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Maldives News Bulletin, 17-02-2008
Issue No: No.1149

The President and the First Lady meet with the Maldivian community in New Delhi

10 Feb: The President and the First Lady this evening met with the Maldivian community in New Delhi.  The meeting was held at The Park hotel, and was attended by Maldivian families and students residing in New Delhi.  All members of staff at the Maldives High Commission in New Delhi also attended the function.
Speaking at the function, the President called on all Maldivians residing abroad to respect the laws and regulations of the respective countries.  He noted that their conduct and behavior while abroad had an important bearing on the country’s reputation among foreigners.
The President also briefed the audience on the progress of his democratic reform agenda, including the current status of the work of the People’s Special Majlis and the Government’s plans to ensure that the presidential election scheduled for later in the year would be free and fair.  He added that the calls by some sections for a transitional government as a precondition for free elections are without any legal or political basis.
The President noted that it was a great pleasure for him to have had the opportunity to meet with the Maldivian community in New Delhi.  He thanked High Commissioner Anbaree Abdul Sattar and the members of staff at the High Commission for organizing the event.
Focusing on Indo-Maldives relations, the President noted that relations between the two countries were founded on mutual respect and a high degree of understanding and trust.  He emphasized that India had played an important role in the country’s development, and noted India’s generous and prompt assistance and support in every hour of national need.
The President expressed his concern over some recent media reports aimed at jeopardizing the close friendly ties that existed between the Maldives and India.  He condemned these reports that contained false accusations and baseless allegations about the Indian government.  Noting that the Maldives today had a very free press, the President cautioned the people against believing such lies on face value.  He added that India was a special friend of the Maldives, and noted that the Indian government had extended all possible assistance towards endeavors that benefited the Maldivian people.
The welcome remarks at the function were delivered by High Commissioner Anbaree Abdul Sattar.  He thanked the President for taking time from his packed official schedule to meet with the Maldivian community in New Delhi.  He also congratulated the President on receiving the Sustainable Development Leadership Award for 2008.
The vote-of-thanks was delivered by Maldivian student Aishath Ifasha.
The President and the First Lady also met with and exchanged greetings with the Maldivian community, during the function. 


India welcomes the President and the First Lady with a colorful ceremonial reception

11 Feb: India welcomed the visiting President of the Republic of Maldives, His Excellency Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and First Lady, Madam Nasreena Gayoom, with a colorful ceremonial reception in the forecourt of Rashtrapathi Bhawan.
The President and the First Lady of the Maldives were greeted at Rashtrapathi Bhawan with a national salute by the Mounted Regiment of the President’s Bodyguards of India.  They were saluted by a detachment of the Defense Forces and by a 21-Gun Salute.
The President and the First Lady were received by the President of India, Her Excellency Mrs. Pratibha Patil.
The national anthems of the two countries were then played, with President Gayoom on the dais.  He then inspected an Indian Security Forces’ Guard of Honor.
President Gayoom was introduced by the Indian President to senior Indian officials, including Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and a number of senior ministers.  The Indian President was also introduced to the members of President Gayoom’s delegation for the State visit to India.
After the official welcome ceremony, the President and the First Lady proceeded to Rajghat, where they laid a wreath at the Mahathma Gandhi Memorial.
The President then signed the visitors’ book at Rajghat.  He was also presented with a collection of books by the late Mahathma Gandhi.


President Gayoom meets with the Indian President

11 Feb: President Gayoom tonight met with the President of India, Shrimathi Pratibha Devisingh Patil.  The President was accompanied by the First Lady. The meeting was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
In the meeting, the two leaders discussed the close friendly bilateral relations and development cooperation between the two countries.
The Indian President expressed her confidence that President Gayoom’s State visit would bring the two countries close together.  She noted that high-level visits would strengthen what was already a special relationship.
President Gayoom reiterated that the Maldives and India had enjoyed close friendly ties for many years.
The Indian President noted that people-to-people contact dated back many centuries, and noted the leadership role and initiative of President Gayoom in fostering closer bilateral ties in recent decades.
President Gayoom thanked India for the strong support and assistance that it had extended to the Maldives over the years.
The President and the First Lady were joined by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, the Maldivian High Commissioner in New Delhi, Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Anbaree Abdul Sattar, the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Dunya Maumoon and the Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. Mohamed Hussain Shareef.


