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Lok Sabha Election 2024: Repolling At 11 Polling Stations In Manipur Today, Defence Minister Says 'PoK Is Ours'

Lok Sabha Election 2024: Voting under the second phase of Lok Sabha elections on April 26 will take place in Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir

News18 22 Apr 2024 7:49 am

Congress announces 11 more LS candidates, buzz over Rahul from Amethi and Priyanka from Rae Bareli

NEW DELHI: The Congress on Sunday announced 11 more candidates for the Lok Saha polls amid intense speculation that former party president Rahul Gandhi will file a nomination to contest the Lok Sabha polls from Uttar Pradeshs Amethi after the second phase of elections, which is slated for April 26. Gandhi is seeking a mandate for the second time from Keralas Wayanad, which is going to polls in the second phase. It was also speculated that Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra will make her electoral debut from the partys Uttar Pradesh stronghold of Rae Bareli, a seat earlier held by her mother Sonia Gandhi. The Congress Central Election Committee, which met earlier in the day, was expected to decide on candidates for Haryana, the remaining seats in Bihar, Punjab, and the crucial seats Amethi and Rae Bareli in UP. However, sources said that the UP seats were not on the agenda of the meeting. The meeting was chaired by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and attended by former party chief Sonia Gandhi, senior leaders Salman Khurshid and Ambika Soni, among others. Several names were discussed for Punjab and Bihar and a final decision on key seats was left for the Congress president to take, the sources said. They added that the next list of candidates would be announced very soon. While the Congress is contesting all the 13 seats in Punjab, in Bihar it is set to field candidates on nine seats and is part of the Mahagathbandhan formation with RJD and the Left parties. Later, the party released the names of nine candidates for Andhra Pradesh seats and two candidates for Jharkhand Lok Sabha constituencies. The party will field Yashashwini Sahay from the Ranchi seat. Though the CEC did not discuss Amethi and Rae Bareli seats, the sources said that Rahul Gandhi is likely to file the nomination for Amethi, after April 26. Last week, Gandhi said he would abide by his partys decision on Amethis candidature. Will abide by party decision: Rahul Gandhi on contesting LS polls from Amethi At a joint press conference with Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, Gandhi said, On Amethi, the party will decide. Whatever order I get, I will abide by that. In our party, these decisions are taken in the CEC meeting. Though Gandhi represented Amethi for three straight terms earlier, in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, he was defeated by Union Minister Smriti Irani by over 50,000 votes. Speaking to this newspaper, Congress leader Dinesh Singh said that both seats are considered bastions of the Gandhi family and the state units of the party have demanded that the siblings contest from there. We are confident that they will contest. There is anger against the current MP and the wind is in our favour, he said.

The New Indian Express 22 Apr 2024 7:48 am

4 Hours Delay In Fireworks Sparks A Political Row, BJP Slams Pinarayi Government | Kerala | News18

Thrissur: 4 hours delay in fireworks sparks a political row, BJP slams Pinarayi Vijayan government

News18 22 Apr 2024 7:48 am

LDF will surely win: Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan

The News Mill

The News Mill 22 Apr 2024 4:14 am

Kerala bird flu: TN govt steps up vigil in border areas - Social News XYZ

Kerala bird flu: TN govt steps up vigil in border areas Social News XYZ

Google News 22 Apr 2024 2:48 am

Penkoottu forays into reel realm, forms film society

First film festival to be held at Mananchira square on May Day

The Hindu 22 Apr 2024 12:46 am

Limited company: On the Congress-Left spat in Kerala

The Left and the Congress are doing each other no favours in Kerala

The Hindu 22 Apr 2024 12:10 am

Coordination with other departments help in effective control of bird flu: Minister

This is the sixth time that influenza A (h5n1) or avian influenza is being reported in Kerala since 2014-15

The Hindu 22 Apr 2024 12:03 am

Pradeep S. Mehta and Simi T.B. | Urgent action is required at all levels to tackle plastic pollution

Amid the observance of Earth Day 2024 with the theme Planet vs Plastics, the pressing global crisis of plastic pollution commands urgent attention. If one recalls the famous line from the 1967 comedy film Graduate , a young lad, Benjamin, played by Dustin Hoffman, is advised by an elder for future career choices to go in for plastics. Indeed, those days, plastics were the in thing. But Benjamin may not have been able to envision the havoc it has been creating. Plastics have now become a significant menace, endangering our environment, health, and economy. The rapid rise in production, combined with the alarming accumulation of plastic waste choking land, oceans and the innards of animals, highlight the critical nature of this issue. Cattle and fish have been found to contain a huge amount of plastic waste in their inner bodies. Globally, nations are taking significant actions to tackle plastic pollution. In 2022, UN member states unanimously endorsed a resolution aimed at ending plastic pollution, signalling a unified global commitment. An Inter-governmental Negotiating Committee is currently drafting a legally binding agreement on plastic pollution, which is expected to be finalised by the end of this year. Recent data reveals a massive growth in global plastic production, skyrocketing from two million tonnes in 1950 to a staggering 430 million tonnes in 2023, with projections anticipating a doubling of capacity by 2040. However, the gravest concern lies not solely in the sheer volume of plastic produced but also in its profound impact on our planet. According to OECD, approximately 22 per cent of plastic waste eludes waste management systems, finding its way into unregulated dumpsites, incineration in open pits, or polluting terrestrial and aquatic environments, particularly affecting low and middle-income economies. Health Impacts and Circular Economy Call Today, the health impact of plastic pollution is increasingly evident, with studies highlighting its disproportionate effects on marginalised communities, particularly women and children residing in heavily polluted areas. Risks include reproductive issues, hormonal imbalances, reduced IQ, respiratory diseases, and neurological disorders. Furthermore, plastic pollution takes a toll on ecosystems, according to UNEP reports, with over 800 marine species experiencing ingestion, entanglement, and other harmful effects. Alarmingly, an estimated 11 million tonnes of plastic waste enter our oceans annually, a figure projected to triple by 2040 without immediate intervention. The imperative for a radical shift in our approach to plastic management is clear. Transitioning from the linear model of production, consumption, and disposal to a circular economy offers a viable solution. By embracing this approach, we can significantly reduce the volume of plastics entering our lands and oceans, cut greenhouse gas emissions, and even create hundreds of thousands of new jobs. To be more precise, as per UNEP reports, embracing circular economy approach could lead to an 80 per cent reduction in the volume of plastics entering oceans by 2040, a 55 per cent decrease in virgin plastic production, $70 billion in government savings, a 25 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, and the creation of 700,000 new jobs, mostly in the Global South. However, to effectively mitigate plastic pollution, countries must foster innovation and incentivise businesses who are adopting eco-friendly practices. This includes implementing taxes on single-use plastic products to discourage their production and usage, alongside offering tax breaks, subsidies, and other financial incentives to promote alternatives such as reusable products. Furthermore, strengthening waste management infrastructure is crucial for enhancing waste reduction and recycling endeavours. Plastic Waste Challenge and Promising Initiatives In the last five years, India has experienced a significant surge in plastic waste generation, as per the Central Pollution Control Boards annual report. From 1,568,714 tonnes per annum in 2016-17, it escalated to 4,126,997 tonnes per annum in 2020-21, indicating a concerning trend upward. Despite Indias relatively low per capita plastic waste production, recent reports indicate it ranks among the top 12 countries responsible for 60 per cent of global mismanaged plastic waste. However, concerted efforts to address this issue have gained momentum, with government initiatives such as banning selected single-use plastics items, implementing Extended Producer Responsibility, Plastic Waste Management Rules, and the Prime Minister himself spearheading campaigns like the Swachh Bharat Mission, showcasing a dedicated commitment to effective waste management. Simultaneously, it is imperative to recognise and replicate best practices that can serve as a blueprint for further progress. Innovative initiatives like the Garbage Caf at Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh, showcase how local communities actively engage in waste management. By offering food in exchange for plastic waste, the cafe not only promotes environmental awareness but also fosters community involvement. Likewise, in Kerala, every household and business establishment are mandated to pay a user fee monthly for the Haritha Karma Senas door-to-door collection of segregated non-biodegradable waste, including plastics. Comprising predominantly over 30,000 women, this group ensures the prompt delivery of collected items to authorised recycling facilities. Their efforts have led to a 43.61 per cent growth in waste collection, with segregated plastic waste alone increasing from 620.59 tonnes in May 2022 to 1013.04 tonnes in May 2023. These initiatives underscore the potential for impactful plastic waste management strategies that can be scaled up to address the global plastic pollution crisis. The Path Forward At present, like in most other developing economies, India has multiple challenges, particularly in areas such as littering, segregation at the source, and inadequate waste management infrastructure. Addressing these issues requires a multi-faceted approach, encompassing education, regulation, stringent enforcement, innovation, and community involvement. By implementing bans, promoting reusable alternatives, and investing in recycling infrastructure, the nation can make significant strides towards reducing plastic pollution and building a more sustainable future for generations to come.

Deccan Chronicle 21 Apr 2024 11:45 pm

Thiruvananthapuram denied development, jobs for last 15-20 years: BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar

Thiruvananthapuram denied development, jobs for last 15-20 years: BJP candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar In a tough battle with sitting Congress MP Shashi Tharoor for the prized Thiruvananthapuram seat, BJP candidate and Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar on Sunday said the constituency has been deprived of development for the last 15-20 years. Speaking to ANI on Sunday, the Union Minister said, Thiruvananthapuram has been denied development and jobs for the last 15-20 years. None of the two MPs (who represented the seat all these years) did anything for the people. The people here are craving for development, change and jobs. The youth want opportunities. Chandrasekhar faces a stiff challenge from former diplomat and senior Congress leader Tharoor, who is seeking a third term from the constituency. The CPM-led Left Democratic Front (LDF) has fielded CPI leader Pannyan Raveendran from the constituency, who won the seat in 2005. While the BJP has never won a Lok Sabha seat in Kerala, the party registered a victory in the Thiruvananthapuram district just once, with O Rajagopal winning the Nemam assembly seat in 2016. In the 2019 polls, the BJP's Kummanam Rajasekharan won 31.3 per cent votes in Thiruvananthapuram, the largest vote share achieved by the party in all 20 Lok Sabha constituencies it contested in the state. However, with Chandrasekhar jumping into the fray this year, the battle for Thiruvananthapuram has turned into a three-cornered one and will be one of the most-watched contests in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls. (ANI)

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 11:28 pm

Rahul Gandhi Cancels Poll Campaign in Kerala After Taking Ill

Earlier in the day, Gandhi did not participate in the INDIA bloc rally in Ranchi, which senior party leader Jairam Ramesh said, he took ill suddenly and is unable to leave New Delhi for the present

News18 21 Apr 2024 11:00 pm

Central Kerala in for an exciting contest

Stakes are high for political parties as well as candidates in the fray in the sevenLok Sabha constituencies.Issues such as screening of The Kerala StoryonDoordarshan and later for catechism students, human-wildlife conflicts and anti-incumbency factor dominate the electioneering scene

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 10:48 pm

The Kerala Story plot in Bihar: Sameer Alam lures and abducts a minor Dalit girl, forcibly marries her by hiding his identity, arrested while attempting to sell her in Nepal

On further interrogation, Sameer Alam confessed that he intended to take the minor girl with him to Nepal to sell her there. The modus operandi resembles the plot exposed in 'The Kerala Story' movie.

OpIndia 21 Apr 2024 9:59 pm

Lok Sabha polls: over 1.42 lakh voters make use of home voting facility in Kerala

Of these, 1,02,285 are in the 85-plus category while PwD voters account for 40,514 votes

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 8:45 pm

Bird flu outbreak in Kerala: check-posts in border districts of T.N. on high alert - The Hindu

Bird flu outbreak in Kerala: check-posts in border districts of T.N. on high alert The Hindu

Google News 21 Apr 2024 8:00 pm

V.D. Satheesan complains to Press Council against Deshabhimani

Seeks action for posting exceedingly derogatory, obscene, and baseless news about Congress leaders in Kerala

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 7:59 pm

Congress approaches Press Council of India seeking action against CPI(M) mouthpiece

Congress in Kerala filed a complaint against CPI(M) mouthpiece for spreading fake news about its leaders, alleging a political agenda to gain an unfair advantage in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

The Economic Times 21 Apr 2024 7:33 pm

Lok Sabha Election 2024: Kerala Express | Ticket India Ka

Lok Sabha Election 2024 Updates: - , - ,

NDTV 21 Apr 2024 7:11 pm

PMs allegation: Kerala CM questions the claims; criticises Rahul Gandhi

Pinarayi Vijayan challenges the basis of the claims, demanding evidence from authentic sources. He also accuses both Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi of spreading falsehoods about Kerala and emphasises the States low corruption level

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 7:08 pm

Top leaders continue to desert Kerala Congress

Party vice-president V.C. Chandy submits resignation; party leadership, however, remains unfazed and asserts that the resignations will have a minimal impact on the election outcome in Kottayam

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 6:58 pm

People put more trust in Left than in Congress, says K. Radhakrishnan

Keralas Minister for Devaswoms is no stranger to electoral politics, having romped home in all six elections he contested before. He says the party leadership wants to increase representation of Left MPs in Parliament

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 6:56 pm

Kerala: Police restrictions on Thrissur Pooram continue, entry of parasols prevented by commissioner, political blame game starts while CM assures serious probe

Politics has intensified in Keralas cultural capital, Thrissur after Police excesses marred the popular temple festival, Thrissur Pooram

OpIndia 21 Apr 2024 6:44 pm

Bird Flu Outbreak in Kerala: What Is H5N1? Signs and Precautions

Panchayats respond to bird flu outbreak, culling ducks in Kuttanad. Tamil Nadu boosts surveillance at checkpoints. H5N1 symptoms, detection, treatment detailed for public awareness.

