Friday, October 21, 2011

Christmas escape to Anantara Maldives

Imagine spending Christmas in the world famous paradise of the Maldives.

Picture yourself hiding away in a private pool sanctuary of such unbridled space and thoughtful indulgence that your lifestyle seems exceptional even in this luxurious destination.  Then envisage lingering for longer with seven nights in festive bliss, and enjoying a complimentary activity that pairs a unique destination perspective with Anantara’s most exclusive signature touches.  Welcome to Anantara Kihavah Villas, where a Christmas escape comes with rich rewards.

anantara-maldivesSimply book seven nights or more, deciding between a private Pool Villa and Two Bedroom Residence either a step away from silky sands or perched directly above the azure Indian Ocean.  Then choose the perfect Christmas experience from Anantara Kihavah Villas’ one of a kind collection.

Set sail for a horizon of endless blue or dramatic sunset hues as you “Sip by Design” on a traditional Maldivian Dhoni sail boat.  Ostensibly designed for romance, it is perfect for intimate sunset sailing with your significant other.  Share a special hamper and toast Christmas with bottle of Champagne in a tranquil world of your own.

Create a Christmas snapshot that tells an unforgettable tale of Indian Ocean adventure with an “Underwater Photo Shoot”.  Dive into crystal clear waters and experience a thematically surreal world beneath the shimmering surface, where tropical fish are accompanied by Anantara’s eco-friendly underwater Christmas tree made from coral.

Spoil yourselves with a connoisseur experience of dazzling ocean marine life, without ever entering the water.  Descend to Kihavah’s exclusive underwater restaurant and wine cellar, Sea, for a “Private Wine Tasting” hosted by the Resident Wine Sommelier and General Manager.  Sample fine wines in good company as kaleidoscopic sea creatures glide gracefully beyond the glass.

Alternatively treasure an epic opportunity. “Cinema Under the Stars” celebrating a movie in paradise with a bottle of Veuve Cliquot.

Spend Christmas in paradise and choose your dream experience at Anantara Kihavah Villas, Maldives.
Anantara Kihavah Villas’ Festive Season rates start from $2,600 for a Beach Pool Villa and are valid from 24 December 2011 through 9 January 2012 for a minimum seven night stay.  Rates are quoted in US Dollar and based on single or double occupancy, per villa per night, inclusive of daily breakfast for two guests and subject to 10 percent service charge, 3.5 percent GST up to 31 December 2011 and 6 percent thereafter, and Maldivian Government Bed Tax of $ 8.00 per person per night.  Mandatory Christmas Eve Dinner and New Year’s Eve Celebration supplements apply for accommodation dates that include 24 December 2011 and 31 December 2011


A sea of message at Maldives

In a world where access to clean water and marine conservation are becoming increasingly important, it should come as no surprise that the first Water Wo/Men fundraiser event was in the Maldives. Between September 30-October 4, some of the world’s global glitterati came together to discuss and debate ideas on how to preserve one of nature’s most precious elements.

Hollywood stars Daryl Hannah and Kate Bosworth, Jose Garcia, Melanie Laurent, supermodel Helena Christensen, British singer Beth Orton, Foo Fighters keyboard player Rami Jaffee, Bollywood Director Shekhar Kapur and German actress Michaela Merten joined hands with the biggest names in water sports and marine conservation to raise funds for the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve through the BLUE Marine Foundation, an organization founded by “The End of the Line” producer Chris Gorell Barnes.

A water-sports show over the famous Yin Yang wave brought some of the world’s best surfers and wake-boarders together. Equally joyous was the fact that children from a local village were invited to participate in a surf lesson. Rami Jaffee was jamming away at Chill Bar at the Six Senses Laamu Resort while Helena Christensen and Kate Bosworth were seen enjoying a Zero Carbon meal at LEAF. Ethically sourced food and gourmet wines formed a large part of the social events and were in keeping with the spirit of the entire do.

The finale ‘Barefoot Ball’ was an unforgettable sunset beach jam with Maldivian musicians on local drums playing with their slightly more famous Western counterparts! For those who wanted to relax at night, open-air screenings on the beach at Cinema Paradiso came with bowls of ice cream — 50 flavours of them!

The event, which is meant to bring great minds together, will be repeated annually. Proceeds from this year’s affair will be donated to three key marine charities — ‘Water Charity’, ‘Plant a Fish’ and ‘Blue Marine Foundation’.


Another Dornier to patrol Maldives

India has deployed another naval Dornier aircraft in Maldives to help the Indian Ocean nation in anti-piracy patrols and maritime surveillance.

"The Dornier will operate from Male and other places from Wednesday for at least three weeks," said an official. This comes shortly after TOI reported that alarm bells were ringing in the Indian security establishment over renewed efforts by China to further expand its footprint in Maldives.

Ever since defence minister A K Antony's visited Maldives in August 2009, Indian warships and Dornier aircraft have been regularly assisting the 1,190-island archipelago in maritime patrolling.

New Delhi, apart from hydrographic surveys and other military assistance, is also assisting Male to set up a network of ground radars in all its 26 atolls and link them with the Indian military surveillance systems. Antony, incidentally, just last week had held that the Navy was mandated to be "a net security provider" for island nations in the Indian Ocean.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Learning about Islam in the Maldives

The highest point on any of the country's nearly one thousand idyllic islands is just 2.3 metres above sea level. Little wonder, then, that Climate Change and Global Warming are a cause for real concern, since it would take only a very small rise in sea level to make the islands disappear altogether.
   Whilst the government of the Maldives is doing everything possible to make the world aware of their plight, there is another consideration which puts all of this into its true perspective. For Muslims, all things come from Allah. In everything they do they declare, "inshallah." Even the sun coming up in the morning depends on His will.  
   Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) urged his followers to "tie your camel, then trust in Allah." In other words, Muslims should do everything they possibly can, and then when they have done everything they put their trust and their faith in the One who controls all things.
   On approaching Male, the capital of the Maldives, from the air, the most immediate impression is how beautiful the islands are. Upon arrival at the airport, visitors are reminded of this in a peculiar way. In most of the world's airports, travelers are asked to declare if they are bringing drugs or alcohol into the country. In the Maldives, they are not only asked this, but also if they are carrying idols of worship, which, being anathema to Muslims, are similarly banned. 
   Islam came to the Maldive islands in the twelfth century. It was another of those countries never approached by Muslim armies, but by traders from the Arab world. Their example eventually led the whole population to embrace Islam. In a country which rejoices in being one hundred per cent Muslim, one of the first things visitors see as they travel by boat to the nation's capital is the splendid golden dome of the Sultan Mosque.
   Egypt’s Al-Azhar has always played a central role in leading and guiding the Muslim world. The Islamic Centre in Male, which is a truly impressive building and which incorporates the country's largest Mosque, was built with the help of many Arab and Muslim nations. This is a visible sign of the unity and brotherhood which exists among Muslims.    
    The Opening Ceremony was attended by the late Grand Imam of Al-Azhar, Sheikh Jadul-Haqq, who traveled to the Maldives in November 1984 especially for this. Even today there is an Al-Azhar school in Male.
   There is only one Islam. The beauty of Islam, though, is that it has so many beautiful faces throughout the world. These faces don't change Islam, since Islam is at home in every country and in every culture, but they do show its colours and its diversity. In fact, they show how practical and sensible Islam has been throughout the centuries in making its message relevant to all people on the face of this earth. The Maldivian people have their own very beautiful portrayal of Islam.
   In fact, no matter how beautiful the sea or how white the sand, or even how peaceful the atmosphere, the real treasure of the Maldive islands is the friendliness and simplicity of its people. As Muslims we should never forget the real treasure of ordinary Muslims that is always in our midst.
   The Maldives, like every country, has its own particular problems. Sometimes, as Muslims, we get distracted by our own national situation and forget to look at the bigger picture. The bigger picture shows us that Islam is alive and well and that Muslims are thriving. Perhaps this is why Islam is now the fastest growing religion in the West.
   In a sense, the people of the Maldives can cling so closely to Islam because of their very way of life. This way of life has something to teach us all. Many of its people are fishermen, at one with the sea and its seasons, and they are in tune with their Creator. It is when we become so sophisticated and so caught up with the affairs of this world that we begin to lose something of Islam's simplicity. Islam is indeed simple, but we have managed to make it seem so complicated.
   Anyone staying in the Maldives for even a short time is reminded just by being there that we need to remain focused on Allah, not on the things of this world. When we do remain focused on Allah, all things fall quite naturally into perspective and we see that all things come to us from the hand of Allah. With such an attitude, there is nothing that can overcome us not even Climate Change and Global Warming!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

At first sight, the Maldives looks like paradise on earth, with its turquoise atolls, sparkling sand, fish in all the colors of the rainbow, and numer

The effects of global warming are very real for this tropical haven, where ocean waters threaten a delicate ecosystem. A closer look two years after Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed pledged to reach carbon neutrality with solar and wind power.

At first sight, the Maldives looks like paradise on earth, with its turquoise atolls, sparkling sand, fish in all the colors of the rainbow, and numerous luxury hotels. Maldives is a democracy with a dynamic young population, and its high-end tourism is currently overtaking famous destinations such as Mauritius and the Seychelles as a top destination. In 2011, the number of Chinese tourists caught up with the number of British visitors: the future looks bright.

But put on your scuba fins and you’ll discover a slightly less romantic picture. The reality is a seascape of floating bottles and cans, next to diapers washed out from beach landfills – the inhabitants don’t really have a choice. The coral is not in good condition either, as oceanographer Fabien Cousteau was able to see while diving there last week. Over-fishing is partly to blame, as it deprived the reef of its cleansing fish. The coral is also recovering from El Niño’s last visit in 1998, from a tsunami in 2004, as well as from a general warming of waters.

Marine species can’t cope with the wastewater, which is hardly being treated among the 300 inhabited Maldivian islands. Financially speaking, the atolls’ nebulous political past is responsible for the country’s persistent public debt. The small paradise, 1,000 nautical miles away from any other coast, is following the same path as many other territories going through an ecological and financial crisis. The Maldivian government is adopting a more proactive approach, as it is well aware of the consequences that a decaying ecosystem could have on tourism, which accounts for 40% of the island’s GPD.

But another threat has the government concerned: just barely above sea level, the islands risk going under rather sooner than later, as ocean water levels rise from the effects of global warming. It was in the face of this threat that President Mohamed Nasheed, back in 2009, made what was a stunning pledge. He vowed to make the Maldives carbon-neutral within a decade, by moving to wind and solar power. His aim was simple. His goal was to raise general awareness and set an example for other small, less energy-integrated countries to follow.

Strategic plan

It has become the core of Mohamed Nasheed’s advertised diplomatic speech. In October 2009, a few days before the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the Maldivian President organized an underwater cabinet meeting. His commitment even led to a documentary called "The Island President." The film was recently shown at the Toronto International Film Festival. Last week, Nasheed’s archipelago welcomed a panel of international experts. On Monday, the Maldivian President met with France’s minister of foreign affairs, Alain Juppé, and spoke in favor of an international agreement limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

The first democratic president after more than 20 years of dictatorship, Nasheed knows that this ecological issue is not going to get him reelected. Polls suggest Maldivian voters care little about the environment. So he decided to underline the importance of carbon-neutral economic growth by calling peoples' attention to the fact that more than 30% of the island’s GPD is spent on fossil fuels. Tired of not seeing a sign of the money Europe promised to give, Nasheed is now betting on cheap renewable energies for electricity, which has so far been produced by diesel generators that are accountable for half the carbon dioxide emissions. Other emissions, linked to road or water transport, will be neutralized by progressively introducing electric vehicles. As far as the impact of air transport is concerned, buying carbon credits seems to be the only medium-term solution.

