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News in Brief

Road Development Corporation contracted to build two roads in Feydhoo

The Ministry of Housing and Infrastructure has contracted the Maldives Road Development Corporation to build two roads in Feydhoo, Addu City.

At an event held at the ministry for signing of the contract today, Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Mohamed Muiz revealed that the project is worth MVR7.9 million.

According to Muiz, the corporation will be building Rahdhebai Magu and Bandharu Mathee Magu, with work commencing as soon as the environmental impact analysis of the project is completed.

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Dhivehi and Islam to be taught to Maldivians in Trivandrum

Arrangements are being made to teach Dhivehi and Islam to Maldivian children residing in Trivandrum, India, Education Minister Dr Aishath Shiham revealed today.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of a workshop for principals of schools in Shaviyani, Noonu, and Raa atolls, the minister reportedly said that efforts were underway to hire Dhivehi and Islam teachers for the approximately 300 Maldivian children in Trivandrum.

She noted that offering Dhivehi and Islamic education to Maldivian children living abroad was a campaign pledge of President Abdulla Yameen.

In January, the Maldives High Commission in Sri Lanka announced that it was seeking Dhivehi language, Islam, and Quran teachers for Maldivian children residing in the neighbouring country.

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Vice President Dr Jameel inaugurates Hotel Asia Exhibition

Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed inaugurated the ‘Hotel Asia 2014 Exhibition and Culinary Challenge’ at the Dharubaaruge convention centre yesterday.

According to the President’s Office, Dr Jameel in his remarks at the opening ceremony “highlighted the leading role played by Hotel Asia in the Maldives and across the region, successfully organising several of the most eminent hotel fairs in the Maldives.”

Dr Jameel noted that such high-profile events encouraged growth of the tourism industry.

“Focusing on the country’s commitment to excellence in global tourism, Vice President Jameel highlighted that the government focuses on delivering a business environment conducive to the growth and development of the hospitality industry in the Maldives,” the President’s Office said.

“The Vice President also emphasised the innovativeness of Maldivian resorts, with the country being host to the world’s first underwater spa and all glass underwater restaurant.”

On the importance of eco-friendly tourism, the vice president observed that “numerous resorts in the Maldives are designed and constructed to reflect the country’s strong green-conscience and commitment to environment and social sustainability.”

Organised by Maldives Exhibition and Conference Service (MECS), almost 500 members are reportedly participating in the culinary challenge event at the exhibition, including local and foreign chefs from 60 resorts.

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Appeal hearings on Farhad murder case ends

Appeal hearings on the death sentence issued by the Criminal Court on Mohamed Nabeel of Reef in Galolhu ward on charges of the murder of Abdulla Farhad of Lilymaage in Seenu Atoll Hithadhoo have been completed.

The High Court will be announcing its verdict at the next hearing, which has not been scheduled so far.

The murder of Farhad was committed on March 9, 2009 in capital Malé city near Sosun Store on Majeedhee Magu.

He was allegedly attacked for harassing a girl who worked at a nearby shop. The girl has previously been reported to be a sister of the accused, Nabeel.

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Hithadhoo regional hospital to be renovated under MVR1.2 million project

An agreement was signed between the Ministry of Health and Sunshell Maldives Pvt Ltd yesterday for the renovation of the Hithadhoo regional hospital in a project worth MVR1.2 million (US$77,821), reports local media.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at the health ministry, acting health minister Colonel (Retired) Mohamed Nazim said efforts were underway to upgrade the regional hospital to tertiary level.

The 92-day renovation project involves the addition of children and women’s wings as well as more consultation and private rooms at the regional hospital in the southernmost atoll.

A second agreement was also signed at yesterday’s ceremony with Click Computers to provide 53 computers to health service providers across the country.

Nazim was appointed to the post last month following the Majlis’ rejection of Dr Mariyam Shakeela for the position. Majority leader Ahmed Nihan has this week praised Nazim for his “tremendous” efforts since taking the job.

The comments came in response to Shakeela’s accusations this week that she was ousted from her role in order to allow others to benefit from corruption regarding development projects in the health sector.

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President Yameen replaces commissioner general of customs

President Abdulla Yameen has appointed Ahmed Zuhoor to the vacant of commissioner general of customs.

Former Commissioner General Ahmed Mohamed was recently appointed an ambassador-at-large.

The new commissioner general of customs was sworn in at a ceremony at the President’s Office today.

Zuhoor reportedly has a masters degree in engineering and has previously served as a senior official at the State Trading Organisation.

Ahmed Mohamed has meanwhile told local media that he requested the president for the change in post.

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Supreme Court to appoint magistrates following recusal

The Supreme Court has informed lower courts that it would be appointing magistrates to take over cases where magistrates have recused themselves.

In a letter (Dhivehi) from Chief Justice Ahmed Faiz Hussain addressed to lower courts on Thursday (September 4), the apex court noted that it has learned of magistrate courts writing to the Judicial Service Commission to appoint magistrates in cases where the presiding magistrate had excused himself.

Noting that the Supreme Court was the “highest authority for the administration of justice” under Article 141 of the Constitution and referring to a circular issued on August 10, 2011 – which stated that the Supreme Court would specify rules for appointing magistrates following recusal –  the chief justice asked magistrate courts to write to the Supreme Court if a magistrate recuses himself from a case.

In May, the Supreme Court promulgated new rules stipulating that the Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) will function in accordance with policies set by the apex court bench and under the direct supervision of a designated justice.

In a comprehensive report on the Maldivian judiciary released in May 2013, United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, wrote that “the direct control of the Supreme Court over the Department of Judicial Administration have had the effect of centralising administrative decisions in the hands of the Supreme Court.”

“This has undoubtedly contributed to the strong impression that lower courts are excluded from the administration of justice and decision-making processes,” she wrote.

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MJA elections scheduled for September 21

The Maldives Journalist Association (MJA) has announced that elections for its steering committee have been scheduled for 9:00pm on Sunday, September 21.

In an announcement yesterday, MJA urged members to be present at the seminar hall of the youth centre ahead of time as entrance would be closed 15 minutes before the meeting starts.

Interested candidates have been told to submit applications before September 11. Candidates would also be able to put forward their names during the meeting.

Three previous attempts to hold the elections had failed due to disagreements among journalists. Heated confrontations took place at the last meeting of the MJA on August 24.

Former MJA President Ahmed ‘Hiriga’ Zahir announced his resignation the day after the disrupted meeting, citing the atmosphere as “not conducive” for holding elections.

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Two dead in Addu City link road accident

Two men died yesterday after their motorcycle collided with a pickup on the link road of Addu City.

Police identified the deceased as Hussain Juman Ali, 18, and Ibrahim Aswad, 27, both from the Hithadhoo island of the southernmost atoll.

The accident occurred in the causeway linking Hithadhoo and Gan, police said. The 60-year-old driver of the pickup has since been taken into police custody.

Numerous accidents have occurred on the link road, including an incident involving the Afghan national football team’s bus during the recent AFC Challenge Cup. Many more have resulted in fatalities on the 14km causeway – the longest road in the country.

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories