Few Longest Train Routes of India


Which is your preferred mode of transport for long distance travel- flight or train? Flight saves time, but there’s the inconvenience of cramped space and security checks. Besides a flight journey falls short of emanating that romantic charm despite the presence of those charming flight attendants. This is where a train journey fits in. Imagine yourself inside a train rushing past the towns and villages of India- giving you glimpses of fascinating landscapes, the weather changing every few hours and the food presenting distinctive changes in aroma in each of your meal. Then, there’s the exciting prospect of meeting perfect strangers, getting into conversation with them and discovering ways of life so different from your own. So, hurry up! Dust off that travel bag and choose one route from the below mentioned list of 1o longest routes.

Kerala Sampark Kranti Express
Train Number: 12218
Starting Point: Chandigarh (Punjab)
Ending Point: Thiruvananthpuram (Kerala)

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Running at an average speed of 57killo meters per hour, it covers a distance of 3415kms in 57 hours and 35 minutes. It takes 21 halts. It traverses through Punjab, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala. This train runs once in a week.

Guwahati- Ernakulam Express
Train Number: 12508
Starting Point: Guwahati (Assam)
Ending Point: Ernakulam (Kerala)

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It runs at an average speed of 55killo meters per hour. It travels 3337kms in 59 hours and 45 minutes. It takes halts in 43 places. It’s a weekly train service. It passes through the states of Assam, West Bengal, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and finally reaches Kerala.

Dehradun- Kochuveli Weekly Superfast Express
Train Number: 12288
Starting Point: Dehradun (Uttarakhand)
End Point: thiruvananthpuram (Kerala)

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It covers a distance of 3459kms in 61hours and 10 minutes. It traverses through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharastra, Karnataka and Kerala. It halts at 25 places. It runs once a week.

Raptisagar Express
Train Number: 12522
Starting Point: Ernakulam (Kerala)
Ending Point: Barauni (Bihar)

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Raptisagar is a super fast express running at an average speed of 55km per hour. It covers a distance of 3441kms in 62 hours. It takes 61 halts. It’s a weekly train service. The train passes through Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Dehradun- Kochuveli Weekly Superfast Express
Train Number: 12288
Starting Point: Dehradun (Uttarakhand)
End Point: thiruvananthpuram (Kerala)

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It covers a distance of 3459kms in 61hours and 10 minutes. It traverses through Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharastra, Karnataka and Kerala. It halts at 25 places. It runs once a week.

Ten Jammu Express
Train Number: 16787
Starting Point: Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu)
Ending Point: Jammu Tawi (Jammu & Kashmir)

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It passes through Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi and Jammu & Kashmir. It covers a total distance of 3561kms in 70 hours. It halts at 70 stops and crosses 518 intermediate stations. This is a biweekly train service.

Guwahati Express
Train Number: 12515
Starting Point: Thiruvanathapuram (Kerala)
Ending Point: Guwahati (Assam)

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This is a super fast train running at an average speed of 54km per hour. It traverses through Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam. It covers 3552kms in 65 hours. It takes a total 50 halts. It runs once in a week.

Navyug Express
Train number: 166
Starting point: Mangalore (Karnataka)
End Point: Jammu Tawi (Jammu & Kashmir)

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NavYug Express runs through 12 Indian states: Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. It covers a distance of 3609kms in 67 hours. It takes 61 halts. It runs once a week.

Dibrugarh Express
Train Number: 15901
Starting Point: Bangalore (Karnataka)
Ending Point: Dibrugarh (Assam)

dibrugarh-rajdhani-express
Dibrugarh Express started running from 4th January 2010. It’s an express train running at the speed of 51km per hour. It covers a total distance of 3547kms in 68 hours. It takes 33 halts and runs through Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam. It’™s a weekly train.

Vivek Express (Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari)
Train Number: 15905/15906
Starting Point: Dibrugarh (Assam)
Ending Point: Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu)

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It owes its name to Swami Vivekananda as it started running to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swamiji. It is an express train, covering a total 4272kms in 82 hours. It travels through the states of Assam, West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It takes 54 halts. This is the longest train route in India and the 9th longest in the world.

Himsagar Express
Train Number: 16317/16318
Starting Point: Jammu Tawi (Jammu & Kashmir)
Ending Point: Kanyakumari (Tamil Nadu)

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This express train runs at the speed of 53km per hour and traverses a total distance of 3714kms in 70 hours. It passes through 9 Indian states: Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. It halts at 71 stations. It runs once a week. It starts at 11.45PM on Monday from Jammu and reaches Kanyakumari at 10.45 PM on Thursday.

