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Business & Tourism

President launches US$400m airport runway project

President Abdulla Yameen launched Monday morning a US$400 million project awarded to China’s Beijing Urban Construction Group to build a new runway at the Velana International Airport.

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High court deals blow to Gasim’s bid to retain airport

The high court overturned a lower court order halting the tourism ministry’s takeover of the Kaadehdhoo airport in Gaaf Dhaal airport.

Thousand jobs on offer at Hulhumalé youth career expo

According to state media, the jobs fair in Hulhumalé was organised by the economic development ministry and the state-owned Housing Development Corporation at the behest of First Lady Fathmath Ibrahim, who is overseeing the president’s re-election campaign.

In unprecedented move, supreme court sacks civil court judge

The apex court declared that Judge Mariyam Waheed has “lost the legitimacy, legal capacity, and authority” to remain on the bench after she ruled against the government in a long-running dispute over the lease of Vaavu Bodumohora for resort development.

Airport hotel suspends six staff after protest

The suspension came after more than 60 Maldivian staff signed a petition demanding that the management lifts the suspension of a staff member accused of leaving without permission during duty hours.

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Raajje TV cameraman fined US$195 for obstructing police

Following the guilty verdicts and US$1,800 fines handed to Raajje TV journalists Mohamed Wisam and Leevan Ali Nasir last month, Adam Zareer becomes only the third journalist to be convicted in the Maldives in more than a decade.

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Two police officers sacked over nude video and photos

A police staff serjeant, who was in charge of the Laamu Gan police station, was fired on Thursday. According to local media, the officer sent a nude video of himself during a video chat with a school girl, an offence that carries a jail term of between seven to ten years.

Ex-minister pleads not guilty over Yameen’s ‘protective custody’

In a statement he gave to the police last September, President Yameen said he was taken by the military to the presidential retreat island Aarah against his will in July 2010 and expressed his desire to seek charges over the “unlawful arrest”.

Elderly man hospitalised after chemical attack

The police are searching for a suspect who threw chemicals on the face of the 71-year-old man Tuesday morning on the island of Dhuvafaru in Raa atoll.

Escaped detainees from Malé custodial centre caught

After local media reported that the group broke out of the Malé custodial last week, the police said in a tweet today: “All those involved in breaking out of Malé custodial have been caught and the police are investigating the matter.”

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Environment

Arson suspected as fires destroy wetlands in Fuvahmulah

Two fires have destroyed a wetland area equal to 35 football pitches on the southern island of Fuvahmulah. Islanders said they suspect the fires were started deliberately.

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On Fuvahmulah’s blackened beach, workers begin cleanup of tonnes of dumped rock pieces by hand

Workers are combing Fuvahmulah’s beach by hand in an effort to clean up several thousand tonnes of aggregate dumped on the island’s reef in a historic environmental disaster, as the EPA remains tightlipped on the extent of the damage.

Waste management corporation begins garbage collection in Malé

The state-owned Waste Management Corporation began collecting garbage from households in Malé this week as part of a broader effort to establish a waste management network in the capital.

Man fined US$7,000 for caging protected bird species

The Environment Protection Agency has fined a Maldivian man MVR111,500 (US$7,200) for capturing and keeping protected birds in his backyard. The hefty fine is the first imposed by the EPA for caging protected bird species.

Ruling party holds tea party to celebrate reef blasting

Government supporters on the southern island of Meedhoo gathered last Friday to celebrate the controlled destruction of the island’s reef to clear an oceanside channel in spite of environmental concerns.

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Feature & Comment

First they came for Faafu

Is the opposition to the imminent Saudi-funded “mega project” in Faafu atoll principled, strong and united enough? asks Azra Naseem.

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With Yameen’s re-election bid in full swing, PPM appears stronger than ever

Ministers, lawmakers and heads of state-owned companies are out campaigning in the Maldives far-flung atolls and signing up new members in the capital.

‘Even if I were to go to jail, I will come back as a journalist’: Journalists at risk in their own words

Three Raajje TV journalists, on trial for obstructing police officers, share their thoughts on journalism and describe why they continue to report despite the risk of jail.

The great irony: a review of ex President Waheed’s biography

Does Waheed’s biography live up to the promise of truth and accountability its title, Justice, offers?

Why the Commonwealth and Maldives will miss each other

Commonwealth membership brings a wide range of benefits, many of which the Maldives, to its credit, has taken full advantage of, writes James Dauris, British ambassador to the Maldives.

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In Pictures

In Pictures: Maldives celebrates Eid-ul-adha

A selection of moments from the recently concluded Eid festivities in the northern island of Thoddoo

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Politics

Top lawyers resign amid ‘discontent’ in chief prosecutor’s office

Following the resignation of two top prosecutors, sources from the Prosecutor General’s office have alleged that Bisham’s “abrasive” demeanour and short temper have contributed to growing discontent among her staff.

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Judiciary denies closing high court northern branch after transferring staff to Malé

The department of judicial administration insisted that the northern branch on the island of Kulhudhufushi has not been shut down due to budget constraints. The judiciary was mandated to set up the branch by legal changes approved more than two years ago.

Police accused of seeking false testimony to arrest Gayoom

Zaidul Ameen, a Malé city councillor under arrest on a blackmailing charge, has accused a senior police officer of threatening to keep him in custody until he gives false testimony that could be used to arrest former President Gayoom.

Judicial watchdog backs supreme court’s sacking of judge

The Judicial Service Commission decided at a meeting on Monday that it does not have to take further action since the constitution declares the supreme court to be “the final authority” on all matters dealt with by a court of law.

Government tight-lipped amid growing clamour to reveal Saudi project for Faafu atoll

Speculation of the imminent sale of Faafu atoll to the Saudi royal family intensified this week when the media learned of the Saudi King’s upcoming official visit to the Maldives, prompting concerns over the scope for corruption, threats to sovereignty, and potential damage to the environment.

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Society & Culture

Police unable to protect Maldives’ oldest cemetery from vandalism

The police have decided to appeal a magistrate court order to protect a 900-year-old cemetery in the Meedhoo ward of Addu City after ancient tombstones were vandalised.

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Government unveils campaign to promote ‘Islamic unity and patriotism’

After purportedly establishing public order and undertaking numerous efforts for economic and social development, Defence Minister Adam Shareef Umar said the president’s focus now is “building youth who loves Islam, is loyal to the nation, and is ready to provide an adequate service”.

Saudi embassy stirs controversy with cash handout to journalists

The Saudi Arabian embassy in Malé has stirred controversy after handing out envelopes with MVR500 (US$32) in cash to journalists who were invited to cover an event on Sunday.

Hiking tobacco tariffs to discourage smoking called into question

A record 200 percent import duty hike in 2012 failed to reduce demand and the number of cigarettes imported to the Maldives increased to 497 million in 2016 from 460 million the previous year despite a further hike in April 2015 that jacked up prices to MVR48 a pack.

Police officers offered temporary housing in Malé area

According to amendments brought on Monday to regulations on housing for police, applicants will be awarded points based on an interview, rank, marital status, number of children, and years of service.

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