Panaji

BJP to announce its nominee for Goa Lok Sabha by-poll

BJP LogoPanaji, Oct 6 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) panel will meet here today
to finalise the selection of their candidate for the South Goa Lok Sabha
by-election, scheduled to be held on October 30.

A panel headed by former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar had their first
meeting on Friday.

"The decision is likely to be taken on Saturday evening. We have
certain names in our mind but the final name will be pinned down only after
consulting senior leaders," said Govind Parvatkar, BJP spokesman.


Goan villagers oppose plans for IT park in Panaji

Panaji (Goa), Dec 8: Villagers torched two vehicles and set ablaze machinery in Goa in protest over the proposed Rajiv Gandhi IT Habitat at Dona Paula, saying it was a ploy to shore up real estate value in the area.

Geeta, a labourer, said: "We were threatened not to stay here even for ten minutes. Our work was stalled by some protesters. "

In June, India ended a two-month freeze on the approval of large tax-free industrial enclaves that are being created to boost industrial and export growth.

There have been protests from farmers and landowners over plans to acquire land for these Special Economic Zones (SEZs).


In Bhutto's death subcontinent has lost ‘outstanding’ leader: Manmohan

Prime Minister Dr Manmohan SinghPanaji/New Delhi, Dec 28: Expressing shock over the assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh today said that the subcontinent has lost an “outstanding” leader, who stood for peace in the region.

“Benazir Bhutto was no ordinary political leader. She left a deep impression on her times and on the age that she lived through,” Dr. Singh said.


Goa Assembly prorogued, political activities fasten up

New Delhi/Panaji, Jan 17:Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat The Goa Legislative Assembly was prorogued on Thursday following Chief Minister Digamber Kamat’s recommendation.

On Wednesday the Digamber Kamat Government came into minority after two Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) Ministers along with Save Goa Front Legislators withdrew their support to the government.


Goa tense after clash between police and legislators

Goa tense after clash between police and legislatorsPanaji, Feb 20: Goa's Taleigao constituency remained tense on Wednesday, hours after police failed to act against goons who had attacked a football player.

Earlier, former Minister and Taleigao constituency legislator Atanasio Monserratte, Panaji Mayor Tony Rodrigues and Jenifer Monseratte were arrested for instigating a mob to attack the Panaji Police Station and setting three vehicles on fire.

Trouble began when Ryan Goudinho, a Tata football academy trainee and Goa state player, was brutally assaulted outside his residence in Taleigao by goons.


Goa Government orders second autopsy of murdered UK teen

Panaji, Mar 8: Authorities in Goa have ordered a second autopsy on a British girl who was found murdered on Anjuna Beach last month.

Goan authorities are investigating whether 15-year-old Scarlet Keeling could have been raped and killed. The victim's parents are demanding a thorough look into the case.

Police had found Scarlet Keeling’s body with bruises all over her body on the deserted beach, but initially claimed that she had drowned.

Keeling's parents, however, said Scarlet was raped and murdered.

"I have identified my daughter's body. There are 50 marks on her body compared to the five recorded in the first autopsy," said Fionna Mackeown, Scarlet’s mother.


Goa Police arrests Scarlett Keeling’s murderer, Family seeks CBI probe

CBIPanaji, Mar 10: Goa Police have arrested Samsung D'Souza, 29, a local bar man in connection with the murder of Scarlett who was found dead on Anjuna Beach of Goa last month.

“An eyewitness, couple of hours before her death, allegedly saw D’Souza in a compromising position with Scarlett,” said Local police.

A case of rape has been registered against D'Souza. "Irrespective of whether the sexual act was in consent or not," state Inspector General of Police Kishan Kumar said.

But dissatisfied with the police investigation, Scarlett Keeling family members seeking CBI probe into the case.


Scarlett's murder unlikely to affect Goa tourism: CM

Scarlett KeelingsPanaji, Mar 11 : Goa’s Chief Minister Digambar Kamath told reporters today that British teenager Scarlett Keeling's murder would not affect tourism in the State.

On the recent incident of Scarlett, s murder, Kamath said, "We have 2.5 million tourists visiting the State. When such a large number of tourists come and if one or two incidents take place of such nature, there is no need for the media to blow it out of proportion. I had said in the beginning of the incident that we will go to the root cause of the incident, if there is a false play,"


Drug overdose and drowning caused Scarlette’s death: Goa Police

Goa PolicePanaji, Mar 13: Goa Police has claimed that British teenager Scarlette Keeling died due to a drug overdose and drowning in beach water.

The cops, however, have arrested another suspect, drug dealer Placido Carvalho in connection with the murder late on Wednesday night. Goa Police also faced fresh embarrassment when a doctor who conducted the first autopsy on Scarlette, claimed that the police had ignored his findings.

Goa Police has been insisting that Scarlette's death was accidental, but subsequently filed a murder case after a second autopsy was conducted on her body.


Scarlette Keelings’ mother alleges police-politician-drug mafia nexus

British girl Scarlette KeelingPanaji Mar 15: Fiona Mackeown, mother of slain British girl Scarlette Keeling, today alleged that Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik and State DGP B S Brar of being in nexus with drug mafia.

Fiona, who appeared in the juvenile police station accompanied by her lawyer Vikram Varma, said the Home Minister and DGP have full knowledge of crime-related activities and have “done their best to protect criminals”.

"That has been the case with my daughter also," she added.


Goa Government covering up the case: Scarlett's mom

Panaji, Mar 18 : Fiona MaceownFiona Mackeown, the mother of murdered 15-year-old British Scarlett Keeling, on Tuesday blamed the Goa Home Ministry for covering up her daughter's case.

She said the Ministry is also attempting to save the accused in her daughter's murder.

Mackeown said she suspect some foul play in the case and further accused the Goa Home Ministry that they are forcing her to leave the country and not to pursue Scarlett's case as murder."

Mackeown's accusation came just a short while after Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the incident.


NCW begun an independent enquiry into Brit teen Scarlette's murder

British teenager Scarlette KeelingPanaji, Mar 30: A two-member team of the National Commission for Women (NCW) arrived in Goa to conduct an independent enquiry into the death of British teenager Scarlette Keeling who was allegedly raped and killed in the state's popular Anjuna Beach.

The NCW, which has been following the case for several days, criticized the authorities for dragging their feet in the case.


CBI to probe Brit teen Scarlette Keeling’s death

CBI to probe Brit teen Scarlette Keeling’s deathPanaji, Apr 2: The Goa Government today decided to seek a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the death of British teenager Scarlette Eden Keeling, who was allegedly drugged, raped and killed in Goa’s popular Anjuna Beach on February 18.

A senior police officer said: "It is decided now. Previously it was just a willingness to transfer.”

He further added that the state Government gave its nod for the transfer of the case to the CBI and all the formalities in this regard would be completed in the next couple of days.


Murderer of Budhia ex-coach arrested in Goa

Budhiya SinghPanaji, May 5 : The suspect reported to be behind the murder of child prodigy Budhia Singh's former coach Biranchi Das has been arrested in Goa.

“We have arrested Raja alias Sandeep Acharya, the prime accused and two of his associates, Saroj Sahu and Akshaya Behra in Goa. We are sending a police party to take Acharya to Orissa," Orissa Police Commissioner Binoy Mehra said.

The Orissa police claimed to have gathered credible evidence against him.


Scarlett Keeling case: Prime witness wants lookout notice lifted

Scarlett KeelingPanaji (Goa), May 9 : The prime British witness in the Scarlett Keeling murder case, Michael Mannion, reportedly plans to approach the Panaji Bench of the Bombay High Court to seek withdrawal of a lookout circular issued against him by Goa Police.

Mannion, who has already deposed before a magistrate here, had said he saw one of the accused, Samson D'Souza, laying on the 15-year-old British girl whose body was found on Anjuna beach on February 18.


A K Antony to induct 5th AOPV 'ICGS Sankalp' into coast guard today

A K Antony to induct 5th AOPV 'ICGS Sankalp' into coast guard todayPanaji, May 20 : Defence Minister A K Antony will induct the fifth Advanced Offshore Patrol Vessel (AOPV), 'ICGS Sankalp', into the Coast Guard in Goa today.

Director General Indian Coast Guard Vice Admiral R F Contractor will also be present at the commissioning ceremony.


Goa seeks Centre nod for green-field airport today

Panaji, July 14 : The Goa Government will formally present a report to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh today, seeking his nod for a green-field international airport at Mopa in North Goa.

This would be the second airport in the tourist state which is already equipped with an international airport at Dabolim.

A special committee set up by the Union Government to study the airport controversy in Goa on May 31, had earlier given a green signal for the proposed new international airport.

The proposal had been put on hold for over a year, after the erstwhile Congress-led state government faced opposition for a second airport when South Goa-based Dabolim international airport could be continued for civilian use with major expansion.


BJP to seek special status for Goa

BJP to seek special status for GoaPanaji, Aug 9 : The Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will seek special status for Goa on the lines of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, where certain restrictions are imposed on purchase of land by people from outside the State.

The BJP will move a resolution in this regard in the ensuing session of the Goa Assembly, which begins from August 18.

"There is large-scale migration into the state because of which the infrastructure has collapsed. We have limited resources within which we have to manage," Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar told reporters here today at the BJP headquarters.


Scarlett’s mother Fiona fails to appear for hearing in Goa

Scarlett’s mother Fiona fails to appear for hearing in GoaPanaji, Sept 12 : British national Fiona Mackeown, the mother of murdered teenager Scarlet Eden Keeling, who was summoned by Goa''s Women and Child Welfare Department, failed to appear before the authorities today.

Fiona said that she did not have adequate time to make alternative arrangements for the safety and care of her other children.


Goa police beefs up security around all vital establishments

Goa police beefs up security around all vital establishmentsPanaji, Sept 22 : Following revelations by suspected terrorists in Delhi that Goa was a likely target, the Goa police have stepped up security around all the vital establishments in the state and also increased surveillance along the railway station.

Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande, who heads the state''s special cell, told reporters: “We are on our toes and have kept all the arrangements ready.”

Moreover, the Goa police confirmed that they have received inputs from Kerala police about the Northern-bound train laden with explosives.


Scarlett Keeling murder accused released on bail

Scarlett KeelingPanaji, Sept. 24 : A suspect in the rape and murder of a British teenager Scarlett Keeling was released on bail after investigators failed to submit charges against him, a lawyer for the Keeling family has said.

Samson D''Souza is facing a number of accusations, including raping the 15-year-old and assisting in her murder.

According to The Telegraph, D’Souza was freed after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) did not submit a list of charges against him.

The paper quoted Vikram Varma as saying that the CBI has applied to cancel the bail and that the application should be heard in court on Friday.


Goa minister''s son booked in rape case

GoaPanaji (Goa), Oct. 14 : A case has been registered against Rohit Monseratte, the eldest son of Atanasio Monseratte, Goa''s Education Minister, following a German woman''scomplaint that the former has been sexually and mentally harassing her minor daughter.

Police sources said 21-year-old Rohit has been charged with offences including rape, abetement to crime and outraging the modesty of a minor girl.

A German woman had lodged her complaint on October 2.


Goa police defer rape investigation against minister''s son

Panaji, Oct 18 : Goa police has deferred investigation into the alleged rape case of a minor German by Rohit, son of the State’s Education Minister in the absence of a statement by the girl to the police or her medical examination.

Superintendent of Police (North) Bosco George said, "We have deferred Rohit''s arrest till we get the statement from the girl or we get her medically examined."

On October 2, the girl''s mother had lodged a complaint at Calangute police station.

According to reports, a few days ago Education Minister Atanasio Monserratte''s 21-year-old son was booked on charges of rape, outraging the modesty and sending lewd text messages to the 14-year-old girl. (ANI)


Ambassador car rally kicks off in Goa

Panjim (Goa), Oct 20 : About 30 iconic model of India - Ambassador cars participated in the 14-day car rally kicked off from Colva beach in Goa on Sunday.

Karma Enduro Challenge 2008 has been organized to raise funds for an Indian charity and a UK based charity organisation.

2000 kilometers long dawn-to-dusk car rally starting from Goa would end in Cochin backwaters on October 28.

"Above anything its like seeing India in a different way. It''s not a guide or talk, its not like follow the umbrella stuff. It''s basically we take them to places where leave alone tourist, not even domestic tourist would have ever gone, and in their own pace, in their own style," said Prem Chandran country coordinator of Karma Enduro rally.


Goa government has no plans to hand over German rape case to CBI

Panaji, Oct 26: The Goa government on Sunday said that it has no plans of handing over of the alleged rape case of a German minor to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

State Chief Secretary J P Singh said, "The police are doing a fairly good job and there has been no thought about handing over the case to CBI."

The mother of the 14-year-old teenager had accused State Education Minister Atanasio Monserratte''s son Rohit and Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao''s nephew Warren of sexually abusing her daughter.


IFFI: ‘Tulpan’ Bags Golden Peacock Award

IFFI: ‘Tulpan’ Bags Golden Peacock AwardRenowned Kazakh film maker Sergei Dvortsevoy’s film “Tulpan” won the Golden Peacock award and a cash prize of Rs 4 million on the closing day of the 39th International Film Festival of India in Panaji.

In the past, ‘Tulpan’, has also won the best feature film and the Golden Eye awards at the Montreal Film Festival and Zurich Film Festival respectively.

The film is also Kazakhstan’s official entry for the forthcoming Oscar awards in the foreign film category.


Christmas spirit lives on in Goa

India's Goa state bans beach parties on security fears Panaji, Dec 27 : Christmas might have been over, but the festival spirit still lives on in Goa in form of cribs put out by locals recreating the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

Numerous cribs in various sizes depicting Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, the three kings, sheep and camels, set against a backdrop of a manger adorn the houses, churches across the state.

For the Catholic families, the tradition of crib making is as special as the festivity of the Christmas.


Modernisation necessary as India is surrounded by inimical elements: Antony

A K AntonyPanaji, Jan 21 : Defence Minister AK Antony today said the Union Government has decided to modernize the armed forces and Coast Guards rapidly as the country is surrounded by too many elements inimical to India.

Addressing a gathering here during the commissioning of the Indian Coast Guards fast patrol vessel "Samrat", Antony said: "We know very well that what we have is not enough. This is less than 30 per cent of the capability we require."

"Our armed forces must be in the state of preparedness always," he added.


Three arrested for sexually abusing minor girl in Goa

Goa, PanajiPanaji (Goa), Jan 24, : Three young persons, including one Police constable, were arrested for allegedly raping a minor in Khandola village in Goa.

Indian Reserve Battalion's Police constable, Shamba alias Dipak Jhalmi and two of his accomplices, Paresh Saju Gaude and Sanjay Rama Jhalmi were arrested for allegedly sexually exploiting a fifteen-year-old minor for over three months.

Police inspector Manjunath Desai said the girl had complained that the accused had sexually abused her on several occasions at different places in and around the village.


Sena Activists Stall Panaji Screening Of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’

Sena Activists Stall Panaji Screening Of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’Panaji: Activists of the two Hindu outfits forced suspension of screening of globally applauded film ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ by staging protest demonstrations and tearing posters in a city multiplex, triggering strong reactions from the film industry.


Goa protests for removal of grounded ship

Goa, PanajiPanaji (Goa), Jan 26, : Agnelo Fernandes, Goa's Congress legislator, was arrested on Monday along with 200 other supporters for taking out a march demanding the removal of a grounded cango ship.

The cargo ship had run aground in north Goa's candolim shore in June 2000.

River Princess Hatao Manch, a non-governmental organization (NGO), has been agitating in the state demanding removal of the ship, which could cause ecological disaster due to high erosion of sand.


Andhra Pradesh, Goa assemblies to begin their budget sessions

Andhra Pradesh, Goa assemblies to begin their budget sessionsHyderabad/Panaji, Feb 2 : The budget sessions of the Andhra Pradesh and Goa Assemblies are to be held from today.

The Andhra Pradesh Assembly will kick start its ten-day session with Governor N. D Tiwari''s address to a joint sitting of members of Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.

Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister K. Rosaiah will present a vote on account on February 5 to support the government''s moves to draw necessary funds till the completion of assembly elections.


Pietersen, Flintoff most expensive IPL players

Panaji, Feb 6 : Star England players Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Flintoff have become the costliest players of the Indian Premier League (IPL) after being sold for a whopping 1.55 million dollars in the second edition.

Pietersen was bought by Bangalore Royal Challengers while Flintoff went to Chennai Super King.

Bangalore Royal Challengers spent most of their 1.95 million dollars on Pietersen who had base price of 1.35 million dollars.

Among other players, Australia''s Shawn Tait was purchased by title holders of the inaugural edition Rajasthan Royals for 375,000 dollars while South African batsman Jean Paul Duminy went to Mumbai Indians for 950,000 dollars.


Three-day Goa Carnival begins

Three-day Goa Carnival beginsPanaji, Feb 22 (ANI): The annual Goa Carnival began with apex of excitement and frolic at Panaji.

Incidentally, this traditional and historical event is observed just prior to the commencement of Lent period of 40 days of austere lifestyle.

A hallmark of the much-awaited three-day festival was the parading of colourful tableaux depicting the cultural heritage of Goa and the influence of Portuguese. It was a colony of Portugal for over two centuries until 1961.


Goa Government orders offshore casinos to shift out

Goa, PanajiPanaji, Feb 24 : The Government of Goa has given fifteen days notice to casino vessels operating on the Mandovi river to shift further down the Arabian Sea.

"They will not be allowed to anchor on River Mandovi. They can come ashore for refueling and go," said State Chief Minister Digamber Kamat after a cabinet meeting here on Tuesday.

Kamat said these casinos were revenue earners for the State Government.

"We charge them Rs 5 crore as licencing fee. They also pay various other taxes," he said.


Sri Ram Sene will not find any takers in Goa: Naik

Goa, PanajiPanaji, Mar 17 : Criticising the Sri Ram Sene (SRS) for its conservative ideology, Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik, on Tuesday said the State Government would not permit the saffron activists to set up its base here.

Talking to the reporters here, Naik said, "The SRS will not find any takers here in Goa. We will not hesitate in banning the outfit."

"These kind of outfits should be nipped in bud. If they intend to indulge in moral policing here, they would be dealt very seriously," he added.


Navy helicopter crashes in Arabian Sea

Navy helicopter crashes in Arabian SeaPanaji, Mar 25 : A Kamov 28 anti-submarine helicopter on a routine training mission crashed into the Arabian Sea, 20 nautical miles west of Dabolim Airport, today.

Rescue helicopters from naval base reached the area and the three aircrew were picked up.

Indian Naval Ship Bitra also reached the area to assist.

All three aircrew are safe. There is no damage to civilian property or loss of life.

A Board of Inquiry has been ordered. (ANI)


Muthalik’s Sri Ram Sene banned in South Goa

Muthalik’s Sri Ram Sene banned in South GoaPanaji, Apr 4 : After banning the Sri Ram Sene from North Goa District, the Government of Goa has now banned the controversial outfit from the South Goa as well.

"We have issued a notification on Friday. The Sri Ram Sene is banned in South Goa too," South District collector Mihir Vardhan said.

Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik had recommended the ban after its chief Pramod Muthalik, warned that the outfit would attack pubs in the state.


IRB Infrastructure emerges Lowest Bidder; Stock surges 5%

IRB Infrastructure emerges Lowest Bidder; Stock surges 5%Mumbai-based IRB Infrastructure Developers has informed that the company has emerged as the lowest bidder for the four-laning of NH 4A from Goa / Karnataka Border Km 84.00 to Panaji - Goa Km 153.070 with total length of 65.07 Km in the State of Goa under NHDP Phase III on BOT basis.

The scope of work includes design, engineering, finance, construction, operation and Maintenance of National Highway.


Central Government monitoring crude oil prices ahead of petro hike: Deora

Central Government monitoring crude oil prices ahead of petro hike: DeoraPanaji (Goa), June 27 : Petroleum Minister Murli Deora on Saturday said that the UPA Government is monitoring international crude oil prices before deciding when to announce the next petroleum price hike.

"Unfortunately the international crude oil prices have gone up. We are watching the situation," Deora told reporters here.

"The cabinet will discuss the crude oil prices before deciding on the matter," he added.


Goa said to have registered its first swine flu death

Goa said to have registered its first swine flu deathPanaji (Goa), Aug. 22 : The coastal state of Goa on Saturday is said to have registered its first swine flu death when a 67-year-old man died at a private hospital here.

State health authorities said Shiva Murthy, arrived in Goa from Bangalore on Friday. He was admitted with high fever and his condition deteriorated after hospitalisation. He passed away this morning, they said.

State Nodal Officer for Swine Flu Dr Jose De Sa said that Murthy''s throat swabs have been sent for H1N1 testing to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases


Goa government clears land for Bharti-AIFF football academy

Mickky-PachecoPanaji, Sep 30 : Goa housing board minister Mickky Pacheco Wednesday paved the way for the Bharti-All India Football Federation (AIFF) academy by transferring
1.37 lakh sq mts of land to a state agency which will oversee the setting up of the Rs. 100- crore project.

Addressing a joint press conference here Wednesday with urban development minister and Goa Football Association (GFA) president Joaquim Alemao, Mickky said that he had buried his differences with Alemao and that he was looking forward to the football academy being set up in the South Goa village of Cuncolim.


Goa tourism minister arrested yet again

Goa tourism minister arrested yet again Panaji, Sep 30 : Goa Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco was once again arrested and released by the Crime Branch Wednesday, this time in a case of threatening and criminal intimidation, police said.

Pacheco, a National Congress Party (NCP) legislator, against whom this is the fifth criminal case booked in the last few years, was arrested this morning after he drove to the Crime Branch from the Secretariat, where he had addressed a press conference.


Goa's biggest offshore casino unfit, inferior: Ministry

Goa's biggest offshore casino unfit, inferior: MinistryPanaji, Oct 2  Casino Royale, Goa's biggest offshore casino, is technically "inferior" and "unfit" to carry 888 passengers as per a certificate issued by the Union of Comoros, says the union shipping ministry.


Landslide, heavy rain delay Konkan Railway trains

Panaji, Oct 2  A minor mudslide and heavy rain in Goa and north Karnataka have disrupted Konkan Railway services, with four trains including a Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express being "delayed temporarily", a railway spokesperson said.

Three Goa-bound trains from Karnataka and Kerala, and the Delhi-bound Thiruvananthapuram-New Delhi Rajdhani express have been halted at the Bhatkal railway station in north Karnataka.

"A landslide in Canacona in south Goa at 5.30 a. m. had initially stopped rail traffic along the coastal rail line, and subsequent showers have worsened the situation," Konkan Railway public relations officer Baban Ghatge told IANS.


Award winning Goan director criticises film festival, government

Laxmikant-ShetgaonkarPanaji, Oct 2 : Laxmikant Shetgaonkar, a Goan director who won an award at the 34th Toronto film festival, Friday criticises the state government for giving a cold shoulder to filmmakers and allowing businessmen to control creative and cultural endeavours in the state.

"I do not want to dig into the past. But I would like you to look into cinema movement professionally and seriously," the filmmaker said, during a state-sponsored felicitation ceremony attended by the Chief Minister Digambar Kamat and Bollywood actress Shabana Azmi.


Seven inches of rain disrupts rail, air traffic in Goa

Dabolim-airportPanaji, Oct 2 : Torrential rains since Wednesday have forced closure of Goa's Dabolim airport and disrupted train services in the state, and one person is feared drowned, officials said Friday.

State Chief Secretary Sanjiv Srivastava told reporters that the army's help could be sought to rescue residents in 100-odd houses in the Canacona region in south Goa, trapped due to the flooding of the area.

"The entire state machinery has been galvanised. We are also trying to involve the army in the flood-control and rescue operation," Srivastava said.


Goa CM Kamat visits flood affected areas

Goa CM Kamat visits flood affected areasPanjim, Oct 5 : Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat on Monday toured flood-hit areas of the state and said that except for the Canacona region the which is on the bank of the river, the devastation has not been that extensive.

Incessant rains and flash floods have brought parts of Goa to a standstill for last couple of days.

Briefing the media after touring the state, Kamat said except Canacona, there has been no significant damage in other parts of the region.

Floods have left hundreds homeless and thousands affected in Canacona.


Mafia hunting for Russian owner of Goa resort: Lawyer

Leonoid Beyzer Panaji, Oct 6 : The Russian mafia is hunting for the owner of a coastal resort in Goa, which is on the state government's demolition list for alleged CRZ (coastal regulation zone) violations, counsel for Russian businessman said Tuesday.

Disputing claims by the authorities in Goa that Leonoid Beyzer, a Russian director of M/s True Axis Private Limited, which owns a 30,000 sq metre resort in the coastal region of Morjim could not be traced, his lawyer Vikram Varma said that Beyzer was no longer a director in the company.


Goa to see surge in tourists from Kazakhstan

Goa to see surge in tourists from KazakhstanPanaji, Oct 6 : Apart from Russians, a distinct Kazakh flavour will be added to Goa's tourism this season with several charter flights already booked to ferry tourists from Kazakhstan.

A delegation of travel agents from Kazakhstan were here to take a first hand view of the facilities the state had to offer to their tourists, Goa Tourism Development Corporation Deputy Chairman Lyndon Monteiro told reporters Tuesday.


Court directs Goa to set up rights panel by 2009-end

Court directs Goa to set up rights panel by 2009-end Panaji, Oct 7 : Taking suo moto cognizance of a letter written by a law student, the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court has directed the state government to set up a state Human Rights Commission (SHRC) by the end of 2009.

The division bench's direction comes several months after the Goa government was unable to come up with a tenable arrangement with the Maharashtra government and the Maharashtra human rights violation cases, to handle rights violation cases in the state.


Minor shot in the face for stealing Rs.10,000

Minor shot in the face for stealing Rs.10,000 Panaji, Oct 7 : A 16-year-old boy was shot in the face and his thigh with an air-gun several times in Canacona, Goa, for allegedly stealing Rs. 10,000, police said Wednesday.

The police late Tuesday evening arrested three people - Jasani (28), Richard Rodrigues (35) and Sarvesh Dhuri (28), all residents of South Goa - in connection with the incident. They have been booked under the Goa Children's Act for assaulting a minor and kidnapping him.

Speaking to IANS, a police spokesperson said the boy had already been discharged from hospital and was safe.


No drugs, rave parties in Goa this tourist season

No drugs, rave parties in Goa this tourist seasonPanaji, Oct 8  Police will crack down on rave and late night parties in Goa this tourist season, says state Home Minister Ravi Naik.

"We will not tolerate rave parties and drugs at all. They are already banned in Goa and we will make sure the ban is implemented," Naik told IANS on the sidelines of an official meeting at the chief minister's residence in Panaji Wednesday.


Drugs, parties and other reminisces of Woodstock festival

Drugs, parties and other reminisces of Woodstock festivalPanaji, Oct 8  While drugs, hippies, parties and all-pervasive bohemia may be a Goa politician's nightmare, for rock singer and musician Uday Benegal they are probably the perfect setting for a Woodstock music festival.

Benegal, who is here to attend the premiere of the Ang Lee film "Taking Woodstock" Wednesday, hastened to add that he was not advocating the use of drugs. "Goa's laid back attitude too is very conducive to a Woodstock-like event here," the lead singer of erstwhile band Indus Creed said.


Goa floods caused by 'mini tsunami': Minister

Goa floods caused by 'mini tsunami': MinisterPanaji, Oct 8 : Goa Science and Technology Minister Churchill Alemao Thursday said the floods that ravaged the southern parts of the state were caused by a 'mini tsunami' in the Arabian Sea.

"It was a mini tsunami. There was so much underwater current and the water levels rose to 6 meters and then subsided in no time. It cannot be anything else," Alemao said during a post cabinet briefing here.

The official estimate of the losses in Canacona of South Goa due to the floods is at Rs. 131 crore.


Goa chief minister sought police transfers: RTI activist

Goa chief minister sought police transfers: RTI activistPanaji, Oct 8 : Information obtained under the Right To Information (RTI) act by a social activist indicates that the Goa chief minister's office "interfered" in transfers of police officials. Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Thursday admitted he might have requested the transfers.

Then Goa Director General of Police B. S. Brar in his file notings, obtained through RTI by social activist Aires Rodrigues, shows that the chief minister wanted four senior police officials transferred in February last year.


India premiere of Ang Lee's 'Taking Woodstock' in Goa

Ang LeePanaji, Oct 8 : The India premiere of Oscar Award winner Ang Lee directed Hollywood film "Taking Woodstock" was held at a multiplex in Goa.

The premiere of the film was held at the Inox multiplex Wednesday.

According to Ranjan Singh of PVR pictures, which is responsible for the film's marketing, scales for the "off the beaten track" premiere location tilted in Goa's favour, over more conventional metro cities because Goa's backdrop blended perfectly with music.


After water, check for life on moon: Jayant Narlikar

After water, check for life on moon: Jayant NarlikarPanaji, Oct 12 - Noted astrophysicist Jayant Narlikar has urged that the moon be scanned for micro-organisms in its environment, especially in areas where traces of water have been found.

Speaking during a lecture on 'Searching for micro-life in the earth's atmosphere' in Goa Sunday, Narlikar said that the discovery of water on the moon called for a fresh perspective on the issue of life on the moon.


300 management students stranded without degrees in Goa

Panaji, Oct 13 - Nearly 300 students enrolled over the last three years at the International Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS), a tourism oriented management institute here, have been left high and dry without their degrees.

In his complaint submitted to the Panaji police station Constancio Vas, along with nearly 50 other parents of students who were enrolled in the various hospitality, tourism and business management courses offered by IIAS, has demanded a probe into the functioning of the institute, which he claims is "not recognised and non affiliated".


Goa pollution control board's powers curtailed

Goa pollution control board's powers curtailedPanaji, Oct 13 - Even as 91 out of the 103 open cast mines in Goa are being probed for illegalities and discrepancies in their operations, a missive from the ministry of environment and forests, curtailing powers of the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), has put the government here in a tizzy.


Another murder in Goa, fourth in three days

Panaji, Oct 14 - Another partially decomposed body of a middle-aged woman was found in Goa's Porvorim, a few kilometres from here, taking the total number of women found murdered in the state to four over the last three days.

The latest victim's body was discovered next to a primary school in Porvorim Tuesday evening. Even as the post mortem of the other three dead bodies would be carried out later Wednesday, police suspect that all the victims were murdered.

While only one out of the four deceased could be identified, in some cases the facial features are charred, making identification difficult.

Goa police have meanwhile made light of queries related to the safety of women in the state.


CBI gets 10 days to file report on Keeling murder

CBI gets 10 days to file report on Keeling murderPanaji, Oct 15 - The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has 10 days to file a supplementary report before the Goa Children's Court (GCC) in connection with British teen Scarlett Keeling's murder, the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court has said.

The top investigating agency had taken over the probe from the Goa Police after Scarlett's mother Fiona Mackeown accused it of scuttling the probe.


Serial killer could be on the prowl: Goa Police

 Goa PolicePanaji, Oct 15 - Police Thursday said they have not ruled out that a serial killer could be on the prowl as four of the 10 mysterious deaths in Goa in the past 72 hours are suspected to be murders.

Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande said the deaths of four women, three of whom were found in a partially charred condition, pointed to murder.


Minister's wife probed for links with Hindu group

Minister's wife probed for links with Hindu groupPanaji, Oct 19 : Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik Monday said the police would probe the links of the state transport minister's wife with a Hindu group blamed for an explosion that killed two of its members.

Addressing reporters at his residence, Naik said that everyone involved with the Sanatan Sanstha was being investigated. The Goa transport minister is Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar.


Foreigners' link with Sanatan Sanstha being probed: Goa police

Foreigners' link with Sanatan Sanstha being probed: Goa policePanaji, Oct 19 : The Goa police are probing a dozen foreigners, including three French nationals, who have been found illegally residing in the Sanatan Sanstha ashram premises, a senior police official said Monday.

The police stumbled upon the foreigners during raids that followed after two members of the group were killed in an explosion Friday night while ferrying improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Margao, a town in South Goa 35 km from here.


Goa murders cracked with arrest of two more: police

Goa murders cracked with arrest of two more: policePanaji, Oct 19 : Two more people - a woman and a 16-year-old girl - were arrested in connection with the murders of four women that have rocked Goa over the past week. The state police said Monday the accused would offer lifts in their car to the unsuspecting women, kill them and steal their cash and jewellery.

The murders took place from Oct 12 to Oct 14.

The arrested include Chandrakant Talwar (35), Greshmi Talwar (32), Syron Rodrigues (20) and the teen-aged girl.


BJP demands CBI probe in Goa blast case

BJP demands CBI probe in Goa blast case Panaji, Oct 20 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into last week's Goa blast case in which two people were killed.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji Tuesday, Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar said Home Minister Ravi Naik was "sabotaging the police investigation for political ends" and only a central agency could conduct an effective probe into the Diwali eve blast in Goa.


CBI paves way for trial of two for Scarlett murder

CBIPanaji, Oct 21 The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed an additional charge sheet in the case of murder of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling, at Anjuna beach in Goa in February last year.

With the filing of the additional charge sheet at the Goa Children's Court (GCC), the main accused in Scarlett Keeling's murder - Samson D'Souza, 30, and Placido Carvalho, 42 - will finally be tried in the court of the GCC president in Panaji.

The charge sheet follows investigations by CBI officials after the top investigating agency was handed over the case from the Goa police.


Goa minister's Sanatan Sanstha Diwali card creates ripples

Goa minister's Sanatan Sanstha Diwali card creates ripplesPanaji, Oct 22 : Amidst increasing criticism of state transport minister's Ramkrishna alias Sudin Dhavalikar's links with the Sanatan Sanstha (SS), whose members are being probed for a blast in Goa last week, a Diwali greeting card sent by the minister has now created a storm.


Scarlett's mother 'shocked' as murder, rape charges dropped

CentralBureau-19697Panaji, Oct 22 Fiona Mackeown, the mother of Scarlett Keeling has expressed "shock and dismay" over the dropping of murder and rape charges from the chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) in her daughter's murder case, a lawyer said.

Speaking to reporters Thursday evening, the counsel of Fiona Mackeown, Vikram Varma said that the dropping of charges was a shocker especially considering the fact that forensic evidence had confirmed rape and murder.


Cops clueless after Goa blast, opposition seeks CBI probe

Cops clueless after Goa blast, opposition seeks CBI probePanaji, Oct 23 : With police continuing to grope in the dark a week after the low-intensity blast pre-Diwali blast in Goa, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar Friday said time was running out for the "incapable" cops and called for a CBI probe.

The leader of opposition met Governor S. S. Sidhu Friday to formally seek a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the blast, which killed two persons. He told reporters that the improvised explosive device (IED) blast could have multi-state ramifications.


Heart attack may have killed British national: Goa police

Heart attack may have killed British national: Goa policePanaji, Oct 26 : The 39-year-old British national who was found dead in his room Sunday at a coastal resort in South Goa, 35 km from here, could have died of a heart attack, police said Monday.

Police officials who have sent William Scott's body for a post mortem have reserved comments on the reasons of his death till the forensic examination is completed.


Qatar Airways to probe wrong India map in presentation

Qatar Airways to probe wrong India map in presentationPanaji,
Oct 26  Qatar Airways Monday said it will hold an in-house
inquiry after a map of India it displayed during a presentation here
had a large part of Kashmir missing.


Viscera tests to fix cause of Briton's death in Goa: police

Viscera tests to fix cause of Briton's death in Goa: police  Panaji, Oct 27 : The cause of death of a 39-year-old Briton, whose body was found in his room in a coastal resort village in South Goa, would only be known after a chemical examination of his viscera, police said Tuesday.

Forensic experts, who conducted a post-mortem examination, identified the dead British man as William Scott - found dead in his room at Colva village -- and said they have reserved opinion on the cause of his death, pending the chemical analysis of his viscera.


Journalist tipped off Goa police about NRI fugitive

Journalist tipped off Goa police about NRI fugitivePanaji, Oct 28 - It was a tip-off from a journalist that helped police in Goa arrest Ajay Kaushal, the NRI from Britain who was fleeing a 15-year sentence for assault and kidnapping, an official said.
Kaushal, 50, who is on the most wanted list of the Lancashire constabulary, was arrested Tuesday from a hotel in the coastal resort town of Colva, 40 km from here.
Kaushal's presence in Goa was noted after the media extensively reported the death of his companion William Scott, 39, a Scottish national who was found mysteriously dead in his hotel room.


NRI fugitive takes angry swipes at photo journalists in Goa

NRI fugitive takes angry swipes at photo journalists in GoaPanaji, Oct 28 : Ajay Kaushal, 50, the Britain-based NRI who was arrested in Goa, lashed out at media photographers twice within 24 days, once even yanking at a lensman's shirt, while he was being taken to a court under police escort.


Goa government monitoring Sanatan Sanstha activities

Goa government monitoring Sanatan Sanstha activities Panaji, Oct 29 : The Goa government is keeping a close watch on the activities of the Sanatan Sanstha in the state and may even ban the right-wing Hindu organisation if it continues with its "divisive agenda", a state government spokesperson said Thursday.

Vishu Wagh, advisor to the state department of information and publicity (DIP), said police were probing the activities of the group after low intensity blasts on Diwali eve Oct 16 killed two people.


Goa government was advertising in Sanatan Sansthan paper

Panaji, Oct 30 - The Goa government could have partially footed the bill for the Diwali eve low intensity blast that was carried out by two members of the rightwing Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha (SS), an official said.

Menino Peres, director of the department of information and publicity (DIP) that controls state government advertising, said several advertisements had been released to the propaganda arm of the SS, a multilingual broadsheet named Sanatan Prabhat, over the years.

"We released advertisements to them like we issue ads to other papers too. We are not going out of our way doing it," Peres told IANS.


'Migration cannot end by beating up people'

'Migration cannot end by beating up people'Panaji, Oct 30 : Migration is a global reality which needs to be handled with maturity and not by beating up migrants, state commissioner for Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Affairs Eduardo Faleiro said.

Pressing for an academic approach to the issue of migration within the country and abroad, Faleiro also took a dig at Raj Thackeray's Maharashra Navanirman Sena (MNS) for its migrant-oriented partisan politics.


'Green cess' on mines not scrapped, only delayed, says Goa

'Green cess' on mines not scrapped, only delayed, says Goa Panaji, Oct 30 : Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Friday said that the "green cess" on mining rejects generated in the state had not been scrapped, but "merely delayed".

The tax of Rs. 30 per tonne of rejected ore, which was announced by Kamat in his last budget as a measure that would help shore up the state government's tax collection by nearly Rs. 375 crore, has since been caught in the red tape.


Kamat distances himself from his spokesman's comments

Kamat distances himself from his spokesman's commentsPanaji, Oct 30 : Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Friday distanced himself from statements of his spokesperson Thursday, accusing right wing Hindu organisation Sanatan Sanstha
(SS) of "breeding terrorism" and "dividing society".

Speaking to reporters at his official residence here, Kamat said: "I have not seen or heard the comments. I don't know if he said this."

Pressed for a response, Kamat said that he would "check what had been said".


Two arrested for Margao blast

Two arrested for Margao blastPanaji, Oct 31 - Two people were arrested in Goa Saturday in connection with the Diwali eve blast in Margao in which two members of the Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha were killed.

The arrests were conducted Saturday morning by the Special Investigation Team in Ponda, 30 km from here, police sources said.

The police are expected to formally announce the arrests later in the day. (IANS)


Probe against Parrikar to finish in six months: CBI

Probe against Parrikar to finish in six months: CBIPanaji, Oct 31 : The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) will finish investigation of charges against former chief minister and Bharatiya Janata Party leader Manohar Parrikar for financial irregularities, while developing infrastructure for a film festival in 2004, within six months, a senior CBI official said Saturday.

"We will finish the investigation in six months. The case is pertaining to the mismanagement of finances for IFFI (International Film Festival of India) 2004," CBI Superintendent of Police S. S. Gavai told reporters.


Jihadi terror and Hindu rightwing terror are different: Goa police

Jihadi terror and Hindu rightwing terror are different: Goa policePanaji, Nov 2 - The Goa police believe there is a difference between jihadi terrorism and right wing Hindu terrorism.

A senior police official who is investigating the Diwali eve blast carried out by members affiliated to the Hindu group Sanatan Sanstha (SS) in Margao, a major town in South Goa 35 km from here, said that the Oct 16 blast was aimed at targeting a public function, unlike other threats by jihadi groups received by Goa in the past.


Motive behind Goa blast still unclear, say police

Motive behind Goa blast still unclear, say policePanaji, Nov 2 : The motive behind the Diwali-eve blast in Goa is still not clear more than a fortnight after two associates of the rightwing Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha
(SS) were killed in the explosion while ferrying a bomb, a senior police official said.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji Monday evening, Superintendent of Police (CID) Atmaram Deshpande said that the police were still trying to figure out why Malgonda Patil and Yogesh Naik, both SS associates, carried out the blast in a crowded area in Margao, a major town in South Goa, 35 km from here.


Goa blast a result of intelligence failure: Home minister

Goa blast a result of intelligence failure: Home ministerPanaji, Nov 3 - Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik has admitted that the Diwali eve blast in the state, in which two associates of the rightwing Hindu outfit Sanatan Sanstha (SS) were killed when the bomb they were ferrying exploded, was a result of intelligence failure.

Naik has also assured that strict action would be taken, if supervisory intelligence officials were found guilty of lapses.


'Malaria in Goa linked to migrant labour'

'Malaria in Goa linked to migrant labour'Panaji, Nov 3 : Linking the rising number of malaria cases in Goa to the steady influx of migrant labourers, a senior malaria research official has said the tourist hub has a long way to go to keep the vector-borne disease in check.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji Tuesday, Ashwini Kumar, deputy director of the National Institute for Malaria Research (NIMR), said the state needed to proactively think of ways to check the influx of migrant labour into Goa.


Goa blast: Two policemen moved from probe team

Goa blast: Two policemen moved from probe team Panaji, Nov 4 : Two policemen probing the Diwali eve bombing in Goa have been relieved of their duties, as opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accused Home Minister Ravi Naik of influencing the investigation in the Margao blast that killed two people last month.

Police spokesperson Atmaram Deshpande Wednesday admitted that two constables who were part of the special investigation team (SIT) probing the sensitive case were relieved of their probe duties.

Deshpande, however, said the two were a part of another murder probe "for which they have been relieved".


Milk to yogurt, in 10 minutes flat

Milk to yogurt, in 10 minutes flatPanaji, Nov 5 - You can turn milk into yogurt within 10 minutes or pump toxins out of your cattle. You just need to know which plant to use, says S. V. Kalmath, an expert on the biodiversity of the Western Ghats.

Kalmath, who heads the NGO Ganayogi Panchakshara Gavai Seva Sanstha -- in Karnataka's Bidar district -- has prepared a people's biodiversity register (PBDR) that gives a glimpse of the riches contained in forests that run parallel to India's western coast.


Banks' internal audits flawed, encourage scams: CBI

Banks' internal audits flawed, encourage scams: CBIPanaji, Nov 5 : Public sector undertakings, especially nationalised banks, often ignore financial crimes in their internal audits and sometimes even delay the prosecution of their accused employees, a senior Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) official said here Thursday.

"This practice creates a conducive ground for financial scams," CBI Superintendent of Police S. S. Gavai said at a conference of vigilance officers from various central government departments.


Two hot Goa night clubs to be demolished

Panaji, Nov 6 - The Goa coastal zone management authority (GCZMA) has ordered the partial demolition of arguably the state's most popular night spots -- Club Tito's and Mambos -- for violating coastal regulatory zone (CRZ) norms.

According to an order issued by the secretary of the GCZMA Michael D'Souza, structures built on the property measuring 547.82 sq metres, on which both clubs are built, are illegal. The GCZMA order dated Nov 3, a copy of which is with IANS, directs David D'Souza, the owner of Club Tito's and Mambos to demolish the illegal structures within 20 days.


Drugs sold near night clubs, shacks in Goa: CBI

Panaji, Nov 6 - Soft sticks of charas or hashish casually dumped on vegetable chopping boards in beach shacks at Anjuna, drugs freely available near the parking lot of a popular night club run by a former aide of a Congress MP -- these are some of the stunning revelations in the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chargesheet filed in the Scarlett Keeling murder case.

The chargesheet was filed in the Goa Children's Court Oct 21.


20 films in IFFI's international competition section

20 films in IFFI's international competition sectionPanaji, Nov 6 : Twenty movies have been chosen for the international competition section while eight films will be screened in the Indian premieres category at the
40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) that kicks off here this month.

"The international competition section will have 20 films selected from six countries, including Germany, Ecuador, UK, India, Italy and France," Manoj Srivastava, CEO of the Entertainment Society of Goa, the nodal agency organising the festival, said at a press conference here Friday.


Israelis check if Goa is safe for Israelis

Israelis check if Goa is safe for IsraelisPanaji, Nov 7 : The Goa Police said Saturday that it was "natural" for officers from Israel's Mumbai consulate to inspect the North Goa coast as it was frequented by Israeli tourists.

"They will obviously want to see the security arrangement here after what happened in Mumbai," Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande told reporters, referring to last year's terror attack on Mumbai that left 170 people dead.

"Mumbai is only 500 km away. And a lot of tourists from Israel visit Goa," he added.


Goa minister goes against own government, supports SEZs

Panaji, Nov 9 - Months after the state government bowed to public pressure and decided to cancel the three sanctioned special economic zones (SEZ) in Goa, a senior cabinet minister Monday said he would "still welcome SEZ".

Speaking to a local news channel, Environment Minister Aleixo Sequeira came out openly against the Goa government's stated policy, saying the SEZs would have worked wonders in the state.

"My stand has been open. I am in support of SEZ. I also believe that plots that have been allotted are for a good purpose. The industries that were to come up were clean and non-polluting," Sequeira said.

"I still would welcome SEZ. You can ask me why. There is a massive unemployment issue here," he added.


Rs 1.2 million stolen from Goa multiplex

Rs 1.2 million stolen from Goa multiplex Panaji, Nov 9 : In a major theft, more than Rs. one million in cash were stolen early Monday morning from three separate safes located within the Inox multiplex here, police said.

According to a complaint registered with the Panaji town police station, nearly Rs. 12.5 lakh (Rs. 1.25 million), part of the collection made during the weekend, were stolen.

The multiplex is one of the main venues for the forthcoming 40th International Film Festival of India, which is expected to be visited by several dignitaries from Bollywood and political personalities.


Security vehicle to accompany Ben Kingsley in Goa

Security vehicle to accompany Ben Kingsley in GoaPanaji, Nov 10 - A specially designated police escort vehicle, a personal security guard and a quick reaction team (QRT) will shadow Ben Kingsley when the acclaimed actor lands in Goa later this month as guest of honour for the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), officials said Tuesday.

Kingsley is one of the first film stars to confirm his attendance at the IFFI inauguration ceremony, Superintendent of Police Tony Fernandes told IANS.


No alcohol at film fest venue, demands Goa women's panel

No alcohol at film fest venue, demands Goa women's panel  Panaji, Nov 10 : The Goa Women's Commission has warned the state government against sale of alcohol at the venue of the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).

Goa State Women's Commission (GSWC) chairperson Pramod Salgaonkar said the commission would be formally writing to the state government cautioning against any such move.

"During the last IFFI, they even had a bar counter in the press room at the film festival. We are against moves like this," she told IANS.


Cyclone effect: Trawlers missing off Goa coast

Cyclone effect: Trawlers missing off Goa coastPanaji, Nov 11 : The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has launched a search operation after several Goa-based fishing trawlers went missing as the Arabian Sea turned rough under the influence of Cyclone Phyan, officials said Wednesday.

"Our patrol vessels are already on the lookout for the trawlers. We have also pressed a lookout aircraft into the operation, which will scan the sea off Goa in search of the missing trawlers," Commandant N. Saxena of the ICG base in Goa said.


Be careful while visiting Goa, Britain tells its nationals

Be careful while visiting Goa, Britain tells its nationalsPanaji, Nov 12 - Britain has warned its nationals that they should be careful while visiting Goa and the four major Indian metropolitan cities, including Delhi and Mumbai, which could be terror attack targets.

"Future attacks may target public places frequented by Westerners and expatriates, including the major metropolitan centres (Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai) and tourist areas such as Goa," says a travel advisory on the British government's foreign commonwealth office (FCO) website, which was updated Nov 11.


Court admits appeal against alleged terrorist's acquittal

Court admits appeal against alleged terrorist's acquittalPanaji, Nov 12 - The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court has admitted an appeal by the Goa government challenging the acquittal of a Jammu and Kashmir resident, who was arrested by police for alleged possession of RDX and detonators.

The appeal was admitted Wednesday.

A district court in July last year had released Tariq Ahmad Batloo for want of evidence.


45 Goa fishermen missing after Cyclone Phyan

45 Goa fishermen missing after Cyclone PhyanPanaji, Nov 12 - About 45 fishermen were missing Thursday as eight trawlers were still out at sea and two feared sunk following Cyclone Phyan passing through the Arabian Sea the day before.

A day after the cyclone missed Goa but led to heavy rains and stormy seas, a fisheries department officials said 40 fishing crew were on the eight trawlers that were still missing.

The Mandovi Fisheries Cooperative Society added that two vessels, Jeevan and St Francis Xavier, could be sunk. While all 10 on St Francis Xavier had been saved, only 23 of the 29 people on Jeevan could be rescued.


Sanatan Sanstha is threat to nation: Goa home minister

Sanatan Sanstha is threat to nation: Goa home ministerPanaji, Nov 13 - The Hindu rightwing group Sanatan Sanstha, five of whose associates have been booked in connection with the Diwali-eve blast in Goa, is a threat to the entire nation, state Home Minister Ravi Naik said here Friday.

