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Business & Tourism

New tourism company evaluating bids for picnic island near Malé

The Maldives Integrated Tourism Development Corporation is evaluating bids for developing a picnic island for public use after reclaiming seven hectares from the Galufalhu lagoon near Malé.

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Fitch assigns stable outlook rating for Maldives

The B+ rating reflects strong economic growth and high government revenue from the tourism sector weighed against high debt and low foreign currency reserves.

Tourist arrivals increase 4.3 percent in first quarter

Arrivals grew by 15.6 percent in January, the peak season for the industry which also coincided with the Chinese New Year. But the growth rate was marginal in February at 0.3 percent and registered a 2.1 percent decrease in March.

Government denies unfairly targeting Gasim’s businesses

Three ministers met the press at the president’s office to defend the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority, stressing that it is an independent institution whose enforcement actions are taken after due process and without any government interference.

Tax authority freezes accounts of Gasim’s Villa Shipping company

The move comes days after Gasim predicted that Villa’s accounts could be frozen ahead of Monday’s no-confidence vote against the speaker of parliament.

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Detention extended for ‘bomb plot’ suspects

Local media reported last month that the police had averted a bomb attack in the capital by arresting four people during midnight in Malé on April 24.

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Police seize drugs worth US$150k

The police seized drugs worth MVR2.3 million (US$149,000) and arrested six suspects during operations conducted during the weekend.

Man fined US$13 for assaulting MP Mariya

The judge opted for the MVR200 fine in lieu of banishment, house arrest or imprisonment for up to six months.

Lawyer arrested for obstruction of Yameen murder investigation released

A criminal defence lawyer arrested on charges of obstructing the investigation into the brutal murder of liberal blogger Yameen Rasheed has been released.

Ex-official accused of plotting to assassinate judge released to house arrest

Ibrahim Haneef was arrested on April 4 on terrorism charges for allegedly plotting to assassinate High Court Judge Shujau Usman. The criminal extended his remand detention four times before transferring him to house arrest on Tuesday.

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Environment

Thoddoo fields damaged by heavy rainfall

“These damages came as the farmers were preparing for Ramadan. Now, this brings unprecedented losses to them. The estimated loss is currently more than MVR1 million (US$64,850),” said the Thoddoo council’s information officer.

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Family displaced in Malé as bad weather continues

Several other incidents on land and at sea have been reported across the Maldives as a bout of bad weather with the onset of the south-west monsoon continues unabated.

Bad weather wreaks havoc across Maldives

On Wednesday night, a tornado struck the southernmost atoll, damaging 12 homes in the Hithadhoo ward of Addu City. The roofs were blown off nine homes and two trees fell on the roofs of three houses when the tornado hit around 10:30 pm.

Government seizes island leased for coral reef research

The government has moved to take back an island lease to Professor Hassan Ugail’s Korallion Lab for use as a marine station to conduct research on coral reefs.

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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Feature & Comment

Keeping paradise pristine

Ahead of this year’s Ramadan and World Environment Day, UN resident coordinator Shoko Noda writes about the escalating waste issue in the Maldives.

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Abusive judicial discretion in the Maldives

The Maldivian judiciary has restricted the media’s right to report court proceedings, undermined the autonomy of independent bodies, and arbitrarily disbarred lawyers, writes Shamsul Falaah.

A tribute to Yameen Rasheed – and a call for justice and accountability

Police Chief Ahmed Areef must accept an independent international investigation or resign as he is ultimately responsible for the failure to protect Yameen despite numerous death threats, writes Jared Genser.

‘Next is you’: More death threats follow blogger’s murder

Prominent clerics accused of justifying the killing of ‘apostates’ as death threats mount in the wake of blogger Yameen Rasheed’s murder.

‘Not free’

On this year’s World Press Freedom Day, the Maldives Independent spoke to journalists from top media outlets in the country for their views on the state of press freedom in the country.

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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

President restricts powers of Fuvahmulah city council

After deliberations with the cabinet, President Abdulla Yameen decided Wednesday that the newly-elected Fuvahmulah city council will have the same powers and responsibilities as the Malé and Addu city councils.

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Sheikh Imran and Nazim transferred to house arrest

The high-profile prisoners were transferred for the duration of the fasting month of Ramadan, which began Saturday.

Elections Commission to disburse funds for political parties

With 39,502 members, the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives will receive MVR10 million (US$648,508). The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party with 29,350 members is entitled to MVR7.5 million (US$486,400).

Media council backtracks on defamation complaints

The print and online media regulator had asked journalists from Raajje TV, VFP and Mihaaru to submit their defence to defamation complaints filed by the former chief communication officer at the president’s office.

‘A dark day’: lawyers and legal experts react to supreme court judgment

The supreme court’s judgment declaring itself the final authority on the validity of no-confidence and impeachment votes has drawn widespread criticism from lawyers, lawmakers and legal experts.

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Society & Culture

STELCO warns of more power cuts in Malé

The State Electricity Company has warned of more power cuts in Malé after damage to a high-voltage cable left two-third of the capital without electricity in the early hours of Sunday.

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Sheikh under fire over claim of island with non-fasting majority

Sheikh Ali Zaid said he was told during a visit to an unnamed southern island that the majority of people have been eating during daytime at Ramadan for years.

Maldives greets Ramadan

After traditional pre-fasting preparations and communal feasts, Maldivians joined Muslims around the world on Saturday to begin the holy month of Ramadan.

Coral stone mosques: the last architectural masterpieces

The Maldives Independent spoke to renowned architect Mauroof Jameel following the publication of his book, “Coral Stone Mosques of Maldives, The Vanishing Legacy of the Indian Ocean.”

Seaplane crash lands in airport island lagoon

The nine passengers and three crewmembers were rescued and survived with minor injuries after the TransMaldivian Airways seaplane crash landed in the Hulhulé lagoon.

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