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Tamil Nadu

Search for missing Coast Guard Dornier CG-791 aircraft continues

File photo of an Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft
File photo of an Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft
Intense and sustained efforts continued today to search for and locate the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Dornier aircraft CG-791 that went missing with three members of crew on board while on a routine mission over the Bay of Bengl, off the Tamil Nadu coast, on Monday night.
 
An official press release said ICG and Indian Navy ships are continuing round-the-clock efforts to locate the ship in the areas of probability.
 
As many as 12 Coast Guard and Naval Ships, along with patrol boats of the Coastal Security Group, are involved in the search. They include ICGS Sarang, Ameya, Abheek, Rajtarang, C-415, Vighraha, IC-119, IC-120, INS Coradivh, Carnicobar, Khukri and Chetlat. 
 
In addition, Naval submarine INS Sindhudhwaj and survey ship INS Sandhayak equipped with SONAR will be joining the search operation, shortly, for assisting in the underwater search, it said.
 
More than 60 hours of air search has been undertaken by the Coast Guard Dornier and the IN long range maritime reconnaissance aircraft P8I. 
 
"The search area is also being re-appreciated after analysing the reports received from the search units," the release said.
 
Further, aerial search by Coastal Security Group of Tamil Nadu Police using their paramotors will also be undertaken along the marshy and mangrove areas not accessible by sea today. 
 
"Water samples from the area of oil patches reported by ICG Dornier has been sent for analysis," the release added.
 
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The fishing community and the marine police have also been activated to assist in the search.
 
The aircraft had taken off on a routine surveillance sortie over the sea from Chennai and went off the radar at 2123 hours on Monday at 95 nautical miles south off Chennai. The last contact with the aircraft was at 2100 hours on that day.
 
The search area is now upto 70 nautical miles into the sea, extending from Mahabalipuram to Karikal on the Tamil Nadu coast.
 
The crew of the Dornier comprised Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar (Pilot), Comdt M K Soni (Co-pilot) and Dy Comdt Subhash Suresh (Navigator).
 
The missing aircraft was the latest induction in ICG, in 2014, and was being flown by a highly experienced crew.
 
An advisory has been issued to fishermen and merchant ships  to report sighting of the missing aircraft.
 
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Search for missing Dornier aircraft of Coast Guard continues

The search for the Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard, with three members of crew, that went missing while on a routine mission over the Bay of Bengal, off the Tamil Nadu coast, on Monay night, was intensified on Wednesday, official soures said.

File photo of an Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft
File photo of an Indian Coast Guard Dornier aircraft
The search for the Dornier aircraft of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), with three members of crew, that went missing while on a routine mission over the Bay of Bengal, off the Tamil Nadu coast, on Monay night, was intensified today, official sources said.
 
"The missing aircraft has not been sighted so far," Ministry of Defence principal spokesperson Sitanshu Kar said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
 
The aircraft, which was on a routine surveillance sortie over the sea, off the Chennai coast, when it went off the radar at 2123 hours on Monday at 95 nautical miles south offf Chennai. The last contact with the aircraft was at 2100 hours on that day.
 
Ships of the Coast Guard and the Indian Navy, as well as aircraft, including a P81 long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, are involved in the search and rescue operations for the missing Dornier.
 
The fishing community and the marine police have also been activated to assist in the search.
 
The Indian Navy's survey ship INS Sandhayak, with portable equipped, was rushed to the last known position of the aircraft today.
 
Mr. Kar said one submarine was also deployed to help locating the aircraft. He said two Indian Navy ships capable of underwater detection were being deployed to augment the search.
 
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The search area is now upto 70 nautical miles into the sea, extending from Mahabalipuram to Karikal on the Tamil Nadu coast.
 
The crew of the Dornier comprised Deputy Commandant Vidyasagar (Pilot), Comdt M K Soni (Co-pilot) and Dy Comdt Subhash Suresh (Navigator), Mr Kar said.
 
The missing aircraft was the latest induction in ICG, in 2014, and was being flown by a highly experienced crew.
 
An advisory has been issued to fishermen, merchant ships and the Coastal Security Group of the Tamil Nadu Police to report sighting of the missing aircraft.
 
Meanwhile, Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral H C S Bisht visited Chennai today to take stock of the situation and oversee the search efforts.
 
He also met the members of the families of the crew of the missing aircraft.
 
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MFL, MCFL, SPIC units to continue urea production with naphtha as feedstock

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The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) today approved the continuation of production of urea from Madras Fertilizers Ltd (MFL), Manali, Mangalore Chemical and Fertilizers Limited (MFCL), Mangalore and Southern Petrochemicals Industries Corporation (SPIC), Tuticorin using naphtha as feedstock till availability of gas through gas pipeline or by any other means. 
 
However, the state government concerned, that is Government of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, would be required not to charge VAT or entry tax on the Naptha/FO as decided in the earlier meeting of the CCEA in December 2014, an official press release said.
 
There are only two urea units at Kakinada in the entire Southern region other than these three units. If these three units would have been closed, then the entire requirement of the Southern region would have had to be sourced mainly through imports, it said.
 
"Continuation of operation of these three units would substantially ease the problems of urea supply in Southern states during the ensuing Kharif," it said.
 
The release said the three naphtha-based urea units with an annual capacity of 14.88 lakh metric tonne will cater to the demand in the Southern states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala (around 22.5 lakh MT per annum) throughout the year. 
 
"The production of urea by these units will ensure timely and adequate availability of urea to farmers of the Southern states and will result in import substitution of urea," it added.
 
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IIT Madras reinstates recognition of Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle

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The prestigious Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IITM) here has reinstated the recognition of the Ambedkar Periyar Study Circle (APSC) , a students' organisation on its campus, more than two weeks after it got embroiled in a major controversy by temporarily derecognizing it.
 
The derecognition had come after an anonymous complaint to the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development that members of the APSC were critical of the policies of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and that they sought to spread "hatred" amongst the students.
 
The Ministry had referred the complaint to the institute and sought the comments of its authorities on the issue, after which the institute imposed the ban on the group.
 
The withdrawal of the ban came after a meeting between APSC representatives and IITM officials in Chennai yesterday.
 
"The APSC representatives conveyed their views to the Director; in particular, that the guidelines for independent student bodies was publicised on the website on April 18, 2015, while their meeting took place on April 14th, 2015. After discussions with the Director, he requested them to meet the Dean of Students.
 
"In view of the above, the Dean of Students reinstated the 
recognition of APSC as an independent student body, and after 
consultation with the APSC representatives, recommended Prof. 
Milind Brahme as the Faculty Advisor. Prof. Brahme has consented to advise APSC as required in the guidelines for 
independent student bodies," a statement issued by IITM said yesterday.
 
The statement said the Board of Students, a body of student representatives, met and discussed the issues raised by APSC regarding modifications to, and suggestions for ensuring uniform application of the guidelines for independent student bodies. 
 
"Some of these will be implemented by the Office of Dean (Students), while the Student Affairs Council, Board of Students, and Senate will take up the modifications in due course for consideration as per established procedure. 
 
"APSC and the Dean of Students expressed satisfaction that the 
matter has been closed," the statement added.
 
According to the anonymous complaint against the APSC, the group had distributed "controversial" posters and pamphlets on the campus and tried to create an "atmosphere of hatred" among the students at the institute. The complainant had also enclosed a pamphlet of the study circle which had highlighted a speech by an academician, R. Vivekananda Gopal, criticising the Modi government.
 
"I am directed to forward herewith a copy of anonymous letter alleging serious complaints received from students, IIT-Madras, along with pamphlet issued by Ambedkar-Periyar Study Circle on the above mentioned subject and to request that comments of the institute may please be sent to this ministry at an early date," the letter from MHRD to the Director of the Institute, dated May 15, said.
 
According to reports, IIT Madras Dean of Students had on May 22 sent an email to the APSC coordinators informing them that the group had been "derecognized".
 
IITM Dean (Academic Research) K Ramamurthy told journalists at that time that the institute did not curtail freedom of expression of the students but student groups had to adhere to guidelines while conducting their activities.
 
“As per the guidelines in force, students bodies can’t use the name of IIT-Madras or its official entities in any capacity, to publicise their activities or garner support, without official permission. This group has violated the guidelines while conducting their meeting. Normally violation of these guidelines leads to temporary de-recognition pending their presenting their stand to the Board of Students. In the present case also, the same procedure is being followed,” he had said.
 
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Members of the group, however, denied they had violated any guidelines or misued any privileges given by the institute. "We resent the fact that the Dean has derecognized our study circle unilaterally without giving us a fair hearing and an opportunity to represent ourselves," the group wrote to the institute.
 
"So far our activities are engaged with the healthy discussion on socio-economic issues on scientific basis to promote the scientific temper among the student which is allowed by the Indian constitution. We have not been given a satisfactory definition of what entails 'controversial'. Further, we were asked to give assurances that we shall desist from such activities in the future before the Dean (Students) can allow us to restart our activities," it said.
 
The group said it got the impression that only certain kinds of views would be allowed to be expressed and their opinions and voices would be curbed.
 
The group said it did not understand how dissent and criticism of the government's policy amounted to "spreading hatred".
 
"If any person professing an anti-establishment view is accused of engaging in 'controversial' activities and all dissent is stifled, wouldn’t that be a violation of our constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely express ourselves? We feel that a vibrant and proactive civil society is an integral part of a healthy democracy. IITM itself have had many meetings that discussed the policies and legislation’s of the current and previous elected governments," the group said in its letter.
 
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World Bank to provide $400m IBRD loan for TN Sustainable Urban Development Project

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The World Bank will provide IBRD assistance of $ 400 million for the Tamil Nadu Sustainable Urban Development Project.
 
The Loan and Project Agreements in this regard were signed between the Government of India, Government of Tamil Nadu and World Bank here yesterday. 
 
The Loan Agreement was signed by Mr Raj Kumar, Joint Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of Government of lndia and Mr. Onno Ruhl, Country Director, World Bank (lndia) on behalf of the World Bank. 
 
The Project Agreements were signed by Mr. Praveen P. Nair, Deputy Secretary, Municipal Administration and Water Supply Department, Government of Tamil Nadu on behalf of the State Government and Ms. Anita Praveen, Principal Secretary/ Chairperson and Managing Director, Tamil Nadu Urban Infrastructure Financing Services Ltd. (TNUIFSL) on behalf of TNUIFSL and Tamil Nadu Urban Development Fund. Mr. Ruhl signed both Project Agreements on behalf of the World Bank. 
 
An official press release said the objective of the project is to improve urban services in participating Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in a financially sustainable manner and to pilot improved urban management practices in selected cities. 
 
The total project size is $ 600 million, out of which World Bank support is $ 400 million. 
 
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According to the release, the project consists of the following three main components: 
 
Investment in Urban Services. The project will support improvement in range of urban services, including water, sewerage, municipal solid waste, urban transportation, sewerage management and storm water drainage. The project also envisages creation of a reserve fund to provide credit enhancements for municipal bonds and other market based Loan instruments issued by ULBs. 
 
Result Based Grants for Urban Governance: The project will provide results-based grants to eligible ULBs to implement new urban-management models that strengthen governance and financial sustainability. 
 
Urban Sector Technical Assistance: The project will support strengthening the capacity of ULBs and urban sector officials. 
 
