Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Climate Conversations - ‘Drowning nations’ threaten new 21st century statelessness

By Maxine Burkett

Migration of peoples and communities due to climate change may have a dramatic effect on the globe in the next half-century. It is estimated that some 200 million people worldwide may be on the move because of increased storms, flooding, sea level-rise, and desertification.

For some small island dwellers, the perils of migration will be made worse by the loss of their nations. In other words, while displacement within and across borders may be compulsory for many ‘climate migrants,’ small-islanders may be on the move absent a country to which to return.

Of particular concern are island nations in the Pacific and Indian Oceans - including Tuvalu, the Maldives, Kiribati, and the Republic of the Marshall Islands, among others. Already, grim climate forecasts suggest they will face challenges remaining in their homes.

Sea-level rise, coastal inundation, seawater intrusion into freshwater sources and soil salinisation all hurt freshwater availability and adversely affect coastal agriculture, on which many islanders depend. Indeed, this is already occurring in some Pacific island communities.

These climate change impacts will exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities typical of countries of similar size and stage of development – those with small economies, which are highly dependent on imports and weather-dependent exports.

For some states, however, climate change threatens their very survival.

It has been 20 years since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change first stated that the “gravest effects of climate change may be those on human migration.” But the international community has made little legal or political progress in dealing with the coming problems.

A number of challenges are behind this political lethargy, including a persistent lack of information on three points:

(1) The number of people and reasons why they may need to move. While 200 to 250 million climate migrants by 2050 are the most widely cited numbers, estimates vary greatly - from a relatively small 25 million to a high of one billion depending on the greenhouse gas emissions scenarios employed, among other factors.

(2) Linking migration directly to climate change. The many potential and overlapping causes of migration confound efforts to quantify climate-related displacement, both current and estimated.

Deteriorating environmental conditions interact with other factors that can influence migration, including levels of development, governance, and the capacity for individuals, communities, and countries to adapt to external pressures, climate-related or otherwise. Demographic considerations, such as age, sex, culture, education level and work experience, as well as general risk perception and levels of risk aversion, play an crucial role in determining whether someone can or will move.

(3) What to call people who move as a result of climate pressures. There is no agreed-upon definition for those judged to have been dislocated primarily by climate change. “Climate refugees” has been the mostly widely used term.

From a law and policy standpoint, however, such migrants are not recognized as refugees, even if they cross national borders, because displacement as a result of climate change or other environmental factors is not yet legally recognized. Finding an appropriate term for these migrants is vital, however, as their rights and the resulting obligations of other nations and the international community will depend on it.

Given these challenges and the lack of solid figures, the plight of climate migrants is easily sidestepped. For small island states, however, there are myriad reasons to act now – not least because the loss of their land will be a clear result of man-made climate change.

In the extreme scenarios that small island states face, there are worrisome legal gaps. There is international law that helps determine what should happen to people deprived of their nationality as a result of a variety of circumstances.

There are no laws, however, that govern what happens to citizens of a country that disappears. When island states are no longer inhabited and the population is permanently displaced to other countries, it is unclear whether they may become stateless persons under international law or if they become merely landless citizens of a state that no longer exists.

A new international or regional legal regime, swiftly conceived and implemented, is vital to resolve this kind of question. The complexity of the issue, and the immediate threat of climate change, call for early efforts at planning and coordination. The alternative is disorganized and insufficient aid - which might come too late.

Source: http://www.trust.org/alertnet

Sunday, August 14, 2011

ONYX Hospitality Group secures two management contracts in Hong Kong and Maldives

ONYX Hospitality Group is expanding its portfolio through the addition of two management contracts in Maldives and Hong Kong. The company recently signed a management contract for a 271-villa resort called Addu Atoll in Maldives. The property will be re-launched under ONYX's Amari brand as Amari Addu Maldives in November 2011.

