Prima facie, the derailment occurred after the train hit a boulder that had rolled down onto the tracks in the ghat section, the sources said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train went off the rails, and one coach in particular, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
The derailed coaches included two air-conditioned chair cars and six second class chair cars, but they did not suffer much damage.
 
A pantry car and four second class chair cars were not affected by the derailment, the sources said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that ten bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said 18 of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals nearby.
 
Police and emergency personnel, including railway officials and staff, from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section at the earliest, the sources said.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said he was rushing to the scene of the accident and that he had directed the Chairman of the Railway Board, the General Manager of South-Western Railway and other senior officials to reach the spot.
 
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He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected passengers and families. He also announced an ex-gratia amount of Rs 200,000 for the next-of-kin of each of those killed in the accident, Rs 50,000 for the grievously injured passengers and Rs 20,000 for those with minor injuries.
  
Union Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, a former Minister for Railways and former Karnataka Chief Minister, was among those who reached the scene of the accident. 
 
"I am personally monitoring it and in touch with State and local administration. All Sr rail officials are directed by me to be on job," Mr Prabhu said.
 
"Condolences to all the  unfortunate members of the families who lost lives. Directed to provide best possible medical care to the injured," he said.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
The Railways have set up the following helplines to provide information and assistance to victims and their relatives: 0948090599,  08022371166, 09731666751.
 
Besides, the Railways have set up the following helpline numbers in Kerala:
 
Trivandrum: 0471-2321205, 2321237, 09746769960
Ernakulam Jn.: 0484-2100317, 0813699773
Ernakulam Town: 0484-2398200
Trichur: 04877-2424148, 2430060
Aluva: 0484-2624143
 
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SC grants bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

The Supreme Court on Friday granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who was convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.

File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
File photo of J. Jayalalithaa.
The Supreme Court today granted bail to former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, who were convicted by a special court in Bangalore on September 27 in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison and asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore.
 
Along with Ms Jayalalithaa, 66, the apex court also granted bail to her close aide Sasikala Natarajan, Sasikala's nephew and Jayalalithaa's disowned foster son Sudhakaran and Sasikala's close relative Ilavarasi, who were also convicted in the case and sentenced to four years in prison and fined Rs 10 crore each.
 
The Karnataka High Court had, on October 7, rejected Ms Jayalalithaa's bail application. While doing so, Judge A V Chandrashekhara recalled that the Supreme Court had made it clear in the past that corruption cases should be put on the fast track. He pointed out that the apex court had taken a tough stand in such cases and had described corruption as a "violation of human rights".
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and the three co-accused persons were accused by the prosecution of amassing assets valued at Rs 66.65 crore disproportionate to their known sources of income from 1991-96 during her first term in office.
 
The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo had moved the Supreme Court for bail on October 9.
 

 
Jayalalithaa granted interim bail by SC in DA case
The apex court today suspended her sentence and granted her bail after imposing some conditions, including that she would have to submit her paprs for the appeal against her conviction within two months, that is by December 18, and that she would not seek any adjournment of the hearings. 
 
As soon as news of the court's decision to grant her bail came, hundreds of supporters of Ms Jayalalithaa in Chennai and elsewhere broke out into rapturous celebrations.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa, who has been held in prison in Bangalore since September 27, is expected to be released on bail later today or tomorrow. She will remain confined to home in Chennai while she is on bail.
 
The court fixed December 18 as the date to satisfy itself if she had complied with its order.
 
Her counsel Fali Nariman assured the court on her behalf that there would be no act of lawlessness by her party's workers in Tamil Nadu. She had sought bail on the grounds that she was suffering from various ailments and that she was a senior citizen and a woman.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa stood disqualified as a member of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly after her conviction and sentence and had to resign as Chief Minister. She is also barred from contesting elections for six years after she completes her four-year sentence.
 
The case was filed in 1997 by the Tamil Nadu government's Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) during the tenure of Jayalalithaa's rival and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader M Karunanidhi as Chief Minister.
 
The Supreme Court ordered the case to be transferred to a special court in Bangalore in 2003 on a petition filed by DMK leader K Anbazhagan, who had expressed doubts about a fair trial in Tamil Nadu after Jayalalithaa returned as Chief Minister.
 
The prosecution had alleged that Ms Jayalalithaa had just Rs 3 crore when she took over as Chief Minister for the first time in 1991 and had taken a token salary of just Re 1, but her wealth and that of her three co-accused had grown to Rs 66.6 crore during her five years in office, vastly disproportionate to her known sources of income.
 
The alleged wealth included 2000 acres of land, 30 kg of gold and thousands of sarees. She was also accused of spending more than Rs 5 crore on her foster son's wedding in 1996, though she had claimed that the expenditure was borne by the bride's family.
 
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The court held that the prosecution had been able to prove that she possessed disproportionate assets of about Rs 53 crore. 
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had all along maintained that the case was an act of political vendetta by the DMK. Among other things, she had agued that her previous assets were undervalued, her property was overvalued and her income from various sources were not taken into account.
 
In the Lok Sabha elections held earlier this year, the AIADMK had made a near clean sweep in Tamil Nadu, winning 37 of the 39 seats from the state and emerging as the third largest party in the House.
 
Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly are due in 2016 and unless her conviction is overturned by a higher court, Ms Jayalalithaa cannot contest them.
 
After Ms Jayalalithaa stepped down, senior AIADMK leader O. Panneerselvam was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on September 29.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 63, had earlier served as Chief Minister for a brief period from September 21, 2001 to March 1, 2002 after the Supreme Court had declared null and void the action of then Governor Fatima Beevi appointing Ms Jayalalithaa to the position as she had been sentenced to two years rigorous imprisonment in another corruption case.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa was later cleared of all charges in 2002 and had returned as Chief Minister.
 
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Nissan India announces start of production of new Kicks

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Automobiles manufacturers Nissan India has announced the start of production of its new Kicks sports utility vehicle (SUV) with the rolling out of the first vehicle from its Chennai plant.
 
"With this, the company is gearing up for the launch of India’s most awaited and Intelligent SUV in January 2019," a press release from Nissan India said.
 
Thomas Kuehl, President, Nissan India Operations said, “We are excited to announce the start-of-production of New Nissan Kicks at our plant in Chennai. We had recently showcased the New Nissan Kicks which has created a lot of buzz and excitement amongst SUV enthusiasts across the country. Designed to appeal to the new-age urban adventure seeker, the Kicks is a testimony to our commitment to the Indian consumers and also reflects the SUV heritage of Nissan.”
 
The release said the new Kicks is "powered by progressive SUV design and advanced technology for the new age urban adventure seeker". 
 
"The newest offering from the Nissan fleet in India has a unique wider and robust style underlined by a Dynamic Sonic Plus line, Wheel-oriented stance and a distinctive 3-dimensional presence. The body of the New Nissan Kicks is built with a Graphene (Gravity-philic Energy Absorption) body structure, enabling it to absorb impact energy, making it safer for agile movement on Indian roads," the release added.
 
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Rajinikanth's '2.0' set for major China release

A still from the movie
A still from the movie "2.0". (Photo: IANS)
Superstar Rajinikanth's "2.0", which has set the cost registers ringing all over, is gearing up for a major China release across 56,000 screens, according to its makers.
 
In a statement, Lyca Productions confirmed the news of the Shankar-directed sci-fi movie's release in association with HY Media in China with at least 47,000 of the total screens playing it in 3D format.
 
"2.0" will release in China in May 2019 and it will be the widest 3D release for any foreign language film in history, the statement said.
 
A sequel to Shankar's 2010 blockbuster "Enthiran", "2.0" has been produced by Lyca Productions and was released in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi on November 29.
 
The film, which features Rajinikanth in three different 'avatars', also stars Akshay Kumar, Amy Jackson, Adil Hussain and Sudhanshu Pandey.
 
Akshay Kumar, making his southern debut, plays the antagonist. The film has been made on a budget of Rs 600 crore.
 
Rajinikanth plays a scientist and a robot. He also appears as a microbot, dubbed 3.0, which was one of the major surprise elements.
 
Earlier this week, Lyca Productions revealed that the film grossed a whopping Rs 400 crore in its opening weekend worldwide.
 
Shankar has also confirmed he is ready to commence shooting for Kamal Haasan's "Indian 2", which marks his reunion with the latter after two decades.
 
"We recently did a make-up test with Kamal sir and I was really excited to see him in the get-up of Senapathy. We are all set to begin shoot very soon," Shankar told the media.
 
Shooting of "Indian 2" may start from December 14. Kajal Aggarwal has been roped in to play the leading lady. Anirudh Ravichander will compose the music. Lyca Productions will also be bankrolling "Indian 2".
 
IANS
 

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Train 18 breaches 180 kmph speed during trials

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Train 18, India's first locomotive-less train, on Sunday breached the 180 kmph speed limit during a test run, a top official said here.
 
In the process, the Rs 100 crore indigenously designed train has become the country's fastest train.
 
"Train 18 breached the 180 kmph speed limit in the Kota-Sawai Madhopur section. The major trials are now over with just some more remaining. Based on the reports fine tuning would be done if needed. As of now no major technical problem has cropped up," S. Mani, General Manager of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) that has manufactured the train, told IANS on Sunday.
 
"We expect Train 18 to commence its commercial run from January 2019. Normally the trials take three months. But now it is happening faster than expected," Mani added.
 
If all things go well, Train 18 will replace the current Shatabdi Express -- a day train.
 
Train 18 is capable of touching 200 kmph provided that the rest of Indian Railways' system such as tracks and signals permit, Mani had earlier told IANS.
 
Queried about rolling out a sleeper version of Train 18, he said: "We can roll out sleeper coaches as well. No major modifications to the train would be needed for that."
 
The ICF will roll out one more Train 18 this fiscal and four by the next fiscal.
 
On the export potential, he said, first the domestic demand will be met and then the overseas market would be looked at.
 
"The overseas demand depends on the kind of rail tracks they have. Medium income countries can certainly buy this train," Mani said.
 
On October 29, the high-tech, energy-efficient, self-propelled or engine-less train was flagged off here by Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani.
 
With 16 coaches, the train will have the same passenger carrying capacity as that of the Shatabdi Express. It is about 15-20 per cent energy efficient and leaves less carbon footprint.
 
Officials said the train was conceived, designed and developed in about 18 months' time as against the industry norm of about four years.
 
It has an aerodynamically designed driver cabins at both ends for quicker turn-around at destinations.
 
According to the ICF, every alternative coach is motorised, to ensure even distribution of power and faster acceleration or deceleration.
 
The train sports an advanced regenerative braking system which saves power.
 
Mani also said the fully air-conditioned train offers better passenger comfort and safety, as all equipment are fixed under the carriage/coach, so that more space is available on board.
 
Among the features that enhance passenger comfort are inter-connected fully sealed gangways, automatic doors with retractable footsteps, onboard Wi-Fi and infotainment, GPS-based passenger information system, modular toilets with bio-vacuum systems, rotational seats which can be aligned in the direction of travel (available only in the executive class), roller blinds and diffused LED lighting, and disabled-friendly toilets.
 
There are also emergency talk-back units, through which passengers can talk to crew in case of emergency, while CCTVs are provided in all coaches for safe and secure travel.
 
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TN cyclone toll rises to 45, opposition alleges poor relief work

 
Residents bear brunt of cyclone Gaja in Nagapattinam
The death toll due to the severe cyclone Gaja that devastated several districts in Tamil Nadu two days ago has risen to 45 and damaged 117,624 houses, Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said in Sunday.
 
Opposition leaders have criticized what they say was the government's apathy in reaching out relief materials like food, drinking water and other material to the cyclone affected areas.
 
In Pudukottai district, people complained about not getting relief materials and protested on the roads. They also set fire to five government vehicles.
 
Speaking to reporters at Salem, about 350 km from here, Palaniswami said 45 persons have died in the cyclone and the loss of livestock was put at 735.
 
He added that 88,102 hectare of crop and 39,938 electricity poles were damaged in the cyclone.
 
The central government has been asked to depute a team from the National Disaster Management to assess the destruction.
 
To a query about dropping relief materials by helicopters, Palaniswami said removal of trees from the roads would be completed fully on Sunday.
 
Palaniswami said he would visit the affected areas on Tuesday.
 
DMK President M. K. Stalin in a letter to the party cadres wondered whether Palaniswami's heart was made of iron as he appeared to be more interested with inaugurating projects rather than visiting the cyclone battered areas.
 
Stalin, who toured the areas, accused the government of failing to provide sufficient food, clothing and drinking water for the people at the relief centres.
 
He said had only the government carried out the dredging of canals and other water bodies, much of the damage could have been averted and several trees could have been saved.
 
Stalin said coconut trees in about 7,000 hectares in several districts have been damaged.
 
PMK founder S. Ramadoss said it was a shame that the AIADMK government was not providing even food for the cyclone affected people.
 
He said that various districts in the Cauvery delta region like Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur had been severely affected.
 
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Modi assures all possible Central assistance to cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi today condoled the loss of lives due to cyclone Gaja in Tamil Nadu and promised the state all possible help from the Central government.
 
“My thoughts are with the families of those who lost their lives due to cyclonic conditions in parts of Tamil Nadu. I pray for the quick recovery of those injured. Officials are working towards providing all possible assistance in the wake of the cyclone," Mr. Modi said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
"Spoke to the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Thiru Edappadi K. Palaniswami regarding the situation arising due to cyclone conditions in the state. Assured all possible help from the Centre. I pray for the safety and well-being of the people of Tamil Nadu," he added.
 
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Gaja cyclone hits Tamil Nadu, leaves 11 dead

A severe cyclonic storm, Gaja, battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 11 people dead and causing widespread destruction.

 
Cyclone Gaja wreaks havoc in TN’s Nagapattinam
A severe cyclonic storm, Gaja, battered the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, leaving at least 11 people dead and causing widespread destruction.
 
Authorities said the cyclone crossed the coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam districts between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. with wind speeds of about 110-120 kmph.
 
So powerful were the gales that the roof sheets of the Nagapattinam railway station were damaged.
 
Chief Minister K. Palaniswami said in Salem, some 350 km from here, that 11 persons had lost their lives due to the cyclone.
 
He said a sum of Rs 10 lakh would be paid to the next-of-kin of the dead. For those severely injured, a sum of Rs 100,000 would be paid and those who suffered minor injuries would get Rs 25,000.
 
About 82,000 people living in low-lying areas were sent to 471 relief centres, the Chief Minister said, adding that the preventive measures helped keep the death toll low.
 
Relief centres were set up in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself.
 
The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecast rains till Friday evening.
 
R.B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said all the trees felled by the cyclone were being removed.
 
Road traffic was hit in Nagapattinam due to the fallen trees.
 
The government snapped power supply on Thursday night as precaution. The cyclone damaged some 12,000 power poles.
 
Several universities in Tamil Nadu have postponed their exams slated for Friday.
 
Similarly, schools will remain closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry including Karaikal.
 
Isolated rains are likely over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and interiors of south Karnataka.
 
Gale wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph very likely in central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next six hours.
 
Powerful winds are also likely in the remaining parts of Tamil Nadu and the Palk Strait, which divides Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.
 
According to the Chief Minister, the Fisheries Department will estimate the damage to the fishing boats before paying compensation to the fishermen.
 
IANS

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Coast Guard takes steps to reduce cyclone Gaja impact

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Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has initiated a series of pre-emptive and proactive measures to prevent loss of fishermen lives at sea in the wake of alerts on cyclone in the Bay of Bengal since November 9.
 
Lessons from cyclone Ockhi and success in preventing loss of lives during recent cyclones Luban and Titliwere put into practice by the ICG, a press release from the Ministry of Defence said.
 
Around eight ICG ships and two Dornier aircraft were pressed into action since November 9 for the issuance of advisories and warnings in local languages to fishermen at sea for their safe return to ports. 
 
The Coast Guard Remote Operating Stations commenced issuance of warnings for fishermen in local languages. It requested fisheries authorities at Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh to account for all fishing boats. 
 
The ICG conducted a series of community interaction programmes at Kanyakumari, Mandapam, Rameswaram, Cuddalore, Chennai, Nellore, Nizampatnam, Uppada and Vishakhapatnam to sensitise fishermen and coastal population for taking safety measures ahead of the impact of the cyclone.
 
Anticipating the need for relief material and essential items post-impact of the cyclone in Southern Tamil Nadu areas of Mandapam and Karaikal, a large ICG ship with helicopter sailed from Vishakhapatnam with relief items such as potable drinking water, essential medicines, packaged food and life-saving material to the area. 
 
Three other ICG ships also sailed from Chennai for Mandapam on November 15 for augmenting search and rescue and post-cyclone relief operations. Further, merchant vessels transiting at deep seas were requested through International Safety Net by Maritime Rescue and Coordination Centre (Chennai) to alert fishermen at deep seas for early return and shelter at nearest ports. 
 
The Indian Coast Guard has kept response teams to be deployed at short notice at Chennai, Mandapam, Karaikal and Puducherry. It was closely coordinating with state fisheries authorities, port authorities and civil administration for reducing the impact of the cyclone.
 
Similar warnings have also been issued for the western coast, with the likelihood of the formation of a low-pressure area in the Arabian Sea from November 17 onwards.
 
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Cyclone Gaja crosses Tamil Nadu coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam

Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, felling several trees, damaging thatched huts and hoardings, according to the India Meteorological Department.

 
Cyclone Gaja makes landfall in Tamil Nadu
Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday, felling several trees, damaging thatched huts and hoardings, according to the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
 
In its weather bulletin, the IMD said Gaja crossed the coast between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam with a wind speed of about 110 kmph gusting up to 120 kmph.
 
The high speed wind has damaged the roof sheets of Nagapattinam railway station.
 
Speaking to the media, R. B. Udhyakumar, Minister for Revenue and Disaster Management, said the extent of damages will be known once the wind speed gets reduced.
 
He said after the rains preventive measures against breakout of disease will be taken.
 
The fallen trees are being removed at the earliest, Udhayakumar added.
 
Road traffic in the cyclone-hit Nagapattinam was affected due to fallen trees.
 
The government had disconnected power supply on Thursday night as a precautionary measure. Owing to the cyclone, several electricity poles have been damaged.
 
Several universities in Tamil Nadu have postponed their examinations slated for Friday.
 
Similarly, schools will remain closed on Friday in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Thiruvarur and several other districts in Tamil Nadu and in Puducherry including Karaikal.
 
More than 63,000 people have been evacuated from low lying areas and housed in 289 relief centres in Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur, Pudukottai and Thiruvarur on Thursday itself.
 
According to the IMD, scattered heavy rains is likely to occur over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala. 
 
Isolated rain is likely to occur over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and interiors of south Karnataka.
 
Gale wind speed reaching 100-110 kmph gusting to 120 kmph was very likely in central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts during next six hours.
 
Similarly, gale wind speed reaching 60-80 kmph was likely in the remaining parts of Tamil Nadu and Palk Strait during next six hours while strong winds with a speed of 30-40 kmph gusting at 50 kmph are very likely over interior Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Gulf of Mannar, Comorian area and Kerala coast, the IMD said.
 
IANS
 
 
 
 
 

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Cyclone Gaja crosses TN coast between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam

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Severe cyclonic storm Gaja crossed the Tamil Nadu coast on Friday between 12.30 a.m. and 2.30 a.m. between Nagapattinam and Vedaranyam, said Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).
 
The cyclone Gaja crossed the coast with a wind speed of about 110kmph gusting up to 120 kmph.
 
The Tamil Nadu government said fallen trees are being removed at the earliest.
 
According to IMD, scattered heavy rains is likely to occur over south Tamil Nadu and south Kerala. Isolated rain is likely to occur over north Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, north Kerala and and interiors of south Karnataka.
 
IANS
 
 
 

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Cyclone Gaja set to cross TN coast near Nagapattinam

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The severe cyclonic storm Gaja, which lay centred about 126 km east of Karaikal in Puducherry, is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast near Nagapattinam on Thursday night, Indian Meteoroligcal Department (IMD) said.
 
According to IMD, Gaja is expected to cross the coast south of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu by 11 p.m. Thursday with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph.
 
The IMD officials said the outer rim of the Gaja cyclone is touching Karaikal and strong winds have already started blowing in the coastal districts.
 
Rains have started in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore, Thiruvarur districts.
 
The IMD predicted rainfall at most places with heavy to very heavy falls at a few places over Tamilnadu and Puducherry.
 
Extremely heavy rain measuring about 20 cm at isolated places is also likely over Cuddalore, Nagappattinam, Karaikal, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts, IMD said.
 
Meanwhile, the Tamil Nadu government has set up relief centres in the districts of Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ramanathapuram, Thanjavur and Thiruvarur. People in living in low-lying areas have been shifted to relief centres.
 
