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Tamil Nadu

A A Manavalan's Irama Kathaiyum Iramayakalum gets Saraswati Samman

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Well-known Tamil writer A A Manavalan's magnum opus Irama Kathaiyum Iramayakalum (Ramakatha and Ramayanas), published in 2005, has been chosen for the 21st Saraswati Samman 2011.
 
The prestigious award was instituted by the K K Birla Foundation in 1991 and is given every year for an outstanding literary work written in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII to the Constitution of India by an Indian citizen and published in the last ten years.
 
The award carries a prize money of Rs 750,000, a citation and a plaque.
 
The selection for the Saraswati Samman is made by a high-level "Chayan Parishad", presided over by former Chief Justice of India R.C. Lahoti, former Chief Justice of India, which includes renowned scholars and writers.
 
Dr Manavalan, 75, is a retired professor and Head, Department of Tamil, University of Madras. As a scholar in Tamil, English, Hindi and Telugu, his special areas of interest are translation and comparative literature. He was trained in these areas by professors Henry H.H. Remak and Ulrich Weisston in the University of Indiana in Bloomington, United States, during 1988-1989. 
 
Such varied continental experience led him to study the ancient “Ithihasas of Bharath Varsha” namely the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Among his well-known works are Epic Heroism in Milton and Kamban (1984), Twentieth Century Literary Theories (1995), An Anthology of Tamil Bhakti Poetry (Ed., 2004), Essays on Comparative Literature (2005), and A Compendium of Tirukkural Translations (Ed. 2009).
 
Irama Kathaiyum Iramayakalum is the result of his interest and experience in the area of literary cultures. It is a comparative study of 48 Ramayanas in the languages of Pali, Sanskrit, Prakrit, Tibetan, Tamil, Old Javanese, Japanese, Telugu, Assamese, Malayalam, Bengali, Kannada, Marathi, Hindi, Odissi, Persian, Malay, Burmese, Phillipines language, Thai, Laotian and Kashmiri (all in chronological order).
 
Dr. Manavalan believes that the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, as perennial custodians 
and corpus of the Indian culture, have exerted immense and ineluctable influence on the literary outlook and development of the Indian languages. In the main, such influence assumed the forms of translations, adaptations, transcreation and even transmission through folklore. A ‘reception’ study of such eminently creative influences would reveal the contemporary socio-cultural compulsions of the receiving languages.
 
This comparative study deals with the plot, characters and individual insertions and 
deletions. This study being geographical, linguistic and cultural in approach, it brings out 
the Ramakatha’s influence over the South-East Asian cultural splendor during the last two
millennia and more.
 
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Vigilance officials raid former DMK Minister Velu's premises in Tamil Nadu

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Officials of the Direcorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) conducted searches at the premises belonging to former Tamil Nadu Minister E V Velu and his relatives in connection with a disproportionate assets case.

A press release from the DVAC said its officials had conducted a discreet inquiry after receiving specific information that Velu, who held the portfolios of Food, Civil Supplies, Consumer Protection and Price Control in the previous DMK government and is now the MA from Thiruvannamalai, had accumulated in his name and in the names of his family members assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
 
It said that, based on the outcome of the inquiry, a case was registered against him alleging that he had accumulated movable and immovable assets in his name and the names of his family members to the tune of Rs 26,30,787 during the period from April 1, 2006 to March 3, 2010, when he was a Minister.
 
The places searched houses belonging to him at Thiruvannamalai and Chennai, two houses belonging to his son and another to a relative, as well as the premises of two three educational institutions in Thiruvannamalai district, the release added.
 
Velu is the latest of several former DMK Ministers who have faced action by the police and the DVAC on allegations of land grabbing or accumulation of illegal assets after the AIADMK came to power in May last year.
 
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DVAC registers disproportionate wealth case against former DMK Minister in Tamil Nadu

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The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) in Tamil Nadu today said it had registered a case against former DMK Minister Parithi Ilamvazhuti for allegedly accumulating wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income and conducted simultaneous raids on his vairous premises in Chennai.

Sources in the agency said it had acted on the basis of specific information that Ilamvazhuti, who was the Minister of Information & Publicity in the DMK regime, had accumulated assets in his name and also in the names of his family members during his tenure.
 
They said the DVAC had conducted a discreet inquiry and its investigations had revealed that he had allegedly accumulated movable and immovable assets to the tune of Rs 1.56 crore in the period from June 2006 to March 2010 in his own name and those of his family members.
 
The sources said that, after registering a case against the former minister under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, the agency conducted searches at his residences at Palavakkam and Ayanaaram, and those of his relatives and associates at Triplicane, Royapettah and Foreshore Estate.
 
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Six Indians, including five Keralites, killed in Oman road accident

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Six Indians, including five from Kerala and one from Tamil Nadu, and an Omani national were killed when two pick-up vans collided with each other at Habbi near Bahla in the governorate of Dakhiliyah in Oman yesterday, media reports said today.
 
Omani newspapers said the six Indians were on their way to Mammur in a van when it collided with another pick-up van coming from the opposite direction.
 
The reports said one of the vans caught fire and the victims were charred to death. 
 
The Indians were working for a construction compay and were travelling from the work site to their residential camp when the mishap occurred, the reports said. Another Omani in the second vehicle suffered injuries and was admitted to a hospital.
 
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RPP Infra Projects bags new orders worth Rs.300 million in Tamil Nadu

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Construction company RPP Infra Projects Ltd. today announced that it had bagged new orders worth Rs. 300 million in the irrigation and building sector in Tamil Nadu.
 
A press release from the company said the orders include one for construction of a library building for Central Library Buildings at Thiruvarur, Tamil Nadu under the Central Public Works Department.
 
Other orders are for rehabilitation and modernization of supply channels in Vellore and Villupuram districts under Water Resources Department, Public Works Department Tamil Nadu.  The orders shall be completed in 12 months, it said.
 
“These new orders in the irrigation and building sectors have added our
repertoire of projects that we are executing in Tamil Nadu. As always we are proud be associated with infrastructure orders in our home state," P. Arulsundaram, CMD,
RPP Infra Projects Ltd., said.
 
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Five bank robbery suspects killed in encounter with police in Chennai

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Five persons suspected of being involved in a bank robbery case in Chennai this month were shot dead by the police in an encounter with the police in the early hours of today.

Police sources said the five were shot dead around 1 am today in the encounter.

Acting on a tip-off, a police team surrounded a house in Vandikaran Street at Velachery here around 1 am and asked the suspects to come out, official sources said. According to them, the suspects opened fire at the police, injuring two inspectors.

The police said pistols and weapons were recovered from the five persons along with cash worth Rs 14 lakhs. The picture of one of the suspects had been obtained from the CCTV footage of another bank, they said.
 
On February 20, four armed men had looted Rs. 14 lakh from a branch of the public sector Indian Overseas Bank at Keelkattalai on the outskirts of the city.
 
In a similar incident on January 23, four armed men stormed into a branch of the public sector Bank of Baroda near Perungudi and escaped with Rs. 19 lakh.
 
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CBI arrests head constable of RPF, Inspector and other official of ESIC in separate bribery cases

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a head constable of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Southern Railway, Chennai for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.20,000 from the proprietor of a local firm of cargo movers.

According to a press release from the CBI, a complaint was received from the businessman that the head constable, attached to the Central Railway Station, Chennai demanded a bribe of Rs. 20,000 from him for smooth dispatching of parcels to various places through wagons. He also threatened the complainant that if the bribe amount was not handed over to him, he would detain the parcels the next day onwards on security and safety grounds.
 
The release said that, based on the complaint, a case was registered against the accused under section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1988. A trap was laid and the head constable was allegedly caught red handed while demanding and accepting the bribe Rs. 20,000 from the complainant.
 
The accused was produced before the Special Judge for CBI Cases, Chennai and was remanded to judicial custody, it said.
 
In another case, the CBI has arrested an Inspector and lower division clerk (LDC), both of Employee's State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), Marol, Andheri (East), Mumbai for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.5,000 from the complainant for registration of company employees insurance.
 
A trap was laid by the CBI at the office premises of the complainant where the duo had come to collect the bribe. Both were allegedly caught red-handed while demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.5,000 from the complainant, the release added.
 
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Bye-elections for Udupi Chikmagalur LS seat, 11 Assembly seats on March 18

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The Election Commission today said that bye-elections would be held on March 18 to fill up casual vacancies in the Lok Sabha constituency of Udupi Chikmagalur in Karnataka and 11 Assembly constituencies in five states.
 
Seven of the Assembly constituencies are in Andhra Pradesh - Mahabubnagar, Nagarkurnool, Kovur, Ghanpur (Station) (SC), Kollapur, Adilabad and Kamareddy.
 
The other vacant assembly seats are Mansa in Gujarat, Piravom in Kerala, Sankaran Kovil (SC) in Tamil Nadu and Athgarh in Odisha.
 
An official press release said the notifications for the bye-elections would be issued on February 22 and the last date for making nominations would be February 29.
 
Counting of votes will be taken up in all the constituencies on March 21, the release added.
 
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Three Additional Judges appointed to Madras High Court

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The President has appointed Justice T. Mathivanan, Justice Ardhanariswamy Arumughaswamy and Justice K. B. K. Vasuki as Additional Judges of the Madras High Court.

An official press release said here today that the appointments were for a period of two years with effect from February 17, 2012. 
 
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15-year-old schoolboy stabs teacher to death in classroom in Chennai

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In an incident that sent shock waves through Tamil Nadu and other parts of the country, a ninth standard student stabbed his teacher to death inside the classroom, apparently angered by her repeatedly reprimanding him about his academic performance.
 
The teacher was identified as Uma Maheshwari (39), who taught science as well as Hindi at the private St Mary's Ango-Indian School near the Madras High Court. She suffered stab wounds in the neck, stomach and back.
 
Fr Bosco Perianayagam, the administrator of the school, told mediapersons that the incident occurred at around 10.50 am. 
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He said the boy came to the class ahead of others today and started stabbing the teacher with a knife he was carrying hidden in a book as his classmates watched in horror. They raised an alarm even as the boy fled from the scene, but he was later nabbed by the police and taken into custody. The boy was alter sent to the juvenile home.
 
Maheshwari was rushed to the General Hospital, but succumbed to her injuries. She is survived by two children, Fr Periyanayagam said. "We are in deep grief. This is an unexpected incident," he added.
 
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UF Group to launch E box for movies on demand, online shopping, e-learning

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The UF Group, whose Southern Digital Screenz is the southern franchisee of UFO Moviez, is planning to launch a next generation E box called Ufx EmaginE that will offer to customers movies on demand, media player, social networking, video conferencing, online shopping an e-learning and other features.

The product will be launched in collaboration with Malaysia-based companies Select-tv and Creative Experience Sdn Bhd.
 
A press release from the company said that, over the last few years, Southern Digital Screenz had changed the way movies are being screened in the theaters. "Through a centralized server, they are able to screen movies in digital quality across 1200 plus theaters. These movies are delivered to cinemas through satellite downloads. The digital mechanism of movie screening has not only changed the quality but has also plugged piracy to a greater extent," it said.

Fireman killed, 2 injured in fire mishap in Chennai

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A leading fireman was killed and two others, including a woman Divisional Fire Officer (DFO), suffered burns and injuries in a major fire mishap at the Ezhilagam Campus on the arterial Beach Road at Marina here early this morning.

The victims, who were the first to reach the spot on getting information, entered the dilapidated structure when it caved in, police said.

The Ezhilagam Campus on the Marina front houses several government departments.

BCCI announces team for T20, ODI Tri-series

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The National Selection Committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) led by K Srikkanth today announced a 17-member squad for two T-20 matches with Australia and the one-day tri-series with Sri Lanka as the third team.
 
The selectors including Narendra Hirwani, Mohinder Amarnath, Raja Venkat and Surendra Bhave, announced the squad after a marathon three-hour meeting in the city this evening.
 
The announcement of the team comes in the backdrop of the huge defeat India suffered at the hands of the Australia in the third test match at Perth today with the hosts taking lead in the series with 3-0.
 
The selectors brought back pacers Zaheer Khan and Praveen Kumar and decided to go in for a second wicket keeper-batsman in Parthiv Patel.
 
Following is the 17-member squad:
 
M S Dhoni (Captain), Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, Gautam Gambir, Virat Kohili, Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina, Ravinder Jadeja, R Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Praveen Kumar, Vinay Kumar, Manoj Tiwari, Rahul Sharma, Parthiv Patel, Zaheer Khan and Irfan Pathan.
 
Talking to newspersons, Srikkanth, lamenting about the poor performance of the test squad, squarely blamed the batsmen.
 
"We have picked the 17-member squad, considering the long tour which extends till March and the number of ODIs involved," he said.
 
The Selection Committee Chairman also pointed out the choice was limited with number of players like Harbajan Singh, Sreesanth, Yuvraj Singh, Munaf Patel and M Arun still recovering from injuries.
 
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Tamil Nadu: DVAC raids premises of key TNPSC officials

Officials of the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) today raided the premises of some of the key officials of the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) following alleged irregularities in recruitment in government jobs.

DVAC sources said the raids, which began at 0700 hrs, were being conducted at 70 places spread over 12 districts of the State.
 
In Chennai, the raids were carried out in at least 13 places, the sources said, adding, the residences of those who sat for the TNPSC examinations to get recruitment were also raided.

PM announces relief for cyclone-hit Tamil Nadu, Puducherry

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has announced an interim relief of Rs 500 crore for Tamil Nadu and Rs 125 crore for Puducherry, which were hit by cyclone Thane in the last week of December.
 
The interim relief is based on preliminary reports about the damage caused by the cylcone, an official press release said.
 
A central government team is currently visiting the affected areas and will be submitting its report on its return, based on which a final relief as may be admissible will be sanctioned, the release added.
 
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DMK convenes General Council on Feb 3

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The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has convened its General Council, the highest policy-level decision-making body of the party, to meet on February 3.

This would be the first meeting of the General Council after the party's rout in last year's Assembly polls, in which the DMK lost its main Opposition status, the local bodies polls and the release of its Rajya Sabha K Kanimozhi from Tihar Jail following her arrest in the 2G spectrum case.
 
DMK General Secretary K Anbazhagan in a statement here today said the meeting, to be chaired by DMK President M Karunanidhi, would be held at 1000 hrs on that day at the party headquarters "Anna Arivalayam".   
 
All the General Council members were requested to attend the meeting which was expected to discuss and debate some key issues, including offering a prominent post in the party Kanimozhi, who is Karunanidhi's daughter.

3 Ayyappa devotees killed in road mishap in Tamil Nadu

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Three Ayyappa devotees were killed and two critically injured when a speeding car dashed against them at Salaipudur, near Bathlagundu, here this morning.

Police said the deceased were identified as Ilayaperumal (50), Sridhar (45) and Dakshinamurthy (60).  
 
A group of five Ayyappa devotees, hailing from Jayankondam, were proceeding to Palani after a pilgrimage to Sabarimala.  
 
En route to Palani, they took a bath in an irrigation tank at Salaipudur and, while crossing the road, were hit by a speeding car, killing three of them on the spot.
 
Two other devotees, Kulandainathan and Arumaidoss, who were critically injured in the mishap, were rushed to the Bathlagundu Government Hospital.
 
The occupants of the car were going to Uthamapalayam from Tiruchirapalli to attend a function.  The driver of the car, Murugesan, was arrested by the police. 
 
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CARE India rushes relief to cyclone-hit people of Cuddalore district

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CARE India, the well-known humanitarian non-governmental organisation (NGO), today said it planned to reach out to 20,000 most vulnerable families in Tamil Nadu's coastal district of Cuddalore, which was the worst-hit by the December 30 cyclone "Thane".
 
“As an immediate relief measure, CARE is providing the affected families with essentials like tarpaulins, candles, matchboxes as well as floor mats and hygiene kits, especially focusing on pregnant mothers and adolescent girls,” said Dr. Muhammad Musa, CEO, CARE India.
 
With a large number of homes and buildings completely flattened, the need for a clear reconstruction plan, along with the resources to implement it, has become an imperative necessity, he observed.
 
“Our aim is to reach out to 20,000 most vulnerable families (Dalits, tribals, physically challenged and households run by widows) immediately. Once this immediate crisis is managed, CARE will devote its energies to building shelters for the severely affected starting with 100-150 low-cost houses” he said.
 
CARE India had won praise for its work in the tsunami-hit Tamil Nadu since 2005 providing livelihoods, education and health services. “We know the people and topography of Tamil Nadu very well, a fact which has allowed us to launch major initiatives to mitigate the suffering of those devastated by cyclone Thane,” Musa said.
 
R. Devaprakash, the State Director for CARE in Tamil Nadu, said: "CARE India, after the need and damage assessment, is assisting the Tamil Nadu government in providing succour and basic amenities to the affected people.
 
“The need of the hour is to provide shelter, electricity and clean water to the survivors of the colossal tragedy. Besides essentials like tarpaulins and candles, we are also distributing a hygiene kit with the basics such as shampoo, toothpaste, towels, and sanitary napkins, minimum household needs for people who have lost everything,” he said.
 
Long-term sustainable support is integral to CARE India’s work. Dr. Musa said: “To overcome this disaster, CARE looks to work with the people on a long-term basis to help them with low cost housing.”
 
He appealed to individuals and members of the civil society to loosen their purse-strings and donate liberally to alleviate the suffering of the affected families.  
 
“While we will pool in our resources, we must reach out for funds from various stakeholders who have helped so many in the past by donating to worthwhile causes,” he said.
 
The December 30 Cyclone Thane, accompanied by high speed winds,  wreaked havoc across a wide swath of Cuddalore and the Union Territory of Puducherry, causing extensive damage to life and property. A total of 48 people died in the calamity.
 
Besides, eight lakh families have been affected with huge damages to their dwelling units and standing crops. 
 
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Centre sets up inter-ministerial team to assess damage caused by cyclone "Thane"

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The Government has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Central Team (IMCT) for an on-the-spot assessment of the damage caused by cyclone "Thane" in Cuddalore and other districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry last month.
 
The IMCT, led by Ministry of Home Affairs, consists of representatives from the Ministries/ Departments of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Dairying (Fisheries), Drinking Water, Finance (Department of Expenditure), Health, Power, Road Transport & Highways, Rural Development, Water Resources and Planning Commission.
 
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will also be represented in the Team, an official press release said.
 
It said the team would visit the affected areas shortly in consultation with the Governments of Puducherry and Tamil Nadu. 
 
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Jaya surveys cyclone-affected areas in Cuddalore, distributes relief

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A day after announcing an additional allocation of Rs 700 crore to take up relief works, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today visited the cyclone-ravaged Cuddalore district, made an aerial survey of the affected areas and distributed relief assistance to the people.;
 
Jayalalithaa, accompanied by senior officials, left for the coastal Cuddalore district by a helicopter from INS Adayar here and landed at the Anna Stadium there.
 
Before landing, Jayalalithaa made an aerial survey of the cyclone-hit Cuddalore town and later distributed relief assistance to the cyclone victims.
 
In her brief address at a function held at Subbaya Reddiyar Kalyana Mandapam, Jayalalithaa said the cyclone had caused extensive damages in the district and pointed to the Rs 850 crores her government had allotted for providing drinking water, water and other infrastructural facilities to the affected people.

Tamil Nadu doctors, nurses go on strike against murder

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Functioning of government hospitals across Tamil Nadu was badly affected following a strike by doctors, nurses and house surgeons condemning the murder of a woman civil surgeon in the southern Tuticorin district on the night of January 2.
 
Reports received here said doctors struck work from 0700 hrs today demanding stringent action, including capital punishment, to the four-member gang, who had hacked to death 50-year-old civil surgeon Dr Seetharamalakshmi in front of her clinic at Kamarajar
Nagar while she was attending patients.
 
Condemning the murder, local doctors launched a stir today and the Indian Medical Council has called for a state-wide one-day strike on January 5.
 