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Monsoon covers entire country but may begin to weaken #SWMonsoon


The South-West monsoon has covered the entire country at least a fortnight ahead of schedule in what has been a spectacular and punishing opening spell.

Progress of monsoon so far has been good but it may start weakening from July, a former Director-General of the India Met Department told Business Line.

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ABOVE NORMAL

June was expected to turn in above normal rainfall at the end of one of the best productive phases following an onset, he said.

Meanwhile, Climate Prediction Centre of the US National Weather Services suspected that monsoon activity might start to weaken from next week. Rains may relapse to below ‘climatological mean’ (historical normal for a given period) towards end-June and into July.

DRY WINDS

Paresh Nerurkar, a senior commander with Air India, told Business Line from Kolkata on Sunday that he could detect dry westerlies penetrating the North-West as they blew in from across the border.

On Sunday, the IMD too detected a western disturbance with a strong band of westerly winds parked just outside of Rajasthan-Gujarat. US National Centres of Environmental Prediction too showed skies clearing up over Northwest India (especially western parts) later during this week.

A low-pressure area was bringing heavy rains over Central India but could weaken under the onslaught of the dry westerly winds.

MONSOON LULL?

Drawing from experience, he said conditions reminded him of an impending lull in monsoon. ‘Break-monsoon’ is an inevitable recess after a rain pulse runs it course.

Depending on the extent to which it sustains, break-monsoon can decide fate of the early sown crops, especially during the humongous run in the onset phase of monsoon this year.

The former top official of Met Department cited model predictions to indicate that monsoon could hold good over North India until at least June 20 (Thursday).

It might weaken slightly in the first week of July. As of now, one of the regions where it had been weak was Bihar, he added.

Vinson Kurian  - vinson.kurian@thehindu.co.in

Cauvery panel finds T.N. demand for water not feasible


The committee agrees for decisions by consensus

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The Cauvery Supervisory Committee that met here on Wednesday did not find “feasible” the demand of the Tamil Nadu government for directions to Karnataka for release of Cauvery waters as per the award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal.

 The panel, chaired by Union Water Resources Secretary S.K. Sarkar, agreed to the suggestion of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka to modify its Rules of Business to decide that decisions shall ordinarily be taken by consensus. If no consensus is reached, then the decision may be left to the Chairperson. Noting that the situation was “very grim” for both the basin States as the storage levels in their respective reservoirs were deficient, the committee decided to review the position in its next meeting slated to be held in the first week of July.

 The meeting observed that the southwest monsoon had arrived on time in Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu and has so far been in excess of normal in the first 10 days of June. It is expected to pick up in due course.

 “Looking into the data such as deficit in inflows and very low storages in the reservoirs in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, the request of Tamil Nadu for release of water by Karnataka was considered and found not feasible as of now. However, the position will be reviewed in the next meeting proposed to be held in the first week of July 2013,” said the six-page order signed by Mr. Sarkar.

 The live storage in Karnataka reservoirs on June 10 was 3.716 tmcft, while it was 3.58 tmcft in Mettur dam as against 15.8 tmcft and 41.96 tmcft respectively in the previous year on the same date.

 The outflow from Karnataka reservoirs is 0.83 tmcft and drawals, including evaporation, is 0.04 tmcft, while outflow at Mettur is 0.49 tmcft. “It is evident from the data that the situation in both Karnataka and Mettur (Tamil Nadu) is very grim,” the order said. Both Tamil Nadu and Karnataka raised objections to certain provisions in the Rules of Business, particularly the clauses pertaining to quorum and decision by majority vote. While Tamil Nadu sought early constitution of the Cauvery Management Board, Karnataka wanted that the panel should not adopt the guidelines of the Cauvery Management Board (as prescribed in the final award). The Supervisory Committee has been formed on the directions of the Supreme Court. Karnataka also suggested that water account be done at the end of December instead of from June to May. Besides, Tamil Nadu that sought 24 hours average water flows at Biligundlu for kuruvai crop and other needs.

 Panel takes note of poor storage levels in the two States

 It will review the position in the next meeting in July

Source : The Hindu

Image : Representation Only

Doctors slam Mohanlal’s ‘cholesterol-free’ oil


His claims of cholesterol-free coconut oil not scientific, say medical professionals

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A section of Indian doctors in the UAE have said they do not endorse a much publicised endorsement of a coconut oil brand by the Malayalam superstar Mohanlal.

