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News in Brief

Two men arrested after rape of 15-year-old girl

Police have arrested two men after a 15-year-old girl was raped on the island of Hulhumalé.

Local media outlet Haveeru reported that the girl was raped by a gang of four men, two of whom are still being sought after by police.

Police have confirmed that the two men arrested – aged 21 and 29 - are linked to this case. Hulhumalé police station and the Family and Child Protection Department is investigating the case.

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Three persons arrested for prostitution in Maafannu

Police have arrested two females and a man on charges of prostitution.

The police said that the two females arrested were aged 29 and 30 while the man was 26 years-old. They confirmed that all those arrested were Maldivians.

According to a police statement, they were arrested in a special operation conducted by police to raid a house in Maafannu called ‘Beauty’ last night at about 11 pm.

When police officers entered their apartment the three of them were involved in sexual activities and they were naked, police said.

Furthermore, the police said that when police officers searched the house they discovered five packets containing illegal narcotics.

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Amendment overturns mandatory enrolment of foreigners in pension scheme passed

The People’s Majlis has passed a bill to overturn the mandatory enrolment of expatriate workers in the pension scheme.

This amendment to the Pension Act was passed with 37 votes in favour, 7 votes against, and 7 abstentions, according to local media Sun Online.

The proposed amendment – submitted last month by Maavah MP Abdul Aziz Jamaal Abubakr – was welcomed by many expatriates who fear they will struggle to reclaim their contributions upon leaving the Maldives.

Article 12 of the Maldives Pension Act requires employers to enrol all employees, Maldivians and expatriates alike, in the retirement pension scheme. This requires employers to pay 7 percent of their salaries to the government pension fund.

The amendment bill argues that the majority of expatriate workers will move overseas to retire, defeating the purpose of the scheme. It will be enforced from the day it is ratified by the president and published in the government gazette, reported Sun.

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Police Commissioner to participate in INTERPA conference

Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed has left to Malaysia to participate in the third conference of the International Association of Police Academies (INTERPA) – the association’s fourth council meeting, and sixth executive board meeting.

According to the official police website, the conference will be held from April 21 to 24 in Kuala Lampur, Malaysia. The theme of the conference is ‘Development of Teaching Staff in Police Academies’.

INTERPA has a wide membership, including police academies from Europe, Africa, North America, South America, the Middle East and Asia.

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Two persons arrested in Dhaandhoo for possession of narcotics

Police have arrested two individuals from the island of Dhaandhoo in Gaafu Alif in two separate cases concerning the possession of narcotics.

According to the police website, the arrestees are two local men aged 41 years and 37 years.

The 41-year-old was arrested on Saturday afternoon. While the investigation is pending, police have stated that they found rubber packets containing what they suspect to be illegal drugs in the man’s trouser pockets.

The 37-year-old man was arrested on the evening of the same day. He was found to be in possession of two packets containing what is suspected to be illegal drugs.

Police further stated that they are conducting a series of operations in the island of Dhaandhoo to further uncover cases of drug abuse and possession.

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‘Halal certificates’ awarded to three companies

Under an initiative of the Ministry of Islamic Affairs to categorise food products produced in the Maldives as ‘halal’, three companies have on Sunday been awarded the first ‘Halal certificates’.

After research into the manufacturing process, the Islamic Ministry today awarded five products of Felivaru Fisheries, 12 products of Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO), and three products of Horizon Fisheries with the certificate.

The certificates were awarded by Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed at a ceremony held  in the Islamic Ministry on Sunday.

The new policy represents the government’s attempts to find alternative fish export markets, including the middle-eastern and the Malaysian market, after withdrawing its application for European Union (EU) duty-free status of imported fish from the country.

Last November, the EU declined to extend the duty-free status on Maldivian fish exports under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program – a non-reciprocal trade agreement extended to developing countries – as the government had not ratified all 27 required international conventions.

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President appoints Dr Azeema Adam as MMA governor

President Abdulla Yameen has on Sunday appointed Dr Azeema Adam to the post of Governor at central bank Maldives Monetary Authority (MMA).

Dr Azeema received parliamentary approval last week after being nominated in February.

Azeema was previously filling the post of assistant governor and chief economist, monetary policy and statistics at the monetary authority, having worked there from May 1991.

She holds a PhD in Economics from Australian University of Canberra and a Masters Degree in International Development and Finance from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom.

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Maldives Military Veterans hold first executive meeting

The Maldives Military Veterans (MALVETS) – registered on April 18 to mark the anniversary of Maldives National Defence Force – has held its first executive meeting on Saturday.

The meeting was chaired by MALVETS Commander Major General (Retired) Mohamed Zahir and took place at Bandos Island Resort.

According to the official MNDF website, members of MALVETS held discussions on how to lay a strong foundation for the association, how to increase membership, as well as planning ways to establish easier means of communication between members and a website for the association.

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MDP candidate for Feydhoo constituency alleges black magic led to election defeat

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) candidate for Feydhoo constituency Mohamed Nihad – who lost the election to Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Ibrahim Didi – has today told the High Court that his opponent used black magic to win the election.

According to local media present at the High Court hearing held Thursday, the MDP candidate claimed that Didi buried coconuts that were suspected to be cursed by using black magic, in different areas of Feydhoo.

Nihad also alleged that the same type of cursed coconuts were buried inside his house and near to the polling station.

He also alleged that Didi went near the polling station during voting hours and campaigned there.

Nihad told the High Court that Ibrahim Didi had bribed people and campaigned after official hours, and that he had filed complaints with the anti-corruption and elections commissions without receiving a response.

Elections Commission lawyer Hussein Siraj told the court that first it should be determined whether the coconut was really cursed or not and to what extent the curse had affected the result of the election.

Ibrahim Didi’s lawyer also spoke in the court and denied all the charges, claiming that Nihad was attempting to destroy his good name.

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories