Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Maldives Chaaya hotels pledge “I will be Green”

LOS ANGELES, California - The Maldives are home to a small group of Elite Green Globe Members, renowned to lead by example: The Chaaya Island Dhonveli, the Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo, and the Chaaya Lagoon Hakuura Huraa. All three properties have been enthusiastically involved in environmental protection activities for years – to live by the John Keells Group pledge “I will be Green.” In observance of World Tourism Day 2013, all three Chaaya Resorts organized a series of events under the motto “Tourism and Water.”

September 27 marked the United Nations’ calendar day, highlighting tourism – a sector that is driving socio-economic growth and development all over the world. This year’s World Tourism Day was held under the theme of “Tourism and Water – Protecting our Common Future.” The Republic of Maldives, one of the world’s most biologically diverse countries, and a major tourist destination, was hosting the official celebrations.

A special VCD was produced for each resort, capturing major water related activities and marine life around the resort. In addition, an information leaflet was provided, giving insights on sustainability and conservation of the environment, biodiversity and climate change – with respect to the tourism industry. More than 400 VCD’s and leaflets were handed out to in-house guests during their breakfast, and everybody was invited to participate in the special seminar on marine life around the Maldives. A special proposal on coral reef restoration project was submitted by the Dive Center Manager at the Chaaya Dhonveli.

Participating guests, students and teachers from nearby island schools appraised the efforts of the Resort Management and Dive Center staff, in celebration of this special event. The students were also given the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the hotel operations. A delicious lunch concluded the morning activities for the students.

“We are delighted to host the celebrations of World Tourism Day and support this important and timely initiative here in the Maldives,” said Mr. Kumar Prem, General Manager at the Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo Resort. “The Maldives is a paradigm of well-managed and sustainable water use in developing island states, where the availability of fresh water and the level of water consumption have become a particular concern. Our commitment is reflected in our management principles and daily practices, which aim at building a sustainable future for the generations to come. Chaaya Resorts in the Maldives have reduced their water consumption by 31.1%. The current water footprint of the sector is 543 liters per guest.”


The amazing array of Chaaya Maldives Hotels & Resorts offers everything from intimate honeymoon hideaways to luxurious pampering spas, and exotic underwater havens. There is romance in the air, adventure in the ocean, and indulgence all over. Chaaya Island Dhonveli is the perfect destination for the discerning pleasure seeker. Warm waters of the azure sea are an ideal balm that lifts the spirits and calms the soul. Perfect waves make surfing an unforgettable experience here. For an ultimate holiday experience, the Chaaya Lagoon Hakuraa Huraa makes the impeccable destination. Located 145 km from the capital Male, it takes 45 minutes by seaplane to get to this idyllic 6-acre island paradise. Accommodations include 70 over water bungalows and 10 beach bungalows. Peace and tranquility envelops you at the Chaaya Reef Ellaidhoo. Once you stayed here, life will never be the same again. The pristine coral reefs have the most incredible underwater life that you can ever imagine. A kaleidoscope of florescence colored fish in an underwater garden of coral reef is certainly a spectacular sight.

Contact: Kavinga Karunasekara, Specialist Sustainabiity & Processes, John Keells Maldivian Resorts (Pte) Ltd., 2nd floor, H. Maizan Building, Sosun Magu, Male, 2052 Republic of Maldives, E-mail, Phone: +960 7970 795 (mobile), +960 6640 055 (general), Fax: +960 6640 066, or:


Green Globe Certification is the worldwide sustainability system based on internationally-accepted criteria for sustainable operation and management of travel and tourism businesses. Operating under a worldwide license, Green Globe Certification is based in California, USA, and is represented in over 83 countries. Green Globe Certification is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council, supported by the United Nations Foundation. For information, visit


Maldives President condemns calls for foreign intervention

Asserting that government is making preparations to ensure a smooth transfer of power, Maldivian President Mohammed Waheed today condemned calls for foreign military intervention in the country amid political chaos.

In his address to the nation, Waheed accepted that country has been pushed into "chaos" following a Supreme Court order suspending the first round of elections.

"I strongly condemn calls for foreign military interventions in the Maldives and to interfere in domestic affairs of the country. We are not intimidated by such calls. We are prepared to save the country from such foreign parties that may attempt to interfere in the powers of the state," Waheed said.

The President said everyone in the country is looking forward to the elections to be held as soon as possible and the candidate elected to assume the presidency on November 11.

"I give my full assurance that the government will do everything possible to achieve this target. This government is making necessary preparations to ensure a smooth transfer of power," he said.

Waheed said the country has so far overcome difficult political situations, by working peacefully and patiently.

"I am confident that we can resolve the current issue and complete the election process." Waheed, who could muster only five per cent of the votes in the first round, said.

