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Criticism targeted at Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid for using state funds to campaign for UNGA Presidents seat amidst pandemic.

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Public criticism has been targeted at Foreign minister Abdulla Shahid for using state funds for his campaign to become the President of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) and for his extended stay in New York. According to local “Dhiyares News”, Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid departed to New York on 23rd April 2021 along with Foreign Ministry State Minister Khaleel, 3 staff members and his bodyguards.

The criticism was stemmed from the expenses being incurred for the trip out of tax payers money. Government officials on international trips are paid a stipend according to UN’s daily subsistence allowance rates. According to this rate, each of the 6 members of Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid’s entourage will be paid $433 a day for the first month in New York.

This means that for the past 33 days, the 6 members of the entourage has been paid MVR1,322,018.28. An additional MVR 786,420 was also allegedly spent on airline tickets from Maldives to New York. This brings the total tally of the trip to MVR 2,108,438.28.

Denizens of the social medias are also accusing the Foreign Minister of using state funds for his political ambitions as Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid is set to contest for the UNGA President’s seat. The government of Maldives has allocated an additional MVR 4,354,772.00 as campaign funds for Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid.

 The criticism is further exacerbated by the surge in the number of COVID-19 infections in the Maldives. Over 145 deaths has been reported with over 58,345 cases recorded in the Maldives. While the number of cases in the Maldives has reached an all-time high, the country is yet to fully secure vaccines for its half a million population. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih stated at the last night’s press conference that he has been leading the efforts to procure the vaccines and thanked his cabinet members by name. However he excluded Foreign Minister Abdulla Shahid, Defence Minister Mariya Didi and Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla.

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MP Ahmed Shiyam- fortunate to have experienced President Yameen’s developments, now critical in combating COVID-19.

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Opposition Vice-President Ahmed Shiyam has stated that  it is  fortunate to have experienced President Abdulla Yameen’s development projects which are currently playing a  critical role in the fight against COVID-19. This comes following the current administration’s decision to convert the nation’s largest distribution center developed under former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration.

In a tweet by his official twitter account, MP Ahmed Shiyam noted that the largest distribution and warehouse center in Maldives, which was developed  by former President Abdulla Yameen  is now being converted to a COVID-19 hospital.

He continued on to state that “We were very  fortunate to have experienced President Yameen’s tenure of HOPE that we now have  such facilities  at this trying times to help save many lives.”.

The Distribution center constructed under former President Abdulla Yameen’s administration contains 14 units dedicated for wholesale businesses, 13 units for industrial businesses and 20 units for office space. In addition to this, the facility also contains a convenience store and a restaurant.

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Brigadier General Ibrahim M. Didi (Rtd): Handing over ATC to foreign companies a “grave threat to our national security”.

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Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (Rtd) has questioned and criticized the Government over its decision to allow 100% foreign companies to operate airports and air traffic control service in the Maldives.

Brigadier General Ibrahim Mohamed Didi (Rtd) expressed surprise in his tweet stating that allowing foreign companies to operate as air traffic control service providers is a “grave threat to our national security”. He questioned where the National Security Council is and where Defence Minister Mariya Didi was awake.

He also questioned whether the government buried Article 237 of the Constitution of the Maldives which states “The security services shall protect the nation’s sovereignty, maintain its territorial integrity defend the constitution and democratic institutions, maintain and enforce law and order, and render assistance in emergencies.”.

His comments comes while the public is engaged in a massive campaign against the current administration and its close ties with India. Many have accused the current administration of  compromising the sovereignty of the Maldives by allowing Indian military to expand their influence in the Maldives. The Addu city Police academy, Addu city Indian consulate, radar systems and most recently the Hanimaadhoo land grab has fueled public anger at the current administration and India.

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Sexual abuse is being “normalized” in British Schools and colleges, reports Ofsted.

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The Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted) has reported that sexual harassment and online sexual abuse has become frequent in English schools and colleges subsequent to a survey of 900 children and young people from 32 schools and colleges.

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said she was “shocked” by the findings.

Reportedly, 92 percent of schoolgirls experienced sexist name-calling and 90 percent of the girls said they were sent explicit pictures or videos “a lot” or “sometimes”. According to some girls, boys share nude images of their school peers on communication platforms like WhatsApp or Snapchat “like a collection game,” Moreover, in one school, some female students can be contacted by up to 10 or 11 different boys a night to be asked for nude/semi-nude images. About 64 percent of girls reported cases of unwanted touching compared to 24 percent of boys.

According to Ofsted, many teachers have failed to understand the severity of the problem as students often saw no point in reporting incidents. Many girls said they did not want to talk about abuse for fear of being ostracized, while others feared not being believed or that they would be blamed.

“It’s alarming that many children and young people, particularly girls, feel they have to accept sexual harassment as part of growing up. This is a cultural issue, it’s about attitudes and behaviors becoming normalized” Amanda Spielman, the Chief Inspector of Ofsted said

Ofsted also said the government needs to take necessary precautions by developing legislation

The survey was carried out after thousands of school children and students posted accounts on a site called Everyone’s Invited, detailing sexual harassment, abuse and violence, including rape. This year alone, more than 16,500 testimonies have been posted on the site.

 

Source: TRT World

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