Thursday, April 29, 2010

IG Sreelekha lodges complaint against Thachankary

April 29, 2010

Thiruvananthapuram: IG Sreelekha Thursday lodged a complaint against suspended IG Tomin J. Thachankary accusing him of dragging her name by levelling baseless allegations against her in foreign trip issue.

In a complaint submitted to the IPS Officers Association she says that Thachankary consciously brought her name because of personal grudge and demands action against him. Earlier Aluva Rural SP T. Vikram had filed a similar complaint to the DGP against Thachankary.

Last week Thachankary, who was removed as Kannur IG after he went abroad without permission, had filed a complaint before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), claiming that six IAS and IPS officers had gone on foreign trips like him in the past.

He alleged the government had subjected him to "hostile discrimination", applied different yardsticks for identical allegations and adopted "selective suspension" in his case. According to him, IAS officers P C Sanal Kumar, T Jaythilak and Ishita Roy and IPS officers Sreelekha, T Vikram, Jay Prakash had all gone abroad without the state government’s permission.

Sanal Kumar, who was on leave from June-July 2006, had gone to the US and accepted hospitality of foreign organisations, he said, adding Kumar then undertook studies without government permission.

Thachankary had alleged that Sreelekha, who proceeded to Thailand without permission, had caused a loss of Rs 67,349 to the state exchequer. The government accepted her assurance that she would follow all rules while going on trips abroad and had dropped disciplinary proceedings against her.

Thachankary out from police website

Thiruvananthapuram: After his suspension from the service , the name of IG Tomin Thanchankary is out from the official website of Kerala police. In the website, after the name and picture of DGP Jacob Punnoose, the second officer to get prominence was Thanchankary . His name was appeared as 'Website-Designed and conceived by Tomin Thachankary IG'. The name of Thachankary which was placed in the template of website, will appear if one clicks in any page. When the website was redesigned, Thachankary who was the head of cyber cell then, added his name permanently in the website. Cyber Cell Bureau function under the State Crime Records Bureau(SCRB). When he was shifted from SCRB too his name was in the site. Now the website shows as 'Website- Production and maintenance by Police Computer centre, SCRB'. If one clicks in the link with the statement, they can get the details of those who worked hard for the site.

Probe ordered into actor Sreenath’s death

April 28, 2010

Thiruvananthapuram: Police have been ordered to probe the death of popular Malayalam film and TV actor Sreenath, Kerala Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said Wednesday.

"I have forwarded the request from the actor’s family for a through probe into Sreenath’s death," said Balakrishnan.

The actor was found dead with his wrist slashed in a hotel at Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district last Friday morning.

On Sunday, the actor’s brother Satyanath held a press conference here and said they suspected foul play in his death. Kothamangalam is around 250 km from here.

Sreenath was shooting for Malayalam film "Shikar" starring superstar Mohanlal.

Satyanath said it was shocking that no one from the sets of "Shikar" came to attend the funeral and did not even call the actor’s family.

Meanwhile, reports said the actor was omitted from the film "Shikar" since he was not a member of the Association of Malayalam Movie Artistes (AMMA).

Actor Thilakan, who was recently thrown out of AMMA, lashed out at the group saying it has become "a mafia organization capable of doing any thing".

"There are allegations that Sreenath was mentally harassed by few people in AMMA. There are many in AMMA who are bearing all the unpleasant experiences silently. They keep quiet out of fear of being ostracized. It is high time the culture ministry intervenes," said Thilakan.

Sreenath, who was in his early 50s, began his film career in the 1980s but faded out after an initial burst of movies.

After a hiatus, he went on to become a popular television actor though he continued to act in films occasionally.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Miraculous escape for Emirates passengers

Nedumbassery (Kerala): About 364 passengers onboard the Kochi-bound Emirates flight (EK530) from Dubai had a miraculous escape after encountering a violent mid-air drop on hitting an air pocket over Goa. Twelve persons suffered minor injuries. The plane landed safely at the Cochin International Airport here at 8.50 a.m. on Sunday.

According to airport officials, the Boeing 777 aircraft that took off from Dubai at 4 a.m. struck a Clear Air Turbulence about 60 nautical miles away from Kochi and descended abruptly to about 4,000 feet from an altitude of 18,000 feet. Passengers not wearing their seatbelts were hurled around and the cabin baggage fell.

As the aircraft bounced back from the sudden plunge, they hit the jet's ceiling and window panels before crashing back to their seats. The plane's interiors too were damaged. As the plane shook violently, oxygen masks dropped, while some passengers even slammed into the luggage bins, said one passenger.

“It was a total free fall. People were startled and suddenly, I could hear every one screaming and crying and I thought the plane was going to crash,” recalled Shibi, who was on the flight with his wife and two-year-old daughter.

A list of injured passengers handed by the airport included five Brazilians. After the plane landed here, the authorities assessed the damage, while a team of doctors examined all passengers who were shocked and bruised.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Hundreds of thousands converge for 'Thrissur Pooram' in Kerala on Saturday

April 24, 2010
Thrissur (Kerala): Hundreds of thousands of devotees and tourists participated in the colourful temple festival, 'Thrissur Pooram' which commenced here on Saturday.

Dedicated to Lord Shiva, 'Thrissur Pooram' the biggest festival of Kerala. It is said that King Sakthan, who ruled Cochin in the late 18th century, started the festival.

The word 'Pooram' literally means a group or a meeting. It is believed that the Gods and Goddesses meet for a day of celebration, which falls in the month of April-May every year.

The festival commences with the arrival of small rival elephant processions, which carry their respective deities from various temples in different villages across Thrissur, and culminates at the grounds of Vadakkunnathan Temple.

The main temples Paramekkavu and Thiruvambadi hoisted their flags to announce the beginning of the weeklong celebrations to be held in connection with the festival.

The procession from Thiruvambadi began at around 8 a.m. from the temple premises in a formation of three caparisoned tuskers offering an enchanting sight at the wee hours.

Also present on this occasion were a large number of foreign tourists. They enjoyed the festivity and were thrilled to see so many decorated elephants at one place.

Thrissur Pooram is called 'the pooram of all poorams'. It the biggest or the best of all poorams. The Thrissur pooram, is celebrated every year, on the Pooram day, in the month of Medam (mid-April to mid-may) month as per the Malayalam calendar.

While all poorams have a huge influence on surrounding neighborhoods and towns, few other festivals require their active involvement. Thrissur town plays host, for 36 hours from the wee hours of the pooram day, to one of the most largest collection of people and elephants.

The richly decorated elephant, as seen during the Thrissur pooram, is now globally recognized, and its association with Kerala. On the pooram day, fifty (50) or more elephants pass through the very center of Thrissur town, the Vadakkunnathan temple.

The main features of the pooram festival are these decorated elephants with their nettipattam (decorative headdress), beautiful craftedthe kolam, decorative bells and ornaments etc. ANI

Bouquets, brickbats greet Tharoor on Kerala visit

April 24, 2010

Thiruvananthapuram: Waving cricket bats, hundreds of Congress activists gave a roaring welcome to former minister of state for external affairs Shahshi Tharoor as he arrived here Saturday on his first visit to his home state after quitting over the IPL row.

But a smaller group of protesters allied to the Communist Party of India (CPI) held posters of the Congress MP and his friend Sunanda Pushkar, whose links to the Indian Premier League (IPL) Kochi franchise triggered the controversy that has turned into the country’s worst sports crisis.

But the police kept the two groups apart. Around 50 opposition activists were arrested.

It was the first time Tharoor, a former senior UN official, returned to Thiruvananthapuram, which he represents in the Lok Sabha, since resigning from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government April 18. He has denied allegations of wrongdoing.

As his plane landed at about 12.50 p.m., a huge crowd gave him a boisterous welcome.

Among those at the airport were party leaders from Thiruvananthapuram. As soon as he appeared before them, his supporters mobbed him amid frenzied slogan shouting.

He was presented a headgear made of jasmine flowers and driven in an open vehicle to the Congress office.

Before leaving the airport, Tharoor, who entered politics only last year, reiterated that he had done no wrong.

"I used my influence only to keep my word to the people of Kerala that I will do something for them. In that I have done no wrong," he said, referring to his admission that he was indeed the mentor of the IPL Kochi franchise.

As Congress workers sang his praises, members of the CPI’s youth wing waved his and his friend Pushkar’s posters. Banners carried by them read: "Should Kerala accept Tharoor’s behaviour?"

Similar posters were seen pasted in several parts of the Kerala capital.

AG fails to submit Govt reply to CAT

Thiruvananthapuram: The government pleader had failed to submit to CAT the claims accumulated by the government against suspended cop, Tomin Thachankary and in this chief minister has sought an explanation from Advocate General. VS is displeased over the act of AG who send junior government pleader instead of him for the trial before Central Administrative Tribunal , neglecting CM's repeated demands to attend the trial himself.

