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News in Brief

PPM leader Gayoom says he does not know who is behind MDP attacks

Former President and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) leader Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom has rejected claims that his party was behind – or has knowledge of – the recent attacks against opposition Maldives Democratic Party (MDP).

“I would not blame any political party or any individual over the attacks. The relevant authorities would investigate the attacks and let us know who did it. I would like to reiterate that it was not PPM’s doing,” said Maumoon.

While speaking to media at a ceremony held to celebrate the signing of 104 members of the Jumhooree Party to the PPM, Maumoon said the recent attacks were not conducted by PPM and that the party does not encourage violent behavior of this sort.

An MDP rally in Feydhoo last week was attacked by a group of masked individuals wielding wooden planks and rocks with the party’s main office in Malé set on fire last month.

The government and MDP have been involved in a heated blame game over the attacks with the President’s Office spokesperson reportedly suggesting that the attacks were coordinated by the MDP itself, while the party’s leaders have suggested a third – unnamed group – may have been behind the attacks.

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Liveaboard association left with nowhere to go during Hulhulmalé reclamation

The Liveaboard Association of Maldives (LAM) has expressed concern at the lack of alternative areas for docking after the announcement that the Hulhumalé western harbour area is  to be cleared of vessels.

The announcement, made by the Housing Development Corporation on Tuesday (October 14), has asked for all boats to vacate the area by October 28 in order to make way for phase two of the island’s reclamation project.

“We are prepared to cooperate. But it is sad that we have nowhere to go, after vacating the harbor area,” LAM Vice President of LAM Ibrahim Shahid told Haveeru.

Shahid explained that the association had failed to gain permission to use the nearby harbour at Gulhi Falhu, noting that the bespoke Dhiyaneru habour – also in Kaafu Atoll – was not yet ready for use.

134 Safari vessels are currently registered with the tourism ministry, with the majority of them frequently using Hulhumalé for docking while in the capital.

Malé City Council is also reported to have requested the clearance of all vehicles from the south-western harbour area for project which will expand the size of the artificial island from the current 188 to 410 hectares.

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18-year-old stabbed last night at Thinadhoo

An 18-year-old identified by local media as Ibrahim Shifaaz was stabbed at Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo last night (October 15).

While speaking to local news outlet Dhuvas, assistant manager of Thinadhoo hospital, Aiminath Abdul Hakeem said that the hospital started treating Shifaaz from midnight last night and said that that he was not in critical condition.

“He was stabbed in the thigh and the back. The wound was two centimeters deep in the thigh and three to four centimeters in the back,” said Aiminath.

A police official told Minivan News that six individuals including one under the age of 18 years have been arrested so far in relation to the case under a court warrant.

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Sole MDP councillor in Kolhufushi signs for PPM

Sole Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) councilor from Meemu atoll Kolhufushi Island Council, Shuaib Abdullah has signed for the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) today.

Shuaib signed at a ceremony held at the PPM campaign office in Malé which was attended by Tourism Minister and PPM vice President Ahmed Adeeb and Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim.

Speaking at the ceremony Shuaib said that he joined PPM because the only way to develop the island is by joining the government. He said that he made the decision while keeping the best interest of the inhabitants of Kolhufushi in mind.

An MVR35 million (US$2.27 million) power station was opened in Kolhufushi by the government and handed over to Fenaka coporation yesterday (October 14).

Speaking after the signing today, Adeeb said that the move was part of the party’s campaign to acquire one hundred thousand members and that it would not hold back in implementing the government’s manifesto.

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Monorail to be included in Hulhumalé phase two development

Hulhumalé Development Corporation (HDC) Chairman Hassan Ziath has revealed that the next phase of Hulhumalé’s development will include a monorail to Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.

In an interview with Haveeru, Ziath explained that the monorail would be designed to serve the growing number of tourists visiting guest houses in the capital’s suburb.

“Even now, 80 percent of tourists who visit Hulhumale are transit passengers. If we make it more convenient for them to travel to Hulhumale, it would increase injection of foreign currency into economy,” he told the paper.

Hulhumalé is currently home to 10 of the Maldives’ 199 registered guest houses, and is connected to the airport island of Hulhulé by a causeway allowing buses to take passengers between islands.

