Metrovaartha en-us Mon, 16 Jul 2018 00:00:00 +0530 France beat Croatia to win second World Cup as Pogba, Mbappe star Sun, 15 Jul 2018 22:37:10 +0530 ]]>All the drama at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ranging from own goal to penalty goal. Bad luck for Croatia with conceding two goals and it was a dramatic final in Moscow featuring a series of firsts and a pitch invasion orchestrated by Russian protest group Pussy Riot. Moscow | Goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe, as well as a controversial VAR-awarded penalty, helped France beat Croatia 4-2 in an incredible World Cup final in Moscow today to lift the trophy for the second time in their history.

In a match that had a bit of everything, Mario Mandzukic scored the first ever own goal in a World Cup final to put France in front at the Luzhniki Stadium, only for Ivan Perisic to equalise.

However, Antoine Griezmann's penalty put France back in front after Perisic's handball was penalised with the aid of the video assistant referee, before Pogba and Mbappe both scored in the second half.

The first team to score four times in a final since Brazil in 1970, the French could even afford to see Mandzukic pull a goal back following a ridiculous goalkeeping mistake by Hugo Lloris.

France join Uruguay and Argentina in winning the World Cup for a second time, after their 1998 triumph over Brazil when Didier Deschamps -- now the coach -- was the captain.

The game will be remembered as the highest-scoring World Cup final since England's win over West Germany in 1966, and for Mbappe becoming the youngest player to score in the final since Pele in 1958.

But while the celebrations begin on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris and across France, Croatia will wonder what might have been had the first-half penalty not been awarded just as they were in the ascendancy.

The smallest country to reach the final in the modern era will feel they were ultimately beaten by modern technology.

The questions before the match surrounded whether a tired Croatia side could pick themselves for this game after needing extra-time to beat England in the semi-finals.

Croatia played all the football early on, with Mbappe on the fringes of the game, but it was France who went in front in the 18th minute.

Griezmann won a soft free-kick wide on the right and his delivery into the area was flicked into his own net by the unfortunate Mandzukic.

It was harsh on Croatia, especially with Pogba possibly a fraction offside when the free-kick was played.

Zlatko Dalic looked rueful, but his team continued to assert themselves and were back level just before the half-hour, Domagoj Vida laying the ball off for Perisic, who shuffled the ball from right foot to left before drilling a superb shot past Hugo Lloris with the aid of a touch off Raphael Varane.

But Perisic was at the centre of the controversy that led to France's second goal in the 38th minute.

His handball at a corner could hardly be described as deliberate, but Argentine referee Nestor Pitana reviewed the video by the side of the pitch and gave the penalty.

As a thunderstorm erupted in the sky over Moscow, Griezmann stroked home the penalty, his fourth goal of the competition and his third from a spot-kick.

It was also France's first actual attempt on goal, but they picked off Croatia after the break.

Shortly after three pitch invaders briefly interrupted proceedings, the third French goal arrived in the 59th minute.

Pogba started the move with a drilled pass for Mbappe on the right. His cutback found Griezmann, and he laid the ball off for Pogba to score at the second attempt from 18 yards.

Mbappe then added his name to the scoresheet in the 65th minute when he collected a Lucas Hernandez pass and fired low past Subasic from 25 yards, capping what has been a fine tournament for the 19-year-old.

That should have been that, but Croatia were given something to cling to as Lloris absurdly tried to dribble away from Mandzukic on the edge of his six-yard box, and the striker stuck out a foot to divert the ball in.

But for Lloris the World Cup winner's medal will help make up for the embarrassment of that moment.

7 killed, 30 injured as huge boulder rolls down waterfall Sun, 15 Jul 2018 20:27:20 +0530 ]]> Jammu | A huge boulder rolled down a 100-feet high waterfall in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir today, killing seven people and injuring 30 others, police said.  A group of people, mostly youngsters, were bathing under the Siar Baba waterfall, one of the biggest in north India, at Talwara, 10 kilometers from Reasi town, when the loose rock and other debris fell on them, Senior Superintendent of Police, Reasi, Tahir Sajad Bhat told PTI.  He said seven people were killed and 30 injured in the incident.

A large number of people had gathered at the spot to spend Sunday holiday. Many of them were bathing under the waterfall when the incident occurred around 3.30 pm.  The others present at the scene rushed to rescue those trapped under the debris. They were joined by police with JCB machines, another police officer said, adding the rescue operation was going on when reports last came in.  He said the death toll might rise as the condition of many injured people was “critical”.

Most of the dead and injured belonged to Jammu district, the officer said.

The injured included 20-year-old Ashok Kumar and his five-year-old son form Uttar Pradesh.  Eight boys and girls and seven women were undergoing treatment at local hospitals, the officer said.  Those injured were shifted to the Reasi district hospital in private cars, as the administration alerted the hospital authorities and additional staff, including doctors and paramedics, was rushed to attend to the injured people, he said.

Many people involved in the rescue operation complained that only one doctor was present at the hospital at the time the injured people were admitted for treatment.  Meanwhile, National Conference Vice President and former chief minister Omar Abdullah expressed grief and shock over the incident.  “My heart goes out to all those who lost their dear ones in the tragic incident," Omar said in a statement here.  Provincial President of the party, Devender Singh Rana, said he spoke to senior administration officers and sought specialized treatment for all those injured.

World Cup 2022: Putin passes torch to Qatar Sun, 15 Jul 2018 20:17:41 +0530 ]]> Moscow | Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally passed the torch to Qatar for the World Cup in 2022.

Ahead of the final in Moscow between France and Croatia, Putin has met at the Kremlin with Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and FIFA president Gianni Infantino.

Putin says Russia's World Cup has been a success and "I am sure that our friend from Qatar will succeed at holding the FIFA 2022 World Cup at the same highest level." Putin ceremonially handed a football to the emir to mark the transfer to Qatar, which will be the first Arab country to host the tournament.

The emir says through a translator that the World Cup "will be a huge and great festival for all our country." France or Croatia?

One of those two teams will become World Cup champion later Sunday.

The French, who won their only World Cup title at home in 1998, will be playing in their third final in 20 years. The Croats have the chance to win the biggest prize in soccer for the first time.

The match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow caps a month-long tournament that started with 32 teams playing in 12 stadiums around Russia.

17 picked Nipah virus from 1st victim: Kerala govt report Sun, 15 Jul 2018 20:13:23 +0530 ]]>It has been found that first victim, 26-year-old Mohammed Sabith contracted the Nipah virus from fruit bats and 17 others, including three from his family father, younger brother and a paternal aunt, got infected from him. Thiruvananthapuram | A detailed study by the Kerala government in the recent outbreak of Nipah virus has suggested that 17 of the 19 infected people might have contracted the deadly virus from the first victim, 26-year-old Mohammed Sabith.

Sabith, who died on May 5, was among the 17 people who lost their lives after they contracted the virus. Two people had recovered.

As per available records, it has been found that Sabith contracted the Nipah virus from fruit bats and 17 others -- including three from his family i.e. father, younger brother and a paternal aunt -- got infected from him, government sources said.

Besides, the virus from him is also suspected to have infected four other people at the Peramabra Taluk Hospital, Kohzikode, where he was first brought, the sources in the state surveillance department of the Kerala Health Services said, adding that 10 others in the Kozhikode medical college hospital, where he was taken for a CT scan in the radiology department, also picked the virus from him.

One patient was infected by another man at the Perambra hospital, they said.

It is suspected that Sabith, an electrician, had contracted the virus from fruit bats, however, it is not clear the circumstances under which he got infected. Sabith had returned from the gulf eight months before he died.

Sabith first took treatment as an 'out patient' at the Perambra hospital for high fever and body pain on May 2.

On May 3, he was admitted at the hospital, and it is suspected that four people on night duty including sister Lini Puthussery, who attended to him, picked the virus from him.

As his condition worsened on May 4, Sabith was shifted to the Medical College hospital for a CT scan, where he died on May 5. Ten people got infected at the medical college on the single day he was there, the sources said.

Though Sabith's blood samples were not tested for Nipah, as per records, it has been concluded that he had contracted Nipah virus, the sources said.

His younger brother was admitted to the hospital with similar symptoms and tests revealed that he was Nipah positive. He died shortly after, followed by their 60-year-old father and a paternal aunt who had come to help them.

It was suspected that the brothers might have contracted the virus when they got into a bat-infested well in their newly bought property. However, the bats in the well were found to be insect-eating ones, the sources said.

As a precautionary measure, a contact list of nearly 3,000 people with whom the infected persons had been in touch was prepared and they were put under quarantine. Nipah test was also conducted on them, the sources said.

The exhaustive report on the Nipah outbreak has been sent to the central surveillance department, the sources said.

Since the outbreak had national implications, the state surveillance unit has sought permission to officially close the outbreak as the 42-day double incubation period of the virus is over.

Two of the infected patients made a miraculous recovery bringing cheer to the doctors and nurses who treated them.