The CM's office had asked AG to submit the reply statement to CAT, prepared by chief secretary with the detailed help of law ministry. It is also reported that CM also asked AG to present himself for the case. But this two were not happened. AG had not submitted the same and instead of him, he send a junior pleader to fought for the government.

The CAT had dismissed pleader's claims and ordered to stay the suspension of Thachankary, which put the government in shame. In this juncture that CM had decided to ask for explanation to AG. It is reported that CM after having detailed discussion with chief secretary and law secretary, made such a decision .

In the reply statement by chief secretery prepered as per the direction of CM, pointed out that Thachankary went for foreign trip by misapprehending the government. In his reply to chief secretary too Thachankary done the same, the statement alleged. Earlier when he went for Singapore trip without legal permission, he was given a warning not to repeat the same. Including this, many times Thachankady had revoked the law. The statement also added that both DGP and ADGP had in their report too reported the same. The statement after citing the verdicts of high court in similar cases, said that in such context the government had the authority to take action against an officer who is habitual offender. There is no political motivation behind his suspension, it said.

Malayalam actor Sreenath found dead in hotel room

Kothamangalam : Popular Malayalam film and TV actor Sreenath was found dead in a hotel room in this town Friday morning, police said.His body was discovered by the hotel staff at about 8.30 a.m., a police official said.

Police have not ruled out the possibility of suicide as his wrist was found slashed, he added.

Sreenath had been in Kothamangalam in Ernakulam district, around 250 km from Thiruvananthapuram, for the past two days and was shooting for Malayalam film 'Shikar' starring superstar Mohanlal.

Sreenath, who was in his early 50s, began his film career in the 1980s but faded out after an initial burst of movies. After a hiatus, he went on to become a popular television actor though he continued to act in films occasionally.

His popular films include 'Salini Ente Kootukari', 'Ethu Njangalude Katha', 'Oru CBI Dairy Kurippu' and 'Kireedom', among others.

Sreenath's last film was 'Kerala Caf�', a movie that had 10 short films woven around a common theme, which released late last year.

At the start of his film career, he worked with actress Shantikrishna in a few hit movies and later married her. But the marriage didn't work and the two parted ways.

He wed again a few years back.

In the last Lok Sabha elections, Sreenath was a Shiv Sena candidate from the Attingal constituency.

Sreenath was winner of a state award for best TV actor.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Govt says entire IPL structure to be probed

New Delhi: After securing the resignation of Union Minister Shashi Tharoor, Government has said entire IPL will be under scrutiny including its funding and vowed not to spare any ’wrong-doer’, as its top boss Lalit Modi came under the scanner of Income Tax authorities.

As the controversy-ridden Indian Premier League faced intense attack from the opposition and even a Union minister Vayalar Ravi over alleged murky finances, Income tax authorities asked the Board for Control of Cricket in India (BCCI) to respond by April 23 to 10 queries, including the one on income from IPL and its entire structure.

The Enforcement Directorate said it will also investigate the alleged murky international deals of the cash-rich IPL while the Company Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid made it clear" we are in the picture."

Tharoor, Minister of State for External Affairs, was forced to resign yesterday over his dealings with the IPL Kochi team. The IPL was in focus in Parliament where the Opposition slammed the event as a "betting and gambling ring" in which black money was involved, called for its ban and demanded that Government take over its affairs.

A Joint Parliamentary Committee probe into IPL’s source of funds was also demanded. Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said "no guilty or wrong-doer" will be spared in connection with the IPL controversy and that all aspects including the sources and routes of funding of teams will be thoroughly probed.

In Mumbai, a senior IT official said the IT department probing alleged financial irregularities in the IPL will widen its inquiry into the assets and transactions of high-profile IPl Commissioner and his close associates including their financial interests abroad.

Ravi, a senior Congress leader and Overseas Indians Minister, lent weight to the Opposition attack calling the cricket league as "glorified gambling" and wanted the whole system to be looked into by the government. Modi himself rubbished allegations of betting and money laundering in the popular event and threatened to take legal action against a leading business daily which had made the accusations.

With Opposition parties training their guns on the government over the IPL dealings in the wake of the Modi-Tharoor row and the controversy over financial issues relating to IPL teams, Mukherjee told the Lok Sabha, "the concerned department has already started investigation process (into the IPL episode)." Mukherjee assured members that "appropriate action as per law" would be taken if any wrongdoing was found in the manner the IPL was funded.

