All-party team leaves for DelhiTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An all party delegation led by Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan left for New Delhi on Wednesday to press for the demands of the State. The 24-member delegation will meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday. The delegation will take up issues such as the clearance for the Vizhinjam International Transhipment Project and safety of Mullaperiyar dam, the Chief Minister said before leaving for Delhi. The delegation comprises representatives of ruling and Opposition fronts and the BJP.Union Minister O. Rajagopal.

BSNL slashes tariffTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. (BSNL) has announced a sizeable reduction in tariff for post-paid plans with effect from September 1. Accordingly, the free talk values per month have been increased from Rs.25, Rs.75 and Rs.175 to Rs.60, Rs.100 and Rs.300 for plans 225, 325 and 525, respectively, from the date of activation of calls to BSNL network. Plan 140 has been made a regular plan and VPN facility is available under this scheme for corporate customers. The validity of Student Power 99 plan has been extended for existing customers. It will be open to new customers for two months, from September 1 to October 31. One hundred SMS per month will be free for Student Power 99 plan. The activation charge for pre-paid starter pack has been reduced to Rs.100 from Rs.200 with revised talk value of Rs.30. Staff Reporter

Nodal agency for earthquake reliefTHIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Government will set up a nodal agency to coordinate relief measures in the event of an earthquake in the State. This was decided at conference of officials and scientists convened by Revenue Minister K.P. Rajendran here on Wednesday. Arrangements would be made to undertake campaigns to create awareness among the people of earthquakes.

Cultural programmes for OnamKOLLAM: The tourism week celebrations in Kollam, as part of Onam celebrations, will be held on September 5 and 9. On September 5, Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan will inaugurate the celebrations on Kollam beach. The inaugural function will be followed by a cultural programme to be staged by the troupe Cochin Friends. The programme on September 9 will be held at the Kadappakada Swaralaya Open Air Auditorium. The programme will comprise kathakali and thiruvathira by a team led by Chavara Parukutty Amma, kalaripayattu by Joy Kurukkal and team and a nadan kala mela by Adivasis from Urukunnu area in the district.

Annual fete at Velankanni Mata shrineKOLLAM: The annual festival of Thuyyam Velankanni Mata Shrine here will be held from August 31 to September 8. The festival will begin with the hoisting of the flag at 4.30 p.m. on August 31. The traditional procession will begin at 6 p.m. on September 7 and the festival high mass will be held at 9.30 a.m. on September 8. The mass will be followed by social feast at Thuyyam parish church complex. Staff Reporter

Sri Vidhyadhiraja JayanthiKOLLAM: The 153rd birth anniversary of Sri Vidhyadhiraja Chattambi Swamikal will be celebrated at the Panmana Ashramam, near here, on September 12. The jayanthi conference will be inaugurated by Nair Service Society general secretary P.K. Narayana Panicker. The conference will be presided over by Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran. Education Minister M.A. Baby will be the chief guest. Poet O.N.V. Kurup will deliver the keynote address. Staff Reporter

New association for musiciansKOLLAM: Labour Minister P.K. Gurudasan will inaugurate the All-Kerala Musicians and Technicians Welfare Association at the Swaralaya open-air auditorium here on Saturday. Minister for Water Resources N.K. Premachandran will distribute the identity cards of the association to the members. President of the association Edava Basheer and general secretary Perumon Dilip said that the association will be known as AMUSE. It is the first organisation in the State for musicians. - Staff Reporter

Row over child's death in hospitalKOZHIKODE: A nine-month-old child of a tribal couple of Panamaram tribal colony died at the Wayanad District Hospital at Mananthavadi in Wayanad district on Wednesday. Relatives of the child alleged that the baby died due to lack of treatment as Government doctors were on strike on Wednesday. The child of Suran and Meera was referred to the District Hospital from the Panamaram Public Health Centre (PHC) on Wednesday morning. Staff Reporter

Nominated PROKOZHIKODE: Chief Patron of the Indian Institute of Christian Studies Archbishop Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy has nominated Philip Parackal as the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Chair for Christian Studies and Research, University of Calicut, with effect from September 1. Mr. Parackal has been working at the university for the past 17 years, a release said.