“It would be a big developmental step, especially if we are able to facilitate more activities targeting tourists,” said Ziath.

Reclamation for phase two of the island’s development would begin next month, he told Haveeru. The work – awarded to Belgian company Dredging International – will expand the size of the artificial island from the current 188 hectares to 410 hectares.

The financing of the US$60 million project will rely largely on loans from the Bank of Ceylon.

Ziath said that experts had advised a waterway be maintained between the two reclaimed areas, with four 50 metre bridges planned to connect the two. The most prominent of the government’s proposed ‘mega projects’ involves a bridge connecting the main island of Malé with Hulhumalé.

The HDC head explained that the island – already envisioned by President Yameen as a ‘Youth City’ with modern industry and facilities – will also include a tourist island and additional city hotels.

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Vice president says children must not be harmed in the name of Islam and culture

Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed has stated that truly loving a child is to refrain from inflicting physical harm on the child in the name religion and culture, and from committing sexual harassment against children on the pretext of providing an Islamic upbringing.

Speaking at an event held in the National Art Gallery on Monday (October 15) to inaugurate the Minstry of Law and Gender’s new programmes, Jameel emphasised the importance of protecting the rights of children.

The new programmes focus on providing services for women, children, the elderly and people with special needs.

Jameel described the ministry’s programme as an effort to establish Maldives as the country in the region in which most fundamental rights are protected.

He went on to say that it is imperative that children are not discriminated based on their gender, and that they are not deprived of any educational opportunities or health benefits, local media reports.

Jameel opined that those who need social protection should not be perceived as a burden on the state, before using examples from Islamic history to demonstrate how society benefits from these people.

The gender ministry’s programme includes the release of two books regarding internet safety, the introduction of a domestic violence database, formulation of regulations for the establishment of day care centres, and home care services for the elderly.

Additionally, employment letters were also handed over to two persons with special needs. The two job placements are at Fenaka Corporation and Island Aviation Services.

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Three persons injured in Kulhudhuhfushi bike accident

A speeding motorcycle hit two pedestrians yesterday night (October 14) near the jetty in the island of Kulhudhuhfushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

Both the pedestrians and the driver are currently receiving medical attention in the island’s hospital. While further details of injuries sustained have not been made public, police assured that none of the victims are in critical condition.

According to the police, the driver was 20-year-old male, while the pedestrians were women aged 52 and 57-years-old.

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Youth ministry moves Youth Day to November 17

Minister of Youth and Sports Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal has announced that Youth Day will now be marked on November 17 each year, instead of March 13.

Maleeh said the reasons for the change would be revealed during the Youth Awards ceremony next month, saying only that “November 17 is a very special day”.

November 17 coincides with the day incumbent President Abdulla Yameen took oath of office and assumed responsibilities of the head of state.

Since assuming office, Yameen has spoken often of the importance of youth development, pledging to turn the Malé suburb of Hulhumalé into ayouth city of 50,000 with modern sports facilities and light industries.

The Youth Awards Ceremony will take place on the newly assigned Youth Day during an event held at the Dharubaaruge convention centre.

“This time, we have included a special category that was previously not included. That is the field of voluntary work,” Maleeh told the press yesterday (October 14).

“We have seen such voluntary work being done in the recent Eid celebrations, in various government organised events and in the work of various clubs and organisations. Therefore, we have included this in this year’s awards’ marking criteria.”

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INIA installs thermal cameras to prevent Ebola

Ibrahim Nasir International Airport has strengthened measures against Ebola carrying travelers by installing thermal cameras to identify travelers with high body temperature which is one symptoms of Ebola.

In an unveiling of the cameras held at the airport today, State Minister for Health Dr Aishath Rameela said that the travelers with high fevers would be identified using the cameras and would be taken to specialised screening booths.

The travelers who are suspected of having Ebola after the screening will be quarantined in a special isolation room until doctors from Hulhumalé hospital arrive and transport them for further examination.

Dr Rameela also said that thermal cameras are planned to be installed in the other two international airports in the Maldives.

Earlier this week the government announced that no travellers from the countries worst affected by the Ebola crisis would be permitted entry to the Maldives. Additionally, anyone having travelled to one of these countries must now wait until the 21 day incubation period has elapsed before being granted a visa.

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Torture victims in the Maldives tell their stories