"The concerned department has already started investigation process (into the IPL episode). All aspects including sources of funding and routes through which the funds arrived would be looked into. Appropriate action as per law would be taken. No guilty or wrong-doer will be spared," Mukherjee said.

The BCCI, sources said, was asked questions relating to owners of IPL teams, their balance sheets, income earned during the various tournaments and the money paid to players.

US sees 50 bank collapses in '10; eight fold up in one day

18 Apr 2010,

Indicating that the banking system continues to remain shaky, on an average, 12 banks are biting the dust every month in 2010.

The US authorities shut down eight entities on April 16 and the numbers are expected to climb before the employment situation stabilises.

Even though, the economy is growing at over five per cent, the jobless rate is still high at over nine per cent. With increased unemployment, small and medium banks are witnessing more defaults.

The latest entities to go belly up include Tamalpais Bank, City Bank, Butler Bank, AmericanFirst Bank, Lakeside Community Bank, First Federal Bank of North Florida, Riverside National Bank of Florida and Innovative Bank.

According to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), which insures deposits at over 8,000 banks, these failures would cost the agency as much as $984.7 million.

A whopping 19 banks had gone belly up last month, while seven entities were closed down in February. The authorities shut down 15 banks in January.

The US has seen 204 bank collapses since the bankruptcy of Wall Street major Lehman Brothers in September 2008, that worsened the financial crisis.

Ownership Details of IPL teams as per Registrar of Companies

Mumbai Indians

Owner: Indiawin Sports Pvt Ltd

Shareholders as on August 30, 2008 (last updated with the Registrar of Companies, no. of shares in brackets):

Reliance Industrial Investment Holdings: 74,994

Shinano Industrial Retail: 30,000

Teesta Retail: 30,000

Anshu Jain: 15,000

Total: 1.5 lakh


Kolkata Knight Riders

Owner: Knight Riders Sports Pvt Ltd

Shareholders as of March 2009 (no. of shares in brackets):

Red Chillies Entertainment Pvt Ltd: 1.09 Cr

Juhi Chawla: 40 lakh

The Sea Island Investment Ltd (A Mauritius-based company wholly owned by Jay Mehta): 50 lakh

Total: 1.99 Cr

Deccan Chargers

Owner: Deccan Chargers Sporting Ventures

Shareholders as of September 2009:

Deccan Chronicle Holdings Ltd: 4,99,99,994 (No. of shares)

Total: 5 Cr

Directors of Deccan Chargers Sporting Ventures V Shankar, T Venkattram Reddy, P K Iyer, N Krishnan, M Sukumar Reddy and G Kumar, own one share each.

Delhi Daredevils

Owner: GMR Sports Pvt Ltd

GMR Sports is a wholly owned subsidiary of privately held GMR Holdings Pvt Ltd with Bommi-dala Srinivas, chairman, GMR Infrastructure, holding one share.


Kings XI Punjab

Owner: K P H Dream Cricket Pvt Ltd

Shareholders as on June 30, 2008 (no. of shares in brackets):

MB Finmart (new name of Dabur Inv Corp): 2,23,850

Ness Wadia, JMD, Bombay Dyeing: 4,47,700

Preity Zinta: 4,47,700

Karan Paul (Chairman, Apeejay Surrendra Group): 77,861

Windy Investments: 2,23,850

Root Investment Pvt Ltd: 79,600

Colway Investments Ltd: 4,47,700

Total: 19,48,261


Royal Challengers Bangalore

UB Group recently formed a subsidiary, UB Sports Pvt Ltd, and said the new entity will take over Royal Challengers Bangalore. It is not clear if this is already done.

UB Sports Pvt Ltd, subsidiary of the UB Group. As on January 4, 2010, UB Sports had 10,000 shares worth Rs 1 lakh, equally shared between Navaneeth Vasudevan and Anil Pisharody of California-based Speciality Beer Investments Inc, which is jointly owned by Vijay Mallya.


Rajasthan Royals

Owner: Jaipur IPL Cricket Pvt Ltd

Jaipur IPL Cricket is completely owned by EM Sporting Holdings, a Mauritius-based company. Given below are the shareholders in EM Sporting Holdings (stakes in brackets).

