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EU condemns forced landing of flight in Belarus.

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The European Union (EU) has condemned the Belarus for forcing a flight from Athens, Greece to Vilnius, Lithuania to land in Minsk, the Capital of Belarus. EU leaders have warned that possible sanctions may be placed against Belarus for the incident.

European Council President Charles Michel stated that “I condemn in the strongest possible terms the forced landing of a Ryanair flight in Minsk, Belarus on 23rd May 2021”. He also stated that the unprecedented incident will not go without consequence.

According to the Irish Ryanair, the flight FR4978 was forced to land at an airport in Minsk following a possible security threat alerted to by the Belarusian  authorities. The flight was allowed to leave lather last night again to Lithuania .

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis stated that “Enough is enough” and to “step up pressure on Belarus”. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also raised concern stating that it was a serious interference in civil air traffic in Europe.

It is speculated that this was done to arrest Belarusian opposition figure Raman Pratasevich who was on the flight and has since been arrested. Belarusian Presidential Press Service stated that they were alerted to a bomb threat while the plane was above Belrusian territory, but no explosives were found aboard. Ina separate press by the Belarusian Interior Ministry, stated that Raman Pratasevich was arrested at an airport. Raman Pratasevich has been in hiding in Poland after his Telegram Group “Nexta Channel” which helped organize the anti-government protests was labelled as extremist by the government.

Belarus has experienced major anti-government protests after its President Alexander Lukashenko won the election for a sixth term with the opposition accusing him of autocracy and voter manipulation.

Source:  Xinhua News Agency.

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MP Mohamed Saeed criticizes current administration’s silence over Indian influence in the Maldives.

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Opposition Vice-President MP Mohamed Saeed has criticized the current administration in a lengthy Facebook post. In his post, MP Mohamed Saeed’s highlighted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration with profound criticism for its close ties with India.

In his post, the Maavashu Constituency MP stated several points of concern by the public including the alleged handover of that the airports, Northern and Southern Maldives,  Uthuru Thilafalhu project (UTF) over to India. He then stated that the situation is only worsening as we go into the third year of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s. h

He further stated that the concerns by the public should be addressed by the current administration as these issues tie in to the sovereignty and independence of the nation. He questioned why the head of the state is unable to address the public on the issues.

He further raised question whether President Solih is afraid to address the concerns of whether he is staying silent for fear of getting ousted from his office.

He also called out the current ruling coalition leaders who have also remained silent on the growing Indian influence on the Maldives.

MP Mohamed Saeed also reminded that the current ruling coalition leaders called for an Indian military intervention in the Maldives. He continued on to question whether the current administration has allowed India to meddle with the domestic affairs of the Maldives  under the “new normal”, stating that this is something that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih needs to answer for.

MP Mohamed Saeed also revealed in his post that changes were brought to the Parliament’s Foreign Relations Committee and the 241 Committee and that he had not seen the UTF agreement, under which the development of a military base near the capital city was handed over to India. He then stated that it is unlikely that any of the opposition MP’s would have seen the original agreement.

MP Mohamed Saeed ended his post stating that President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih should be held answerable for the concerns as the nation battles with the COVID-19 pandemic in addition to the threats to the sovereignty and independence of the Maldives. He also argued that the silence form the ruling coalition leaders is a sign of their compliance in the mismanagement and growing Indian influence.

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Netherlands starts Euro2020 with a win.

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Netherlands and Austria have won their Euro2020 matches. First match of Group C was played at 21:00 hours last night between Austria and North Macedonia at Arena nationala, Romania. This match was dominated by Austria as they scored at the 18th minute. This goal was scored by Stefan Lainer.

Austria couldn’t hold their lead for more than 10 minutes, as at 28th minute North Macedonia equalized the score with a goal scored by Goran Pandev. At the second half of the game Austria gave a stronger game as they scored two more goals and secured the top spot of group C with 3 points and 2+ goal difference.

2nd match of the group was played at Johan Cruijff Arean in Netherlands between home team Netherlands and Ukraine. With Home advantage Netherlands secured their first three points although they are at the 2nd spot of the group table having less goals compared to Austria.

Netherlands played a beautiful game and controlled the game but they couldn’t open the goal until the 52nd minute, first goal of the match was scored by Georginio Wijnaldum. 6 minutes later Netherlands doubled their lead, but Ukraine re arranged and scored 2 goals back to back in less than 5 minutes. After the goals both teams played a well-organized football and strived hard to win the game. With the home advantage Netherlands managed to secure 3 points at 85th minute with a header by Danzel Dumfries.

This was the first match Netherlands played at an international tournament within the past 7 years.

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Minister Fayyaz Ismail claims new amendment won’t allow foreign investors to operate ATC- amendment says otherwise.

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Following the public outrage over the recent amendment to the Foreign Direct Investment Policy (FDI), Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has stated that the “amendment does not allow operation of air traffic by a private investor whether foreign or local.”. However this statement clearly contradicts the amendment now published in the state Gazette.

While Minister Fayyaz Ismail stated that the service would be provided by the state, the current amendment clearly states otherwise.

Allegations are growing that the amendment was made to pave way for an Indian company to operate the Hanimaadhoo airport, which is scheduled to be expanded under a loan from the EXIM Bank of India. Locals of the island and from all over the nation are voicing against the project. The recently announced annexation of 853,937 sqft of public land for the project has also been rejected by the locals. Youths and NGOs have banded together for a petition to the President, calling to cease the project.

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