Monday, May 26, 2008

Aussie hurt, diver killed in Maldives

Maldivian authorities are investigating how a Russian tourist died and 10 others were injured while scuba diving, the tourism minister said.

The 36-year-old Russian national was among a group of tourists including from Germany, Australia and Russia taken casualty on Thursday while diving around a reef, minister Mahamood Shougee told AFP by telephone.

"The family of the victim has been notified, the other tourists have since been released. It was a very unfortunate incident," Shougee said.

The cause of the accident is unknown, though local news reports quoted diving instructors saying it was likely due to faulty equipment or breathing-related problems.

"We are still not sure how all 11 became ill suddenly," a police spokesman said by telephone.

About 700 kilometres south-west of Sri Lanka, Maldives is a magnet for upmarket tourists, where guests pay up to $US14,500 ($A15,172.13) a night to scuba dive and sleep in wooden cabins built over turquoise blue waters.

But diving accidents are rare in this chain of 1,192 islands, and the police spokesman said incidents generally involve individual divers rather than groups.

Diving schools and diving facilities at resorts are inspected every year by the Tourism Ministry before their licence is renewed.

Tourism, which accounts for over a third of Maldives' economy of just under a billion US dollars, has enabled the nation of 369,000 Sunni Muslims to emerge as the richest in South Asia, with a per capita income of $US3,400 ($A3,557).


Friday, May 23, 2008

Sri Lanka-Maldives co-host SAFF Championship

The eighth South Asian Football Federation Championship which commenced as the SAFF Cup and later dubbed as South Asian Gold Cup held twice is scheduled to commence on June 4 in Colombo, (Sri Lanka) and Male (Maldives).

The two countries will host the two groups which consist of four teams each. The Group 'A' includes India, the defending champs, Pakistan, Nepal and Maldives which host this group, while Group 'B' played in Colombo will have Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan and the hosts Sri Lanka. These details were disclosed by Chrysantha Perera CEO FFSL at a press briefing held yesterday at the Football House, Colombo.

The Championship is due to commence on 3rd June in Male with the opening ceremony and it will conclude with the final in Colombo on June 14 with a colourful closing ceremony.

According to CEO, the World Sport Group, the Singaporean firm has once again come forward to sponsor this mega event of the South Asian Region which is also known as the South Asian Football World Cup.

The winners are to carry away the prestigious SAFF Championship Cup and a purse worth 50,000 US Dollars, while the runners get 25,000 Dollars and the two losing semi finalists will be awarded 10,000 dollars each.

Perera said that the Championship which was scheduled for last December had to be postponed with clashing of the World Cup qualifying round matches. This postponement has caused financial problems as the estimated cost has skyrocketed, and the organisers are negotiating with firms to find co-sponsors.

He said already the Holcim Lanka Ltd has made their way to become co-sponsors. He further said that with Sri Lanka hosting the tourney we are with a slight advantage. Gihan de Silva Vice President Marketing Holcim Lanka Ltd and Indika Jayaweera Marketing Manager Holcim Lanka Ltd represented the co-sponsors at the press briefing and presented cheque to the CEO.

Perera said that the Lankan squad is in peak form and hope to continue with the same form for this tourney. Lankan team is confident as they have performed well during the past few months. In fact after undergoing a two week training stint in Korea made the way to final round of the AFC President's Cup which is to be held in Hyderabad, India in September.

This they did it in Taiwan maintaining an unbeaten team.

The Lankan squad comprising of 30 players are under the guidance of the National Coach Jang Jung from Korea.

According to Perera, few players were on the sick list but two important players skipper Chathura Maduranga Weerasinghe and E.B. Channa have recovered well and have joined the squad in practices.

The other two players Mohamed Raheem and Nadeeka Pushpakumara are yet to recover.

Answering a question he said out of the thirty players twenty will be named on the previous day of the match soon after the Managers meeting.

He also said that around thirty journalists are to arrive for Group 'B' matches but more would arrive from the semi final stage onwards. Press box has been developed to cater to foreign and local journalists.

He also thanked the Stadium officials for listening to FFSL grievances with regard to floodlights and ground conditions.

The officials are busy doing the ground work to enable the FFSL to conduct the event on a grand note.

The two host countries if they qualify for semis will play their game on home soil, but the host team which fails to be on top of the group will have to travel to meet the winner.


