Times of Malta

General, sporting, and business news for Malta and the surrounding region
  1. The Speaker in the UK Parliament has ruled out bringing Theresa May’s deal back for a third meaningful vote. Short of closing the current session of Parliament and starting a new one – and then actually winning the vote, the likelihood is that the deal is now dead. The UK may now have no option but to request a long extension to the Article 50 process. The EU has, rightly, made it clear that any extension must have a clear purpose. Given where we are, what would have to happen for a long delay and attempts at renegotiation to have any purpose whatsoever? Clearly a general election or a second referendum would be justifiable reasons for a long delay. But, assuming those two options remain off the table, and, again, who can possibly know, is there any clear purpose for a long delay? As things stand today, probably not. Neither the UK nor the EU seemingly have any intention of moving away from their position on the Irish backstop – the ‘irreconcilable difference’ that drives many divorces. While that remains the case, no amount of delay will likely resolve the issue. There is a reason why the Irish backstop is unresolvable in the current negotiation. Understanding that may yet...
  2. 10 years ago - The Times Friday, March 20, 2009 Somali to face trafficking charges A Somali national is today expected to be charged with human trafficking between Libya and Malta. The man was recognised by illegal immigrants when he came to Malta, sources said. The unprecedented arraignment of the suspect trafficker working on the Libya route comes as the debate on the illegal immigration problem reached a climax last week with a parliamentary debate on the phenomenon. Three large vessels, carrying a total of 651 immigrants, sailed to Malta this winter, something unusual for this time of year. While it was believed the large boats were likely to have left directly from Libya’s shores, many have speculated about the possible presence of a ship in the Mediterranean offloading illegal immigrants on to smaller boats. New EU funds for Malta-Sicily interconnector EU leaders are today expected to allocate at least €20 million of EU funds to Malta to be used for an interconnection electricity project connecting the island to the European energy grid. The only condition expected to be tied to the funds is that the project will have to be initiated by the end of next year. 25 years ago...
  3. Hibernians 66Caffe Moak Luxol 53 (19-10, 14-11, 16-18, 17-14) The 63rd women’s Knock-Out final was contested by the two most successful clubs in the competition. Hibernians came out tops to notch their 17th KO triumph in history, three years from their last triumph in 2016 and also secure their third honour this season after earlier successes in the Super Cup and the Louis Borg Cup. Caffe Moak Luxol were searching for a threepeat after winning the KO in the last two seasons but had to succumb to the Paolites to remain as the second successful team in the KO history with ten wins. Hibs got off to a good start with a Samantha Brincat trey and five points, off an and-one and a hoop, from Sophie Abela. But Luxol hit back strongly to jump to a 10-8 lead in the next two minutes following an 8-0 streak with a Monique Caruana three-pointer and a three-point play by Sarah Pace after a foul by Leanne Duncan who was delighted with the win. “We knew that it was not going to be an easy game but with the whole team on the same page and with the right energy on and off court we managed to grab our third seasonal cup which is a boost for the playoff games,” Duncan told the Times of Malta. Hibs...
  4. As far as requests for registration submitted to the Commission are concerned, 2018 was one of the most successful years for the European Citizens’ Initiative. 2019 is off to a flying start as two new initiatives have been registered in the first few weeks of the year and many other registrations are pending.  The European Citizens’ Initiative is a tool of participatory democracy, giving European citizens the power to shape their future. The tool enables citizens to submit ideas in areas where the European Commission has power to propose legislation such as the environment, agriculture, education or civil rights. They are given the opportunity to get more involved in the decision-making process and have a bigger say on issues that impact their life.  The Take The Initiative campaign, launched in April 2018 has reached more than 10 million people in the past year and aims at spreading its message even further in 2019. One of the major steps forward in 2018 was the political agreement, based on the European Commission’s proposal, reached on December 12, 2018 by the European Parliament and the Council to revise the European Citizens’ Initiative in order to simplify the process,...
  5. Hunters are expected to ask for permission to shoot a protected bird when they lobby for a spring hunting season at a decisive meeting scheduled for Wednesday. As the migration season, which sees thousands of birds fly over the island, fast approaches, the government’s consultative Ornis Committee will meet this afternoon to discuss whether or not a spring hunting season should be opened this year. Made up of conservationists, hunters and regulators, the committee makes recommendations, which the government then decides whether to approve and implement. Wednesday’s meeting, being held behind closed doors, is expected to see hunters push for this year’s season to allow them to hunt for turtle dove, a protected species environmentalists and EU lawmakers are adamant should be off-limits. The government had declared a moratorium on turtle dove hunting in 2017 after the European Commission had threatened legal action against the island if the practice was allowed to continue. For the past two years, hunters have only been allowed to hunt quail in spring. Spring hunting is not allowed by the EU’s Birds Directive but member states can apply an exception, known as a derogation, which...