Universities and colleges have postponed their exams slated for Friday. Similarly, schools and colleges in Nagapattinam, Cuddalore and Thiruvarur will be closed on Friday.
 
According to the state government, telecommunication companies have said they would have oil stocked for a minimum of five days in the cyclone-expected zone and for 15 days at their headquarters.
 
The mobile telephone companies also assured the government of moving their mobile telecom towers or cell on wheels to Nagapattinam and Cuddalore.
 
According to a statement from the state government, arrangements have been made to send bulk SMS to mobile subscribers warning about the weather issued by the emergency control centres.
 
The Indian Navy is also on high alert and is ready to render any assistance, a statement said.
 
Two Navy ships - Ranvir and Khanjar - are standing by to proceed to the most affected areas to undertake humanitarian aid, distress relief, evacuation, and logistic support, including proviging medical aid, the Navy said.
 
Additionally, aircraft from Naval Air Stations Dega, Rajali and Parundu and patrolling boats from naval detachments in Ramnathapuram, Nagapattinam have been warning the fishing vessels about the approaching storm, the Navy said.
 
Naval aircraft are also standing by to undertake reconnaissance, rescue, casualty, evacuation and air drop of relif material to the stranded.
 
IANS
 

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Cyclone Gaja to cross Tamil Nadu coast on Thursday evening

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Cyclone Gaja over southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal is expected to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore tomorrow evening with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph, gusting to 100 kmph.
 
The cyclone had moved west-southwestwards with a speed of 13 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 2030 hrs IST of today over southwest Bay of Bengal near latitude 12.2°N and longitude 84.0°E, about 410 km east-southeast of Chennai and 480 km east-northeast of Nagapattinam, a bulletin issued by the India Meteorological Department at 2130 hours said.
 
"It is very likely to move west-southwestwards and intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 12 hours. While moving west-southwestwards thereafter, it is likely to weaken and cross Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore during 15th November evening as a Cyclonic Storm with a wind speed of 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph," it said.
 
The IMD has issued a red alert for Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, warning that rainfall would occur at most places with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places tomrrow. It also said that extremely heavy rainfall (20 cm or more) was also likely over Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur, Thanjavur, Pudukottai, Tuticorin and Ramanathapuram districts.
 
IMD has also forecast rainfall at most places in interior Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on November 16, with heavy falls at a few places and very heavy falls at isolated places.
 
It has also issued warning for rainfall, with isolated heavy falls, over south coastal Andhra Pradesh, Rayalaseema and Kerala tomorrow. Heavy to very heavy falls were likely at isolated palces over Kerala on November 16, it said.
 
The bulletin warned that gale wind speed reaching 75-85 kmph gusting to 95 kmph prevailing over southwest Bay of Bengal was very likely to increase gradually, becoming 90-100 kmph, gusting to 110 kmph, over these areas from early morning of Thursday.
 
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Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph is very likely to prevail along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts. It is very likely to increase, gradually becoming gale wind speed 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph along and off central parts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry coasts from tomorrow afternoon onwards.
 
Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph was very likely over interior Tamil Nadu, Kerala, southeast Arabian Sea along and off Kerala coast, Comorian area, Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait on Friday. Strong wind speed reaching 30-40 kmph gusting to 50 kmph was very likely to prevail over southeast Arabian Sea and along and off Kerala coast on Saturday.
 
The bulletin warned of rough sea conditions and said that storm surge of height of about 1 meter above astronomical tide was very likely to inundate low lying areas of Nagapattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry at the time of landfall.
 
The bulletin called for total suspension of fishing operations along and off Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during this period.
 
Coastal hutment dwellers were advised to move to safer places. Other people in the affected areas were advised to remain indoors.
 
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Cyclone Gaja likely to cross Tamil Nadu coast on Thursday

Image: IMD
Image: IMD
The cyclonic storm Gaja over west-central and adjoining east-central and south Bay  of Bengal is likely to cross the Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore during the forenoon of Thursday, November 15.
 
A bulletin issued by  the India Meteorological Department (IMD) this morning said the cyclone had moved west-northwestwards with a speed of 7 kmph during the past six hours and lay centred at 0230 hrs IST of today over west-central and adjoining east-central and south Bay of Bengal near latitude 13.2°N and longitude 87.3°E, about 760 km east of Chennai and 850 km east-northeast of Nagappattinam (Tamil Nadu).
 
