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To Invest Or Not: GMR Fiasco At Hands Of Yameen & Friends Leave Indian Investors Nervous, Non-Committal

in News/Politics by

At the lavish Ashoka Palace in the Indian capital New Delhi, visuals of clear turquoise water, white beaches, exciting under-water experience and boduberu dance set the mood for the delegates of over 400 companies who were here to attend the third edition of Maldives Investment Forum on Tuesday.

mif-gmr


Government in its keynote address tried to recapture the confidence of Indian investors as apprehension was running high due to the abrupt termination of international contract with GMR Infrastructure Ltd.

Government said they were ready to promote a transparent, hassle-free and liberal trading and investment environment and will welcome investment from India with open arms. ” The government is committed to change its legal framework to allow trade and investment to diversify economy and there has been massive progress on the infrastructure front,” Vice President Abdulla Jihad said.

“I want to assure all potential investors that Maldives is open for business. It is open 24 hours,” he added.

Even though the delegates looked impressed and were confident about the potential of doing business in the Maldives, the GMR fiasco held them back from committing immediately.

“No doubt, the Maldives looks like a dream destination for doing business. But, I would like to know more about the legal and bilateral aspects before we move forward,” said a delegate while looking at his info kit on investing in the Maldives

Another delegate who was here to explore the possibilities of investing in telecom services said, “It is very important to have a set up where we can feel secure about investing money in a certain project. Let’s see how it rolls.”

The concern over providing a conductive environment to do business in the Maldives also appeared in Indian newspapers. A leading Indian business paper Mint wrote, “The memory of the Maldives government abruptly terminating a India-Malaysia joint venture for modernising the Male airport in 2012 saw Indian industry seeking greater predictability and protection for investments in the Maldives… The cancellation of the deal had soured ties between India and the Maldives.”

Last month, GMR won a lawsuit over termination of contract to run Ibrahim Nasir International Airport (INIA).  In a major embarrassment, government was ordered to pay USD 250 million to Indian infrastructural company GMR by a 3-member Singaporean Arbitration Tribunal in its final order.

The third edition of the investment forum was held in partnership with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) to seek investments in infrastructural development, airport expansion and various other sectors to boost job creation in the country.

Jihad also announced that the country will sign its first free trade agreement early next year to boost trade and cooperation with other countries.

“It is investment, both foreign and domestic that has transformed our economy and elevated to current position. On the strength of our past achievements, the government is looking into new investments and is actively seeking foreign direct investment as it is one of the fundamental driving forces of Government policies,” he added.

The annual Maldives Investment Forum was held in Singapore in 2014 and in Beijing last year. The next edition of the forum will be held in Doha, Qatar.

The Truth Of Hillary Clinton’s USD 200 Million Mansion In The Maldives

in News by

Hillary Clinton, the United States’ Democratic Party presidential candidate who is vying strongly to become the first woman president of the country in less than two weeks is eye of the storm following 2000 pages of email leaks by the WikiLeaks.

hillary

From her questionable relationship between the Clinton Foundation and its donors, Clinton’s ease with powerful interests on Wall Street, her ties to wealthy campaign contributors, the leaks have it all.

The emails stolen from Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta did not really unearth a major sandal, or a case of corruption but it surely created international furore making front page headlines.

But, this story by Nevada Country Scooper got even the Maldives by surprise as it claimed that Clinton struck a deal of “The Imperial Maldives” for USD 200 million.

nc-scooper

The story published on NC Scooper on October 20 that quoted sources from the WikiLeaks said:

This afternoon, WikiLeaks says sources in the Clinton Foundation inadvertently leaked the details of an apparently secret deal with Christie’s International Real Estate in New York. Several recorded phone conversations between Christie’s executives and Clinton board member, Frank Guistra, clearly show that a deal for “The Imperial Maldives” had been closed. “The Imperial Maldives” is a development of 185 water villas set above the turquoise waters of the North Male Atoll. According to the recordings, the agreed price was $200 million (U.S).

