Nasheed says Maldives situation must be of concern to Sri Lanka

“What is happening in the Maldives is very worrying and I believe that it must be an issue of concern for all neighbours – India and Sri Lanka as well. As you are aware that after a number of (ruling) MPs crossed over to the opposition, the government has locked the normal process of parliament and they have removed a number of MPs from the parliament. These MPs have gone to the Supreme Court. Because the majority of the judges are also of the view that the government is wrong, the government is again obstructing the Supreme Court from their deliberations as well. So, on the one hand, the Government has lost the confidence of the parliament, then it has also lost the confidence of the Supreme Court,” he said. Nasheed says the opposition will not attempt to force a Government change before the next election, but will instead see that the institutions work. Former Maldives President Mohamed Nasheed says the situation in the Maldives must be of concern to Sri Lanka.Nasheed told Devirupa Mitra of The Wire in India that while he is mostly in England these days he also spends time in Sri Lanka. ” (President Abdulla) Yameen is very weak. We can, if need be, force a change of Government. But, I don’t think that’s what we want to do right now. It is unfortunate and sad that all these people are suffering. Innocent people are in jail, but we must have a thicker skin and see that the institutions work,” he added. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Amid surging violence in surrounding Northern Mali Timbuktu heritage sites rebuilt –

In a press release, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees quoted Aminata, one of the new arrivals in Mauritania as saying: “Fear led us to leave.” She explained: “We travelled to Fassala – which is the official entry point for Malian refugees into Mauritania – in a small truck with other families from the area.”Almost 400 people fleeing a renewed outbreak of fighting in northern Mali have sought refuge in Mauritania over the last few months, the agency said.The new arrivals joined nearly 50,000 other Malian refugees at Mbera camp located 50 kilometres inside Mauritania, where daytime temperatures routinely hit 45 degrees Celsius.Much of the territory of northern Mali is claimed by different rebel groups, but it is under the de facto control of the MNLA (National Movement for Liberation of the Azawad). Lately, the area has seen a new upsurge in fighting, according to UNHCR.Timbuktu, which has come under attack during the conflict, was the site of the inauguration of the newly-reconstructed mausoleums over the weekend.“Those who wanted to erase the legacy of the past have failed,” said Arnauld Antoine Akodjènou Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali known as MINUSMA. “The reconstruction bears witness to the cultural vibrancy of Mali.”According to UNESCO, extremists inflicted significant damage to Timbuktu’s cultural heritage in 2012 and 2013, including the destruction 14 out of the 16 mausoleums that had been given World Heritage status. The mausoleums of Timbuktu had long been places of pilgrimage for the people of Mali and neighbouring West African countries.UNESCO’s Director-General Irina Bokova paid tribute to the inhabitants and masons of Timbuktu whose mobilization and skills played a crucial part in the reconstruction of the buildings.She praised their work as “a lesson in tolerance, dialogue and peace,” and “an answer to all extremists whose echo can be heard well beyond the borders of Mali.” read more