The group has also been appointed by Methodist Centre Limited (MCL) to manage the 250-room Wesley. The property is located in the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong and ownership will be undertaken on February 1, 2012. The property will undergo an extensive refurbishment programme and will be relaunched as OZO at the Wesley, Hong Kong by December 2012.

"The Maldives project is a significant one for ONYX Hospitality Group, as it is our first international management agreement. It is also our first Amari property outside Thailand. We are delighted to have been appointed by the Maldives Tourism Development Corporation Plc to manage the villa resort. We have also signed an agreement to manage a property in Hong Kong under the OZO brand recently, which will open towards the end of 2012. At this point in time, we will have 25 properties in operation by the end of 2012,” said Peter Henley, President and CEO, ONYX Hospitality Group.

Speaking about the response from the Indian market, Henley added, “We receive strong support from travel agents and tour operators in the Indian market. In fact, our business from the Indian market continues to be positive and the footfall is growing by over 25 per cent this year. The new properties will hopefully allow the momentum to continue. We are keen on entering the Indian market at the opportune time with the right partners. Considering the business buoyancy and burgeoning hospitality industry in India, we are currently exploring a number of opportunities for growth.”

Source: http://www.travelbizmonitor.com

The Maldives - An Atlantis for our age?

The Maldives is considered a paradise destination by Europeans. Why, then, did its President announce national plans, in 2008, to purchase land in India, Sri Lanka and Australia? Land that would give his nation the option of mass migration?

He provided the answer himself. “We do not want to leave the Maldives but we also do not want to be climate refugees living in tents for decades.”

The Maldives is not the only small island state to be concerned about rising sea levels. It is a member of the Alliance of Small Island States that was formed to address global warming. Its members, having low-lying coasts and being small island countries (not part of a much larger state), have good reason to be concerned by climate change.

The rising sea levels would not merely erode valuable land. They could lead to the disappearance of the country itself.

Even within this group of states, however, the Maldives has a special place.

It is the lowest-lying country in the world. The maximum natural ground level is only 2.3 metres while the average is only 1.5 metres above sea level. The 2004 tsunami destroyed 14 out of the 199 inhabited islands and displaced about 15,000 people (out of a population of about 313,000).

The dangers of climate change are therefore not abstract to Maldivians. Whether through a series of huge catastrophes or through gradual consistent rises in the sea level the country can really become an Atlantis for our age. The country’s own government made the same point flamboyantly when, on October 17, 2009, it held the world’s first-ever underwater Cabinet meeting! That attempt to gain the world’s attention has also been supplemented by more orthodox proposals on the human dimension of climate change.

The human dimension needs underlining. The extreme vulnerability of the Maldives brings it out clearly. It shows why the EU needs to remain engaged with projects in that country and others like it. Climate change does not need tackling only at a technocratic level. It raises issues of social justice and democracy as well.

Back in February, I was a member of the European Parliament’s South Asia delegation that visited the Maldives to inspect the EU-funded educational and health projects. The images of paradise hit one immediately. The corals were multi-coloured, purple, orange and grey. The tropical fish took one’s breath away. Blue-striped fish with orange tails, yellow fish with black tails and translucent strange creatures with turquoise eyes swam in and out with the flow of the water, as though in a giant aquarium. The main island is surrounded by powder-white sand, where small stingrays and black-tipped baby sharks swim along the sandy bottom.

The mention of those dangerous fish reminds one that it is not quite paradise. However, the major problems facing the Maldives have to do with people.

The atolls are scattered over 1,000 kilometres. This feature is what gives each atoll a sense of untouched paradise and makes tourism, besides fisheries, the major source of income. However, it is a logistical nightmare for a government trying to organise proper education, health care and administration. Each island has its local council.

A democratic central government needs to be committed to both connectivity and decentralisation. Although the present government styles itself as centre-right, its commitment to social justice and welfare seemed worthy of a centre-left party.

