Former Home Minister Mohamed Shihab has been elected mayor of the capital by fellow councillors on the newly-elected Malé City Council.
Former Education Minister Shifa Mohamed was elected deputy mayor. Both were elected with unanimous consent of the 11-member council following its swearing-in ceremony last night.
In the January 18 local council elections, eight candidates from the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and three candidates from the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives were elected to the council.
Abdulla Sodig was meanwhile elected mayor by the six-member Addu City Council while Abdulla Thoyyib was elected deputy mayor. All six councillors were elected on opposition MDP tickets.
A journalist from newspaper Haveeru based in Addu City who was arrested yesterday has been released without charges.
According to the local daily, Ahmed Adshan was released after five hours in police custody. He was told that there was “nothing to investigate” while keeping him in custody.
Adshan was detained allegedly for taking photographs of police officers in plainclothes who were frisking people at the Feydhoo harbour.
A journalist from newspaper Haveeru has been taken into custody in Addu City today allegedly for taking photographs of police officers in plainclothes who were frisking people at the Feydhoo harbour.
The local daily quoted a Feydhoo resident as saying that that the officers approached Ahmed Adshan – who is based in Addu City – and insisted that the reporter could not take pictures.
“They did not have police tags or names. So Adshan asked them to show their police cards. They asked Adshan to show his card. [But] because they didn’t show their cards, Adshan didn’t show his,” the Feydhoo resident said.
Police have meanwhile insisted that Adshan was arrested for both driving without a license and obstructing police duty.
However, a source from the island told the newspaper that he was unable to meet Adshan at the police station and was told that the journalist was not in custody for a traffic violation.
A friend of Adshan who was with him at the time of the arrest said that Adshan attempted to take photos after parking his motorcycle and that he had a valid driving license.
In September 2012, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned the growing number of arbitrary arrests of journalists by the Maldives Police Service.
The press freedom NGO said in a statement that it “deplores the repeated obstruction of media personnel in the course of their work and urges the government to put a stop to arrests designed to intimidate journalists and encourage self-censorship.”
Recently imprisoned MP Abdulla Jabir has been moved from Maafushi to Malé jail following reported complaints lodged by his family members.
Jabir’s legal team has confirmed that the Maldivian Democratic Party MP has been relocated. Vnews has quoted Jabir’s wife Dhiyana Saeed as saying that her husband had been kept alone in a poorly lit cell, contrary to international conventions.
The Kaashidhoo representative’s legal team suggested earlier this week that their client was denied a fair trial, and that his constitutional rights were denied by the Criminal Court.
Jabir was last week sentenced to twelve months‘ imprisonment after being found guilty of failing to provide a urine sample when arrested as a suspect in a drug related case on November 16, 2012.
After complaining that the court has failed to produce documents vital to Jabir’s appeal, a member of his legal team was today able to confirm that the necessary documents had since been forthcoming.
The Civil Court has reportedly accepted the case of Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Alhan Fahmy, who has requested the annulment of the the Feydhoo constituency primary election.
After losing the contest for next month’s Majis elections, Fahmy claimed the contest was fraudulent and that any candidate who won the MDP ticket through fraud cannot be a valid one.
After Mohamed Nihad won the primary, Fahmy alleged that the list used on polling day were different from the [eligible] voter lists.
Alhan called for a fresh vote in the constituency, claiming the voter list used at polling stations was outdated and did not afford 67 party members the right to vote.
The election committee confirmed that 67 members were indeed missing from the list at the ballot box, but decided against holding a re-vote, arguing the primary outcome would not change even if these members were allowed to vote.
After attempting to file the case with the High Court, the MP’s legal representatives were told that the court did not have the jurisdiction to look into internal party matters.
The Health Protection Agency has warned of a potential cold and conjunctivitis epidemic in the country, local media has reported.
Vnews reported that agency as urging anyone displaying flu-like symptoms to contact a doctor as well as staying away from public areas.
The capital city Malé is one of the world’s most densely populated islands at around 18,000 people per square kilometer.
The agency warned those with symptoms not to touch their eyes, as this causes the infection to spread more easily.
The Housing Ministry has begun a project to build 100 houses for the people of Vilifushi in Thaa atoll who were displaced by the 2004 tsunami.
Minister of Housing and Infrastructure Dr Mohamed Muizzu told Sun Online today that this first phase of the project will be started within the next two weeks and should be completed in 12 months.
The houses, for which all residents of the island are welcome to apply, will cost MVR2,500 per month over a 15 year period, said Muizzu.
After being devastated by the tsunami, with the entire community – over 1,800 people – displaced, Vilifushi was later reclaimed using donor aid before resettlement began in 2009.
Last December, President Abdulla Yameen noted that 427 families throughout the country still required permanent housing after the tsunami, pledging to rehouse all those in need.
The Human Rights Commission also noted that it continued to receive complaints from survivors, largely regarding lack of permanent shelter, compensation for damages caused to houses and delays in housing projects.
The 2004 tsunami resulted in 82 deaths and 26 missing persons in the Maldives. Figures from the UN show that the disaster displaced nearly 10 percent of the Maldives’ population, severely damaging a quarter of inhabited islands with 14 completely evacuated.
Noomadi Resorts Private Limited has been commissioned to carry out the resort, reported Sun.
Following the closure of Dharumavantha Rasgefaanu mosque earlier this month, Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed has stressed that all religious differences can be settled through dialogue.
“Those who pray separately at certain mosques, please come to us. Let’s discuss this matter. There’s nothing that can’t be solved if we sit down and share religious information,” he told local media.
The Mosque was shut down on the home minster’s order following an unauthorised congregation which had reportedly prayed for the government’s destruction. Shaheem himself has previously described the group as “extremists”.
The worshipers at the mosque also prayed against the heads of the government, the Islamic ministry, and the city council, asking for their ill-health and for a calamity to befall upon them
“Some media have reported that the mosque might be demolished, or people might be arrested while they are praying at the mosque. The present government, the government of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom, would not do anything against Islamic principles. They would not demolish the mosque, or inflict injury on anyone unjustly,” Sun Online quoted the minister as saying today.
Sun also reported that the congregation has continued to assemble at the mosque despite the government’s actions. Current legislation places all mosques under the authority of local councils.
The Ministry of Education has introduced a technical framework for the evaluation of teachers, local media has reported.
“We created this criterion after observing how it is done in other countries, the status of teaching staff currently working in the Maldives and after having considered the things society accepted as which should be stated on the teacher’s work contract,” Sun Online quoted State Minister for Education Adam Shareef Umar as saying.
“Teachers will be able to identify what they can do to improve themselves in the light of this criterion,” he said, speaking at a ceremony held in the ministry yesterday (February 24).
Earlier yesterday, Education Minister Dr Aishath Shiham expressed satisfaction with her ministry’s efforts during the government’s first 100 days.
Although Dr Shiham noted that work is in progress with regards to increasing allowances for teachers, the Teachers Association said the it had no knowledge of such efforts, and was still awaiting an opportunity to meet with ministry heads with regards to pay discrepancies.
“The government have started some things within this period, and they maybe important things and good policies. But it is more important to fix the existing loopholes in the education system,” said association President Athif Abdul Hakeem.
He said the association was continuing to plan nation-wide strikes in relation to the issue.