It further reported:

Also according to the recordings, this deal began the morning after the last debate. The morning after Trump told Clinton he would appoint a special prosecutor and put her in prison. Mr. Guistra is heard to say, “Trump can drag his sorry orange ass down to the Maldives if he wants her so bad. There’s no extradition treaty!” [laughing]

 

The Clinton camp is very tight-lipped at the moment and no comments from Clinton Foundation board members. WikiLeaks seems to suggest that the Clintons are feeling the pressure of a world-wide criminal organization becoming frayed at the seams, and are looking for a hideout until they can hatch their next diabolical plan for world domination. Or, those fuckers just need a real good vacation.

On social media many people lost their mind over the news and took Twitter to comment about it.

But were you looking closely? Did you read the story without paying attention to the last line, “WikiLeaks seems to suggest that the Clintons are feeling the pressure of a world-wide criminal organization becoming frayed at the seams, and are looking for a hideout until they can hatch their next diabolical plan for world domination. Or, those fuckers just need a real good vacation,” good enough to figure out that it was a satire, which many did not understand.

The website known for its satirical take also added a picture captioned “Bill Clinton seen walking his dogs Buster and Frank at his mansion in the Maldives,” which is a file picture from 2015.

The NC Scooper, well-known for being mistaken as a hard-hitting news platform, even takes sarcastic tone while telling about itself:

“…the Scooper did not own a printing press, nor did they have the courage to borrow one. And frankly they didn’t have the funds either. So the Scooper relied solely on shouting at people on the street to circulate the news. Later in the 1930s, the Scooper expanded its shouting service to Nevada City, often paying vagrants to assault citizens with news.”

It later clarifies in its manifesto that it is a sarcastically website but again, with a humorous undertone,”The Scooper is a satirical website is in scope and intent. Sometimes it’s funny; often it is not. We provide fake news and social criticism in a satirical setting. Our intention is not to fool or trick anyone, but obviously it happens.”

Minor Earthquake Of Magnitude 4.9 Hits Maldives

in Mas-Huni Brief by

Maldives felt slight tremors as earthquake hit 306 kilometers outside Male’ near Indian island Lakshadweep during early hours of Wednesday.

quake


  • The earthquake measuring 4.9 on Richter Scale hit the Maldives while magnitude in Lakshdweep was 5.3
  • The earthquake hit at around 3:30 am, according to National Meteorological Center
  • Some people who felt tremors in some parts of Maldives
  • NMC reassured the public there was no threat from the earthquake to Maldives.

Prez Yameen Urges Second Term To Be Able To Pay Off Govt’s Debt

in News by

President Abdulla Yameen who was in the island city of Fuvahmulah urged the residents to vote for him for a second presidential term so that he pay off the government’s external debt borrowed for infrastructural development on capital city Male.

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President met people protesting over subsidy cut on staple food of which 30 members were opposition supporters who demanded reversal of hike and his resignation.

Taking advantage of the situation, Yameen subtly slamming the opposition, asked people to vote for him for the second term saying that he would be able to pay off debt in his second term. He, however, did not say anything about the price hikes in his half-an-hour long speech.

“When they register such serious concerns over the repayment of this debt, it is clear that there in no one in their ranks who is capable of repayment,” he said as quoted by Maldives Independent. “This is why I believe I should get a second term so that we can pay off our debt.”

This was President’s first public appearance since August when the rumours of toppling him took the front seat.

Authorities Crackdown On Shops Overcharging For Staple Food

in Mas-Huni Brief by

A day after reports of shops overcharging for staple food as against the government regulated price floated, government started crackdown on the violators and said they would be fined or their license may also get revoked.

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  • Authorities have started checking shops after receiving complaints of overcharging
  • Shops overcharging would be fined, and even have their license revoked if they continue
  • Economic Ministry urged public to immediately report such issues
  • Even after cut in subsidies, some shops are selling a kilogram of rice costing MVR 7.96 being sold at MVR 10
  • Surge in prices of and flour is also being reported
  • The permitted price for the goods are higher in atolls than capital city

 

Deputy Minister of Economic Development, Adam Thaufeeq assuring action told Sun Online,

We are checking the places as they are reported. We will mete out strict punishments. We will ensure that the people receive the goods at a fair price

