Kerala’s first ever Twestival to be held in Kochi

Social media activists in Kerala are gearing up to organise the State’s first ever ‘Twestival’ or Twitter Festival in Kochi on Thursday.

Twestival is aimed at using the social media for social good.

According to the organisers, it would also be a grand celebration of Kerala’s culture and community spirit.

Dubbed ELECTROWESTIVAL, Twestival in Kochi will feature the city’s Electro Boy DJ Arvee; Stand up Comedy by Siddharth, KochiVibe; and a Techno-Humor Geek extravaganza by Binny the blogger.

Twestival will be happening in more than 175 cities around the world on Thursday. Thousands of people will demonstrate social media’s power for social good through the second annual Twestival. The global event is a worldwide fundraising initiative that uses social media,particularly Twitter, to focus participants’ talent and resources to benefit one cause for one day. All proceeds generated from the 2010 Twestival will support education and be donated to Concern Worldwide.

Seven cities in India are participating in the second global Twestival – Bangalore, Chennai, Cochin, Delhi, Goa, Kolkata, and Mumbai.

In 2009, Twestival India was able to raise over Rs. 90,000 for the nonprofits supported. “Considering the ever increasing number of Indians taking to the social media platform Twitter, we expect to more than double this amount in 2010,” the organisers said in a press release.

“The most special thing about Twestival,” said K. M. Vaijayanthi, Regional Coordinator for India, “apart from the nonprofit we support, is the way we work. Twestival is 100 per cent volunteer driven. All of us working for Twestival in India, and elsewhere too, are working professionals who believe they can use their free time for a global cause like this.”

“Organising online and gathering offline allows Twestival to harness the incredible communication power of Twitter to propel participation in real events around the world,” said Amanda Rose, founder of Twestival. “There is no shortage of people who are passionate and want to help. The challenge is coordination, not participation. By using social media platforms such as Twitter, Twestival is able to connect hundreds of independent local events into a powerful globalinitiative. At last year’s Twestival, more than 1,000 volunteers and 10,000 donors raised more than $250,000 to provide clean and safe drinking water for more than 17,000 people. We know this works—and we’re excited to make it work for every child in the world that deserves an education.”

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Cyclone skips Mumbai, heads to south Guj

Cyclone skips Mumbai, heads to south Guj

Mumbai, Nov 11: Cyclone Phyan has spared Mumbai but heavy rains are expected later in the evening, the weather department said on Wednesday, Nov 11.

Phyan is now heading south Gujarat and north Maharashtra coast, but the authorities are not taking any chances in Mumbai.

The civic authorities have kept pumps in readiness at several coastal areas of Mumbai like Worli, Bandra, Juhu, Versova and Malad which could get flooded during the impending storm.

All government offices schools, colleges in Mumbai and Thane have been asked to shut early on Wednesday, Nov 11.

The Phyan is right now positioned about 180 km south-southwest of Mumbai and 430 km south-southwest of Surat.

The IMD expects that maximum sustained surface wind speed under the influence of Cyclone Phyan will be 70-80 kmph between 05:30 pm and 11:30 pm on Wednesday, Nov 11.

Sea condition will be high to very high over along and off Maharashtra and south Gujarat coasts.

Fishermen in Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, besides the Lakshadweep Islands, have been advised not to go out to sea.

Dam breach in Kerala-Images

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The flood waters released from Aliyar Dam gushing out of the breached right bank protection works of Moolathara Dam near Chittur on Sunday.

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The flood water gushing out of the opened shutters of Moolathara Dam on Sunday after its right bank protection works got breached in the flood water released from Aliyar Dam.

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The right bank protection works of Moolathara Dam washed out in the flood waters released from Aliyar Dam on Sunday.

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The flooding of Chitturpuzha due to the breach of the Moolathara right bank protection works due to the release of water from Aliyar Dam on Sunday.

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The `Nilampathy bridge’ (Causeway) at Chittur that was submerged in the flood waters due to the breaching of the Moolatharam Dam right bank protection works on Sunday

Boat capsize: 8 students drown

Eight students, including a girl, drowned when a country boat ferrying them across the Chaliyar river at Moorkanad, Areekode in Malappuram district, capsized on Wednesday. The accident occurred at 4.45 p.m. when the students were returning home from school. The victims were Plus One and Plus Two students in the 16-18 age group.

