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Business & Tourism

Tourist arrivals surpass one-million mark

The government hopes to welcome 1.5 million tourists in 2017, despite missing the same target during the past two years. After reaching a record 1.3 million in 2016, arrivals have grown by six percent as of October compared to the same period last year.

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Maldivian Airlines issues non-apology for seaplane crash

Holidaymakers had sat through two aborted take-offs before being lobbed into the ocean on the third attempt, The Sun reported, and were left bobbing in the water after their seaplane crashed.

Record budget passed after opposition boycott

The record-high budget was passed with 39 votes in favour exclusively from ruling coalition lawmakers in the 85-member house.

Record MVR28bn budget proposed for 2018

Finance Minister Ahmed Munawar submitted for parliamentary approval a record MVR27.9 billion (US$1.8 billion) budget for 2018.

Coconuts or progress? President’s question for Kulhudhuffushi

PPM supporters, heads of state-owned firms and senior government officials have been flocking to the northern island for the inauguration of an airport project and the party’s annual meeting.

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High Court upholds 10-year prison term for ex-defence minister

The judge’s three-week detention at a military training base sparked anti-government protests, culminating in then-president Mohamed Nasheed’s resignation in the wake of a violent mutiny by police and army elements in 2012.

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Two Maldivians arrested for bomb-making

The arrests relate to the pair making an improvised explosive device, news outlet Mihaaru said, and police found bomb making equipment at the home of one of the men.

Rise in child abuse reports

The ministry said 122 out of 272 reported cases were regarding different forms of child abuse – 45 percent of the total reported cases in October.

IS terror suspects were planning suicide attack in Malé

Ishag Ali and Hussein Afeef were named by prosecutors and are alleged by police to have connections to the Islamic State group operating out of Syria and Iraq.

Ex-tourism boss in not guilty plea to 30 corruption charges

Abdulla Ziyath, who managed the Maldives Marketing and Public Relations Corporation, is accused of misappropriating US$44 million (MVR721 million) by leasing islands and lagoons owned by the state.

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Environment

NGO sues government over mangrove destruction

The NGO EcoCare Maldives initiated the civil suit against the Ministry of Environment and Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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NGOs slam ‘careless sacrifice’ of Kulhudhuffushi mangroves

Developing an airport on Kulhudhuffushi, the main population hub in the northern atolls, was a campaign pledge the president made in 2013. But a contractor has yet to be appointed to build it.

Greenhouse gas reduction agreement approved by parliament

Parliament on Monday approved the ratification of the Kigali amendment to the Montreal Protocol, an international agreement to reduce the global production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs).

Edging towards ecocide? Mangrove destruction in Kulhudhuffushi

A timeline of events since the presidential pledge to build an airport on the northern population hub.

2,500 trees to be cut down for Kulhudhuffushi airport

The Kulhudhuffushi council expects about 2,500 trees and plants to be cut down or removed from the island’s unique mangrove forest for the construction of an airport. 

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Feature & Comment

Mixed blessings for Maafushi’s guesthouse boom

The success of Maafushi – and the ensuing development of guesthouses – have sparked concerns. Construction noise has deterred guests, and the loss of sea views has hurt the value of profitable rooms.

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Environmental sustainability: A tale of two presidents

The hope of social media activists that an Environment Impact Assessment could save the Kulhudhufushi mangrove from destruction to build an airport is misplaced, writes environmental scientist Ibrahim Mohamed.

The stigma and struggle of mental health in the Maldives

The Maldives has an acute shortage of qualified mental health professionals despite growing mental health problems among the population.

No Chinese, no business: The Peking Pound and the Maldives

China remains the single highest supplier of tourists to the Maldives, but dwindling figures have heightened fears that the market has peaked.

Surf’s up in the Maldives

Maldivian surfers have been catching waves in a pristine spot in the north Malé atoll since the closure of a popular break in the capital almost two years ago.

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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

Maldives integrity chief sacked days after ‘obstruction’ tweet

The head of the National Integrity Commission recently attracted attention for a tweet reprimanding police leadership for hampering the NIC’s work.

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Ministries slapped with RTI requests to fact-check president

Yameen rattled off figures and challenged “political leaders who say they do not see development” at the November 18 rally marking the four-year anniversary of his government and the Maldives Independent is seeking to fact-check his claims.

Islanders bashed over ‘ingratitude’ towards president

The MP and parliament majority leader Ahmed Nihan lashed out at the people of Thinadhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu atoll and two former PPM politicians who lost their seats after being expelled from the party.

Record budget passed after opposition boycott

The record-high budget was passed with 39 votes in favour exclusively from ruling coalition lawmakers in the 85-member house.

Court order to seize Internet activist’s phone sparks outrage

The police sought the warrant to identify Thayyib Shaheem’s sources for an investigation into alleged false claims about President Abdulla Yameen, the head of the anti-corruption watchdog, and senior government officials.

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Society & Culture

Education ministry hits out at professor ‘ban’ reports

A local news outlet said Professor Hassan Ugail was banned by the Education Ministry. The report was later edited to say he faced “challenges” to appear at local schools.

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Government house calls for Maldivians insulting Islam on social media

The ‘house call’ initiative comes amid the ongoing trial of seven people charged with murdering liberal blogger and Internet activist Yameen Rasheed, whose death was justified and even welcomed on social media by those who saw him as an apostate.

Maldives accused of intimidating, silencing media

Transparency Maldives has condemned the government for proposing a bill that would merge two existing media watchdogs and “expand its sphere of state control on print and social media as well”.

Workplace sexual harassment in the Maldives: the struggle for justice

A social media campaign is aiming to reverse the culture of protecting perpetrators at work and blaming the victims, much like #Nufoshey (Don’t Harass) is a platform for highlighting the menace of street sex pests.

Teachers ‘must’ monitor students in anti-extremism fight

Teachers in the Maldives must be educated on how to monitor students for extremist ideologies, according to the first strategy document from the National Counter Terror Centre.

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