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United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi bets on anti-dust solar panels
6 March 2012 - Abu Dhabi is teaming up with a global electronics company to develop better coatings for solar panels to make them cheaper and easier to keep clean in desert conditions. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region stands to benefit from concentrated solar power (CSP) -- a technology that uses lenses or mirrors to focus large amounts of sunlight onto a small area. This light is converted to heat, which generates electricity. (more)

Maldives President bolts his own solar panels to help launch environmental action
8 October 2010 - Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed climbed on to the roof of his official residence, Muleeaage, on Thursday morning, sporting a safety harness and hardhat, to join Sungevity employees in installing the solar system which will, at peak output, produce 11.5 kW of clean energy. This is expected to save the Maldives more than $300,000 over the life of the system. President Nasheed, a former carpenter, screwed in the remaining bolts to help launch 350.org's weekend's Global Work Party, which the green non-profit says is 'the most widespread day of environmental action in the planet's history. At 7,000 climate events in 188 countries citizens will be getting to work on climate solutions and telling their politicians to do the same.' The Maldives has announced plans to green its energy sector and pledged under the Copenhagen Accord to become carbon neutral by 2020. (more)

Maldives vows to be first carbon-neutral nation
17 March 2009 - The Maldives will shift entirely to renewable energy over the next decade to become the first carbon-neutral nation and fight climate change that threatens the low-lying archipelago's existence, the President said on Sunday. President Mohamed Nasheed said the Indian Ocean islands would swap fossil fuels for wind and solar power. (more)

President of Maldives says his island nation will be world's first carbon-neutral country
16 March 2009 - The President of the Maldives says the Indian Ocean nation will become the world's first carbon-neutral country within a decade. President Mohamed Nasheed said his country would renounce oil and get all its energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar power. (more)

Malaysia/ Maldives joint venture resort
28 March 2008 - Property developer Berjaya Land Bhd has entered a joint venture to build a $115 million resort under the Ritz-Carlton brand in the Maldives, Berjaya said on Friday. The venture aims to build and operate the 90-villa resort on Ekulhivaru island. 20 per cent of the venture would be held by the Maldives Tourism Development Corp. (more)

Maldives to hold parliamentary election
21 January 2005 - The Maldives will hold elections for its 42-seat parliament on Saturday, three weeks after they were postponed because of the Indian Ocean tsunami. The elections will allow President Gayoom's promised democratic reforms, including allowing opposition parties to function for the first time, to begin to be implemented. (more)


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Maldives police block attempt at presidential vote
19 October 2013 - The Maldives sank further into political disarray Saturday when police blocked officials from conducting a presidential revote, saying that holding the election would violate a Supreme Court order. It's the latest blow to this young Indian Ocean democracy. The current president's term ends in about three weeks, and if his replacement is not elected by then it will spark a constitutional crisis. President Mohamed Waheed Hassan stepped in to resolve the impasse Saturday evening, saying he would propose that the revote be held 26 October. He was to meet later Saturday with the elections commissioner and the candidates to discuss his proposal. The top court annulled the results of the 7 September presidential election, agreeing with a losing candidate that the voters' registry included fictitious names and dead people. The court set conditions for a revote that police said elections officials did not meet. (more)

Mali: Frustration over government inaction
3 January 2013 - Malians forced to live under strict religious rules since Islamist groups captured the country's northern region nine months ago, and those who fled south, are frustrated by perceived central government inaction. Some who fled have expressed their despair. 'I don't understand the government's inaction and the response by the international community. Everybody is speaking, every day there are nice speeches, but no action on the ground,' said 38-year-old Amidou Maïga, who fled from Timbuktu, a UNESCO-listed site now in the hands of the Islamists who have destroyed ancient tombs and mosques there. 'The occupiers are violating people's basic rights. In the meantime the politicians are fighting over positions in Bamako. It's very unfortunate. We in the north have been totally forgotten.' The UN Security Council on 20 December 2012 authorized a military intervention in Mali, but troops are not expected on the ground until later this year. Mali's interim government established after the 22 March coup is grappling with internal wrangles, not least of which was the forced resignation of the Prime Minister in December. (more)

Maldives museum reopens minus smashed Hindu images
14 February 2012 - The Maldives' national museum reopened Tuesday without some of its most valuable exhibits a week after a mob of suspected religious extremists smashed images from the pre-Islamic era of this Indian Ocean archipelago. About 35 exhibits -- mostly images of Buddha and Hindu gods -- were destroyed. Some of the artifacts dated to the sixth century, museum director Ali Waheed said. Waheed says 99 per cent of the Maldives' pre-Islamic artifacts from before the 12th century, when most inhabitants were Buddhists or Hindus, were destroyed. The mob of suspected Muslim extremists attacked the museum during the Maldives' unfolding political crisis. The country has seen weeks of protests and last week President Mohamed Nasheed stepped down. He later said he was forced to resign at gunpoint. The attack was the latest blow to the island nation that is best known as a high-end tourist destination. (more)

Maldives ex-President defiantly awaits arrest
9 February 2012 - Maldives ex-President Mohamed Nasheed awaited arrest in his house on Thursday, vowing to stay and fight against the government he says ousted him in a coup with the connivance of the police and the military. Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz declined to comment, and the government said nothing on the subject. Nasheed, the islands' first democratically elected President, appeared to dare the government to arrest him after violent protests on Wednesday spread outside Male. 'The home minister has pledged (I will be) the first former president to spend all my life in jail,' said Nasheed. He said he hoped the international community would act quickly as 'the facts on the ground are that tomorrow I will be in jail'. Protests against Nasheed's government started after he ordered the military to arrest the criminal court chief justice, saying he was blocking multi-million dollar corruption and human rights cases against allies of Gayoom who, in power for 30 years, was Asia's longest-serving ruler until Nasheed beat him. (more)

Ex-leader's allies seize few Maldives police posts
8 February 2012 - Supporters of the Maldives former president rioted through the streets and seized some police stations Wednesday to demand his reinstatement as the country's new leader appealed for an end to the political turmoil roiling this Indian Ocean nation. Allies said former leader Mohamed Nasheed and other top party officials were beaten by police in the street chaos. The nation's first democratically elected president, Nasheed resigned Tuesday after police joined months of street protests against his rule and soldiers defected. Nasheed said Wednesday he was forced to resign at gunpoint and he promised to fight to return to office. 'We will come to power again,' Nasheed said. 'We will never step back. I will not accept this coup and will bring justice to the Maldivians.' Nasheed's resignation marked a stunning fall for the former human rights campaigner who had been jailed for his activism. He is also an environmental celebrity for urging global action against climate change, warning that rising sea levels would inundate his archipelago nation. (more)

Maldives president quits after police mutiny, protests
7 February 2012 - President Mohamed Nasheed of the Maldives, widely credited with bringing democracy to the Indian Ocean archipelago, resigned on Tuesday in what his party said was a coup after weeks of opposition protests erupted into a police mutiny. Nasheed, the Sunni Muslim nation's first democratically elected president, handed power to Vice-President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik. In a televised address Nasheed said, 'I believe that if the government were to remain in power it would require the use of force which would harm many citizens.' Protests last year over the faltering economy and scrambling ahead of this year's presidential election, have seen parties adopting hardline Islamist rhetoric and accusing Nasheed of being anti-Islamic. (more)

Graft, politics, militant Islam shake the Maldives
6 February 2012 - Few of the million or so tourists who visit the Maldives each year would catch even a whiff of the troubled politics or growing militant threat roiling the islands. President Mohamed Nasheed stands accused of adopting the autocratic methods of his predecessor, which he had pledged to abolish. But while the political fray goes on with all eyes on the 2013 presidential election, Maldivian intelligence officers say hardline Salafist and Wahabist groups are gaining political ground in the more distant atolls. 'It's potentially a tropical Afghanistan. The same forces that gave rise to the Taliban are there -- the drugs, the corruption, and the behaviour of the political class,' a Colombo-based Western ambassador who is responsible for the Maldives told Reuters on condition of anonymity. (more)

Maldives journalists say government is intimidating them
19 January 2012 - The Maldives government is threatening and harassing the media over their reporting of a political crisis and the military's arrest of the nation's top criminal court judge, a journalists' group in the Indian Ocean archipelago said Thursday. The Maldives Journalists' Association said in a statement that television stations are being penalized for airing opposition politicians' comments that authorities perceive to be lies. An independent regulator, the Maldives Broadcasting Commission, accused Communication Minister Adil Saleem of threatening to withdraw frequencies of television and radio stations after he accused the commission of failing to monitor media. Though he denied allegations of harassment, Saleem said he told the commission that he may have to withdraw media frequencies until the commission works out a method for proper monitoring. (more)

The Maldives fear global warming will add to plight
29 December 2004 - The Maldives, an archipelago of 1,190 low-lying coral islands, has for years begged more powerful nations for action against global warming, fearing higher sea levels could make much of its territory disappear. The giant waves that slammed into the islands Sunday marked a brutal demonstration of vulnerability. (more)

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