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Founder of Maldives Ocean Plastic Alliance, Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim takes part in their panel discussion.

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The Maldives Ocean Plastic Alliance (MOPA) held a panel discussion on “Impact of single use plastics in Maldives” in light of World Environment Day. The panel discussion featured environmentalists, activists, advocates and business professionals.

Founder of MOPA, Former Minister of Environment and Energy of Maldives, Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim spoke extensively regarding the matter in his speech.

He described the panel as a microcosm of the core object of MOPA, which is to bring together a diverse array of issue stakeholders to work in partnership in their collective passion to reduce single-use plastic pollution in the country. He asserted his belief that, a strong network could be created that complements the efforts of the government and state institutions in addressing the growing problem of plastic waste pollution.

“It is pertinent that this panel discussion coincides with this year’s World Environment Day. The theme itself encapsulates our work – Reimagine, Recreate, Restore. The challenges before us warrant bold and ambitious action.” stated Mr. Thoriq in his speech.

According to Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim, MOPA recently celebrated its first year and highlighted their achievements such as efforts to venture out into local communities and to lend a helping hand to councils, small businesses and NGOs seeking solutions to the sharp increase in single-use plastics in a country with no domestic recycling infrastructure.

He further discussed that MOPA’s two flagship projects – the PET Reverse Logistics Project, which has so far collected over 17 tonnes of plastic for recycling in 6 months, and the Greater Male’ Plastic Collection Project, which has grown to include over 150 cafes and restaurants in the capital, who have already made a telling contribution.

“The feedback from government and industry, as well as academics and activists, has been remarkable. It enlightened us to the need for more research and academic contribution to help policymakers” said Mr. Ibrahim Thoriq.

Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim announced the launch MOPA’s monthly newsletter “Green Bulletin’ in his speech and ended his speech wishing the panel success and voiced his hope for many similar opportunities to share collective knowledge and experience on the issues of waste management and environmental sustainability in the Maldives.

MOPA is registered NGO which works with its partners to safely repurpose single use plastics. It is the brainchild of the former Environment Minister Mr. Thoriq Ibrahim.

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Leaked documents show India refused to withdraw military personnel and helicopters from the Maldives even after their Visa’s expired.

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Allegations that Indian influence in the Maldives has been one of the most debated topics in the Maldives. Accusation that India has influenced the last Presidential Election and the current administration is a common topic for political debates. However, a series of documents has been leaked by a local news showing communication between the Maldives Foreign Ministry and the Indian High Commission during the previous administration. The documents show the Government of Maldives requesting the Indian High Commission to withdraw their Helicopter stationed in the Maldives. The documents cement the allegations by the public that India has been increasingly overstepping on the sovereignty of the Maldives.

Below is a timeline of the events, first published in Dhivehi language on “Dhiyares News”.

In a letter dated 22nd April 2018, the Government of Maldives informed the Indian High commission on its decision to return the Helicopter being operated from Addu city by the end of June 2018.  While the letter maintain diplomatic composure, based on the events that took place, it is evident that there was tension between the two parties.

A second letter was sent on 06th May 2018. In the second letter, the Government of Maldives informed the Indian High Commission that the agreement for the helicopter operated out of Laamu atoll had expired on 01st may 2018, and requested its withdrawal by the end of June 2018.

And on 10th June, an additional letter was sent to Indian High Commission. This letter acted as a reminder on the order to withdraw the Indian helicopters and their military personnel by the end of June 2018. It also requested the Indian High Commission to provide a schedule of withdrawal.

The Indian high Commission in Maldives replied with their own letter on 25th June 2018. In their letter, the Indian high Commission stated that Indian government would require “more time” to examine the order to withdraw by the Government of Maldives.

It also noted that the Visa for the Indian military personnel in the Maldives would expire on 30th June 2018, and requested their renewal.

The Government of Maldives replied to this with a  letter dated 27th June 2018, reiterating on the order to withdrawal and to provide a schedule of withdrawal.

Sovereignty at stake?

Based on what happened next, it is clear that the Indian High Commission did not withdraw their helicopters nor their military personnel. It is now a verified fact that the Indian military personnel illegally stationed themselves, against the wishes of then government without even a legal visa. However, with the change of administration, their visa’s and the helicopter agreements were promptly renewed.

The current administration and its President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih which has been marked by its close ties to India, acting as its “yes-man” since his election.

It is clear that India does not seem to view the Maldives as a sovereign nation, and is willing to go against the laws and constitutions of the Maldives and international conventions, to impose their people and influence in the Maldives.

This leak comes following weeks of online protest by locals against the growing Indian influence in the Maldives. Many have accused India of meddling with domestic elections and other issues, to increase their influence in the Maldives.  India’s seemingly unilateral decision to establish a consulate in the southernmost city of Addu has further fueled the allegations. The Hanimaadhoo, military planes, radar systems, helicopters, Police academy and military base near the capital has only exacerbated the situation.

This begs us the question, is our independence and sovereignty at stake?. Does the Maldives need to appeal to the International community that India just won’t remove their military personnel from the Maldives? Are we becoming the next Sikkim ?

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MPL accused of terminating employment over social media posts against current administration.

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The Maldives Ports Limited (MPL) has been accused of terminating the employment of one of its employees for allegedly expressing sentiments against the current administration  and its leaders on social media.

According to local “Vaguthu news”, Ismail Rasheed, a supervisor for MPL working in Addu city was removed from his job for expressing anti-government sentiments. They stated that he was first contacted through phone to inform him of his removal from his job. He was allegedly told that it was due to his posts on social media which were against the current administration and its leaders.

According to a the document provided to him as proof of his termination of his employment, it states that he was terminated due to conducting himself against the Code of Conduct of the company.

According to “Vaguthu news”, Ismail Rasheed had been suspended for 14 days last Ramadan for talking about politics issues in the country.

Maldives Ports Limited is a 100% government owned corporation and is the sole port authority in the Maldives.

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Bank of Maldives relaunches their Mobile Banking with a new look.

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Bank of Maldives (BML) announced it has relaunched its Mobile Banking App with a new look and extra features to provide customers with a safe, secure, and seamless banking experience. BML is regarded as the biggest retail bank in the Maldives, with a presence on every island.

BML introduced their first mobile banking app to the Maldives in 2015, allowing customers to bank conveniently anywhere, anytime. With this new upgrade the following features were added;

  • Quick Pay, to make transfers without adding a contact
  • Verifying account name before making transfers and adding contacts
  • Generating receipts for past transactions at any time
  • Switching between personal, joint or business profiles
  • Applying for banking services, managing cards and updating personal information
  • Sending messages to the Bank and receiving notifications for replies

 

Bank of Maldives, CEO Tim Sawyer Photo: BML/Twitter

In a press release BML’s CEO and Managing Director, Tim Sawyer commented, “We are delighted to launch our new Mobile App today as part of our digital roadmap to enhance customer experience. It is also an important milestone as we continue to invest in technology to deliver a better banking experience for our customers across the country. The updated app now includes services that have previously only been available on our Internet Banking platform. Over the coming weeks, we will also be introducing additional features to the App, including our digital wallet and payment functions.”

BML also mentioned in their press release that over 90% of their customers registered for online banking and more than 73 million transactions were made through their digital channels last year.

BML Mobile Banking App is now available on Apple’s App Store and Google Play for their customers to download.

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