Suresh Chellaram: 44.1%

Emerging Media (promoted by Manoj Badale): 32.4%

Raj Kundra’s Kuki Investments: 11.75%


Chennai Super Kings

Owner: India Cements (100%)

Kerala IPL team’s fate hangs in balance

April 19, 2010

Dubai: A solution to the simmering row over Kochi franchise’s ownership appears possible following a meeting between the team’s new chairman Harshad Mehta and IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi who exuded confidence of an early resolution.

An aide of the Dubai-based Mehta, who also had a brief courtesy meeting with ICC’s Principal Advisor I S Bindra, said "he (Mehta) is not willing to comment anything until the IPL’s Governing Council meeting".

Asked to comment on Mehta’s meeting with Modi, the aide said "he would not like to comment on either". The meeting comes in the wake of reports that Sunanda Pushkar, a close friend of outgoing Union Minister of State for External Affair Shashi Tharoor, offered to surrender her sweat equity as she was distressed by the entire controversy.

"Kochi issue would be resolved. I am confident the Kochi team will continue and contribute to the success of IPL," a confident Modi had said.

Both Modi and Bindra, along with former BCCI president Sharad Pawar, are here for an ICC meeting. Modi said he had no personal issue either with the team owners or Tharoor, who is in the eye of a political storm after it was found that her friend Sunanda is one of the Rendezvous stakeholders.

"It is not Modi Vs Tharoor. It is not BJP Vs Congress or any other political party or political leader. My priority is cricket and we would resolve the entire issue at the earliest," Modi said.

Sunanda, on her part, has offered to give up her ’sweat equity’ of nearly 19 per cent of the 25 per cent free equity of Rendezvous in the Kochi franchise.

Although no details were available about the meeting between the two, Modi said that his sole interest was to promote IPL which was created jointly by everybody including all teams and BCCI and for whose success everybody is working together. Modi also refused to comment on Pushkar’s sweat equity, saying that everything would be set right. The raging controversy has led to speculation that Modi’s wings would soon be clipped with a section within BCCI miffed with his way of functioning.

Modi, however, claimed he had no difference with BCCI president Shashank Manohar. "I have no difference with Shashank Manohar and I have been asked to attend the ICC meeting (on his behalf)," Modi said.

The issue has been simmering since Modi revealed the ownership structure of the Kochi franchise on a social networking site, naming Pushkar in it.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Suspension of IG after consulting me: Kodiyeri

Palakkad: Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishanan said that Chief Minister V S Achuthanandhan had consulted him before suspending Kannur range IG Tomin J Thachankary. Kodiyeri reiterated that Thachankary had violated service rules on going on a 11-day foreign trip without informing the government.

He also said that a probe will be conducted on reports of setting up a private resort in the midst of the adivasi settlement in Silent Valley. Forest minister Binoy Viswam said action will be taken after studying the report.

Sunanda to surrender stake in Kochi IPL

In what is being viewed as a compromise formula, Sunanda Pushkar is reported to have surrendered her stake in controversial Kochi IPL, said a TV news channel today. This may come as a huge reprieve for Shashi Tharoor who was under pressure after allegations that he had misused his authority to help his friend Sunanda Pushkar get 'free' equity worth 70 crores in the Kochi IPL franchise.

According to the TV news channel which quoted sources, Tharoor lobbied for Sunanda's stake to be raised even higher and party so far does not accept his explanation completely.

Congress sources say it would have looked better if Tharoor had at least offered to resign, report said.

Meanwhile, Tharoor, a short while back met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to brief him about the Kochi IPL row ahead of the Congress Core Committee meeting on Sunday evening to decide Tharoor's fate.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Tomin J. Thachenkery Shifted from post

Kerala's Inspector General of Police Kannur Tomin J. Thachenkery was shifted from his post Friday after Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan received a report that he had violated rules by going on a foreign trip without permission.

Sudheesh Kumar has been appointed as the new inspector general, while Thachenkery is yet to get a new posting.

This decision came hours after Achuthanandan told reporters here that he got a report Wednesday from Additional Director General of Police Siby Mathew, whom he had asked to probe the matter after learning that Thachenkery had gone abroad, and a report from state Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose Friday.

The chief minister confirmed that both the reports had indicted Thachenkery for violating rules by going on a foreign trip without taking permission.

"A decision on the report will be taken soon and it can happen anytime," said Achuthanandan.

Thachenkery, considered close to Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state secretary Pinarayi Vijayan, was in the Middle East last week - the same time Vijayan and other senior party men were touring there as part of a fund collection drive.