It is also the country’s first democratic government, following a 30-year dictatorship. During this period, the country was a haven of luxury tourism while the population itself was seen as made up of the paupers of the Indian Ocean. The development problems have not been solved yet.

In 2009, GDP contracted by three per cent. The GDP per capita was $4,200. The Corruption Perception Index ranked the country at 130 (out of 180). The Human Development Index for 2010 placed the country at 107 (out of 169). On the brighter side, the Press Freedom Index gave a rank of 52 (out of 175).

The point of running through these statistics is to show the additional challenge raised by climate change.

Imagine the country requires substantial demographic movements, either from some islands to the major ones or from the Maldives to other countries.

The success of the migrations will depend on the people’s ability to fit in democratically and economically. Otherwise, problems will pile up and become insurmountable. Maldivians would find themselves flooded by the sea and struggling not to sink in the ensuing political, economic and social problems. Atlantis is only romantic if you are not its citizen.

Malta is not as vulnerable as the Maldives. However, as a small island state, it is vulnerable enough to have something to learn from the Maldives and something to gain by offering its solidarity.

Source: http://www.timesofmalta.com

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Son of resort boss ‘drove newlyweds’

POLICE in the Maldives have identified the driver of the quad bike that killed Halifax honeymooners Jonathan and Emma Gray.

He has been named as Swedish national Filip Eugen Petre, 23, who is the son of a shareholder of the company which operates the Kuredu Island Resort where the 25-year-old couple tragically died last weekend.

Police said he was employed by the company as a guest relations officer trainee.

He is understood to be still in hospital receiving treatment for injuries.

The Grays, of Heath Lea, Halifax, had been passengers on the quad bike – identified as a King Quad 700 by police – when it crashed into a tree at 4am on Saturday, Maldives time.

They had only married a week earlier at St Bartholomew’s Church in Ripponden and leave behind a six-month-old baby boy Jake.

In a statement released today, a spokesman for the Maldives police said: “Investigation into the incident has so far revealed that the accident occurred while the three were riding a four-wheel vehicle – a King Quad 700 – and crashed into a tree in the middle of the path.

“Upon hearing of the accident the island doctor went to the scene of the accident and attempted to treat the victims, but told police that there was no sign of life from the two English tourists.”

The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Rev Stephen Platten, joined the many paying tribute to the much-loved couple.

Heartfelt comments have been posted on the Courier website from friends and strangers touched by the tragic news.

One commentor wrote: “Emma was a lovely teacher and taught my son for two years.

“He was devastated when she went on maternity leave last year.

“Words can’t say how upset he is now.

“I am not exaggerating to say that she was one of the best teachers any of my three children had.

“A huge miss.

“My thoughts with her family and those of her husband’s. RIP.”

Another read: “My heartfelt sympathies to their families. What a tragic waste of two lovely young lives. RIP x”.

And: “This is the kind of tragedy that puts small problems into perspective. Very sad.”

Source: http://www.halifaxcourier.co.uk

Khanal gets Maldives invite for SAARC meet

Maldives has formally invited Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal to the 17th SAARC summit, which will be held in the island nation in November.

Ibrahim Hussein Zaki, an emissary of President Mohamed Nasheed, today met PM Khanal at his official residence to hand over the invitation.

Maldives is set to host the leaders of the regional bloc in Addu City from November 10-11. Zaki had reached Kathmandu on Sunday, but his meeting with Khanal, slated for Monday, was put off following Prime Minister’s ill health.

During the meeting, Zaki, a former Secretary General of SAARC, is said to have briefed PM Khanal about preparations for the summit.

Zaki said he considers Nepal as his ‘second home’ as he had spent three years here as SAARC Secretary General in 1990s, according to PM’s foreign affairs adviser Milan Raj Tuladhar.

In his letter to Khanal, President Nasheed mentioned, “I believe that by building greater ties between our people and countries and integrating our economies, we can build a prosperous future. I hope the summit will help us overcome some of today’s challenges.”

Khanal expressed hope that the summit would give much needed impetus to a more active and dynamic SAARC.

Source: http://www.thehimalayantimes.com

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Seychelles and Maldives tourism meet to discuss joint actions

Minister Thoyyib Mohamed, the Maldives Minister of State for Tourism, Arts and Culture, met with Mr. Alain St.Ange, the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board, in the presence of Mr. Lambert Bonne, the Maldives Consul based in Seychelles.

The meeting, which took place at the Seychelles Tourism Board's Bel Ombre offices, was also attended by Mrs. Elsia Grandcourt, the Deputy CEO of the Tourism Board. The discussions centered on joint actions between Maldives and the Seychelles and on the participation by Maldives at the 2012 Seychelles Carnival.

The Maldives Tourism Minister and the CEO of the Seychelles Tourism Board discussed working together to get the Indian Ocean more known in the tourism market worldwide. Maldives has made big inroads in the Chinese Market, where they now welcome over 120,000 Chinese visitors annually, and discussions were held on existing air access linking the Maldives to China. The Maldives Minister invited the CEO of Seychelles Tourism to consider a working visit to Maldives, especially as Maldives was now forging ahead in Asia with a big delegation of Asia Tour Operators supported by Air Singapore, expected in Maldives in September for meetings on further increasing sales.

“The meeting with [the] Maldives Minister responsible for tourism, and Mr. Bonne, the Maldives local Consul, was good. We have a new partner and one that is committed to working together. He believes, as we do, in joint actions and is considering propositions for Maldives' involvement as a partner in the Seychelles Carnival, now known as the unique carnival of carnivals. The same proposition is also being considered by La Reunion. Both Madame Grandcourt and myself were happy with the meeting that paves the way for a closer working partnership," Alain St.Ange said.

Source: http://www.forimmediaterelease.net

Maldives, Seychelles to combat piracy together

The Maldives and Seychelles have agreed to combat piracy jointly, after two attacks in June off India’s Southern coast rang alarm bells for the two nations.

A protocol to combat piracy and other maritime security threats was signed during a meeting between Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed and Seychellois President James A. Michel.

Although Maldivian territorial waters have not come under direct attack so far by Somali pirates, the two incidents off India’s Southern coast have now raised fears over the country becoming a target.

In 2009, the archipelago of Seychelles was affected by piracy attacks taking a toll on the tourism sector.

And any such threat could prove lethal to the Maldives’ tourism —the backbone of its economy.

The United Nations too have expressed concerns over the Indian ocean territory becoming a battleground for piracy attacks.

In this backdrop the new protocol signed between the two countries on piracy is coming at a crucial time.

Piracy apart, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Fisheries Cooperation.

Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem and Seychellois Foreign Minister Jean Paul Adam signed the two agreements.

Later in his weekly radio address President Nasheed said lessons from the Seychelles economy would be advantageous in implementing Maldives economic reform plans.

He cited service sectors, deep-sea fishing and tourism industries as areas the two countries can work.

Previously Maldivian Finance Minister Ahmed Inas too visited the Seychelles.

Following the tour he told the Asian Tribune that it was important for people to take ownership of the economic reforms – a lesson Inaz said he learnt from the Seychelles economy.

“People need to aware what is this economic reform is about and that it is not simply an IMF plan,” Inaz said then.

Following IMF recommendations, the Maldives has implemented spending cuts, including downsizing the civil service sector and their wages, among other austerity measures.

Source: http://www.asiantribune.com

Jonathan and Emma Gray killed on Maldives honeymoon

A couple from West Yorkshire were killed in a quadbiking accident while on their honeymoon in the Maldives, police on the holiday island have said.

Jonathan and Emma Gray, from Halifax, were found injured on Saturday on a roadside at the Kuredu Island Resort and Spa where they were staying.

The pair, both 25, were married at St Bartholomew's Church in Ripponden, near Halifax, on 30 July.

The couple had a six-month-old son, Jake, who was not with them on holiday.

A third person was also injured in the crash and is in hospital.

The British couple had been found injured by the roadside of the resort at about 0400 local time, Maldives police said.

A special investigation unit from Maldives police headquarters has been sent to the scene.

Mrs Gray worked as a teacher at Holy Trinity Primary School in Halifax. School governor Reverend Martin Russell described her as a very popular and enthusiastic member of staff who "loved her children".

The couple's son, Jake, is now being looked after by a grandparent in the UK.

Friends of the couple visited their house on Sunday to lay flowers.

The brother of Emma Gray, who did not give his name, described them as "a wonderful couple".

"It is all too raw at the moment", he added.

The Foreign Office earlier confirmed it was aware of the deaths.

"Our thoughts are with the families at this sad time," said a spokeswoman. "We are providing consular assistance and liaising with both the police and the local authorities."

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk

Two Britons die in Maldives suspected road accident

Two Britons have died in the Maldives after a suspected road accident, local police have confirmed.

The man and woman died at the Kuredu Island Resort and Spa in the early hours of Saturday morning.

The Foreign Office has confirmed the deaths, but has not released the names, ages or home towns of the couple.

Maldives police said that a third person - also believed to have been injured in the incident - is currently in hospital being treated for injuries.

The British couple had been found injured by the roadside of the resort at around 0400 local time, police said.

A special investigation unit from Maldives police headquarters has been sent to the scene.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said that consular assistance was being provided by staff, and they were liaising with police and local authorities on the Indian Ocean island.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk

Friday, August 5, 2011

UN rights investigator urges Tehran to grant visit

The UN’s newly appointed human rights investigator to Iran called Wednesday on Tehran to allow him to visit the country to examine alleged rights violations there.

“I issued a written communication to the Iranian authorities to introduce myself and express my interest in visiting the country,” Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s special rapporteur on the situation in Iran, said in a statement.

“It is my hope that the Iranian authorities will ... take steps to comply with its international human rights obligations,” said Shaheed, a former Maldives foreign minister.

Shaheed, who officially commenced his duties on August 1, said he was also asking to meet with the Iranian ambassador to the UN in Geneva, and planned to engage with activists.

The UN Human Rights Council voted to create the rapporteur’s position in March 2011, to monitor what sponsoring nations said were crackdowns on dissent and a surge in executions in Iran.

The last UN Special Rapporteur on Iran’s mandate was not renewed in 2002. Tehran had explicitly banned him from visiting the country in 1996.

Source: http://www.khaleejtimes.com

Micromax enters Maldives' telecom market

Domestic handset maker Micromax today announced its foray into Maldivian telecom market as part of its global expansion activities.

Micromax will launch nine mobile phones competitively priced between 425 MVR to 4,500 MVR (Maldivian rufiyaa) and has entered into an exclusive partnership with Sense Wood Maldives for distribution, Micromax said in a statement.

"In 2011, we will continue our growth trajectory by developing our existing markets and expanding into newer markets. Today, I am delighted to offer an extensive range of innovative products designed to meet the communications needs of the highly evolved telecom users in Maldives," Micromax General Manager SAARC Vikas Sahni said.

In addition to this, Micromax will also introduce exclusive service centre, he added.

The nine models being launched would include feature-rich mobile phones with dual SIM, utility phones, QWERTY chat-phones, music-touch phones and Android-based smartphones.

Micromax already has a presence in Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, UAE and Brazil, apart from India.

"To attain positioning and to enhance brand visibility in the territory, Micromax aims to undertake a 360 degree branding exercise and focus will be on activities like, store branding, merchandisers in key retails and channel marketing," it said.