"Their threat is not to Goa alone, but to entire Bharat," Naik told a local news channel Friday. "They first tried it (conspiracy to explode bombs) in Maharashtra and now they have tried to carry out blasts in many places in Goa," Naik added.


Police station in Goa inaugurated with belly dance

Police station in Goa inaugurated with belly dancePanaji, Nov 14 : The entire Goa Police top brass was treated to a belly dance performed by a scantily clad Russian dance troupe at a newly inaugurated police station in the state.

The belly dance was held at a function to celebrate the inauguration of the new premises of the Anjuna police station, 15 km from Panaji, late Thursday evening.


Goa government orders probe into casino party by senior cops

Goa government orders probe into casino party by senior copsPanaji, Nov 14 : The Goa government has ordered an enquiry into the controversial party organised by four superintendents of police and other senior police officials aboard an offshore casino vessel.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, state Home Minister Ravi Naik said he was seized of the visit by senior police officials to the offshore casino and had summoned the state Director General of Police B. S. Bassi for an explanation.


Amitabh Bachchan not invited to IFFI, co-host upset

Amitabh Bachchan not invited to IFFI, co-host upsetPanaji, Nov 17 - The entertainment society of Goa (ESG), co-host of the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), has held its central government partner Directorate of film festivals (DFF) responsible for not inviting legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan to grace the festival.

Bachchan has not been invited ever since IFFI shifted to Goa in 2003.


Book weatherman for failing to give storm warning: Goa BJP

Book weatherman for failing to give storm warning: Goa BJP  Panaji, Nov 17 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Tuesday demanded that the top weather department official in Goa be booked for murder for not issuing timely warnings to fishermen, 68 of whom lost their lives due to Cyclone Phyan.

They demanded the immediate removal of Goa station in-charge of the Indian Meteorological Observatory (IMO) K. V. Singh for putting the lives of thousands of fishermen at risk due to the delayed warning.


India sets up shelter for domestic workers in Oman: Faleiro

 FaleiroPanaji, Nov 18 - The Indian embassy in Oman has set up a shelter in its premises for harassed domestic maids employed in Omani households, says former minister of state for external affairs Eduardo Faleiro.

"The embassy has arranged a shelter for women harassed in homes there. The domestic employees can stay there until they are repatriated or the problem is solved," Faleiro, Goa's NRI commissioner appointed to look after the welfare of Goans settled abroad, said at a press conference.


Church calls Goa official's casino remark blasphemous

Panaji, Nov 18 - Goa Director General of Police Bhimsain Bassi's remark that visiting casinos was like going to temples and churches was "blasphemous" and "shocking", the Roman Catholic church said Wednesday.

"I was shocked to see the statement coming from a person of that standing, who is supposed to be the guardian of law and order," Francisco Caldeira, a church spokesperson, told IANS.

Caldeira said it was "blasphemous to compare casinos with temples and churches", adding that perhaps Bassi did not know the difference between religion and casinos.

Bassi had Monday likened visiting casinos to going to temples and churches.


Russian girl's body decomposed due to morgue malfunction: relative

Russian girl's body decomposed due to morgue malfunction: relative Panaji, Nov 18 : A relative of Russian teenager Elena Sukhonova, whose badly mangled remains were found along a railway track in May this year, has alleged that her body has decomposed beyond recognition in the mortuary.

Advocate Vikram Varma, speaking on behalf of Dmitiry Voronov -- Elena's brother-in-law -- has said that the malfunctioning mortuary at the Goa Medical college where the body was stored had resulted in the extreme state of decomposition.


Another Sanatan Sanstha member held in Goa blast case

Another Sanatan Sanstha member held in Goa blast case Panaji, Nov 18 : A self-defence instructor associated with the Sanatan Sanstha was Wednesday arrested for the Diwali-eve blast in Margao in which two members of the Hindu group were killed while carrying a bomb, police said.

Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande said Dilip Managaokar, 39, was involved in planting an improvised explosive device (IED) that did not explode.


Goa Police dismiss reports of terror threat during IFFI

Goa Police dismiss reports of terror threat during IFFI Panaji, Nov 19 : Goa Police Thursday dismissed media reports about a possible terror threat to the forthcoming International Film Festival of India (IFFI) which gets underway here Nov 23.

Speaking to reporters in Panaji, Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande said the state police had received no such terror-related input from the intelligence agencies.

"We are not in the receipt of any such input as of now. These reports could be based on rumours," Deshpande said.


Fear of litigation halts SEZ de-notification: Goa chief minister

Fear of litigation halts SEZ de-notification: Goa chief ministerPanaji, Nov 20 - Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat said fear of litigation had forced the central government to go slow on the de-notification of three special economic zones (SEZ) allotted to the state.

Speaking to IANS Thursday, Kamat, who met union minister for commerce and industry Anand Sharma during his visit to New Delhi earlier this week, said no central government could impose any policy on a state against the latter's wishes.


Goa blast case team's investigative skills under cloud

Goa blast case team's investigative skills under cloudPanaji, Nov 21 - The chief of the Special Investigating Team (SIT) probing the Diwali-eve blast in Goa has come under a cloud with a court picking holes in his crime investigation skills in a 2000 blast in Vasco allegedly carried out by Islamic militant outfit Deendar Anjuman (DA).


Cops in casino: top Goa official seeks report

Cops in casino: top Goa official seeks report Panaji, Nov 21 : The Goa home department will write to the director general of police (DGP) seeking a report on the controversy created by senior police officers partying on board an offshore casino last week.

Speaking to reporters, Chief Secretary Sanjiv Srivastava, who also heads the state home department, said: "I will call for a report from the police department. We'll see what they have to say."


Pratibha Patil to be awarded doctorate by Goa University

Pratibha Patil to be awarded doctorate by Goa UniversityPanaji, Nov 21 : President Pratibha Patil will be conferred an honorary doctorate by Goa University (GU).

Patil will be conferred a D. Litt degree (doctor of letters) at a convocation function held at the university Nov 24, GU vice chancellor Dilip Deobagkar told reporters here Saturday.

"GU's executive council recommended the name of President Pratibha Patil for the honour, which was later approved by S. S. Sidhu, the governor of Goa," Deobagkar said.


Chinese film 'Wheat' to open Goa IFFI

Waheeda RehmanPanaji, Nov 21 : The 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) will be inaugurated by veteran actress Waheeda Rehman at a glittering ceremony here Monday.

Chinese film "Wheat" directed by He Peng will be the opening film of the 11-day festival which will screen nearly 300 films from Nov 23 to Dec 3.

The festival will be closed by the Spanish film "Broken Embrace", directed by Pedro Almodovar. Mamoothy will be chief guest at the closing ceremony.


China makes its presence felt in Goa

China makes its presence felt in GoaPanaji, Nov 21 : After Chinese goods taking over the Indian market, a Chinese film will open 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here Monday.

"Wheat", directed by He Ping, is set in 260 BC when China was mired in a long and bloody war between the Qin and the Zhao dynasties.

Starring Fan Bingbing and Wang Jue, "Wheat" tells the story of women left behind after their husbands are sent to war. The film was produced for $6 million and was funded by He's own Beijing Classic Culture, along with Polybona Films, and the state-backed Xi'an Film Studio.


Kamat calls Asin 'Asian', then says southern spellings 'different'

Digambar Kamat Panaji, Nov 21 : Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Saturday pronounced popular actress Asin's name as "Asian", and when quizzed over it answered that "their
(southern) spellings are very different".

Kamat mispronounced the name while reading out the names of dignitaries who would grace the inaugural ceremony at the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at a curtain-raiser press conference here.


President moots afforestation of mining-affected areas in Goa

President moots afforestation of mining-affected areas in GoaPanaji, Nov 23 : President Pratibha Patil Monday asked the Goa government to ensure that areas affected by mining in the state are not deprived of green cover.

Patil, who is in Goa on a four-day visit, was speaking at a reception organised in her honour at Dona Paula, on the outskirts of Panaji.


President moots afforestation of mining-affected areas in Goa

President moots afforestation of mining-affected areas in GoaPanaji, Nov 23 : President Pratibha Patil Monday asked the Goa government to ensure that areas affected by mining in the state are not deprived of green cover.

Patil, who is in Goa on a four-day visit, was speaking at a reception organised in her honour at Dona Paula, on the outskirts of Panaji.


Empty seats greet president at Goa civic reception

Pratibha PatilPanaji, Nov 23 : President Pratibha Patil's civic reception hosted by the state government and local self government bodies on Monday drew a lukewarm response, with a large number of empty seats in the 500-odd seater auditorium of the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO).

While advertisements released in all newspapers by the state government had invited all MLAs, ex-MLAs, government officials and members of all local self government bodies like panchayats, and zilla panchayats, very few of them turned up at the event.


Global warming eroding Goa beaches: Governor

S. S. SidhuPanaji, Nov 23 : Goa Governor S. S. Sidhu Monday warned that the ill-effects of global warming were fast knocking at the state's doors and eroding its beaches.

Speaking at a civic reception in honour of President Pratibha Patil, Sidhu said: "Goa has started feeling the heat of global warming. Some of our beaches are being washed away."

Sidhu's statement comes in wake of nearly 10 percent of Goa beaches such as Calangute, Candolim and Baga being eroded by the rising sea.


Waheeda Rehman inaugurates 40th international film fest

Waheeda Rehman Panaji, Nov 23 : Legendary actress Waheeda Rehman inaugurated the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here Monday by lighting the lamp at a glittering function here.

The actress, who in the past captivated audiences with her spellbinding performances in movies like "Pyaasa", "Kagaz ke Phool" and in more recent times "Rang de Basanti" and "Delhi 6", wished the newest edition of IFFI well.

"Hope everyone will enjoy and see films from all over the world," she said.


Kabir Bedi's booming voice silences babbling cameramen

Kabir BediPanaji, Nov 23 : Kabir Bedi's booming voice subdued chaotic babble from a group of photographers at the inauguration ceremony of the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here Monday.

Bedi, who along with actress Divya Dutta was the compere for the function held at the Dinanath Mangeshkar auditorium at the Kala Academy complex, had to use his voice to good effect, in order to silence the voluble squabbling by photographers, jostling for vantage space near the stage.


Veteran actress Waheeda Rehman inaugurates 40th International Film Festival of India

Veteran actress Waheeda Rehman inaugurates 40th International Film Festival of IndiaPanaji, Nov 24 : Veteran Bollywood actress Waheeda Rehman inaugurated the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) by lighting the lamp at a glittering function here on Monday.

Information and Broadcasting MInister, Ambika Soni and Goa Chief Minsiter Digambar Kamat were also present on the occasion.

Often referred to as the ''India''s Cannes'' for its mix of world and Indian cinema, the IFFI-2009 will offer nearly 300 films over ten days.


We can invite only one celebrity, Soni says at IFFI

We can invite only one celebrity, Soni says at IFFIPanaji, Nov 24 - The controversy over Amitabh Bachchan not being invited to the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) simply refuses to die down. Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that there was no bar on any person from being invited to the festival.

"This is not a question of someone being called or not called... We can't call all distinguished film stars in one year. We can't give them all places of honour at one time," said Soni who was here to attend the inaugural function of the 40th IFFI Monday.


Central government confirms tiger poached in Goa, state denies

Central government confirms tiger poached in Goa, state deniesPanaji, Nov 24 - The controversy over the poaching of a Royal Bengal tiger in Goa earlier this year has taken a fresh twist with central government officially admitting that the animal was killed, contrary to the stand of the state forest department.


Ragging is crime against humanity: President

Pratibha PatilPanaji, Nov 24 : President Pratibha Patil, who was awarded a degree of doctor of letters (D. Lit) at the 22nd annual convocation ceremony of Goa University Tuesday, exhorted students to desist from ragging, calling it a "crime against humanity".

"Ragging in all our universities and educational institutions must stop. It is a crime against humanity and a shameful behaviour. Education must develop cultured attitude and social awareness, otherwise it is unrelated to life and its environment," Patil said.


Film piracy funding terror in India: Moser Baer chief

Film piracy funding terror in India: Moser Baer chiefPanaji, Nov 24 : The film piracy industry in India is worth Rs. 1,500 crore and its profits are being used to fund terrorism in the country, a top official of CD-DVD manufacturer Moser Baer said Tuesday.

"The piracy industry in India is Rs. 1,500 crore and much of it goes to funding terror," Moser Baer India chief executive Harish Dayani told IANS.


Gurinder Chadha cannot speak Hindi!

Gurinder ChadhaPanaji, Nov 24 : She has popularised India in the consciousness of western audiences through films like "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Bride And Prejudice" but Gurinder Chadha ironically admits she cannot speak Hindi.

Chadha, who is in Goa to attend a retrospective of her films at the 40th edition of the International Film festival of India (IFFI), said that she could speak Punjabi, but had not mastered Hindi yet.

"That's a candid confession," the British-Indian director said.

Chadha further said she was working on yet another film set in the Asian-dominated Southall in London.


Single screen theatre can save film business: Manmohan Shetty

Manmohan ShettyPanaji, Nov 24 : Filmmaker Manmohan Shetty, who started the trend of multiplex cinema chains, now says single screen theatres and cheap movie tickets will revive the Indian film industry, which he feels is weighed under increasing production costs.

"The main culprit to bring down Bollywood are multiplexes. The tickets are priced so high that people who used to watch the movies by paying Rs. 30 to Rs. 40 are not coming to cinema halls anymore," said Shetty.


National Award winning films need better platform: Jahnu Barua

Jahnu BaruaPanaji, Nov 25 : Noted Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua rues that there is no mechanism to screen National Award films in different parts of the country.

"It's sad that there is no system in the country where people from different regions can see National Award winning films," said Barua, who has won several National Awards for films like "Aparoopa" and "Bonani".

Barua stressed that evolving such a system was a critical need of the hour.

"People at the helm need to be pressurised so that they get tempted to see each other's best work," he said.


Culture of song more powerful than of gun: Official

Culture of song more powerful than of gun: OfficialPanaji, Nov 25 : The answer to the gun is a song. Celebrating 75 years of Assamese cinema at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here, an Assam official Wednesday said the cinema had evolved as an apt answer to violence promoted by the extremist forces.

Replying to a question on whether the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) had hindered the development of the film industry in Assam, state secretary for art and culture Sapanil Barua said: "The culture of the 'gaan' (song) is more powerful than the culture of the gun."


Goa court acquits Scarlett's boyfriend

Goa court acquits Scarlett's boyfriend Panaji, Nov 25 : The Goa Children's court (GCC) Wednesday acquitted Julio Lobo, who was said to be the boyfriend of slain British teenager Scarlett Keeling. Julio had been charged under the Goa Children's Act for staying with Scarlett, a minor.

GCC president B. P. Deshpande ruled that the state police had failed to produce any documentary evidence against Julio during the trial. Julio was earlier reported to have been staying with the 15-year-old when her mother Fiona Mackeown was partying at Gokarna in neighbouring Karnataka.


Nandita slams 'Firaaq' producers for not marketing film

Nandita slams 'Firaaq' producers for not marketing filmPanaji, Nov 25 : Noted actress and director of "Firaaq", Nandita Das Wednesday lashed out at her producers, Percept picture company, for not "properly marketing" the film.

"Firaaq was not released properly. There was no marketing. There were some rumours that the film was released before elections and no one was sure who would come to power in Gurajat or at the centre. So I don't know, but the film really suffered because of this," Nandita told reporters at the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India here.


Superman chronicles - from Smallville to Malegaon

Superman chronicles - from Smallville to MalegaonPanaji, Nov 26 - Good things come in small packets. And sometimes they also come in unexpected casings. A case in point is "Malegaon Ka Superman". Made at a ridiculously low budget of Rs. 1 lakh, it has travelled to several international film festivals and the maker claims that it can do better business than "Slumdog Millionaire".


Wish Shahrukh was here, says Makrand Deshpande

Wish Shahrukh was here, says Makrand DeshpandePanaji, Nov 26 - Actor and director Makrand Deshpande would have loved to have superstar Shahrukh Khan for the premiere of his film "Shahrukh Bola Tu Khoohbsurat Hai" at the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.

"I had invited Shahrukh here for the premiere of my film, but he told me that he would attend the opening night instead," Deshpande told reporters.


Kerala film fest as good as IFFI: Mohanan

Kerala film fest as good as IFFI: MohananPanaji, Nov 26 : The Kerala film festival, beginning Dec 11 in Thiruvananthapuram, will be as good as it can get when it comes to a quality movie jamboree compared to the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), its organisers have said.


TV channels are ignoring documentaries: Jahnu Barua

Jahnu BaruaPanaji, Nov 26 : Well-known filmmaker Jahnu Barua rues that despite more than 400 television channels in the country no one sees documentaries as a viable proposition.