Since last year, things have become clearer. A strategic plan was written down. It is now possible to buy green electricity, and a first photovoltaic contract was signed with the Maldivian hotels and resorts owner Kaimoo. The whole movement is catching momentum as Samoa, Costa Rica and Ethiopia have all joined Norway in the club of countries that pledge to go carbon-neutral before 2030.


Clean power: Maldives leads the way with a carbon dream

It’s quite a letdown. As tourists come into land in the Maldives – renowned for their pristine beauty and environmental campaigning – they are confronted with the world’s biggest island built of garbage.

Thilafushi – once a lagoon seven kilometres long by 200 metres wide – is an elongated semi-circle of hell on the threshold of the much-marketed paradise. Admittedly, the Maldivians have always taken a cavalier attitude to rubbish – the words for waste dump and beach are identical in the local language – but the island, growing at a square metre a day, is something else. Stinking smoke from pyres of plastics streams into the sky, while poisons leach out into the surrounding water.

But now the artificial island is to gain a different symbolism. For the bonfires are to go, replaced by a modern plant to turn the garbage into electricity for the nearby capital, Malé. And a new, much bigger plant to generate power from renewable biomass will follow.

It’s all part of an ambitious aim, announced two years ago, to make the Maldives the first carbon neutral country by 2020. And although the low-lying 1,190-island archipelago is one of the nations most threatened by the rising seas brought on by global warming, it is aimed as much at economic as physical survival. “For us, this is not just an environmental issue,” President Mohamed Nasheed told an environmental symposium at the resort of Soneva Fushi this week. “We would need to become carbon neutral even if there was no such thing as climate change, simply because it is more viable economically.”

The country spends 14 per cent of its GDP – more than on health and education combined – on importing fossil fuels, mainly diesel, and this will rise as oil prices increase. Generating energy from the sun and biomass is much cheaper. The plant on Thilafushi – burning imported wood pellets from sustainable sources – will produce power for 30 per cent less than from diesel.

Much the same goes for other island, and some mainland, nations all over the Third World, and the Maldives hopes they will follow suit. But, though simple to articulate, the zero-carbon goal looks difficult to achieve, and it is easy to be led astray.

Wind power companies descended on the country soon after the goal was announced and Manmohan Singh, prime minister of India – which has a large wind industry – briefly persuaded Nasheed. But the wind scarcely blows in the islands for months on end, and the country’s new plan – drawn up with the help of a British engineer, Mike Mason – gives it short shrift.

The biomass plant is best suited for Malé, which is probably the world’s most densely populated city, with 100,000 people packed into just two square kilometres (if everyone came down from its forest of high-rise buildings at the same time, they say, there would be no room for them in the streets). And solar power, which is almost as cheap, looks the best bet for the 200 inhabited islands and 100 resorts scattered through the archipelago.

Meanwhile, the government is eliminating import duty on electric cars and motorbikes, leaving petrol and diesel ones subject to a 200 per cent mark-up. This month it will scrap the tax on renewable energy equipment and super-efficient appliances like fridges. And it has introduced a feed-in tariff to pay those who generate their own clean power.

All the same, it looks as if it will fail to meet its goal, for – while providing half the country’s power from renewables is relatively straightforward, and getting to around 80 per cent is possible – it is proving formidably hard and expensive to go all the way. For the Maldives has no reliable, constant form of clean power – like hydroelectric or tidal energy – and though the sun rises every day, it sets at night and occasionally hides behind clouds.

Thus, solar energy has to be stored in batteries and it is prohibitively expensive to provide enough to cope with a string of sunless days, though costs are expected to fall. Replacing diesel for fishing boats and ferries will be tricky. And to cap it all, the government has just contracted with a Chinese company to provide a gas power station, partly to provide back-up for an ill-conceived windfarm, decided upon before the plan was drawn up.

So the bold zero-carbon goal is being quietly downgraded to 80-90 per cent carbon free, still an extraordinary achievement in just a decade, with the hope of completing the job later. As the plan puts it: “We can do it – almost!”

March of the pylons continues – with a small improvement

'Encase your legs in nylons/Bestride your hills with pylons/ O age without a soul;/Away with gentle willows/And all the elmy billows/that through your valleys roll.”

Thus John Betjeman in 1966, and he is by no means alone among the graveyard great and good. Such eminences as Rudyard Kipling, Hilaire Belloc and John Maynard Keynes were campaigning against pylons as long ago as 1929, just a year after the first was erected, outside Edinburgh. And the dislike remains strong, as opposition to erecting them in the Cambrian Mountains and Suffolk’s Constable country testifies – though, believe it or not, there is a Pylon Appreciation Society (membership fee £15) for “anyone who is interested in or inspired by transmission towers”. Already, 80,000 march across Britain and there will be more as our energy supplies are increasingly electrified, whether from using renewables, nuclear power or shale gas. But at least it seems that the traditional 165ft monstrosities are going to be replaced by a smaller

T-shaped structure, announced yesterday as the winner of a competition.

Of course it would be better to bury power lines in the countryside. Better still would be to use electricity more efficiently so less needs to be generated. For as Betjeman went on: “And if there is some scenery,/Some unpretentious greenery,/surviving anywhere,/It does not need protecting/For soon we’ll be erecting/A Power Station there.”

Even builders come out against planning free-for-all

Now here’s a turn up for the books. The British Property Federation, one of the few supporters of the Government’s explosive draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) has endorsed one of this newspaper’s key criticisms in strong ethical terms.

Its chief executive, Liz Peace, told the Commons Environmental Audit Committee this week: “We think it is morally right to seek brownfield land before looking elsewhere, such as the green belt”, adding that its members “would have no problem with this being enshrined in the NPPF”. That pretty much explodes ministers’ insistence that their weak, and heavily qualified, injunction to use “land with the least environmental or amenity value” will suffice.

No doubt ministers will be relieved that the consultation period – planned for the normally quiet holiday and party conference period – ends on Monday. However, the changes – or, as they would prefer “clarifications” – are, if recent assurances are anything to go by, likely to be substantial. So will it be good enough to alter the document and present it as a fait accompli? Or should they submit their amended proposals for another, if briefer, public consultation? Asked by the committee, planning minister Greg Clark hinted that they might, without making any undertaking. They’d be wise to do so. Even government supporters do not now seem to trust it to get it right.


Building Bridges picked as: 17th SAARC Summit theme

ISLAMABAD: ‘Building Bridges’ will be the core theme for the two-day 17th SAARC Summit beginning in the picturesque Atoll Addu in Maldives next month on November 10-11, 2011. The theme, preferred by the Republic of Maldives, represents a range of new diplomatic initiatives covering geo-physical regional connectivity to conscious nursing of political dialogue among the SAARC community.

This will be the third-time SAARC Summit being hosted by the Maldives government: the previous ones in 1990 and 1997 respectively.

SAARC community consists of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The 16th Summit was held in April 2010 in Bhutan with Climate Change as its central subject of deliberations.

Maldives is trying to bridge political differences among the member countries of the SAARC forum.

Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani who is expected represent Pakistan at the 17th SAARC summit on November 10 and 11, 2011, will have second strategic occasion of meeting with his Indian counterpart Dr Manmohan Singh.

It was the Thimpu SAARC event of April 2010 that both Islamabad and New Dehli had agreed to open up years choked channels for diplomatic dialogue between them, the process now gone much ahead to a burgeoning bilateral trade and Pakistan’s consent to accord Most Favored Nation (MFN) status to India.

Source: Hameed Shaheen /

Improve ties with regional nations: Gilani to Khar

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani directed Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar on Friday to concentrate on further improving relations between Pakistan and countries of the region based on mutual respect and equality.

Gilani made the remarks during a meeting with Khar. The Foreign Minister briefed him on upcoming international meetings like the Commonwealth conference in Australia this month and SAARC Summit in Maldives next month.

Khar "sounded upbeat so far as the relations of Pakistan with the countries of the region were concerned", said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s office.

She said her optimism was based on the "shared realisation among the countries to improve relations".

She also apprised Gilani of the Foreign Office's efforts to seek support for Pakistan’s candidature for a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Maldives to Host Second South Asian Beach Games

Maldives will host the second South Asian Beach Games in 2013, the South Asian Olympic Council (SAOC) confirmed.

The decision was taken at the SAOC meeting at southern Sri Lankan coastal city Hambantota, where the inaugural South Asian Beach Games are now in progress.

Hemasiri Fernando, president of Sri Lanka National Olympic Committee and an executive member of the SAOC, told Xinhua that it was unanimously decided to hold the next Games in the Maldives.

The Maldives will decide the dates of the event, according to Fernando.

The total number of sports in the second edition are also to be decided later.

Bodybuilding and triathlon had to be removed from the scheduled 12 disciplines for the inaugural event due to lack of participation among the eight South Asian nations.

The first South Asian Beach Games were originally to be held in the Maldives but on the request of Sri Lanka, were shifted to Hambantota, the tsunami hit city which is also for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Sri Lanka is bidding against Australia's Gold Coast to host the Commonwealth Games in 2018.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Maldives could benefit from groundbreaking integrated climate change model

The Maldives, which is committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2020, could significantly benefit from a new branch of environmental science.

The Integrated Resource Model, which has been developed by Peter Head, of the Ecological Sequestration Trust, uses cloud computing to develop ecological models that boost economic growth and reduce carbon emissions.

Mr Head told delegates at the third annual Six Senses SLOW LIFE Symposium, that global computing power could be used to create a new development model for the Maldives.

He said: “Integrated resourcing covers energy, food, water and waste management. It is the concept that no single environmental problem can be solved in isolation.”

He added that the concept of sharing was vital in the fight against climate change. The most efficient use of finite resources, he explained, was sharing in a common cause.

Cloud computing is just one example of sharing – in this case computing processing power. Cloud computing is vital to his integrated resource modeling, which will be made available through open source on the “cloud”.

Mr Head also said that linking urban and rural development could boost overall agricultural output despite the loss of land for residential development.

“The analysis shows we can reduce carbon intensity but improve the ecological footprint as well,” he said.

He warned delegates that unless the pace of change towards a sustainable economy was accelerated, there would be a 50% chance of runaway climate change by 2070 that would lead to “total human catastrophe”.

Mr Head told delegates that he was seeking funding to enable the Maldives to take a global lead in Integrated Resource Modeling.

Other speakers during the last day of the SLOW LIFE Symposium included Sir Richard Branson, Eric Scotto of Akuo Energy and Jose Mariano, the founder of zero2infinity – the company which is planning on sending people into space using helium-filled balloons.

In the last session of the day, Sir Richard Branson said that business leaders had to do more to advance sustainable business development.

“If you are lucky enough to be a successful business leader – and you need a large element of good fortune – there is extreme responsibility that comes with that.

“If leaders are not responsible citizens and don’t redistribute that wealth then our current form of capitalism becomes questionable.

“Companies can become forces for good. The differences they can make locally and internationally is significant and the bottom line does not need to suffer for that to happen.”

Sonu Shivdasani, the Chief Executive of Six Senses, concluded the Symposium by saying that “sustainable business” had to become the norm and that the way in which business leaders were judged had to change to encourage companies to pay more attention to their environment.

“How we measure CEOs dictates how those CEOs behave.”
He added that the institutional owners of publicly listed companies should judge CEOs’ long term commitment to sustainability best practice and not just on short term profits.