President Gayoom says the key to strengthening Indo-Maldives ties is the people

11 Feb: President Gayoom tonight said that the key to strengthening Indo-Maldives ties was the people.  He made the statement in his speech at the State Banquet hosted by the President of India, Shrimathi Pratibha Devisingh Patil, in honor of President Gayoom and Madam Nasreena.  The State Banquet was held at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
In his speech, the President noted that, at present, there were over 23,000 Indian nationals gainfully employed in the Maldives.  He also highlighted that the Maldives was rapidly gaining in popularity as the destination of choice among Indian holidaymakers, and noted that the number of tourist arrivals from India had increased by 43.5 percent in 2007.  Further, he said that the number of Maldivians visiting India for various purposes, including medical treatment, education, business and tourism, had also risen sharply in recent years. 
The President emphasized that the agreement to establish the Maldives–India Foundation, which the two governments are scheduled to sign in the near future, would be another important step towards further strengthening the excellent ties between our two countries. He elaborated that the Foundation is tasked with promoting exchanges in the fields of art, culture, trade, commerce, and science and technology.
Focusing on further areas of cooperation, President Gayoom said that economic, commercial and investment ties too had been booming in recent years.  He added that, in 2007, imports from India to the Maldives had increased by 44 percent, while exports from the Maldives to India had increased by 57 percent. Further, he expressed his confidence that, with the full implementation of SAFTA, the volume of trade between the two countries would rise to even higher levels in the time ahead.
In his speech, President Gayoom said:
“My Government and people regard India as a special friend, a very close ally and a key development partner.  Our two peoples have interacted in various fields over many centuries, and the close proximity and shared cultural, linguistic and historical links between our two countries have contributed greatly in cultivating deep mutual respect for one another.”
President Gayoom said that President Patil was a “person of unparalleled leadership and experience”.
President Gayoom thanked the President, Government and people of India for the prompt assistance that India had extended to the Maldives in every hour of national need.
On this point, he said:
“In every hour of national distress in the Maldives, be it a foreign terrorist coup attempt or a natural catastrophe, India has come in a big way to help us restore normalcy to the lives of our people.” 
President Gayoom noted that the protection and preservation of the environment was a concern that both India and the Maldives had shared over the years.  He added that India had played a praiseworthy role in climate change diplomacy. 
Focusing on his reform agenda, President Gayoom noted that the agenda had today reached an important juncture.  He stressed that the drafting of the new Constitution was nearing completion.  He also highlighted that, later this year, the Maldives would hold its first multiparty presidential election.
President Gayoom highlighted that the removal of the gender bar in the new Constitution was a great stride forward in the reform process. 
Before the State Banquet, the two Presidents were introduced to the invitees.  President Patil was introduced to the members of the Maldivian delegation, while President Gayoom and the First Lady were introduced to the invited senior Indian officials, including the Vice President and his spouse, the Prime Minister and his spouse, and senior union ministers.


The Chairperson of the India’s ruling United Progressive Alliance, Shrimathi Sonia Gandhi calls on the President and the First Lady

11 Feb: The Chairperson of India’s ruling coalition, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Shrimathi Sonia Gandhi, called on the President and the First Lady this evening.  Shrimathi Gandhi was joined by Dr. Karan Singh, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Cell of the Congress Party.
Shrimathi Sonia Gandhi welcomed the President and the First Lady to India, and noted the importance of their State visit.
The President thanked the Indian Government for the warm welcome and generous hospitality that had been extended to him and the First Lady, and to the members of the visiting Maldivian delegation.
Shrimathi Sonia Gandhi expressed her satisfaction that relations between the two countries were advancing promisingly, and highlighted the importance of increased people-to-people contact.  Sh. noted the increasing number of Maldivian students attaining their education in Indian institutions.
The President noted the important role of the thousands of Indian nationals who were gainfully employed in the Maldives.  He noted that they contributed to bringing the two countries closer together.  Similarly, he highlighted that tourist arrivals from India were also increasing steadily in recent years.
Dr. Karan Singh spoke on the important role of President Gayoom in climate change diplomacy.  He emphasized the importance of urgent global action to save the most vulnerable communities, such as the Maldives.
The President noted that the Maldives would be among the first to be affected by climate change, but that no country would eventually be spared.  He noted that even if one percent of the world’s glaciers were to melt, it would lead to a 71 centimeter rise in sea levels.  He added that this would of course be catastrophic for low-lying Small Island States such as the Maldives.
The President briefed the Chairperson of the UPA of the current status of the his reform agenda, and noted that the Government was firmly committed to ensuring that the multiparty presidential election later this year would be transparent, free and fair.


The Indian External Affairs Ministers assures the President of India’s firm support and assistance towards the President’s initiatives to introduce democratic reform

11 Feb: The Minister of External Affairs of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee has assured President Gayoom of India’s firm support and assistance towards the President’s initiative to introduce democratic reforms in the Maldives.
In a courtesy call on President Gayoom this morning, Shri Mukherjee thanked President Gayoom and the Government of Maldives for the “total support that the Maldives had extended to India on all international issues”.  He noted that the Maldives had co-sponsored India’s bid for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council.  He also noted that the Maldives was among the first member countries to support the successful candidature of Mr. Kamalesh Sharma for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General.
President Gayoom noted that the Maldives firmly believed that India should play a leadership role in global affairs, and said that it was a ‘principled policy’ of his Government to support its friend and neighbor India.
Focusing on the ongoing democratic reforms in the Maldives, the Indian External Affairs Minister said that the “reforms were going in the right direction”, and highlighted the fact that the reform agenda was indeed an initiative of President Gayoom.
President Gayoom briefed the Indian External Affairs Minister on the current status of the reform programme.  He noted that the constitutional reform work of the People’s Special Majlis was nearing completion, and that a raft of reform legislation would be tabled before the upcoming session of the People’s Majlis, ensuring that the country’s very first multiparty presidential elections scheduled for later in the year would be free and fair.  He also noted that reputed international organizations had been invited to send missions to the Maldives to observe the elections.
Highlighting that cooperation between the Maldives and India was strengthening in a number of key areas, President Gayoom thanked Shri Mukherjee and the Indian Government for the important role that India had played in the development of human resources in the Maldives.  In particular, he noted the many training opportunities extended to the Maldives in the area of defense and security, as well as the placements and scholarships in Indian institutions of higher learning for aspiring medical professionals.
Shri Mukherjee said that India was deeply concerned on hearing of the recent attempt on President Gayoom’s life, and said that they were relieved to know that he was unharmed.  Further, he noted the importance of enhancing regional cooperation in “nipping extremism in the bud”.  He also commended the President for his efforts to root out extremism through his scholarly messages of tolerance and co-existence.  He also highlighted that President Gayoom had earned a global recognition as an authentic voice on the true spirit of Islam.
President Gayoom spoke on the importance of peace, tolerance and stability as a prerequisite for national development.  He said that the Government of Maldives had stepped up its efforts to propagate the true message of Islam in recent months.  He also noted the importance of working together in the fight against extremism and terrorism.
The meeting was attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, the Maldivian High Commissioner in New Delhi, Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Anbaree Abdul Sattar, the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Dunya Maumoon, the Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. Mohamed Hussain Shareef and the Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms Fathimath Inaya.