"Foreigners are more interested in Indian short films than our own people," said Barua, who is the president of the Indian Documentary Producers Association (IDPA). He was addressing media at an interaction session at the ongoing 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here Thursday.

Barua said the IDPA was in talks with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to start a separate channel to showcase short films.


Goan filmmaker misses red carpet, says IFFI didn't inform him

Goan filmmaker misses red carpet, says IFFI didn't inform himPanaji, Nov 26: The organisers of the 40th International Film festival of India (IFFI) came in for a major embarrassment after award-winning Goan filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar couldn't walk the red carpet here because no one communicated to him about it.


Bollywood actor Om Puri makes peace with his wife

Bollywood actor Om Puri makes peace with his wifePanaji, Nov 27 : Noted Bollywood artiste Om Puri has made truce with his wife, Nandita Puri after the much-publicised spat between the couple ever since the latter penned a biography on the veteran actor titled ''''Unlikely Hero: The Story of Om Puri''''.

The actor clarified his stand on the book by standing alongside his wife Nandita here on Thursday.


Corporate houses more transparent over film funding: M.S. Sathyu

Panaji, Nov 27 - Noted filmmaker M. S. Sathyu says he prefers corporates over National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) for film funding because he feels private players are transparent in their business deals.

"Their (NFDC) funds have dried up because they have huge offices, staff and it is difficult for them to make films. The scenario has changed now. The corporates have come into film financing and how they deal with the filmmakers is transparent," he said.

Sathyu is here to promote his film "Ijjodu", which is produced by Reliance BIG Pictures.


Mumbai film fest says no to corporate sponsor

Mumbai film fest says no to corporate sponsorPanaji, Nov 27 : The Mumbai International Film Festival (MIFF), to be held in February, has attracted 864 films from 37 countries but festival director Kuldeep Sinha is clear about not having corporate sponsorship for the cine event.

"I am not interested in corporate sponsorship. Documentaries should not be commercialised. Documentaries are a serious thing," Sinha told reporters here on the sidelines of the ongoing 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI).


Mobile phone documentaries to be screened at Mumbai film fest

Kuldeep Sinha Panaji, Nov 27 : Documentary films shot on mobile phones, a growing genre, will debut at the 11th edition of the Mumbai Film Festival (MIFF) next February.

Speaking to reporters Friday during a media interaction at the IFFI-2009, festival director Kuldeep Sinha said that mobile phones represent the future of documentary films and the forthcoming MIFF would serve as a perfect barometer to gauge the popularity of the medium.


German filmmaker in talks for co-production

German filmmaker in talks for co-productionPanaji, Nov 27 : Europeans coming to India for enlightenment is the theme of well-known German filmmaker Roland Reber's forthcoming Indo-European film and he is in talks with Indian producer Bobby Bedi to co-produce it.

"I have always wanted to do a film in India. This movie has an Indo-European theme. A lot of Europeans, who are impressed by India's old culture, think they can come here and get enlightened over the weekend," Reber told reporters.

"I have spoken to Bobby Bedi and this will be my first co-production," he added.


Parents should also act as censors: Asha Parekh

Parents should also act as censors: Asha ParekhPanaji, Nov 28 - Former censor board chief and yesteryears actress Asha Parekh says parents should also act as censors, rather than banking on a government agency to do the job for them.

"There should be a censor board. But the censor's role should also be played by parents at home. Why shouldn't parents forego an 'A' certificate film once in a while when they are with their children?" Parekh, who is in Goa to attend the 40th edition of the International FIlm Festival of India (IFFI), told IANS Saturday.


Errors galore on Indian film fest's T20 website

Errors galore on Indian film fest's T20 websitePanaji, Nov 28 : The official website of a contest called T20, floated at the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here in Goa, with the intention to rank top 20 films of Indian cinema over the last 96 years, continues to be ridden with factual errors.

www. t20ofindiancinema. com which contains hastily uploaded pictures and descriptors accompanying the 100 films suggested by the T20 jury has mixed up Pattabhi Rama Reddy's 1970s Kannada movie "Samskara", with "Samsara", a film shot in Ladakh.


'Red Alert' inspired by a newspaper report: Mahadevan

'Red Alert' inspired by a newspaper report: MahadevanPanaji, Nov 28 : The story of "Red Alert", a film based on Maoist violence in India, was inspired by a news report published in a leading national daily, says its director Anant Mahadevan.

"Actually I was inspired by a true story that appeared in The Hindustan Times about a farmer who got inadvertently trapped with a group of Naxalites," Mahadevan told reporters during a media interaction here Saturday.


Maoist movement inspiring a Bollywood film

Panaji, Nov 29 : Maoist violence might be a cause of worry to the Government, but a story based on a rebel has made it to the silver screen.

''Red Alert- The War Within'', made by Bollywood director, Anant Mahadevan has been inspired by a newspaper report about a farmer who got inadvertently trapped by the Maoists.

"More than the issue, it was the story of that man that moved me deeply... Because that man had gone through such an experience which a normal man might not be able to face... To live with the Maoists, to leave them, the risk that it poses to the life, the questions that are raised after that... It was the story of a man so more than the issue I found the story fascinating. That''s why I made this film," Mahadevan said.


Suicide-prone farmers from Vidarbha have not seen 'Gabhricha Paus'

Panaji, Nov 30 - The drought-stricken farmers of Vidarbha in eastern Maharashtra whose despairing lives have been captured in award-winning Marathi film "Gabhricha Paus" are yet to see the film, the movie's producer said.

"Their story needed to be told to them. I was not able to do that. I consider it a failure," Prashant Pethe told IANS.

Pethe, whose film has been featured in the competition section at the 40th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) said although he did screen the film in 10 odd towns in Vidarbha using DVD projectors at marriage halls, a lot more needed to be done.


Bollywood overshadowed Marathi cinema, says Amol Palekar

Amol PalekarPanaji, Nov 30 : Actor-director Amol Palekar says he is happy with the fact that Marathi cinema is back in the reckoning after being overshadowed by Bollywood movies for years.

"Marathi cinema has been in conflict and had to bear the direct brunt of Bollywood and masala films. Marathi films really had to struggle," Palekar said while speaking to reporters at a press conference here Monday.

Palekar's English film "And Once Again", starring Rituparna Sengupta and Rajat Kapoor, was premiered at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.


No smoking at IFFI venue, film stars told

No smoking at IFFI venue, film stars toldPanaji, Nov 30 : The National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) has taken objection to film stars smoking at the ongoing 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) venue here.

"Rajat Kapoor, Radhika Apte and other delegates were seen smoking within the INOX courtyard. This appeared in local newspapers. It is a violation of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COTPA) 2003 which is operative in Goa since Oct 2, 2008," Shekhar Salkar, the NOTE general secretary, said in a written complaint sent to the organisers.


Ben Kingsley's wife might team up with Aishwarya Rai in 'Taj'

Aishwarya-RaiPanaji, Nov 30 : Actress Aishwarya Rai might be pitted against Ben Kingsley's wife Daniela Lavender in his dream project "Taj", a film about Mughal emperor Shah Jahan and his quest to build the Taj Mahal.

"Aishwarya Rai Bachchan will play Mumtaz in the movie, if she approves the script and loves it. Daniela would be playing Kandahari Begum, Shah Jahan's first wife in the film," Kingsley told reporters in Panaji Monday.

The actor, who is here as guest of honour for the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI), said he will play the emperor in the film.


Border officials want Asia-Europe study on illegal migration

Border officials want Asia-Europe study on illegal migrationPanaji, Dec 2 - Immigration officials from Europe and Asia have recommended a joint study between the two continents on the phenomenon of illegal migration, a senior Indian official said Wednesday.

G. Gurucharan, joint secretary in the ministry of overseas Indian affairs and conference chairman of the 8th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) conference on Management of Migratory Flows, said that the study would also seek out the etiological causes of the phenomenon of illegal migration and suggest specific measures to mitigate it.


Russian tourist accuses Goa politician of rape attempt

Russian tourist accuses Goa politician of rape attemptPanaji, Dec 2 :A Russian woman tourist has accused a Goan politician of attempting to rape her.

According to a complaint filed at the Colva police station Wednesday, the Russian, 25, said that John Fernandes, an aspiring politician from a regional political party, tried to rape her after offering her a lift in his car Tuesday night.

"We have booked an attempt to rape case against Fernandes. We have not been able to trace him yet. Investigations are on," an official at the Colva police station said.


Immigration officials call for making migration simple

GOAPanaji, Dec 2 : Immigration officials from Europe and Asia have suggested several ways to tackle increasing illegal migration across the globe, including a joint study between the continents and stronger laws to check the trend. At the same time they said that "migration should be made simple".

Delegates attending the eighth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) conference on Management of Migratory Flows here put forth a three-pronged approach after discussing various issues and complexities surrounding illegal migration.


Disabled sailor successfully completes Mumbai-Goa voyage

Salil ChaturvediPanaji, Dec 3 : Triumphing against all odds, TV actor and writer Salil Chaturvedi, who is paralysed below the waist, led a four-member sailing expedition from Mumbai to Goa in a campaign for equal access for the disabled.

The Godrej Brighter Horizons expedition arrived here Wednesday on the eve of the World Disability Day. The expedition that covered a distance of some 240 nautical miles was flagged off from Mumbai on Nov 24 by Adi Godrej, the chairman of the Godrej group.


No change in India's stand in trade talks: Anand Sharma

No change in India's stand in trade talks: Anand SharmaNew Delhi, Dec 3 : India's position on agriculture and industry at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) negotiations has not changed and is aimed at protecting its farmers and small enterprises, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma has said.

"There is no change in India's negotiating position in agriculture and non-agriculture market access," Sharma said Wednesday evening in Geneva, the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.


Taiwanese film wins Golden Peacock award at IFFI

Taiwanese film wins Golden Peacock award at IFFI  Panaji, Dec 3 : Taiwanese film "I Can't Live Without You" was awarded the prestigious Golden Peacock for best film at the 40th International Film Festival of India (IFFI) at the festival's closing ceremony here Thursday.

The award, a citation and a cash prize of Rs. 40 lakh (Rs. 4 million), was awarded to the film's director Leon Dai.

The Silver Peacock award along with a Rs. 15 lakh (Rs. 1.5 million) cash prize for the best director, went to Ounie Leconte for her French-South Korean film "A Brand New Life".


Goa police tried to hush up rape bid case: Russian woman

Goa police tried to hush up rape bid case: Russian womanPanaji, Dec 4 : A Russian woman, who claimed a local politician tried to rape her, Friday said the Goa police threatened her not to pursue the case or else she will lose her visa.

Vikram Varma, legal representative of the Russian consulate in Goa, told reporters that officials at the Colva police station had threatened the 25-year-old victim.

"The officials told her that she would lose her visa, if she went and complained against the accused, who they said was an 'influential person'," Varma said.


Will expose several 'Madhu Kodas' in Goa: BJP

Will expose several 'Madhu Kodas' in Goa: BJP Panaji, Dec 4 : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Friday alleged that state support to illegal mining and corruption in Goa's mining industry had reached "unacceptable levels" and vowed to expose "several Madhu Kodas" in the state, during the forthcoming assembly session.

Addressing a press conference here, Leader of Opposition in the assembly Manohar Parrikar said that the state government's moves to carve out new mining leases measuring 600,000 sq mt in South Goa in face of public opposition, smacked of corruption and vested interests.


Russian girl accuses Goa politician of rape

Russian girl accuses Goa politician of rapePanaji, Dec 5 : A Russian girl here has alleged that a local Goa politician molested her. In her complaint, she has alleged that John Fernandes raped her on the night of December1 in his car.

John Fernandes had contested the elections on a Save Goa Front ticket. The local police have filed a case of attempted rape in this regard.

The 25-year-old woman who is associated with a five star hotel has alleged that the Politician raped her in his car, after dropping her friend to her place. She said her friend knew Frenandes, who offered to drop them on Wednesday night.


Goa police official suspended for sexual escapade

Goa police official suspended for sexual escapadePanaji, Dec 5 - A Goa police head constable has been literally caught with his pants down during duty hours.

Head constable Santosh Naik was suspended after he was found guilty during an enquiry for indulging in oral sex with a call girl while he was on duty in a police control room van in the popular tourist resort village of Calangute, 16 km from here, officials said.

The suspension follows a 10 month enquiry against Naik and two police constables, who were present in the police vehicle in February last year.


Goa crime branch to probe Russian expat's rape

Goa crime branch to probe Russian expat's rapePanaji, Dec 5 - A complaint filed by a Russian woman alleging rape by a Goa politician would be probed by the state crime branch, a senior police official said Saturday.

"Yes, we have transferred the case to the crime branch today (Saturday)," Director General of Police Bhimsain Bassi told IANS.

The 25-year-old Russian woman had accused John Fernandes, a local politician, of spiking her drinks and raping her in his vehicle, after returning from dinner at a shack on Colva beach in south Goa.


Want to rent latest bikes? Head to Goa

Want to rent latest bikes? Head to GoaPanaji, Dec 6 - If you fancy riding the latest sports bikes but can't afford one, fly down to Goa and rent a super bike for as little as Rs. 350 a day and get set for a long ride.

"Youngsters love to ride new and latest models. So we invest in such bikes and recover our costs easily," Johnny Gonsalves, who rents bikes, told IANS.

"As soon as a new model hits the market, we buy it. Though we have to invest a lot in these bikes, but as the season approaches, we recover every bit of it," he added.


Goa cops bypass NIA in blast probe

Goa cops bypass NIA in blast probePanaji, Dec 7 : Goa police has been pulled up for not sending details of the Diwali-eve bomb blast investigations to the National Investigating Agency (NIA), set up in
2008 to investigate terror-related crimes in the country.

State chief secretary Sanjiv Srivastava admitted that the Goa police had bypassed the NIA and sent updates of the Oct 16 investigations to officials in the ministry of home affairs.

"NIA rules clearly say that whenever such a case occurs they should be informed," Srivastava told reporters Monday.


Goa cop's son was driving police chief's car during accident

Goa cop's son was driving police chief's car during accidentPanaji, Dec 7 : The Toyota Innova car, which Goa Inspector General of Police (IGP) K. D. Singh's 18-year-old son rammed into an electricity pole in the wee hours of Dec 5, is in fact officially allotted to the state Director General of Police Bhimsain Bassi.


Goa policemen in sex act may go scot-free

Panaji, Dec 8 - Three policemen who allegedly forced a sex worker to perform oral sex in a police control room (PCR) van could go scot-free as, according to a senior official, no criminal action is possible unless the victim is traced.

Superintendent of Police Atmaram Deshpande said no criminal complaint would be registered against head constable Santosh Naik for allegedly having oral sex while two other police constables filmed the act. Naik has been suspended.

"A complaint would be filed only if the woman comes forward and deposes before the enquiry. It could be consensual sex. Otherwise they will be only dealt with departmentally," Deshpande told IANS.

Police claim the sex worker cannot be traced.


Russian rape victim now counts scars of police insensitivity

Russian rape victim now counts scars of police insensitivityPanaji, Dec 9 - The 13 angry, livid scars on her body are testimony to her rape allegedly by a local politician John Fernandes Dec 1. Nine days later, the 25-year-old Russian is now counting the mental scars left behind by a completely insensitive and corrupt Goa police.

The victim has been running from pillar to post since the moment she walked up the stairs of the Colva police station in South Goa to file her rape complaint.


Goa rape victim dreads for life, likely to withdraw complaint

Panaji, Dec 9 : The Russian girl who alleged that she was assaulted by supporters of John Fernandes, a high profile Goa politician, has said that she will withdraw her rape complaint if the Russian Consulate does not step in to help her.

The 25-year-old woman, who is associated with a five star hotel, had filed a complaint in this regard with the local police station. Later, the girl''s lawyer had sent her complaint to the Russian consulate, as she blamed the local police for not cooperating with her.

The police however, refused to comment on the matter and said the case is being investigated. The Russian girl now wants to withdraw the case as she claims that the local police are not cooperating with her and helping the accused.


Crime Branch officials arrest Goa politician accused of rape

Crime Branch officials arrest Goa politician accused of rapePanaji, Dec 9 : Goa politician John Fernandes, an accused in the alleged rape of a Russian woman, was arrested by the Goa Crime Branch here today.

On Tuesday (December 8), the South Goa District and Sessions Court had granted bail to him, as his lawyer argued that there was a discrepancy in the statements of the victim.

This morning the Russian girl, who had alleged that supporters of John Fernandes had assaulted her, wished to withdraw her rape complaint if the Russian Consulate did not step in to help her.