Read full story at Sun Online

Some Stores Selling Staple Food Above Regulated Prices, Govt Assures Action

in Mas-Huni Brief by

Price rice has taken a hit in the Maldives as some of shops are selling staple food at higher prices as opposed to the government fixed cost.

rice


  • Even after cut in subsidies, a kilogram of rice costing MVR 7.96 is being sold at MVR 10
  • Surge in prices of sugar and flour is also being reported
  • The permitted price for the goods are higher in atolls than capital city Male
  • Economic Ministry has also received reports of overpricing and assured action against the violators

Read full story at Sun Online

Western Union Office Robbery: Police Recover Stolen Cash, No Arrest Yet

in Mas-Huni Brief by

Police have recovered a portion of the stolen cash from the Western Union Office late on Sunday night in the capital city Male but not arrest has been made so far.

western-union


  • Some unidentified robbers stole the money after threatening security officers with sharp objects
  • The incident took place at 12.30 AM on Monday
  • The perpetrators fled through a nearby street Lansimoo Goalhi
  • Police said they have not been able to figure out the exact amount of the robbed money adding,
We found a sum of money stashed inside a bag under the staircase at H. Thaalhafiligeyge, and a citizen had turned over wads of MVR 500 banknotes that were dropped on the street.

Read full story at Vnews

Youth Critical After Allegedly Being Stabbed In Male

in Mas-Huni Brief by

After a series of stabbing cases in the month of June, attack on another youth in capital Male on Tuesday has again shifted the focus to rising street crimes and gang wars.

crime

  • The youth was allegedly stabbed early Tuesday morning in capital Male.
  • He is being treated at ADK Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit
  • Identity of victim not known yet
  • Police still investigating if it was a case of stabbing

Police said,

We haven’t gotten word from the patient, due to the severity of his condition

Read full story at VNews

 

Paradise For Honeymooners, Island Of Broken Marriages; Why Everyone In Maldives Is Getting Divorced?

in Lifestyle by

The Maldives- almost invisible on the world map, often ignored in world statistics for its tiny size in the vast Indian Ocean- has made it to the map, unfortunately for highest divorce rate!

Courtesy: The Telegraph


The Sunni Muslim island with just 3,45,023 population has the divorce rate of 10.97 per year per 1,000 inhabitants followed by Russia at the second spot with less than half the number of divorces as Maldives, according to a report by The Telegraph.

The number makes the Maldives enter the Guinness World Records, and according to United Nations, an average Maldivian woman has been divorced three times by the age of 30.

“The island of a thousand honeymoons. And … a thousand divorces,” writes journalist Shannon Sims calling it ‘the paradise where everyone is divorced’.

The reason, most arguably, points out to Islam, Sharia laws, stigma around sex, and sexuality of a woman.

Divorce- No Taboo!

maldives-marriage
Photo Courtesy: Kurumba

J J Robbinson, the former editor of the Maldives Independent, in his first investigative account of the everyday lives of Maldivians, writes that the country has exploited Islamic sentiments for subordinating women in the country by criminalising pre-marital sex or extramarital sex leading to higher divorce rate. “Tourists on romantic resort getaways blissfully sun themselves on beaches a few hundred feet from ‘local’ islands where Maldivian women are routinely sentenced to 100 lashes for the crime of extramarital sex,” he writes.

He cites observations made by famous Islamic explorer Ibn Battuta where he argues that in the Maldivian culture where people do not fix dowry makes it easier for them to married.

“It is easy to marry in these islands because of the smallness of the dowries and the pleasures of society which the women offer,” Battuta wrote in the 14th century. “Most people do not even fix any dowry. When the ships put in, the crew marry; when they intend to leave, they divorce their wives. This is a kind of temporary marriage (muta). I have seen nowhere in the world women whose society was more pleasant.”

And for getting divorced, a man has to say ‘I divorce you’ three times under the triple talaq Islamic law. Women, though, has to go through a legal process but interestingly there is no stigma around getting divorced, unlike pre-marital sex. “I recall one recently married fisherman boasting that his new wife had been married six times; this, he explained with a sly wink, meant she was experienced. The figure was about average for a woman in her forties,” Robbinson writes.

