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News in brief: EPA rescues tied-up turtle

The turtle was found on an uninhabited island.



Turtle found tied on uninhabited island

A team from the environment ministry and Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday set free a turtle that was found tied-up on an uninhabited island.

A photo posted by the ministry showed the turtle was tied by its flippers to a tree. It was found on Gaaugoodoo island in Raa atoll, Mohamed Zahir, director general at the environment ministry, revealed at a press briefing. The “unusually large” turtle did not sustain any injuries, he said.

It was rescued by a team that was surveying beach erosion in the atoll after the authorities were alerted.

EPA Director General Ibrahim Naeem vowed to find the perpetrators. The agency is authorised to impose fines of up to MVR30,000 (US$1,945).

Capturing any species of turtle is prohibited under Maldivian law but anecdotal evidence suggests widespread capture of turtles for its meat in some parts of the country.

Fire broke out in café kitchen

A fire broke out in the kitchen of the Roalhi café in the capital Malé on Tuesday morning.

Firefighters from the military’s fire and rescue services extinguished the flames shortly after the incident was reported around 9:53am. No one was injured but the kitchen’s ceiling and furniture were damaged.

No open burning in Thilafushi next year

Open burning of trash on industrial island of Thilafushi near the capital will cease in 2020, Environment Minister Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan told parliament on Monday.

In response to questions from lawmakers, Dr Hussain called waste management one of the biggest environmental challenges faced by the country. The government was preparing to to procure “heavy equipment” to stop open burning, he said.

The capital and more than 30 surrounding islands in the central atolls – home to half the population – generate 774 tons per day of mixed solid waste, which is dumped and openly burned on Thilafushi, creating “an environmental and public health hazard,” according to the Asian Development Bank, which last year granted US$35 million for an environment-friendly waste management project in the Greater Malé region.

Construction worker falls from fifth floor

A construction worker is in critical condition after falling from the fifth floor of a construction site in Malé.

The 32-year-old Bangladeshi fell from a construction site in the Maafannu quarter of the capital on Tuesday morning, police said.

Construction-site accidents are common in the capital and its suburbs. In September, a 37-year-old worker fell to his death from the eighth floor of a construction site in Hulhumalé. In July, a 24-year-old Bangladeshi construction worker died after being crushed by a falling “jumbo bag” of cement. A 44-year-old Bangladeshi man died in February after he was hit by a falling stone at a construction site in Hulhumalé.

1,700 vehicles registered to one garage

The former government registered multiple vehicles to one garage in Malé, transport ministry officials told a parliament’s national development committee on Monday. 

In one case, 1,700 cars were registered to one garage space, which was done illegally against established procedures, Deputy Minister Shimaz Ali told lawmakers. The current administration has revised rules to register vehicles based on the size and availability of parking space, he said.

According to transport authority regulations, four-wheeled vehicles can only be registered when the owner shows parking space. The abuse of these rules and lack of public parking spaces have worsened congestion of Malé’s roads, officials said.

Government seeks court order to evict Newport

The government has asked for a court order to evict Newport View restaurant from Malé’s eastern waterfront.

Three weeks ago, the civil court ordered Newport’s parent company to vacate the plot within 15 days, after the government cancelled the lease agreement over unpaid rent. Strada failed to pay monthly rent since December 2018, according to the judgment.

The company was ordered to pay MVR1.1 million along with accrued rent and fines within 30 days. But Strada failed to comply with the court order, the infrastructure ministry said in a statement on Monday.

The 10,000 square feet area was controversially leased in September 2016 to Strada – whose director Zahid Rameez was a council member of the ruling party at the time – to build a food outlet along with a platform to view the construction of the Sinamalé bridge near the capital’s surf point.

Breast cancer screening program in Hulhumalé

The public hospital in Malé’s suburb of Hulhumalé has launched a free breast cancer screening programme.

The programme targets women over 40 years of age, according to the hospital. The screenings are all on a walk-in basis between 9am to 12pm and will not require appointments to be made in advance.

Hulhumalé hospital, which launched mammography services this month, will conduct the programme until the end of October.

Today on Twitter:

Translation: “From the visit of two ships from Japan Maritime Self-Defence.”