Indian doctors at the All Kerala Medical Graduates Association (AKMG), a group of doctors practising in the UAE, said they are perplexed by the endorsement of a coconut brand by a superstar like Mohanlal, claiming that coconut oil is totally free from cholesterol.

What Mohanlal publicises through the advertisement is not scientifically proven and people may risk their health by blindly trusting a superstar endorsement, according to them. Earlier endorsement of a leading liquor brand by the superstar raked up controversy, similar to a celebrity brand endorsement by KJ Yesudas for a property firm that cheated hundreds of NRI investors.

Coconut oil, like all saturated fats, should be limited to 7-10 per cent of calorie-intake because it can increase risk for heart disease, according to the AHA and 2010 Dietary Guidelines,” an Indian doctor said, quoting the American Heart Association.

A number of radio stations, television channels and newspapers are currently running an advertisement campaign for the new brand of coconut oil, claiming that the oil processed using a new technology will not cause heart disease or fat accumulated as spread by some foreign agents.

Mohanlal, one of the most popular Malayalam actors, acts as a Kerala King, sending out a Royal Decree, endorsing the specific brand of coconut oil.

According to marketing experts, celebrities are roped in to sell anything from gold ornaments to chit funds and financial products. The particular brand of coconut oil is claimed to be 100 per cent pure made with finest copra (dry coconut) pieces. Trans fats, saturated fats in coconut oils can be harmful and cause heart attack, doctors said.

In the advertisement Mohanlal, dressed as a traditional king of Kerala, says he is aware of a conspiracy hatched by foreign countries and is issuing a decree endorsing the pure coconut oil, free from cholesterol. Doctors say it is a highly misleading advertisement of Coconadu oil, because such claims are not scientifically proved.

“There are two basic categories of fats. Healthy fats are unsaturated and include vegetable oils, fish oils, and plant fats in nuts, avocados, and seeds. These fats should be the primary fats in your diet because they are either neutral or raise HDL cholesterol [considered good cholesterol] but don’t raise LDL cholesterol [considered bad cholesterol].

“The less healthy saturated fats found in animal fats and tropical oils, including coconut oil, are allowed, but in lesser amounts because they raise LDL cholesterol,” says Dr Hanish Babu.

“Trans fats in processed foods are the worst fats, capable of lowering HDL and increasing LDL, and should be kept as low as possible. Eating a nutritious diet that includes mostly whole foods and is balanced in calories is more important that worrying about specific nutrients and foods.”

“Coconut oil is an essential fat, saturated fat that can cause problem for heart by causing LDL cholesterol. Both coconut oil and palm oil can cause more cholesterol and can cause heart attack, which is scientifically proven. It is not misleading information spread by foreign countries, as Mohanlal claims in the advertisement. It is a scientifically proven fact that saturated fat can cause cholesterol,” said Dr Babu, who was speaking in his personal capacity.

He is also the Vice President of AKMG Emirates, but some officials in the Association have a different opinion.

Dr Babu said Keralites are more prone to heart diseases than people from many other Indian states due to many factors – increased use of red meat, egg and other fatty food items. About 7,000 tons of red meat is consumed every day in Kerala and now people are not doing enough physical exercise. High levels of stress, increased use of smoking and alcohol and negative attitude are factors causing heart ailments. It is definitely a misleading advertisement,” Dr Babu . There are different opinions on this issue and it is not the view of the organisation, he added.

According to studies, pure virgin coconut oil, containing no hydrogenation (the process of adding hydrogen to make a liquid fat hard), contains 92 per cent saturated fat – the highest amount of saturated fat of any fat.

“Most saturated fats are solid at room temperature, found in animal products (such as meat, dairy, poultry with skin, and beef fat) and contain cholesterol. Unlike animal fats, tropical oils – palm, palm kernel, and coconut oils – are saturated fats that are called oils but depending on room temperature can be solid, semi-solid, or liquid, and do not contain cholesterol.

Like all fats, coconut oil is a blend of fatty acids. Coconut oil contains an unusual blend of short and medium chain fatty acids, primarily lauric (44 per cent) and myristic (16.8 per cent) acids. It is this unusual composition that may offer some health benefits,” an Indian doctor said quoting relevant studies.

VM Sathish

 

Indian Convicts Redefine ‘Business’ Behind Bars


The Holy Bible says, “Hear, O man; what does the Lord require of you but to love mercy, do justice, and walk humbly with your God?” Criminals are often judged as the unwanted part of the society. May be they have committed crimes for which they were convicted once, but government takes many corrective measures to inspire them to go out and live a respectful life after their conviction. Here we sum up few business initiatives taken by those who were punished and sent to jail once, but now are turning themselves to successful entrepreneurs.

