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Maldives News Bulletin, 24-02-2008
Issue No: No.1150

 Representative of the World Islamic Call Society calls on the President

17 Feb: Representative of the World Islamic Call Society, Mr. Abdul Baset Baghdadi calls on the President today.
In the meeting held at President’s Office this afternoon, the President congratulated Mr. Baghdadi on being elected as the Representative of the World Islamic Call Society. Further, the President and Mr. Baghdadi discussed ways to strengthen the close relationship between the Maldives and World Islamic Call Society.
The meeting was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussein, Deputy Minister at the President’s Office, Dr. Hala Hameed and the Deputy Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Dunya Maumoon.
 

SAARC Secretary-General pays his farewell call on the President

17 Feb: The SAARC Secretary General, Mr. Chenkyab Dorji paid his farewell call on the President today.
In the meeting held at President’s Office this afternoon, the President thanked the efforts of Mr. Dorji in enhancing the role of SAARC through greater cooperation among the member-countries.
Speaking at the meeting, the SAARC Secretary General thanked President Gayoom for his contribution to the achievements of SAARC and noted the continued cooperation accorded by the Maldives to SAARC. Further, Mr. Dorji thanked the President for his efforts in bringing the issue of climate change to the forefront in the global arena.
The meeting was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussein, Ambassador at Large, Mr. Abdul Azeez Yoosuf and Deputy Minister at the President’s Office, Dr. Hala Hameed.
 

Public accounting system Inaugurates.

18 Feb: The minister of state for finance and treasury, Rilwan Shareef officially inaugurates the Public accounting system.
There will be four phases in this project to systemize the government accounts and funds.
By the end of the year 2010, more than two hundred government offices in both male’ and other atolls, are expected to be registered under this system.
A contract worth four point eight million US dollars was signed with the Singaporean company, Atos Origin, in order carry out this project.
According to the contract, the company will provide the necessary hardware, software and other resources, needed to carry out this project.
The minister stated that this project is given high priority by the government, as it will greatly improve the effectiveness of the government account systems.


Maldives Post Limited establishes special set of stamps

19 Feb: The Maldives Post Limited has published a special set of stamps to mark the 50th anniversary of the Scout Movement in the Maldives, and the 100th anniversary of the World Scout movement.
The new stamp set was presented to the President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, by Ahmed Ali Manik, the Chief Commissioner of the Maldivian Scout Association.
Speaking at the meeting, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom highlighted that the Maldivian Scout Movement has achieved great milestones during the last 50 years, and praised the Maldivian Scout Association for its endeavours.
In their speeches, Mr. Ali Manik, and Dr. Mahmood Shaugee, the President of the Scout Council noted the special interest and active participation of the President in his capacity as Chief Scout of the Maldives in promoting the Scout Movement in the Country.


New Permanent Representative Presents his Credentials to the UN Secretary General

19 Feb: The newly appointed Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations, H.E. Mr. Ahmed Khaleel, presented his Letter of Credence to the United Nations Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, today. The official presentation ceremony was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. 
At a meeting that followed the presentation of his credentials, Ambassador Khaleel conveyed warm greetings and good wishes of H.E. Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, President of the Republic of Maldives, to the Secretary-General and thanked him for the invaluable support and assistance that the United Nations had provided to the Maldives over the past 4 decades. He noted that the Maldives was amongst the six poorest least developed countries in the world when it became a member of the Organization in 1965, and stated that today, with the help of the United Nations and its other development partners, the Maldives has attained the level of development that is comparable to a middle income country and soon will be graduating from the list of least developed countries. Highlighting the numerous threats faced by the Maldives due to climate change and environmental degradation, Ambassador Khaleel, said that the Maldives is highly encouraged by the leadership demonstrated by the Secretary-General in bringing environmental issues to the forefront of the international agenda. He especially thanked the Secretary-General for recognizing the threats facing the small island developing countries like the Maldives due to environmental degradation, and expressed his confidence that the Secretary-General will continue to give special attention to the plight of the SIDS.   
Speaking at the meeting, the Secretary-General extended a very warm welcome to Ambassador Khaleel. The Secretary-General also applauded the President of the Republic of Maldives, H.E. Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, for the important role that the President has been playing on issues relating global environment and commended the President for the constructive manner in which he has been addressing the tsunami recovery and reconstruction process. With regard to the plight of the small islands developing countries due to climate change and global warming, the Secretary-General stated that he understands the difficulties faced by the small island developing states like the Maldives and therefore would always continue to attach special attention to the plight of SIDS.     
Ambassador Khaleel is the 10th Permanent Representative of the Maldives to the United Nations.  He is one of the longest serving career diplomats of the country and had devoted most of his career in the multilateral field. Since 1984, Ambassador Khaleel has served in various positions at the Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations in New York including the post of the Deputy Permanent Representative, Counselor, First Secretary, Second Secretary and Third Secretary.  
Counselor of the Permanent Mission of Maldives to the United Nations, Ms. Iruthisham Adam, Second Secretary, Mr. Asheer Abdul Azeez and Mr. Nicholas Haysom, Director of Political, Peacekeeping and Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations attended today’s ceremony.   
Maldives became a member of the United Nations, on 21 September 1965. At that time the Maldives was amongst the six poorest least developed countries in the world. However, today, Maldives had attained the level of development that is comparable to a middle income developing country. Maldives also enjoys the highest GNP amongst the countries in South Asia. Considering the level of progress achieved by the country in the past 30 years, the General Assembly of the United Nations had decided in 2004 to graduate the Maldives from the list of least developed countries. In accordance with this decision, Maldives will graduate from the list of least developed countries on 1 January 2011.


The President says that the commencement of international flights by Island Aviation Services is a remarkable achievement for Maldives in the field of aviation

19 Feb: The President last night said that the commencement of international flights by Island Aviation Services was a remarkable achievement for Maldives in the field of aviation.
Speaking at a ceremony held to commemorate the occasion, the President said that this development provided proof of the efficiency of the company and that it was the result of the hard work and dedication of the management. He noted that this would also contribute to the convenience of the Maldivian people and also open a lot of job opportunities.
At the ceremony, the President presented the first Maldivian female Airline Captain, Aminath Ibthisam and the first female Aeronautical Engineer, Mariyam Shifzan with honorary plaques. He noted that Aminath Ibthisam and Mariyam Shifzan had successfully proved that women were capable of progress in any field.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation,    Dr. Mahmood Shaugee noted the high priority the President attaches to the aviation sector of Maldives. He highlighted that Island Aviation Services was a very well-organized company which has a clear vision and objective.
The Chairman of Island Aviation Services Limited, Mr. Mohamed Umar Manik said that the commencement of international flights has long been a goal of the company, and that such ventures had to be initiated with a lot of thought and insight.
The Managing Director of the company, Mr. Bandhu Ibrahim Saleem thanked the Ministers and those working in related fields who had contributed to the success of this venture.
The welcome remarks were delivered by the Director, Finance and Accounts of Island Aviation Services Limited, Mr. Abdul Haris.


The President says that ideas and participation of the youth are very important in planning developmental projects


20 Feb: The President said that ideas and participation of the youth are very important in planning developmental projects.
Speaking at the ceremony held in Thulusdhoo to welcome the ‘Youth Ship’, the President said that his trip on the Youth Ship had been a pleasant and valuable experience and that the words and sentiments of the participants of the youth voyage represented hope and sincerity.
Speaking at the ceremony, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr. Mohamed Waheeduddeen urged the youth to acknowledge their worth and to plan for the future responsibly.
The message of the youth was delivered by a participant of the Youth Ship, Mr. Mohamed Ikram. The message and the banner of the day was presented to the Senior Assistant to the Atoll Chief, Mr. Ibrahim Rauf by Ms Aminath Shaazleen.
A plaque was presented to the members of the Youth Ship by Thulusdhoo Club Sounders


