Times of Malta

General, sporting, and business news for Malta and the surrounding region
  1. Thousands of locals reached for their sports gear this morning to take part in the 9th edition of the President's Fun Run.  The run, which began in Rabat's Saqqajja Hill, took participants on an 11.3km course ending in Valletta.  Participants more inclined to walk rather than run could join the even in Paola Square, the University of Malta or Santa Venera.  The various routes congregated at Portes des Bombes, Floriana and ended in Valletta.  President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and Opposition leader Adrian Delia led participants down Republic Street as they made their way to the finish line at St George's Square.  The President's Fun Run is organised in aid of the Malta Community Chest Fund Foundation.
  2. Jetse Batelaan directs War.

    How do you present the concept of war to children? Celebrated director Jetse Batelaan takes the absurd, theatrical approach through his production, War, being put up as part of ŻiguŻajg International Children’s Festival. A theatrical presentation about ‘war’ made for children. Would you say there is a contradiction in terms? It is maybe a contradiction. Of course, it is really difficult to deal with this subject with a children’s audience. It is not a subject that you would expect. But on the other hand, it’s a subject that is on the mind of our children since, nowadays, a number of children had to deal with war, like the children in Syria. So, children in general are thinking about the subject. In that respect maybe it’s not a contradiction – not a very common subject but, on the other hand, it’s a subject which is on our children’s minds. To be able to understand you do not have to be an adult – you have to be there, regardless of age. Maybe we both do not know what war is about (me and the audience). Only those who have been through it would know. How do you explain the concept of ‘war’ to children? I don’t think I can really explain it. What we did was that we thought that...
  3. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat today expressed his belief that the “silent majority” had supported the way government had approached difficult situations over the past weeks in a manner which united people. Speaking during a short telephone interview on ONE Radio, Dr Muscat said the biggest test for a government was how it handled challenging situations. Dr Muscat, who according to a survey published in Malta Today has improved his trust rating over the past weeks, said people were shunning the Opposition’s negative style of politics. Multiple election defeats had shown people rejected this negative style, Dr Muscat said, saying the results should serve as a wake-up call for the Opposition. Dr Muscat, who last week attended a passport sale event in Hong Kong, said he went to Asia to attract more business and meet investors. The Prime Minister said that despite a recent glowing report by the IMF, the government would not stop in its efforts to attract more investment to Malta. He said initiatives like free childcare could only be offered because of the continued investment in the country. If the investment stopped, the government would not be able to afford free childcare, he...
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    The years 1838 and 1839 started and ended in Malta as if winter had forgotten what its function really was. What little rain, what clouds beckoned, appeared more derisory than comforting. A sense of defeat, maybe desolation, riveted the people. Wells and cisterns yawned bone dry, the crops withered, farmers had more water in their eyes than in their fountains. Hope and anguish no longer alternating, the people were resigned to a lethal aridity. The torrid summer of 1840 passed, and still no rain-cloud weighted the horizon. A tragic third year introduced drought as the new normality. Mgr Francesco Saverio Caruana then headed the Maltese diocese, a bishop few esteemed, except for the British, who cherished him as they believed, rightly or wrongly, that he owed them such a debt of gratitude for promoting him to a bishopric he did not deserve, that he would do their bidding whenever required. The provost of St Paul’s church in Valletta and parish priest was Canon Feliciano Sarreo, appointed in March 1838. He and the bishop agreed that the people of Malta would be brought out to invoke the mercy of God, in a colossal penitential procession with the statue of St Paul, the patron of...
  5. Punta Secca beach, Montalbano’s film set.

    Il Commissario has done for southeast Sicily what Bergerac did for Jersey, Steve McGarrett for Hawaii, Wallender for south Sweden and what Shetland is doing for Shetland. TV detectives have become ambassadors and travel agents. They are bringing in the tourists. BBC4’s Inspector Montalbano, starring the Bruce Willis-headed Luca Zingaretti, is based on Andrea Camilleri’s books, which have sold 15m worldwide. A second series of the prequel, Young Montalbano, is in production. Both share the same locations around Ragusa and the seven other Unesco-listed showpiece baroque villages of Sicily’s Val di Noto. Most were rebuilt after the 1693 earthquake. Although the first book was published in 1994 and the first episode aired in 1999, only now have ‘Montalbano’ location tours become popular. Itineraries are being added to all the time. Some now include meetings with extras. The town of Ispica and the Scala dei Turchi coastal rock formations in Realmonte were both made famous by the series. My one-day tour started at the five-star Donnafugata Golf and Spa Resort, one of six golf courses on the island and perhaps the best. It’s 20 minutes from Comiso airport. Guide Barbara first took me,...
  6. MRSA, or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.

    Data published on the occasion of European Antibiotic Awareness Day illustrates the high antibiotic use in Maltese hospitals and households. A high consumption of antibiotics does more harm than good, and GPs should avoid prescribing them for influenza or sore throats, Prof Michael Borg tells Sarah Carabott. Antibiotic use in local households is the highest in Europe, with nearly half the Maltese consuming antibiotics at least once a year, mainly for sore throats, colds and flu, according to Prof Borg. “According to worldwide data, at least half of antibiotics prescribed in general practice are unnecessary. In Malta we think that the figure is even higher, because almost 70 per cent of antibiotics are prescribed for sore throats, colds and flu, all of which are caused by viruses,” the chair of the National Antibiotic Committee said. In such cases, he added, antibiotics consumption was all in vain. Prof. Borg was speaking to this newspaper following the release of data by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control showing that the consumption of antibiotics by the Maltese public outside of hospitals has dropped, placing the island below the European average. According...
  7. A newly-launched online list of registered physiotherapists in Malta will help the public avoid bogus practitioners with no specialised training, the Malta Association of Physiotherapists is hoping.  The #myphysio #realphysio list, which is available for free on the MAP website, includes every locally-registered physiotherapist. Registered physiotherapists are not only trained - they are also bound by a legal, ethical and professional code of conduct.  In a statement announcing the list, the MAP said that its years of pressure on the Council for Professionals Complementary to Medicine had finally paid off. It thanked registrar Arthur Camilleri for his work to ensure the public list came to fruition.   
  8. Photo: Jonathan Borg

    Silent strength A silent walk was held in Valletta on Thursday to mark one month passing since Daphne Caruana Galizia was assassinated with a car bomb. Candles, flowers and bay leaves, which have come to symbolise the journalist’s strength and courage, were laid at a makeshift memorial. Marchers called for justice and the rule of law to prevail. What made the headlines Professionals call for new mental health hospital: In a Talking Point on Monday, professionals from four associations in the field of mental health called for a new hospital and for an end to what they called an unacceptable state of affairs in the provision of services. They took a stand after the Times of Malta reported that architects had declared wards at Mount Carmel Hospital unsafe and patients had been relocated. The professionals said mental health services were crumbling both physically, given outdated facilities and institutionalised patients, and functionally, given surging demand and woeful staffing levels. Cabinet approves medicinal cannabis: The Prime Minister announced that the Cabinet had approved new legislation to improve access to medicinal cannabis and unveiled his dream that Malta become a...
  9. LUNGARO-MIFSUD. On November 7, at Mater Dei Hospital, to Juliana née Cassar and Aidan, God’s precious gift of a son – ANTHONY, a most welcome brother to Elisa and George. Deo gratias et Mariæ. Obituaries ATTARD. On November 18, at Mater Dei Hospital, JOE, mayor of Żejtun and president of the Żejtun Band Club, passed away peacefully comforted by the rites of Holy Church. He leaves to mourn his sad loss his beloved wife Jessie née Ciangura; his daughters Annabelle and her husband Carlo Stivala; Maria and her husband Edgar Brincat; his grandchildren Christina, David, Andre and Jacques; his brother Charles and his wife Rita Attard; his sister Carmen and her husband Raphael Azzopardi; Connie and Nina,  widows of the mayor’s two late brothers, Alfred and John, respectively; his sisters-in-law and their husbands; his brother-in-law and wife, nephews, nieces, relatives and friends; members of the Żejtun local council; the Żejtun Band Club Committee and members; and all the population of Żejtun who consider Joe as their beloved ‘father’. On Tuesday, November 21, a corteo will depart from Mater Dei Hospital at 3.30pm. At 4.30pm, the corteo will leave from Carlo Diacono Square (St Angelo...
  10. China's military on Sunday launched a website inviting the public to report leaks and fake news, as well as illegal online activities by military personnel, the latest step in a push to ensure Communist Party control over the internet. Beijing has been ramping up measures to secure the internet and maintain strict censorship, a process that accelerated ahead of the party's five-yearly National Congress that took place in October. The new website is an effort to implement the guiding spirit of the Congress and will help maintain a "clear internet space" surrounding the military, according to 81.cn, the military's official news portal. Citizens are encouraged to use the platform to report online content that attacks the military's absolute leadership and distorts the history of the military and the Communist Party, the website said. Cases of military personnel illegally opening online social accounts and publishing unauthorised information should also be reported, it said. President Xi Jinping has made China's "cyber sovereignty" a top priority in his sweeping campaign to bolster security. He has also reasserted the ruling Communist Party's role in limiting and guiding online...
  11. “The European Union’s fundamental values are respect for human dignity and human rights, freedom, democracy, equality and the rule of law. These values unite all Member States.” When Malta joined the EU in 2004, hopes were high for the future. In 2014, when Malta celebrated its first 10 years of membership, the changes were palpable, from the feeling of connectedness with Europe to improvements in the structure of the economy. The stability and credibility conferred by membership and the euro has made Malta economically safe and prosperous. Its civil rights record is an example to others. But three years later, confidence in the country has been dashed. Two events have caused the picture to darken. In April 2016 the involvement of a minister and a senior official close to the Prime Minister in the Panama Papers scandal jolted local politics. Then, on October 16, the country was rocked to its foundations by the assassination of Malta’s leading investigative journalist. Malta’s reputation has taken a battering. A long shadow has been cast over its democracy and rule of law. The debate in the European Parliament last week exposed deep concerns about its citizenship scheme, lack of...
  12. Deta Hedman (centre) reacts after winning the Ladies Open.