The Economic Times 21 Apr 2024 6:02 pm

How IUML remains crucial for Congress in Kerala

How IUML remains crucial for Congress in Kerala

India Today 21 Apr 2024 5:14 pm

Pinarayi Vijayan slams PM, Rahul Gandhi for covering Kerala's progress with lies

Pinarayi Vijayan slams PM Rahul Gandhi for covering Keralas progress with lies

India Today 21 Apr 2024 5:07 pm

'Record Numbers This Time': PM Modi Bullish On BJP's Lok Sabha Prospect In South India, Including Kerala

Modi challenges BJP's South India absence narrative, emphasising historical ties, condemning regional division attempts, and asserting commitment to Kerala's progress

News18 21 Apr 2024 5:03 pm

Poultry from Kerala banned from entering the Nilgiris

Since the outbreak of bird flu was confirmed in Alappuzha in Kerala was confirmed, measures have been initiated to prevent the entry of any poultry.

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 4:14 pm

After Lok Sabha Election In Tamil Nadu, BJP's K Annamalai Holds Roadshow In Kerala

Tamil Nadu BJP President K Annamalai held a roadshow in Kerala's Kollam today. K Annamalai is the party's Coimbatore Candidate in Tamil Nadu, the state where polls happened on April 19. He was campaigning for the BJP's Candidate from Kollam, G Krishna Kumar. Notably, the polling for the 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala will take place on April 26.

NDTV 21 Apr 2024 4:12 pm

CAA will be repealed when INDIA Bloc comes to power, says Congress leader P Chidambaram

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday said the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) will be repealed in the first session of Parliament after the INDIA Bloc forms the government at the Centre. Chidambaram said the intention of the Congress party is to repeal the CAA even though it is not mentioned in its manifesto. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the CPI(M) has been constantly lashing out at the Congress saying its manifesto fails to mention the CAA. Talking to the media here, Chidambaram claimed it was not mentioned in the manifesto ecause it became too long. The former union minister said the 10-year-rule of the BJP has caused tremendous damage to the country as it misused the rute majority in Parliament. There is a long list of laws among which five laws will be absolutely repealed. Take it from me, I am the chairman of the manifesto committee. I wrote every word of it, I know what the intention was. The CAA will be repealed, not amended. We have made it clear, Chidambaram said. The CAA will be repealed in the first session of Parliament in which the INDIA Bloc forms the government, he added. Dismissing the claims of Vijayan that the Congress has not opposed the Law, Chidambaram said Thiruvananthapuram MP Shashi Tharoor has spoken against the CAA in Parliament. When asked whether the Ayodhya Ram temple inauguration will have any impact on the elections, Chidambaram said he hopes not. Ayodhya now has a temple. We are happy. People wanted the temple and a temple has come up. That should be the end of the story. Why should a temple in Ayodhya play a role in politics or in elections and on who should rule the country. It should have no role at all, Chidambaram said. TMC manifesto promises guaranteed jobs, free LPG cylinders, CAA repeal On the issue of national border security, the senior Congress leader alleged that the BJP government was hiding the truth from the people of the country that housands of square kilometres of Indian land was occupied by Chinese troops. That's a fact testified by the MP from Ladakh. The fact testified by the Arunachal Pradesh citizens. Therefore, to say that they have secured our borders is a complete lie, Chidambaram said. He also lashed out at the BJP-led NDA government and said the saffron party is no longer a political party but has become a cult that worships Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Targeting the Modi government, Chidambaram said there is a grave erosion of freedom of speech and expression that happened in the 10 years of Modi rule, and urged the people to estore democracy. The BJP constituted the manifesto in 14 days which is not titled manifesto. They called it Modi's guarantee. The BJP is no longer a political party. It has become a cult and the cult worships Narendra Modi, Chidambaram said. He claimed that Modi ki guarantee reminds everyone of the countries where there is cult worship. That cult worship in India has started gaining strength and will lead to dictatorship, he said. He alleged that there has been gross censorship of the freedom of expression under the 10-year Modi rule. If Modi is voted back to power for a third time, he may amend the constitution. We have to restore democracy, Chidambaram said. The Congress leader also criticised Vijayan, who has been vocal these days against the Congress and Rahul Gandhi, and asked the Left leader to look at this election as a national election, which it is. He alleged that its ally in the INDIA Bloc, the CPI(M) was fighting this election in Kerala as if it is a state election. And from a national point of view, who is better placed to fight the BJP and form a government in Delhi. Who is better placed to fight the BJP across India? It is obviously the Congress and not the CPI(M). CPI(M) is literally a single state party now, Chidambaram said. He appealed to the people to vote the INDIA bloc to power in Delhi. I am not sure if I can hold a press conference like this if Mr Modi is elected for a third time. I am not sure whether you will be free to ask any questions to BJP leaders then, he added. Polling will be held on April 26 in Kerala for the Lok Sabha election, and the nationwide results will be declared on June 4.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 3:22 pm

Kerala Lottery Result for 21 April 2024: Akshaya AK 648 Winners Declared Today

Kerala Lottery Result for today, 21 April 2024: Download Akshaya AK 648 result from keralalotteries.com.

The Quint 21 Apr 2024 3:13 pm

Congress' Wayand district committee general secretary PM Sudhakaran quits party, joins BJP

Amid the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, PM Sudhakaran, the general secretary of the Wayand district committee of Congress, has resigned from the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Sudhakaran criticized Rahul Gandhi, stating that the Wayanad MP was inaccessible to him, and expressed support for Kerala BJP chief K Surendran in the Wayanad Lok Sabha seat.

The Economic Times 21 Apr 2024 3:07 pm

Police nab Bihar native who stole jewellery worth Rs 1 crore from filmmaker Joshiy; all stolen items recovered

KOCHI: The Kerala police have nabbed the Bihar native from Udupi in Karnataka, who absconded with gold and diamonds worth Rs 1 crore from veteran Malayalam filmmaker Joshiy's house at Panampilly Nagar, within 24 hours of the robbery that happened on Saturday. The suspect is identified as Mohammed Irshad, a native of Bihar, who was caught in a filmy-style chase that spanned two states. Police are investigating the role of other persons in the heist. Irshad was apprehended in Udupi along with the material evidence with the help of Karnataka police. When the probe began on Saturday morning, the cops had just one piece of evidence -- a grainy CCTV picture of the suspect. However, police were able to zero in on the robber's face, after getting a vital lead through CCTV images that a Maharashtra-registered vehicle was parked near the premises of the burgled house around 3 am on Saturday. Kerala police, with the help of latest technology, identified the person as Irshad, who they found was involved in several other crimes that were reported in other states. He was also on the wanted list of the police. Two diamond necklaces, 10 diamond rings, 8 pairs of diamond earrings, 10 gold chains, 10 gold bangles, and 10 luxury watches were stolen from the bedroom of the Joshiy's house in Kochi's posh Panampilly Nagar on the wee hours of Saturday. Though we inspected the entire house, we could gather the information that the robber entered through the kitchen door. We couldn't find sufficient evidence to lead us to the robber, said Sudarsan K S, DCP Law and Order. However, the police were not ready to give up, as they started looking for the presence of other unusual activity near the premises. We were able to trace a Maharashtra-registered vehicle near the premises and also obtained a grainy picture of the robber from CCTV. Since it was difficult to arraign him as the accused, we did some groundwork. We started tracing the whereabouts of the vehicle and the person with the help of technology, added the DCP. The police also obtained a vital clue that the person who used the same vehicle was behind the heist, as they were able to trace the location of the vehicle. We have cameras that automatically detect vehicle numbers. This helped us conclude that he was escaping in the same vehicle. The presence of the vehicle was also detected on camera. With this, we have issued an alert to all the state police chiefs of five neighbouring states. Finally, we were able to nab him from Udupi with the help of Karnataka police, said Sudarsan. Meanwhile, police have also discovered that the accused drove the vehicle from Mumbai to Kochi for the robbery. We need to investigate why he planned the heist in Kochi and how he was able to locate the director's house. We can only unravel the mystery once we start the interrogation, said the DCP. The police also confirmed that Irshad planned the heist and executed it. He was already involved in several other crimes that were reported in other states. He is also on the police's wanted list, the officer said. The daring robbery was executed by the Bihar native from the room of Joshiy's son Abhilash, who is also a film director. Abhilash was not at home when the theft happened wheras Joshiy and other family members were present.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 3:06 pm

Hong Kong, Singapore food regulators find cancer-causing chemicals in Everest, MDH spices

NEW DELHI: Famous Indian spices are in the international spotlight for the wrong reasons. Hong Kongs food regulatory authority has found four products of popular Indian brands MDH and Everest with carcinogenic ingredients. Following this, Singapore has recalled Everest fish curry masala imported from India, citing the presence of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing agent which raises the risk of breast cancer and lymphoma. The Centre for Food Safety, Hong Kongs food and environmental regulatory body, said it collected samples of four products under its routine food surveillance programme and found the presence of pesticide ethylene oxide, which is unsuitable for human consumption. The three MDH products are curry powder (spice blend for Madras curry), mixed masala powder, and sambhar masala. The fourth product is Everest Fish Curry Masala. In its April 5 announcement, it said that they had informed the vendors concerned of the irregularities and instructed them to stop the sale and remove from shelves the affected products. It said the International Agency for Research on Cancer has classified ethylene oxide as a Group 1 carcinogen. According to the Pesticide Residues in Food Regulation (Cap. 132CM), food for human consumption containing pesticide residue may only be sold if consumption of the food is not dangerous or prejudicial to health. According to the CFS's instructions, the distributors/importers Sp Muthiah & Sons Pte. Ltd. Has been asked to initiate recalls on the affected products. Following Hong Kongs food regulators identification of pesticide in these spices, the Singapore Food Agency (SFA) said they had instructed the importer to recall the affected products comprehensively. Breast cancer deaths to double by 40, says Lancet It further said that ethylene oxide is a pesticide that is not authorised for use in food. It can be used to fumigate agricultural products to prevent microbial contamination. It further said that although there is no immediate risk to consumption of food contaminated with low levels of ethylene oxide, long-term exposure may lead to health issues. Therefore, exposure to this substance should be minimised as much as possible. It also added that consumers who have purchased the implicated products are advised not to consume them. Those who have consumed the implicated products and have concerns about their health should seek medical advice. It is not the first time the two Indian companies were asked to withdraw their products from the overseas markets. In June last year, the US Food and Drugs Authority had asked Everest Food Products to recall its two products, sambhar masala, garam masala, and maggi masala that had tested positive for Salmonella. These bacteria can cause foodborne illnesses such as diarrhoea and abdominal cramps, fever, nausea, and vomiting. In September 2019, at least three lots of MDHs sambar masala were withdrawn from the US after the FDA tested them and found them to be positive for salmonella. Kerala-based liverdoctor, Dr Cyriac Abby Philips, who is popularly known as LiverDoc in X,formerly Twitter, said Ethylene oxide has been found to be associated with cancers such as lymphoma in males and breast cancer in females. What is Indian food regulator doing? If this is the morbid scene with international exports, what are we exposed to here? India has no value for public health and seems like government and most people are content with distractivepolitics and religion. We need to start an era of Citizen Science in India, to make those responsible,also accountable, he posted. Robotics enables breast cancer removal, organ re-construction in single surgery

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 2:30 pm

Combing operations launched amid suspected naxal sightings around Karnataka border

Combing operations launched amid suspected naxal sightings around Karnataka border Amid suspected naxal sightings in and around the areas of Karnataka bordering Kerala, the police have launched combing operations in the neighbouring areas and made adequate arrangements for upcoming Lok Sabha elections, officials said on Sunday. The general elections in Karnataka will be held in two phases on April 26 and May 7 for its 28 constituencies. Speaking to PTI videos, Arun K, Superintendent of Police Udupi said that some days ago, there were suspected naxal sightings in and around the Karnataka-Kerala border. However, around five-six years ago, there were no naxal sightings on this side of Karnataka. ''We have coordinated with anti-naxal force and have started combing operations in the neighbouring areas. We have started the anti-naxal squads in the concerned district and are also trying to collect information from the local public regarding any naxal activities,'' he said. The officer further said it has been ensured that all the naxal-affected polling booths will be given central paramilitary force protection on the day of polling. ''As of now, we don't expect any issues but we have made adequate arrangements to ensure peaceful elections,'' he said.

