Man arrested for keeping disabled son in chains

A 50-year-old man has been arrested for keeping his disabled son bound in chains at Baa Atoll Eydhafushi.

Haveeru reported that the case of the 23-year-old was brought to the attention of the relevant authorities by the Baa Atoll hospital after he was treated for a head injury, with police finding him bound in chains upon arriving at his house.

Meanwhile, the gender ministry and police have started investigating a case in Kaafu Atoll Guraidhoo involving the alleged abuse of 12 children.

According to information obtained by Haveeru, a gender ministry team has been deployed to the island to investigate the case, which was first brought to the attention of Guraidhoo School by a concerned parent.

“This involves children between grade 1 and 7. Some of the children have admitted to being abused. We have found out that these kids are being abused by the same group of people,” an unnamed source told the paper.

Last week, local child protection NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) said that the recent increase in reports of child abuse cases following the death of Rakeedhoo toddler Mohamed Ibthihaal was only the “tip of the iceberg”.

The high profile case of Ibthihaal resulted in a spike in reports of child abuse to the police and gender ministry as the public and media campaigned to raise awareness on the issue.

Source: Haveeru

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“Black rain” in Eydhafushi unsafe for use

The Public Health Unit (PHU) has warned Baa Atoll Eydhafushi Island residents against drinking or cooking with rainwater following a “black rain” shower on Tuesday.

Similar incidents of black colored rain were reported in Meemu Atoll Kolhufushi Island in 2011, and Haa Dhaal Atoll Kulhudhuffushi Island in 2006.

In 2013 there were further reports on Haa Dhaal Atoll Nolhivaram Island and Haa Dhaal Atoll Kurimbi Island, and in Dhaalu Atoll Meedhoo Island.

However, little seems to be known about the health implications of this occurrence. Islanders have speculated the phenomenon maybe acid rain.

“We advise people not to use the water for drinking or cooking, but they might be able to give it to their plants,” a Health Protection Agency (HPA) official told Minivan News.

The HPA said they have not observed any negative health effects from black rain yet.

Islanders are heavily dependent on rainwater for cooking and drinking, but many are now turning to store-bought mineral water as reserves run low in the dry season.

Senior Community Health Officer at Baa Atoll Hospital Sidqi Abdulla told Minivan News islanders were not concerned about threats posed by polluted water to their water supplies as the black rain was only seen on some parts of the island.

“This is the first time we’ve seen black rain in Eydhafushi,” he said.

However, he noted increased water insecurity in the island due to intrusion of saltwater into groundwater.

Although state officials have yet to confirm the reason for the black rain, research carried out by University of California’s Professor Veerabhadran Ramanathan indicates there is ten times more pollutants in the air mass north of the Maldives compared with the south.

The Cloud Aerosol Radiative Forcing Dynamics Experiment (CARDEX) carried out in 2012 suggests that soot and carbon from India are captured in ‘brown clouds,’ which drift over the North of the archipelago.

This pollutant layer, he argues, is an insidious mixture of soot, sulphates, nitrates and ash, Ramanathan has said.

Only the southern tip of the long island chain enjoys clean air coming all the way from Antarctica.

“The stunning part of the experiment was this pollutant layer which was three kilometre thick, cut down the sunlight reaching the ocean by more than 10%,” Ramanathan said in a BBC interview.

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Police recover MVR200,000 stolen from shop in Eydhafushi

Police have recovered MVR200,000 and MVR68,000 worth of goods stolen from a shop in the island of Eydhafushi, Baa Atoll.

Police said that two minors and an 18 year-old man were arrested in connection with the case.

According to the police, the shop was robbed in the early hours of January 31, and was reported to police the same afternoon.

Police stated that a special police investigation team in Baa Atoll had conducted an operation, recovering the money and property, and arresting the suspects.

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MP Saleem denies corruption charges

Eydhafushi MP Ahmed “Redwave” Saleem has pleaded not guilty to charges that he was allegedly responsible for the illegal transfer of state funds to a private company in a violation of the country’s Anti-Corruption Act.

According to local media reports, prosecutors at the Criminal Court today alleged that Saleem, acting of his own accord, transferred 50 per cent of some government development funds to a company called Neyza Enterprises.  The allegations date back to 2003, when Saleem served as director of the Ministry of Atolls Development.

Haveeru reported that Saleem rejected allegations that he had been responsible for the funds transfer, claiming the charges against him were politically motivated  and an attempt by President Mohamed Nasheed to destroy his poltical career.

Judge Abdulla Didi reportedly told Saleem, who potentially faces a year in prison as well as the loss of his parliamentary seat if convicted, to avoid talking about politics and the president during the trial and discuss the charges against him.

Saleem’s lawyer MP Ibrahim Riza said that the charge documents had failed to clarify whether the defendant had been required to make an announcement concerning the development project linked to the case.  Riza claimed the situation was complicated by the government holding control of the documents in question.

Both the prosecution and defense submitted their respective list of witnesses to the court as the trial continues, Haveeru added.

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