    The 30th edition of the Malta International Darts Open came to an end last Thursday with top quality darts witnessed throughout the 3-day event. 290 men and 80 ladies participated in the singles competition with another 170 pairs in the doubles competition for a total of 540 entries. In the men’s singles the competition the final was contested between Mark Layton of Wales ranked 69 in the world and young Englishman, Joe Davis with the veteran Layton coming out on top 6-2 to claim the prestigious trophy and a cheque for €3,500. The best performance for a local player came from Andy Keen who was eliminated at the last 16 stages by the tournament’s top ranked player, Richie Edwards of Wales 4-2. Godfrey Abela and Norbert Attard lost a round earlier at the last 32 stages. The ladies’ singles competition this year featured no less than six top 10 world ranked players. The quarter final stage was contested by the top 8 seeds in the competition with World number 2 - Deta Hedman of England claiming the honour as she comfortably defeated Maret Liiri of Finland 4-0 in the quarter final, then World number 6 – Corrine Hammond of Australia 4-2 in the semi-final and finally World number 3 –...
  13. Good morning. This is a quick look at the leading stories in this week's Sunday newspapers.  The Sunday Times of Malta reports that police investigating Friday's murder in Attard believe that the killer shot at both men on purpose.  The paper also reports that former PBS boss John Bundy faces sexual harassment claims, which he strenuously denies, and reveals that financial regulator Joe Bannister was already MFSA chief when he took up a directorship in a BVI-based company - a fact outed through the Paradise Papers.  The Malta Independent on Sunday leads with a photo of PN leadership trio Adrian Delia, David Agius and Robert Arrigo following the deputy leadership election.  The paper also writes about the sexual harassment claims made against Mr Bundy, and also reports that farmers are pushing for the creation of a lab where pesticides can be tested.  Malta Today leads with survey results which will disappoint the Opposition party, with the paper finding that trust in the government has risen over the past months, with PN leader Adrian Delia polling just 15% in terms of trust.  It-Torca writes that former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi declined to comment when asked about...
  14. Sacked PBS chief executive John Bundy yesterday strenuously denied sexually harassing and threatening an employee at the workplace, claims made in a sworn affidavit presented to the board of directors. Mr Bundy, who was ousted from Public Broadcasting Services earlier this month following a suspicious €500,000 car deal, said the very thought of it went against his nature. He said the claims were an attempt to tarnish his name. According to the affidavit, Mr Bundy “forced himself” on a female employee twice and kissed her on the lips. On both occasions, she pushed him off, she claimed in the affidavit. The two incidents allegedly occurred in May. The same employee who made the sworn statement also instructed the board not to take any further action against Mr Bundy. Meanwhile, the affidavit, seen by the Times of Malta, also claims that Mr Bundy accused the employee of being part of a clique against him within the State broadcaster. “He told me ‘if I go down, I’ll take you down with me’. I felt that this was a threat,” the sworn statement reads, adding that the employee felt “traumatised” by the whole experience. Contacted yesterday, Mr Bundy said the claims were a complete...
  15. Spurs 104, Thunder 101 LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points, the final two on a crucial basket in the last minute, as the San Antonio Spurs roared back from a ragged beginning to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-101 at the AT&T Center. After trailing by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City pulled to within 100-99 on a free throw by Paul George with 45 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession, Aldridge scored on a putback to push San Antonio's lead to 102-99 before the Thunder's Carmelo Anthony canned a jumper with his right foot on the three-point line with five seconds remaining to cut the lead to 102-101. Pau Gasol then hit two free throws with two seconds to play and, after a time out, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook had to settle for a contested, wild shot at the buzzer that didn't even hit the rim. Cavaliers 118, Clippers 113 (OT) LeBron James scored 19 of his 39 points in the second half and overtime to lead Cleveland over Los Angeles. Kevin Love added 25 points and Dwyane Wade scored 23 points with a season-high 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who did not lead until overtime and trailed by as many as 15. The Clippers have lost seven straight. Blake...
  16. Paris St Germain's unstoppable march towards the Ligue 1 title continued when Edinson Cavani's double inspired them to a 4-1 home win against Nantes on Saturday. Cavani netted either side of half-time as Javier Pastore and Angel Di Maria also scored to put the unbeaten capital side on 35 points from 13 games, six ahead of second-placed Monaco after the champions were held to a 1-1 at Amiens on Friday. Nantes, who are fifth on 23 points, scored through Prejuce Nakoulma as Claudio Ranieri's team faltered under pressure. The visitors got off to a solid start but cracked before half-time. Cavani opened the scoring with a clinical finish from inside the box after being perfectly set up by Pastore. It was the Uruguay striker's 14th goal after 13 games in the league, the best tally in the French championship since Dick van Dijk with Nice in the 1972-73 season. Di Maria doubled the advantage three minutes later with a curled cross that nobody could connect with and ended up in the back of the net at the far post. Nakulma reduced the arrears on the hour mark from close range but Nantes' hopes were short lived. Five minutes later, Pastore restored a two-goal advantage for the hosts with a...
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  18. Employer branding remains key towards increasing the chances of attracting the best talent to an organisation. Photo: Shutterstock.com