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 1:24 pm

Kerala: CPIM wanted to create communal tension before the 2014 election, party workers tried to sneak in BJPs banner into madrassa

The sinister plan was reportedly thwarted after alert security guards at the madrassa stopped the CPIM workers from stepping into the Islamic seminary.

OpIndia 21 Apr 2024 12:42 pm

Adoor Prakash banks on development plank, seeks second term from Attingal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Its a hot Thursday afternoon and Kallara, a small town located in the rural parts of Thiruvananthapuram district, is abuzz with a large number of Congress and UDF members thronging the place to have a glimpse of Telangana CM R Revanth Reddy. Reddy, a star campaigner, was in the town to address a convention of UDF Attingal Lok Sabha constituency candidate Adoor Prakash. From the makeshift dais that was perched atop a parked lorry, Reddy exhorted the crowd to vote the INDIA bloc to power so that Rahul Gandhi could become the prime minister of the country. For Prakash, who was standing beside Reddy with hands folded towards the gathering, the Telangana CM fancied another chance. By winning the poll, Adoor Prakashji will get a good portfolio in the centre, he remarked. The crowd replied with thundering applause, while Prakash slightly moved his folded palms as if saying thanks for their feedback. Prakash is engaged in a triangular contest with LDFs V Joy and NDAs V Muraleedharan and his campaign hinges mostly on the need for getting continuity for another five years. The 68-year-old, known for his political astuteness, banks on the theme of development while interacting with the electorate. Prakash does not delve deep into political rhetoric in his interactions and uses the infrastructure development he had ushered in to garner votes. He emphasises on the need for getting another term to finish the projects that have been rolled out and at times takes potshots at former MP A Sampath, whom he had defeated last time, for not doing enough on the development front when he was serving as the MP. Prakashs first pit stop on Thursday afternoon was at Kizhakke Ayilam, a sleepy village in Mudakkal panchayat. He chose to pull up his vehicle near the high-mast light that was constructed using his MP Fund. A small gathering of mostly women and children was present and as the candidate began talking, a man emerged from the crowd and complained that he did nothing to repair the road that was in a bad state. The interruption did not go down well with Prakash as he felt the man belonged to the rival camp and was out to disrupt the campaign. For 29 years there have been many parliamentarians, but it took one Adoor Prakash to do some work, he said in a harsh tone. Until 2019, the CPM had been winning the seat for an unbroken 29 years and that was what Prakash was referring to. Taking potshots at Sampath, Prakash said: Your former MP even did not spend his funds fully. I was the one who had spent the remaining `40 lakh from his fund. The man, who posed the question, was taken aback by the response and he gingerly walked up to Prakash and whispered something in his ear that the candidate received with a full smile. The man told the candidate that he had no grudge towards him and wished him the best, a Congress leader accompanying the candidate later told this reporter. The UDF camp appeared confident about Prakashs prospects, but accepted that their campaigning lacked the verve which was quite evident in 2019. One Congress local leader attributed it to the organisational issues within the party. He said due to the recent organisational rejig, new office-bearers have been selected to the mid-level roles and they are still in the learning phase. The experienced men were replaced during the rejig and that has affected the campaign to some extent.However, he appeared confident about the poll outcome. We will win. There is no doubt about it. Maybe our winning margin might be a bit less than that of 2019, he added. Along the wavy byroad through which the campaign vehicles move, people have assembled to have a glimpse of the candidate. In spots where reception is planned, Prakash interacts directly with the public over the microphone using the oft-repeated words urging them to give him another term. At Parayadi, the entourage was received with cracker bursts and band music, while at Pokamukku, the next point, an elderly woman received Prakash by draping him with a ponnada. She appeared confident that Prakash would win, and denied reports that a strong triangular contest was on. The BJP will be considering themselves fortunate if they can reach the 2019 figures, she said. As night set in, the campaign in Mudakkal panchayat, which was missed in the first phase, was wrapped up and Prakash moved to Elakamon panchayat, the next destination. The UDF has some concerns over their prospects in Varkala and Chirayinkeezhu areas, which are considered as Joys bastion. However, they are banking hopes on the anti-incumbency factor to work against Joy in his backyard.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:32 pm

Bird flu outbreak: Vigil stepped up along Tamil Nadu-Kerala border - DTNEXT

Bird flu outbreak: Vigil stepped up along Tamil Nadu-Kerala border DTNEXT

Google News 21 Apr 2024 12:32 pm

Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple 'arattu' procession to be rerouted to save turtle eggs at Shankhumukham

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: This years annual arattu procession of Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple to be held on Sunday at Shankhumukham will see a reroute to safeguard the Olive Ridley sea turtle eggs along the shores of the beach. According to local fishermen and conservationists, the Olive Ridley turtles, which belong to the vulnerable category, have laid eggs at Shankhumukham after a gap of over 30 years. The eggs were discovered two weeks back. We informed the forest officers and following their instruction we moved the eggs to a safer location. The hole where the eggs were laid was not very deep and to ensure their safety, we relocated the eggs to an area with minimal human and animal intrusion. If the temperature and weather conditions remain suitable, the eggs are expected to hatch within 41 days, said Ajith Shankhumukham, a local fisherman and a field officer with The Wildlife Trust of India (WTI). The local fishermen found around 81 turtle eggs. The arattu ceremony usually takes place in the area where the eggs are safeguarded. We approached the Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple authorities and aired our concern and they have agreed not to touch the areas where the eggs are located, said Ajith. We have taken measures to safeguard the location by setting up barricades to restrict access, said Arun, an official with Sree Padmanabha Swamy Temple Trust.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:29 pm

Thiruvananthapuram's tumultuous tides: Residents' fight for recognition amid political promises

G. Sundari Born : 16-05-1907 Dead : 08-05-2008 A six-feet grave positioned precariously along the curvy slope next to the reservoir remains a mute spectator as Mallika unfolds her tale of woes with a resigned look, eerily similar to the seemingly quiet yet deeply turbulent waters swirling a mere couple of metres away. Pointing to the tomb, the 62-year-old narrates how the family was left with no choice but to bury her 101-year-old mother on the tiny piece of land that could get submerged anytime the water rises. Many families have moved away as living here has become a difficult affair. We seem to be trapped in red tapism, Mallika says, referring to the stringent regulations enforced by the tourism, forest and irrigation departments that make it difficult for about 25 families residing along the Neyyar dam reservoir to get title deeds for their land. All of them promise to give us title deeds. Weve tried out both fronts (referring to LDF and UDF). Why should we be reluctant to try BJP out too? asks Sulochana, 56, who has been running a shop near the dam for the past 15 years, as her husband Nadimuthu, 60, watches on. L Esther, running a petty shop for over three decades, has lost count of the money she has had to borrow from the blade mafia. The residents here are evidently an ignored lot. Despite possessing sarkari documents like voters ID and ration card, title deeds have somehow eluded them till date. Lacking permission, they are unable to carry out maintenance work either. Mallika next to her mothers grave near Neyyar Dam. Staying in my house would have been nice had there been no monkeys, rues Rajamma, 80, who sleeps at her daughters house for fear of both animal attacks and the looming threat of rising waters. Similar complaints are shared by several residents of the fourth ward at Kallikkad, one of the border panchayats between Kattakkada and Parassala, under the Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency. Of its seven assembly segments, six stand with the LDF five having CPM MLAs. Ironically, this coastal belt could prove the most crucial support base for UDF candidate and incumbent MP Shashi Tharoor to retain his seat. The state capital, witnessing a three-cornered fight, holds a special place in the saffron partys wish list as the BJP hopes to open its account this time around through Rajeev Chandrasekhar. On the other hand, the LDF has veteran CPI leader Pannian Raveendran contesting to win back not just the seat but its lost honour too. The constituency comprises about a lakh-strong techie population, in addition to about 20% of Tamil-origin populace and a miniscule north Indian community that have made Kerala their home. Contrary to the general feeling, techies are actually keen observers of political developments, opines Rajeev Krishnan, ex-president of Prathidhwani, an outfit of IT employees. As a community, techies are politically aware. The fourth phase development of Technopark is crucial, he feels. Florence, a fisherwoman at Poovar junction. Upper class and upper caste urban voters, youth, techies, and the coastal community remain the deciding factors in any election in Thiruvananthapuram. And the tribals? The drive from Kallikkadu to Amboori, a pristine border village surrounded by hills and forests, clearly reveal why development remains a distant dream in this faraway land located in the foothills of Agastyaarkoodam. Construction for a bridge at Kumbichal Kadav has been moving at a snails pace while those going to Puravimala turn to their very own boatman, Thankappan, in times of crisis. The Puravimala tribal settlement consists of about 100 families, mostly Kani tribes from Puravimala, Thenmala, Kunnathumala, Kannamamodu, Karikkuzhi and Chakkappara. Led by their chief, Maniyan Kani, the families here primarily depend on agriculture, but the wildlife makes life difficult for them. Wild boars, monkeys, bisons and squirrels make sure we dont get anything to eat. Ive rubber tapping work too. At times, we depend on private financiers. But Im able to look after my family, says 67-year-old Nangeli, beaming with pride. At Karakkonam, a good 17km away from Amboori, Keralas Thiruvananthapuram and TNs Kanyakumari constituencies curiously share the same street. In the middle of the small town, an LDF campaign vehicle has been blaring relentlessly the virtues of voting for the Left. At the local library at Desasevini, a bunch of youngsters are busy chatting. Are you first-time voters? Why do you want to know? I think, I could be. Anyway, Im not going to vote, answers a youngster after much persuasion. Catching up with a bunch of elderly fisherfolk at Poovar junction, one cannot but help admire their socially aware electoral stance. Florence, 52, apprises you of how erosion has been playing havoc on the Kerala coast, especially after the Vizhinjam port construction began. Water enters our houses every time the sea gets rough. Some of those who lost houses were given flats. Its also a fact that we were given 3.5 cents and `10 lakh, she admits ruefully. The resentment over the Vizhinjam project is sure to affect the prospects of all three fronts in different ways. As you enter the coastal belt of Pozhiyoor and move along to Karimkulam and Vizhinjam, you come across ardent party supporters. While they are keen to make you politically wiser, the wait continues for their dreams to finally materialise.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:25 pm

'The shared goal is to save India': Brinda Karat on CPM-Congress rift in Kerala

CPM politburo member Brinda Karat is renowned for her incisive perspectives on politics and gender issues. While in Kerala for campaigning, she shares her thoughts in a conversation with TNIEs Anna Jose. CPM and Congress are partners in INDIA bloc, but are fighting against each other in Kerala... Our shared goal is to save India and we remain dedicated to this cause. However, in Kerala, where the LDF has defeated BJP, the focus is on a different battle: the contest of policies and who can best represent the state while championing secularism and democracy. We have witnessed the arrests of Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren by Enforcement Directorate (ED). How do you perceive these actions? It is the Congresss role to challenge the BJP and RSS. In Delhi, a joint resolution by all partners of the INDIA bloc condemned the arrests. We strongly denounce the use of ED to intimidate and detain opposition leaders. The situation is not only disappointing but deserves the strongest condemnation. Do you believe the intervention of the central agencies benefits the BJP or affects other parties? In my view, the anti-BJP sentiment due to the perceived undermining of democracy and arresting chief ministers will only hurt the party in both locations. Another key point is Rahul Gandhis statement questioning why Pinarayi Vijayan has not been arrested. The statement invites the Centre and BJP to arrest an opposition CM who is at the forefront of the fight for secularism. We condemn this in the harshest terms possible. Kerala CM has held several rallies against CAA. Do you think the Left government is prioritising anti-CAA efforts over developmental issues? I believe the CM and the LDFs campaigns are rooted in pro-people policies. While CAA is a focus, it is just one aspect of our broader campaign. Our primary goal is to defend the interests of the people, in the wider context of Indias situation, and Keralas critical role in safeguarding secularism and democracy. In our all-India manifesto, the pro-people policies of the Kerala government are presented as an alternative to BJP and Congress. Regarding the cyber attack against the LDF candidate in Vadakara, K K Shailaja: there have been previous allegations against CPM, too, in connection with the attacks against K K Rema and Achu Oommen. Do you think both sides are equally responsible? I dont think we can equate these incidents or overlook the attack against Shailaja, particularly given the sexist language used. Such attacks are among the worst in Indian politics. I strongly condemn any sexist comments against woman, regardless of their political affiliation. The Womens Reservation Bill has been passed in Parliament. The LDF has three women candidates in the state. Dont you think more womens participation is needed? The Womens Reservation Bill passed by the BJP government is a betrayal to the women of India because it delays reservation implementation for the next 10 years. Without reservation, womens representation remains around 14-15%. Even the BJPs candidate list in India features very few women. Therefore, the Bill is crucial for increasing womens political representation. The election in Kerala is barely a week away. What are your expectations? We expect the LDF to win all 20 seats in Kerala. (smiles)