Maldives defence minister visits Jaffna

Maldivian Defence Minister, Thalhath Ibrahim Kaleyfaanu, visited Sri Lanka’s occupying Army in the country of Eezham Tamils in Jaffna on Wednesday. His visit follows Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed’s unhindered support to genocidal Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa in shielding the latter from international war crimes investigation. The ‘hundred per cent Islamic country’ Maldives in recent times has entered into a number of agreements with Israel, the secret protocols of which are yet to be known to the public. However, the new friendship and the lease of one of the islands to Israel for ‘agricultural development’ are much talked about in Maldives. The support of US Asst Secretary of State Robert Blake to Nasheed’s Maldives in the international organisations is not without reason, political observers say.

The Maldivian Defence Minister, received at the Palaali Airport by the occupying SL military’s Brigadier Piyal wikramaratne, was first briefed at the SL military’s Headquarters Auditorium.

Later, he was taken around Jaffna to showcase the military’s ‘development’ work such as the 100 houses built ‘within 8 days’ at Keerimalai and a three storied building being constructed for Mahajana College, Thellippazhai, with the financial assistance of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, according to SL military news.

He also visited the Dutch Fort where Rajapaksa plans building a presidential mansion, the Public Library and Kurunakar Jetty, along with the SL military.

Maldivian President Nasheed claims that his government is an elected democracy. But his Defence Minister’s visit to Jaffna was like a military to military visit and not like the visit of a minister of a civilian government. Tamils are hurt by the gesture, news sources in Jaffna said.

Nasheed’s predecessor Gayoom’s guided democracy was strictly neutral in foreign and military relations.

Within month’s of Nasheed coming to power by changing the political system with Western help, his government sent a military delegation, along with the US, the UK, Japan, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh to Vanni, to give moral boost to Colombo’s genocidal war at its height.


UN climate talks 'stupid and endless' - Maldives

The UN's talks on climate change are daft and crippled by finger-pointing and the need for consensus, the president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, was quoted on Thursday by Le Monde as saying.

Nasheed also said emerging economies were as much to blame for global warming as rich nations.

In an interview with the French daily, Nasheed pounded out the frustrations of vulnerable small island states with the 194-party UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

"The current negotiation process is stupid, useless and endless. It is based on this principle: two parties reach an agreement, a third one comes alone and says it doesn't agree and it reduces the ambition of the others," Nasheed said.

"In essence, even if we reach an agreement, it will be an agreement about nothing. It will be so diluted that it will be of no use," he said bitterly, calling for "an overhaul of international organizations."

Nasheed, whose comments were reported in French, was speaking during a visit to Paris.

He also criticized the rift in the UNFCCC talks over who was to blame for the man-made carbon emissions that stoke global warming.

Poor countries say rich countries bear "historical responsibility" as they were the first to burn the coal, gas and oil that cause the problem.

Rich countries say emerging giants such as China, India and Brazil also have to shoulder the burden as they have become huge carbon emitters in their own right.

"Responsibility is shared equally," said Nasheed.

"If the emerging countries had had the chance to emit as much carbon, they would have done the same, perhaps more so," he said.

"If the West stopped their emissions and China, South Africa and Brazil carried on emitting on the basis of business as usual, we would still die. The Maldives would disappear."

Efforts to tackle climate change were ravaged by the near-fiasco of the Copenhagen Summit of December 2009, where world leaders squabbled over targets and burden-sharing.

They cobbled together a last-ditch deal, the Copenhagen Accord, which sets down a voluntary approach of national pledges supported by financial pledges to help poor countries.

The UNFCCC's parties meet in Durban, South Africa, from November 28 to December 9 for their next annual conference. The big issue will be the future of the UNFCCC's Kyoto Protocol, whose current roster of promises expires at the end of 2012.

Global warming is predicted by scientists to have far-reaching impacts on the world's weather system.

It will also cause sea levels to rise, both through the thermal expansion of water and through the runoff of water from melted icesheets and glaciers.