    The human resources function in most companies is taking on a more important role in the light of a fast evolving Maltese labour market. The strong economic growth experienced by Malta in the last years has led to a lack of availability of employees with the appropriate level of skills and experience, and as Maltese employers have sought to make up for this shortage with the employment of foreign workers, they now have to manage a multicultural workforce. This is one of the main outcomes that emerge from Misco’s fourth annual survey on HR developments in Malta presented during a morning ‘Misco in the Hot Seat’ event at the Corinthia Palace in Attard, which was attended by over 40 HR professionals and practitioners. Rebecca Zammit, marketing and opinion research director, said the report was compiled by Misco’s Advisory, Selection and Marketing and Opinion Research units and was based on a survey conducted between August and September among businesses in Malta. “Besides being a contribution to the ongoing analysis of the development of the HR function in Malta, the survey provides an insight into the key HR issues currently faced by companies, based on Misco’s 34 years of...
  19. It is not easy to plan the perfect wedding. Organising a wedding requires booking several services and products that involve the payment of deposits, signing of contracts and terms and conditions to read and understand. If booking problems are not dealt with in the right way, this may result in a waste of money and unnecessary hassle for the couple. To ensure they get the best possible deals, the couple needs to shop around. The market offers a vast choice and there is fierce competition in every type of wedding service. However, getting a good deal is not only about price. Negotiating terms and conditions of the sales agreement is also fundamental. A sales contract sets out the legal responsibilities of both trader and consumer. Hence, if there are any terms the couple is not comfortable with, these should be discussed with the trader before the sales agreement is finalised. Furthermore, any conditions agreed upon with the trader should be clearly written on the contract of sale. Couples should only agree to pay a deposit after all aspects of the sale have been thoroughly discussed and agreed upon. It is also important to ensure that the amount of deposit paid is written on the...
  20. Express Trailers is offering a scalable storage and distribution ‘pay-as-you-use’ solution.

    Express Trailers has acquired a new 2,800sqm warehouse in Qormi to centralise all its managed warehousing activity from one depot and to be able to cater for the increased business in this sector. Express Trailers entered the managed warehousing sector in 2011 when the company invested in its first two warehouses for the storage and distribution of pharmaceutical products in a total 900sqm of temperature-controlled environment. These facilities, with a capacity of over 1,550 pallets, are licensed by the medical authorities and complement Express Trailers’ international pharma transport services, which are up to EU pharma good distribution practices (GDP) standards in the industry. Express Trailers chairman and CEO Franco Azzopardi said: “The company always had vision. In 1995, it was already the first local service company to attain ISO certification. Today, we are reaping the fruits of those business decisions.” Explaining how this business activity developed, Azzopardi said: “The first two pharma warehouses meant Express Trailers had to also invest in a warehouse management system (WMS), an IT-based platform that can be modified to cater for different types of commodities...
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