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:21 pm

Kerala CM accuses PM Modi, Rahul Gandhi of covering up state's progress with lies

KASARAGOD: With the crucial Lok Sabha polls just five days away in the state, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday intensified his attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accusing them of attempting to cover up the progresses achieved by the state with lies. Modi and Gandhi have a similar voice while speaking against the southern state, he told a press conference in Kanhangadu here. 'Grow up,' says Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan to Rahul Gandhi A strange phenomenon is happening now in which the Prime Minister and the all India leader of the main opposition party are trying in unison to cover up the state (Kerala) and the progress it achieved with lies, the Chief Minister alleged. Targeting Modi for his recent remarks against the state government, Vijayan said the Prime Minister had mentioned the other day that corruption thrives in Kerala like in Bihar. Through the statement, the PM is insulting two states at one go, he said. Rejecting Modi's charge, the Left leader said it is well known that Kerala is the least corrupt state in the country and the recognition in this regard was given to it by the recent India Corruption Survey jointly conducted by the Centre for Media Studies, Transparency International and Local Circles. Beyond that, what authentic report does the Prime Minister have to insult Kerala? Vijayan asked. Attacking the BJP-led union government over the poor allocations to the states, he said the distribution of funds through financial commissions is not the bounty of anyone. 'BJP facing resistance even in its strongholds': Kerala CM Pinarayi Vijayan He also accused Modi of putting pressure upon the financial commissions who have the constitutional rights to take independent decisions on allocations to the states. Stating that the allocation of central funds is the constitutional right of states, he said the approach of the Centre is to interfere in the topics and criteria under the consideration of the Commission and deny Kerala the amount it deserves. Vijayan claimed that there is a favourable wave for the LDF in the state during the ongoing campaign for Lok Sabha polls and the BJP and the Congress are worried about this. Lok Sabha polls are scheduled on April 26 in Kerala. It's Rahul vs Pinarayi in Kerala as Lok Sabha poll campaign heats up in state

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:19 pm

Opposition Leaders Converge in Ranchi for 'Ulgulan Nyay' Rally, Focusing on Kejriwal and Hemant Soren Arrests

Ranchi: At least 14 leaders of the Opposition INDIA bloc, including Congress MP Rahul Gandhi and party chief Mallikarjun Kharge, are expected to attend the 'Ulgulan (uprising) Nyay' rally in Ranchi on Sunday. The main focus of the mega event will be on the arrests of Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren by the Enforcement Directorate. Around 5 lakh people are likely to attend the rally at Ranchis Prabhat Tara ground, which is scheduled to commence at around 3 pm. The event has been organized by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) as a joint show of strength amid the Lok Sabha polls. Sunita Kejriwal and Kalpana Soren, the wives of Arvind Kejriwal and Hemant Soren, are also expected to address the event, along with Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann, Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah. Posters of INDIA bloc leaders, including Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal, Mamata Banerjee, Hemant Soren and his wife Kalpana Soren, have already been put up at the rally venue. A day before the rally, Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren said, We need to stop the dictatorship and save our democracy and the constitution. Everyone knows what happened in Jharkhand and Delhi. We will expose the dictatorial approach of the Centre at the mega rally. The Chief Minister also said that they got the people's mandate in the name of Hemant Soren, but attempts were made to destabilize his government from the beginning, and finally, he was sent to jail, as reported. Delhi's people also experienced a similar situation. From the dais of Ulgulan rally, we will tell the people of the country about the dictatorship of the Centre, he added. Speaking to the media, Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Priyanka Chaturvedi said, We are together in this fight against BJP's growing autocracy. They are not allowing the opposition to function properly; what they are trying to do is to silence the opposition. We are seeing a high rate of inflation, joblessness and women not getting a safe environment. In the first phase of the election, not many people, but those who have come out to vote have come out to change these people (BJP), who have been showing this dictatorial tendency, she added. Meanwhile, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote to Kalpana Soren, saying that he would be unable to attend today's rally due to election-related commitments. Firstly, Yechury thanked Kalpana Soren for extending the invitation and said, Unfortunately, I am in the midst of the election campaign in Kerala, where voting is scheduled for April 26. You are surely aware of the importance of Kerala for the CPI(M)... Therefore, I will not be able to attend... In his letter, the CPI(M) General Secretary reiterated that he continued to denounce the detention of Hemant Soren. The CPI(M) will resolutely work for the defeat of the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections in cooperation with all the secular democratic parties of the INDIA bloc. However, Jharkhand BJP president Babulal Marandi criticized the Ranchi rally, saying all those who were against development and Sanatan Dharma are gathering here. Jharkhand would not have been created if there was no BJP government at the Centre. Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee created the state on November 15, 2000, after the formation of the BJP-led NDA government in 1999. Only BJP and NDA understood the feelings and sentiments of the tribals and Jharkhand, he said. He alleged that the JMM-led coalition government indulged in corruption for the past four years and looted the state's resources. The 'Ulgulan (uprising) Nyay' rally in Ranchi comes weeks after the March 31 'Loktantra Bachao' rally in Delhi, which was called by top leaders of the Opposition INDIA bloc against the arrest of Arvind Kejriwal. The Delhi rally was attended by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti; former Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray; Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Rahul and Priyanka Gandhi; Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav; Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut; NCP (SCP) chief Sharad Pawar; and Kalpana Soren, among others. While addressing the rally, Kalpana Soren slammed the BJP and alleged that there were attempts to end democracy by dictatorship forces. She said hate was being spread throughout the country and called on the people to vote for the INDIA bloc to save democracy and your rights. Voters are the most powerful. Two months back, Hemant Soren was arrested. Arvind Kejriwal is in jail for 10 days. Strengthen our alliance by giving us votes. Throw out these dictatorship forces, she added. The Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand are set to take place in four phases on May 13, 20, 25, and June 1. The state has 28 of the 81 Assembly seats and five of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies reserved for Scheduled Tribes (STs). The JMM will contest the upcoming polls in alliance with Congress and other parties. As per the seat-sharing agreement, the JMM will contest five seats while the Congress will field its candidates on seven seats out of the total 14 in Jharkhand. In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP clinched 11 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, while the All Jharkhand Students Union party, Congress, and JMM secured one seat each. Earlier this month, the JMM named two of its candidates for the upcoming polls, bringing an end to speculations that Hemant Soren was being fielded against his sister-in-law and BJP candidate Sita Soren from the Dumka seat. The party has instead fielded Nalin Soren from Dumka, while Mathura Mahto will contest from Giridih. Sita Soren, wife of late JMM leader Durga Soren, joined the BJP on March 19. She was given a ticket to contest from Dumka by the party. Film 'Laal Ayodhya' directed by Dushyant Pratap Singh unveiled, Emotionally deep and Unique concept Congress to Announce Candidates for Haryana Lok Sabha Elections; Deepender Hooda Likely from Rohtak The Rollout of School Quality Assurance and Assessment (SQAA)

News Track 21 Apr 2024 12:11 pm

Vijayan accuses Modi, Rahul Gandhi of covering up Keralas progress with lies

Kasaragod: With the crucial Lok Sabha polls just five days away in the state, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Sunday intensified his attack against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi accusing them of attempting to cover up the progresses achieved by the state with lies. Modi and Gandhi have a similar Get the latest updates in Hyderabad City News , Technology , Entertainment , Sports , Politics and Top Stories on WhatsApp & Telegram by subscribing to our channels. You can also download our app for Android and iOS .

The Siasat Daily 21 Apr 2024 12:10 pm

Vijayan accuses Modi, Rahul Gandhi of covering up Kerala's progress with lies

Vijayan accuses Modi and Gandhi of concealing Kerala's progress with lies before polls. Defends Kerala's low corruption ranking. Accuses Centre of interfering with financial commission's constitutional rights.

The Economic Times 21 Apr 2024 12:05 pm

'V D Satheesan spreading canards against CPM,' says CM Pinarayi

KOZHIKODE: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday said Congress state president K Sudhakaran and Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan are spreading false information about CPM during the UDFs election campaigns. Satheesan is making a fool of himself by saying that CPM has received electoral bonds, Pinarayi said during an election campaign in Vadakara constituency. The biggest propagandists of UDF in Kerala, K Sudhakaran and V D Satheesan, are spreading falsehoods about the CPM. The Congress doesnt even have a clear stand on the CAA, said Pinarayi. He further said the only party which has not accepted the electoral bond is the CPM. Congress has received electoral bonds worth `1,952 crore and it is still keeping the money. Now Satheesan claims that he has proof against us? How can he present proof for lies? he asked. Citing the Robert Vadra case, Pinarayi alleged that there is an undercurrent between the Congress and BJP. Vadras name figured in an FIR registered by the central investigation agencies against DLF. But after the CBI raid, the firm gave `170 crore to the BJP in the form of electoral bonds and both DLF and Vadra got a clean chit. Can Satheesan tell us what the link between Congress and BJP is? he asked. Meanwhile, Sudhakaran said, Rahul Gandhi is leading a relentless fight against communal fascism while Pinarayi Vijayan is borrowing the words of the BJP. The CMs speech sounds like that of a star campaigner of the BJP. Pinarayi is criticising Rahul to defend himself from the corruption allegations against his family. Genuine fear has turned the CM into a total coward, he said.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 12:04 pm

'Assault on disabled boy serious': Kerala HC

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has observed that the case against two sisters of St Anns Convent, Sneha Bhavan, Vellarada in Thiruvananthapuram, for alleged physical assault on a 17-year-old physically disabled child is very serious. When the anticipatory bail pleas of Sr Rosamma Joseph alias Rosy Sister and Sr Sheeja N J alias Sheeja Sister came up for hearing, Justice P V Kunhikrishnan said that the case should be heard in detail on merit after perusing the records. However, the court granted an interim order till May 27. If the petitioners are arrested in connection with the case, they should be released on bail on executing a bond for a sum of Rs 50,000 with two solvent sureties. During the period, the investigating officer is free to summon the petitioners for interrogation after issuing notice under Section 41A of the CrPC. The court made it clear that the petitioners would not get any advantage because of this order.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:59 am

'IUML temporarily shelved its green flag to prevent communal campaign by BJP': P M A Salam

KOZHIKODE: IUML State General Secretary P M A Salam has said that the party has decided not to use the green flag at the election rallies of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi because the party did not want to give a chance to the BJP to unleash a communal campaign. Addressing a Meet-the-Leader programme organised by the Calicut Press Club on Saturday, Salam said that the IUML does not want to spoil the chances of the INDIA bloc at any cost. IUML can raise its flag anywhere in the country. However, we are ready to shelve it temporarily if it adversely affects our noble cause, he said. To a question on the absence of reference to the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the Congress manifesto, Salam said Rahul Gandhi has spoken in no uncertain terms against the Act in his speech in Kozhikode. He said, The fight is between the BJP and the INDIA bloc, he said, adding that the CPM is engaged in splitting anti-BJP votes with the intention of helping someone.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:51 am

Suprabhaatham newspaper burned for carrying LDF ad

MALAPPURAM: In an incident that could further escalate tensions between the IUML and Samastha Kerala Jem-iyyathul Ulama (Samastha), a copy of the Samastha mouthpiece Suprabhaatham Daily was publicly burned by an individual in Kodinhi near Tirurangadi on Saturday. Samastha is a traditional vote bank of the IUML. The reason behind the act was the publication of a full-page election campaign advertisement of the LDF in the newspaper, featuring a picture of Pinarayi Vijayan and the LDFs election tagline. The video of the newspaper burning went viral on social media Following this, the LDF Ponnani candidate condemned it and accused the IUML of orchestrating the act. Suprabhaatham newspaper was burned by an IUML leader. Recently, Chandrika Daily published an advertisement featuring Pinarayi Vijayan. Why was Chandrika not burned then? How long will they (IUML) continue these acts of hooliganism? This is a planned attack on Suprabhaatham, Hamsa said. CPI state secretary Binoy Viswam also criticised the burning of Suprabhaatham, emphasising that such actions do not align with their political values. Burning is not our way of practising politics. The advertisement was paid for. Those who are unable to engage in proper political discourse resort to such acts, Viswam said. Meanwhile, the man who burned the newspaper, Kumukutty Haji, told reporters here that he is an activist and supporter of Samastha. I have been associated with Samastha for several years. I had never seen an advertisement of the LDF in Suprabhaatham before. The LDF advertisement made me concerned, and I set the newspaper on fire. I merely held the newspaper, and an LDF supporter ignited it, Haji explained. Meanwhile, SKSSF, a student organisation affiliated with Samastha, protested against the burning of Suprabhaatham. The Tirurangadi Regional Committee of SKSSF issued a statement condemning the act, labelling it as objectionable. The agenda is to financially ruin Suprabhaatham. Suprabhaatham has consistently provided news and information from all democratic parties. Such advertisements have been published in the past as well, in accordance with management policy. People should be wary of these social miscreants who engage in such reprehensible activities, the SKSSF said.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:48 am

Thiruvananthapuram Elections 2024: Shashi Tharoor vs Rajeev Chandrasekhar in Clash of the Titans

Considered to be the political nerve centre of Kerala, the Thiruvananthapuram seat is locked in a three-way contest between sitting MP and Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, BJP leader and Union minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and CPI's Panniyan Raveendran

News18 21 Apr 2024 11:37 am

Kerala: BJP's Kasaragod candidate pins hope on Modi government's welfare schemes

BJP's Ashwini highlights PM Modi's impact on Kerala's BJP growth, criticizing the Left government for Kasaragod's underdevelopment. She faces Unnithan and Balakrishnan in the upcoming election, set for April 26 across seven segments.