Russian consul general seeks proper probe into rape case

Russian consul general seeks proper probe into rape casePanaji, Dec 10 : The Russian consulate in Mumbai has asked the Goa chief minister to ensure proper investigation into the alleged rape of a 25-year-old Russian girl by a local politician, and warned that such incidents "spoil the image of Goa as a safe place for tourists".


Church-affiliated Goa group publishes anti-Israeli book

Church-affiliated Goa group publishes anti-Israeli bookPanaji, Dec 11 - Portraying Israeli tourists as a bunch of promiscuous, stingy, drug addicts and peddlers, a new book published by a church-affiliated organisation in Goa is likely to ruffle many feathers.

The 96-page work, "Claiming the right to say no: a study of Israeli tourist behaviour and patterns in Goa", has been authored by 11 seminarians or priests-in-grooming. It has been published by the Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP), an arm of the Roman Catholic church in the state.


Goa may become rape capital of India, fears tourism minister

Goa may become rape capital of India, fears tourism ministerPanaji, Dec 11 : Worried by the increasing number of rapes and assaults on tourists in Goa, especially foreigners, state Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco has said that Goa may soon "gain reputation as the rape capital of India".

In his letter to state Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Thursday, Pacheco has said that "an impression is gaining ground that the police in Goa is either grossly incompetent or is influenced by other factors as a result of which complaints are not properly investigated".


Confusion in Goa over blast case investigation

Digambar-KamatPanaji, Dec 11 : Confusion prevailed over the status of the Diwali-eve blast in Goa, with Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Friday saying the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has been handed over the probe and the state police saying they were not aware of this yet.

Kamat, speaking to reporters, said that the decision to hand over the case was taken during his meeting with union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in New Delhi some days back.


Media obsessed with white skin: Goa minister

Micky-PachecoPanaji, Dec 11 : Even as state Tourism Minister Micky Pacheco has expressed fear that increasing number of rapes and assaults on tourists would soon make Goa the rape capital of India, another cabinet minister, Churchill Alemao, has blamed foreigners for roaming in Goa at unearthly hours.

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function, Public Works Department Minister Churchill Alemao blamed the media for taking up the cause of the "white-skinned tourists".

"When Scarlett died in Goa, what was she doing in a shack at 4 a. m.? I have five daughters who return home at 11 p. m... max by midnight," Alemao said.


Sand sculpture fest in Goa to focus on global warming

Goa-MapPanaji, Dec 14 : Goa, a popular beach tourism destination battling the effects of climate change, will host a sand art festival with global warming as its central theme, a tourism department official here said Monday.

With sand erosion rampant and the rise in the sea water level threatening 10 percent of Goa's 105-km coastal stretch, the official said the three-day Goa sand art festival, starting Dec 18, would help in dissemination of information about the global warming phenomenon.


In tourism, Goa church sees great new tool

In tourism, Goa church sees great new toolPanaji, Dec 15 - The Roman Catholic church in Goa wants tourists in the state to spare the proverbial beach and booze and hit the Bible instead.

This is articulated in a new book titled "The challenge and prospects of tourism in Goa today" compiled by Ranjan Solomon, consultant to the church-backed Centre for Responsible Tourism.

"The church has to make her faith more alive, dynamic and challenging by encountering the reality of tourism," it states. The book was released by Goa archbishop Filipe Neri Ferrao.


246 applications for new mines pending in Goa

Panaji, Dec 15 - While Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat says there "is no question" of allowing new mining leases in the state, official documents submitted in the assembly Tuesday show there are 246 applications for new leases.

In a written reply, Kamat, who also holds the mining portfolio, said 246 applications have been received for "prospecting of major minerals in the state during the last two years".

Goa's hinterland has seen a string of agitations against illegal mining and granting of new mining leases.

In another written reply, the mines and geology department stated Goa exported nearly 30 million tonnes of iron ore in 2008-09.


GPS technology may become compulsory for fishing trawlers

GPS technology may become compulsory for fishing trawlersPanaji, Dec 15 : The Goa government is considering making global positioning system (GPS) a compulsory fitting on board the 1,200-odd trawlers in the state in the wake of 67 fishermen losing their lives to Cyclone Phyan in November.

The state fisheries department had sent a proposal to the central government for the same, Fisheries Minister Joaquim Alemao said during the winter session of the Goa legislative assembly Tuesday.


Goa minister's London stay cost nearly Rs.100,000

Goa minister's London stay cost nearly Rs.100,000Panaji, Dec 15 : Goa Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco's stay at the plush Ritz Carlton hotel in London for a tourism mart has cost the government nearly Rs. 1lakh, the state legislative assembly was told Tuesday.

Pacheco was in London in November to participate and promote Goa as a holiday destination during a tourism mart held there. And his stay at the Ritz Carlton cost Rs. 94,720 to be precise.


'Discrimination continues even in Goa's reserved constituency'

'Discrimination continues even in Goa's reserved constituency'Panaji, Dec 15 : Goa's only Scheduled Caste (SC) cabinet minister Manohar Azgaonkar Tuesday alleged that members of the SC community in his reserved constituency of Dhargal were still not treated at par with others.

Azgaonkar, a panchayati raj minister in the Congress-led coalition government, was speaking during the winter session of the Goa legislative assembly here.


Court cancels bail of accused in Russian's rape

Court cancels bail of accused in Russian's rape Panaji, Dec 15 : The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court Tuesday cancelled the anticipatory bail of John Fernandes, a local politician accused of raping a
25-year-old Russian woman Dec 1.

Justice U. D. Salvi in his order said there was a prima facie case of rape when the victim first went to the Colva police station Dec 1. Fernandes was granted anticipatory bail by a local court earlier.


Accused in Russian rape case missing: Goa police

Accused in Russian rape case missing: Goa policePanaji, Dec 16 : John Fernandes, accused of raping a Russian woman in Goa, has gone missing after his anticipatory bail was cancelled by the high court Tuesday, police said Wednesday.

Fernandes, who allegedly raped the 25-year-old woman in the wee hours of Dec 2, had been granted anticipatory bail by a local court earlier.

Speaking to reporters, police spokesperson Atmaram Deshpande said that efforts were being made to trace him.


Crimes against Russians causing worry back home: Consul general

Crimes against Russians causing worry back home: Consul generalPanaji, Dec 16 : Victimisation of Russian citizens in Goa has created a lot of apprehension back home, the Russian consul general has said in a letter to the state chief minister.

The letter dated Dec 14 said "crimes against women" in Goa were increasing and that the mission was willing to tell its citizens not to go out after 10 p. m. in Goa, if it helps the situation.


Book listing Goa government's achievements under scanner

Book listing Goa government's achievements under scannerPanaji, Dec 16 : Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Wednesday ordered a probe into alleged corruption in the publishing of a book listing the achievements of the Congress-led alliance state government on completion of two years in power.

"I will ask the chief secretary to initiate a probe into this matter and submit a report," Kamat, also minister for information and publicity, said during question hour after he was heckled by the opposition over the publication of the book by the directorate of information and publicity (DIP).


Goa's Congress minister questions NREG Scheme

Goa's Congress minister questions NREG SchemePanaji, Dec 16 : Goa's Rural Development Agency (RDA) Minister Churchill Alemao Wednesday questioned the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance's (UPA) flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee (NREG) Scheme, saying that "it was not possible to pay money to those who do not work".

Replying to a query from the opposition benches on mismanagement of the NREG Scheme, Alemao said: "People cannot sit and get money. If this happens, lots of people will come. They have to do the job. They are not doing the job. If they do not work, why should we pay money?"


Goa BJP asks Congress MP to apologise for rape comment

Goa BJP asks Congress MP to apologise for rape commentPanaji, Dec 16 : The Goa state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Wednesday demanded a public apology from the state's lone Rajya Sabha member Shantaram Naik for his controversial comments on rape.

Addressing a press conference, party spokesperson Govind Parvatkar said the Congress MP had defamed Goa's credential as a safe state.

"He should publicly apologise for his statement," Parvatkar said.


Brickbats, support for Goa MP over rape remarks

Shantaram-NaiPanaji, Dec 16 : While a leading women's right activist Wednesday criticised Congress MP Shantaram Naik's controversial comments on rape in parliament, he found support from a surprising quarter - from none other than the outgoing chairperson of the Goa State Commission for Women (SCW).

Goa does not even have a functioning SCW to monitor crimes against women, Sabina Martins of the NGO Bailancho Saad said, adding that the state government's inability to reconstitute the Goa SCW in time proved how serious the government and ruling politicians were about crimes against women.


Goa Diwali eve blast case handed over to NIA

Panaji, Dec 17 - The Diwali eve blast in Goa that killed two people has been formally handed over to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), police here said Thursday.

Four people associated with the Hindu rightwing group Sanatan Sanstha have been arrested in connection with the Oct 16 blast in Margao.

"NIA has intimated the South Goa district and sessions court on Wednesday that they have taken over the investigation of the blast which occurred on Oct 16," police spokesperson Atmaram Deshpande told reporters.

"The NIA team is expected to arrive on Monday to take over the investigation from the Goa police special investigation team (SIT)," he added.


Goa's special force to combat crimes against tourists

Goa's special force to combat crimes against touristsPanaji, Dec 17 - The Goa tourism department is in the process of setting up a Special Tourist Security Force (STSF) to tackle the rising number of crimes against tourists in the state.

The government's intent in setting up the STSF has been articulated in the annual administration report tabled in the Goa assembly Tuesday by Tourism Minister Francisco Pacheco.


Goa chief minister asks tourists to follow 'code' for safety

Goa chief minister asks tourists to follow 'code' for safetyPanaji, Dec 17 - Goa Chief Minister Digamber Kamat Thursday asked tourists to adhere to certain "code and responsibilities" while on holiday in the state.

"There is no restraint on tourists moving out at night but they should follow certain code and responsibilities," Kamat said, without quantifying what he meant by "code and responsibilities".


Goa opposition alleges Rs.40 crore alcohol scam

Goa opposition alleges Rs.40 crore alcohol scamPanaji, Dec 17 - Goa's Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar Thursday alleged that an alcohol scam to the tune of Rs. 40 crore is being carried out in collusion with the state excise commissioner and officials of the excise department.

Speaking during Question Hour in the state assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader said that excise departments from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh were involved in the scam involving large scale evasion of excise vis-a-vis import of alcohol into Goa.


Home ministry bringing Goa a bad name: Tourism minister

Home ministry bringing Goa a bad name: Tourism ministerPanaji, Dec 17 : Goa Tourism Minister Mickky Pacheco Thursday told the legislative assembly that the state home ministry was bringing Goa a bad name, triggering a verbal battle between him and Home Minister Ravi Naik.

Pacheco's remark came during zero hour, after Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar raised the issue of tourists on Goan beaches being hassled by beggars, touts and petty peddlers, most of whom belong to a tribe called Lamanis from Karnataka.


Goa home minister tries to downplay rape incident

ravi-naikPanaji, Dec 17: Insisting that Goa was a safe place, state Home Minister Ravi Naik Thursday told the Goa legislative assembly that a Russian woman who has accused politician John Fernandes of rape knew him since 2008, and "you make friends and while going on the road some trouble happens".

Naik was replying to a discussion on matters of public importance in the state assembly raised by Leader of Opposition Manohar Parrikar.


Goa home minister warns of 'spectacular' terror violence

Ravi-naikPanaij, Dec 17 : Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik Thursday told the Goa legislative assembly that Pakistan-based terrorists groups could indulge in "spectacular violence" in Goa.

"Available intelligence inputs indicate that a strong desire is entertained by various Pak-based terrorist groups to indulge in spectacular violence in Goa," Naik said in a written reply to a discussion on matters of urgent public importance vis a vis the clandestine visit of terror suspect David Headley.

Goa was emerging as an important target for terrorists, Naik added.


Cops' casino visit official: Goa home minister

Panaji, Dec 18 - A month after seven police officers left Goa police red-faced by creating a stir aboard an offshore casino, state Home Minister Ravi Naik clarified that they had not only visited the vessel but had also dined on the vessel; compliments of the management.

Naik has, however, claimed in a statement that the 10 p. m. Nov 12 offshore casino visit by the officers, which included four superintendents of police, two deputy superintendents of police and one police inspector, was official, for "familiarisation" with top casino official Narender Punj.


Fight against attempts to defame state: Kamat

Fight against attempts to defame state: Kamat Panaji, Dec 19 : Under pressure to contain the adverse publicity over the Russian rape case, Goa Chief Minister Digambar Kamat Saturday appealed to citizens to "fight unitedly against attempts to defame the state highlighting certain incidents".

Speaking at the Goa Liberation Day parade function in the city, Kamat asked tourists to have full faith in Goa as a tourist destination.

"These are only isolated cases. Tourists have full faith in Goa," Kamat said in his speech at the function which marks the liberation of Goa from Portuguese rule on Dec 19,


Now police unsure about Goa blast links to Sadhvi, Purohit

Shrikant PurohitPanaji, Dec 21 : Police here Monday refused to acknowledge that the Diwali-eve blasts in Goa had any links with Sadhvi Pragya Singh and Col. Shrikant Purohit, accused in the September 2008 blast in Malegaon.

Inspector General of Police (IGP) K. D. Singh also denied media reports that quoted him as saying that the Goa blast had links to the Sadhvi and Purohit.

"Now is not the time to say that there is link or no link as the case is being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA)... We can't disclose anything at this time," Singh told reporters here.


Ketamine export racket busted in Goa

Ketamine export racket busted in GoaPanaji, Dec 21 : Customs officials Monday busted an international ketamine export racket operating from a post office in the state, an official said Monday.

Officials of the narcotics wing of the Customs and Central Excise said that pharmacist Norman Azavedo has been arrested for smuggling ketamine to some European countries through parcels dispatched from the post office in Mapusa, 13 km from here.


Goa chief minister's gold medals to police officers come under cloud

Goa chief minister's gold medals to police officers come under cloudPanaji, Dec 22 - The Goa chief minister's gold medal awarded to two senior police officers for 'dedicated and commendable' services has come under cloud with civic groups alleging that the tainted police officers have been decorated.


Our women members being targeted: Sanatan Sanstha

Our women members being targeted: Sanatan SansthaPanaji, Dec 22 : Sanatan Sanstha, a Hindu rightwing group whose members have been linked to the Diwali eve blast in Goa, Tuesday alleged harassment of its women members by people residing near its premises.

Virendra Marathe, administrator of the group's ashram at Ramnathi, 25 km from here, said at a press conference here that "anti-social elements" were repeatedly targeting its women's quarters with stones and rubble.

"We have registered nearly six complaints with the police over the last one month, but no action has been taken," Marathe said.


NGO objects to violation of smoking laws in Goa festival

NGO objects to violation of smoking laws in Goa festivalPanaji, Dec 23 - The National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) has taken objection to gross violation of smoking laws at the recently concluded Bacardi blast, a music festival held in Goa over the last weekend.

Taking suo moto cognisance of television news footage showing the audience at the music festival smoking in a public environment, NOTE general secretary Shekhar Salkar said the anti-tobacco organisation would file a first information report (FIR) at the Panaji police station later Wednesday.


Wary Goa set to usher in Christmas

David Coleman HeadleyPanaji, Dec 24 : On the heels of US based terror suspect David Coleman Headley's reported visit to the state earlier this year, a wary Goa is all set to usher in Christmas celebrations amid high security.

After planting armed bunkers on its beaches last year amidst a heightened state of alert following the Mumbai terror strikes, the Goa police have initiated a special set of security measures to ensure a safe Christmas in coordination with church authorities in the state.


Customs officials held for letting in ships without checks

hancuffsPanaji, Dec 24 : Two customs officials were arrested by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) in Goa for allowing foreign ships to enter without mandatory checks, an official said Thursday.

The port premises have also been used by Pakistani sailors to smuggle into Goa in the past, according to the port's top official.

The two officials - Superintendent H. Rebello and Inspector B. V. R. Murthy - were caught red handed Wednesday with imported liquor and cigarette cartons worth Rs. 39,000 which were allegedly part of a bribe they had received from a cargo ship that had sailed from Panama.


Christmas ordeal for Russian women; Hid in jungle for 6 hours to escape rape

Christmas ordeal for Russian women; Hid in jungle for 6 hours to escape rape  Panaji, Dec 25 : A Christmas party in Goa for two Russian women turned out to be a horrific ordeal when a taxi driver they had engaged tried to rape them at Anjuna. The two victims had to hide in a jungle thicket for six hours to escape being raped and robbed by the taxi driver and his accomplices on a night when police claimed security in the state was at its peak.


Cabbie charged with molestation after trying to rape Russian tourists

Cabbie charged with molestation after trying to rape Russian touristsPanaji, Dec 26 - The Goa police have arrested a taxi driver, accused of attempted rape by two Russian women on Christmas night, but has charged him with molestation instead.