The Maldives and India sign an Agreement on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology

11 Feb: The President today met with the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh.  The meeting was held at Hyderabad House in New Delhi.
The two leaders discussed ways to enhance the existing close friendly relations between the two countries.  They also explored new areas for bilateral and development cooperation.
In the meeting, the President thanked the Indian Prime Minister for India’s pivotal role in the social and economic development of the Maldives.  He noted that India had been a special friend of the Maldives, and that India had extended generous and prompt assistance in every hour of national need.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh welcomed the President to India, and thanked the President for the high priority that he attached to strengthening ties with India.  He also congratulated the President on receiving the coveted Sustainable Development Leadership Award for 2008.
After the meeting, the President and the Indian Prime Minister led official talks between senior delegations of both countries.
The Maldivian delegation included the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, the Maldivian High Commissioner in New Delhi, Lt. Gen. (Rtd.) Anbaree Abdul Sattar, the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr. Ahmed Shareef, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms Dunya Maumoon, and the Presidential Spokesperson, Mr. Mohamed Hussain Shareef.
The Indian delegation included the Minister of External Affairs, Shri Pranab Mukherjee, the Minister of Defense, Shri A.K. Anthony, the Foreign Secretary, Shri Shiv Shankar Menon and the Minister of State for External Affairs and Minister-in-Attendance, Shri E. Ahamed.
In the meeting, the Indian Prime Minister noted that President Gayoom was the elder statesman of SAARC, and thanked him for the wisdom and knowledge that he had imparted in making last year’s SAARC Summit in New Delhi a success.  He also praised the President’s leadership role as a voice of the world’s Small Island States.
The Minister Prime Minister thanked President Gayoom for the firm support that the Maldives had extended towards the successful candidature of Mr. Kamalesh Sharma for the post of Commonwealth Secretary-General.
In the meeting, the Indian Prime Minister said that the security and defense of the Maldives was of the utmost importance.  He also said that he admired the way in which the Government of Maldives had managed the country’s economy.  On this note, he highlighted that the country’s economy was among the fastest growing in the region, and added that the per capita income of the Maldives was the highest in South Asia.
Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh spoke on the importance of the Agreement in the Fields of Science and Technology that the two countries entered into immediately after the talks.  He expressed his happiness that cooperation was strengthening in new areas.   He also assured the President that India was keen to explore further areas of cooperation, while strengthening existing areas.
The President thanked the Indian Government for the warm welcome and generous hospitality extended to him and the First Lady, and to the members of his delegation.
The President spokes on India’s leadership role in global environmental affairs, and highlighted the importance of enhanced cooperation on environmental issues.
He also thanked the Indian Government for its strong support in the area of human resource development, in key areas such as healthcare.
The President expressed his concern over the rise in terrorism and extremism in South Asia, and noted that the Maldives too was experiencing an increase in extremist activities of late.  He noted the importance of working together to curb this rise.  He added that the Government of Maldives attached the high priority to raise public awareness on the true message of Islam, and briefed the Prime Minister on some of the initiatives that had been taken in this matter.
Following the talks, a ceremony was held at Hyderabad House to sign an Agreement on Cooperation in the Fields of Science and Technology between the Maldives and India.  The agreement was signed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Maldives, Mr. Abdulla Shahid, and the Minister of External Affairs of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee.  The agreement was signed in the presence of President Gayoom and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.


The Vice President of India calls on President Gayoom

11 Feb: The Vice President of India, His Excellency Mr. M. Hamid Ansari called on President Gayoom this afternoon.
President Gayoom and Vice President Ansari discussed bilateral ties between the Maldives and India.  They also exchanged views on areas for further collaboration between the two neighboring countries.
The Indian Vice President said that each one of President Gayoom’s visits to India was a special occasion, and that the President’s reputation as a global leader on environmental matters was very well-known.  He congratulated the President on being presented with the 2008 Sustainable Development Award.
Mr. Hamid Ansari noted that environmental degradation and terrorism were two primary concerns facing the contemporary world, and highlighted the importance of cooperation in fighting both ills.
The President noted that the Maldives was today a very ‘open’ country, and that, as a result, some very negative influences such as extremism were also filtering into the country.  He said that those promoting extremism in the Maldives were very few in number, and that the Government attached a very high priority to ensure that the menace does not spread further in the country.  Further, he noted the importance of maintaining the country’s peace and stability.
Mr. Ansari noted that terrorists targeted innocent people, and that governments should cooperate more through exchange of information and sharing of experiences in ensuring that the scourge of terrorism did not spread any further in South Asia.
The Indian Vice President also noted that he had been a career diplomat for over thirty years, and that, during his years in the diplomatic service, he had served in many Middle Eastern and Arab countries.  He went on to say that he, therefore, understood the important role of moderate scholars and intellectual leaders like President Gayoom in ensuring that the true message of Islam was propagated to the people at large.  He also commended the President for the high priority that he had attached to strengthening the OIC.
The President briefed the Indian Vice President on the current status of the democratic reform agenda in the Maldives.
Mr. Ansari also spoke on the growth of tourism in the Maldives, and described the country as a ‘paradise on Earth’.
The President thanked Mr. Ansari for his kind sentiments, and noted the importance of ensuring that the pristine natural beauty of the Maldives was maintained.  He also expressed his concern that, if sea levels were to rise at present levels, the future habitation of the country was in danger.  On this point, he noted the key role of India in the international negotiations on climate change.


The President and the First Lady arrive in Sri Lanka on a State Visit

12 Feb: The President and the First Lady arrived in Sri Lanka on a State Visit today. The President and the First Lady were welcomed with a warm reception at Bandaranaike International Airport.
The President and the First Lady were received by the President of Sri Lanka, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa and Madam Rajapakse.
The national anthems of the two countries were then played, with President Gayoom on the dais. He then inspected a Guard of Honor which was followed by a 21-Gun Salute.
President Gayoom was introduced by the Sri Lankan President to senior Sri Lanka officials. Further, the Sri Lankan President was introduced to the members of President Gayoom’s delegation for the State visit to Sri Lanka.
The President then signed the visitors’ “Golden Book”.
The President was seen-off at the New Delhi Airport by the Minister of State for External Affairs Mr. E. Ahmed.
Before his departure to Sri Lanka, the President was presented with a copy of the third edition of “Maldives in Focus”, a magazine being published by the Maldives’ High Commission in India. The presentation was made by the Maldivian High Commissioner to India, Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Anbaree Abdul Sattar Adam.


The President meets with the Sri Lankan President


12 Feb: The President today met with the Sri Lankan President, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. The meeting was held this evening at the Presidential Secretariat. On his Arrival at the Secretariat, the President was greeted by the Sri Lankan President. 
 After the meeting, the President and the Sri Lankan President led official talks between senior delegations of both countries. 
 The two delegations discussed various aspects of bilateral relations between the two countries and emphasized the need to widen the scope of collaboration to new areas of development.
 President Gayoom thanked the Sri Lankan government for gifting the central library of MCHE, and noted that it would serve as a lasting reminder of the good neighborly ties between the two countries.
 Highlighting the pivotal role of the peoples’ in forging stronger ties, President Gayoom highlighted that nearly 2000 Maldivian students were currently attaining education in Sri Lankan institutions and thousands of Maldivians were residing or visiting Sri Lanka for various purposes. He added that over 8500 Sri Lankans were gainfully employed in the Maldives. Further, he stressed the importance of continued High-Level exchanges between the two governments in strengthening ties.
President Gayoom expressed his confidence that the two agreements on visa facilitations and transfer of prisoners would propel Maldives-Sri Lanka relations to new heights.
President Gayoom congratulated Sri Lanka on the country’s 60th anniversary of Independence. He also expressed his satisfaction that the 15th SAARC Summit is to be held this year in Sri Lanka as the Historic summit coincided with the 60th year of the country’s Independence.
Speaking at the High-Level talks, the Sri Lankan President extended a very warm welcome to President Gayoom and expressed his confidence that the State visit would serve as a catalyst to further strengthen bilateral ties. President Rajapaksa highlighted that the relations between the two countries had strengthened in many areas, including; aviation, health care, education, fisheries, tourism and commerce. He noted that business and investment ties were also registering an upward trend in recent years.
President Rajapaksa emphasized the need to expedite the implementation of key bilateral agreements, including those on cooperation in the fields of fisheries, tourism and cultural exchanges.
Highlighting the need for stronger regional ties in fighting the scourge of terrorism, President Rajapaksa noted that the Maldives and the Sri Lanka shared common views and ideas on combating terrorism on the international arena.


Relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka have been founded over the years on mutual understanding and respect, and shared values on important regional and international issues: President Gayoom


12 Feb: President Gayoom has said that relations between the Maldives and Sri Lanka had been founded over the years on mutual understanding and respect, and shared values on important regional and international issues.
In his speech at the State Banquet hosted by the Sri Lankan President and the First Lady in honor of the visiting President and the First Lady of the Maldives, the President emphasized that the Maldives and Sri Lanka shared common values on important international issues, including the rise of terrorism and the dangers posed by climate change.
The President said that the blueprint for Sri Lanka’s progress for the years ahead had all the necessary ingredients for success.  He stressed that the architect of this blueprint was President Rajapaksa.  He commended the Sri Lankan President on the tremendous strides of development that the country had achieved over the years.
The President recalled last year’s State visit to the Maldives by the President and the First Lady of Sri Lanka, and noted that the visit had served as a catalyst to propel bilateral relations between the two countries to new heights.  “The fruitful discussions that we had held then had indeed culminated in strengthened cooperation in a number of key areas of mutual interest”, he added.
Focusing on the two bilateral agreements on visa facilitation and exchange and transfer of prisoners that were signed this evening, the President expressed his confidence that the agreement would bring the two South Asian neighbors even closer together.  He also spoke on the growing bilateral collaboration in key development sectors, including fisheries and tourism.
In his speech, the President highlighted Sri Lanka’s important role in the development of human resources in the Maldives. He added that this aspect of bilateral cooperation had strengthened tremendously in recent years.  He also said that the Central Library of the Maldives College of Higher Education, which was opened last year under the generous assistance of the Sri Lankan government, would remain as a lasting reminder of Maldives-Sri Lanka friendship.
The President concluded his speech by quoting President Rajapaksa’s vision for Sri Lanka.  He said that the Sri Lankan President had already set the groundwork in a very short time on making this vision a reality.
The State Banquet was held at the President’s House in Colombo, and attended by senior Sri Lankan officials, including the country’s Prime Minister and a number of top ministers.  The members of President Gayoom’s delegation for the State visit to Sri Lanka also attended the function.
Further, Madam Rajapaksa called on the First Lady this evening.


Sri Lanka bestows the coveted “Sri Lanka Mitra Vibhushana” award on President Gayoom


12 Feb: President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom was today conferred the “Sri Lanka Mitra Vibhushana” award by President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka.  The Sri Lanka Mitra Vibhushana Award is conferred on Heads of States and Heads of Government with which Sri Lanka has friendly relations in appreciation of their friendship towards and solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka.  President Gayoom is the first recipient of this coveted award.
At a colorful ceremony held at the Presidential Secretariat this afternoon, the highest national honor of Sri Lanka for foreign Heads of State or Government was conferred on President Gayoom by President Rajapaksa.  The citation of the award was announced by the Secretary to the President, Mr. Lalith Weerasinghe.
The honor is in recognition of the Maldivian President’s outstanding contributions to the friendship between the two countries, enhancement of regional cooperation, and the global campaign on climate change.
In his acceptance speech, President Gayoom said that the award was a “fitting tribute to the age-old close friendship and solidarity between the two countries”. Highlighting that it was a great honor for the Maldives that the very first recipient of this prestigious award was a Maldivian, the President said that this fact alone spoke volumes of the ever-growing friendship and cooperation between Sri Lanka and the Maldives.  He also emphasized that the honor would remain as a lasting symbol of amity and good neighborliness that the two peoples had enjoyed over the centuries.
The President noted that the Maldives and Sri Lanka are old friends and allies.  “Our friendship is no doubt a multidimensional one”, he said.
Later in the evening while speaking at the State Banquet hosted in his honor by the Sri Lankan President, the President of the Maldives dedicated the award to the Maldivian people.