The Economic Times 21 Apr 2024 11:18 am

'The spiraling cost of democracy': India's election expenses hit new heights

KOCHI: Indian elections are akin to a grand festival, with elaborate rituals stretching over the days leading up to the D-Day. The list of activities and tangibles in this extravaganza is a long one: posters, hoardings, banners, leaflets, tableaux, processions, street plays, family gatherings, conventions, and, of course, the candidates open-jeep tours of their constituencies. The expenditure on these varies, depending on the partys and candidates budgets. However, its certain that campaign expenses as well as illegal incentives offered to voters in the form of cash and goods have been surging. According to Delhi-based think tank CMS, the 2019 general election in India was the most expensive one ever recorded globally, with a total spend of about Rs 55,000-60,000 crore. The election process lasted nearly 75 days, with polling conducted in seven phases. Analysts have no doubt that the current one will surpass the record. A senior Congress leader told TNIE that expenditures shoot up in the final days leading to the polls, based on the intensity of the competition. He noted that there were 1,200 to 1,300 booths in each Lok Sabha constituency of Kerala. The district units of parties provide campaign materials, and cover expenses on logistics, manpower, refreshments, etc. We have to provide each candidate with 70,000 to 1,35,000 posters for a single round in one Lok Sabha seat, and there can be up to six or seven rounds, he said. Additionally, there are family meetings. Squads of three-four party members visit houses. These members have to be given a daily allowance. The leader highlighted that, nowadays, a heavy chunk is spent on digital campaigns. This is mostly managed by the central leadership, or the candidates who can afford it, he added. The amount spent by a party candidate in a constituency, on an average, can be 7-12 times more than the Rs 95 lakh prescribed by the Election Commission. Some candidates spend up to Rs 50 crore. A study by the Association for Democratic Reforms and the National Election Watch found that the main categories under which political parties declared their expenses were publicity, travel, other/miscellaneous, and the spend on candidates. In the 2004, 2009, and 2014 Lok Sabha elections (combined), national parties spent 50.58% of their total expenditure on publicity, 19.68% on travel expenses, 15.43% on candidates, and 14.31% on other expenses. Over the 10-year period, expenditure on publicity increased by 641%, travel by 802%, and the spend on candidates by 416%. Political observer N M Pearson said candidates of mainstream parties spend at least Rs 20 crore each during general elections, and this amount seemed to be on the rise. A politically aware society would detest the influence of money power. They would vote based on the political views of the candidates, he said. When society moves away from political awareness, money power starts to dominate. Voters start accepting money and gifts for votes. Although Kerala is currently safe from such practices, going by the current trends, I foresee a downfall. Notably, a survey conducted by the department of political science of Sree Kerala Varma College, Thrissur, found that the use of money power in elections was indeed increasing. However, the study noted that citizens were concerned about its impact. People recognise that candidates spend far more money in elections than the legal limits prescribed by the Election Commission, said Prof. Pramod C R, who was part of the study. Participants in the survey welcomed the Supreme Court order on electoral bonds. They are aware that money power is corrupting the system. Economic impact Barna Ganguli of the Bihar Institute of Public Finance and Policy noted that elections generate income for people in the informal sector. She added the sudden flurry of political activity and increased cash flow during elections, though not immediately apparent, contributed incrementally to the countrys overall economy. A significant amount of money is spent on ads during elections. This injects cash into the economy, Barna said. Additionally, political parties hire analysts, consultants, content creators, etc., during election season. This, again, means an increase in money flow. Moreover, the government spends substantial sums on security, logistics, and administration during elections.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:17 am

Kochis tryst with culture set for Changampuzha fest boost

KOCHI: Culture vultures rejoice! Kochi is set to play host to a comparable yet pared down version of the 111-day-long Soorya Festival, a cultural extravaganza that is staged annually in the state capital. Organisers of the 30-day Changampuzha Festival expected to kick off this year hope to make the event a major attraction for global cultural enthusiasts, on the lines of its illustrious forerunner. We plan to stage the inaugural event after June 15, by which time the dust of the general election will settle. The Soorya Festival began as a 10-day event, and it has gone on to become one of the largest and most prestigious cultural events in the country, said P Prakash, president of the Changampuzha Cultural Centre (CCC), which is organising the event. The festival has been envisaged as an annual event, featuring noted artists. It will host various art forms and events, including dance, music, oration, and seminars. The likes of T M Krishna, Shobana and Manju Warrier have performed here. We hope to bring major artists, including those from outside the state. The preparations are already in place, Prakash said. Renovation concerns However, the inordinate delay in completing the `4.31 crore renovation work of Changampuzha Park, maintained by CCC under Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) ownership, has emerged as a major concern for organisers. Originally scheduled to be completed in six months time, by February this year, a major portion of the work is pending. They are now looking to complete the work by May. But nearly half the work, including raising the parks elevation to road level, refurbishing the auditorium, landscaping, etc, is yet to be completed. Weve asked them to finish the work before the onset of monsoon, otherwise it will derail the festival plans, Prakash pointed out. When contacted, a senior GCDA official said the renovation work will be completed by the last week of May. We had set January as our deadline. But once the actual work started, we realised that it was more than what we expected. However, we will complete the work on the main auditorium in two weeks. This is allow for regular cultural programmes to be staged there, he added. A cultural hub Renovation of Changampuzha Park, set up in 1977 and now the citys cultural hub, is being carried out by GCDA in collaboration with the Cochin Smart Mission Ltd (CSML). The work is being carried out in such a way that its does not disrupt the staging of events. We held our 500th kacheri (classical music concert) last Sunday. However, music programmes with live orchestra cannot be staged due to space constraints, Prakash said. Perking Up A Park Proposed changes to Changampuzha Park Refurbishing auditorium to increase seating Incorporating art gallery and small amphitheatre Enhancing drainage system Expanding rest room & toilet facilities Upgrading footpaths & surrounding area Replacing old playground equipment at childrens park

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:12 am

INDIA bloc will win all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and one seat in Pondicherry: P Chidambaram in Kerala.

INDIA bloc will win all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and one seat in Pondicherry: P Chidambaram in Kerala. INDIA bloc will win all 39 seats in Tamil Nadu and one seat in Pondicherry: P Chidambaram in Kerala.

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 11:11 am

People like me... my karma bhoomi has now become my naadu, says Shashi Tharoor

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Shashi Tharoors fourth electoral outing in Thiruvananthapuram appears to be the toughest one he has faced so far. Though said to be a triangular contest, the incumbent Congress MP views it as a prestige battle between him and NDA candidate Rajeev Chandrasekhar. Frankly, it is the BJPs strongest seat in Kerala, Tharoor recently told the media. We are also batting with equal vehemence and confidence. Tharoor, however, does not display any sign of anxiety as we join him in one of his campaign trails. Clad in a bright magenta kurta, he begins the day praying at the Sree Narayana Guru Mandiram, and paying tributes to the statues of Mahatma Ayyankali and Chattambi Swami all in and around Gowreesapattom, which is part of the Vattiyoorkavu assembly segment. He reaches a bit late at Mulavana Junction, where former Congress state president V M Sudheeran, who hails from the area, launches the first campaign meet of the day. As Tharoor ascends the makeshift stage, many passers-by and motorists halt to catch a glimpse of the UDFs global citizen. Supporters line up to drape him in handloom shawls and tricolour stoles around his shoulders In his speech, Tharoor assails the BJP, accusing the party of creating divisions in society. Besides exhorting people to back the Congress, Tharoor also highlights the importance of the INDIA bloc at the national level. Tharoors makeshift campaign vehicle is well-equipped to beat the heat two fans and an air cooler. As the motorcade proceeds, Tharoor fastens his seatbelt and adjusts the seat height so as to get a clear view of people on the roadside. Fervently waving at supporters, mostly youngsters and women, Tharoor notes that there are hardly six days left for the polls and recalls Parkinsons Law. It is the old adage that work expands to fill the time allotted for its completion. I have been doing everything possible within the seven-week campaign period, he tells TNIE as he waves at a group of young women in front of a ladies hostel at Ambalamukku. I need votes from all generations. However, it is true that the youth express excitement on seeing me. Everything I do is, ultimately, for the next generation. They see hope when they see me. Tharoor nonchalantly dismisses murmurs about him facing anti-incumbency. Is there a case of familiarity breeding contempt? People who know me like me, he replies. I get this feeling that they like me. We can see the youth and women standing outside their homes and waving at me. The menfolk must be at work. I have contested in three elections. I feel this one, too, is coming my way. Thiruvananthapuram used to be my karma bhoomi (land of action) , but now it has become my naadu (hometown). Later, while attending a brief corner meeting at Brindavan Housing Colony in Pattom, a group of first-time voters throngs him. City residents Jisha and Gadha say they are excited about voting for Tharoor. Their friends, Shwetha from Bengaluru and Rajat Subham Roy from Kolkata, who are here for National Eligibility Test coaching also join the huddle. Unlike in West Bengal, the candidates in Kerala are warm and approachable, says Rajat, who has been in Thiruvananthapuram for eight months. However, there we have more door-to-door campaigning. The main issue we face in our colony here is the shortage of drinking water. The candidates should take it up. Tharoor has a brief chat with the youngsters, before rushing back to his motorcade. And, as he boards the vehicle, he points to the message pasted on its side: INDIA will win, we will win.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:10 am

Kerala: Reflex-eating epilepsy surgery performed on 22-year-old successful

KOCHI: They are our gods, who brought my son back to his life, said Rajni, the mother of 22-year-old Abhinath, looking at Dr Chandu P, epileptologist, and Dr Nihal Ahmed, epilepsy surgeon, of Medical Trust Hospital. Abhinath had been suffering from reflex-eating epilepsy for the last seven years as a result of which he used to faint when eating. His parents, Rajni and Sajad, had grown desperate after doctors of several hospitals failed to deliver them a cure. The treatment and surgery for the disease involve several risk factors, including damage to other organs, said Dr Nihal. Reflex-eating epilepsy, which can cause food to get stuck in the throat, is a serious condition that can cause even death. The doctors at Medical Trust Hospital performed the 12-hour-long complex tsurgery on Abhinath with the help of brain mapping. The surgery was held on March 28, and the Kannur native was discharged on April 20. Abhinath is now fine. A follow-up is required once in three months. He can now pursue his passion for football, Dr Nihal added.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:07 am

INDIA allies CPM, Congress to face off in Bhuvanagiri LS seat in Telangana

HYDERABAD: Differences between the Congress and the CPM, both constituents of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA), came to the fore on Saturday with both parties deciding to field their candidates for the Bhuvanagiri Lok Sabha seat. While the Left partys decision to contest for the Bhuvanagiri seat has raised question marks about the unity among INDIA bloc constituents, the CPM has informed the Congress that it will support the grand old partys candidates in the remaining 16 seats in Telangana. It may be mentioned here that a majority of the Opposition parties in the country had come together and formed the INDIA bloc with the aim of avoiding a split in Opposition votes and with the objective of defeating the BJP. The Congress, CPI, and CPM are among the constituents of the INDIA bloc along with other regional parties. However, efforts by the leadership of both the Congress and CPM to forge a cohesive alliance at the state level have been unfruitful. Now that the poll notification has been issued and the process of filing of nominations has begun, both the parties remain unwilling to concede. Fresh from its victory in the Assembly election, the Congress is not ready to give any Lok Sabha seat to its alliance partners CPM and CPI in Telangana. While the CPI appears to be not that keen on contesting, the CPM has already filed its nomination for the Bhuvanagiri seat. Amidst this stand-off, Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, who is also the TPCC president, launched a bitter attack on Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan during his campaign in that state. The CPM state unit of Telangana took serious exception to Revanths tirade during the talks at the state level. While Mohammed Jahangir filed nomination papers on CPM ticket from Bhuvanagiri, Revanth is likely to attend the filing of nomination of Congress candidate Chamala Kiran Kumar Reddy on Sunday. When asked, CPM state secretary Tammineni Veerabhadram said that they are forging the alliances at state level as per the local conditions. He cited the example of Kerala where both CPM and Congress candidates are in the fray. When asked about the split of votes, Veerabhadram said, Absolute political cohesion is not possible. There can be differences between different ideological parties. Veerabhadram, however, said that they may reconsider the decision if the Congress comes up with offers of MLC or any other nominated posts, as is being speculated. Let them come forward with the proposal first, then I can respond, the CPM state secretary said.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:06 am