Consumer Price Index has set inflation rate 16% higher in 2007

20 Feb: The Consumer Price Index has set last year’s inflation rate 16 percent higher.
According to the Ministry of Planning and National Development’s CPI statistics, the inflation rate was at a high of 7 percent in 2007.
This is 3 times higher than the year before, where the inflation rate stood at 5 percent.
65 percent of the increase in inflation comprise, rise in food products, which includes imported food and fish, both fresh and canned.
There was a 40 percent rise in food products, where 25 percent was in fresh and canned fish.
Some food products include vegetables, milk, bread and some juices.
As most of our staple diet is imported, slight changes in the global food market, has major effects on the local food products.
One such example is the recent rise in milk prices, where inflation in milk prices abroad had a large effect on the local milk prices.


The President meets with the media consultants’ team on strengthening public broadcasting in the Maldives

21 Feb: The President this afternoon met with the media consultants’ team on strengthening public broadcasting in the Maldives. 
In his meeting with Project Consultant, Ms Terry Anzur and Mr. Robert Andersen and Ms Elaine Quinn of Worldwide Media Associates, the President stressed the importance of their engagement in the Maldives.
Noting that press freedom was an integral part of his democratic reform agenda, the President highlighted the need to train and empower concerned officials at the Television Maldives and Voice of Maldives in earning public trust in the two organizations as impartial and credible public broadcasters.
The media consultants’ team identified the need to re-evaluate the role of the news media and to develop a new relationship between Government news sources and journalists, as well as the Government and the broadcast media.  The Minister of Legal Reform, Information and Arts, Mr. Mohamed Nasheed emphasized the need to enhance public confidence in public service broadcasters through accurate and ‘news worthy’ reporting.


The President of Senegal invites the President Gayoom to participate in the 11th OIC Summit

21 Feb: The President of Senegal, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade has sent an invitation requesting President Gayoom to participate in the 11th OIC Summit. The Letter of invitation was presented to the President by the Minister of Information, Relations with Institution and the Spokesperson of the Government of Senegal, Dr. Bacar Dia.
During the meeting held this afternoon at the President’s Office, the President noted the importance given by the Senegal government for the OIC Summit. Further, he thanked for the invitation.
Dr. Dia praised the President’s leadership role as a concerned voice on the global arena on climate change issues.
The meeting was attended by the Minister for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Mohamed Hussain, and Deputy Minster at the President’s Office, Dr. Hala Hameed and Deputy Minster at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Dhunya Maumoon.


Retirement Laws to be implemented from 1st March

21 Feb: The government plans to implement the retirement laws on the first of May.
With this implementation, retired government employees will be given a monthly pension in addition to the amount they will receive on retirement, according to the civil service law.
Also, the new law states that even though a government employee can be a member of a political party, he or she cannot fill any positions of the party.
The president of the civil service commission, Dr. Mohamed Latheef said that the finance ministry has also been approached on the matter.
The pensions will be based upon the salary of the employee before retirement.
Employees, who have worked for thirty years or less, will receive a third of their salaries as monthly pensions.
If the employee worked for more than thirty years, they will receive half of their salary as pensions.
Thousand seven hundred and fifty five employees are retire on the first of May. 


The French grants 7.5 million Euros to establish Tsunami warning system in Maldives

21 Feb: The French government grants a loan aid of 7.5 million Euros to the Maldives. The loan was granted, under the French Development Agency, to establish a tsunami warning mechanism in the Maldives.
The French government’s aid comes with a grace period of 1 year, and with an interest rate of 1 percent, where it is to be paid in a 20 year period.
The loan agreement was officially signed by the AFD by Mr. Jean Bernard Macao.
Gasim Ibrahim, the Minister of Finance and Treasury signed the agreement of behalf of the Ministry.
 

