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ECB raises interest rates by another 50 bps

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FRANKFURT, March 16 (Xinhua) — The European Central Bank (ECB) on Thursday raised interest rates by another 50 basis points (bps), citing spiraling inflation in the eurozone.

After the rate hike, the interest rates on the main refinancing operations, on the marginal lending facility and on the deposit facility will be increased to 3.5 percent, 3.75 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

“Inflation is projected to remain too high for too long,” the central bank said in a statement. The decision reflected the bank’s determination to bring inflation down to its 2 percent target.

The 50 bps rate hike on Thursday was pre-committed at the ECB Governing Council’s previous rate-setting meeting. The latest 50 bps hike of interest rates by the ECB was in February.

The latest ECB staff macroeconomic projections in March revised down inflation forecasts in the eurozone, with ECB staff projecting inflation to be 5.3 percent in 2023, 2.9 percent in 2024 and 2.1 percent in 2025.

In contrast, the underlying price pressures remain strong, the central bank said. Inflation excluding energy and food, which is also referred to as core inflation, is projected to average 4.6 percent in 2023, higher than the December projections.

While price pressures remain high, economic growth projections are looking up. The ECB staff expects the eurozone economy to grow by 1 percent in 2023 and by 1.6 percent in 2024 and 2025.

Source(s): Xinhua

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Malaysian company expresses interest to manage drug rehab centre

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Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusaan has revealed a Malaysian company has expressed interest to establish and operate a drug rehabilitation centre in the Maldives.

Speaking in an exclusive interview to PSM News, Minister Ihusaan stated the Malaysian company which expressed interest to establish and manage a drug rehabilitation centre in Maldives is a multinational company which operates several rehabilitation facilities worldwide. The minister disclosed the company had submitted a proposal expressing interest in the development and operation of a rehabilitation centre, adding that the proposal was submitted at a substantial expense. He revealed that efforts are underway to hold discussions on the proposal and to review other options that ensure the provision of rehabilitation services.

The government opened opportunities for private firms to establish and operate rehabilitation centres for drug addicts in January. The opportunity was in accordance to the Drug Act. Minister Ihusaan expressed confidence that the opportunities given to private firms would increase competitiveness in providing efficient and quality services, therefore providing mutual benefits. The minister hopes that private enterprises will commence offering services in the nation in the near future.

Rehabilitation centres established under the opportunity given by the National Drug Agency (NDA) are to provide a wide range of services to provide treatment to drug addicts. This includes outpatient detoxification services, psychiatric evaluation, counselling services, psychosocial therapy, drug testing and psychological assessments.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Met Maldives predicts heavy rain through Monday

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The Maldives Meteorological Service (MMS) has forecasted heavy rain showers across most parts of the Maldives through June 24. Central and northern atolls are expected to experience significant rainfall and rough seas, while islands in the southern atolls will mostly enjoy fine weather with scattered showers and generally slight seas.

In response to the adverse weather conditions, MMS has issued several alerts, including a recent one for heavy rain and thunderstorms from Haa Alifu Atoll to Baa Atoll. The forecast predicts strong winds ranging from 19-24 miles per hour, with gusts reaching up to 50 miles per hour, resulting in rough sea conditions.

Over the past 24 hours, the Maldives has seen heavy rainfall, with Gaafaru Island in Kaafu Atoll recording the highest amount at 67.6 millimeters. Goidhoo Island in Baa Atoll also experienced significant rainfall, recording 49.4 millimeters.

MMS advises seafarers in the central and northern atolls to exercise caution due to the severe weather conditions. For the next three days, strong winds of 12-22 miles per hour, with gusts up to 50 miles per hour, are predicted across the country. The showers are expected to subside by Monday, but strong winds are likely to continue into Tuesday and Wednesday.

Source(s): PsmNews

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Tourism minister announces development plans for abandoned resorts

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Minister of Tourism Ibrahim Faisal has announced strategic decisions to expedite the development of abandoned islands leased for resort development.

In an exclusive interview with PSM News, Minister Faisal revealed that the Economic Council has approved two key measures from a proposal aimed at accelerating the development of these islands.

One approved measure involves reclaiming the islands that have seen no development activity, returning them to the state without any conditions. The tourism ministry will collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority (MIRA) to negotiate concessions on the substantial fees owed by lessees to the state.

The second measure focuses on finding solutions for islands where development has stalled due to various issues. The tourism ministry will assist in securing the necessary funds or facilitate the sale of these islands to new developers.

The tourism minister emphasised that accelerating the development of these islands will require legal adjustments. He noted that the state incurs significant financial losses when leased islands remain undeveloped.

According to the ministry’s statistics, there are 63 islands leased for resort development that have yet to be developed. Some of these islands have been leased for over 30 years.

The minister also highlighted that more islands will be developed and opened as resorts during this tenure. He projected that 12 to 15 new resorts will be opened over the next five years.

Source(s): PsmNews

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