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Saudi King Cancels Maldives Visit over ‘Swine Flu Fears’

The Saudi king has cancelled a scheduled visit to the politically-troubled atoll nation of the Maldives because of an outbreak of swine flu in its capital, the government in Male announced on Friday.
The Maldives was to be the final stop in the monarch’s ongoing Asian tour that has already taken him to Malaysia, Indonesia, China and Japan.
Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim said a new date for King Salman’s trip to the Indian Ocean archipelago would be announced later.
Dozens of people tested positive this month for the H1N1 influenza strain, also known as swine flu, Maldivian health authorities said. Two people have died so far.
The government has ordered the closure of schools in the one-square-mile (2.5-square-kilometre) capital island of Male to prevent the spread of the disease and has discouraged residents in neighbouring islets from visiting.
The country’s main opposition, the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), had protested the planned state visit, accusing President Abdulla Yameen of planning to sell an atoll to Saudi investors, a charge the government has denied.

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