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Bye-elections to be held on June 27 to fill six vacancies in five state legislative asemblies

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The Election Commission today said it would hold bye-elections on June 27 to fill six casual vacancies in the legislative assemblies of Meghalaya, Kerala, Tripura, Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
 
The vacant seats are 59-Chokpot (ST) (Meghalaya), 136-Aruvikkara (Kerala), 13-Pratapgarh (SC) and 46-Surma (SC) (Tripura), 227-Garoth (Madhya Pradesh) and 11-Dr. Radhakrishnan Nagar (Tamil Nadu).
 
The notifications for the bye-elections will be issued on June 3 and the last date for filing nominations will be June 10. Counting of votes will be taken up on June 30.
 
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Jayalalithaa to return as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Saturday

 
Jayalalithaa meets TN Governor to stake claim to form new govt.
 
 
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) supremo J Jayalalithaa will be sworn in again as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu here tomorrow, 11 days after the Karnataka High Court acquittd her in an 18-year-old corruption case and paved the way for her return to the top job in the state.
 
Tamil Nadu Governor K Rosaiah accepted the resignation of Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam and his Council of Ministers with effect from the forenoon today and requested him and his Council of Ministers to function until alternative arrangements were made.
 
Later, Ms Jayalalithaa, who was elected as the leader of the AIADMK Legislature Party, called on Mr Rosaiah and staked her claim to form the new government.
 
The Governor invited her to form the Ministry at the earliest and requested her to send the list of persons to be appointed as Ministers with their portfolios.
 
A press release from Raj Bhavan said Ms Jayalithaa would be sworn in as Chief Minister at 11 am at the Madras University Centenary Auditorium, along with 28 other Ministers.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa will have to get elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly within six months in keeping with Constitutional requirements.
 
Mr. Panneerselvam will be the Minister of Finance in her government, a position he had held in her previous term, too. He had taken over as Chief Minister on September 29 last year after Ms Jayalalithaa was forced to step down following her conviction in the case by a special court in Bangalore.
 
Mr Panneerselvam, 64, 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.
 
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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, 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. The acquittal meant that Ms Jayalalithaa could return as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa paid floral tributes at the statue of her mentor and AIADMK founder M. G. Ramachandran on Anna Salai, where hundreds of people gathered to greet her. Hundreds more lined her route and showered marigold on her car.
 
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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Top Kerala Maoist couple arrested by AP police from Coimbatore

 
Police arrest top Kerala Maoist couple, three others in Coimbatore
A top Maoist couple from Kerala, Roopesh and his wife Shyna, who had evaded arrest for more than ten years, were arrested along with three others by the Andhra Pradesh police from a bakery near Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu late last night, official sources said.
 
Roopesh, a law graduate who is wanted in 20 criminal cases, his wife and the others were tracked down to a bakery at a village near Coimbatore, where they were having coffee when the police surrounded them, the sources said.
 
They were arrested in a joint operation by the police of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
 
Confirming the arrests, Kerala Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala told journalists here that it was a major breakthrough in the anti-Maoist operations in the Southern states.
He said the police forces of the four states had been working diligently on the cases for many years.
 
He said the arrested persons were making efforts to create chaos and confusion in the Southern states.
 
Mr Chennithala said the Kerala government would try to get the arrested people to the state because most of the cases against them were registered in Kerala. "The law will take its own course. They will be produced in court. After that, we will try to get them," he said.
 
The sources said Roopesh's wife is a former employee of the Kerala High Court. The other three persons held have been identified as Anoop from Kerala, Veeramani from Karnataka and Kannan from Tamil Nadu.
 
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CBI arrests two Central Excise officials in Chennai in bribery case

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The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it had arrested a Superintendent and an Assistant Commissioner of Central Excise, posted at Chennai-I Division, Nandanam, Chennai for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.11,000 from a businessman.
 
A press release from the agency said the businessman had complained to it that the superintendent had demanded the bribe for himself and the assistant commissioner for handing over the copy of the Accepted General Bond for Rs 20 lakhs, in favour of his firm for procurement of excisable goods for export without payment any excise duty and for issuing of certificate under Form CT-I against the said General Bond.
 
The CBI registered a case and laid a trap and the superintendent was allegedly caught red handed while demanding and accepting the bribe. The assistant commissioner was also arrested, the release said.
 
Searches were conducted at five places which led to the recovery of incriminating documents and cash of about Rs 29.15 lakhs and fixed deposit receipts of about Rs 18.50 lakhs, it said.
 
Both the arrested accused were produced before the Special Judge for CBI Cases, Chennai and remanded to judicial custody, the release added.
 
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Well-known Tamil writer D Jayakanthan passes away

D. Jayakanthan. Photo by Arunankapilan via Wikimedia Commons
D. Jayakanthan. Photo by Arunankapilan via Wikimedia Commons
Well-known Tamil writer D Jayakanthan, who had won both the prestigious Jnanpith and Sahitya Akademi Awards during a long and illustrious career providing a voice to the poor and the downtrodden, passed away here last night after a prolonged illness.
 
He was 81. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.
 
Known for his powerful narrative techniques and apt choice of subjects, Mr Jayakantan was also a noted biographer, critic, journalist, filmmaker and essayist," the Sahitya Akademi said in a condolence message.
 
He had authored more than fifty titles and was honoured by the Government with the Padma Bhushan. He was a Fellow of the Sahitya Akademi and been honoured with the Order of Friendship by the Russian Government.
 
"His voice, throughout his career, was the voice of the poor and oppressed. Mr Jayakanthan's passing away is a huge loss for the literary communities across the country and leaves a void that is very difficult to fill," the Akademi said.
 
Born on April 24, 1934, to a family of agriculturists in Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, Jayakanthan dropped out of school and ran away from home at the age of around 12 to Villupuram, where he grew up under the care of his uncle, who introduced him to Communist ideology and also to the works of Subramanya Bharathi.
 