1. Inmates Turned Fashion Designers- Tihar jail

A collection of clothes designed by women inmates of the Tihar Jail were displayed at a fashion show as part of Women’s Day celebrations. The Tihar Jail has for the past five to six months been running a fashion designing course with about 550 women inmates currently enrolled in the course. “The message that we want to give through this event is that we can manufacture quality products in the jail which can compete with any branded items in the market,” said Sunil Kumar, Chief PRO, Tihar Jail. The jail has a factory which has 1100 people employees and the turnover was 15 crore last year and this year it has been around 30 crore.

2. Bakers Behind the Bar- Kerala Jails

After netting a handsome revenue of 6.75 crore in nine months through food-making venture, prisons in Kerala are planning to diversify into more products like cakes, pepped and footwear with an aim of fruitfully engaging prisoners and selling these items to the common man at affordable prices. According to a top Prison Department official, the prison food business posted an impressive turnover of 6.75 crore in the first nine months of this year and is expected to touch about 10 crore by the end of March, 2013.

When Kerala Prison Department ventured into the food business, the sole model before it was the food-making unit of Tihar Jail in Delhi, which sold about of 1.5 crore chapatis and 20 lakh packets of chicken curry last year. While hotels charge 75-90 for a plate of chicken curry and 7-8 for one chapati, the jail chicken-chapati combine costs just 30. The prisoners also benefit from the initiative with cooks and helpers earning 117 as their daily wages so that they can send an average of 3500 to their families a month.

3. Convicts Take a Shine to Leather – Indore Jail

The Indore jail prisoners have a new passion. And the passion also involves fashion. With 40-50 kg of leather made accessible to them every month, the inmates are busy whipping out leather goods to be sold locally. The jail has also been planning to market the handbags and wallets Bhopal, and a national squash later. The training is imparted by the Tata International Ltd, ), engaged in the business of leather goods.

“At present, the leather products (bag, handbags and wallets) are sold locally by small retailers. This is because the quality is not up to the level of a TIL product. To help them achieve the required quality, a technical person will be sent to the jail to train one of the inmates, who will be the master trainer. He, in turn, will teach the others,” said a company spokesperson, stated Business Line.

Cakes costing below 100 and low-price rubber sandals are the next in line and the food business initiative would be extended to two more prisons soon.

4. Handicrafts in Cuff – Jagdalpur Jail

The prisoners at Jagdalpur Jail have set a very inspiring example for many who have been convicted. Inmates at Jagdalpur Central Jail make a wide range of eminent mats and bed sheets, which are in high demand in global markets. There are also around 351 convicts who make art work, handicraft and other designer materials worth 1 crore every year.  “Now, they are always busy in different kinds of activities. These prisoners were being trained in handicrafts and other works so that they could start their own business after being released from the jail”, an official said, stated dailypioneer.com.

The jail has also arranged short term courses that help the prisoners to utilize their free time as well as use their labor in a positive way. The also make other products apart from bed sheets and mats like, beds, sofas, dining-tables, chairs, office tables, steel furniture, cupboards, terracotta items, swings, foot mats, table mats, pen holders and items with cloth, like towels.

5. Penitentiary “Dabbas”  – Tihar Jail

The women prisoners in Tihar Jail are ready to launch their own Tiffin services, and Tihar will be the first prison to start such a business. The idea was that the inmates would prepare the meal and supply lunch to corporate houses and government offices athwart the city.

 Director General (Prisons) Vimla Mehra told Newline, “We are planning to start with the women’s jail first and expand the project to the other jails according to the demand. The number of tiffins, inmates to be engaged in the project, the cuisine and menu depends on the demand. Tihar will try its best to satisfy the customers and give them excellent quality and tasty food” Once instigated the service will be an add on to Tihar’s bakery and snacks business that sells ISO-certified biscuits, nut crackers, salty mixtures and other snack items.

Delhi rape spurs Indian women to rush for gun licenses


Indian protesters hold placards during a rally in New Delhi.(AFP Photo / Sajjad Hussain)

Indian protesters hold placards during a rally in New Delhi.(AFP Photo / Sajjad Hussain)

A sense of insecurity has gripped the female population in parts of India. As the ashes of the New Delhi gang rape victim were scattered over the Ganges River, hundreds of Indian women applied for firearm licenses and joined self-defense classes.