Patriarchy, Like Everywhere, Rules The Marriage

domestic-violence
Photo Courtesy: Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Besides, the religious-cultural nexus to higher divorce rate, the much universal patriarchal mindset and the resulting sexual and domestic violence are also the reasons for the overwhelming trend.

Nearly 33 per cent women in the country are reportedly victims of sexual of physical violence and of them, nearly 20 per cent are perpetrated by their partners, and to most Maldivians it is quite acceptable or even desirable for a husband to beat his wife, or have physical or sexual supremacy.

A 29-year-old, who felt obliged to marry her boyfriend after having sex with him at the age of 15; who later became a victim of his violent nature, says as quoted by Maldives Independent,

Maldives may rank highest in the world for divorces, but at least the ease in getting a divorce ensures women or men do not stay in abusive or unhappy relationships

In December last year, the Maldives had a meltdown when a 35-year-old woman from Gaaf Dhaal Thinadhoo died after fighting a long battle in the intensive care unit of a hospital in Male. She was brutally raped by her husband.

Her death was followed by marches, social media activism but proved that a little has been changed since the government passed Domestic Violence Prevention Act in 2012.

Polygamy- Men’s Duty To Keep Women On Right Path

divorceIn March this year, during gender equality debate in the People’s Majlis, MP Ahmed Saleem held women responsible for infidelity and suggested that it was a man’s duty to keep them on right path.

Saleem said, ” Women drive men to mental illnesses and crime because of their infidelity. Women are fragile like glass. They can become anything if we do not know how to look after them. The prophet said if a women turns evil, she is worse than a lion… We try to guard them to reform our societies,” he continued giving example of a fellow MP who has three wives, “There is none better than Riyaz Rasheed. Look, he looks after three women to ensure that they do not stray from the right path. This is our duty.”

The PPM dominated 85-member Majlis, where there are just 5 women MPs, threw out the proposal for reserving quotas for women 36 votes that day.

Equal Pay For Equal Work, But Is It Enough?

Later in August, Social Committee of the Parliament passed the gender equality bill prohibiting gender discrimination in employment fields assuring equal pay for equal work but no effort was put in reforming social fabric of the fundamentals of Islamic ruling where death for infidelity, covert abortions to hide the “illegal” out-of-wedlock child & polygamy are rampant.

Former State Minister for Gender and Family, Haala Hameed speculates that more women entering workforce is also one of the reasons for higher divorce- as there is no basic childcare facility and working women are often seen negatively causing tension withing families leading to higher divorce rate.

UN Young Leader Safaath Ahmed Is Winning The Internet And Here’s Why

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Donning a burqa, when Safaath Ahmed Zahir- UN Young Leader for Sustainable Development Goals from the Maldives- spoke about women empowerment in New York, she won the internet.

Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ ‏@UNYouthEnvoy
Photo Courtesy: Twitter/ ‏@UNYouthEnvoy

The Queen’s Young leader said more number of women in Parliament and more women Presidents will take the world closure to global goals.

More women in Parliament, in policy-making, as Ministers, and more women Presidents- that’s my vision, Safaath said while addressing the Social Good Summit in New York.


The women’s activist and a proclaimed feminist from the small Indian Ocean archipelago, Safaath is among the 17 people appointed as the inaugural class of UN Young Leaders for Sustainable Development Goals.

Safaath, who has emerged as one of the youngest face in the Maldives, quickly got attention over her vision and best wishes started pouring in.


Safaath also spoke about the ongoing international issue of migrants and refugees along with her fellow young leaders.


The 25-year-old could not contain her excitement over meeting the celebrities, social and political leaders who were also present at the event for the good cause, including actors Mark Ruffalo and Preity Zinta.

Selected from over 18,000 nominations from 186 countries, Safaath has been recognised for her leadership and contribution to the achievement of the 17 Global Goals, also known as Sustainable Development Goals- to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change by 2030.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the young leaders and said,

“These 17 young change-makers are a testament to the ingenuity of youth and I congratulate them for their exceptional leadership and demonstrated commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The flagship initiative of the Office of the Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth comes against a backdrop of increasing efforts by the UN to engage young people in the implementation of SDGs.

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