Later, he started working at the Communist Party of India (CPI) office in Chennai, where he came into contact with many stalwarts of the movement in Tamil Nadu.
 
Later, he was tutored in the language by a Tamil scholar even as he worked in the party's printing press and sold its magazine at street corners in the evenings. He worked in a shoe shop in Thanjavur briefly. Over the years, he was disillusioned with the CPI and briefly served as a member of the Congress party. He edited some newspapers with leanings towards the Congress during this period in the 1960s.
 
Jayakanthan started writing for Tamil magazines in the 1950s and went on to become a prolific writer. He also tried his hand at making films, including one based on his novel, Unnaippol Oruvan, which won an award at the national level.
 
Over the years, Jayakanthan was also recognised as a stirring speaker and came to be considered as one of the most influential writers ever in Tamil literature.
 
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TN announces compensation for those killed in encounter with AP police

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As questions continued to be raised over the gunning down of 20 alleged red sander smugglers by the Andhra Pradesh Police in an encounter in the Chittoor district of the state yesterday, the Tamil Nadu government today announced a compensation of Rs 3 lakh to the next-of-kin of those from the state killed in the incident.
 
According to various sources, 12 of the 20 killed were labourers from the Tamil Nadu and the incident is turning into a feud between the two neighbouring states. 
 
Andhra Pradesh police officials said the policemen had opened fire in self-defence after they came under attack by the smugglers and labourers engaged by them in the Seshachalam forest.
 
The encounters took place at two spots within a kilometre of each other in Chandragiri mandal of Chittoor district, about 500 km from state capital Hyderabad, between 5 am and 6 am yesterday.
 
The police and personnel of the forest department had launched a joint operation in the area on Monday night after receiving inputs that a gang of smugglers had entered the forests and started felling trees.
 
The officials said that more than a hundred smugglers and labourers hired by them had attacked the police with sickles, axes, stones and other sharp-edged weapons.
 
According to the sources, 11 men were killed in the encounter at Pacchinodu Banda and nine near Etagunta.
 
Chittoor District Collector Siddharth Jain has ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, official sources said.
 
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O Panneerselvam wrote to his Andhra Pradesh counterpart Nara Chandrababu Naidu yesterday, expressing his distress over the incident.
 
"Many of these persons are reportedly from Tiruvannamalai and
Vellore districts of Tamil Nadu. While it is possible that these persons may have been engaged in illegal activities, the occurrence of such high casualties in the operation raises concerns whether the Task Force personnel acted with adequate restraint. Even if the persons had been engaged in illicit tree cutting, efforts could have been made to apprehend them rather than take such drastic action and cause such high casualties," he said.
 
Mr Panneerselvam urged Mr Naidu to order a credible and speedy inquiry into the matter so that the facts are established and responsibility fixed for possible human rights violations.
 
"In case of any human rights violations, it is essential that action is taken against those who caused the deaths and appropriate compensation is paid to the families of the victims," he said.
 
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has also issued notices in this regard to the Chief Secretary and the Director General of Police (DGP) of Andhra Pradesh, taking suo motu cognizance of media reports about the incident.
 
"According to the media reports, the incident took place at Etagunta and Vacchinodu Banda hamlets, in the deep forest in Chandragiri Mandal. From the media reports, it appears that police and forest officials opened fire as the smugglers attacked them with stones, axes and knives," a press release from NHRC said.
 
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"The matter was immediately brought to the notice of NHRC Member Mr. Justice D. Murugesan who is camping in Thiruvananthapuram in connection with the camp sitting of the Commission. He observed that the incident involved a serious violation of human rights of the individuals and the opening of firing cannot be justified on the ground of self defence since it resulted in the loss of lives of 20 persons.
 
"Accordingly, notices have been issued to the Chief Secretary and the DGP of Andhra Pradesh calling for report explaining the act of police and forest officials within two weeks. The matter shall be taken up for hearing in the Camp Sitting of the Commission to be held at Hyderabad on 23rd April, 2015," the release said.
 
The Commission also noted that the incident has taken place at a time when a similar incident was reported from the bordering districts of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu in the month of December, 2014 wherein Andhra Pradesh forest officials were seen physically torturing and assaulting a man in a naked position and reports are awaited from concerned authorities and the issue is under consideration of the Commission.
 
The gunning down of the 20 men has also attracted sharp criticism from human rights organisations.
 
Amnesty International India said the killings must be investigated in a swift, thorough, and independent manner and, if they are found to be unlawful, those responsible should be brought to justice.
 
“There must be a criminal investigation to determine whether the police used excessive force, and whether the killings amount to ‘fake encounters’, or staged extrajudicial executions”, said Abhirr VP, Senior Campaigner at Amnesty International India. 
 
“In many cases the so-called smugglers are poor woodcutters employed by organized gangs,” said Abhirr. “The curbing of red sandalwood smuggling must not be used as an excuse to ignore human rights.”
 
Red sander (scientific name: Pterocarpus santalinus), also known as red sandalwood, has been placed by the IUCN in its Red List for being an endangered species. It is restricted to be southern parts of the Eastern Ghats in India.
 
Occurring in dry deciduous forest, the tree is commercially valuable for its timber and for the extraction of dye, medicine and cosmetics. It is valued for the rich red colour of its wood, which is not aromatic, unlike the Santalum Sandalwood trees that grow natively in South India.
 
Red sander is a light-demanding small tree, growing to 8 metres in height with a trunk 50–150 cm diameter. It is fast-growing when young, reaching 5 metres tall in three years, even on degraded soils. 
 
Furniture made from red sander is expensive and it has been one of the most prized woods for millenia. It is particlarly valued in China, where it is called zitan, and most of the smuggled wood ends up in that country.
 