HNB receives prestigious ‘Super Agent’ award from MoneyGram

MoneyGram International Inc, popularly known as ‘MoneyGram’ is a world-renowned service provider for electronic money transfer services. With the Sri Lankan diaspora being well dispersed around the globe today, MoneyGram has become a household name in Sri Lanka due to its unblemished track record for fast, efficient and safe delivery of remittances to Sri Lanka.

MoneyGram is made available worldwide through 150,000 locations in 180 countries and this network continues to grow. HNB has been the main agent for MoneyGram in Sri Lanka since 2002 and business volumes have continued to grow during this relationship. HNB were appointed Super Agent in Sri Lanka by MoneyGram in April 2008. MoneyGram hosted a conference recently for its agents in South Asia at the Leela Hotel a prestigious sea side resort in Goa India.

Agents from India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka were present at the conference which was also attended by a top team from MoneyGram represented by Jonathan Lavercombe (Vice President Marketing & New Product Development), Mark Perryman (Regional Director UK & Ireland), Harsh Lamba (Regional Director – South Asia), Massimo Canovi (Country Director Italy), Zainab Ali (Marketing Manager – International Markets USA), Ananth Srivatsa (Regional Marketing Manager Middle East & Pakistan), Yapheth Killekar (Relationship and Business Development Manager – West & South India, Sri Lanka, Maldives) and others.

HNB were adjudged as the agent with the “Most Productive Network of Locations” and the presentation was made at this conference (along with other categories of winners from around South Asia), in Goa India at a colorful ceremony This is not the 1st occasion HNB have been recognized by MoneyGram. In 2007, HNB received “Best Signage Collaboration Project” award from MoneyGram at the MoneyGram Asia Pacific Agent’s Conference held in Shanghai China.

Today HNB has all its customer centers providing an efficient and courteous service to MoneyGram beneficiaries and plans are under way to expand the network under the Super Agent Status granted by MoneyGram to HNB, whereby beneficiaries will enjoy the privilege of having more points of convenience for collecting their payments.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

After one year & four months, Dhiraagu realised the domain was sold by mistake .

I submitted the domain registration application to Dhiraagu head office on December 2006. On 27th December 2006 I received the welcome message from Dhiraagu Customer services, mentioning, the domain was active in their registry and to contact them if I want point the domain to a name server. So I sent mail to do the task and it completed smoothly.

On February 2008, my domain stop working properly, so I checked the domain status and found that the domain was pointed to Dhiraagu Name server. So whenever I try to visits the my site, . It’s showing default space holder of Dhivehinet webhosting. Immediately I called them and checked why it’s pointed Dhiraagu Name server. They said they don’t know the problem, it’s working fine in their side. I asked them to fixed it, after two days again it’s pointed back to our name server.

Later on March 2008, a guy called from Dhiraagu, and said he is the manger want talk about the domain without even saying if I have time to talk about it. Unfortunately I was busy working in the office. I told him I was busy, then I told him to call me on next day at 5:00pm, he said ok. Since then I heard no news from them. Again on April 6th he called while I was in a seminar, I told him the condition he said ok, he said he will call me on next day. Again no news from them. At the beginning of May 2008 he called me , and asked me if I have time to talk about it, then he said the domain was issued by a technical mistake, they found the mistake in a security audit, so he will cease it immediately. I was surprised to hear the news. I couldn’t believe my ears. I told him no. Then he said he will send me a letter stating the case.

On 14th May 2008 when I came home around 5:00pm I found lletter on my table. It was addressed to me. I thought it was another funny scam mail from Nigeria. Recently I have been getting funny and suspicious mail from abroad. Quickly I opened the letter. It’s from Dhiraagu Customer Service, It says the domain was issued not according to the ICANN policy, & it was registered by an error. So they will cancel the domain on 1st June 2008. There were two postpaid numbers mention in the letter to call them if I want talk about the case. It looks suspicious, I decided not to call them. I rang 123, after about 7 minutes they answered me, I gave the letter reference number to check if the letter is from Dhiraagu. Unfortunately they said they cannot check it, and told me to call during the business hours. As I don’t have much time to solve the case before the deadline, again I asked the customer service assistant to give me some hints to check if the letter was genuine. So she asked me to check if it has the Dhiraggu landline number, fax, company name “Dhiraagu Pvt Ltd”, in the letter , non of them match with the one I received.