'Ernakulam market renovation progressing swiftly,' says mayor Anil Kumar

KOCHI: Renovation of the 20,000 sqm Ernakulam market is progressing rapidly and is expected to be completed by end-May. The Rs 73-crore project, which commenced in February 2022, is being overseen by Cochin Smart Mission Ltd (CSML), . Trade associations, porters, councillors, and others have backed the project, located in the heart of the city. Regular review meetings are being conducted to ensure coordinated execution of the work. As a result, the project is nearing completion, said mayor M Anilkumar. He said that an organic waste composting plant will be constructed within the market to manage daily waste. Currently, a one-tonne waste treatment plant operates in the Manapattiparambu area, which produces manure that is used to fertilise plants at Subhash Park. Additionally, the citys first multilevel car parking facility, which can accommodate 120 cars and 100 bikes, has been completed at the market. The corporation anticipates additional revenue from both the market and the Rs 24.65-crore parking complex, the mayor said. To maintain round-the-clock cleanliness, the mayor said the corporation will emphasise the implementation of a dedicated waste management system.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 11:03 am

Kochi Lulu Mall's 'Reader's Fest' merges literary wonders with AI innovation

KOCHI: The Readers Fest at Lulu Mall Kochi is captivating audiences with a blend of literary marvels and innovative technology. The fest, which began on April 9 and will continue until April 28, was inaugurated by author Lena. This set the stage for a series of engaging book talks, workshops and interactive sessions. One of the fests standout features is the AI Tech Experience, a special addition this year that has garnered immense excitement. The AI workshops, under the guidance of expert trainers from Unique World Robotics, offer an array of sessions such as Make your own AI, AI & Robotics Hands-on Workshop, Theres an AI for everything, AI Game Development Workshop: Flappy Bird Game, and Immersive Storytelling using AI.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 10:58 am

'No compromise on rituals': Paramekkavu conducts fireworks as scheduled for Thrissur Pooram

THRISSUR: While Thiruvambady Devaswom took an abrupt decision to stop all festivities and completed the Madathil Varavu procession at night with just one elephant, and held back fireworks display, Paramekkavu Devaswom went ahead with proceedings and decided to conduct the fireworks at the scheduled time. Though Paramekkavu Devaswom had taken a strong stand against the authorities when stringent restrictions were imposed on the conduct of pooram, this time, they were adamant about going ahead with the rituals as it reached the final stage. It is not right to negotiate with the officials after keeping 2,000 kg of explosives in the centre of the town. Who will be responsible if something goes wrong. We cannot drive Thrissur Pooram to such dangerous situations and hence took a stand to conduct the fireworks display, said Rajesh G, secretary of Paramekkavu Devaswom.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 10:55 am

Kerala Bird Flu Outbreak: What Is H5N1? All You Need To Know About Symptoms & Precautionary Measures

Confirmation of bird flu came from ducks in Ward 1 of Edathva Grama Panchayat and Ward 3 of Cheruthana Grama Panchayat, following tests conducted on symptomatic duck samples sent to a Bhopal lab

News18 21 Apr 2024 10:54 am

Kerala cops take sheen off Thrissur Pooram, draw flak from fans

THRISSUR: Disappointing a large crowd of people who thronged the Swaraj Round to witness the fireworks display of Thrissur Pooram, one of the largest pyrotechnic shows, Thiruvambady devaswom stopped the pooram festivities abruptly for a couple of hours in protest against the unwanted restrictions imposed by the police for the first time in the history of the festival. The fireworks display which was scheduled to be held at 3 am on Saturday could begin only at 6.45 am. The discontent over the police restrictions was already there from the beginning but it escalated as police used lathi against spectators and even Thiruvambady devaswoms volunteers. The devaswom members also alleged that the police personnel deployed to ensure security misbehaved with the committee members during Madathil Varavu ceremony. While hundreds of volunteers worked day and night to organise the pooram, they were denied permission to enter the Thekkinkad Maidan and Swaraj Round. How can we justify such restrictions? Moreover, the police put up barricades wherever possible and restricted smooth movement of the people, dampening the spirit of Thrissur Pooram, said Sundar Menon, Thiruvambady devaswom president. He alleged that the police were supposed to help devaswom in organising the pooram. But they took everything into their hands, putting the public in trouble. When the lathicharge took place, Thiruvambady devaswom authorities tried to contact Revenue Minister K Rajan. As he was not available, the devaswom authorities decided not to go ahead with the festivities. Madathil Varavu at night was stopped abruptly. Only one elephant was used for the procession and that too without the customary panchavadyam. The devaswom authorities also switched off the illumination lights on the pandal put up at the venue in protest. The Pakal Pooram of Paramekkavu. Meanwhile, BJP candidate Suresh Gopi and LDF candidate V S Sunilkumar rushed to Thiruvambady devaswoms office and held discussions with the committee members. Later, Revenue Minister K Rajan and District Collector V R Krishna Teja intervened and urged the devaswom to complete the ceremonies, especially the fireworks display. After a delay of about 3.5 hours, fireworks display was held around 6.45 am after sunrise. What is the purpose of conducting fireworks display in daylight. It was disappointing to wait for such long hours. We reached Thrissur last night to witness the pyrotechnic show. But what turned out was really disappointing, said a group of four men who came all the way from Kannur to watch the famed fireworks. LDF seeks probe into police commissioners intervention LDF district committee on Saturday urged the state government and Election Commission to initiate a probe into the interventions of the Thrissur city police commissioner which led to the disruption of pooram rituals. In an official statement issued on Saturday, the LDF alleged that RSS-BJP leaders Valsan Thillankery, B Gopalakrishnan and K K Aneeshkumar tried to take political advantage during the crisis. There was a conspiracy behind the entire incident, the LDF statement said.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 10:50 am

Thrissur Pooram disruption sparks political blame game in Kerala

THRISSUR: The Thrissur Pooram witnessed dramatic scenes late on Friday after Thiruvambady devaswom stopped the ceremonies abruptly protesting the unwanted restrictions by the police. Much to the disappointment of the large crowd of people who gathered at the Swaraj Round in the wee hours of Saturday, the fireworks display was delayed for over three hours. The unusual turn of events just days ahead of the Lok Sabha election triggered a controversy, leading to a political blame game. V S Sunilkumar, LDF candidate in the Thrissur LS constituency, unleashed severe criticism on the police, saying they were harsh and lacked proper supervision. He said the revenue minister and district collector intervened to resolve the situation and continue the ceremonies. Meanwhile, UDF candidate K Muraleedharan alleged that both state and Union governments tried to sabotage the Thrissur Pooram, an icon of Kerala. Where was the revenue minister when all these crisis happened? Isnt he supposed to act effectively so that the centuries-old rituals of Thrissur Pooram didnt get interrupted, he asked. Muraleedharan alleged that he suspect the whole drama at night was an attempt to give space for the BJP and NDA candidate Suresh Gopi ahead of elections. Even kudamattom was conducted without any issues. Suddenly everything changed at night and what happened in between should be probed, he said. The BJP alleged conspiracy behind the unwanted restrictions in the conduct of the pooram. BJP state vice-president B Gopalakrishnan alleged a hidden agenda to sabotage the pooram. There is conspiracy behind the police dominance in the festival ground and in the lathicharge that happened at night. Every year during Thrissur Pooram, there will be issues regarding either elephants or fireworks display. All such attempts are to destroy the festival, he alleged. Conspiracy behind restrictions The latest incident is also a part of such deliberate attempts. When such crisis happened amid pooram, neither the devaswom minister nor revenue minister was there to sort it out, he alleged, adding that neither MLA nor MP of Thrissur stood with the Thiruvambady devaswom when they faced an issue. After the ceremonies were stopped abruptly, Suresh Gopi and Sunilkumar rushed to Thiruvambady devaswoms office and held discussions with the committee members. Revenue Minister K Rajan and District Collector V R Krishna Teja intervened and urged the devaswom to complete the ceremonies. Later, fireworks display was carried out around 6.45am. Thiruvambady devaswom president Sundar Menon said the police used barricades wherever possible and restricted easy movement of the people, dampening the spirit of Thrissur Pooram.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 10:46 am

Five stabbed during fight inside bar in Kerala

Five stabbed during fight inside bar in Kerala Five people were stabbed during a fight that ensued inside a beer parlour at Kazhakkootam near here last night, police said. The fight happened shortly after 11:30 PM on Saturday after a gang had an altercation with another group, police added. Police said as per the initial information, a group of youngsters were planning to celebrate a friend's birthday by cutting a cake but another group tried to interfere. Sreekaryam residents Shalu, Sooraj, Vishak, Swaroop and Athul were stabbed and are admitted to the Medical College hospital here. Police said the condition of one person is serious. ''Three of the accused are in custody. The search is on for the rest of the accused,'' police said.

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 10:30 am

More transformers go bust as KSEB sweats to meet power demand

KOCHI: With the mercury breaching 40 degrees Celsius in many parts of the state, the power network has come under intense strain. According to the KSEB, 578 of its transformers have failed in the past two-and-a-half months. With peak-hour load setting new highs, the board has been fighting frequent outages, voltage fluctuations and blown transformers. Outages during night hours have seen outraged consumers gathering in front of KSEB section offices and involving in altercations with staff. As a result of the unseasonal heat wave since early February, power consumption has been on the rise. And the KSEB has struggled to keep up with demand. While as many as 116 transformers tripped in February, the number shot up to 207 in March. As many as 255 transformers were replaced in the month to April 18. Kerala Electrical & Allied Engineering Co Ltd (KEL) is contracted to supply transformers to KSEB. However, with the public-sector firm failing to ensure timely supply of equipment, the board has been forced to purchase transformers from the second lowest bidder, a Hyderabad-based firm. Due to power overload, transformer oil overheats and the contacts and winding melt, which leads to tripping. Once a transformer trips, the KSEB has to replace it, which is a time-consuming process. Spike in protests According to the KSEB, there has been in increase in incidents of protests at its offices. Our offices are sparsely staffed during night hours. The protests and altercations leave the staff panicking and delays the work to restore connections, said a board official. On Friday, power consumption stood at 108.51 million units with peak-hour demand of 5,478 MW. The state set a record of 5,529 MW in peak-hour demand on Wednesday. We have been urging consumers to avoid charging vehicles during peak hours. The rise in use of air conditioners and charging of electric vehicles have led to the rise in power consumption during night hours. Charging an electric scooter takes up power that can run two 9W LED bulbs, two 20W LED tubes, two BLDC fans and a one-ton AC for six hours, he said. The demand for power from the national grid has been rising with summer peaking across the country. There has been scarcity in the day-ahead market due to rising demand. The additional 180MW of power allocated by the Centre has allowed the KSEB to tide over the crisis. The additional power has been allocated for two months from April 15. Besides, the board gets 11.5 million units of power through a monthly contract and 10 million units through short-term open access purchase. Around 3 to 5 million units is purchased daily from the real-time market.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 10:29 am

LIVE: Kerala Lottery result today 21.04.2024 AKSHAYA AK-648 result

LIVE Kerala Lottery result today AKSHAYA AK result

India Today 21 Apr 2024 9:24 am

Five injured, two seriously, in a bar brawl in Kerala

They arrived at the hotel to celebrate a friends birthday

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 9:24 am

Top developments in Kerala today

Here is a list of top news developments in Kerala on April 21

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 9:05 am

Kerala Lottery Result Today LIVE: Akshaya AK-648 WINNERS for April 21, 2024; First Prize Rs 70 Lakh!

Kerala Lottery Result Today Guessing Numbers: Check the Live Updates and FULL LIST of winning numbers for Akshaya AK-648 lucky draw for Sunday, April 21 here from 3 pm.

