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News in Brief

Mandhu College handed a 15 day eviction notice by Ministry of Education

Mandhu Learning Center’s Mandhu College Campus in Machangoalhi ward has been handed a 15 day eviction notice by the Ministry of Education.

State Minister at the Ministry of Education Dr Abdulla Nazeer told Minivan News that the college was handed the notice as it was operating in violation of the agreement made with the government.

“The building was initially given to Malé English School (MES) in to operate a school. In 2008, the contract was renewed and MES signed a third party agreement with Mandhu College who then started using the building to run a college,” said Dr Nazeer.

Nazeer said that a separate letter was sent to Mandhu College inviting it to engage in negotiations with the government regarding the interest of students currently studying at the college.

Mandhu College Chairman, Ibrahim Ismail ‘Ibra’ declined to comment on the issue at the present time.

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Immigration Controller moved to Housing Ministry, new controller appointed

President Abdulla Yameen has today appointed Mohamed Anwar of Galolhu Sinamalé as controller of immigration and emigration.

According to a tweet from the presidential spokesman Hassan Ali, who held the post of immigration controller until he was replaced by Anwar, was changed to the post of deputy minister of housing and environment.

The immigration department was recently reallocated to the Ministry of Economic Development, having been under the Ministry of Defence and National Security since December 2012.

Haveeru has also reported that the government has sent Adhil Moosa’s name to the privatisation board to be appointed as the Maldives Airports Company’s (MACL) managing director. Adhil currently serves as the company’s head of investment and finance.

Ibrahim ‘Bandhu’ Saleem was dismissed from the post of managing director of MACL on January 22, with no specific reason given regarding the decision.

President Yameen last week brought changes to a number of ministries and state institutions in the aftermath of Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim’s dismissal as defence minister.

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Kalaidhoo islanders catch 10ft crocodile

Laamu Atoll Kalaidhoo islanders have caught a crocodile measuring 10ft in length this morning.

According to CNM, the islanders reported seeing the crocodile in shallow waters around the island, with efforts to track the animal failing yesterday despite the efforts of police.

Kalaidhoo Council President Moosa Hassan told CNM that islanders were concerned about their safety because of the crocodile and therefore decided to catch it. It was caught using ropes from the jetty area.

The council has decided to hand over the animal to Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) as the council’s budget cannot support feeding it, Haveeru reported.

MNDF Spokesman Hussein Ali confirmed to Minivan News that the crocodile is being handed over to MNDF. He was unable to provide any further details.

While not native to the Maldives, the discovery of crocodiles in the islands is not uncommon. The most famous of the ‘Kinboo’s’ is housed in the Malé’s children’s park, where it has grown to over 10ft in length since its capture in 2008.

However, the crocodile’s cramped living space has prompted repeated accusations of animal cruelty against the MNDF.

Source: CNM, Haveeru

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High level delegation to pay last respects to late Saudi King Abdullah

A high level delegation from the Maldivian government has travelled to Saudi Arabia to pay respects and offer condolences to the royal family and people of Saudi Arabia on the passing of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

The delegation includes Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed, and Minister at the President’s Office Abdulla Ameen and is scheduled to meet the new Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz.

Meanwhile President Abdulla Yameen described King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz as “a leader of exceptional quality and courage” following the monarch’s passing on January 24, after a lung infection.

“With the King’s passing away, a light on enlightenment in the world has gone. His demise would be a great loss to his people, to the Muslim Ummah, and to the entire world,” said Yameen.

King Abdullah has been succeeded by his 79-year-old brother Salman bin Abdulaziz, who visited the Maldives in February last year before donating MVR18.4 million (US$ 1.2 million) for 10 new mosques in the islands.

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‘It’s the Gucci handbag of holidays’ – Maldives tops Chinese travellers’ wish list: South China Morning Post

“On the last day of her holiday in the Maldives, Zang Kun and five fellow travellers from China splurge on imported tofu at the newly opened Beijing Restaurant near the white-sand beach on the island of Hulhumale,” writes Patrick Boehler for the South China Morning Post.

“Zang travelled to the remote Indian Ocean destination in search of a quiet place to rest, far from China’s hectic tourist spots.

‘I couldn’t stand the idea of going to Sanya or Beidaihe , it’s too crowded and expensive,’ she said. ‘The cost of vacationing in China is going up. There is less of a difference to going abroad now. And I don’t need a visa here.’

