Maldives lifts emergency

Updated 11 November 2015

Maldives lifts emergency

MALE, Maldives: The Maldives government Tuesday bowed to mounting international pressure and lifted a state of emergency imposed last week after an alleged plot to blow up the president onboard his speedboat.
The government said it had decided to end the week-long emergency after the Indian Ocean archipelago’s security forces advised President Abdulla Yameen that “the overall security situation in the country has improved.”
“The Government of the Maldives today has lifted the state of emergency in the country with immediate effect,” said a Foreign ministry Statement.
“With the lifting of the state of emergency, all fundamental rights that were suspended, have been restored.”
Yameen imposed the state of emergency last Wednesday in a move that gave wider powers to police and armed forces to arrest and suspending freedom of assembly and movement.
The former colonial power Britain as well as the United States, the European Union and neighboring Sri Lanka had called for an immediate end to the emergency which was seen as a tool to suppress dissent.
The main opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) welcomed the end of emergency rule, saying the decision to invoke the emergency was designed to give the government legal cover to crack down on its opponents and impeach his own estranged Vice President Ahmed Adeeb.
The Maldives, a popular destination for honeymooners, has been rocked by political unrest in recent months, which reached new heights last week when Adeeb’s impeachment was fast-tracked using emergency laws.
“Yameen’s increasingly erratic, paranoid and dangerous behavior is damaging the country and proves he is unfit to be president,” the MDP said in a statement. “He has failed and should step down.”
Adeeb, whose predecessor was also impeached in July, has been accused of high treason over an explosion on the presidential speedboat in September that left Yameen unhurt but injured his wife and one of his bodyguards.
Yameen had insisted that it was necessary to use draconian powers to deal with at least three attempts to kill him and the stability of the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims living in a cluster of 1,192 tiny coral islands across the equator in the Indian Ocean.


Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

Updated 15 November 2019

Cambodia to ban elephant rides at Angkor temples

  • The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s tourists
  • Apsara authority plans to end the elephant rides by 2020
PHNOM PENH: Cambodia will ban all elephant rides at the country’s famed Angkor temple park by early next year, an official said Friday, a rare win for conservationists who have long decried the popular practice as cruel.
The Angkor archaeological complex in northern Siem Reap attracts the bulk of the kingdom’s foreign tourists — which topped six million in 2018 — and many opt for elephants rides around the ancient temples.
But these rides “will end by the start of 2020,” said Long Kosal, a spokesman with the Apsara Authority, which manages the park.
“Using elephants for business is not appropriate anymore,” he told AFP, adding that some of the animals were “already old.”
So far, five of the 14 working elephants have been transferred to a community forest about 40 kilometers (25 miles) away from the temples.
“They will live out their natural lives there,” Kosal said.
The company that owns the elephants will continue to look after them, he added.
Cambodia has long come under fire from animal rights groups for ubiquitous elephant rides on offer for tourists, also seen in neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and Laos.
The elephants are broken in during training and rights groups have accused handlers of overworking them.
In 2016, a female elephant died by the roadside after carrying tourists around the Angkor Wat temple complex in severely hot weather.
The animal had been working for around 45 minutes before she collapsed.