News18 21 Apr 2024 9:00 am

Ayush Ministry told to act against firm selling medicine named insulin

NEW DELHI: Indias drug regulator has directed the Ayush Ministry to take action against a company selling a homoeopathic medicine named insulin, according to an RTI reply. In a letter to the advisor, drug policy section, Ministry of Ayush, the Drugs Controller General, Dr Rajeev Singh Raghvanshin said, Subject matter is related to Ayush medicine system, you are requested to examine the matter and take necessary action by the provisions laid down under Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Rules thereunder. The DCGI, which is also copied to the Drugs Controller, Rajasthan, said that it is pertinent to mention that as per Rule 106 A (C) of the Drugs Rules 1945: No Homeopathic medicine containing a single ingredient shall bear a proprietary name of its label. According to Kerala-based RTI activist Dr K V Babu, the homoeopathic tablet named insulin has nothing to do with actual insulin that controls diabetes. Patients may get confused with a homoeopathic tablet named insulin and could stop the real insulin injected through the skin into the fatty tissue. They might get confused and switch to tablets since it may seem more convenient. This will have serious consequences, he said. He said that the DCGI should address the issue of drugs under the same name being marketed under various systems of medicine. According to Dr V Mohan, Chairman of Madras Diabetes Research Foundation (MDRF), it is dangerous to call any medicine insulin, whether it belongs to modern systems of medicine or any other system, as insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. There could be people who are not literate and may be fooled into thinking insulin has now come in oral form. They may stop their insulin and try this, which can even result to death, he said. Insulin is only available as an injection. Oral insulins have earlier been tried in the past, but those are real insulin. Injectable insulin has so far been found effective. The drug controller of India should condemn such claims. Such medicines should be banned in order not to affect the health of people, especially children and adults with type 1 diabetes. If they stop insulin, their health and indeed their life would be in danger. Insulin is a medication used in the treatment and management of diabetes mellitus type-1 and sometimes diabetes mellitus type-2, both of which are significant risk factors for coronary artery disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, and a host of other vascular conditions. According to an Indian Council of Medical Research-INDIAB, which measured the prevalence of metabolic non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country, there are an estimated 101 million people in India detected with diabetes, 136 million were found to be prediabetes and 315 million people from hypertension in 2021. The national survey, which Dr Mohan and his institute coordinated, also said that 254 million people in India had generalised obesity, and 351 million had abdominal obesity. In addition, 213 million people had hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol), and 185 million had high LDL or bad cholesterol. HK flags cancer-causing ingredient in some spices Hong Kongs food regulatory authority found four products of popular Indian brands MDH and Everest with carcinogenic ingredients. Singapore has recalled Everest fish curry masala imported from India, citing the presence of ethylene oxide, a cancer-causing agent which raises the risk of breast cancer and lymphoma. The Centre for Food Safety, Hong Kongs food and environmental regulatory body, said it collected samples of four products under its routine food surveillance programme and found the presence of pesticide ethylene oxide, which is unsuitable for human consumption. The three MDH products are curry powder (spice blend for Madras curry), mixed masala powder, and sambhar masala. The fourth product is Everest Fish Curry Masala.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 8:49 am

Intense battle in Kannur as Congress, CPI(M), and BJP vie for dominance

Intense battle in Kannur as Congress, CPI(M), and BJP vie for dominance The Northern Kerala constituency of Kannur is witnessing an intense battle between the Congress and the CPI(M), while the BJP is focusing on the newly registered young voters to make an impact in the seat. With 39 percent minorities, including Muslims and Christians, the voters often support the CPI(M)-LDF in most of the assembly seats falling under this Parliament constituency in the polls to the legislature, but the Lok Sabha constituency has often swayed towards the Congress-led UDF, hoping to replace the BJP at the Centre. The strong minority vote base is what helped the UDF win the seat as the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) is its major partner. The rubber farmers in areas like Irikkur and Peravoor, predominantly Christians, have also been a strong vote bank for the Congress. Hoping to retain the seat this time as well, the Congress has fielded Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee chief K Sudhakaran here. Considering his candidature in the seat, Sudhakaran had recently temporarily handed over his organizational responsibility to his party colleague M M Hassan. Sudhakaran did not want to contest the elections this time, but he entered the fray as the party leadership felt that there was nobody who could ensure a win in Kannur for Congress other than him, the party's local strongman. ''I am confident about the win and am only bothered about bettering my majority,'' Sudhakaran, the sitting MP, told PTI during his campaign at Kandakassery near Payyavoor. Sudhakaran, who has landed in controversies several times by his remarks supporting the BJP during the fight between the saffron party and the CPI(M) in the district, reiterated that the main enemy of Congress in Kerala is the Left party. ''They are the enemy number 1 in Kerala, and the BJP comes only second. The BJP has no strength in Kerala, and our main fight is against the LDF, against their politics of violence,'' Sudhakaran said. The Congress, in their campaigns in Kerala, mainly focuses on criticizing the Pinarayi Vijayan-led government because of this, he added. The 75-year-old Sudhakaran is the topmost leader who helped Congress sustain its presence in the CPI(M)-dominated Kannur politics and hopes that people will support him once again to get to the Parliament. CPI(M), however, is not ready to let history bother them and has fielded M V Jayarajan, the Kannur district secretary of the party. Campaigning at Aichery in Irikkur, Jayarajan was received by enthusiastic party workers with drum beatings and paper flower spray. Without much of an introduction, he addressed the gathering, telling them to be aware of ''the danger the country is in.'' ''The Congress has no politics to speak about and is now engaged in a defamation campaign against the LDF candidates,'' Jayarajan told the gathering, referring to allegations of cyberbullying against the party's candidate in the Vadakara Lok Sabha seat, K K Shailaja, allegedly by the workers of the Congress-led UDF. ''The LDF is going to win back Kannur this time. Congress has been taking a stand to support the BJP. They do not want to speak about the key issues and are only involved in a defamation campaign against LDF candidates due to a fear of losing,'' Jayarajan alleged, while talking to PTI. He said the Congress has been trying to destabilise even the INDIA bloc, and their leaders have been marching to the BJP. When the CPI(M) and the Congress see a little chance of the BJP even registering a fight at Kannur, the NDA camp is confident, not only of improving their vote share, but even winning the seat. NDA candidate C Raghunath, who had joined the BJP from Congress, said, ''We have about 35 per cent newly enrolled voters, and our focus is on those votes.'' He alleged that the CPI(M) and the Congress have been ''spreading lies'' about the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). ''Many of the Muslim brethren have come to me and have extended their support to me,'' Raghunath claimed. He said that he is confident that this time NDA is going to win from Kannur. ''Until recently, everyone spoke about improving the vote share for NDA, but this time we speak about winning seats,'' Raghunath told PTI.

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 8:48 am

PMLA effect: Corporate lawyers are now forced to specialise in criminal laws

CHENNAI: Mounting instances of raids by the ED and CBI, and increasing number of cases being registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002, have forced several corporate lawyers to pursue specialisation in criminal law, said former Orissa HC chief justice Dr S Muralidhar on Saturday. Delivering the second K Sarvabhauman memorial lecture, he talked about the duties and ethical challenges faced by contemporary advocates. Corporate lawyers do not know criminal law. Today, with the rise in the number of raids and the new PMLA cases, corporate lawyers are attending magistrate courts like no other time in Indias legal history. he said. He said that top-notch corporate law firms have now formed a specialised criminal proceedings cell to deal with bail-related matters. Stressing the need for lawyers to adhere to professional ethics, Muralidhar said that without a strong and independent Bar believing in the constitutional values of liberty, equality, fraternity and dignity, the judiciary cannot be expected to uphold the values. He emphasised the need for a continuous learning programme, like the one in Kerala, for lawyers to fine-tune their skills and expertise. There is a real difficulty in finding lawyers with judicial aptitude from the Bar to be appointed as judges to the High- Court, he said. On the pitfalls of relying on AI tools, he advised young advocates to exercise caution. Chat GPT has gotten lawyers into trouble, he said, quoting an instance of a US lawyer being debarred as the tool had provided incorrect information. Justices R Subramanian, N Anand Venkatesh and PT Asha took part in the memorial lecture, organised by senior advocate S Parthasarathy.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 8:47 am

Lok Sabha Election 2024: 13 States Will Vote In Second Phase On April 26, Poll Campaigns Intensify

Voting under the second phase of Lok Sabha elections will take place in Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tripura, West Bengal and Jammu and Kashmir

News18 21 Apr 2024 8:01 am

Bird flu: Invoke steps under health act, Kerala min to officials

Veena George instructs health department for Alappuzha bird flu outbreak action. Surveillance in nearby areas, 'One Health' committees strengthened. Health guidelines followed, doctor consultation advised for respiratory issues.

The Times of India 21 Apr 2024 7:49 am

3-time lucky, Tharoor charm continues to draw crowds in Kerala

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: It is a hot day in Thiruvananthapuram and Shashi Tharoor is hot property. Suntanned, voice hoarse after scores of speeches made at crossroads, marketplaces and local temples, Tharoor is enjoying his skirmishes in summer. The air is muggy with the oceans salty breath, and he is fighting to retain his bailiwick, which has a large minority coastal population. His pitch isnt confined to Thiruvananthapuram. At all my pit stops, I say my main objective is to change the Modi government in Delhi, he explains. The BJPs Christian outreach seems vulnerable after the Manipur pogroms. During Sunday sermons, priests are advising their flock to vote according to your conscience and love for your brethren. Tharoors anti-Modi rhetoric turns the local election into national fight against divisiveness; a clever tactic. Without trying too hard, my popularity seems to have grown, he laughs, quoting recent opinion polls.Tharoor and his BJP rival Rajeev Chandrashekar trade snarky barbs. Rajeevs principal motivation is to be a successful businessman. That he has structured his financials to hardly pay any tax is embarrassing, Tharoor says, adding, If a candidate of a Desh Bhakti party behaves in this manner, what sort of patriotism is this? Leaders without borders: Idea whose time may have come All across Thiruvananthapuram, shop verandahs, temple grounds and auditoriums are swarming with Tharoor Bhakts. Men, women and children rush out of their homes to greet his convoy. Tharoor waves back animatedly. There is mutual excitement, even genuine liking. For 15 years, they have seen him on these very streets at Thiruvallam Chitranjali junction, Vandithadam, Punchakkari and Konchiravallah; the novelty factor doesnt count. I won my first election while I was sort of stumbling and sleepwalking through some of the minefields and pitfalls of politics, Tharoor recalls. He has crossed them unharmed, but the mines are there. Tharoor isnt taking sides, and would rather be an outsider than join the regional power game. People would say in the beginning that Im not a politician and a misfit. Nobody says that anymore because Ive won three elections. But the perception hasnt disappeared completely, which is ironically his strength. The outsider who abjures the white cotton uniform of the professional Congress politician and wears his trademark kurta and dhoti is trusted more by constituents than the career politicos whose theatrical intimacy disappears after the last ballot is cast. Tharoors personal and emotional connect with voters are palpable. He gets off his campaign van at the Nelliyode Devi temple for a short prayer. The goddess seems to like him, too; an old woman blesses him. Tharoors manner is affectionately familiar in the way he places his hand on a workers shoulder as they chat like old acquaintances. The famous Tharoor charm is alive and well. INTERVIEW| Claim of BJP's 'exemplary' performance in South in LS polls product of its propaganda mill: Tharoor The women of Thiruvananthapuram remain under his spell, thronging sidewalks, shops, and gates of their homes; some stirring the muggy air with bamboo fans embossed with his face. The Left candidate is Pannyan Raveendran (CPI), a long-haired septuagenarian and retired Lok Sabha MP whom Pinarayi Vijayan pulled out of his armchair where was reading either Marx or Manorama. It is ironic to see red, tricolor and saffron flags flying side by side in many places; a confederation of power seekers who seem to accommodate each other, at least outwardly. Winning Thiruvananthapuram matters to the Congress, though many khadi leaders are suspicious of Tharoor. Tharoors anti-Modi trope makes him a national batter. Here the candidate folds his hands, says a few words, accepts scarves and off he goes to the next pit stop. Now when I speak about bringing change in Delhi, Im applauded, which is very unusual in situations like this. It means people are responding to my message. His message for Kerala? Making Keralas voice heard nationally involves fighting for the idea of India and democratic values. At a small junction, a young woman with a bank job has come to watch him campaign. She and her family were formerly Communists. This time they will vote for Tharoor. Why not the BJP? They just want to build temples, she laughs. For now, Shashi Tharoors effort is to consecrate his career with a fourth win. He attends weddings, funerals and even birthdays of children, comments a famous Malayalam writer wryly. Even before the elections were announced, Tharoor had issued a constituency progress report claiming success in completing the Kazhakoottam-Karode national highway bypass, establishing new railway stations, and successfully implementing the village adoption scheme. The suave Congressman explains, State elections are two years away and I hear people say my real target is to be CM. Ive come into politics with a national and international vision and Id much rather we form the government in Delhi in June before anything else. He laughs, saying his political shelf life is reaching its expiry date. Going by visible voter enthusiasm, the shelves are still stocked with the Tharoor brand. How much has been sold will be revealed only next month.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 7:47 am

Priyanka Gandhi, Kerala CM lock horns in heated poll campaign exchange

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/PATHANAMTHITTA : Gloves were off between the ruling CPM alliance and the Congress leadership as senior party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan traded charges during their Lok Sabha election campaigns. The spirit of unity in the Oppositions INDIA bloc evaporated as both sides refused to pull their punches for the second successive day. Priyanka alleged that Pinarayi was targeting her brother Rahul Gandhi but was silent on the BJP. She charged that Pinarayi was compromised as he attacks only the Congress and Rahul. Earlier in the day, Pinarayi had sought to put the Congress on the mat for for being silent on the Citizenship Amendment Act in its manifesto. Going by the report (in this newspaper), there was mention of CAA in the first draft of the Congress manifesto. But later it was dropped. How could the Congress ignore such a crucial thing? Isnt the Congress executing the Sangh Parivar agenda, he asked. He also raked up the allegedly shady DLF-Robert Vadra connection to question the Gandhi familys probity. Priyanka shot back, saying Pinarayis name had come up in various scams, including gold smuggling, but the Centre chose not to take any action against him. Your CM is compromised. He only attacks Rahul Gandhi and the Congress and never speaks a word against the BJP, she alleged during a public meeting while campaigning for UDFs Pathanamthita candidate Anto Antony. The state Congress leadership had recently alleged that there was some understanding between the BJP and the CPM. Rahul, too, had wondered why the BJP government was not taking action against Pinarayi though two chief ministers are in jail. Pinarayi shot back reminding Rahul that his grandmother (Indira Gandhi) had jailed him during Emergency.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 7:34 am

Kozhikode Lok Sabha constituency: Check polling date, candidates list, past election results

The parliamentary elections in Kerala for its 20 seats are set to be contested in a single phase on April 26 (second phase).