Fever, altered mental status, severe weakness, headache, respiratory distress, cough, vomiting, muscle pain, convulsion, diarrhoea are the symptoms of the virus, which also causes severe illness characterised by inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) or respiratory diseases.

The government had declared Kozhikode and Malappuram districts as free of Nipah on June 30 after no new cases were reported since May 31.

Congress outfit in Kerala drops plan to celebrate 'Ramayana month' Sun, 15 Jul 2018 20:07:58 +0530 ]]>The programme was organised by the Vichar Vibhag. Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran and former KPCC Chief K Muraleedharan had come out openly against the plan to celebrate 'Ramayana month' by the party outfit. Thiruvananthapuram | A Congress outfit has decided to drop its plan to hold programmes and seminars to mark the annual 'Ramayana month,' following protests and criticism from leaders of the parent organisation.

Vichar Vibhag, the cultural wing of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, had planned a series of programmes, including 'Ramayana Parayana' (recitation of the epic) and seminars to the mark the annual month beginning on July 17.

'Karkkitakam', the last month in the Malayalam calendar beginning on July 17 this year, is generally observed as 'Ramayana month' in the southern state by the Hindu community.

The KPCC outfit's announcement came days after 'Sanskrit Sangh', which has a number of pro-Left scholars, academicians and Left sympathisers as members, had unveiled a state-wide seminar series to observe the month of rituals.

Noting that it was not a programme planned by KPCC, the State Congress President M M Hassan said the celebrations have been shelved following criticism.

The programme was organised by the Vichar Vibhag, he added.

Senior Congress leader V M Sudheeran and former KPCC Chief K Muraleedharan had come out openly against the plan to celebrate 'Ramayana month' by the party outfit.

"Lord Rama was exploited for political purpose by the BJP and the stand of that party was not acceptable," Sudheeran said adding no one should adopt any approach that would support even indirectly the stand of saffron party.

Terming the decision to celebrate Ramayana month as 'ill-advised,' Muraleedharan said it was not something that the Congress party needs to do.

It was not the duty of political parties to organise religious functions, he said.

The programme was scheduled to be inaugurated bySenior Congress leader Ramesh Chennithala and Former union minister Shashi Tharoor, MP was to deliver a lecture on 'Ramayana is ours.'

'Karkitakam' is the lean season ahead of the Malayalam month 'Chingam' that ushers in Malayalis' most colourful festival of Onam.

Temples and traditional houses across the state would reverberate with the chanting of verses from the Ramayana during the month.

Elders chant verses from 'Adhyatma Ramayana,' authored by medieval devotional poet Thunchath Ramanujan Ezhuthachan for 30 days in front of lighted lamps.

Temples and cultural outfits also arrange recital of the epic and special poojas during the season.

TMC party office with puja room opened in West Bengal Sun, 15 Jul 2018 20:02:59 +0530 ]]>Puja and yagna were performed before inauguration of the building in Birbhum district. The puja room has several deities installed in it. BJP saying it was 'drama' of the ruling party to 'mislead' the people. Suri (West Bengal) | A newly-constructed Trinamool Congress party office at Bolpur with a separate puja room ('Thakur ghar') having several deities installed in it has drawn flak from the BJP saying it was 'drama' of the ruling party to 'mislead' the people.

The three-storied building fitted with CCTV cameras houses an air-conditioned meeting hall, offices of the party's various organisations, chambers for the party president and ministers from the district, and the puja room.

Puja and yagna were performed before inauguration of the building in Birbhum district yesterday, on the auspicious day of Rath Yatra.

"With all these drama, the TMC is trying to mislead the people. The people are angry with their minority appeasement policy," BJP's Birbhum district president Ramkrishna Roy said.

TMC district president Anubrata Mondal said, "We have equal respect for all religions. We have placed a replica of Azmer Sharif Dargah too. In my office room, there is a replica of Data Saheb (a Sufi saint of Birbhum)." Idols of lord Jagannath, goddess Kali and other Hindu deities were installed in the puja room.

Abhijit Singha, district vice president of the party, said, "The puja room is permanent. Regular puja will be offered to goddess Kali and other deities".

A number of photographs of party supremo and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee adorns the walls of the rooms, while a painting created by Banerjee with oil also got a pride of place in Mondal's chamber.

To a question on the proposed BJP party office, the saffron party leader said, "We have not yet made any final plan of it. There is likely to be a meditation hall, but no permanent temple will be built in our party office."