­Since the news of the brutal gang rape and murder broke in December, 274 Delhi women have applied for gun licenses, Delhi police said. Some 1,200 more have called the licensing department to inquire how to obtain one.

“These include not only the average working woman, but even students who travel long distances to colleges and even their concerned parents. They were eager to find out more on the procedure to acquire arms,” a Delhi police officer told The Times of India.

Hundreds turned up at the police department seeking permission to get a gun for self-defense, with officers having to explain that “a clear danger to one’s life” should exist for someone in India to be given a license.

“They said that with even public transport no longer safe in the city, they just cannot take chances. When we told them this could not be reason enough, we were told to provide in writing that their daughters were indeed safe on Delhi’s roads,” the officer added.

Not only do the women of India suffer from male violence with impunity, they are also discriminated against in their rights to legally acquire arms, the Indian National Association for Gun Rights said.

“The fact that even parents are ready to hand over weapons to their daughters shows they are living in fear. There is a 20% increase in self-defence courses across the city,” he concluded.

Out of more than 800 applications for guns received from women over the last two years, only a few dozen have been accepted by the Delhi police, with just a handful of licenses granted on the grounds of personal threats. Others were rejected as “no personal safety threat was assessed,” though “self-defense” is an increasingly popular reason provided in applications.

This may not stop some of the parents from buying guns on the black market, or illegally manufactured weapons. Of 40 million firearms in the hands of Indian civilians only 6.3 million have been registered, the international bulletin of firearm injury prevention GunPolicy.org estimates.

An Indian woman handles an Indian-made revolver at a newly opened gun shop in Lucknow.(AFP Photo / Pawan Kumar)
An Indian woman handles an Indian-made revolver at a newly opened gun shop in Lucknow.(AFP Photo / Pawan Kumar)

Raped for 40 days by 42 men

The widespread public anger due to the violence against women has been reflected in the press, which has been recalling similar tragedies from India’s recent past.

In 1999, a 16-year-old girl was abducted by a bus conductor in the Indian state of Kerala, who then raped her and passed on to others, 42 men raping her in turn for over a month. She was left out in the street severely injured, penniless, and ultimately disgraced, with her family having to move several times because of the mockery of their neighbors.

“Nobody accepts us; when they see us, they try to avoid us. We don’t go out,” the victim’s father was quoted as saying by India’s NDTV.

Of the 35 people convicted for raping the teenage girl, all but one were ruled not guilty when Kerala’s High Court reviewed the case three years later. The decision was heavily criticized, some activists claimed the rapists were set free because they were well connected in Kerala.

But unlike many others in India, the family has decided to fight till the end appealing against the verdict to the Supreme Court, and is now awaiting a hearing.

Despite the vast public attention for cases like this and the 2005 Domestic Violence Act outlawing all forms of violence against females; rape, abduction and trafficking of women and girls remains a major problem in India.

“Women and girls continue to be sold as chattels, married off as young as 10, burned alive as a result of dowry-related disputes, and young girls exploited and abused as domestic slave labour,” Save the Children activist Gulshun Rehman said.

This, combined with widely reported police indifference, sparked the mass protests on the streets of Delhi calling for more effective laws and law enforcement to ensure the safety of women in the most-populous democratic country in the world.

A student prays during a vigil for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi, in Ahmedabad.(Reuters / Amit Dave)
A student prays during a vigil for a gang rape victim, who was assaulted in New Delhi, in Ahmedabad.(Reuters / Amit Dave)

Supreme court of India allows Italian marines to go home for Christmas


 

Italian sailors Massimiliano Latorre (L) and Salvatore Girone wait to board an elevator to reach the police commissioner's office in the southern Indian city of Kochi December 18, 2012. REUTERS/Sivaram V

Two Italian marines charged with killing two fishermen off the coast of India are likely to spend Christmas in Italy, after an Indian court on Thursday accepted a plea by the sailors to be allowed to join their families for the holiday season.

The two sailors, members of a military security team protecting the cargo ship Enrica Lexie from pirate attacks, shot the fishermen they say they mistook for pirates off the southern state of Kerala in February, sparking a diplomatic row between New Delhi and Rome.

The Kerala high court said its decision to allow the men back home for two weeks was contingent on the Indian government‘s approval.

Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone are out on bail in the Indian state but not allowed to leave the country. They will be required to hand over 60 million rupees ($1.1 million) as a bank guarantee to the court before leaving.