DNA India 21 Apr 2024 6:50 am

Keralas hidden gems

Two artists who create intricate models with their hands have caught the PMs attention in the midst of the election fray

Mid Day 21 Apr 2024 5:10 am

Northern gumption could make the BJP go South

In the late 1940s, Sardar Patel, Indias first Deputy Prime Minister in Jawaharlal Nehrus Cabinet, embarked on the strenuous task of uniting India. The country was then a patchwork quilt of British India and the monarchs who ran their own show. While the 17 British Indian provinces accepted without a murmur, the 560 Princely States that made up around two-fifths of Indias land mass refused to accede. One of the fiercest opponents of United India was Sir CP Ramaswami Iyer, the aristocratic Dewan of Travancore, a separate kingdom in Kerala. Sir CP as he was called, was also Patels friend, but only had contempt for Nehru and Gandhi: Gandhi was a sex maniac who could not keep his hands off young girls, and Jawaharlal Nehru was unstable. The Dewans vision included himself as a stable uniter of sovereign nations, who would persuade other southern rulers to form a loose federation of independent countries, with perhaps himself as the Prime Ministera South India with its own military, economic, domestic and foreign policy. On June 18, Travancores king Chithira Thirunal Balarama Varma announced, On and from 15th August, 1947, Travancore will reassume its independence and sovereignty in full measure. Nehru hated Sir CP. He threatened to bomb Travancore if it didnt accede to India. He even told Patel that he would get the Dewan shot if he entered Delhi. Patel, deadpan, replied, Hes presently staying in my house, and is not to be disturbed. Sir CPs fall was his anti-Communism. October 1946 saw Keralas own Chauri ChauraCommunists burned down Punnapra Police Station killing many people, including cops. The Travancore Army retaliated by machine-gunning a mob of armed Communists that had gathered to fight the government. On July 25, 1947, a Socialist activist attacked the Dewan at a concert. Sir CP was gravely wounded and rushed to hospital. The Raja, warned of a civil war, did not have the stomach for a fight. Travancore acceded. Narendra Modis implacable mission to capture the South and go down in posterity as Indias Total Unifier is facing a psychological brick wall; the unforgiving barrier of history. North India, where the BJP reigns supreme, is amalgamated by ultra-conservative Hinduism, Hindi, and a massive populace that lives off welfare. South Indians identity comes from the Dakshin ethos, the antipode of the Uttar. The BJPs vote percentage is rising in parts of the South (especially in Tamil Nadu, thanks to the redoubtable Annamalais exertions) mainly due to popular disgust with regional dynastic corruption. Yet BJPs rhetoric hasnt translated into a significant number of Lok Sabha seats. Polarisation, enforcement agencies and brute state force isnt likely to help it win the South. Word of unsolicited advice: let the South be, because it is fiercely proud of its own culture, tradition, languages and the arts, and rejects any linguistic colonisation. Pluralistic by nature, Bollywood films and music, even Punjabi music, tandoori chicken and the salwar kameez are ubiquitous across the South. Todays BJP is not a gentle giant of the Atal-Advani era, but an aggressive monolith that ruthlessly imposes its will by hook or by crook. For millennia, the South has internalised arrivals and invasions by absorbing their impact into its pluralistic culture: Arabic, Greek, Roman, Islamic, Mughal and Maratha. Unity is not monogynous; its a homogenous entity with different living parts like a human body. Unless Modi plugs into the biology of the Southern gestalt, the only direction his partys fortunes could go is south.

The New Indian Express 21 Apr 2024 5:00 am

Bird flu outbreak in Kerala, vigil stepped up at 12 border check posts in Tamil Nadu

All these check posts are equipped with one veterinary doctor and four other staff.

The Hindu 21 Apr 2024 4:40 am

Bird flu outbreak in Kerala, vigil stepped up at 12 border check posts in Tamil Nadu - The Hindu

Bird flu outbreak in Kerala, vigil stepped up at 12 border check posts in Tamil Nadu The Hindu

Google News 21 Apr 2024 4:40 am

Bird flu outbreak in Kerala: District on high alert - The Times of India

Bird flu outbreak in Kerala: District on high alert The Times of India

Google News 21 Apr 2024 4:25 am

Unnecessary aggression against Hindus in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, says FM - The Indian Express

Unnecessary aggression against Hindus in Kerala and Tamil Nadu, says FM The Indian Express

Google News 21 Apr 2024 1:39 am

Insights on Hyderabad's Wanderlust and India's Travel Landscape

Delving into the heartbeat of Hyderabad's travel scene and India's burgeoning wanderlust, Rajeev Kale, President & Country Head of Holidays, MICE, Visa at Thomas Cook (India) Limited, shares exclusive insights with Deccan Chronicle. From the surge in domestic and international travel preferences to the rise of 'Pilgrimage Plus' experiences, Kale unveils the dynamic shifts and emerging trends shaping the travel industry. He also gives a list of most instagrammable tourist spots in the world. How is Hyderabad as a market for travel? Could you give us some statistics on the travel scene in Telangana, especially Hyderabad? Hyderabad is a key source market for us and our data reflects uptick of 29% YoY from Telangana and Hyderabad. This increased demand is emerging from customers across segments of families, couples, Young Indias millennials and Gen Z. While Hyderabad is a key market, Warangal, Karimnagar and Khammam are emerging strongly. What do Hyderabadis prefer domestic or international travel? Could you tell us about the most popular tourist hotspots they visit? Name the top most travelled destinations within India Customers from Hyderabad and Telengana are travelling like never before and demand for both domestic and international destinations are equally high. Domestic and short-haul destinations are preferred for weekends, mini-cations; Long Haul destinations are opted for summer vacations, festive season like Dusshera, Diwali and year-end. Our customers are displaying strong appetite for Europes Switzerland, France, Hungary, Spain; also Finland and the Scandics; Australia-New Zealand, and USA despite visa challenges. Short haul destinations witnessing high interest include Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia; Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan. What is noteworthy, is that we have relaunched our flagship European Extravaganza holidays that offers our customers with a range of exclusive experiences that are share-worthy on social media. To address this demand, we have introduced Telugu and south special departures from Hyderabad to cater to the growing demand. On the domestic front, in addition to the cooler climes of Kashmir, Himachal, Uttarakhand, Ladakh, North East, we have observed a demand for beach destinations including Kerala and Goa. Spiritual tourism has gained momentum in the recent past. What are the top pilgrim towns? We are witnessing increased preference for spiritual tours to Char Dham, Ayodhya-Prayagraj-Varanasi, Tamil Nadu, etc. from not only from Telenganas senior segment but also families, couples and millennials. What is noteworthy, is the trend of Pilgrimage Plus where customers are combining darshans while exploring the surrounding destination. What about instagrammable locations? Could you give us 5 most travelled spots? From Scandic countries like Finland with Iceland and inclusions of husky-safaris, stays in glass igloo/bubbles or traditional log cabins with spectacular views of the Northern Lights, to panoramic views of Tegallalang rice terraces in Bali, Japans Cherry Blossom/Sakura season, are some examples. What are the unexplored places in India that have the potential to become tourist hot spots Hyderabadis are displaying increased interest in offbeat destinations with high preference for hidden gems including hot sulphur springs of Panamik in Nubra valley Ladakh; Yusmarg and Doodhpathri in Kashmir - exquisite hill stations in Kashmir with a lush green landscape and snow-capped mountain ranges, Damro - longest enchanted hanging bridge in Arunachal Pradesh, and Vantawng falls - the highest and most spectacular waterfalls in Mizoram. Beach destinations like North Kerala's Kappad Beach, Andhra's Rushikonda Beach and Andaman's Radhanagar Beach on Havelock Island have emerged as top beach favorite choices. What about Lakshadweep? Have the booking surged post PM's tweet? The Prime Minister Narendra Modis recent visit to Lakshadweep and encouragement to Indians to explore the islands within the country, we have witnessed an uptick in our searches for both domestic islands and beach destinations. Our search data for Lakshadweep indicates a significant jump of over 950% compared to December, followed by destinations like, Goa - a clear catalyst for Domestic Tourism. What trends have you noticed in the travel industry during long weekends and seasonal holidays like Navratri or Summer? Our consumer trends indicate that customers from Telangana state are utilizing their extended weekends and public holidays, taking multiple holidays in a year especially to no-visa and easy visa destinations; also drive-cations. The announcements of visa-free entry has been a game-changer for destinations like Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand, resulting in a significant uplift of approx. 35%. What is interesting, is that Indian consumers have shifted from being a Saver to a Spender, and this changed mindset has had a cascading impact on holidays; customers are willing to increase spends on their holidays by 20-30% compared to pre-pandemic levels and stay in premium properties while travelling for a longer duration from 7-10 days to over 15 days.

Deccan Chronicle 21 Apr 2024 1:22 am

Kerala CM says mainstream media boycotting Left, lauds social media handles for defending party

Kerala CM says mainstream media boycotting Left, lauds social media handles for defending party With less than a week to go for the Lok Sabha polls in Kerala, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Saturday alleged that the mainstream media was boycotting the CPI(M)-led front while exaggerating and celebrating the ''lies'' against the Left. Praising the Left social media handles for ''effectively exposing falsehoods'', Vijayan called for their ''vigilant involvement'' in putting an end to ''any media monopoly and organised propaganda''. Lok Sabha polls in all 20 seats of Kerala will be held on April 26. In a detailed post on Facebook, the Left leader alleged that most of the mainstream media was concealing the Left party's stand on crucial national issues but were enthusiastic in giving ''front-page'' coverage to cheap accusations from the right-wing. ''The mainstream media refuses to publish news which is favourable to the Left Democratic Front and instead celebrates the lies against it. Even minor incidents are exaggerated and sensationalised. Furthermore, cheap accusations from the right-wing gain front-page coverage in some major media outlets,'' Vijayan said in his strongly worded statement. He said these media outlets overlook the press conferences of the Left leaders and fail to address the core national issues raised in their speeches. ''Free and fair elections serve as the cornerstone of democracy. However, right-wing media is unilaterally fabricating news and analysis, thereby infringing upon people's freedom to participate in fair elections. They are effectively boycotting the LDF,'' Vijayan alleged. The senior leader of the CPI(M) said the Left's stance on crucial national issues was being concealed from the public and called for an alternative media ethos. He said the mainstream media has turned into a means to destroy the Left by distorting news and using surveys as false narratives. Vijayan said the voice of the Left was brought to the masses by a determined initiative of thousands of individual social media handles by resisting falsehood against the communist party. ''A large community, including individuals, groups, and those who are apparently not even aligned with the left, also including those from the media sector, are engaging on social media to respond appropriately to expose falsehoods,'' he said. The chief minister also claimed that in the last Assembly elections, a section of the media launched a witch-hunt against the Left but the people gave a befitting reply by ensuring a resounding victory of the communists. He praised the cyber ''kadannalukal'' (roughly translated as hornets), a name given to Left cyber handles on social media, and said unidentified Keralites from across the world have raised their voice against the right-wing propaganda and to defend the communist ideology without violating the boundaries of decency. Vijayan said the social media handles have done ''a historic duty'' of safeguarding the essence of democracy by ''putting an end to any media monopoly'' and organised propaganda. He also encouraged everyone to join the effort and engage in the process of supporting the alternative media culture with heightened vigilance.

devdiscourse 21 Apr 2024 12:40 am