Doctors of government and private Hospitals in the district as well as students of the Tuticorin Medical College Hospital staged agitations demanding immediate arrest of the assailants and seeking adequate protection to doctors.

EMU train jumps off rails at Chennai Central

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Four wheels of an electrical multiple unit (EMU) train jumped off the rails at Chennai Central Railway station here last night.
 
Railway and police sources said no one was injured in the derailment, which occurred around 2200 hrs.
 
The EMU train from Avadi was chugging into the Madras Moore Market Complex at the Chennai Central when four wheels of the last EMU coach derailed and hit an electric police.
 
The few commuters, who were travelling in the coach, screamed in panic, but were rescued safely.
 
The train was chugging into the station at a speed of 10 kmph.
 
Traffic on the Chennai-Arakkonam section was affected for some time.
 
Senior Railway officials, including Divisional Railway Manager S Anantharaman rushed to the spot and supervised the relief operations, the sources added.
 
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Student killed for questioning New Year revellers in Tamil Nadu

A 19-year-old college student was murdered for objecting to New Year revelry at Vippedu village in Kancheepuram district yesterday.

A group of seven people allegedlu attacked Santakumar, son of a farmer studying in second year of B.Sc. Zoology in Kancheepuram Pachayappa College, chased him from his house and beat him up with wooden logs before beheading him with a sickle, police said.
 
Santakumar had objected to some youth in the village celebrating the New Year in the village on Saturday night by cutting a cake and indulging in wild celebration. The village also supported Santakumar.
 
Following this, the group went to his house and attacked him this  evening.
 
The villagers rushed Santakumar to the Government General Hospital here, struggling for life. He died while the doctors were providing medical treatment.
 
Santakumar's distraught father lodged a complaint with Kancheepuram police. A police team headed by Kancheepuram Superintendent of Police rushed to the village to look for the assailants, police added.
 
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Paes targets one more Grand Slam title, Olympic doubles medal

Tennis player Leander Paes addressing a press conference on the eve of ATP World Tour Chennai Open, in Chennai on January 1, 2012. UNI PHOTO
Tennis player Leander Paes addressing a press conference on the eve of ATP World Tour Chennai Open, in Chennai on January 1, 2012. UNI PHOTO
Former world No 1 and current world no 8 doubles player Leander Paes has his targets firmly set on winning an Olympics doubles medal at London in the latter half of the season and before that another Grand Slam doubles title.
 
"I go into the season in two phases. The season is quite long. The first part is the ATP tour which is very long. The players, in fact, need a longer off season," the affable star of Indian tennis said at a press conference ahead of the 2012 Chennai Open which kicks off here tomorrow.
 
Paes, who will be partnering the singles top seed Janko Tipsarevic in the doubles main draw for the first time as the number three seed, said, "I could not get my partner (Roddick) Stepanik. He was away in Brisbane, but Tipsarevic is a formidable player in doubles too."
 
"Tipsarevic has won a doubles title in Chennai. I am playing with him for the first time. Hope I can get some rhythm with him soon," Paes said.
 
Paes observed that last year he did not win a Grand Slam and therefore he was hoping to win one this season.
 
"It would be fantastic to win a doubles medal in Olympics, having come close to it three times, after I won a medal in the singles at Sydney," he hoped.
 
"The second season on the tour is the summer when you get to play the French Open, the Wimbledon and then the US Open. This time we have the Olympic Games," he said.
 
"You have to be really injury-free to be going through the tour. Fortunately, I have never had a major injury so far in 20 years of my career," Leander, who has 47 ATP Tour doubles titles under his belt, observed.
 
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President condoles loss of lives in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry due to cyclone Thane

President Pratibha Patil has condoled the loss of lives in the coastal areas of north Tamil Nadu and Pudcherry caused by cyclone "Thane" which hit the area on Friday morning.
 
In a message to Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah, Patil expressed her grief over the loss of lives and damage to poverty in the coastal districts of the state.
 
Patil, who is camping in Hyderabad, sent a separate message in this regard to Puducherry Lt Governor Iqbal Singh.
 
Patil conveyed her condolences to the members of the bereaved families and wished speedy recovery to the injured persons.
 
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