Source: http://economictimes.indiatimes.com

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Shangri-La Maldives launches amazing Eid offer

Situated on a three-kilometre long private island, the stunning resort has the luxury of space. Guests can choose to snorkel the house reef, windsurf the turquoise lagoon, cruise the atoll on the lookout for dolphins and relax at CHI, The Spa, among other activities. Families celebrating Eid will enjoy gathering around a barbecue lunch in the intimacy of their villa. In the evening, sheesha is served under a tent laid on the beach at Manzaru Bar so guets can chill the night away gazing at the shining stars.

The special Eid offer is valid from 25 August until 10 September 2011 for a minimum stay of five nights. Guests can choose from seven styles of accommodation - from private ocean retreats to tropical tree house villas. The rate starts at US$860 per night for a Pool Villa and includes for two persons:

- One complimentary night when paying for four nights

- Return domestic flights from Malé to Gan

- Daily sheesha under the stars at the beachfront Manzaru Bar

- One dolphin cruise

- Daily breakfast in Javvu Restaurant

- Up to two complimentary extra beds for children under the age of 12

Contact reservations.slmd@shangri-la.com or online at www.shangri-la.com for more details

Source: http://www.hoteliermiddleeast.com

Sri Lanka Deputy Minister successfully negotiates the immediate release of fishing boats from Maldives

Sri Lanka’s Deputy Minister of External Affairs Neomal Perera during his two-day official visit to the Maldives from July 30th to August 2nd, 2011 has successfully negotiated the immediate release of the seven fishing boats which were held in custody in the Maldives, and also requested the Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr. Ibrahim Didi, for speedy legal procedures when dealing with future such cases.

Deputy Minister Neomal Perera also held bilateral discussions with the Maldivian Government, reviewing the existing l ties between the two countries with a view to expanding the political, economic and cultural relations, and also to enter into new areas of cooperation.

During the discussions with the Maldives’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Ahmed Naseem, the Deputy Minister noted that since the Maldives has signed and ratified the Prisoner Transfer Agreement, Sri Lanka now looks forward to its early implementation to facilitate the transfer of the Sri Lankan prisoners back to Sri Lanka.

Deputy Minister Perera requested for the early finalization of the two agreements on the Mutual Legal Assistance, and Investment Promotion & Protection, the drafts of which have been forwarded to the Maldives in 2007. He also suggested the possibility of an agreement for avoidance on double taxation, and undertook to forward the draft text of the agreement to the Maldives.

During the discussions, the Deputy Minister Perera reiterated Sri Lanka’s request of to obtain a plot of land in the Maldives to build the Sri Lanka Chancery, and was assured that the Government of Maldives is looking into the matter. The Deputy Minister undertook to provide Sri Lanka’s assistance for the 17th SAARC summit to be held in the Maldives later this year.

It was noted that the Maldives have finalized the granting of scholarships to Sri Lankans for higher education and technical and vocation opportunities.

During a meeting with the Police Chief in the Maldives, the Deputy minister was informed that the Sri Lankan expatriates working in the Maldives are law abiding and do not cause problems in the Maldives.

Deputy Minister Perera during his visit in Maldives also called on the Vice President of the Maldives. Dr. Mohamed Waheed.


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Diva Maldives opens Marine Biology Centre

Stepping up its support of the Maldives’ largest Marine Protected Area, pioneering luxury resort Diva has opened a dedicated Marine Biology Centre, providing an unprecedented boost to research on the unique year-round presence of whale sharks in South Ari Atoll. Home to a rich ecosystem, the reefs and the marine life of the South Ari Marine Protected Area (SAMPA), will be overseen by newly appointed resident marine biologist, Chiara Fumagalli.

Located at the heart of the island, Diva's Marine Biology Centre offers an interactive learning experience, where guests can enjoy direct involvement in ongoing research. Amongst the various activities for guests of all ages, the Centre provides a unique opportunity to use “I3S”, a special piece of software originally developed by NASA to observe changing patterns of stars, and now adapted to map and measure whale sharks’ spotted skin pattern – their equivalent of a fingerprint. This software allows guests of the resort to find out whether whale sharks they see have been seen before, or are new to researchers.