  6. Between March 4-15, the Central Bank of Malta hosted Fulbright Scholar Professor Andrew Narwold of the Department of Economics at the University of San Diego, where he is also affiliated to the Energy Policy Initiatives Centre. This is the first time that the Central Bank of Malta has hosted a US Fulbright Scholar. The Fulbright programme is sponsored by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is one of the most prestigious and competitive academic exchange programs in the world. The Bank gratefully acknowledges the assistance of the US Embassy in Malta to make Professor Narwold’s visit possible. Prof. Narwold, whose core expertise is in housing market economics and consumer financial decisions, conducted advanced classes on statistical methods for the construction of quality adjusted house price indices for the Bank’s Economic Analysis Department. He also held two in-depth seminars to Central Bank and National Statistics Office staff on statistical techniques and applied empirical research, and reviewed research by Bank economists aimed at publication in specialist as well as general dissemination.  In line with the bank’s...
  7. The Dominican community of Valletta will be holding the annual penitential pilgrimage with the miraculous effigy of the Ecce Homo next Friday. The pilgrimage, along the streets of Valletta, starts from St Dominic parish church at 6pm. Back to St Dominic church, the pilgrimage will be followed by sung Mass by parish priest Michael Camilleri OP, with the sermon delivered by Canon Stefan Galea. According to the parish history books there is nothing recorded about the origin of this effigy. But devotion towards it was already strong at the beginning of the 17th century. In fact, the effigy was already venerated at the old church, prior to the present one. Proof of this were the many devotional offerings made by parishioners, including money and precious items. It is believed that the effigy dates back to the time of the Knights of St John in Malta.
  8. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat is being staged at the Astra Theatre next week. Jennifer Grech speaks to artistic director Chris Gatt. Originally released as a concept album in 1969, the first musical with lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, this year celebrates its 50th anniversary. To celebrate this anniversary, the Astra Theatre is staging the songs and stories of one the world’s most beloved musicals, a reimagining of the biblical story of Joseph and the coat of many colours. Among the many musicals composed by Lloyd Webber, especially the ones he wrote with Rice, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat may be biblical, but it is also the most lighthearted and family friendly. As Rice’s lyrics state, this through-song musical takes place “way, way back many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began,” and comes from the Book of Genesis. It is the well-known story of young Joseph, 11th – and favourite – son of Jacob. Entirely sung, this musical parable delights with an engaging quilt of musical styles including country, rock, show tunes and pop.
  9. What is wrong with the civic amenity sites? The country’s bulky refuse disposal centres are turning into junkyards, with piles of white goods and electronic waste left to accumulate haphazardly. The situation continues to worsen. Manned by state agency Wasteserv’s staff, these facilities have been in operation for more than a decade as part of a drive to encourage households to dispose of unwanted items in an orderly fashion, without placing additional strain on the Magħtab landfill. The goods deposited at the Mrieħel, Ħal Far, Magħtab, Ta’ Qali and Tal-Kus sites are meant to be recycled, either locally or abroad. The facilities are also supposedly equipped with containers allocated for different kinds of waste, like wood, batteries, construction material, electronic equipment, white goods, paper or garden items. The concept is that users wanting to dispose of the bulky items should be able to drive through the civic amenity site and deposit the items according to the specific, clearly-marked container. But the reality on the ground at many sites is starkly different. At Magħtab, the site has degenerated to the extent that one can barely drive through it. Mrieħel is similarly...
  10. A lifetime of hard work should be followed up with an adequate pension and a good quality of life. Much has been said about the need to build upon our pension system, while guaranteeing it for future generations. However, not enough has been said about the quality of life that awaits older persons who are currently retired or who are on their way there. An adequate pension is no guarantee of a happy life in one’s old age, as Malta is undergoing radical change and the landscape around us is drastically shifting. There is a certain irony to the notion that we are sacrificing the very characteristics which make Malta and Gozo an excellent place to retire in, so as to protect our pension system for future generations.  In Malta and Gozo we enjoy a safe and community-oriented island society, where traditionally we have taken care of our older relatives and kept them involved in various aspects of our lives in a productive capacity, where they look after grandchildren and contribute and participate in community life.  Our islands are a competitive and wonderful place for expatriates to retire in, and the proof is in the pudding, with many having moved here over the past few...