Source: AFP

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Maldives Foreign Minister calls on Rehman Malik

Foreign Minister of Maldives Ahmad Naseem called on Federal Minister for Interior Rehman Malik here on Wednesday.The meeting was held in a cordial atmosphere in which both the ministers discussed issues of bilateral relations and exchange of prisoners.Rehman Malik said Pakistan attached great importance to its relations with Maldives, said a press release issued here.The Foreign Minister of Maldives said “ We also attach importance to our relations with Pakistan and both the countries have exemplary relations”. He hoped that the relations would further flourish with time.Upcoming SAARC Summit also came under discussion during the meeting.

The Maldives Foreign Minister invited the Interior Minister to visit Maldives.
A delegation headed by Director General of Anti-Terrorist Office (UK), Charles Far, also met Rehman Malik and appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to eliminate terrorism.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Maldives Joins the International Criminal Court as 118th State Party

The Coalition for the International Criminal Court today welcomed the accession of Maldives to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) as a critical step towards greater accountability for serious crimes in the Asia-Pacific region. In joining the ranks of 117 states at the ICC—the world’s first and only permanent, international court with jurisdiction over crimes against humanity, genocide and war crimes—Maldives has demonstrated its commitment to international justice and the rule of law, and has laid down a marker for other states to follow in one of the most under-represented regions at the ICC, the Coalition said today.

“The Coalition commends Maldives’ decision to embrace and strengthen the growing international justice system by acceding to the Rome Statute,’ said William R. Pace, Convenor of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court, a civil society network of more than 2,500 NGOs in 150 countries advocating for a fair, effective and independent ICC and improved access to justice for victims of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. “It is vital that the momentum towards increasing respect for the rule of law and accountability for those responsible for the most serious crimes is seized by other states in the Asia-Pacific region, many of whom are close to joining the ICC,” he added. “Joining the Court represents a strong deterrent effect that will contribute toward the prevention of gross human rights violations in the Asia-Pacific region and to the global fight against impunity.”

Civil society has been urging Maldives to accede to the Rome Statute—the Court’s founding treaty—for many years. In April 2011, civil society organizations from 11 countries within the Asia region met in the Philippines to discuss and implement strategies to advance support for justice and accountability, and called on SAARC member states, including Maldives, to ratify and implement the Rome Statute. Moreover, as a focus country for the Coalition’s Universal Ratification Campaign (a monthly campaign aimed at encouraging states to join the ICC), the Coalition, in a letter dated 2 May 2011 to President H.E. Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, urged the government of Maldives to ensure progress towards completion of its accession procedures.

Maldives is the third state in South Asia to become an ICC member, following Bangladesh and Afghanistan; and the ninth in the entire region with Cambodia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, the Philippines and Timor-Leste. Given its important role in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as current Chair, represented by Secretary-General H.E. Ms. Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed, it is hoped that Maldives’ accession will spur other states in the region to join the growing global movement for accountability for the most serious crimes.

With the Philippines’ recent ratification on 30 August, Maldives’ accession today, and Malaysia’s advances in its accession process, there is no doubt that the Asia region is taking a stand toward increasing its participation within the Rome Statute system. The Coalition for the ICC has taken important steps to promote this participation, including focusing its Universal Ratification Campaign (URC) on Malaysia (January 2011), the Philippines (February 2011), Indonesia (July 2011), and Nepal (August 2011) in an effort to garner support for ratification among government officials and other stakeholders.

“Maldives' accession to the ICC reflects its strong desire to be part of the international community's collective efforts towards international justice,” said Evelyn Balais-Serrano, the Coalition’s Asia Regional Coordinator. “It signals its resolve to move forward in its goal of ending impunity locally and globally, as well to honor its growing commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights, as has been demonstrated through its current leadership in SAARC,” she added.

By joining the ICC treaty today, in addition to giving the under-represented Asia region a stronger voice at the ICC, Maldives will be able to elect highly qualified candidates for crucial ICC elections to take place in December 2011 at the tenth session of the Assembly of States Parties (ASP)—the ICC’s governing body—during which state parties will elect six new judges and a new prosecutor, among other key officials.