The sailors, awaiting trial in New Delhi’s Supreme Court in connection with the shooting deaths, have to report back to India on January 10.

The Kerala state government opposed the sailors’ request, suspecting Italy of trying to smuggle the men out of India and feared that the sailors may not return.

“We’re very happy with the judgement. The Kerala government’s apprehensions have been quashed,” said Vijaya Bhanu, the counsel for the sailors.

Last week, Italian authorities summoned India’s ambassador in Rome and expressed “strong disappointment” that the Supreme Court had delayed a decision on where the men would face trial.

Italy wants the Supreme Court to rule that the shooting took place in international waters, outside India’s jurisdiction, allowing the marines to be tried in Rome.

Indian authorities accuse the sailors of killing unarmed fishermen in a “contiguous zone” where Indian law applies.

While visiting the marines in Kerala last week, Italy’s Defense Minister, Giampaolo Di Paolo, pinned his hopes on India allowing the men home for Christmas, saying “nobody more than India knows the values of festivities”.

REUTERS

Another incest rape in #Kerala: 14-year-old girl sexually abused by brother, friend for 2 years


In yet another incident of sexual abuse of minors by their kin in Kerala, a 14-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her brother and his friend over the last two years.

Both of them, hailing from Pavoor in Kasargod district, have been taken into custody, police said.

They said the girl had also been taken to various places in Karnataka and raped.

The incident came to light when the girl was questioned by police recently after she was found in a hotel here along with four others late at night.

More persons are suspected to be involved and a detailed investigation has already begun, police said.

Kerala has been witness to such incidents over the last few weeks, the first being of a 17-year-old girl allegedly raped by her father and seven others at Paravoor in Ernakulam district over the last one year.

In another incident from that district, a six-year-old girl was allegedly sexually abused by her 40-year-old father for six months after she was forced to drink alcohol. The man is absconding.

At Dharmadom in Thalassery in Kannur district, a 13-year-old girl was allegedly raped by her father, 15-year-old brother and uncles for nearly two years. One of the accused died recently.

India’s taxman catches up with elephants


India‘s taxman has finally caught up with the nation’s working elephants, with the owners of those working at temples, festivals or parties having to pay 12 per cent of their earnings in service tax.

India's taxman catches up with elephants

In India's autumn wedding season the number of ceremonial elephants can being 
city roads to a standstill 
Photo: ALAMY

Elephants are deployed throughout India as ceremonial beasts at weddings, auspicious reminders of the elephant God Lord Ganesha at temples and Hindu festivals like the Kumbh Mela, and as exotic children’s rides at birthday parties.

In India’s autumn wedding season the number of ceremonial elephants can being city roads to a standstill. For many they are an affordable treat – toy shops offer them for under £25 per hire as an upgrade on a party camel.

They are however big business. In Kerala alone, revenues from its 700 working elephants are estimated at just under £30 million per year.

Throughout India’s 28 states, the figure is believed to be several hundred million pounds per year. During peak demand, the going rate can rise to around £300 per day.

Now the Indian revenue authorities want their share and have ordered all enterprises hiring out elephants to levy a 12.36 per cent service tax.

By

Worms found in fried chicken at KFC outlet in Thiruvananthapuram


Oct 09, 2012

Fast food chain Kentucky’s Fried Chicken (KFC) has come under scrutiny in Kerala after a family reportedly found worms in their fried chicken. The incident was reported from an outlet in Thiruvananthapuram.

On a complaint, the Food Safety Authority conducted an inspection and found that the outlet didn’t maintain adequate sanitation guidelines. Some seized chicken was allegedly as much as five months old. The outlet has been temporarily shut and other KFC outlets are being inspected.

“We came here after we received a complaint. We were told that worms were found in the chicken by the customer who informed us. When we inspected the place, we found worms in the fried chicken. This outlet has temporarily been shut down,” Thiruvananthapuram district officer, Food Safety Authority, Sivakumar said.

Kerala: Worms found in fried chicken at KFC outlet in Thiruvananthapuram

Though the restaurant staff sought to prevent the officials from conducting searches, they had their way. They took samples of various dishes served in the hotel for detailed examination and analysis. The complaint was made by Shaiju, an NRI, who had come to the busy eatery along with his wife, son and two relatives. Shaiju was overcome by nausea and vomited as soon as he saw the dead worm in the chicken served to him.

When he brought the matter to the staff’s notice, they tried to dissuade him from making an outcry or complaint to the health authorities. However, he later contacted the FSA office and urged them to take action.

(With additional information from PTI)