  11. When I come across an article like ‘Crimea: five years on’ of March 7 by the Ambassador of Russia to Malta, Vladimir Malygin, I can’t help being reminded of Lord Acton’s famous definition of an ambassador as “an honest man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country”. I have never met Malygin, but I am confident he is an honest man and like so many  Russians in Malta warm-hearted and friendly. But there is no escaping the fact he represents Russia’s President Putin. Today, Orwell’s 1984 is everywhere – from the flood of deliberate disinformation from the Russian government designed to undermine democracy to the sustained assault on media impartiality from the Trump White House. Orwell’s overwhelming fear was that: “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history… If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ – well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five.” When I read in Ambassador Malygin’s article of “the voluntary reunification of the Republic of Crimea” and “the 2014 anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine”, I despair about whether the ambassador and I are talking...
  12. The following are the top stories in the newspapers on Wednesday. Times of Malta reveals that hunters are expected to ask for permission to shoot turtle dove when they lobby for a spring hunting season at a decisive meeting of the Ornis committee on Wednesday. It also reports that extensive excavation works to turn a rural area in Xewkija into a park and ride facility and a bus terminus have started although planning permits have still to be issued. The Malta Independent says most unions and associations are in favour of retaining summertime all year round. It also says a development application for 60 dwellings near Madliena has been withdrawn.  In-Nazzjon and Malta Today lead with a PN proposal for a hybrid vote-counting system to ensure transparency as electronic vote-counting is introduced.  Malta Today also reports that the authorities are investigating three cases of measles. l-orizzont says the compilation of evidence starts in court on Wednesday against Jordan Azzopardi, who is alleged by the police to be a drug trafficking circle mastermind.  
  13. St Julian’s residents are rallying to protect one of the oldest preserved streetscapes in the town from development plans they say would destroy the area’s intangible heritage. A development application recently published by the Planning Authority proposes the demolition of a pair of adjacent two-storey houses in the upper part of St Elias Street, to be replaced by a six-storey apartment block. While the houses themselves are believed to hold little heritage value, the area is characterised by a largely uniform row of two-storey houses, many of which have been restored in recent years. “This is the core of St Julian’s. It is within the boundaries of the old walled city, which was mentioned in a census from before the time of the Knights,” resident John Vassallo told the Times of Malta. “Compared to what has happened in Sliema and the rest of St Julian’s, it still has a quaint and picturesque quality.” Mr Vassallo, who is organising opposition to the project, said the proposal would stick out like a sore thumb in the narrow street due to its height and contrasting architectural style. He called for the application to be rejected on the basis of planning policies limiting the...
  14. The million-pound question, right?In the last three years I have not taken a position on whether I think Brexit is the right choice for Britain or not. Why should I? Should a Juventino take sides when watching a match between Man. United and Barcelona? Okay, the tribal instinct is to settle old scores, I grant that, or to figure out with whom best to spar when one’s own tribe enters the arena. But that it is what it is really, tribalism. I like to observe the process from a constitutional standpoint. Constitutional law is, however, never simple. If the people have spoken, and the people are sovereign, although the referendum was consultative, I believe it is the right thing to do to respect their decision. The fact that the referendum process was seriously flawed does not in my view, justify holding a second one at this stage. I say flawed, because the people should have been given a clear option from the start, to choose staying in the union with the new package that David Cameron had ironed out, or leaving with a Brexit package that was clear; the same way Malta had voted on a specific package to enter the Union. But life is rarely lived on logical lines, and we all know that...
  15. Obituaries ATTARD. On March 19, at Mater Dei Hospital, RITA, widow of Alfred, of Santa Venera, aged 81, passed peacefully away, comforted by the rites of the Holy Church. She leaves to mourn her loss her daughter Brigitte and her husband Clive, her son Simon and his partner Yasmin, her beloved grandchildren Dorian and his wife Cecilia, Michela, Marco and his mother Daniela, her brothers, in-laws, their respective spouses, nephews and nieces, relatives and friends. The funeral leaves Mater Dei Hospital tomorrow, Thursday, March 21, at 1.45pm for St Cajetan parish church, Ħamrun, where Mass praesente cadavere will be said at 2.30pm, followed by interment in the family grave at Santa Maria Addolorata Cemetery. Lord grant her eternal rest. LA FERLA. On March 17, at Mater Dei Hospital, FLORENCE, aged 75, passed away peacefully. She leaves to mourn her loss her brother George, Frank and his wife Roslyn, their daughter Beverly and her husband Philip and their children Isobel and Eleanor, their son Nigel and his girlfriend Evelin, her sister-in-law May, her niece Carol and her husband Adrian and children Andrew and Alistair, cousins and friends. Mass praesente cadavere will be said...
