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News in brief: Council elections scheduled for April 4

President green lights Malé City Streetscaping Development Plan.



The fourth local council elections of the Maldives will take place April 4 next year, the Elections Commission announced on Wednesday.

Elected island, atoll, and city councils with three-year terms were introduced in the Maldives for the first time under a landmark decentralisation law mandated by the 2008 constitution. The first elections were held in February 2011. Ahead of the third elections in May 2017, parliament revised the law to reduce the number of councillors to 653 from more than 1,000.

Significant changes are expected to be made to the decentralisation law ahead of the next polls, including a quota to reserve one-third of seats for female candidates.

National airline fully booked ahead of school holidays

All domestic flights of national carrier Maldivian airlines have been fully booked for the next two weeks.

School holidays is due to begin on November 24 and domestic travel in expected to rise throughout December, which is also the peak season for the tourism industry.

President green lights Malé City Streetscaping  plan

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday instructed the Malé City Council to carry out the ‘Malé City Streetscaping Development Plan’ after the cabinet deliberated a paper submitted by the national planning and infrastructure ministry.

The MVR462 million (US$30 million) plan  “proposes the redevelopment of streets of Malé in a methodical manner and ensures citywide development focussing on easing congestion, opening up more paths for pedestrians and encouraging walking,” according to the president’s office.

“The proposed plan includes a breakdown of all the streets of Malé City and improved design elements incorporated to enhance the city streets. These include dedicated parking spaces for all wards of Malé City, pilot project on public transport, integration of underground network pipelines carrying essential utility services and storm water management system.”

Actress among dozen arrested with alcohol

Local actress Maleeha Waleed was among a dozen people arrested over alleged alcohol consumption in a guesthouse on Tuesday night.

According to media reports, she was arrested with 11 men from from the restaurant of Hotel 78 in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé. The raid operation was conducted based on intelligence information, police said.

On Monday, Maleeha reportedly pleaded not guilty to diamorphine trafficking and cannabis use. The charges were raised after drugs were found in her possession upon arrival on Maamigili island in late August. The trafficking charge carries a sentence of life imprisonment.   

India grants MVR1.9 million to refurbish children’s home

India has granted MVR1.9 million (US$123,200) to refurbish the children’s home Fiyavathi in the capital’s suburb Hulhumalé.

“The project is aimed at catering to the growing needs of foster care children aged between 0 – 13 years, including upgrading of the security system, strengthening functionality of the building, setting up two common rooms, and replacing the existing furniture among others,” according to the foreign ministry.

The grant was part of an MVR100 million aid scheme agreed in March to conduct socio-economic development projects across the country.

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