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Nine dead, one injured as van collides with tanker in Tamil Nadu

 
9 dead, 1 injured in Tamil Nadu road mishap
Nine people died and one person suffered serious injuries when the van they were travelling in collided with a milk tanker in the Dindigul district of Tamil Nadu in the early hours of today.
 
The victims, all men, were member of the staff at an Arabic college at Pallapatti in Karur district, and were returning after attending the inauguration of a guest house at Kodaikanal, a tourist spot.
 
The head-on collision between the van and the tanker occurred around 1.30 am today near Sempatti in Dindigul district, police said. The tanker was on its way from Thuraiyur in Tiruchirapalli district to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala.
 
The injured person is undergoing treatment at a hospital in Madurai, they said.
 
The van was completely mangled in the collision, while the tanker overturned due to the impact and hundreds of litres of milk were spilt on the road.
 
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Paneerselvam writes to PM on arrest of fishermen by Sri Lankan Navy

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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister O. Paneerselvam has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his personal intervention to ensure the immediate release of 54 fishermen from the state who were apprehended by personnel of the Sri Lankan Navy in two separate incidents yesterday.
 
He said that the 33 fishermen in five boats belonging to Rameshwaram fishing base in Ramanathapuram district and 21 fishermen in five boats from Jagathapattinam in Pudukottai district had set sail on March 21 and were engaged in their peaceful avocation in their traditional fishing waters in the Palk Bay when they were arrested.
 
He said the arrests had come at a time when the next round of talks between fishermen's associations of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka were scheduled to be held here tomorrow. The Sri Lankan fishermen's delegation was slated to arrive here this morning, he pointed out.
 
"At a time when all the groundwork for the talks has been completed and there was eager anticipation amongst the fishermen community that these talks could lead to a significant breakthrough in a long-pending and vexatious issue, it is most disconcerting and shocking to learn that the Sri Lankan Navy has apprehended and arrested 54 innocent fishermen belonging to Tamil Nadu and their 10 boats in two separate incidents...," he said.
 
Mr Panneerselvam said the latest incidents constituted an "extremely unfortunate development".
 
"The unprovoked and belligerent action has caused tremendous anxiety and agitation amongst the fishermen community in Tamil Nadu. The assiduous and decisive steps being taken by the Government of Tamil Nadu ...to defuse the tense situation prevailing in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu and to create a conducive and accommodative atmosphere for the smooth conduct of bilateral fishermen level talks, could be undermined by this action of the Sri Lankan authorities," he said.
 
"This latest incident definitely requires your personal intervention and we exhort you to take concrete and decisive action to ensure the immediate release of the 54 apprehended fishermen and their 10 boats. I request you to instruct the Ministry of External Affairs to take up the matter with the Sri Lankan Government forthwith and impress upon the Sri Lankan authorities to arrange for the immediate release of our fishermen and their boats.
 
"I wish to state that, only when all the apprehended fishermen in Sri Lankan custody and their boats are released would the talks be meaningful and conducted in a conducive atmosphere," he added.
 
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Jagmohan Dalmiya returns as BCCI President, Anurag Thakur new Secretary

Jagmohan Dalmiya elected BCCI President
Veteran cricket administrator Jagmohan Dalmiya today returned unopposed as the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) after a gap of more than ten years, succeeding Mr N Srinivasan, whose innings was marked by a swirl of controversies related to alleged spot-fixing and betting in the Indian Premier League (IPL).
 
At its 85th annual general meeting here, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Anurag Thakur of Himachal Pradesh was elected as the new Secretary and Mr Amitabh Choudhary of Jharkhand as the Joint Secretary, while Mr Anirudh Chaudhry of Haryana will be the new Treasurer.
 
Mr Thakur defeated incumbent Sanjay Patel of Baroda by a margin of just one vote, while Mr Chaudhry defeated former Union Minister and Congress leader Rajiv Shukla of Uttar Pradesh.
 
Mr M L Nehru, Dr G. Ganga Raju, Mr Gautam Roy, Mr T C Mathew and Mr C K Khanna were elected as Vice-Presidents representing the North, South, East, West and Central Zones, respectively.
 
Mr Dalmiya, a former president of the International Cricket Council (ICC) and current head of the Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB), had earlier served as president of the Board from 2001-04. He had also briefly served as interim President from June 2, 2013 after Mr Srinivasan stepped aside from his position till a probe into the roles of his son-in-law Gurunath Meiyappan, the Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings in the alleged spot-fixing and betting scam during the last edition of the IPL was completed. Mr Srinivasan resumed office in October 2013.
 
Mr Srinivasan is the current president of the ICC.
 
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Mr Dalmiya served as treasurer of BCCI in 1983 and later as its secretary before becoming president of the ICC. He was elected president of the Board in 2001.
 
His fortunes waned when his rival Sharad Pawar, the former Union Minister, became BCCI president in 2005. Shortly thereafter, the BCCI filed a police complaint against him, accusing him of misappropriation of funds related to the 1996 World Cup, which India had co-hosted. He was expelled by the BCCI in December 2006 and forced to resign as president of the CAB.
 
In mid-2007, Mr Dalmiya was exonerated by the court and he was once again elected as president of CAB in 2008. But he had generally maintained a low profile in the past few years.
 
Overall, Mr Dalmiya is given credit for helping cricket become a lucrative sport globally and for turning the BCCI into the richest cricket board in the world.
 
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Jayalalithaa fan gets himself crucified, demands her return as Tamil Nadu CM

 
Jayalalithaa fan gets himself crucified
A supporter of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) leader J Jayalalithaa got himself crucified on a wooden cross here today demanding her return as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu even as scores of people watched.
 
The man was identified as Shihan Hussaini, a 46-year-old karate expert, who staged the event at a hall in the Besant Nagar area of the state capital on the eve of Ms Jayalalithaa's 67th birthday.
 