Zang is one of the 400,000-plus Chinese expected to visit the Maldives this year, according to its Ministry of Tourism. Last year, the number of Chinese tourists exceeded the Maldivian indigenous population for the first time. Some 363,000 Chinese visited the tiny nation, 9.7 per cent more than in 2013 and 24 times more than a decade earlier.

And even more are coming. A report by investment group CLSA released on Tuesday found that while only 2 per cent of mainland holidaymakers had been to the Maldives, the archipelago was top of their wish list. It is the top choice among Chinese travellers for overseas weddings and honeymoons. ‘Destination weddings are becoming a trend [among Chinese], with the Maldives the No 1 hotspot for wedding shoots and honeymoons,’ the report said.”

Read more (paywall)

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Attorney General rules that Nazim’s dismissal as LGA chair was valid

The attorney general has said that recently dismissed defence minister Colonel (retired) Mohamed Nazim had breached regulations with regards to a no-confidence motion lodged against him by the board of the Local Government Association (LGA).

Mohamed Anil has noted that the agenda of any meetings can only be changed with two days’ notice, and that this was not done when Nazim removed the no-confidence vote from the agenda of a January 15 meeting.

Five of the LGA’s nine board members subsequently refused to end the meeting, writing to Anil for advice before voting on the motion and deciding to remove Nazim from his position. His opponents had accused him of failing to protect the country’s decentralisation system.

Nazim was later reported as saying that the vote was invalid, while the Majlis national security committee last week recommended the dismissal of the interim chair Shujau Hussain.

Following his dismissal in relation to dangerous weapons charges last week, Nazim has been replaced as the president’s representative on the LGA board by home minister Umar Naseer.

Naseer is currently out of the country – receiving his Masters degree from the University of Hull, leaving tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb as acting home minister.

Source: Haveeru

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Changes brought to senior MNDF positions

President Abdulla Yameen has replaced two senior officers in the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF), reports Haveeru.

In the first major changes to the MNDF following the dismissal of Mohamed Nazim as defence minister, Lieutenant Colonel Ahmed Fayaz (Papa) has replaced Major Ahmed Faisal as head of the Special Protection Group – charged with ensuring the security and safety of the president.

Captain Ibrahim Naeem is also reported to have been removed from the head of armory and replaced by MNDF intelligence head Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Rauf.

MNDF Spokesman Major Hussein Ali told Minivan News that routine changes were common, and that any information that has to be publicised will be.

The dismissal of Nazim from the post of minister of defence and national security came as a result of a police investigation into illegal weapons being kept in the minister’s home.

He had been in the position since February 2012 – one of the first appointments made by President Dr Mohamed Waheed following the controversial resignation of President Mohamed Nasheed.

Source: Haveeru

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Supreme Court decides on providing living allowance to judicial staff

The Supreme Court has decided to provide a living allowance to all judicial staff to ensure that they remain unbiased in their work.

A circular released last night – signed by Chief Justice Abdullah Saeed – read that, in order ensure the independence and integrity of staff who are working towards ensuring the rights of the general public and fulfilling constitutional responsibilities, it is necessary to provide them with a reasonable compensation.

The living allowance was approved by amending Article 53 of the judicial staff regulations by the Supreme Court in accordance with the powers vested to the Supreme Court by the Constitution.

The amount to be given out to staff as the living allowance will be decided by the Judicial Administration Department as per the amendment.

Source: Haveeru

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Tourism minister Adeeb appointed acting Home Minister

Minister of Tourism Ahmed Adeeb has been appointed the acting minister of home affairs, while Umar Naseer is travelling abroad.

According to Sun Online Umar Naseer is leaving on an official trip coupled with a personal one, although no details on when he would be returning was revealed.

President Abdulla Yameen yesterday (January 21) brought changes to a number of ministries and state institutions in the aftermath of Colonel (ret) Mohamed Nazim’s dismissal as defence minister.

Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Mohamed Shainee was appointed to the vacated acting health minister’s position, while Umar Naseer was appointed to the Local Government Association.

Additionally, the Department of Immigration and Emigration – under Nazim’s remit as part of the defence ministry since December 2012 – was reallocated to the Ministry of Economic Development.

Adeeb had previously acted as defence minister earlier this month, when Nazim was away on personal business.

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories