food / travel

Coral And Iron, A Plan To Save The Sinking Maldives

KAAFU ATOLL — The Maldives are slowly sinking, as coral reefs off the coasts of the islands have been destroyed and washed ashore because of warming water temperatures, all of which means sand isn't propagating as it should.

That's why Thomas Le Berre is dragging an iron frame along the beach of Kuda Huraa. With cable, he has tied pieces of coral tightly to the iron construction, which looks like a miniature pyramid. "You can't leave as much as a millimeter of space for them to move," Le Berre says of the coral. "Otherwise water pressure injures them, and they won't grow on the frame."

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Maldives: Idyllic Archipelago's Unprecedented Floating Trash Dump

Thilafushi Island, in the Maldivian archipelago, is a giant garbage dump where mountains of toxic trash are burned in the open, threatening to turn the Indian Ocean paradise into an ecological nightmare.

MALÉ - Plumes of thick smoke rise from the small island and disappear into the brightness of the Indian Ocean. Thilafushi is a gigantic floating and burning garbage dump. It's a stain, a black eye on this idyllic archipelago with its 1200 islands, crystal-clear lagoons and blissful tourism.

Walking around Thilafushi is hellish. To protect yourself against toxic exhalations, you have to put a scarf over your face, and you can easily twist your ankle climbing mountains of trash. Behind concrete block walls you can see piles and piles of plastic bottles. Down the road, in the poisonous fog, garbage trucks dump their load.

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Radical Islam Finds Fertile Ground In Tropical Paradise Of Maldives

Five years after a terrorist attack that killed a dozen foreign tourists in Male, could this idyllic archipelago be transforming into a hotbed of Islamic radicalism?

MALE – A carefully trimmed beard, slicked-backed hair and a suave demeanor: meet the historic leader of the Islamists in the Maldives, the Muslim archipelago in the middle of the Indian Ocean that has been facing major political instability in recent weeks. Sheikh Ibrahim Fareed tries to lull any suspicion: "We aren't interested in politics." He is the star preacher of the Islamic Foundation, an organization that claims to be purely educational and charitable.

At a time when religious parties linked to conservative Islam are gaining ground in the Maldives – a trend reinforced by the February 7 police mutiny that forced liberal President Mohamed Nasheed to resign – the movements of organizations such as the Islamic Foundation or the Salaf group are being closely watched. Sheikh Ibrahim is used to these kinds of attacks: "Our conferences and seminars are peaceful," he insists.

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“Adoption” Program Looks To Save The Maldives One Coral At A Time

A conservationist souvenir that visitors to the tropical paradise can both leave in the Maldives, and take home with them: adopt-a-coral.


*NEWSBITES

An island hotel in the Maldives is offering guests an unusual opportunity: adopt a coral. Young corals are attached to a metal table top just a few meters below the surface of the water waiting for someone to swim past and select one or more to adopt.

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