Kerala rains: Educational institutions in 7 dists declare holiday tomorrow Sun, 15 Jul 2018 19:52:51 +0530 ]]>Collectors of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathnamthitta, Alapuzha, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam have declared holiday tomorrow due to heavy rains. Thiruvananthapuram | With heavy rains continuing to lash Kerala, educational institutions in at least 7 districts have declared a holiday tomorrow.

Collectors of Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Pathnamthitta, Alapuzha, Kottayam, Idukki and Ernakulam have declared holiday tomorrow due to heavy rains, state control room monitoring the rain mishaps, said.

Kerala University has postponed all its examinations scheduled for tomorrow to July 21, while Cochin University of Science and Technology (CUSAT) will function.

Southwest monsoonhas been active over Kerala and rains occurred at most places in Lakshadweep, IMD bulletin said.

Heavy to very heavy rainfall recorded incmare: Vaikom (Kottayam district) 13, Kayamkulam (Alappuzha district) 10, Piravom (Ernakulam district) 9, Kottayam, Kayamkulam_Agri (Alappuzha district) & Munnar (Idukki district) 7 each.

In the second spell of rains in the south west monsoon, 9 people have died since July 9, including a fisherman who was electrocuted after she came into contact with a live wire in Alappuzha.

Shutters of the Neyyar dam in Thiruvananthapuram and Banasura in Wayanad have been opened as the water level has been rising in the reservoirs and people living in the downstream have been asked to be cautious.

People have been advised against travelling in heavy rains, especially during nights, due to possibility of land slips in hilly regions as heavy rains are likely to continue till July 17.

With the sea being rough, public has also been asked not to frequent beaches.

In some places, houses have suffered partial damage as trees got uprooted and fell on them.

Comedy of errors leave top Indian athletes hitching a ride at Asiad torch relay Sun, 15 Jul 2018 16:24:40 +0530 ]]> New Delhi | A haphazard organisation of the 2018 Asian Games torch relay at the continental event's birthplace, New Delhi, led to a comedy of errors which saw elite Indian athletes including P R Sreejesh, Sardar Singh, Jitu Rai and Sharath Kamal hitching a ride on the media bus.

The stranded athletes however were sporty enough and did not mind taking a shared transport with the covering media, probably because of the short distance involved from National Stadium to India Gate and back.

"The whole thing was a bit chaotic but it is okay. We did not mind it so much," said a top athlete, who was part of the ceremony, told PTI.

It was a significant occasion nonetheless as the 2018 Asian Games torch relay began its 18,000km journey from the National Stadium, where the Games' flame was lit for the first time at the inaugural edition in 1951.

"India always holds a special place in the hearts of sportspeople in Asia, because the nation, specifically New Delhi, was the birthplace of the Asian Games. The torch relay today will bring the two countries even closer," said Erick Thohir, chairman of Indonesia Asian Games Organising Committee (INASGOC).

Indonesian badminton legend and Barcelona Olympic gold medallist Susi Susanti handed over the torch to India's five-time world boxing champion MC Mary Kom, who ran with it briefly before passing the baton to other Indian athletes.

Hockey players Sreejesh and Sardar Singh, table tennis stars Manika Batra and Kamal, ace shooter Jitu were among the athletes who got their hands on the torch.

The flame will now travel to Indonesia, where it will be merged with a sacred flame from Merapen, Central Java, at the ancient Hindu temple of Prambanan on July 18.

From there on, the torch will pass through 54 cities in 18 provinces across the archipelago before reaching Jakarta for the opening ceremony on August 18.

The multi-sporting event will run from August 18 to September 2 in Jakarta and Palembang. It is the first time that two cities are co-hosting the Games, making it a more challenging task for the organisers.

"In 2026, as you know FIFA World Cup will be hosted by three different countries (USA, Mexico and Canada). It is challenging (to host Asian Games in two different cities) but it is good for the economy and travelling time between both the cities is not much (45 minutes).

"In future, I am sure more host countries will go for multiple cities. It helps in boosting growth of the host cities and job creation," said Thohir.

He also informed that a record 16,920 athletes and officials have been registered for the Games. Overall, more than 11,000 athletes will be vie for medals in 40 sports and 67 disciplines.

"Asian Games are now even bigger than the Olympics. As far as the number of sports are concerned, the OCA needs to decide on that," added Thohir.

Also present on the occasion were Narinder Batra, president of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and secretary general Rajeev Mehta; Wei Jizhong and Raja Randhir Singh, life vice-presidents of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA); and sports secretary Rahul Bhatnagar.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore could not make it due to other important commitments. Former Sports Minister Vijay Goel, who was supposed to be the chief guest in Rathore's absence, too did not turn up.