Pramod Shrikant Shirodkar was arrested in the early hours of Saturday and booked under sections 509, 323 and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), dealing with 'outraging the modesty of a woman', 'causing hurt' and 'threatening' respectively, a police spokesperson told IANS.


Goa 'serial killer' acquitted in one murder case

Goa 'serial killer' acquitted in one murder casePanaji, Jan 2 : A Goa court Saturday acquitted alleged serial killer Mahanand Naik in one of the 16 murder cases he was charged with in 2009.

Naik, an unemployed part-time autorickshaw driver whose alleged murderous exploits spread over a decade created a wave of fear in Goa, was acquitted by District and Sessions Judge (South Goa) Desmond D'Costa for lack of evidence in the murder of Surat Gaonkar in 2006.

Naik was arrested by Quepem police under Sections 302, 395 and 201 of IPC for murder, stealing gold ornaments and destroying evidence.


Goa is India's 'drugs and criminals' capital, says BJP

Mickky PachechoPanaji, Jan 4 : Weeks after Tourism Minister Mickky Pachecho called Goa the "rape capital" of India, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manohar Parrikar Monday described the state as "a capital for drugs and criminals".

The former chief minister, who is Leader of Opposition, said the law and order situation in the state has "completely deteriorated", citing a Bangalore girl's death from drug overdose at the Sunburn Music Festival in the last week of December.


We have no inputs on Headley's Goa visit, say cops

We have no inputs on Headley's Goa visit, say copsPanaji, Jan 5 - There were no specific intelligence inputs that Mumbai terror suspect David Coleman Headley had visited Goa last year, a senior police official has said.

"We do not know. We have received no specific intelligence input on Headley's Goa visit," Superintendent of Police (CID) Atmaram Deshpande said here Monday when asked about the Pakistani-American terror suspect's Goa links.


Clean chit to Goa cop in Russian rape complaint case

Clean chit to Goa cop in Russian rape complaint case Panaji, Jan 5 : The Goa police Tuesday gave a clean chit to a police inspector who had faced the charge of forcing a Russian resident to tone down her rape complaint against a Goa politician to molestation.

The clean chit followed a formal "departmental inquiry" in which the Russian victim's statement was not even recorded.

"I don't even know about the inquiry. No statement of mine was ever recorded in this matter and no one contacted me about it," she told reporters Tuesday.


Footballers accused of molestation backed by aphrodisiac maker

Footballers accused of molestation backed by aphrodisiac makerPanaji, Jan 6 - The Churchill Brothers football team, offloaded from a Kolkata-bound flight in Mumbai after three of its players allegedly molested an airhostess, is sponsored by a sex aphrodisiac manufacturer.

One of the top football clubs in the country, Churchill Brothers had signed a


Probe against police official admitting to drug trade in Goa

Probe against police official admitting to drug trade in GoaPanaji, Jan 6 - Goa Home Minister Ravi Naik Wednesday ordered an enquiry into the state police spokesperson's recent statements admitting to drug trade in the state.

Naik has been on the backfoot over rampant drug abuse in and along the coastal tourism hubs of Goa during the tourist season with the death of 23-year-old Meha Bahuguna due to suspected drug overdose at the recent Sunburn dance festival. The minister has been insisting that Goa is a drug-free state.


Russian rape case: Main accused John Fernandes surrenders

Russian rape case: Main accused John Fernandes surrendersPanaji, Jan 6 - John Fernandes, accused of raping a 25-year-old Russian girl here last month, surrendered before the Goa crime branch Wednesday afternoon, police said.

John, a local politician, had been absconding since his anticipatory bail was cancelled by the Bombay High Court last month.

His surrender follows a Supreme Court rap Tuesday when counsel for the accused withdrew John's bail plea after severe censure from the apex court.


Drug overdose: Clean chit for music festival organisers

Ravi NaikPanaji, Jan 6 : Though the possibility of drugs being sold at the world-famous Sunburn music festival here last month is still being investigated by police, state Home Minister Ravi Naik Wednesday gave a clean chit to the organisers.

"There were no drugs sold at the Sunburn festival. When people get whiskey, beer, brandy there, what use is drugs? Why will they take drugs there?" was Naik's rationale for why drugs 'could not' be sold at the music festival. The festival was endorsed by renowned MTV veejay Nikhil Chinappa. Thousands of music buffs and several celebrities from the fields of sports, films and fashion attended the event.


Churchill Alemao blames cramped flight for molestation row

Churchill AlemaoPanaji, Jan 6 : Chief patron of Churchill brothers football club, Churchill Alemao Wednesday said the cramped interior of a Spice Jet flight could have been one of the reasons for the molestation controversy involving three of his club's players.

Alemao also hinted at a conspiracy against his I-league-winning club, which could have led to Tuesday night's controversy in which the three footballers, including two Nigerians were booked for molestation.


Churchill Brothers' sponsors may withdraw Musli power

Churchill Brothers' sponsors may withdraw Musli power Panaji, Jan 6 : A leading aphrodisiac manufacturer could review its reported Rs. 9 crore sponsorship of Churchill Brothers Football Club a day after its three players were held for allegedly molesting an airhostess on board a Spice Jet aircraft in Mumbai.

K. C. Abraham, managing director of Kerala-based Kunnath Pharmaceuticals, told IANS Wednesday that he was arriving in Goa to review the situation "following Tuesday's developments".


Churchill Bros sponsors to probe airhostess molestation charge

Panaji-Goa-MapPanaji, Jan 7 : Sex aphrodisiac makers Musli Power Xtra, official sponsors of the Churchill Brothers football team, will launch an independent private investigation to get to the bottom of the allegations of molestation against three players by an air hostess.

Speaking to IANS late Thursday night after a crucial meeting Churchill Brothers football club management, K. C. Abraham, managing director of Kunnath Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures Musli Power Xtra, said that until the independent private investigation was completed, the reported Rs. 9 crore three-year endorsement deal would continue.


Medical insurance for Russian tourists in Goa

Medical insurance for Russian tourists in GoaPanaji, Jan 9 - Russian tourists in Goa can now have medical insurance. A Moscow-based firm supported by the Russian government is offering policies that will allow the 40,000-odd Russians visiting the state every year to be treated without having to pay.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, legal representative in Goa of the Mumbai-based Russian consulate Vikram Varma said that the formalities had been worked out and a list of hospitals had already been empanelled for cashless treatment of Russian tourists.


Congress non-committal on barring criminally tainted legislators

Panaji, Jan 9 - Congress leaders Saturday remained non-committal on the issue of barring criminally tainted people from entering India's oldest national party, which is in the middle of a countrywide membership drive.

Congress leader Dwijendranath Sharma, addressing a press conference here, said there are procedures to screen those with criminal backgrounds, but refused to say that legislators with a criminal background would not be re-admitted into the party.

"Of course, we do not want people with criminal backgrounds. We have screening procedures in place. But it is up to the Pradesh Congress Committee to debar those with criminal backgrounds," said Sharma, who is in charge of the recruitment drive in Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Goa.


21 Shiv Sainiks held for protests against 'MNIK' in Goa

21 Shiv Sainiks held for protests against 'MNIK' in GoaPanaji, Feb 12 - Twenty one Shiv Sainiks were arrested Friday after they protested against the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer "My Name Is Khan" outside a multiplex screening it here.

"Goa Shiv Sena president Upendra Gaonkar was among those arrested outside the Inox multiplex courtyard for holding protests," Deputy Superintendent of Police Deu Benaulikar told IANS.


Arshad, Tusshar smoke in college campus, NGO complains

Arshad, Tusshar smoke in college campus, NGO complainsPanaji, April 28 - Tobacco watchdog National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE) has filed a police complaint against Bollywood actors Arshad Warsi and Tusshar Kapoor for smoking in a college campus in Goa.

In his complaint to the district Superintendent of Police Allen D'Sa and officials of the state tobacco control cell, NOTE general secretary Shekhar Salkar said the actors, who are shooting at the Chowgule College campus in Margao, about 35 km from here, were caught smoking in campus Tuesday.


Ajay Devgn fined for smoking in public in Goa

Ajay DevganPanaji, Sep 1: Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn has been fined Rs. 100 for smoking in the courtyard of a multiplex in Panaji, police said Wednesday.

"The notice will be issued today (Wednesday). We are acting on a complaint filed by the state health department (Directorate of Health Services, DHS)," Deputy Superintendent of Police Deu Benaulikar told IANS.

A police official said the complaint was filed by the DHS director Rajnanda Desai after the National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE), an anti-tobacoo watchdog NGO, submitted photographs to her office showing the Mumbai-based actor smoking at the INOX multiplex premises.


Devgn was smoking in prohibited area, Goa officials insist

Ajay DevgnPanaji, Sep 8 : Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn was puffing cigarettes in close vicinity of regulation-size "No Smoking" sign boards, officials in Goa said Wednesday.

Manoj Srivastava, the chief executive officer of the Entertainment Society of Goa (ESG), which conducts the International Film Festival of India (IFFI), has countered Devgn's claim to the media Tuesday that smoking was permissible in the ESG complex.

The actor was found smoking in the ESG complex in May this year and subsequently fined Rs. 100 for violating the provisions of the Control of Tobacco Products Act (COPTA).


B.R. Chopra was Nostradamus of Indian film industry: Biographer

B.R. Chopra was Nostradamus of Indian film industry: BiographerPanaji, Nov 28 - B. R. Chopra could well be called the Nostradamus of Bollywood. He dwelt on issues like capital punishment long before there was a debate on it and even made a song-less film at a time when movies without songs were unwanted, says his biographer.

Vinay Vairale, 45, who currently works with the Films Division of India (FDI), said Chopra's films knocked on the doors of greatness not because of their commercial success but because they were predictive visual documents of the time to come.


Bollywood doesn't treat women like dolls: Freida Pinto

Bollywood doesn't treat women like dolls: Freida PintoPanaji, Nov 29 - Indian actress Freida Pinto, who made it to Hollywood after the Oscar winning "Slumdog Millionaire", says women are not treated like dolls in Bollywood and she is certainly game for a Hindi movie if a good one comes along.

"Women are not treated like dolls in Bollywood," Freida said addressing a press conference on the sidelines of the 41st International Film Festival of India (IFFI), where her film "You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger" directed by Woody Allen, is being screened.


Woody might be old, but his creativity is much younger: Freida

Woody might be old, but his creativity is much younger: FreidaPanaji, Nov 29 - Holywood filmmaker Woody Allen may be old enough to be her grandfather, but when it comes to creativity, he is much younger, says "Slumdog Millionaire" star Freida Pinto.

Asked by a reporter Monday how the 26-year-old actress felt being directed by the 1935-born Allen, a Hollywood legend "who was old enough to be her grandfather", Freida first quipped: "He might not like what you said."


Court issues notice to director of 'Dum Maaro Dum'

Court issues notice to director of 'Dum Maaro Dum'Panaji, April 7 : The Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court Thursday issued notices to the director and producers of Bollywood film 'Dum Maaro Dum' and other officials, over a petition seeking a ban on the film scheduled to be released April 22.

"The movie is against public order, decency and morality and there is clear violation of the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution of India to the people of Goa," petitioner Savio Rodrigues said in his plea. (IANS)


'Dum Maaro Dum' makers could be dragged to court

'Dum Maaro Dum' makers could be dragged to courtPanaji, April 21 : The government could go to court against "Dum Maaro Dum" to protect the dignity of women, a Congress MP said Thursday, citing Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni's dissatisfaction with some dialogues in the film.

Goa's only Rajya Sabha MP Shantaram Naik said this in a press statement here just a day before the global release of Rohan Sippy's controversial film.


K.K. Birla group company temporarily closed

K.K. Birla group company temporarily closedPanaji, Aug 31 - Zuari Industries limited (ZIL), a K. K. Birla group company in Goa, has been temporarily shut due to a shortage of naphtha, a raw material needed to manufacture agricultural fertilisers, a company spokesperson said Wednesday.

The temporary shutdown follows a major accident last week in which leaked naphtha caused a major fire in the port town of Vasco, 30 km from here, resulting in the death of three people trapped in the fire.

"We had to take the decision as there is no supply of naphtha," ZIL spokesperson Anand Rajadhyaksha said.


Goa saint's feast hinders IFFI dates

International Film Festival of IndiaPanaji, Sep 21 - The annual feast of Goa's most revered saints is posing to be the main hurdle in the finalization of the dates of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) later this year, an official said Wednesday.

The film festival is held in Goa every year through November and December. Generally, Nov 23 is the day when it kick-starts.


The real 'Anthony Gonsalves' no more

Panaji, Jan 19 - Anthony Gonsalves, a Goan orchestra maestro and the man to whom the legendary Bollywood song "My Name is Anthony Gonsalves" was dedicated, is dead.

Gonsalves, 84, who was suffering from pneumonia in the last few days, died in his hospital bed at the Goa Medical College Wednesday night.

An orchestra maestro and a capable music arranger, known for his magical violin skills, had worked with well-known composer duo Laxmikant-Pyarelal, who had dedicated the "Amar Akbar Anthony" song to the Goan musician.


Former Goa CM, cabinet minister involved in mining scam: Parrikar

Former Goa CM, cabinet minister involved in mining scam: ParrikarPanaji, Jan 21: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Monday said that a former Congress chief minister and a cabinet minister were involved in illegal mining in the state and would soon be penalised .

"All Congress leaders from (former chief minister) Digambar (Kamat) to (former minister) Joaquim (Alemao) are involved in illegal mining and their names will come out soon," Parrikar told reporters during his government's reach-out campaign that started last week.


1.8 million domestic tourists visited Goa in nine months

Goa-tourismPanaji, Jan 29 : Over 1.8 million domestic tourists visited the state from April to December 2012, Goa's tourism ministry said Tuesday.

In a written reply tabled during the first assembly session of 2013, Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said that 18,35,268 domestic tourists visited Goa, apart from the 2,74,468 foreign tourists who landed in the state to enjoy its beaches and night-life.

Parulekar also said that tourist cottages and accommodation offered by the Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC), a corporation which functions under the state tourism ministry, were only 50 percent occupied during the same period.


Mining lobby attacks Goa governor for ignoring their plight

Bharat-Vir-WanchooPanaji, Jan 30 : The mining lobby Wednesday attacked Goa Governor Bharat Veer Wanchoo, calling him an "agent" of the central government and accusing him of being callous to those affected by the ban on iron ore mining in Goa.

Lobbyists seeking revocation of the ban on iron ore mining in the state spoke to reporters after Wanchoo "snubbed" the pro-mining lobby protestors who have been camping near the Martyrs' Memorial here for the last two weeks.


After minor's rape, headmistress ordered clean-up: Goa CM

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, Jan 31 : In a shocking disclosure, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Goa legislative assembly Thursday that a school headmistress oversaw the washing and cleaning of the private parts of the seven-year-old rape victim.

Parrikar was updating the house on the progress of investigations into the rape of a minor girl in a school toilet at the port town of Vasco, a crime which had stunned the state Jan 14.

"During investigation, it was revealed that the headmistress directed the class teacher to wash the private parts of the victim to avoid infection," Parrikar told the assembly.


Goa mining scam worth only Rs.5,000 crore not Rs.35,000 crore: Parrikar

Manohar-Parrikar2Panaji, Jan 31 : The mining scam in Goa is only worth Rs. 5,000 crore and not Rs. 35,000 crore as estimated by the Justice M. B. Shah commission, chief minister Manohar Parrikar told the Goa legislative assembly Thursday.

Parrikar was replying to the motion of thanks to the governor's speech.

"The real scam is only Rs. 4 crore to Rs. 5 crore over the last five years. The loss to the government is in royalties only. The Shah Commission figure of Rs. 35,000 crore is a wrong figure," Parrikar said, adding that Shah himself had said that the figure should be cross-checked.


Goa says mining should be allowed below water table

Mining-in-GoaPanaji, Feb 16 : Mining in Goa should be continued, even if excavation operations are carried out below the water table, the Goa government has said in its affidavit before the Supreme Court.

The apex court is hearing a public interest litigation on rampant illegal mining in the state filed by a local green NGO and activist-lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

The affidavit responds to the findings of the Supreme Court's central empowered committee (CEC), which recommended that mining below the water table should be allowed only in "exceptional circumstances and with adequate checks and balances".


Tablets, notebooks for just Rs.25 for Goa students

tablet-PCPanaji, Feb 26 : Students in Goa can now get a tablet PC or a notebook for just Rs. 25.

The digital largesse is a part of the Goa government education department's initiative to familiarise Class V and VII students with computers in order to "prepare them for the life ahead and get them curious about the e-systems", according to additional director education Anil Powar.

"General category students will have to pay only Rs. 25 while SC and ST students will have to pay Rs. 10 to register for the scheme," Powar told reporters here Tuesday.


