Maldives signs global shark protection plan

The Maldives has joined seven countries in launching the latest initiative in the global shark conservation effort. The initiative protects 2.7 million square kilometers of ocean waters worldwide from commercial fishing.

Over 73 million sharks are killed each year in the global fin trade. Reports say more are killed as bycatch in fishing operations involving larger species, such as tuna and swordfish.

Efforts to create sanctuaries are spearheaded by the Global Shark Conservation for the Pew Environmental Group based in Washington, D. C.

“Our ocean’s health depends on sharks,” said Palauan President Johnson Toribiong. “I am delighted that more countries are pledging to play an active role in ensuring these creatures’ survival, not just in our lifetime but for future generations as well.”

If successful, the declaration would protect 6 million additional square kilometers of ocean area from commercial fishing.
Other signatories were Bahamas, Colombia, Honduras, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, and Palau.


US bank failed ‘to spot’ billions of Mexican drug money: Bloomberg

One of largest banks in the US, Wachovia Corporation, “admitted it didn’t do enough to spot illicit funds in handling $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007,” reports Bloomberg writer Michael Smith.

USA and Europe’s biggest banks and financial institutions are handling money from the Mexican drug cartels which export hundreds of tons of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines into the US, in a business generating US$39 billion a year.

Banks and institutions involved in handling the money include Bank of America, Wachovia Corporation (now owned by Wells Fargo & Co.), American Express Bank, Western Union, London-based HSBC Holdings Plc, and Mexican units of Banco Santander SA, Citigroup Inc. and HSBC.

“Since 2006, more than 22,000 people have been killed in drug-related battles that have raged mostly along the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) border that Mexico shares with the U.S.,” writes Smith. “In the Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas, 700 people had been murdered this year as of mid-June.”

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President Nasheed welcomes new Mexican ambassador

New Ambassador of Mexico to the Maldives, Jaime Virgilio Nualart Sánchez, presented his credentials to President Mohamed Nasheed at the President’s Office yesterday morning.

The meeting focused on finding areas of cooperation between the two countries and strengthening areas of cooperation.

Ambassador Nualart Sánchez noted climate change and human rights issues were of concern to both countries.

President Nasheed said the Maldives will give all possible assistance to make the next climate change summit COP16, to be held in Cancún, Mexico later this year, a success.

Nualart Sánchez has previously been ambassador to Egypt and India.


Maldives and Timor-Leste start Asian initiative on climate change

Maldives and Timor-Leste will be launching the “Asian Initiative on Climate Change,” reports Miadhu.

The world’s largest growing economies and most populous countries are in Asia, and both the governments of the Maldives and Timor-Leste believe if Asia takes immediate action against climate change, other regions in the world will follow.

The Maldives was part of the recent Progressive Group meeting, held in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia last week.

The Progressive Group is formed by countries wanting to reach a legally binding agreement at the next UNFCCC climate change summit in Mexico later this year.

The group will hold a second meeting before COP16 in Malé this July.


President talks climate with German Minister for Environment

President Mohamed Nasheed met yesterday with German Minister for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, Dr Norbert Röttgen, at the Federal Ministry for Environment.

President Nasheed thanked Minister Röttgen and Germany’s constructive role at COP15 last year. He asked the EU for support in implementing the Copenhagen Accord.

President Nasheed also sought German assistance for adaptation and mitigation projects. He also discussed the importance of reaching a legally binding treaty in COP16, the next international climate summit to be held in Mexico later this year.

Dr Röttgen praised the president for his role in the Copenhagen Summit and said Germany would continue to support the Maldives in its efforts to tackle climate change.