Penalty for Fornication and Adultery has being modified and implemented


12 Feb: The penalty for fornication and adultery has been modified and is being implemented as of yesterday.
The criminal offenders of child abuse, molestation and rape will now be sentenced to prison rather than house arrest and banishment.
According to the Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohamed Muiz Adnan, this change has been brought about due to the increased number of sex offenders in the Maldivian society.
The classifications of these sexual crimes are now more detailed and comprehensive.
The sentence for crimes of beastiality, homosexuality and prostitution has also been modified.
Statistics show that the sexual crimes have increased by ten percent since the year 2006.
The human rights commission today announced that these modifications will make our community safer and more protected.
They said that the previous sentence of banishment and house arrest provided the criminals with further opportunities to commit such crimes and hence made children more vulnerable to these dangers.


UK MPs Address press conference in Male’

13 Feb: Two parliamentarians of the United Kingdom’s conservative party address a press conference held at Dharubaaruge.
The press conference was held by the Maldivian Democratic Party, last night.
Francis Mode, one of the parliament members, spoke about the main ideas that should be present in order to achieve consistent political success.
He also highlighted the importance of a stable democracy and of carrying out independent, fair elections.
He emphasized on the significance of keeping the legal areas free of external influences.


President meets with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka. Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka calls on the President

13 Feb: The President today met with the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake, called on the President today.
The two leaders discussed ways to develop the existing close friendly relations between the two countries.
The Foreign Minster of Sri Lanka, Mr. Rohitha Bogollagama also called on the President today.
In the meeting, the President noted that even though his visit to Sri Lanka was short, it was a successful visit.
Highlighting on the discussions on the official talks yesterday, Foreign Minster Bogollagama noted that the talks had been very successful.
In the meeting, the President and the Sri Lankan Foreign Minster discussed ways to strengthen the ties between the two countries in various areas.


The President and the First Lady returns home after concluding their State Visit to India and Sri Lanka

13 Feb: The President and the First Lady returned to Male’ this afternoon after concluding their State visit to India and Sri Lanka.
The President and the First Lady were seen-off at the Bandaranaike International Airport by the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, Mr. Ratnasiri Wickremanayake and Senior Ministers of Sri Lanka.
The President and the First Lady were welcomed on arrival at the Male’ International Airport by the Speaker of the People’s Majlis, Ministers, State Ministers, State Dignitaries, Senior Officers of the Maldives National Defense Force and the Maldives Police Service, senior officials of the President’s Office, the Presidential Palace and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


Bill passed stating that all presidential duties would be passed onto speaker of people’s majlis if both President and the Vice President are unable to attend to the duties

14 Feb: The Special Majlis has passed the bill that states that all the presidential responsibilities will be passed onto the speaker of the people’s majlis under the circumstances where both the President and the Vice President are unable to attend to the duties.
The Vice President of the majlis will take over these responsibilities, in situations where the president of the majlis is unable to do so.
Even if the Vice President is unable to do so, an elected member of the parliament will continue with the task.
The clause in the second draft of the president’s chapter outlines the taking responsibility of errors.


Villa College signs an agreement with Birmingham College of UK to carry out Tourism and Hospitality courses

14 Feb: Villa College signs an agreement with the Birmingham college of UK after deciding to carry out Tourism and Hospitality courses at the college.
The official signing took place at a ceremony held at Dharubaaruge last night.
The chairman, Mr. Gasim Ibrahim signed the agreement on behalf of Villa College.
On behalf of Birmingham College, the vice president, Dr. David Luke signed the agreement.
Opportunities to attain bachelor or masters level education in Tourism related and hospitality and creative studies are now open for Maldivians.
Birmingham College is known to be one of the best colleges in the whole of Europe for providing education in the field of tourism.
The certificates given to the students who successfully complete a course by the Birmingham College will be internationally recognized.
The application forms for these scholarships will be available on the website for Villa College and from the second floor of H.Greenge.


Adhaalathu Party announces that candidates from the party will not take part in the election

16 Feb: Adhaalath party announces that candidates from the party will not be participating in this year’s presidential elections.
The party states that they will support the candidate with the best values and principles.
They further announced that they have already founded a committee that will look into the background and manifestos of the candidates.
Based on the findings of this committee, the party will decide which candidate is most appropriate.
The party declared that they will support the candidate who is working for the benefit and welfare of the citizens, regardless of whether the candidate is from a particular party or whether the candidate is a private candidate.


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