The President reminded the Maldivian people, especially political leaders, that every moment of discord and disharmony amongst Maldivians opens a door for foreign intervention in domestic issues.

"Even though our independent institutions are young and imperfect, they are the institutions of this country. When we disrepute and dishonour those institutions, foreign parties giving opinions in place of those institutions, is not a far-fetched possibility," he warned.

Maldivian Democratic Party leader Mohammed Nasheed, who led the first round with over 45 per cent votes, has to face in the second round the Progressive Party of Maldives candidate Abdullah Yameen who was the runner up in the first phase held on September 7.

The second round of the Presidential run-off between former President Nasheed and Yameen had to take place on September 28 but it was indefinitely postponded by the Supreme Court which is hearing allegations of irregularity in the polls.


Maldives says Supreme Court to rule on election petition soon

UNITED NATIONS — Maldives says its Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming days on a petition that has held up a second round of voting in its contentious presidential election.

Acting foreign minister, Mariyam Shakeela, told the U.N. General Assembly Tuesday that the integrity of the second round can't be maintained without ensuring the first round was fair.
Shakeela said the election process can continue after the court's verdict, allowing a new president to be sworn in Nov. 11.

The U.N. and Western nations had all praised the conduct of the first round.
The front-runner in that vote accused the court of colluding with Maldives' former autocratic ruler to deny him victory.

Maldives held its first multi-party election in 2008 but has faced political turmoil in the past year.


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Helen Flanagan tweets about swimming naked in Maldives

Helen Flanagan has shared a series of revealing bikini pictures from her holiday in Maldives on Twitter.

The 23-year old former girlfriend of English footballer Scott Sinclair tweeted pictures from her private resort in the island nation located in the Indian Ocean, and wrote "Swimming naked in my pool", the Mirror reported.

She posted snaps from the pool side, from her first class plane seat and another while sipping champagne.


'CSI turtle' launches investigation into ghost fishing nets found in the Maldives

Maldivian Sea Turtle Conservation Programme , Maldives

Call it CSI Turtle. In the Maldives, at the heart of the Indian Ocean, scores of turtles are being found with gashed or ripped-off flippers and deep scars in their shells. The cause is clear: the turtles are becoming ensnared in "ghost" fishing nets that have either have been lost or dumped.

The turtles that don't drown are then attacked mercilessly by accomplices. The stumps of the turtles' flippers show clear signs of being ripped off by sharks, while the shell damage points to a sharp implement: the beaks of birds and the claws of crabs. The nets themselves cut through the turtle's flesh like cheesewire, leaving deep wounds.

But what the investigation has not yet established are the culprits behind the crime and the motive. "It's OK to keep finding these turtles and keep stitching them up, but it's just going to keep happening. So we need to try to find out why the nets are being lost," says Dr Jill Hudgins, a scientist from the Seamarc consultancy and employed by the Four Seasons resort on Landaa Giraavaru island.

The turtles are the Olive Ridley variety, which live in the open ocean, not the atolls and lagoons of the Maldives, and Maldivian fishermen don't use nets, pointing the investigation abroad. Hudgins' team has now compiled a database of more than 40 net types, detailing the mesh size and the twine diameter, as well as the types of floats attached and other data like the labels on debris trapped in the net such as plastic bottles.

The evidence all points to trawler nets floating in from India and Sri Lanka, and a recent breakthrough was finding a net manufacturer's label: Garware, an Indian company. Hudgins has now sent images of the nets and severely injured turtles to the company and awaits their reply. "We want to scare them a bit," she says, and then get their help in finding solutions.

If it is because the fishermen do not have access to disposal facilities, she says, that could be set up. Or if boats fishing illegally are dumping nets when challenged by patrols at sea, that could be addressed too. Hudgins' team has also hooked up with Ghost Nets Australia, which successfully tracked nets back to fishermen in northern Australia.

So far 42 turtles have been released from the centre on Landaa Giraavaru and more islands are starting to join in. They spend an average of a month or two in rehab, after being treated.

The team has also demonstrated that the turtles can adapt to the loss of one fin by attaching £1,600 trackers to rehabilitated animals. "They travelled just as far – about 1,000km a month – as those not missing flippers," says Hudgins. But the loss of two fins is thought to be too much, making it near impossible for the turtles to dive and feed.

One turtle – which arrived with its skull split open, probably due to a boat collision – also travelled successfully, although in the opposite direction to the others.

But another turtle, now blind and with neurological problems probably due to being poisoned, has been at the centre for 18 months so far. Some are too injured to ever be likely to return to the ocean, and with a 60-year lifespan, Hudgins says: "They are going to be really long-term residents."