The latest addition to the list of whale sharks currently being monitored is WS159–Stephanie;, named after the Diva guest who spotted and identified the unknown whale shark using the I3S software. "It was a small animal, only about 3.5 - 4.5 m long. The shark was in very good health, with no signs of injury. The size of the shark shows its young age" confirms Chiara.

The Centre also organizes a weekly Whale Shark Education Day to raise awareness of the local community of whale sharks. The day starts with interactive presentations about whale sharks, sea shells and reef fish, and carries on with a boat trip in the company of the Marine Biologist, focused on reef snorkeling and whale shark spotting. Next is a visit to a nearby island inhabited by its native Maldivian population, where the guests can meet some of the village’s oldest fishermen, who will share with them the whale shark fishing techniques used before the Marine Protected Area was established. The guests will then be treated to a typical Maldivian lunch, before returning to the Centre to identify the whale sharks spotted during the day.

Source: http://www.deeperblue.com

Colts eye last-four berth with victory against Maldives

After their 1-0 victory against India on Monday, Pakistan are eyeing another victory against Maldives on Wednesday (today) to make it to the semis of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Under16 Championships underway in Kathmandu.

While a draw at the Dashrath Rangasala Stadium will be sufficient for the Greenshirts to carve a niche in the last-four, Pakistan coach Sajjad Mehmood said that his team’s top priority is to win agianst Maldives.

“I have told my boys that after beating India we should put in extra effort to oust Maldives in tomorrow’s game to make it to the semifinals,” Sajjad told ‘The News’ from Kathmandu after the team’s practice session on Tuesday evening.

Sajjad said that he has worked with his players and psychologically motivated them ahead of the crucial clash.

“Naturally when a team beats a better side, they get relaxed but it is the job of the coach to focus on the main target. So far I have been able to convince and prepare the players with renewed vigour,” the coach said.

He hoped that striker Mansoor Khan and skipper Muneer Aftab will be fit before Wednesday’s match.

“Both Mansoor and Muneer had pulled their muscles against India due to the heavy pitch but both trained with the team in the evening and I hope that they will be fit,” he said.

The pitch at the venue, which also hosted Nepal’s World Cup qualifier against Jordan recently, looked dry on Tuesday due to clear skies and the coach said that Pakistan would be able to produce a stunning performance if the weather reamains the same on Wednesday.

“The pitch looked dry today and if it does not rain tomorrow, the pitch will be in an ideal state to play on,” Sajjad said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s former English consultant and the current coach of the Nepal senior team Graham Roberts also met with Sajjad and appreciated his side’s splendid performance against India.

“Roberts lauded our excellent effort against India during a short meeting,” Sajjad said.

Roberts had served as consultant of the Pakistan team during the Asian Games in China last year in which the Greenshirts had flopped. In a Group B match on Tuesday, Bangladesh whipped Sri Lanka 6-2.

Source: http://www.thenews.com.pk

Monday, August 1, 2011

India, Maldives to hold delegation-level talks in Male

India and Maldives will hold delegation-level talks here today, during which they are expected to review progress made on bilateral ties, besides share information on regional and global issues of mutual interest to the two countries.

External Affairs Minister S.M.Krishna will lead the Indian delegation at the talks, while the Maldives team will be led by that country's Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem.

During his two-day goodwill visit to the Maldives, Krishna will visit the Addu Atoll Island in Gan, the venue of the 17th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit. He will also hand over five million dollars as assistance to the Maldives Government to enable it to host the summit on November 10-11 this year .