On a visit to north Kerala last week, Achuthanandan was peeved when he did not find Thachenkery and on asking, found he had gone abroad on a short leave. The chief minister immediately asked Mathew to conduct an inquiry.

The issue had caused a major political storm with the Congress-led opposition Wednesday demanding action against Thachenkery.

No misuse of official position: Tharoor

New Delhi: Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor Friday clarified that he had not misused his official position and his 'mentoring' the Kerala consortium of the Kochi Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise was within the 'bounds of appropriate conduct'.
Tharoor, at the centre of a row for alleged involvement in the Kochi franchise, said in a written statement: 'My role in mentoring the Kerala consortium was within the bounds of appropriate conduct for an MP from Thiruvananthapuram.'

Tharoor was forced to lay the statement in the Lok Sabha after opposition members created a ruckus over the row alleging that the minister had misused his official position to help his friend Sunanda Pushkar get sweat equity worth Rs.70 crore in the IPL Kochi franchise.

Tharoor could not read out the statement with opposition MPs, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), gathered near Speaker Meira Kumar's podium, creating noisy scenes.

The speaker then adjourned the house till 2 p.m.

I am not a proxy for Tharoor: Sunanda Pushkar

New Delhi: Sunanda Pushkar, who has been linked to the Indian Premier League (IPL) Kochi team controversy, Wednesday blasted her critics and denied acting as a proxy for her friend and Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor.
In a hard-hitting statement made available to IANS, Pushkar accused the media of ignoring her professional background and international business experience and focussing 'obsessively on my personal life as if a woman cannot be capable of professional or financial success.

'My own business interests and assets are substantial, and efforts to besmirch Tharoor by presenting me as a proxy for him are personally insulting for me as a woman and as a friend.

'I have built up a respectable and successful career while coping with widowhood and raising a child as a single mother. Yet I have been reduced to a caricature in the media, portrayed with inaccuracies and falsehoods,' she said.

Pushkar said she was issuing the statement 'to set the record straight about my role in the public controversy surrounding the Kerala IPL Team franchise'.

The controversy erupted after Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi revealed the ownership pattern of Kochi IPL, stating that Pushkar, a friend of Tharoor, owned free equity in Rendezvous Sports, which is a part owner of IPL Kochi team.

Modi also accused Tharoor of asking him not to reveal the ownership details -- a charge denied by the minister.

Pushkar said she was approached last year by Rendezvous 'inviting me to associate myself with them as a consultant in their various sporting activities and particularly in their potential bid to acquire the franchise of an IPL team.

'I had previously been approached by Karim Morani of Kolkata Knight Riders to join them in a similar capacity and had regretted that the timing was not convenient for me.

'In view of my extensive international experience as a business executive, marketing manager and entrepreneur, I was invited to assist Rendezvous particularly in the areas of fund-raising, networking, elsewhere; event management; and brand building.

'Because this is a start-up effort, I was told that in lieu of a salary they would grant me minor equity in Rendezvous in return for my efforts - which is a common practice across the world for start-ups and projects of this nature.

'I should stress that I have accepted no salary or expenses and am conscious that the equity remains only on paper for the foreseeable future.

'However, with the equity comes an opportunity to participate in the management and promotion of Rendezvous and in particular of its IPL team, a challenge I welcome.'

She said she had 'lived a life of integrity and committed no crime, yet I am treated in a humiliating manner. My parents, friends and family members have been hounded by intrusive journalists.

'My personal life is nobody else's business and if I have a marriage to announce, I will do it myself, rather than leave it to strangers. I would request the media to respect my privacy.'

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Paleri Manikyam Best film: Mammooty Actor, Swetha Actress

Thiruvananthapuram, April 6 (IANS) Malayalam superstar Mammooty and his films dominate the Kerala State Film Awards 2009 which were announced by State Minister for Culture M.A. Baby Tuesday.

Mammooty is named the best actor for his roles in 'Paleri Manikam Oru Pathirakolapathakam', while his film 'Pazhassi Raja' won the best director award for Hariharan.

Together both the films bagged 12 awards, with 'Pazhassi Raja' winning eight and 'Paleri Manikam...' four, including the best film award.

''Pazhassi Raja' really merited all these awards because it was a technical masterpiece and was breath-taking evoking a bygone era,' said Sai Paranjape who headed the jury that saw 36 feature films, two children's film and two documentaries.