The police identified the deceased as Suhail, Shihab, Siraj, Shahidali, Shameem, Thaufiq, Mohammed Mufti and the girl Taiba.

Eyewitness accounts said the boat was carrying around 40 students of Sub-us-Salam Higher Secondary School, Moorkanad. Sand-mining workers and the local people rescued the rest of the students who fell into the river. Many students swam to safety. The bodies are kept at the Areekode taluk hospital.

2 in serious condition

The condition of two children is reported to be serious. One of them was shifted to the Kozhikode Medical College. Reports from the scene of the accident suggested that four children were missing but confusion persists on this count. The Fire and Rescue Services personnel and police officers are conducting search operations. Poor visibility at night is hampering the rescue efforts though lights hoisted on inflatable dinghies are being used at the accident site.

A 15-member naval team has started from Kochi to help in the rescue efforts.

The country craft is the usual mode of transport for villagers to commute between Moorkanad and Areekode. The tragedy has plunged the village into shock and sorrow.

Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan has directed the Malappuram District Collector to submit an emergency report on the cause of the accident. Ponnani MP E.T. Mohammed Basheer visited the accident site.

‘Kerala to celebrate 25th anniversary of Silent Valley movement’

 

Forest Minister Benoy Viswom has said that the State government will organise a function in Palakkad on November 15 and 16 to mark the 25 th anniversary of the Silent Valley movement that set the stage for the environmental activism in the State.

Inaugurating a function to commemorate the late environmental activist John C. Jacob here on Sunday, the Minister said that environmental activists in and outside the State would participate in the environmental seminar and the subsequent gathering to be held in Palakkad on November 15 and 16. Union Minister of State for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh would attend the function, Mr. Viswom announced.

Describing the Silent Valley agitation as a major social movement that had helped creation of environmental awareness in the State, he said that the movement had highlighted certain vital issues concerning the ecology that were relevant amid the global concern about global warming.

.Boat tragedy death toll goes up to 41

 

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A relative of victims of the Thekkady boat tragedy breaks down after seeing their bodies at the Periyar Hospital, Kumily, in Idukki district on Thursday.

 
THEKKADY: The death toll in Wednesday’s boat tragedy at Thekkady rose to 41 on Thursday with the recovery of 10 more bodies.

Rescue operations were called off in the evening owing to poor light. They will resume on Friday as some tourists are still missing, Idukki Collector Ashok Kumar Singh said.

A team of naval divers returned to the boat-landing centre by 6 p.m. suspending their search operations. The 40-member team will camp at Thekkady.

The Navy has deputed 23 of its divers for the search operations.

Post-mortem of the victims was conducted at the Kumily Public Health Centre and the bodies of some of them were taken to their native places by afternoon. The bodies of the remaining victims were to be transported to the Ernakulam General Hospital, Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences, Edapally, and Pushapagiri Medical College, Thiruvalla.

Authorities had summoned 24 ambulances from Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts for the rescue operations, health officials said. Some State Ministers, including Forest Minister Benoy Viswom, Public Works Minister P.J. Joseph and Devaswom Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran, visited the accident site. They coordinated the operations at Thekkady and the Public Health Centre.

‘Hartal’

 

 

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Kerala government officials and people are waiting at the boat landing centre for the rescue boats to return from the site of the accident. – PHOTO: H.VIBHU.
A hartal was observed in the Thekkady and Kumily areas in respect to the departed souls. Shops and business establishments remained closed till the evening. Visitors, including tourists, had a tough time as no hotels and shops functioned in the area. The public transport system was also affected.

Earlier, the day began with the information about the recovery of more bodies by the Fire and Rescue Services personnel trickling in. The bodies of some of the victims were found trapped inside the engine cabin of the boat.

The rescue workers tried to tow the capsized boat to the shore and pump water out of it.

Inclement weather hampered the rescue operations from time to time. Intermittent rain and low visibility affected the search.

The Forest Department announced that all boat operations in the Thekkady lake would be suspended until further orders.