So on Saturday I am planning to go to Dhiraagu with the letter to check if it is genuine. If it is genuine I will write a letter to Dhiraagu to clearly explain the stated ICANN policy or the specific clauses. Read More Article about from


Maldives first ever issue based presidential poll

Maldives first ever issue based presidential poll


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

9 Indian Ocean Nations Partner in Security Cooperative

A new organization dedicated to Indian Ocean regional port and maritime security has been launched. The South Asia Regional Port Security Cooperative, composed of nine nations, sees such traditional rivals as India and Pakistan making a rare attempt to work together on such issues of mutual concern. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Nalaguraidhoo in the Maldives.

The South Asia Regional Port Security Cooperative, known as SARPSCO, brings together many of the countries sharing the waters of the Indian Ocean: Bangladesh, Comoros, India, Madagascar, the Maldives, Mauritius, Oman, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

On hand for the group's unveiling Monday on a remote and pristine atoll in the Maldives was the country's president, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom. In a speech broadcast to the nation's 200 inhabited islands, Mr. Gayoom said the nine countries' vigilance is crucial to combat the maritime threats they jointly face.

"This conference, with its broad representation, is an excellent opportunity to chart a new framework for regional cooperation in this vital area," he said.

Half of the world's international maritime traffic is in the Indian Ocean region. Of special concern to the group is the potential disruption to oil shipments, which would have disastrous economic consequences for the region.

The United States is pledging to support the new multination initiative, although it will not be a member.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral Craig E. Bone said it is necessary to work together on port and maritime security to save lives and prevent economic damage by thwarting criminal and terrorist acts before they can be carried out.

"If crimes such as illegal fishing, human smuggling and the transportation of illegal cargoes and drugs can not be collectively combated, then neither can terrorism and piracy," he said.

The admiral said the formation of SARPSCO sends a clear message and a warning to terrorists and criminals in the South Asia and Indian Ocean region that they will be detected, they will be interdicted and their activities will not be tolerated.

U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Robert Blake, Jr., also spoke at the cooperative's inaugural session, saying the group could do a lot to thwart those thinking of attacking ports in the Indian Ocean region.

"Cargo containers and international seaports pose potentially attractive targets for terrorists," he said. "A successful attack against a port could cripple a nation's economy and disrupt international shipping worldwide."

SARPSCO is the latest in a series of such economic and security cooperative initiatives in the region. India organized an Indian Ocean naval symposium in February.

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation was launched in 1985. But critics say too often these organizations do not implement resolutions, achieve little, are underfunded, and any progress is hampered by traditional regional rivalries, especially between India and Pakistan.


Pakistan cut India,Maldives to size in AFC Football festival

Pakistan put up spirited display to snatch two more wins in Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Festival of Football by cutting India and Maldives to size at Teheran’s Shahid Bahonar Stadium on Monday.

According to a message received here,Pak beat India 1-0 on Pitch 1 with the 29th minute goal when full-back Uzair Qadir slotted the ball home from penalty-mark.

It was the game between B teams of countries from sub-continent in Format I (30 Minutes) match. Both the teams will meet again in 60-minutes (Format II) match tomorrow, Wednesday.

Later on, Pakistan A defeated Maldives 1-0 win at Pitch 2.Front-runner Sher Muhammad scored the solitary goal in the 29th minute with a brilliant 40-metre drive that beat Maldive’s keeper all ends up.

Meanwhile in the other matches, India B overcame Sri Lanka B 1-0, Nepal B bt Bhutan B in 1-0 win. Iran managed two more triumphs. Their A team brushed aside Afghanistan A while their B team worked hard to edge out Nepal B 1-0.

Eight-nations are participating in the event viz Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, India and host Iran.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Microsoft deal with Maldives’ main telecom provider

Dhiraagu - Dhivehi Raajjeyge Gulhun Pvt Ltd, the leading telecommunications service provider in the Maldives, has entered into a strategic partnership with Microsoft by opting for the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement.

A Microsoft press release said Dhiraagu owns and operates a fully digital communications network reaching every island and tourist resort in the Maldives. Dhiraagu is a major owner of infrastructure in the Maldives and invests heavily in developing and enhancing the telecommunications of the country, delivering world-class communication services to its customers.

Commenting on landmark agreement, Ismail Rasheed, Chief Executive of Dhiraagu, said: “Collaborating among different business entities and customers spanning across multiple islands in the Maldives has not only been a major challenge for us, but also a critical success factor for our business. Hence, the stability of our messaging and collaboration infrastructure is key to the success of our business. We trust the Microsoft Exchange will provide us with a messaging platform that is reliable, scalable and secure, and provides us with a high level of collaboration and knowledge management capability which is key to our business performance. In addition we hope, Microsoft’s unified communications capability, will be a clear differentiator for our distributed business entities.”

Channa de Silva, Microsoft’s Enterprise Leader for Sri Lanka, said: “Microsoft has a clear vision for the telecommunications industry worldwide and has developed and delivered revolutionized solutions to major telecom providers worldwide.

While the telecom companies have concentrated on their core business, Microsoft has invested billions of dollars in research and development to support and enhance their businesses.”


Saturday, May 17, 2008

AFC U-14 Festival of Football; Pakistan to take on Sri Lanka in opener

Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-14 Festival of Football will begin at Tehran’s Shahid Bahonar Stadium on Sunday with Pakistan A scheduled to take on Sri Lanka in the opening match.

Up to 12 Format I (30-minutes) matches will be played on Sunday as Pakistan A-Sri Lanka clash will kick off at 9.30 a.m., according to draws available here.

Pakistan A will play all their three matches at Pitch No.2.

At 11 AM, Pakistan B will face Bhutan B while 6.30 PM will be the kick-off time for Pakistan A-Afghanistan A clash.

Following the withdrawal of Bangladesh, the tournament is now an eight-nation event.Other participants are Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka and hosts Iran.

In all, 36 matches will be played in the five-day festival. First 24 matches will be of 30 minutes each and last 12 will be 60-minute long. But the win or loss will not be counted as there will be no trophy for the winners in the festival.Rather the players will be awarded with green cards to promote fairplay.

Sunday (18 May 2008) Fixtures

09.30 -10.00 AM : Iran A v Bhutan A (Pitch 1), Pakistan A v Sri Lanka A (Pitch 2)

10.15 -10.45 AM : India A v Maldives A (Pitch 1), Nepal A v Afghanistan A (Pitch 2)

11.00 - 11.30 AM : Iran B v Sri Lanka B (Pitch 1), Pakistan B v Bhutan B (Pitch 2)

05.00 - 05.30 PM : India B v Afghanistan B (Pitch 1), Maldives B v Nepal B (Pitch 2)

05.45 - 06.15 PM : Iran A v Maldives A (Pitch 1), Nepal A v Sri Lanka A (Pitch 2)

06.30 - 07.00 PM : India A v Bhutan A (Pitch 1), Pakistan A v Afghanistan A (Pitch 2)


Friday, May 16, 2008

Maldives’ First Embassy in Mideast Opens in Riyadh

Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Dr. Nizar Madani and Maldivian Foreign Minister Abdullah Shahid formally opened the new Maldivian Embassy in Riyadh on Monday in an event attended by senior government officials and foreign diplomats.

To mark the occasion, the Saudi state minister and the visiting minister unfurled the Maldivian national flag on the embassy’s premises in the Sulaimaniyah district of Riyadh. Following the ceremonial opening, the island’s new Ambassador Hussain Shihab, who presented his credentials to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on Sunday, hosted a luncheon.

“We are happy to have opened our embassy in the Saudi capital, which is the first Maldivian mission in the Middle East,” Shahid told Arab News.

“We chose Saudi Arabia as the first destination to have our foreign mission in the region because the Kingdom, which hosts millions of pilgrims in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah each year, is not only a leader in the Muslim world but also as a strategic hub,” the minister said, pointing out that the Maldives has been a Muslim country for well over 855 years.

“Saudi Arabia plays an important role in unifying the Islamic Ummah and we are happy that we have stepped into this holy soil at a time when there is a strong need for unity among the world Muslim community,” he noted.

He said that his country is gradually spreading its diplomatic wings by opening new missions in Singapore, Tokyo, Beijing, Geneva and now in Saudi Arabia. He added that the embassy’s priority would be to develop strong economic relations between the Kingdom and the Maldives.

He also said the mission’s officials would be in a position to meet and assist the Haj and Umrah pilgrims who come to the holy cities during the respective seasons. Around 3,000 pilgrims come every year for Haj and Umrah from the Maldives.

The mission, in cooperation with the Honorary Consul Abdul Hameed Hanaffi, who is based in Jeddah, will also offer consular services to its nationals and others.

With regard to the entry visa to Madives, he said that the Maldivian government issues visas on arrival to Saudis and people resident in the Kingdom. He added that his government would start negotiations with the Saudi aviation authorities to start direct flights between Saudi Arabia and the Maldives.


Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Indian Ocean coral shows partial recovery

Coral reefs in the Indian Ocean have partly recovered from the 1998 spike in sea temperatures, but climate change will probably hamper future conservation, a coral expert said on Wednesday.

An unusual spike in sea temperatures a decade ago killed coral throughout the Indian Ocean, dropping the average healthy, hard coral cover to 15 percent of reefs from 40 percent before.

Tim McClanahan, a coral expert with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) said hard coral cover had recovered to 30 percent by 2005, although the data masked big variations.

"We have a double whammy -- we have heavy usage for food and now we have climatic disturbances," he added.

Reefs in northern Kenya, the Maldives and the Seychelles were hardest hit by the 1998 temperature spike, while those to the south, in Tanzania, Mauritius and Madagascar, were less affected, he told Reuters by e-mail and phone.

1998 and 2005 were the warmest years since records began in the mid-19th century, according to the U.N. World Meteorological Organization, with a strong El Nino warming of the Pacific Ocean adding to the impact of climate change in 1998.

Based in Mombasa, Kenya, McClanahan has been working on coral reefs for 30 years, mostly in the Indian Ocean. Like other seas, the Indian Ocean's waters are warming by about one degree Celsius every century, he said.

"It doesn't sound like it is warming a lot ... but that is fast enough that the genetics of corals will have a very hard time adapting."


Coral reefs, delicate undersea structures resembling rocky gardens that are made by tiny animals called coral polyps, are important nurseries and shelters for fish and other sea life.

They are also considered valuable protection for coastlines from high seas, a critical source of food for millions of people, important for tourism and a potential storehouse of medicines for cancer and other diseases.

The key problem for reefs around the world has traditionally been over-fishing, removing too many fish from the fragile ecosystems and allowing algae to flourish at coral's expense.

But climate change has emerged as a greater threat and one of the lessons learned from the past decade is that, up to a certain point, reefs impacted by human activity have been more resilient than others, McClanahan said.

McClanahan said he had found mixed success with coral transplants and had been interested to see the re-emergence of different types of coral on some reefs.

"In the Maldives the cover of coral has increased from one to 20 percent ... but the dominant species are not the same as what used to be there before 1998," he said.

The region's reefs are in better shape than the Caribbean's, but less resilient to temperature change than Australia's Great Barrier Reef, McClanahan said.

His organisation, WCS, consists mostly of terrestrial projects, but conducts marine work in Kenya, Madagascar, Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, Fiji, and Belize, including either fishing bans or the use of non-destructive fishing methods.

Destructive methods include dragging nets across the coral and to a lesser extent trampling the coral while wading through the water. Dynamite is still widely used in Tanzania, he said.

Some observers say agricultural and industrial pollution are key risks to Mauritius's coral, but McClanahan said much of the island nation's pollution was washed away by ocean currents.

McClanahan said there was no single solution for protecting coral reefs, adding a diversity of solutions was probably best.

"No matter how well they are managed by people, climatic effects are probably going to override that management." (Editing by Catherine Evans)


Maldives participated in the Emirates Holidays Brochure Launch 2008

Maldives participated in the Emirates Holidays Brochure Launch 2008 which took place at the Dubai’s Festival City Convention Center Hall from 2nd - 4th May 2008. Emirates Holidays, the tour operating arm of the Emirates Airline organized the event.

The purpose of the event is to provide consumers and travel agents in-depth knowledge of the destinations showcased in their brochure and familiarize with their staff. The destination Maldives information was given to the travel agents and the public. A total of 450 travel agents took part in the 3 day event. Emirates Airlines also operates 13 flights to the Maldives weekly.

Maldives is also among the top 10 destinations on the Emirates Holidays Network. Middle East is an emerging market to the Maldives. Last year the Maldives attracted over 6000 visitors from Middle East.


Friday, May 2, 2008

Wataniya Launches its 3g Service in the Maldives

Wataniya Maldives has launched its 3G network - with an offer of free video calls. Wataniya inaugurated the first 3.5G HSDPA Network in the Maldives on 30th January 2008, but is only now launching its commercial service.

Speaking at the launch of the 3G network and a range of new tariffs said, Wataniya’s Chief Commercial Officer, Mr. Stanley Henning said, “TalkPlan allows customers to choose their Wataniya FREE Buddies and call them for free. TalkWeekender Free allows customers to make calls to any Wataniya number during the weekends absolutely for free as well. Now these customers will only need to get a 3G handset and make free Video calls anytime they want. And the best part is they won’t even have to pay anything to get these services”