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News in Brief

Civil Servants’ Association plans strike over pay discrepancies

Maldives Civil Servants’ Association is planning to go on strike within the month, local news outlet CNM has reported.

Quoting the association’s President Mohamed Shaugee, CNM said that the strike is largely a result of discrepancies in pay among various state institutions which are disadvantageous to civil servants – particularly in comparison to independent state institutions.

“There is a huge difference in take home pay for civil servants and those working in other institutions. But Article 4 of the Employment Act and article 37 (b) of the constitution says there cannot be any discrimination,” Shaugy said.

He said that the issues have been raised for six consecutive years and that even the Civil Service Commission accepted that these issues needed to be addressed.

“I don’t want to make this political, but we still haven’t received an answer for our letter requesting to discuss this issue with President Abdulla Yameen,” Shaugee was quoted as saying.

Yesterday, a large number of teachers participated in a ‘black protest’ to bring their issues to public attention. The Maldives Teachers Association (MTA) which organised the protest after the government ignored several attempts to discuss the issues said it was just a first step in taking action.

The MTA have also threatened to go on strike over various issues in education sector – also including pay discrepancies – but has said it would only take such action as a last resort.

There are more than 25,000 civil servants in the Maldives.

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Police open detention facility in Fuvahmulah

Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed has opened a new detention centre in Fuvahmulah during a special ceremony held yesterday (April 6).

The facility – which is established within the premises of Fuvahmulah police station – can hold up to 20 detainees and consists of ten cells.

According to local media Sun Online,Commissioner Waheed said that while the police have the authority to detain persons suspected of crimes, he hoped that the facility would stay vacant most of the time.

He reportedly said that this can only be achieved if all groups work together to prevent crime in the atoll.

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ARC celebrates World Health Day by promoting healthy eating & active lifestyles

To commemorate this year’s World Health Day (April 7 2014), local NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) has organised a number of activities to promote healthy eating and active lifestyles for children.

According to an ARC press release, today is the official release of animated Sing-Along song ‘Eat a Rainbow’.  The song illustrates the benefits of eating different coloured fruits and vegetables.

This Friday (April 11) will also be the official book launch for the 2nd storybook in the HEAL series. The event will be held at the Raalhugandu Helipad Area, from 16:30 until 18:00.

In addition, ARC will be running healthy eating awareness sessions for school children in the local area. ARC’s senior consultant on nutrition will conduct interactive sessions for children at Billabong International High School and Kalaafaanu School.

At the HEAL campaign information sessions children are encouraged to eat different coloured fruits and vegetables everyday, to choose water first to quench their thirst, to avoid junk food, to eat healthy snacks and to stay active.

The sessions will be continued for other schools in Malé and in other islands throughout the year.

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Three additional oil tanks to be placed in Funadhoo

The State Trading Organisation (STO) has announced plans to place three additional oil storage tanks in Kaafu Funadhoo, just off the northern side of the capital Malé.

Managing Director of STO Adam Azim said that the Maldives’ oil storage capacity needs to be increased, according to local media Sun Online.

“We are planning to place three more tanks in Funadhoo. If the oil reserve continues to decline at the present rate, we might face difficulties later. We’re planning to prepare for that,” the news outlet reported.

He added that efforts will begin soon to facilitate bigger vessels to enter the harbour.

“Right now the harbour can take up to about 8,000 ton vessels. We want to increase it to about 15,000 or 16,000 ton vessels.”

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MET office issues yellow alert as South-West Monsoon approach

The Maldives Meteorological Service has issued a yellow alert and warned of bad weather in the coming days.

According to office, heavy rain will be experienced through out the country in the next 24 hours. While the seas are expected to remain relatively calm for most areas, winds may reach up to 30 miles per hour during showers.

Isolated heavy thunderstorms are to be expected in central and northern atolls.

The office advised safe travel and being on alert when travelling in this weather. According to the office the weather in south is good compared to the northern areas.

According to the office the weather change is due to the changing of the monsoon winds. The South-West Monsoon, locally known as Hulhan’gu Moosun begins on 8 April according to traditional weather calendars, and will continue until 9 December.

Heavy winds are usually experienced during this period.

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Four arrested in connection with the death of 79 year-old man in Thinadhoo

Police have arrested four persons in connection with the death of Ali Rasheed,79, who was found dead inside his house last Friday (April 4).

Police have told local media that three Maldivians, including a woman and a male expatriate, had been arrested in connection with the case.

Ali Rasheed was found dead lying on the floor of his room. He was living alone following the death of his wife some years earlier.

A source from the island told online newspaper Sun that Rasheed had a six-inch laceration on his head and a swollen left eye.

Police said the death was being investigated as they suspected foul play. An investigation team has been dispatched to the southern island.

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Elderly man found dead in Thinadhoo

A 79-year-old man was found dead in the island of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaalu atoll on Friday night, local media reports.

Ali Rasheed was found dead lying on the floor of his room. He was living alone following the death of his wife some years earlier.

A source from the island told Sun Online that Rasheed had a six-inch laceration on his head and a swollen left eye.

Police said the death was being investigated as they suspected foul play. An investigation team has been dispatched to the southern island.

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Alleged drug lord released from custody after police were late to court

A man has been released from police custody yesterday (April 2) after being taken to the Criminal Court seven minutes past his legally allowed period of detention.

Local media reported that the police had arrested the individual on a drug case, and that he was allegedly one of the drug barons arrested earlier this year.

When authorities realised his detention period had expired, the man was released by police without charge.

According to the constitution, any person detained must be presented before a judge within 24 hours.

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Tree falls on students during anniversary assembly

Six students in Thinadhoo’s Ghaafu Dhaalu Atoll Education Centre have been injured by a falling tree during a celebration assembly this morning, local media has reported.

“The trunk hit six children and three of them have been admitted. No one suffered serious injuries,” school Principal Zeema Abdulla told Sun Online.

“They were hurt, and x-rays were taken. The children are in shock. They are being treated for the trauma, but there were no serious injuries.”

The principal explained that the incident happened at around 8:40am this morning during the school’s 30 year celebrations. She explained that the tree was decayed, though she noted that the weather had been calm this morning.

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories