Times of Malta

General, sporting, and business news for Malta and the surrounding region
  1. British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly avoided a defeat in parliament at the hands of pro-EU lawmakers from her own party on Tuesday, fending off a rebellion that had threatened to deepen a crisis over her Brexit strategy. Parliament voted 307 to 301 against an amendment to trade legislation in a vote that had been closely followed by currency markets, and was seen as a test of May's ability to deliver a British exit from the European Union and keep her job. The amendment would have required the government to try to negotiate a customs union arrangement with the EU if, by January 21, 2019, it had failed to negotiate a frictionless free trade deal with the bloc. Sterling rebounded from the day's lows against the dollar after the government sidestepped defeat on the amendment. But there was no guarantee the matter of retaining a form of customs union - which pro-EU MPs see as vital to preserving industrial and commercial supply chains - would not resurface. Tuesday's legislation was technical in nature - focusing on converting trade deals between the EU and third countries into bilateral deals with Britain, and was not originally intended to define new trade policy. However,...
  2. Updated 9.45pm US President Donald Trump tried on Tuesday to calm a storm over his failure to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable for meddling in the 2016 US election, saying he misspoke in a joint news conference in Helsinki on Monday. Trump stunned the world by shying away from criticising the Russian leader for Moscow's actions to undermine the election and cast doubt on US intelligence agencies, prompting calls by some US lawmakers for tougher sanctions and other actions to punish Russia. "I said the word 'would' instead of 'wouldn't,'" Trump told reporters at the White House, more than 24 hours after his appearance with Putin. "The sentence should have been, 'I don't see any reason why it wouldn't be Russia.'" Trump, who had been given numerous opportunities to publicly rebuke Putin in Helsinki, praised the Russian leader during the news conference for his "strong and powerful" denial of the conclusions of US intelligence agencies that the Russian state meddled in the election. Although he faced pressure from critics, allied countries and even his own staff to take a tough line, Trump spoke not a single disparaging word in public about Moscow on any of the...
  3. Barack Obama said on Tuesday the world should resist cynicism over the rise of strongmen, in an apparent reference to populist leaders who hold power in a number of countries. The Democratic former US president did not name his Republican successor, Donald Trump, but the speech was among the most pointed comments he has made about politics since leaving office in January 2017. "Just as people spoke about the triumph of democracy in the 90s, people now are talking about the triumph of tribalism and the strong man. But we need to resist that cynicism," Obama said in a speech in Johannesburg to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. Some of Obama's language echoed that of Trump's critics. "Too much of politics today seems to reject the very concept of objective truth. People just make stuff up. We see it in the growth of state-sponsored propaganda, we see it in internet-driven fabrications, in the blurring of lines between news and entertainment," Obama said. "We see the utter loss of shame among political leaders, where they are caught in a lie and they just double down and they lie some more," he said. Obama said there were far-right parties in the West...
  4. Valletta      1 Malano 67 Kukes        1 Dzaria 82 Valletta were only minutes away from reaching the second qualifying round of the Champions League when Irakli Dzaria fired home the equaliser on 82 minutes to earn Albanian side Kukes a 1-1 draw that put them in the next round on the away goals rule. It was a shattering outcome for the Citizens who had dominated the match for much of the 90 minutes. After only five minutes Matteo Piciollo had a great opportunity when he latched onto Miguel Alba’s delivery from a corner but the Italian sent his firm header over from a few metres out. Kukes responded on 26 minutes. Vangjel Zguro’s swerving cross from a free-kick created havoc in the City but luckily Joseph Zerafa was on hand to clear the danger. Valletta finally threatened 11 minutes from the break when Santiago Malano nodded the ball into the path of Piciollo who fired over. Five minutes later, it was Malano who came close when his cross-shot almost surprised Frasheri with the ball just missing the upright. City’s pressure was finally rewarded with a breakthrough on 67 minutes. Zerafa powered his way inside the area and he picked Malano on the edge of the area who fired a rasping...
  5. French rider Julian Alaphilippe climbed impressively to win the 10th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday, a 158.5-kilometre ride from Annecy to Le Grand Bornand. It was the first stage victory by a home rider at this year's Tour, and Alaphilippe crossed the line to an exuberant reception from the French fans. Belgium's Greg Van Avermaet was part of the breakaway group and finished fourth to maintain his grip on the yellow jersey.  
  6. Drownings are on the rise, with statistics showing a slight increase over the years, nursing lecturer Trevor Abela Fiorentino has said. On Monday afternoon, a 41-year-old man drowned in Comino, and just two weeks ago, a two-year-old girl who had been saved from drowning passed away. Noting that the recent incidents were alarming, Mr Abela Fiorentino said: “The sad truth is that up to 85 per cent of the deaths caused by drowning could have been prevented, given appropriate measures”. Around five deaths per year are caused by drowning. It also accounted for 4.2 per cent of all deaths due to accidental causes last year, he added. This makes drowning the fourth leading cause of death due to accidental causes locally, after falls, car accidents and poisoning, the lecturer noted. Statistics showed that those under five years of age, 65 years or older and 15 to 24 were at the greatest risk of drowning, said Mr Abela Fiorentino. He added that companies should ensure their pools were appropriately attended by lifeguards. He also lamented that people seem to be too caught up in looking at their mobile phones, which could lead to children being left unattended.  “It only takes 15 to 30...
  7. Those who don’t know master photographer Joe Smith’s work have the opportunity to correct that with a retrospective exhibition entitled Jazz Island at the Hotel Phoenicia’s Palm Court Lounge, which is running until Saturday to coincide with the Malta Jazz Festival and the return of legend Chick Corea after an absence of 29 years. Smith has been following the Malta Jazz Festival since the very first edition, photographing the greats of the jazz world on his own terms. Like the greatest sports photographers, he is able to capture fractional moments of time that define the performers and the spaces they occupy. These spaces are as much musical as they are human, the performer in the performer’s environment. Smith being a perfectionist, it is the negative space that the performer moves into which makes the shot. Frozen in time, the faces of greats who are no longer with us – like Charlie Haden, Paul Motion and Blue Note’s Joe Henderson – are visible thanks to Smith’s gift for capturing essence. These portraits in black and white, which seem to capture the eternal spirit of jazz, were all shot in Malta. Smith’s blacks are of the richest, deepest palette, making the entire...
  8. A motorcyclist was grievously injured on Tuesday afternoon in a traffic collision in Rabat.  The man, a 56-year-old from Rabat, was riding a Kawasaki J300 on Triq it-Tiġrija at the time of the crash, which was reported to police at around 1.50pm.He collided with Renault Megane being driven by a 23-year-old man from Nepal, police said.  The motorcyclist was taken to Mater Dei Hospital by ambulance, where he is receiving treatment. The Renault driver was not injured in the incident.  Police say they are investigating further. 
  9. A new waste facility will sort and store a larger variety of recyclables than those currently being processed, according to a tender document published on Monday. The Multi-Material Recovery Facility will be run by State waste management firm WasteServ on land next to an existing bring-in site in Ħal Far.  “The proposed facility aims to expand the waste types processed locally,” the tender document reads. It adds that the facility will be constructed, by the bidder to accept a variety of waste streams that would otherwise be disposed of at the island’s landfill. Recycling has been an unpopular habit in Malta over the years, with only 6.7 per cent of waste being converted in 2015. In fact, Malta recycles the smallest quantity of municipal waste in the EU. Last year Times of Malta reported how the island’s main landfill was expected to reach full capacity within two years, triggering the government to hold a public consultation on the matter.  What followed was the announcement that a hazardous waste dump would be converted to be used for routine dumping of regular waste as an emergency, stopgap solution. The announcement preceded that of a controversial waste-to-energy project,...
  10. More than 500 years after it was cast, the oldest bell at Mdina’s Cathedral will be lowered into retirement on Wednesday. Cast in 1499 by bellfounder Magister Antoninus in Tortoreto, the bell carries an inscription in medieval gothic script around its shoulder. The Latin inscription reads MCCCCLXXXXIX MAGISTER ANTONINUS DU TORTORITO ME FECIT INSATAM SPOTANIA ONOREM DEI PATRIA LIBERATIONEM MENTEM. The bell is being replaced after a site inspection of the cathedral’s bell fittings found that it was at risk of imminent collapse. Although repairing it was possible, given its considerable age experts suggested setting it aside in the cathedral museum and casting a new replacement. Its replacement was cast by Fonderie Paccard of Annecy and designed to match the two bells present in the belfries, which were cast by bellfounder Prospero Barigozzi of Milan in 1958. The new bell weighs 170kg and sounds the note D sharp, replicating the strike note of the 1499 bell as much as possible. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and St Paul, the titular saint of Mdina Cathedral. The bell carries a latin inscription by Monsignor John Azzopardi which reads: HÆC A. MMXVI, A SOC. PACCARD IN GALLIA,...
  11. Updated 7pm Iran has filed a suit against the United States alleging that Washington's decision in May to impose sanctions after pulling out of a nuclear deal violates a 1955 treaty between the two countries, the International Court of Justice said on Tuesday. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear pact with Iran reached by his predecessor Barack Obama and other world powers, and ordered tough US sanctions on Tehran. Under the 2015 deal, which Trump sees as flawed, Iran reined in its disputed nuclear programme under UN monitoring and won a removal of international sanctions in return. The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the United Nations tribunal for resolving international disputes. Iran's filing asks the ICJ to order the United States to provisionally lift its sanctions ahead of more detailed arguments. "Iran is committed to the rule of law in the face of US contempt for diplomacy and legal obligations," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a statement on Monday with respect to Tehran's lawsuit at the ICJ. Iran said in its filing that Trump's move "has violated and continued to violate multiple provisions" of the Treaty...
  12. Paul Ryan

    US House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan on Tuesday said he is willing to consider additional sanctions on Russia, and reiterated his support for US intelligence community findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. Speaking to reporters a day after President Donald Trump's meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ryan said if congressional committees believe further sanctions on Russia are necessary, "I'm more than happy to consider those." "Russia is a menacing government that does not share our interests and it does not share our values," he said. Trump on Tuesday morning cast his Monday meeting with Putin in a glowing light and attempted to discredit the widely held perception that the day he spent with Putin in Helsinki, Finland, was detrimental to the United States. Watch: Trump was like a 'little wet noodle' - Schwarzenegger "While I had a great meeting with NATO, raising vast amounts of money, I had an even better meeting with Vladimir Putin of Russia," Trump wrote in a tweet. "Sadly, it is not being reported that way - the Fake News is going Crazy!" Trump's news conference alongside Putin, where he discounted US intelligence assessments that...
  13. A woman who bit and scratched her older husband and nearly cost him one of his testicles has been handed a suspended sentence for what a court described as a "frenzied attack".  The 71-year-old was attacked by his wife, 20 years his junior, as they argued and bickered at their apartment in September 2017. As the man tried to get past his wife towards the kitchen, she had attacked him. She punched him on his head, pulled at his hair, scratched and bit him, a court heard.  The man suffered scratches on his legs, hands and chest besides being kicked on the leg while the woman dug her teeth into his arm. "She continued to shake her head whilst my arm was firmly in her mouth," the victim recalled. She then slipped her hands inside her husband’s shorts and "started pulling like crazy", a court heard.  Her long nails cut into the flesh, and the victim ended up suffering lacerations to his genitalia to such an extent that one testicle was almost lost. Once the attack was over, the man retired to his bedroom. There, he realised the extent of his injuries, as he caught sight of his blood-stained bedclothes. He made his way to a nearby polyclinic, where he was found to be running a fever,...
  14. Lloyds Banking Group plans to operate three subsidiaries in continental Europe after Britain leaves the EU, according to a source familiar with the matter, in a sign of how Brexit is fragmenting a banking industry long concentrated in London. Lloyds, Britain's biggest mortgage lender, was widely expected to manage its continental business from one new subsidiary in Berlin. But executives now plan two further hubs to service customers across the European Union, the source told Reuters. One is likely to be in Frankfurt and the location of the second is yet to be confirmed, the person said. The plans by Lloyds - an institution more than 250 years old that has always concentrated its operations in Britain - shows how Brexit is forcing banks to upend history and business models to guarantee they can continue selling their products in Europe. They are part of a wider trend that is seeing lenders distribute their post-Brexit resources among a number of cities on the continent rather than basing the bulk of operations in one place as they have for decades in London. Swiss bank UBS said in March it would pursue a "decentralised" model, in line with moves by Goldman Sachs, Bank of America...
  15. The MSE Equity Price Index erased Monday's decline as it rebounded by 0.26% to 4,374.236 points. Trading volumes improved to a five-day high of €0.38 million, mostly due to strong activity in the equity of Malta International Airport plc which moved back to the €5.05 level on volumes of 38,550 shares. MIA is due to publish its interim results on 25 July. The airport operator will also consider the payment of an interim dividend. HSBC Bank Malta plc ended Tuesday's trading session in negative territory as the equity slipped by 0.3% to the €1.83 level on two deals totalling 5,191 shares. HSBC is set to publish its interim results on August 6. In the property segment, Malta Properties Company plc shed 2.4% to the €0.48 level across 187,111 shares. On the other hand, MIDI plc rebounded by 1.3% to the €0.486 level on 22,000 shares. Simonds Farsons Cisk plc extended its recent positive trend as the equity added a further 0.7% to a fresh five-month high of €7.30 on two deals totalling 5,508 shares. On Tuesday, Farsons published an updated Financial Analysis Summary. This shows that the company is expecting Ebitda to reach yet another record level of €22.4 million in the current...
  16. Updated 5.45pm European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington on July 25 to discuss strained trade ties. "President Juncker and President Trump will focus on improving transatlantic trade and forging a stronger economic partnership," the Commission said in a statement on Tuesday that announced the date. The United States imposed import tariffs on EU steel and aluminium at the start of June and has also threatened to increase duties on EU cars. Trump met Juncker last week in Brussels during a meeting of the NATO military alliance, firing off a Twitter salvo on the eve of his visit. "The European Union makes it impossible for our farmers and workers and companies to do business in Europe (U.S. has a $151 billion trade deficit), and then they want us to happily defend them through NATO, and nicely pay for it. Just doesn’t work!" EU officials have been trying to lower expectations over what Juncker and Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom can achieve in Washington, noting Trump's rejection of many European arguments at last month's G7 summit in Canada. However, with Trump threatening to target the politically and economically...
  17. A recently widened roundabout in Żebbuġ is proving to be a slippery obstacle for motorists, as the newly created inner lane is paved with uneven concrete. Motorists who passed by the roundabout near the De Rohan Arch on Monday said the slippery concrete surface would undoubtedly cause accidents. One motorcyclist told the Times of Malta that he narrowly escaped toppling over while negotiating the roundabout. A Transport Malta spokesman said this work was temporary. “This is to avoid keeping them closed to road users while other works are under way. Road users are being advised to proceed through this area with caution, and to keep to the temporary reduced speed limits.” The spokesman added that once all structural alterations to the roundabouts were ready, the entire junction’s surface will be replaced with new layers of asphalt to complete the project. WATCH: Ian Borg on wider roads, traffic and his leadership ambitions All works along this route are scheduled to be completed this summer. Transport Minister Ian Borg announced the widening of two of Żebbuġ’s main roundabouts last week. Dr Borg said the ministry would be spending €500,000 to add bypass lanes to the De Rohan Gate...
  18. Britain's officially designated Brexit campaign group, Vote Leave, was fined 61,000 pounds (€68,680) on Tuesday for breaching spending rules in the 2016 referendum and was referred to the police by the Electoral Commission. The move by the commission, which said serious breaches of the law had been committed by Vote Leave, added to calls from opponents of Brexit for a re-run of the referendum on European Union membership, though Prime Minister Theresa May has repeatedly ruled out another vote. Two years since voting by 52 percent to 48 percent to leave the bloc, the United Kingdom, its political and business leaders remain deeply divided over the country's plans for departing from the EU on March 29, 2019. The commission said Vote Leave, which was fronted by leading Brexiteers such as Boris Johnson, who resigned as foreign secretary last week, and Michael Gove, now environment minister, used an allied group to pay Aggregate IQ, a company which used social media data to target voters, and thus exceeded spending. "We found substantial evidence that the two groups worked to a common plan, did not declare their joint working and did not adhere to the legal spending limits," said Bob...
  19. The FastTrak to Mobile initiative has been launched by the Malta Communications Authority (MCA), as part of its efforts to encourage the use of eCommerce by businesses, as set out in its National eCommerce Strategy (2014-2020). Following last year’s success of the first version of FastTrak, the second phase puts particular focus on mobile commerce and mobile marketing. Over the past years, businesses across the globe have shifted their focus to mobile technology. The number of connected devices in the world is staggering. As at Quarter 1 of this year, Malta surpassed 606,000 active SIM cards. This is why mobile was identified by the MCA in last year’s review of the National eCommerce Strategy as a specific focus area. The FastTrak sessions will guide local business-owners through various topics to help them take the next step to mobile. These include mobile commerce, website optimisation, mobile search and mobile marketing, among others. The hands-on, 2.5-hour sessions, will be offered free of charge to participants. The training sessions are scheduled to commence this September, with various intakes throughout the months of September and October. The course will be held at...
  20. Stefano Mallia, one of Malta’s five members at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), has been appointed as the institution’s rapporteur on the new Common Provisions Regulation. This regulation will lay down the provisions which will govern how the new Cohesion Funds for the period 2021 to 2027 will operate. Mr Mallia said: “The European Commission has just launched its proposals for thenew Cohesion Policy which will cover the period 2021 to 2027. These proposals are now being discussed by the European Parliament, the Council and the Committee of the Regions. “Cohesion Policy has played and will continue to play a key role in assistinglagging regions and countries to catch up with the more advanced regions and countries of the EU.” In the run-up to formulating the EESC Opinion, Mr Mallia will be holding a number of one-to-one meetings with the rapporteurs of the European Parliament, the Committee of the Regions as well as key officials within the European Commission. He will also be meeting representatives of the key social partners such as Business Europe, EuroChambres and the European Trade Union Confederation.
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