After SRK shrug, Dempo scouts for other Bollywood options

Shahrukh-Khan_Panaji, March 16 : Bollywood superstar Shahrukh Khan may no longer be interested in picking up a 50 percent stake in one of India's leading football team, the Dempo Sports Club.

Srinivas Dempo, promoter of Dempo, while speaking at the Goa India Football Table (GIFT), said that things didn't go well as expected. GIFT is an n international conference about football infrastructure held in Goa


Beer, IMFL prices hiked in Goa

Beer_Panaji, March 18 : Beer and Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) will be marginally expensive after Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar presented the state budget for 2013-14 Monday but a consumer can now make up part of the added expense.

In his budget speech in the assembly, Parrikar directed all beer manufacturers to print the "value of the refundable bottle deposit" on it.

"This will ensure that the consumer is able to obtain a refund of the price of the empty bottle, which is usually charged extra as a deposit by the vendor," Parrikar said.


Illegal revival of 42 mines to be probed: Parrikar

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, March 20 : A panel appointed by the Goa government to probe illegal mining in the state will probe the illegal revival of 42 mines 17 years ago, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Wednesday.

"Offences and illegalities committed in the mining activities in Goa will be probed including illegal orders that were passed to revive 42 dead mining leases," Parrikar said in the assembly.

He was responding to a question by Congress legislator Vishwajeet Rane.

The 42 mines amount to a little less than half the 'legally' operated mining leases which were functioning until recently.


Illegal Goa mining would have attracted Dawood: CM

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, March 26 : Chief minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday said that if illegal mining had continued in Goa, notorious underworld don Dawood Ibrahim would have invested in it, and wondered if anyone had the capacity to arrest him.

Parrikar was speaking in the Goa assembly. Dawood Ibrahim, India's most wanted don considered to be an architect of the 1993 Mumbai blasts, is reportedly hiding in Pakistan.

"I don't know if anyone has the capacity to arrest Dawood (Ibrahim). The government of India has been trying this for the last 25 years," Parrikar said.


Saif Ali Khan draws ire of anti-tobacco group

Saif-Ali-KhanPanaji, March 28 : An anti-tobacco organisation here Thursday demanded that Bollywood actor Saif Ali Khan should be punished for violating the country's anti-smoking laws in promoting his latest film "Go Goa Gone".

Shekhar Salkar, general secretary of National Organisation for Tobacco Eradication (NOTE)-India, registered a complaint with the North Goa district collector and deputy inspector general of police, seeking punishment for Saif under provisions of the Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products Act (COPTA), 2003.


Violence, suicides expected in Goa's mining belt: CM

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, April 2 : Residents of Goa's mining belt could commit suicide and indulge in severe violence due to the long drawn ban on mining activity, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar acknowledged Tuesday.

The chief minister also said there was no threat to environmentalists, whose PIL in the Supreme Court resulted in the ban last year.

Parrikar said this in a written reply in the Goa legislative assembly.


Mining companies should not lay off workers: Parrikar

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, April 3 : Mining companies should be able to "support" workers, instead of laying them off following the mining ban, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar told the Goa legislative assembly Wednesday.

Parrikar was responding to a question from Congress legislator Atanasio Monserrate over the fate of about 40,000 mining sector workers who have been rendered jobless following the ban enforce by the Supreme Court.


Titanic's menu lives on after 101 years

chef-tony-fernandesPanaji, April 12 : More than a 100 years after the Titanic sank, the overtly rich and elaborate cuisine served to the high and mighty onboard the ill-fated vessel continues to make waves.

Titanic's overwhelmingly French menu has been re-created by Canadian chef of Goan origin Tony Fernandes in Toronto for a charity dinner Friday.

The seven course meal served at the Captain's table onboard the Titanic will be whipped up by Fernandes and his Golden Horseshoe Culinary team at the Algonquin Ballroom.


Kamal Nath overruled official to denotify Goa SEZs: Wikileaks

Kamal-NathPanaji, April 18 : Former union commerce minister Kamal Nath had overruled his ministry's secretary and favoured denotification of three special economic zones (SEZ) in Goa in 2008, suggest recently unclassified diplomatic cables available on Wikileaks.

The cable from the US embassy dated Jan 4, 2008, titled "Centre appears to waffle on Goa SEZ ban", also says that the decision to denotify the SEZs in Goa could have hit the central government's plans for "foreign participation in SEZs".


60 Goa mines may resume work if ban is lifted, says CM

Manohar-ParikarPanaji, April 24 : Of the 80 odd operational mines in Goa, 60 could resume operations after the Supreme Court-imposed ban is lifted, Chief minister Manohar Parrikar said Wednesday.

Parrikar said this while responding to a query during the question hour in the state assembly.

"Before the ban, there were around 80-81 mines operating in Goa. After the ban is lifted, we could have around 60 in operation," Parrikar said.

He added that the government would cancel recently renewed leases if the mining companies were indicted for violations of the environment norms.


NRIs' land sales causing Goa real estate rush: Parrikar

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, April 26 : Ancestral land sold by Goan expatriates could have led to Goa's real estate rush, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Friday.

Parrikar was speaking at a function in the state secretariat to launch the official website of the Goa government's Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Commission.

The chief minister said that a lot of land owned by the expatriates was encroached or fraudulently sold by politicians and conmen, which had forced these NRIs to sell off their ancestral properties, instead of managing them.


Asha Bhosle has not done enough for Goa: BJP lawmaker

Asha-BhoslePanaji, May 7 : A BJP legislator Tuesday launched a scathing attack on legendary singer Asha Bhosle for not giving enough to Goa and indulging in double-speak.

Vishnu Wagh, who is also the chairman of the state-run Kala Academy, was speaking at a cultural festival on the outskirts of the capital, when he took on Bhosle, whose family originally hails from the Mangueshi village, 25 km from here.


Audi pushing cheap Q3 in Goa to counter slump

Audi-Q3-ModelPanaji, May 8 : The economic slump caused by the mining ban in Goa has forced Audi to change tack as far as sales strategy in the state is concerned, a top official said Wednesday.

With mining banned in Goa, after a multi-million dollar scam, and the state's economy on the downswing, Audi has been forced to introduce and push the Q3, one of the cheapest but flagship SUVs, in the Goa market, said Venkat Muppana, managing director, Audi Goa.


Children to help make South Goa smoke-free

smoke-freePanaji, May 9 : Children will be at the forefront of a campaign in South Goa district, which is aimed to make the area smoke-free, an official said Thursday.

At a meeting of the district's task force committee on tobacco control, officials formalised a plan to make the district smoke-free by the end of May. Goa is made up of two administrative districts, North Goa and South Goa.


Western Ghat report has imperialist mindset: Ecologist

Madhav-GadgilPanaji, May 18 :  Ecologist Madhav Gadgil has picked holes in former ISRO head K. Kasturirangan's high-level working group (HLWG) report on the environmentally sensitive Western Ghats, saying it endorses "exploitation" of the region's natural resources.

Gadgil, a Padma Bhushan awardee, added that the report also favours the "rich and powerful of the country and of the globalised world".


'Russian tourists in Goa may touch 200,000'

Goa-TouristsPanaji, May 20 : The number of Russian tourists to Goa could soon touch 200,000 annually, newly-appointed Russian honorary consul in Goa Victor Albuquerque said Monday.

Albuquerque, a reputed businessman in Goa, was speaking to reporters in his first media conference after being appointed a couple of months ago to act as a first point of assistance to the thousands of Russian tourists who have been flocking to Goa.


Yamaha launches scooter for young men

Yamaha-Ray-ZPanaji, May 24 :  In a bid to shore up its market share in the two-wheeler segment, Japanese auto major Yamaha's Indian subsidiary launched Friday a new variant of its automatic scooter Ray.

According to the company, Ray Z has been developed to target young male users between 16-22 years with the concept of "aggressive sporty design" priced at Rs. 48,555 (ex-showroom New Delhi).

The new variant comes a year after the launch of the initial "Ray" model which was developed to target young women. However, Yamaha felt the need to launch a sporty scooter for boys to expand and increase sales in India.


No decision on Modi as PM: BJP leader

Narendra-ModiPanaji, May 25 : A decision on Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate will only be taken by the party's parliamentary board "when it is appropriate" and not when the national executive meets here next month, a BJP leader said Saturday.

BJP general secretary J. P. Nadda told reporters: "The decision for the post of prime ministerial candidate is for the party's parliamentary board to decide. They will take a decision on the issue when it is appropriate."


BJP women will get equal opportunity in 2014 polls: Smriti Irani

Smriti-IraniPanaji, May 29 : Women will get "equal opportunity" to contest the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, BJP vice president and TV acterss Smriti Irani said Wednesday.

"Women will get equal opportunity to fight in the Lok Sabha," Irani said, adding that she has been assured this by the party leadership.

When asked if "equal opportunity" meant that 50 percent of the party tickets would be allotted to women, Irani said, "I cannot speak on behalf of the parliamentary board", which takes the final call on ticket allotment.


Parrikar seconds CIC ruling on political parties

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, June 4 : Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Tuesday welcomed the Central Information Commission (CIC) ruling that political parties come under the ambit of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, paving the way for a legislation in this regard.

"It is a good thing," Parrikar told reporters here.

The chief minister said that on an average a political party in Goa needs around Rs. 40 lakh annually to function and for organisational expenses.

"For a political party, it is okay to take donations, but not (in exchange) for getting work done," Parrikar said.


Modi gets thumbs up as BJP goes into huddle

Narendra-ModiPanaji, June 7 : As BJP leaders slipped into their first huddle on day one of a key party conclave, a string of leaders already appear to have given Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi a thumbs up as far as the road to the Lok Sabha polls is concerned.

The man who set the ball rolling was Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, who said: "Modi can catapult BJP to power. He will take us closer to government formation at the centre."

Dharmendra Pradhan, BJP national general secretary and newly appointed in-charge of the party in Bihar, used military analogy to explain the importance of Modi to the electoral fortunes of the party.


Rajnath Singh promises happy ending to BJP meet

rajnath-singhPanaji, June 8 : Amid reports of rift within the BJP especially after L. K. Advani's decision to skip the national executive meeting, party president Rajnath Singh said the conclave would end on a positive note and every one will go back "happy".

In his inaugural address to the national executive meeting here, Rajnath Singh said everyone will go home "happy, energised and enthusiastic", party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar told reporters.


Parrikar invokes Nehru to seek special status for Goa

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, June 13 : Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar has invoked former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru's fondness for the state to convince Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that his state should be accorded special status.

Rising real estate prices and the fear of indigenous Goans being reduced to a minority because of large and rapid migration into the state are also what Parrikar has underlined in a bid to convince the prime minister that Goa be granted special status.


PMO will do 'everything' possible to re-start Goa mining

Goa-miningPanaji, June 13 : The Prime Minister's Office will do everything possible to ensure that mining, currently banned in Goa on a Supreme Court ruling, is resumed in the state at the earliest, an aide of Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Thursday.

A Goa government official said Thursday that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh expressed regret over the plight of people affected by the ban on mining since September last year.

"The prime minister stated that he was aware of the problems caused by the mining ban, and would do everything in his power to have legal mining commenced within the four corners of law," the official said.


Goa wants Rs.400 crore central aid for tourism

Dilip-ParulekarPanaji, June 21 : Goa has sought Rs. 400 crore from the central govenment, especially for creating tourism avenues in the hinterland, where a mining ban as left several thousand people unemployed.

Speaking to reporters at the state Secretariat Friday, Tourism Minister Dilip Parulekar said that he had already spoken to union Tourism Minister Chiranjeevi about the allocation.

"Our decision to seek Rs. 400 crore happened after a meeting with Chiranjeevi recently in London. With mining banned, we are trying to create new tourism and employment opportunities in the hinterland, where there was only mining once," Parulekar said.


Mining in Goa could resume in three months: Parrikar

Manohar-ParrikarPanaji, Sep 5 : Mining in Goa could resume in two or three months, and the Supreme Court of India is aware of the difficulties on the ground in Goa, Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar said Thursday.

Parrikar was addressing a press conference after meeting local bankers over the issue of rescheduling loans taken by entrepreneurs involved in the mining sector.

Those working in this sector in the state have been hit by apex court ban on all mining activity in the state.


No point asking Modi to resign: Tewari

Manish-TewariPanaji, Nov 20 : There is no question of asking Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi to resign following the "unauthorized" surveillance scandal because BJP's prime ministerial candidate has neither shame nor morals, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said here Wednesday.

Tewari was taking political questions at a press conference in Panaji ahead of the inauguration ceremony of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).


Getting Sarandon, Majidi shows India's soft power

Majid-Majidi-Susan-SarandonPanaji, Nov 20 : Getting American actress Susan Sarandon and Iranian filmmaker Majid Majidi together on stage is a testimonial to India's strength as a "soft power", union Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Manish Tewari said Wednesday.

Tewari was addressing a press conference in Panaji a few hours before the inauguration of the 44th edition of the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).


Tejpal case: No CCTV footage from hotel elevator

Tarun-TejpalPanaji, Nov 23 : In what could be a setback for the sexual assault probe against Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, police said Saturday CCTV cameras were not installed in the hotel elevator where Tejpal is alleged to have sexually assaulted his junior colleague twice.

"There are no CCTVs in the elevator," Deputy Inspector General of Police O. P. Mishra told reporters at a press conference at the police headquarters.


Indian actors reluctant to head West

Jai-KhannaPanaji, Nov 23 : India has very good talent that can do well in Hollywood, but many actors are reluctant to shift because of lifestyle issues, talent hunters said here Saturday.

“It is also a question of lifestyle,” Jai Khanna, a 15-year veteran at the Brillstein Entertainment Partners, said at the Film Bazar at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) here.

Indian actors are aware that they won’t get in the West the lifestyle they are used to here, Khanna said.


Tejpal seeks two days time to reach Goa

Tarun-TejpalPanaji, Nov 28 : Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal has sought two more days to appear before the Goa Police, police sources said Thursday.

Tejpal has sent a letter to Crime Branch police inspector Sunita Sawant saying he needed more time to respond to the police summons to appear by 3 p. m. Thursday.

Tejpal has also referred to his plea for anticipatory bail in the Delhi High Court, police sources said.

Tejpal has, however, promised to co-operate with police who are investigating charges that he sexually assaulted a junior colleague at a hotel in Goa this month.(IANS)


Tejpal undergoes medical tests

Tarun-TejpalPanaji, Dec 2 : After being interrogated here for several hours Sunday, Tehelka editor-in-chief Tarun Tejpal, who is accused of sexual assaulting a junior colleague, Monday underwent mandatory medical examinations, which included potency and blood tests.

Police sources said while the potency test was necessary to establish whether the accused was physically capable of the rape he is accused of, the blood tests and other medical examinations are mandatory every two days when an accused is in police custody.

Tejpal was taken to Goa Medical College near Panaji for the potency test before being taken for other tests, the sources added.


Reliance Life to launch 25 products, targets Rs.4,000 crore premium

Reliance-Life-InsurancePanaji (Goa), Dec 5 : The Reliance Life Insurance Company will launch 25 new policies starting January next year and file more products for approval with the regulator, and close the fiscal with a total premium of around Rs. 4,000 crore, a top company official said Thursday.

He said the company would focus on increasing agents' productivity, persistency of its existing policies, launch of new products, and expansion of its new face-to-face channel, among others.


Tehelka sexual assault case: Tejpal's custody extended

Tarun-TejpalPanaji, Dec 11 : A metropolitan court in Panaji, Goa on Wednesday, placed rape accused Tehelka editor Tarun Tejpal in judicial custody for twelve days.

The custodial order was given after Tejpal was produced before the court on expiry of his extended police custody of four days today.

Tejpal's defense lawyer did not seek further police custody, but pleaded for a separate cell to be given to his client while he was in judicial custody.

He claimed that there were safety and security concerns, as Tejpal has antagonized people while being an investigative journalist for almost two decades.


Narendra Modi to address rally in Goa

Narendra-ModiPanaji, Jan 12 : Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is going to address 'Vijay Sankalp' rally in Goa on Sunday.

Modi is expected to talk about several key issues including mining ban.

The rally will be held at 4pm today.

A fee of Rs 5 is being charged from people who are planning to attend the rally.

Rajnath Singh and a few other senior BJP leaders will be present at the meeting. (ANI)


Goa flays central government over mining

Goa flays central government over miningPanaji, March 3 - Goa Governor B. V. Wanchoo Monday lashed out at the central government for not bailing out the cash-strapped state government which is grappling with the mining ban.

Wanchoo told the state assembly on the first day of the budget session that repeated requests to the central government for financial assistance and a bailout for people living in mining areas had fallen on deaf ears.


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