  16. Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic will on Wednesday hear the final judgment on his role in the bloody conflict that tore his country apart a quarter of a century ago. In one of the last remaining cases from the break-up of Yugoslavia, UN judges in The Hague will rule on his appeal against his 2016 conviction for genocide and war crimes, and his 40-year sentence. Once the most powerful Bosnian Serb political figure, Karadzic, now 73, was notorious for his role in the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, the worst bloodletting on European soil since World War II. Around 100,000 people eventually died and 2.2 million others were left homeless in the brutal three-year war that pitted Muslims, Serbs and Croats against each other. "I think this verdict is historical for justice," Munira Subasic of the Mothers of Srebrenica victims' association told AFP, adding that they wanted Karadzic to get a full life sentence. "If Karadzic does not get what he deserves it means that there is no justice in this world and that it is possible to commit crimes without risking penalties." The ruling is due to start at 1300 GMT at the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, which deals...
  17. In her From the Bench article titled ‘So, whose fault is it?’ (March 11), Graziella Gricchiola asserts that, unlike what happens abroad, there are fewer cases of medical malpractice instituted in Malta, “perhaps as a result of a generally good standard of medical practice, or else, an indication of a non-litigious culture”. Having been an inpatient and an outpatient in a State and a private hospital on a number of occasions, I can safely say that a few rotten apples do exist among medical practitioners at all levels, like in any other profession, but that highly competent and humane ones by far predominate. There are various reasons for a non-litigious culture inmedical matters. There are aggrieved patients who have no financial means to make a formal complaint with the Medical Council or to institute court proceedings for medical negligence. Some patients feel the Medical Council’s mission is to protect the medical fraternity and not the patient’s best interests. Other patients are simply petrified to turn to the media for assistance. Others are unaware of their rights to lodge a complaint. Some patients feel impotent to make a complaint due to either being illiterate or to a...
  18. European stock markets jumped yesterday, while the pound won a lift from better-than-expected UK jobs data, as traders reacted to more Brexit chaos and awaited the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting. British Prime Minister Theresa May held crisis talks with her ministers after the Speaker of Parliament threatened to derail her EU withdrawal plan just 10 days before Brexit day, leaving her strategy in tatters. British economic fallout from Brexit clouds was however offset by official data showing that the UK unemployment rate has struck a 44-year low at 3.9 per cent, while wages continue to outpace inflation. “It appears that the labour market is still remarkably in rude health despite the ongoing calamity surrounding Brexit,” noted David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB trading group. “In terms of market reaction there has been a little pop higher in the pound, but the markets remain far more concerned with the latest on the Brexit front.” In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s stock market powered ahead almost one per cent as a survey showed confidence among investors in Europe’s largest economy Germany leaped in March, as fears of a hard Brexit briefly receded earlier this...
  19. The unfortunate accident of Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 737 MAX 8 on March 10 resulted in the groundings of this type of aircraft, even in the US. The Federal Aviation Administration had initially stood by the aircraft, strongly insisting there was insufficient evidence to link this latest crash to another accident also involving a Boeing MAX 8 in Indonesia five months ago. But notwithstanding, it too has decided to ground the plane. Both planes were brand new but still went down shortly after takeoff. Despite the onslaught against this most successful model in Boeing’s history in various countries around the globe, Donald Trump, as usual, was the first to undermine efforts to present a united US front by questioning the safety of new aircraft. He wrote on Twitter: “Airplanes are becoming far too complex to fly.” A preliminary report on Indonesia’s Lion Air disaster, which plunged into the sea after takeoff, found that a stall prevention feature had erroneously kicked in. With nothing significant about the cause of the latest crash in Ethiopia, the aviation world is still divided whether these models are really safe to fly. Have pilots become complacent and their expertise eroded...
  20. In the wake of the current abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, we could ask ourselves what Christ would have said in the present sad and tragic circumstances. To those who have perpetuated such horrendous crimes He would, I dare say, remind them that ‘It is better to tie a millstone around one’s neck and throw oneself into the depth of the sea rather than cause one of these little ones to sin’. To us who feel rightly outraged at all this, He would say as He told the hypocritical Pharisees when they brought before him the woman caught in adultery: “Whoever is without sin, let him be the first to throw stones.” While sin, under whatever guise it presents itself, is to be condemned at all times, and human justice must take its course, the Lord insisted that no one should be excluded from His love, mercy and forgiveness if there is repentance, and that includes unworthy priests.
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