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News in brief: mosquito traps and internet prices

Four people were injured in a speedboat collision.



Soneva donates mosquito traps to parliament

The Soneva resort company installed chemical-free mosquito traps in the parliament building on Thursday.

The technology to kill mosquitos without fogging or spraying insecticides was developed by scientists from a German company and pioneered in the Maldives by Dutch mosquito scientist Bart Knols, according to a press release from Soneva. The traps “emit a combination of carbon dioxide and lactic acid, attracting mosquitoes and killing them in an environmentally friendly way,” it explained.

Five traps were installed in the garden of the parliament house by Knols and Akib Jahir, Soneva’s integrated pest control manager, who trained parliament’s maintenance team and Speaker Mohamed Nasheed and MPs on the new technology. 

“The mosquito trap technology has recently been rolled out across Soneva Fushi resort in Baa atoll,” the statement noted. “Soneva Fushi is a large island, with lots of jungle. Years of spraying the mosquitoes with insecticide have resulted in the island’s mosquitoes becoming highly resistant to insecticides.”

Soneva installed 495 traps across the island and witnessed “a dramatic fall in the numbers of mosquitoes, with large parts of the island now practically mosquito-free.” Soneva Fushi also stopped spraying with chemical insecticides and saw a “profusion of bumblebees, dragonflies and hawkmoths — at the same time as the mosquito population has collapsed.” 

30mbps proposed as minimum internet speed

The government plans to set 30mbps as the minimum internet speed in the Maldives next year, officials from communications, science and technology ministry told parliament’s national development committee on Wednesday.

Minister Mohamed Maleeh Jamaal told lawmakers that new rules will enacted under a broadband policy to reduce prices, which is currently among the top three most expensive in Asia, according to internet rankings by Cable UK. Maldives is also has the slowest broadband service in South Asia, with a five gigabyte film taking over six hours to download.

The new policy will also address complaints about the inability to carry forward leftover data allowances, he said. Reducing internet prices was a campaign pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.

Onion rationing to end next week

The controlled sale of onions due to a shortage caused by severe flooding in India will end on Sunday, the State Trading Organisation has said.

STO media coordinator Abdulla Mohamed told state media that a new shipment is due to arrive on Friday, after which the restriction of one kilo per customer would be lifted.

The state wholesaler sold onions for MVR30 a kilo but prices at some coronerships were as high as MVR50 last week.

Following the floods in onion-producing states, the Indian government restricted exports but the foreign ministry said an exception was made for the Maldives. On Sunday, the Indian embassy in Malé said onion exports were interrupted for a few days last week due to an operational issue but resumed from October 10.

Four injured in speedboat collision

Four people were injured in a speedboat collision near the capital’s northeastern harbour around 10am on Thursday morning.

The victims include a 17-year-old girl, two men aged 28 and 38, and a 50-year-old man, police said. The 50-year-old was undergoing treatment under observation but the others have been released from hospital, according to police. 

Issuance of chemical import permits resume

The defence ministry on Wednesday resumed issuing permits for the import of chemicals after temporary halting the process after a chemical warehouse fire in the capital Malé last month. 

In the aftermath of the fire incident, the government enacted new rules on the supply and storage of flammable chemicals in the crowded capital, which prohibited storage of flammable chemicals in residential buildings. 

Two men arrested for stealing air-conditioning unit

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of stealing the outdoor unit of an air-conditioner at the justice building in the capital.

The two Maldivians aged 45 and 50 were arrested around 7:00am on Thursday as they attempted to sell the outdoor unit in the coastal market area of Malé, police said. The justice building houses the civil court.

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