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Maldives cuts diplomatic ties with Iran

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COLOMBO — The government of the Maldives said Tuesday it has decided to sever 40-year-old diplomatic ties with Iran, saying the nation’s policies in the Middle East are detrimental to peace and security in the region.

The Maldives foreign ministry said in a statement that peace in the Middle East is also linked to the island nation’s own peace, stability and security.

The decision by the tiny Indian Ocean archipelago nation, whose population of 341,000 is predominantly Sunni Muslim, reflects its increasing closeness to Sunni-led Saudi Arabia, the long-time rival of Shiite-dominated Iran.

Last year, Saudi Arabia opened an embassy in the Maldives and has offered cash grants to the government and started negotiations on investments.

The Islamic Summit held last month in Turkey called on Iran to pursue a policy based on the principle of “good neighborliness, non-interference in their domestic affairs, respect for their independence and territorial sovereignty, (and) resolving differences by peaceful means in accordance with OIC (Organization of Islamic Cooperation) and the UN Charters,” the foreign ministry statement said.

“The Maldives calls on Iran to show more commitment and tangible results in implementing the recommendations of the OIC,” it said.

Saudi Arabia severed diplomatic ties with Iran earlier this year after Iranians protesting the execution of a prominent Shiite cleric stormed Saudi diplomatic posts in Tehran and Mashhad.

AP

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Nirmala Panta’s murder accused held after 24 days

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KANCHANPUR — Police in Kanchanpur have made public an accused arrested in connection with the murder of 13-year-old Nirmala Panta of Kanchanpur’s Bhimdatta Municipality.

Dilip Singh Bista, 41, of Baghphanta, Bhimdatta Municipality was made public at a press conference at the DPO. Bista was arrested on Saturday,according to the District Police Office Spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Gyan Bahadur Sethi.

Nirmala was found dead in a sugarcane field on July 27, a day after she had gone to her friend’s home to get a notebook.

Bista,who was released from prison last year after serving nine years for murdering his brother-in-law Narayansingh Thapa, works as a daily-wage labourer.

According to Bista’s statement to police, he helped Nirmala fix her bicycle chain before raping and killing her on July 26. He told police that killed her to avoid being arrested again.

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