International media consultants present proposals to the president to strengthen public broadcasting

21 Feb: A group of International Media consultants presents to the president proposals to strengthen public broadcasting in the Maldives. 
Ms Terry Answer and Mr. Robert Andersen and Ms Elaine Quinn of Worldwide Media Associates, identified the need to re-evaluate the role of the news media and to develop a new relationship between Government news sources and journalists, as well as the Government and the broadcast media.
The President stressed the importance of their engagement in the Maldives.
Noting that press freedom was an integral part of his democratic reform agenda, the President highlighted the need to train and empower concerned officials at the Television Maldives and Voice of Maldives in earning public trust in the two organizations as impartial and credible public broadcasters.
The media consultants’ The Minister of Legal Reform, Information and Arts, Mr. Mohamed Nasheed emphasized the need to enhance public confidence in public service broadcasters through accurate and ‘news worthy’ reporting.


Maldives Ambassador Updates UN High Commissioner on Human Rights Progress

 21 Feb: H.E. Mr. Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Maldives to the United Nations Office at Geneva today met with H.E. Ms. Louise Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in order to discuss the latest human rights developments in the Maldives. During the meeting, both sides recognized and welcomed recent positive developments including the removal of the gender bar for Presidential Office and the strengthening of constitutional provisions on freedom of assembly as “extremely important” developments.
 Ambassador Ghafoor briefed the High Commissioner on important progress in the Special Majlis, which has now almost finalized the substantive chapters of the new Constitution. The Ambassador noted that, considering the unprecedented nature of many of the concepts included in the new Constitution, this was a remarkable achievement and was testimony to the hard-work and dedication of all Members of the Special Majlis.
 The Ambassador went on to brief the Ms. Arbour on steps being taken to ensure that this year’s Presidential election will be free and fair, and will enjoy the trust and support of domestic and international stakeholders. He noted that the Government has requested electoral support, including the dispatch of election monitors, from the EU, Commonwealth and the UN. He also explained the Government’s strong opposition to calls for the replacement of the democratically elected government with an unelected and undemocratic transitional government.
 Finally, the Ambassador and Ms. Arbour discussed recent steps to bring Maldives laws and practices into line with international human rights standards. They discussed the designation of the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives as the National Preventative Mechanism under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture; the recent visit of the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture; the Government’s move to become party to 8 of the 9 core international human rights conventions and steps taken to improve treaty reporting; and the upcoming visit of the UN Special Reporter on freedom of opinion and expression.
 Ambassador Ghafoor noted that human rights progress in the Maldives has been achieved, in large part, thanks to the excellent cooperation and assistance received from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), including the decision to dispatch an OHCHR human rights advisor to the Maldives. In response, Ms. Arbour said she was very encouraged by human rights developments in the Maldives and that the OHCHR will continue to help wherever it can.
 At the end of the meeting, the two officials discussed the Maldives’ initiative to convene a debate on human rights and climate change in the UN Human Rights Council. Ms. Arbour noted that she was extremely enthusiastic about the initiative, and both sides agreed to cooperate towards its successful conclusion. 


Civil Service Commission determines standards and conditions for post of civil service permanent secretary

22  Feb: The civil service commission determines the standards and conditions that apply for the post of the civil service permanent secretary.
The job of a civil service permanent secretary is to assist the heads of ministries in conducting effective projects and implementing ideas.
Improving the work environment and increasing job satisfaction of employees is also part of the secretary’s job.
The head of the commission stated that this is a very responsible post which exists in many of the international countries.
He added that after appointing the permanent secretary, an advisory committee will also be established.
But due to the numerous projects being conducted at present, the commission is looking at creating such a committee before the appointment of the secretary.
Though the civil service law will only be implemented from the first of May, the responsibility of the government employees will be handed over to the commission since March second.



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