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Imagine a World Without War – Overcoming Perceived Fears and Engaging in Dialogue

Hamdhan Shakeel

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It is 2 September 1945, the Allied powers have made a final stand against the fascist Axis powers, ending the great World War II which saw 70-85 million deaths. Humanity had endured more than enough loss for a single century. While things would instantly start to escalate between the East and West, imagine if things had been different. Imagine if President Harry S. Truman chose a different approach in dealing with the USSR.

The year is 2022, the world different yet familiar to what we see today. Germany was allowed to independently sort out itself, and restart their economic activities. There was no fall of Berlin wall as there was no wall at all dividing the people. In 1991 the USSR dissolved and formed 15 states including Russia.

Because President Harry S. Truman chose to respect the sovereignty of independent nations, the USSR also chose the same recourse. There was no cold war between the East and West. Each nation was allowed to freely grow and recover from the horrific losses from the World War II.

On 4 April 1949 when members of the Western Union and the U.S, Canada and Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland gathered, to they concluded that the USSR posed no inherent threat to the West as long as they respected each other’s sovereignty and security. And so, there was no NATO and no western military expansion into the East.

By 2022 China had become the world’s leading trade partner while the U.S was engaged in friendly yet competitive trade with China. India had become a technological hub as there were no Western forces pushing India to do their military biddings as a proxy in Asia. Instead, India rapidly engaged with various trade partners leading to a massive growth in technology and information, creating one of the strongest IT hubs in Asia. Russia maintained its role as the primary supplier of fuel to both the West and East, and created one of the strongest Space Exploration programs. Russia did not invade Ukraine, it had no reason to as there were no threats posed to Russia from any foreign military in Ukraine.

The combined resources of the West and East propelled a new age of innovation as military expansion and expenditure declined and the world welcomed a new age, one that was based on the concept of mutual understanding, respect and partnership.

This is what could have been possible, if the leaders of yesterday chose understanding and respect over aggression and military expansion. They allowed the prospect of fear to overcome their rationality, and turned-away the rare opportunity for world peace by quickly perceiving others as enemies, creating the current world order where it is one conflict after another. But the opportunity always remains, to initiate peace, to understand the woes of others, to respect the rights of others. The world needs brave leaders, who are willing to overcome fear, and initiate dialogue for peace.

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Chief of Defence Force inducted into International Fellows Hall of Fame

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Chief of Defence Force Major General Abdulla Shamaal has been inducted into the International Fellows Hall of Fame at the National Defence University (NDU) in Washington, DC, United States (US).

Major General Shamaal received the award at the International Fellows Hall of Fame induction ceremony held at the Sydney Sheraton Grand Hotel. Lieutenant General Michael Plehn, the President of the NDU, presented the certificate and memento of induction into the International Fellows Hall of Fame.

Major General Shamaal is the first Maldivian to be awarded the honour. He and four others from four countries have been awarded the honour. He completed a Master of Arts in Strategic Security Studies from the NDU in 2012 and was awarded the Distinguished Honour Graduate of the course.

The International Fellows Hall of Fame was established in 1999. The purpose of the programme is to provide a prestigious and visible means of honouring NDU graduates who have attained through merit the highest positions in their nation’s armed forces, service component, or government, or who have held an equivalent position in a multinational organisation. The members of the International Fellows Hall of Fame are recognised in a formal ceremony on the NDU campus. Their photographs are displayed in Marshall Hall in the Hall of Fame area.

 

Source: psmnews

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Management plans to be implemented this year for two protected areas in Baa Atoll

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The Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office has stated management plans will be formulated and implemented this year for two more areas in the atoll declared as protected areas.

Baa Atoll currently has 10 protected areas, of which three areas have a management plan. These three areas are Hanifaru, Olhugiri and Mendhoo region.

The Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office revealed management plans are being formulated for two more areas, to be implemented this year. As such, management plans are to be implemented this year for the areas of Angafaru and Goidhoo Koaru.

Angafaru was declared protected on June 6, 2009. The protected area includes Dhonfanuthila, Dhiguthila and Mahaanagaa. The area used to be a breeding ground for both grey and white tip reef sharks. However, reef shark numbers have dramatically decreased from the site due to overfishing

Goidhoo Koaru, located on the northern side on the inhabited island of Goidhoo, was declared protected on June 5, 2011. This area has the highest biodiversity and largest mangrove forest within Baa Atoll. It is one of the largest mangrove ecosystems within the nation and has a high biodiversity population of mangrove associated vertebrates and invertebrates. This site is also a popular roosting site for migratory birds such as the Ruddy Turnstone and Northern Shoveler.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has declared Baa Atoll as a biosphere reserve for an additional 10 years. UNESCO has instructed the Baa Atoll Biosphere Reserve Office to formulate and implement effective management plans for all protected areas in the region.

 

Source: psmnews

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World Bank welcomes proposed changes to GST

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The World Bank has welcomed proposed changes to Goods and Services Tax (GST) and has expressed support to the Government of Maldives in implementing economic reforms.

The Maldives Public Expenditure Review (PER) report published by World Bank noted the economy of Maldives is on the verge of recovery after an unprecedented shock caused by the outbreak of COVID-19. The report said key reforms can enhance the quality of public spending, strengthen debt management and debt transparency and collect more revenues to finance the development needs of the Maldives.

Furthermore, the report highlighted much of the increase in public spending and debt over the past five years has financed investments in basic services and infrastructure, especially housing. and while these investments can boost long-term growth, making public spending more efficient, transparent, and targeted towards the neediest groups, it is essential to contain the rapid rise in spending and debt. Such reforms are particularly important because economy is highly vulnerable to external shocks such as a global recession and climate change-induced natural disasters, noted the World Bank.

Regarding the report, Minister of Finance Ibrahim Ameer said the report supports the efforts to reduce the risks to public finances and ensure that public money is well spent in order to secure a more resilient and prosperous future for all Maldivians.

Many of the reforms proposed in the PER intend to make the distribution of public spending more equitable. In the housing sector, for example, implementing income-based targeting would help improve the financial viability of the Rent-to-Own program while also promoting home ownership. As for public sector wages, the National Pay Commission could consider consolidating or eliminating most of the allowances that drive inequity and cap the overtime allowance. The new Public Service Pay Framework is a key first step in the right direction but strengthening wage bill controls and other related reforms is also needed to ensure that the reform is successful. Finally, reforms to eliminate double pensions in the civil sector and improve the coverage of the pension system are needed to ensure that both current and future retirees can benefit from the generous scheme.

The PER is a core analytical product of the World Bank which assesses the quality of government spending and identifies key fiscal reforms that countries need to undertake to achieve better growth and development outcomes. It is the first PER for the Maldives since 2002.

Source: psmnews

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