Mehta said that IOA has written to the Sports Ministry on having a permanent memorial for the Asian Games torch ceremony as it happens once in four years.

Transgenders turn volunteers for literacy survey in Kerala Sun, 15 Jul 2018 16:11:09 +0530 ]]>Four TG persons were among the total 14,318 volunteers who participated in the one-day survey carried out as part of 'Aksharashree,' a literacy and equivalency project of the Kerala State Literacy Mission. Thiruvananthapuram | A group of transgenders have played the role of volunteers of a government survey programme in Kerala, which is widely seen as a positive move of the marginalised group becoming part of the the mainstream society.

Four TG persons were among the total 14,318 volunteers who participated in the one-day survey carried out as part of 'Aksharashree,' a literacy and equivalency project of the Kerala State Literacy Mission, here yesterday.

All the four- Sreelechu, Sakeena, Keerthi and Asma- were students of the special continuing education programme for transgenders, launched by the Mission recently.

Wearing white-colour hats and carrying survey forms in their hands, the TGs visited each house in their respective area and collected necessary details.

Without any inhibition, they mingled with other volunteers and interacted well with the households, Literacy Mission officials said.

Keerthi, one of the TG volunteers, later said participating in such initiatives would help them get an acceptance in the society.

It would also help change the common people's perception about transgenders, she said.

Besides TGs, residence association officials, Kudumbashree (woman network) members and local leaders also took part as volunteers in the survey, which covered 2,23,815 houses in 100 wards of the city corporation.

'Aksharashree' project is envisaged to find out illiterates in the capital city and make them part of the Mission's continuing education programme or equivalency courses.

Garib Rath tickets set for hike with bedroll kits likely to cost more Sun, 15 Jul 2018 13:42:46 +0530 ]]>In keeping with the steep rise in cost of maintaining the linen, the rise is likely to be applicable in other trains as well. Like the Garib Rath trains, prices for bedrolls have not been revised in the last decade for the other trains. New Delhi | Bedroll kits could soon be included in the ticket price of the poor man's no frills AC train, the Garib Rath Express, but it could cost significantly more with the railways considering a hike from the Rs 25 fixed over a decade ago, senior officials said.

The review, in keeping with the steep rise in cost of maintaining the linen, is likely to be applicable in other trains as well, the officials said. Like the Garib Rath trains, prices for bedrolls have not been revised in the last decade for the other trains, they added.

The rethink follows a note from the office of the deputy Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), asking why a revision had not taken place for the "poor man's chariot" and recommending that the cost of the bedroll be included in the train fare.

"We have received the note and we are reviewing it. Prices cannot remain the same forever. There will be a review of the bedroll charges of the Garib Rath trains and they will likely be included in the price of the ticket in the next six months," a senior official said.

Presently, the railways supplies bedroll kits in all its air-conditioned coaches and their prices, around Rs 25, are included in the ticket fare. However, this does not hold for Garib Rath and Duronto trains where passengers across classes can book the kits while purchasing their tickets at the same rate.

Senior officials said that there has been no revision of prices of the kits despite the rise in cost of procuring and maintaining them.

In the letter, the deputy CAG has said the railways should increase the cost of the bedrolls as it has not been reviewed in the last 12 years.

The note highlights the need for a review of the cost of the bedroll kits, comprising two sheets, one face towel, one pillow with cover and a blanket.

The cost of the kit, which a passenger has to pay for separately "according to his need", was fixed at Rs 25 in 2006, it said.

An official in the auditor's office said it was found during a review of the charges "recovered" for bedroll kits from the 26 Garib Rath trains that it had remained the same for 12 years, raising questions on the need for a hike to meet the steep rise in cost of maintaining them.

"It has been conveyed to the board that the office had calculated the increase in costs of such a kit since 2006 and found that the cost of washing them, cost of staff employed for the distribution of bedrolls to passengers, cost of space occupied in keeping them in trains and the cost of its maintenance had increased to a large extent during the span of last 12 years," the official said.

He added that the letter has asked the railways to explain if it had ever considered revising the bedroll kit charges for Garib Rath trains after prescribing it for the first time in October 2006, by viewing the increased cost of its constituents.

"Audit is of the opinion that the bedroll kit charges prescribed for the Garib Rath train should be revised accordingly and if possible, option for inclusion of bedroll kit charges in the fares of the Garib Rath train may be explored," the auditor said in its letter.