Source: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com

Indian firm to set up USD 200 mn medical hub in Maldives

Officials said India may train Maldivian diplomats ahead of the 17th SAARC Summit in November.Terming the Indira Gandhi Memorial hospital, set up by India here, as the "most visible symbol of our bilateral relationship", Krishna said extensive renovation work of the hospital is being undertaken by the Indian government.Naseem thanked India for all the assistance and said New Delhi has a very "close relationship" with people of Maldives. "We are very grateful to all the assistance".Maldives is known for its high end -- and now growing mid-end -- tourist resorts that bring in almost one million tourists a year.IDC completed signing a historic set of agreements involving at least eight ministries in Maldives in the first such multi-sectoral effort to usher in global standard education, healthcare and medical treatment facilities.The project cost is pegged at USD 200 million and will take at least three years to be completed in phases.IDC has already taken over a 150-bed hospital in the south central province of Gan, one of the largest islands in Maldives, that is slated to become the next urban centre with the capacity for growth and development, an IDC official said.Under the project, IDC has planned a 300-room Indian ocean medical resort along with a wellness centre to give tourism a new dimension in this country.Maldives Minister of State for Health Abdul Bari said "the PPP partnership in the hospital operations and medical education will give the people of Maldives a very needed service within the country" and hoped that IDC would expand the hospital to cater to the entire country.Maldives Tourism Minister Mariyam Zulfa said the IDC project had "great potential." The project will be implemented on an 80-acre plot.PTI MPB RBS


Iran advances to 3rd round of World Cup qualifying

The Asian heavyweight Iran edged past the Maldives on Thursday and qualified for the third round of Asian qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

In the match held at the Rasmee Dhandu National Stadium, the Iranian outfit beat 1-0 the Maldives.

Midfielder Mohammad Khalatbari scored Iran’s only goal just seconds before the interval.

Iran had defeated the Maldives 4-0 in the first leg and qualified for the third round on 5-0 aggregate.

The two teams met for the first time in the 1998 World Cup qualifiers, in a game in which the Iranian team had its most lopsided victory when they crushed the Maldives 17-0

Source: http://www.tehrantimes.com

Special Envoy of Maldives’ President calls on PM

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani said that Pakistan attaches great importance to regional integration to enhance trade and promote economic prosperity of the people of South Asia.Cooperation between Pakistan and India can move forward the SAARC process in a meaningful and substantive manner and the recent visit of Foreign Minister Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar to India augurs well for the SAARC process, he added.The Prime Minister was talking to Special Envoy of the President of Maldives Ibrahim Hussain Zaki, who called on him here at the PM House on Thursday.
The Special Envoy handed over a letter from President Mohamed Nasheed of Maldives inviting the Prime Minister and Begum Gilani to participate in the SAARC Summit in Maldives on November 10-11 this year.
Prime Minister Gilani while accepting the invitation from the President of Maldives, expressed his confidence that the SAARC Summit would help build stronger bridges among the SAARC member countries.
The 17th SAARC Summit to be hosted by Maldives in November this year would be another important milestone in South Asian march towards regional cooperation in various fields including food security, energy cooperation and the campaign against terrorism, he added.
The Special Envoy informed the Prime Minister that it would be for the first time that the SAARC Summit will be held in south of the Equator in Addu City in Maldives.
The government of Maldives was, therefore, working to achieve positive objectives during the Summit particularly in ensuring connectivity in South Asia as well as trade and economic cooperation in the region, he added.
The Special Envoy appreciated the Government of Pakistan’s assistance to Maldives in the preparations for a successful SAARC Summit.
On bilateral relations with Maldives, the Prime Minister emphasized upon the need for high level visits to promote and strengthen understanding and cooperation between the two countries.
Pakistan, he said, would welcome visits by the Speaker of the Maldivian Assembly and Defence Minister of Maldives in response to outstanding invitations from the Chairman Senate and the Defence Minister of Pakistan, respectively.
The Special Envoy invited Pakistan’s private sector to explore opportunities to invest in Maldives. He also extended an invitation for a high level trade delegation from Pakistan to visit Maldives.
The High Commissioner of Maldives in Pakistan Dr. Aishath Shehnenaz Adam, Acting Foreign Secretary Alamgir Babar and other senior officers of the Prime Minister’s Secretariat were also present during the meeting.