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EU ban on Nepali airlines continues

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KATHMANDU — The European Commission has decided to continue its ban on all Nepali airlines citing an updated ‘EU air safety list’, stating that the European Aviation Agency found no change in the country’s four-year-old status.

In its updated air safety list made public in Brussels, Belgium, Friday, the EC placed Nepal among other 16 countries facing such ban, that meas all 18 Nepali air carriers are prohibited from flying into the EU.

Earlier, in December 2013, the EC had imposed a blanket ban on all airlines from Nepal from flying into the 28-nation bloc.

The EU air safety list seeks to ensure the highest level of air safety for European citizens, which is a top priority of the Commission’s Aviation Strategy, it said in a press statement.

“The EU’s Air Safety List remains one of our most effective tools to achieve this, as our objective is to offer the highest level of safety in European skies.” the European Agency said in a statement.

“Today we are showing that with our help, airlines can be quickly removed from the list when they tackle their safety issues.”

Only two airliners — Mustique Airways (St Vincent and the Grenadines) and Urga (Ukraine)– are removed following safety improvements from the list while one more airline, Avior Airlines (Venezuela), is added.

“All air carriers certified by the authorities with responsibility for regulatory oversight of Nepal have been banned from operating within the EU,” it said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN),on August 3, had sent its report on the improvements carried out in the aviation sector to the EC urging it to lift the ban on Nepali airlines.

The EC has pointed out deficiencies in three areas — lapses in the re-validation of the air operators’ certificate, training and licensing and CAAN’s institutional capacity.

The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has removed the significant safety concerns (SSC) tag On July 21, it had put on Nepal four years ago after assessing that Nepal’s safety standard had not improved on a par with global standards.

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Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih wins presidency

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MALE — Maldives opposition legislator Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has beaten incumbent Abdulla Yameen according to provisional results, the country’s Elections Commission says.

Results released by the Elections Commission showed Mr Solih securing 133,808 votes (58.3 percent) compared to the 95,526 for incumbent Abdulla Yameen. The voter turnout was over 88 per cent out of the 262,000-strong electorate.

The Maldives government has acknowledged the opposition’s victory after the vote on Sunday, a surprise defeat for President Abdulla Yameen who was widely expected to win.

There were no other candidates.

Mr Solih had the backing of a united opposition trying to oust Mr Yameen, but struggled for visibility with the electorate, with local media fearful of falling afoul of heavy-handed decrees and reporting restrictions.

“I call on Yameen to respect the will of the people and bring about a peaceful, smooth transfer of power,” Solih said on television, shortly after interim results from the country’s election commission.

“We have won this election with a comfortable majority,” Solih said.

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