The man himself hammered the first nail into his left palm before his associates pounded six-inch nails into his other hand and feet. Writhing in pain, he remained nailed to the cross for more than six minutes, sources said.
 
The nails were later pulled out and Hussaini was rushed in a waiting ambulance to a nearby hospital. Doctors allowed him to go home after some time.
 
He told journalists later that he had suffered excruciating pain but wanted to do something dramatic for Ms Jayalalithaa.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa had to step down as Chief Minister after she was convicted by a special court in Bangalore in an 18-year-old corruption case and sentenced to four years in prison, asked to pay a fine of Rs 100 crore and barred from contesting elections for 10 years.
 
Her party later chose one of her loyalists, O Panneerselvan, to take over as Chief Minister.
 
Ms Jayalalithaa and 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. She has since then been granted bail. Her conviction had led to protests by her supporters in many parts of Tamil Nadu and suicides by some.
 
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Abducted Indian priest Alexis Prem Kumar released in Afghanistan

Alexis Prem Kumar
Alexis Prem Kumar
Father Alexis Prem Kumar, an Indian Jesuit priest who was kidnapped by suspected militants in the Herat province of Afghanistan in June last year, has been released and will return home to India later today, official sources said.
 
"Release of Indian national Father Alexis Prem Kumar secured in Afghnaistan," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said on microblogging site Twitter, adding that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had taked to him and his family.
 
"Delighted at securing the release of Indian Jesuit priest Father Alexis Prem Kumar from captivity in Afghanistan," Mr Modi said on Twitter.
 
"Have spoken to Father Alexis Prem Kumar. Informed happy family of Father Alexis Prem Kumar of his safe return after 8 months in captivity," he added.
 
Fr Prem Kumar, 47, worked for the Jesuit Refugee Services (JRS), an international NGO working for refugees throughout the world, and had been in Afghanistan for the past four years as the country head of the organisation.
 
An Indian from Tamil Nadu, he was reportedly kidnapped while accompanying teachers on a visit to a JRS-supported school for returnee refugees in Sohadat township, 34 km from Herat.
 
Before moving to Afghanistan, Fr.Prem Kumar had worked for the JRS, serving Sri Lankan refugees living in Tamil Nadu. 
 
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Eros collaborates with Studio Green for worldwide rights of Suriya starrer Masss

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Film entertainment major Eros International Media Limited has announced its association with Studio Green for the worldwide rights of upcoming Tamil supernatural thriller Masss. 
 
Starring superstar Suriya, the film also features actresses Nayantara and Pranitha in leading roles.
 
The film is the first collaboration of director Venkat Prabhu with Suriya. The music will be composed by Yuvan Shankar Raja. Masss is scheduled to release in June-July 2015.
 
Soundarya A Rajinikanth, Director - Creative for South, Eros International said, “After collaborating with Suriya for Maattrraan, we are very excited to extend our relationship with this exciting project. With this film, we also extend our partnership with Studio Green with whom we have already collaborated for the music of films like Darling and Tamiluku En Ondrai Aluthavum”.
 
“We at Studio Green are proud to be producing Masss with Mr. Suriya directed by Mr. Venkat Prabhu. We are glad to be partnering with Eros International for this film. Looking forward to exciting times ahead," K.E. Gnanavelraja of Studio Green said.
 
The agreement is part of efforts by Eros to strengthen its presence in the south and tap the potential of the Tamil industry by leveraging its strong tie-ups and film content, a press release from the company added.
 
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7 killed, 40 hurt as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails near Hosur

At least seven passengers were killed and about 40 others suffered injuries when the Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu on Friday morning, official sources said.

 
7 dead, 40 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least seven passengers were killed and about 40 others suffered injuries when the 12677 Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, this morning, official sources said.
 
The mishap occurred at around 7.45am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations on the Bangalore-Salem section of South-Western Railway, they said.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6.15 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Nine coaches and the engine of the train had gone off the rails, but one coach, 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 five bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches and efforts were on to retrieve two more.
 
He said some more passengers were trapped inside the coaches and efforts were being made to reach them by cutting through the mangled iron and steel with the help of gas-cutters.
 
He said ten of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals.
 
Police and emergency personnel from nearby areas in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways have rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
The cause of the accident could not be immediately ascertained. Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section, the sources said.
 
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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.
 
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. He said rescue operations were still on, but indicated that eight or nine people may have lost their lives.
 
"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: 048772424148, 2430060, 04842624143
 
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Three dead, 15 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Intercity Express derails near Hosur

 
3 dead, 15 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-City Express derails
At least three passengers died and about 15 others suffered injuries when the 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 7.42 am between Anekal Road and Hosur stations.
 
The train had left Bangalore at 6 am for Ernakulam in Kerala. Eight coaches and the engine of the train had gone off the rails, but one coach, D8, a second class chair car, was badly affected, they said.
 
South-Western Railway spokesperson Chandrasekhar Gupta told NetIndian over the telephone that three bodies had been extricated from the mangled coaches.
 
He said nine of the injured passengers had suffered severe injuries and were undergoing treatment in the Narayan Hridalaya, Sparsh and Anekal General hospitals.
 
A few more trapped passengers remained to be pulled out of the affected coaches, he added.
 
Police and emergency personnel from nearby areas, including in Tamil Nadu, have rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The Railways have rushed medical vans and accident relief vans to the spot.
 
The cause of the accident could not be immediately ascertained. Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section, they added.
 
In Delhi, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu said a boulder had fallen on the tracks in the ghat section and the train had hit it.
 
Describing the accident as "unfortunate", he said on micro-blogging site Twitter that he had directed all senior officers to rush to the scene and offer full help to the affected passengers.
 