"It is very likely to intensify further into a Severe Cyclonic Storm during next 24 hours and maintain the intensity during subsequent 24 hours. It is very likely to move west-southwestwards. While moving west-southwestwards, it is likely to weaken gradually on 15th November and cross Tamil Nadu coast between Pamban and Cuddalore as a Cyclonic Storm during 15th November forenoon," the bulletin said.
 
"The cyclonic storm is meandering over the region, as it lies between two anti-cyclonic circulations located to its east and west in the deep layer mean atmosphere. It is expected to move slowly for next 12 hours and complete the loop. Thereafter, its speed of movement will increase gradually and move west-southwestwards as it will be guided by the anticyclone to the west of the centre," it said.
 
The bulletin said that rainfall was very likely to commence over north coastal Tamil Nadu and adjoining districts of south Tamil Nadu from November 14 evening, with heavy falls at isolated places. 
 
It said heavy rainfall was very likely over north Tamil Nadu and adjoining districts of south coastal Tamil Nadu, with heavy to very heavy rainfall at a few places and extremely heavy falls (20 cm or more) at isolated places on November 15. Rainfall is also likely at most places over remaining parts of south Tamil Nadu, with heavy to very heavy falls at isolated places.
 
Rainfall was also likely at most places over interior Tamil Nadu, with heavy  falls at a few places and very heavy falls at isolated places, on November 16, the bulletin said.
 
The bulletin also forecast rainfall in south coastal Andhra Pradesh on these days, in Rayalaseema region on November 15 and in Kerala on November 15 and 16.
 
The bulletin said gale winds with speed reaching 70-80 kmph and gusting to 85 kmph, prevailed over southeast and adjoining central and southwest Bay of Bengal. "It is very likely to increase gradually becoming 90-100 kmph gusting to 110 kmph over southwest & adjoining westcentral and southeast Bay of Bengal from evening of 13th November 2018," it said.
 
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"Squally wind speed reaching 45-55 kmph gusting to 65 kmph likely to commence along & off north Tamil Nadu & Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts from 14th November morning. It is very likely to increase gradually becoming gale wind speed 80-90 kmph gusting to 100 kmph along & off north Tamil Nadu & Puducherry coasts from 14th November night onwards," it said.
 
The bulletin said sea condition was high over southeast and adjoining central and southwest Bay of Bengal. It will become "very high" over southwest and adjoining westcentral and southeast Bay of Bengal from 13th evening to 14th night and high over the southwest Bay of Bengal on 15th. The sea condition is very likely to be rough to very rough along and off Tamil Nadu-south Andhra Pradesh coasts from 14th November morning and high from 14th November night.
 
Storm surge of height of about 1.0 meter above astronomical tide is very likely to inundate low lying areas of Nagappattinam, Thanjavur, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu and Karaikal district of Puducherry at the time of landfall.
 
The bulletin called for total suspension of fishing operations along and off north Tamil Nadu and Puducherry and adjoining south Andhra Pradesh coasts during 13-15th November.
 
Fishermen were advised not to venture into central parts of south and central Bay of Bengal on 13th and into southwest and adjoining westcentral Bay of Bengal during 13-15th November.
 
Fishermen who were in deep sea were advised to return to the coast. 
 
Coastal hutment dwellers have been advised to move to safer places. Other people in the affected areas were advised to remain indoors.
 
NNN

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Confident India aim for whitewash in final T20I against West Indies

Rohit Sharma (File Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Rohit Sharma (File Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Having already clinched the three-match rubber 2-0, India will be looking for a clean sweep against the West Indies when the two sides face off in the final T20 International at the M.A. Chidambaram Stadium here on Sunday.
 
However, Chennai fans will miss their favourite "Thala" in former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who has been dropped from the ongoing T20I series and also the coming T20I rubber in Australia later this month.
 
With the series already in India's kitty, after convincing wins in Kolkata and Lucknow, the team management had decided to rest some of the key bowlers in pacers Umesh Yadav and Jasprit Bumrah, and chinaman Kuldeep Yadav for the final match. 
 
In such a scenario, the home side would look to test their reserve players like Shreyas Iyer, Washington Sundar and the uncapped Shahbaz Nadeem ahead of the challenging tour Down Under, later this month.
 
