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Authorities plan more festivals in rural areas post-Covid period | Kochi News

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Kochi: The festivals, which used to be concentrated in the city, are moving to rural areas in the post-Covid period to leverage local economy and encourage morale of residents in Ernakulam.
The district is going to witness many festivals, which will last for days, next month. It has been decided to conduct festivals in Vypeen and Cheranelloor and discussions are going on to conduct another one in Kolencherry.
The folklore festival in Vypeen will be held between December 1 and 31. While Cheranelloor festival, which will focus on culture and tradition of Kerala, will be held between December 21 and 31. The festival in Kolencherry will give thrust to Kudumbashree works and the value-added products they make. The date of the festival is yet to be decided.
The Vypeen festival will see around 50 artists from across the state making graffiti on a 25-km stretch from Goshree Junction to Munambam beach for the first 15 days. The next 15 days will witness performances of various folklore art forms of Kerala at various venues. The festival will also include local cuisine using marine products, musical programmes in memory of Mehboob and products related to fishing, which is the traditional vocation of people in Vypeen. The festival will be conducted in eight panchayats falling under Vypeen constituency.
“The festival is part of promoting tourism in the area to encourage people in the post-Covid period. Support for folklore art forms and artists in Kerala and making beaches in Vypeen part of cultural centres are some of the objectives of the festival,” said Vypeen MLA Unnikrishnan.
While Cheranelloor festival will be held in the panchayat limit alone by setting up a shopping village near Varapuzha bridge.
“We will set up traditional houses of tribespeople in Kerala with the support of the forest department in the shopping centre along with other products used in the state many years ago. We create an opportunity for people to come out and enjoy the festival mood,” said panchayat president K G Rajesh.
The festivals are conducted in association with the district administration, tourism department and private agencies. In Kolencherry, Kunnathunad MLA P V Sreenijan has discussed the possibilities of conducting a festival with Kudumbashree officials.
“We are planning to conduct the Kudumbashree festival in five venues. Their competitions will be held and food counters will be set up at various places as part of the festival. Officials will give a detailed report on the festival this week,” said Sreenijan.
“These festivals are aimed at reviving the local community. Earlier, we used to celebrate such festivals along with other celebrations like Onam. But due to the pandemic, such festivals could not be conducted in the last two years,” said DTPC secretary in-charge Abilash Kumar T G.

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Jeffrey Epstein took teen girl to meet Trump, accuser says

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Portrait of American financier Jeffrey Epstein (left) and real estate developer Donald Trump as they pose together at the Mar-a-Lago estate, Palm Beach, Florida, 1997.

Davidoff Studios Photography | Archive Photos | Getty Images

A woman who says she was sexually abused by late sex criminal and financier Jeffrey Epstein and British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell testified Wednesday that Epstein took her to meet Donald Trump at his Florida club when she was 14 years old.

The woman, in testimony at Maxwell’s federal sex crime trial, did not allege any improper conduct by Trump when she met him at his Mar-a-Lago resort.

Nor did the woman characterize what happened at that meeting, which she confirmed under cross-examination by Maxwell’s lawyer Laura Menninger in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

A spokeswoman for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maxwell is charged with procuring the woman, who was testifying with the pseudonym “Jane,” and other then-underage girls to be sexually abused by Epstein, a money manager who for years socialized with Trump, former President Bill Clinton, Britain’s Prince Andrew, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and other wealthy and powerful people.

Jane is the first of those accusers to testify at the trial, which began Monday.

Her account of meeting Trump was described in an interview she gave federal investigators, which Menninger asked her about Wednesday.

“Mr. Epstein introduced you to Donald Trump, correct?” Menninger asked.

Jane replied, “Yes.”

Jane said Epstein took her to Mar-a-Lago in a dark green car.

Ghislaine Maxwell talks with her attorneys during her trial on charges of sex trafficking, in a courtroom sketch in New York City, November 30, 2021.

Jane Rosenberg | Reuters

Epstein died in August 2019 while in a Manhattan jail from what has been ruled a suicide by hanging while awaiting his own trial on federal child sex trafficking charges.

Epstein’s arrest occurred a month before his death.

Trump said at the time that he was no longer friends with Epstein, and that they had not spoken for up to 15 years.

“I’m not a fan of his,” Trump said then.

But they used to be chummy.

In 2002, Trump told New York magazine, “I’ve known Jeff for 15 years. Terrific guy.”

“He’s a lot of fun to be with,” Trump said then. “It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side.”

The New York Times in 2019 reported that in 1992, a Florida businessman at Trump’s request had organized a “calendar girl” competition at Mar-a-Lago.

“I arranged to have some contestants fly in,” the businessman, George Houraney, told the Times.

“At the very first party, I said, ‘Who’s coming tonight? I have 28 girls coming.’ It was him [Trump] and Epstein.”