Mr Prabhu said he was on his way to Bangalore to visit the site of the accident. He said all possible help would be rendered to the affected 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, is also rushing to 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.
 
He said the Chairman of the Railway Board and other senior officials, including some Members of the Railway Board, had been directed to rush to the scene.
 
"Ordered enquiry to fix responsibility and for corrective action to prevent such unfortunate accidents. Monitoring action regularly," he added.
 
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Two dead, 15 injured as Bangalore-Ernakulam Intercity Express derails near Hosur

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At least two passengers were reported killed and about 15 others suffered injuries when the Bangalore-Ernakulam Inter-city Express derailed this morning near Anekal Road, close to Hosur in Tamil Nadu, official sources said.
 
According to initial reports reaching here, the mishap occurred at around 7.48 am near Hosur. The train had left Bangalore for Ernakulam in Kerala at 6 am. Several of the coaches had gone off the rails, they said.
 
Railway officials told NetIndian that initial reports suggested that two people had died in the accident and about 15 others had suffered injuries.
 
Police and emergency personnel from nearby areas, including in Tamil Nadu, have rushed to the spot with ambulances and medical equipment. The injured were rushed to nearby hospitals.
 
Several people from nearby villages also rushed to the scene and helped to extricate the passengers from the derailed coaches.
 
The cause of the accident could not be immediately ascertained. Efforts were being made to restore rail traffic on the section, they added.
 
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Daimler India begins exports of bus chassis from its Chennai plant

Daimler India Commercial Vehicle Pvt. Ltd. (DICV), a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, Germany, has started to export bus chassis from India to Egypt.
 
Mr Hartmut Schick, Head of Daimler Buses, and Mr Markus Villinger, Head of Daimler Buses India, were present in the Egyptian capital of Cairo to celebrate the delivery of the first bus chassis to the company’s long-time business partner MCV. 
 
The products in question are nine-ton bus chassis that MCV will equip with bodies in Cairo. Starting immediately, the finished vehicles will be sold as Mercedes-Benz-brand buses through MCV’s nationwide sales network, a press release from the company said here today.
 
“The export of bus chassis from India to Egypt is yet another demonstration of how we are successfully leveraging on our global presence,” said Mr Schick.  “Our global production network allows us to offer appropriate and competitive products for every market.”
 
Mr Karim Ghabbour, Founder & Managing Director, MCV said: “We’re convinced that the chassis from India will ensure our buses’ high quality and at the same time expand our product range with a high-performance vehicle that will be offered at attractive terms.”
 
The OF 9t bus chassis with front-mounted engines are manufactured at the DICV plant here and delivered to Egypt. The bus chassis are rolled out from the same assembly line as that of BharatBenz trucks, as they are technologically similar to the medium-duty BharatBenz trucks. As a result, Daimler was able to begin with exports before the bus plant was completed at the Oragadam site in Tamil Nadu.
 
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The chassis from India are especially modified for use in buses. The chassis are competitive, high-quality products, due to their high degree of localization and their incorporation in state-of-the-art production and logistics processes. This enables Daimler Buses to offer vehicles in previously unexploited segments of the Egyptian bus market. The company plans to include additional export markets in its sales network at a later date, the release said.
 
Meanwhile, construction of the DICV bus plant is continuing at a rapid pace. Daimler is investing around €50 million in the project launched in March 2014. The company expects to begin producing Mercedes-Benz and BharatBenz buses at the plant at the end of the second quarter. 
 
Spread across an area of 113,000 square meters, the plant is being built within the existing premises of DICV. The plant will have an installed capacity of 1,500 vehicles per year in the initial phase, and can be expanded to 4,000 units subsequently. Once construction is completed, the facility in Oragadam will be the first Daimler plant worldwide to produce trucks, buses, and engines for a total of three brands.
 
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Malini Parthasarathy appointed as Editor of The Hindu

Malini Parthasarathy
Malini Parthasarathy
Well-known journalist Malini Parthasarathy has been appointed as the Editor of The Hindu with effect from February 1, the Chennai-based newspaper announced today.
 
She will be the first woman to hold the prestigious position.
 
The statement said the Board of Directors of Kasturi and Sons Ltd. (KSL), publishers of The Hindu and Group publications, took the decision unanimously at its meeting here yesterday.
 
"Dr. Malini Parthasarathy will be in charge of all editorial operations, and be the Editor responsible for selection of news under the Press and Registration of Books (PRB) Act," it said.
 
The announcement also said that Mr N Ravi, Wholetime Director, would step down from his role as Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu on January 31.
 
"The Board placed on record Mr. Ravi’s contributions to maintaining The Hindu’s pre-eminent position as the most respected English newspaper in India.
 
"The Board also noted that Dr. Malini Parthasarathy has the rare distinction of being The Hindu’s first woman Editor, and wished her the very best in taking The Hindu to greater heights," the statement added.
 
Ms Parthasarathy, who is also a Director of Kasturi & Sons Ltd and the founding Director of The Hindu Centre, has been associated with the newspaper as a political journalist for more than three decades, including as its Executive Editor and Editor in recent years.
 
She has an M.S. in Journalism from the Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University, and a Ph. D. from the Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University. After graduating from the Columbia School of Journalism, she was briefly a Visiting Journalist at the Washington Post before joining The Hindu in 1983.
 
Ms Parthasarathy is a cousin of Mr Ravi and his brothers N. Ram, former Editor-in-Chief and now Chairman of the company, and N. Murali, currently co-Chairman of the company.
 
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The Hindu was originally launched in Chennai as a weekly in 1878. It was bought 20 years later by S Kasturi Ranga Iyenger, its legal adviser. In between,  it had become a daily in 1889.
 
Cousins from four branches of the larger family -- the Narasimhan, Parthasarathy, Rangarajan and Kasturi families, each with 25 per cent ownership of the company's shares -- run the newspaper now. There have been upheavals within the family and some public spats between siblings and cousins in the past few years.
 
Ms Parthasarathy is the daughter of Srinivasan Parthasarathy, the son of Kasturi Srinivasan, and a great-granddaughter of Kasturi Ranga Iyengar.
 
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Eight dead, 43 hurt as bus rolls down into valley in Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu

 
8 dead, 43 hurt as bus falls into gorge in Tamil Nadu
Eight persons died and as many as 43 people suffered injuries when a state transport bus they were travelling in veered off the road in a hilly area and rolled down about 50 feet into a valley in the Dharmapuri district of Tamil Nadu today.
 
Dharmapuri Superintendent of Police J Loganathan told NetIndian the mishap occurred around 1250 hours today when the bus was on its way from Pennagaram to Hogenakkal. 
 
Preliminary reports suggested that the driver of the bus lost control of the vehicle while overtaking another vehicle on a sharp turn.
 
Mr Loganathan said the deceased included four men and four women. He said most of the injured had suffered only simple injuries and were given first aid at a local hospital before some of them were shifted to the district hospital.
 
He said police and rescue teams had reached the spot soon after the incident was reported and removed all the injured to hospital. The wreckage of the bus was also recovered and the road had been cleared for traffic, he added.
 
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Former Union Minister, DMK leader D Napoleon joins BJP

 
Senior DMK leader D Napoleon joins BJP
Former Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) leader D Napoleon joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the presence of its president Amit Shah here today.
 
Mr Shah told newspersons that the BJP would lead the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the 2016 elections to the Tamil Nadu legislative assembly.
 
To a question, he said the alliance would announce its Chief Ministerial candidate before the assembly elections.
 
Mr Napoleon told reporters that the DMK had made him a minister at the Centre but did not give him opportunities to serve the people.
 
The former Minister had been sidelined by the DMK for his support to Mr M K Azhagiri, the estranged son of DMK chief M Karunanidhi. Mr Azhagiri was sacked by the DMK in March this year for indulging in anti-party activities.
 
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Railways to run Winter Specials from Mumbai to Ernakulam/Tirunelveli, Pune to Ernakulam

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The Railways will run 18 special trains between Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) in Mumbai and Ernakulam in Kerala and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu as well as between Pune and Ernakulam to clear the extra rush of passengers during the holiday season.
 
A press release from Central Railway said the composition of all three specials would be one AC-2 tier, one AC-3 tier, ten sleeper class coaches and one pantry car.
 
The 02065 Lokmanya Tilak Terminus-Ernakulam Special will leave LTT at 1250 hours on December 22, December 29 and January 5 and reach Ernakulam at 1400 hours on the next day.
 
In the return direction, 02066 will run as Normal Special and will leave Ernakulam at 17.00 hrs on December 23, December 30 and January 6 and arrive at LTT at 1930 hours the next day.
 
The halts for 02065 Premium Special are Panvel, Ratnagiri, Madgaon, Mangalore Jn., and Kozhikode.
 
The halts for 02066 Normal Special are Aluva, Thrissur, Shoranur, Tirur, Kozhikode, Vadakara, Thalasseri, Kannur, Payyanur, Kanhangad, Kasaragod, Mangalore Junction, Udupi, Kundapura, Mookambika Road Byndoor, Bhatkal, Murdeshwar, Karwar, Madgaon, Karmali, Thivim, Sawantwadi Road, Kudal, Kanakvali, Ratnagiri, Sangameshwar, Chiplun, Khed, Roha, Panvel and Thane.
 
The 02057 LTT-Tirunelveli Premium Special will leave LTT at 13.20 hrs on December 25, January 1 and January 8 and reach Tirunelveli at 22.00 hrs next day. In the return direction, 02058 will run as Normal Special and will leave Tirunelveli at 07.55 hrs on December 27, January 3 and January 10 and arrive at LTT at 1620 hours on the next day.
 
The halts for 02057 Premium Special are Panvel, Madgaon, Mangalore Jn., Ernakulam Jn. and Nagercoil Town.
 
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The halts for 02058 Normal Special are Valliyur, Nagercoil Town, Eraniel, Kulitturai, Neyyantinkara, Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kayankulam, Chengannur, Tiruvalla, Kottayam, Ernakulam Town, Aluva, Thrissur, Shoranur, Kuttipuram, Tirur, Kozhikode, Vadakara, Thalasseri, Kannur, Payyanur, Kanhangad, Kasaragod, Mangalore Junction, Udupi, Kundapura, Mookambika Road Byndoor, Bhatkal, Kumta, Karwar, Madgaon, Karmali, Thivim, Sawantwadi Road, Kanakvali, Ratnagiri, Chiplun, Roha, Panvel and Thane.
 
The 02059 Pune-Ernakulam Premium Special will leave Pune at 18.45 hrs on December 25, January 1 and January 8 and reach Ernakulam at 2005 hours on the next day.
 
In the return direction, 02060 will run as Normal Special and will leave Ernakulam at 05.15 hrs on December 27 and reach Pune at 07.10 hrs next day.
 
The halts for 02059 Premium Special are Panvel, Ratnagiri, Madgaon, Mangalore Jn and Kozhikode.
 
The halts for 02060 Normal Special are Aluva, Thrissur, Shoranur, Tirur, Kozhikode, Thalasseri, Kannur, Kasaragod, Mangalore Junction, Udupi, Karwar, Madgaon, Karmali, Kanakvali, Ratnagiri, Chiplun, Roha, Panvel and Lonavala
 
The release said bookings would open today through Internet only for train numbers 02065 leaving on December 22 and for trains 02057 and 02059 leaving on December 25.
 
For subsequent services, reservation will open 10 days in advance excluding the day of journey, the release added.
 
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