India's batting department will be spearheaded by skipper Rohit Sharma, who struck a blistering century to hand the hosts a comfortable 2-0 lead in the second game.
 
Besides Sharma, his opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has also been amongst the runs, while the middle order responsibilities will be shouldered by the likes of Lokesh Rahul, Dinesh Karthik and Rishabh Pant.
 
Bhuvneshwar Kumar will lead the pace attack that comprises the rookie left-armer Khaleel Ahmed and the newly-added Siddharth Kaul.
 
It will be interesting to see whether the team management tweaks the spin department comprising leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal and left-armer Krunal Pandya, with Sundar and Nadeem still warming the bench.
 
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On the other hand, the West Indies will aim to finish off on a high and are expected to come out all guns blazing for one final time in the tour.
 
While the absence of regular openers -- Chris Gayle and Evin Lewis -- has been a setback for them, the experienced middle order comprising Kieron Pollard, Darren Bravo and Denesh Ramdin have flopped big time in the opening two matches.
 
Skipper Carlos Brathwaite and the young Shimron Hetmyer will also need to pull up their socks if the visitors want to put up a fight at Chepauk.
 
On the bowling front, Oshane Thomas has waged a lone battle so far as the other West Indian bowlers have looked pedestrian on most occasions.
 
Teams:
India: Rohit Sharma (C), Lokesh Rahul, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Krunal Pandya, Siddarth Kaul, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Khaleel Ahmed, Shahbaz Nadeem, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
 
West Indies: Carlos Brathwaite (C), Fabian Allen, Keemo Paul, Khary Pierre, Oshane Thomas, Shai Hope (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Darren Bravo, Denesh Ramdin, Nicholas Pooran, Kieron Pollard, Obede McCoy, Rovman Powell, Sherfane Rutherford.
 
IANS
 

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Naidu meets Stalin, wants opposition parties to sink differences

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Continuing his efforts to forge a grand alliance against the BJP in the next Lok Sabha elections, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on Friday met DMK President M. K. Stalin and urged opposition parties to sink their differences in the interest of the nation and democracy.
 
"We are all together in bringing parties on one platform. One or two may have differences of opinion. We (TDP) had differences with Congress for 40 years but at the same time now we are working how to bring together all. Democracy is important. It is for people to sink their differences. People are prepared now," he told reporters after an hour-long meeting with Stalin at his residence.
 
Naidu said he had a meeting with former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda and Karnataka Chief Minister H. D. Kumaraswamy in Bengaluru on Thursday and had a good meeting. "I am in touch with Mamata Banerjee (West Bengal Chief Minister) and would be meeting her soon as part of these efforts," he said.
 
Recalling his meeting with Congress President Rahul Gandhi last week in the national capital, he said, "All of us want to join together and save the nation."
 
The TDP chief deftly avoided answering questions on who will be the face of the opposition grouping against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
 
"There are so many leaders. Even Stalinji is better than Modi. We might have differences with Congress. But when you think of nation, national interest is utmost importance. Everybody is joining together on one platform. Today, you are talking of individuals. I am taking of democracy. If democracy survives only then you can elect leaders. If there is no democracy, there is nothing."
 
Replying to a question, Naidu said Rahul Gandhi is the Congress President and is the main anchor for the opposition against the BJP and his party has an all-India presence.
 
"We are regional parties. Even Mamata Banerjee is strong in West Bengal. I am strong in Andhra Pradesh. Deve Gowda is strong in Karnataka and Stalin is strong in Tamil Nadu," he said.
 
To another question, Naidu said he was not the face of the opposition grouping. "I am not an aspirant. I am only a facilitator. I will bring everybody together," he said.
 
On his part, Stalin said that he welcomes Naidu's efforts to bring together opposition parties against the anti-people and communal government of Modi. 
 
"I have already welcomed his meeting with Congress President on this account. Naidu has told me that he was planning to convene a meeting of like-minded parties either in Delhi or any other state capital to draw up a strategy to defeat BJP in the Lok Sabha polls. I have accepted his invitation," he said.
 
Both the leaders attacked the Modi government for undermining the autonomy of institutions like the RBI, CBI, office of Governors, saying that democracy and the nation were under immense threat.
 
IANS
 

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