“I said, ‘Donald, this is supposed to be a party with V.I.P.s. You’re telling me it’s you and Epstein?'” Houraney recalled.

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WHO confirms Omicron Covid-19 variant in 23 countries. Here’s the full list | World News

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The Omicron Covid-19 variant, which was discovered in southern Africa last month, has now spread to as many as 23 countries, the director-general of World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference, Ghebreyesus said the countries hail from five or six WHO regions, and that the number is only expected to climb up. “WHO takes this development extremely seriously, and so should every country,” he added.

The WHO chief stated that the discovery of the Omicron Covid-19 variant should not “surprise us” since this is what viruses do and coronavirus will also do “as long as we allow it to continue spreading.”

Also Read | WHO warns against ‘toxic mix’ of low vaccine coverage and testing amid Omicron scare

“We are learning more all the time about Omicron, but there’s still more to learn about its effect on transmission, severity of disease, and the effectiveness of tests, therapeutics and vaccines,” Ghebreyesus told at a press briefing.

Reiterating the WHO’s message on not imposing blanket travel bans on travellers coming from affected countries, the United Nations (UN) health agency chief noted that countries should instead adopt “rational, proportional risk-reduction measures, in keeping with the international health regulations.”

Ghebreyesus pointed out that screening passengers before travelling and/or upon arrival at the airport, and mandatory quarantine of international travellers are some ways to check the spread of the Omicron variant in place of blanket travel bans.

His statements come after South Africa health minister Joe Phaahla recently called the travel bans on flights coming from the country by other nations as “unjustified” and “counterproductive”.

Three countries – South Korea, Nigeria and Saudi Arabia – reported cases of Omicron Covid-19 variant on Wednesday.

Here’s a list of all countries that have so far reported Omicron cases:

1. Botswana – 19 cases

2. South Africa – 77 cases

3. Nigeria – Three cases

4. United Kingdom – 22 cases

5. South Korea – Five cases

6. Australia – Seven cases

7. Austria – One case

8. Belgium – One case

9. Brazil – Three cases

10. Czech Republic – One case

11. France – One case

12. Germany – Nine cases

13. Hong Kong – Four cases

14. Israel – Four cases

15. Italy – Nine cases

16. Japan – Two cases

17. Netherlands – 16 cases

18. Norway – Two cases

19. Spain – Two cases

20. Portugal – 13 cases

21. Sweden – Three cases

22. Canada – Six cases

23. Denmark – Four cases

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ITV I’m A Celebrity: Ex-campmates reveal bosses’ secret plot to turn their camp ‘nasty’

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Ex I’m A Celebrity campmates Beverley Callard and Vernon Kay have revealed the ITV bosses’ plot to show celebrities in a bad light.

The Corrie star took part in the show at Gwrych Castle in 2020 and believes her fellow cast-members were given a “unfair” edit.

Agreed with by Vernon Kay, they claimed producers had a meeting to plan how to turn the show “nasty” – but eventually abandoned the idea.

READ MORE: ITV I’m a Celebrity viewers ‘annoyed’ over suspicion camp mate had ‘secret haircut’

Featuring on an episode of Rylan Clarke’s podcast ‘Ry-Union’, Beverley said: “None of us were confrontational, not one of us. Nobody was trying to pull the camera all the time, nobody was moody…

“I think the editing in some way was a little bit unfair because they showed some of lots of people and not very much of other people. But that just goes with the job unfortunately.”



Beverley Callard and Jordan North have remained best friends since the show, travelling through Spain together for a new television series.
Beverley ‘Bev’ Callard was a 2020 camp favourite

Beverley also mentioned that viewers were not shown some of the best bits of her campmates, including former Strictly Come Dancing professional AJ Pritchard.

She told Rylan’s podcast: “You missed out on the really comedic side of AJ, who is the funniest person, but it didn’t tend to show that side of him apparently.”

Her fellow ex-campmate Vernon revealed that the show’s bosses had a secret plot to turn things ‘nasty’ in the camp when it became clear the celebrities were getting on well.

The TV and radio presenter said: “I’ve heard from the inside there was a moment in week one when they had a production meeting on how they could possibly turn it nasty.”



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Beverley chimed in: “I heard that too!”

However, the stars say the plans were scrapped when it became clear the nation were loving the friendliness of 2020’s group of campmates.

Vernon said: “When they saw the viewing figures, they were like, ‘Why would we want to ruin it?’ And they let us go with it, they let us embrace each other instead of being fractious.”

Last year’s camp certainly had a different atmosphere to 2021’s, where tensions are already high with Naughty Boy regularly seen to be arguing.

This year’s I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out of Here line-up includes: Louise Minchin, Matty Lee, Snoochie Shy, Dame Arlene Phillips, Naughty Boy, Kadeena Cox, David Ginola, Frankie Bridge, Danny Miller and Richard Madeley who was forced to leave the show last week.

Do you have a story you think we should be covering? If so, please email [email protected]

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