Mammooty, who is on a month-long holiday, was not available for comments. But Renjith said that it is great moment for him because his efforts have been appreciated well.

Swetha, who was declared the best actress for her performance in 'Paleri Manikam...', said initially she was apprehensive about the role because the character was slightly older than her age.

'Renjith was adamant that I should do it because it was a character that had lot of potential. Just because he insisted, I took it and I am so happy that I have won an award,' she said.

Another Malayalam superstar Mohanlal's film 'Ividae Swarghamanu' was named the best popular film.

But Paranjape feels that the quality of Malayalam films has come down.

'Of all the films which we saw, it was just under 10 films that had the required quality. I hope this situation would improve,' she said.

Kerala's appam and karimeen on American channel

Apr 6, 2010,

Kerala's appam and karimeen on American channel Kerala's culinary specialities have won over master US chef Anthony Bourdain who will showcase food like appam, puttu and karimeen curry on the popular American travel and food show No Reservations on the Travel Channel.

The sixth season of Travel channel's culinary programme hosted by Bourdain will telecast the specialities of Kerala cuisine in July.

Bourdain has already shot the episode in Kerala for No Reservations which is in its sixth season.

"By showcasing authentic Kerala food in the homes of ordinary people, Anthony Bourdain is also reaffirming that delicious food and hospitality is not just special to upscale restaurants and hotels but is something that is customary throughout the state," said Kerala Tourism secretary V. Venu.

"It was wonderful to have such a high profile television host championing street and home cooked food," he said.

"When it comes to spices and variety, Kerala is right up there in my alley," the release said quoting Bourdain, 53, the author of A Cook's Tour-In Search of the Perfect Meal .

For the Kerala episode, the master chef landed in Kochi at the fag end of March and travelled to Alappuzha to savour the backwaters cuisine. He stayed in a houseboat where he tried mussels and kappa (tapioca), a Kerala sadya (feast) and the spicy karimeen or pearl spot fish, the release said.

"I am also very impressed with the high standard of food in Kerala, especially the street food," says the chef, who earlier hit the streets in Kochi to taste the varieties.

Bourdain also enjoyed home cooked puttu (a steamed rice powder preparation), meen curry (fish cooked in coconut milk) and some other vegetarian dishes (made with coconut) with Malayalam celluloid icon Mammootty, when he visited the superstar during the shooting of his forthcoming film ‘Pokkiri Raja’, the release said.

I was a victim of CPI-M's conspiracy: Rajmohan Unnithan

Thiruvananthapuram: Days after his party revoked his suspension, senior Congress leader Rajmohan Unnithan Monday lashed out at the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) for 'spreading canards' about him on his alleged involvement with a woman and termed the Left leaders as a bunch of 'pseudo moralists'.

Unnithan vented his anger at the CPI-M, its feeder organization, the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI, the youth wing) and the Janadipathiya Mahila Association (JMA, the women's wing), saying he was trapped by them after he was held with a woman, said to be a Congress Seva Dal worker, at a house in Malappuram district Dec 20.

On March 31, the Congress revoked the suspension of Unnithan, former general secretary of the party in Kerala, absolving him of charges of immoral trafficking. He insists he was trapped by the ruling Left party activists and their allies.

'I was a victim of a conspiracy hatched by the CPI-M and DYFI and I was trapped by them. I have now been exonerated by my party which conducted an inquiry and I was given instant bail by a court (in Malappuram), because I did no wrong,' Unnithan told reporters Monday.

He said the DYFI is gripped with an 'Oedipus complex' and the JMA 'which claims to safeguard the rights of women did the worst thing when they printed my picture and of the lady who was with me and pasted it all across the state'.

'The JMA forgot that the lady who was with me has a family and the CPI-M should also not forget the personal side of leaders like Karl Marx, Lenin and Chairman Mao and it is no different with some CPI-M leaders here. I have been exonerated but the damage that has been done to me and the lady is irreparable,' Unnithan, an All India Congress Committee member member.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Jubilant BJP govt doles out Rs 22,500 crore bonanza for Bangalore

Bangalore, Apr 5 (PTI)

Buoyed by the victory of Karnataka's ruling BJP in city corporation election, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa today said government would spend Rs 22,500 crore for boosting infrastructure in Bangalore.

He termed BJP's capturing the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) as a "fitting reply" to opposition Congress and JD(S) and said the verdict has "silenced critics".
"We had already prepared an action plan for over Rs 22,500 crore to be implemented over the next three years. This will substantially improve infrastructure in Bangalore", he told reporters.

According to state officials, out of the total 198 wards in BBMP, BJP won in 110, Congress in 61, JD(S) in 14 and others in seven, with six more results being awaited.The Chief Minister said the mandate was for developmental initiatives of his government in the last 22 months for Bangalore as well as the entire state.

Government would make efforts to put in place the Bangalore Governance Act to ensure better coordination and enable empowering ward-level committees."It will also bring increased accountability and efficiency in planning and execution of works. In the next 2-3 years, we will take up comprehensive improvements of all water bodies in BBMP areas", he said.

"In order to ease the traffic-related problems, we have already written to Ministry of Railways for a circular train in Bangalore and we have agreed to share the cost of this project. We have also decided to build modern multi-level car parking facilities in at least ten important areas in Bangalore this year", Yeddyurappa said

BJP captures Bangalore City Corporation bagging 112 out of the 189

B.J.P Makes History

Bangalore, April 5, 2010: The BJP captured power in the 198-member Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) by bagging 112 out of the 189 wards, whose results have been declared. The people voted for the development works taken up by the B S Yeddyurappa government in the City, claimed leaders and Ministers in the BJP government.

P R Ramesh of the Congress, who fought legal battle to hold elections, lost against the BJP candidate Anil Kumar. The former MLA Chandrashekar of the Congress won the elections.

The Opposition Congress has won in 65 wards while the JD (S) has emerged victorious in 13 wards. Independents and others have been declared elected in 6 wards. The BJP required only 95 seats to capture power in the BBMP. But it already won one hundred seats.

Counting of votes for the BBMP elections held on March 28 began at 8 am in 28 different counting centers in the City. The counting of votes in about 38 wards was yet to begin. The process of counting in one station will be taken up only around 2 pm to facilitate the completion of SSLC examination that is underway.

Minister for Labour B N Bache Gowda said the voters of the city taught a fitting lesson to the JD (S) which launched the NICE campaign against the BJP Government. The Congress too won less than the expected seats on account of its poor leadership.

The BJP’s efforts to rule the civic body will be further bolstered by the voting rights enjoyed by as many as 32 non-BBMP councillers - MPs, MLAs and MLCs residing in Bangalore. Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa told reporters in Bangalore that he was glad with BJP's performance in the BBMP polls.

Prominent among the winners include former Congress Mayors K. Chandrashekar, also a former MLA, and M. Narayanaswamy and former leader of the Opposition in the Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BMP) Mr. Ganghabhyraiah, BJP.

BJP candidate from Vasanth Nagar Mr. Katta Jagadish Naidu, who is also son of Minister for Information Technology Mr. Katta Subramanya Naidu, has registered a victory. Similiarly, Rajarajeshwarinagar BJP MLA M. Srinivas’ son Venkatesh Babu has won the elections. However, Mahalakshmi Layout assembly segment’s Congress MLA N. L. Narendra Babu’s brother N. L. Ravishankar was among the losers.

Reacting to the results, Karantaka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the victory of the BJP candidates had once again proved the saffron party's strength and the support of the people has increased the responsibility of the state government to fulfill their aspirations.

''The verdict is a reflection of the good work done by the BJP government in the state during the last two years,'' he said. He said the focus of the new civic body would lay on improving infrastructure facilities, housing for slum dwellers, improving drinking water and power supply.

However, the Congress party alleged that the success of the BJP candidates was due to electoral malpractices.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Christians in Kerala celebrate Easter

PTI, Apr 4, 2010,

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Christians in Kerala on Sunday celebrated Easter with traditional piety, commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ after crucifixion on Good Friday.

The faithful congregated in large numbers for mid-night Easter mass in churches across the state, where senior prelates and vicars gave out the message of hope and promise as symbolised by the sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of God's creations.

Easter also marked the end of the season of Lent, when the devout abstain from material comforts to gain spiritual strength.

Since the Palm Sunday last week, churches and Christian homes has been reverberating with prayers, recalling the final days of Jesus from his entry into Jerusalem to crucifixion on Calvary.

In the state capital, head of Syro Malankara Church Catholicos Baselius Mar Cleemis led the prayers in St Mary's Cathedral and Archbishop Soosai Packyam led the special service at St Joseph's Cathedral.

Special Easter services were held in churches of other congregations like Orthox and Jacobite. Kerala Governor R S Gavai and Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan greeted people on the occasion.