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News in Brief

Nasheed’s residence in Addu attacked during early hours

The home in which former President Mohamed Nasheed is staying during his trip to Addu was last night pelted with stones, the party has claimed.

Nasheed’s residence was attacked at around 1am on Monday morning, with the party telling local media that the incident has been reported to police.

With the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) president visiting the southern atolls on party business, a rally held in Feydhoo on Friday was attacked by youths wielding wooden planks and rocks before the party’s local headquarters were torched.

All seven suspects arrested in connection with the attack in Feydhoo have since been released, prompting condemnation from the MDP. Nasheed himself has today expressed thanks to the local police, noting the difficult circumstances in which they are working.

Nasheed – recently elected as MDP party president – lodged a complaint with Metropolitan Police Service in the United Kingdom earlier this month following a death threat sent to his phone while attending the Conservative Party conference.

The MDP’s offices in Malé were also attacked on three successive nights last month, with a number of attacks on the homes of its MPs accompanied by continued SMS threats.

Speaking in Fuvahmulah during the trip to the southern atolls, Nasheed suggested that senior politicians were behind the attacks and that the government was failing to deal with escalating gang violence.

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16-year-old girl now missing for 49 days

Police have yet to reveal any information on the missing 16-year-old girl, Fathimath Malha, who was reported missing on August 25.

Local media has reported the case as being a ‘runaway’, though police media have declined from explaining on what basis the case is being investigated.

“I can only confirm that the matter is being presently investigated. We will not be revealing any further details to media,” an official told Minivan News.

A description of the missing girl on the police website states that she is dark eyed, curly haired, slim, and tall.

Police have sought public assistance on the case, appealing to citizens to contact them on 3322111 or their Family and Child Protection Department on 9790163 if anyone possesses any information regarding the case.

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Majlis asked to approve new ambassador to India and PIC members

President Abdulla Yameen has chosen to appoint former Commissioner General of Customs Ahmed Mohamed as the Maldivian ambassador to India.

Ahmed Mohamed’s name is scheduled to be sent to the parliament which will conduct background checks on the candidate before making a decision. The Majlis returned from recess today.

It is believed that Ahmed Mohamed was dismissed from his position at customs after a disagreement with the government over the recruitment policies.

Local media has reported that his removal from the post followed his refusal to bow to government pressure to bypass regulations in the appointment of customs officials.

The current ambassador to India is Mohamed Naseer who was formerly the foreign secretary at Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

President Yameen’s nominees for the two vacant seats on the Police Integrity Commission (PIC) were also been sent to parliamentary committees for evaluation at today’s sitting of the Majlis.

The nominees for the PIC – Saeed Moosa, of special registry number 5381, and Fathimath Minhath Izzath, of Galolhu Gofi – are to be evaluated by the independent institutions oversight committee.

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Addu Council to prioritise dealing with waste management issue in 2015

Addu City Council has announced that they will be prioritising a waste management programme when drafting the budget for 2015.

The council stated that there is an even higher need for this at present due to the development of guest house tourism in the city.

Addu City Mayor Abdulla Sodiq also reflected on the importance of increasing public awareness on waste management, local media reports.

The council stated that the waste management system they intend to introduce will facilitate the conversion of recycling and the production of fertilisers through the burning of waste.

The council had previously discussed conducting a waste management program in Addu with the assistance of the Ministry of Environment.

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Media council re-opens membership application

The Maldives Media Council (MMC) has reopened the application process for new members for the third time.

In a statement released today, the home ministry said that the application would be open for applicants who want to become a member of the committee until October 22.

The MMC consists of eight members from the media and seven members from the general public who are not affiliated with the media.

Complications with the first attempted application process caused the elections to be postponed, while the second attempt was delayed after issues were raised regarding inactive media outlets still being eligible to vote.

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MIRA collects MVR835.7 million in September

The Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) collected MVR835.7 million (US$54 million) in taxes during September, 4.3 percent higher than the forecast income for the month.

MIRA explained in a press statement yesterday that the tax revenue was 24.4 percent higher than the same period in 2013.

While proceeds from tourism land rent accounted for MVR315.7 million (US$20 million), MIRA revealed that MVR302.7 million (US$19.6 million) was collected as GST (Goods and Services Tax).

As of the end of September, MIRA has collected a total of MVR9.01 billion (US$584 million), which represents a 26.3 percent increase from last year. A total of MVR8.9 billion (US$577 million) was collected by the end of 2013.

Despite record levels of government income, however, the Ministry of Finance and Treasury reduced recurrent expenditure by 20 percent this month in an effort to curb a growing budget deficit.

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Civil Court orders DRP to pay over MVR1.1 million to MTCC

The Civil Court has on Sunday ordered the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) to pay MVR1,111,438.96 (USD72,406.45) to Maldives Transport and Contract Company Plc (MTCC).

The party was taken to court by the MTCC after its failure to pay this amount for services rendered to the party during the 2008 presidential elections, in which the party’s then-leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom lost to the Maldivian Democratic Party’s Mohamed Nasheed.

The Civil Court verdict in the case orders the party to split the payment and complete payments within a period of six months.

Earlier in April, the Civil Court ordered the party to pay back a debt of over MVR700,000 (USD45,602.61) to HUB Company. The DRP was later fined by the court for ts  failure to complete payment as per court orders.

Island Aviation Services are also currently suing the party seeking repayment of debts. After backing unsuccessful candidates during the 2013 presidential election, the DRP failed to win any seats in the 2014 Majlis elections.

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Global Projects Development company hands over five apartments in Gulhi Falhu

The Global Projects Development (GPD) company handed over five two-room apartments in Gulhi Falhu to their respective owners yesterday (October 11), reports local media.

A GPD official told the press that the remaining flats in the ‘Orchid Residence’ would be handed over at a ceremony on Saturday.

Public services such as a health centre and twice daily ferry services to Malé would be available once the island is inhabited, the official explained, adding that the government gave authorisation on September 18 to continue with the Gulhi Falhu development plan.

GDP is constructing 2,500 flats in the reclaimed island west of the capital near the industrial island of Thilafushi.

The US$600 million Gulhi Falhu development project – which involved reclamation of 40 hectares of land – was launched during the administration of former President Mohamed Nasheed.

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Dr Bilal Phillips to visit the Maldives for the second time

Canadian preacher Dr Bilal Phillips is set to visit the Maldives for the second time at the end of this month in order to deliver a religious sermon upon invitation by local religious organisation Jamiyyathul Salaf.

Dr Phillips will give a sermon named ‘The call’ on the 30th of this month, and will be accompanied by British Islamic scholar Abdu Raheem Green.

Speaking to Haveeru, president of Jamiyatthul Salaf, Abdulla bin Mohamed Ibrahim said that they had received a lot of support for the initiative and informed that the programme will be conducted in various locations in the Maldives including Fuvahmulah and Addu City.

Dr Phillips was recently investigated and deported from the Philippines for inciting terrorist ideologies. He was questioned by the Phillipines police regarding links terrorist organisations including the Islamic State (IS).

The controversial preacher who frequently appears on Islamic television channel Peace TV has been banned from entering Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States of America for security reasons.

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories