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Better environment proposals - Michael Briguglio

Malta’s EU membership was beneficial to various aspects of environmental policy, yet our country remains a European laggard in so many environmental aspects. These include quality of air, waste management and usage of renewable energy. Though Prime Ministe
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Better environment proposals - Michael Briguglio

Malta’s EU membership was beneficial to various aspects of environmental policy, yet our country remains a European laggard in so many environmental aspects. These include quality of air, waste management and usage of renewable energy. Though Prime Minister Joseph Muscat promised to do away with the ‘cancer factory’ power station, air quality has deteriorated, mainly due to the increase in private cars and an unsustainable transport policy. Waste management seems to be driven by crisis management rather than long-term vision, and despite some small improvements, Magħtab is back to the bad old days of stenches.  The government also has clearly not been forward-looking with regard to construction and demolition waste, which amounts to 85 per cent of Malta’s waste volume. While most of this is recycled and re-used in other EU member states, the government still lacks a coherent sustainable plan for Malta.  Usage of renewable energy has increased slightly, but Malta is still below its 2020 targets and the country is dependent on gas from Azerbaijan, which is costlier than other options on the table.  Personally, I have been active in the environmental field since the 1990s. As an...

Prayer of a lonely heart 

Nowadays loneliness is rampant. Recently I found a prayer in St Faustina’s Diary that can offer comfort and solace during these painful moments: “Jesus, Friend of a lonely heart, You are my haven, You are my peace. You are my salvation, You are my serenit
timesofmalta.com

Prayer of a lonely heart 

Nowadays loneliness is rampant. Recently I found a prayer in St Faustina’s Diary that can offer comfort and solace during these painful moments: “Jesus, Friend of a lonely heart, You are my haven, You are my peace. You are my salvation, You are my serenity in moments of struggle and amidst an ocean of doubts.  “You are the bright ray that lights up the path of my life. You are everything to a lonely soul. You understand the soul even though it remains silent.  “You know our weaknesses, and like a good physician, You comfort and heal, sparing us sufferings – expert that You are” (Diary, 247).  I heartily share it with you.

GO to distribute majority of BMIT windfall - Edward Rizzo

GO plc published its 2018 financial statements on March 8 with the main focus being the extent of the 2019 interim dividend rather than the actual performance of the telecoms group. Ever since the initial announcement of the offer for sale of the stake in BMI
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GO to distribute majority of BMIT windfall - Edward Rizzo

GO plc published its 2018 financial statements on March 8 with the main focus being the extent of the 2019 interim dividend rather than the actual performance of the telecoms group. Ever since the initial announcement of the offer for sale of the stake in BMIT Technologies plc in October 2018, GO always stated that the proceeds from the partial sale of BMIT will be used to ‘deliver returns to shareholders’. Following the successful IPO of BMIT which was concluded in January 2019, GO received €49 million from this transaction as it disposed of the maximum amount on offer representing 49 per cent of the issued share capital of BMIT. On March 8, GO announced that it will be distributing a special net interim dividend of €0.41 per share “in view of the profits generated from the sale” of BMIT. The total interim dividend distribution of €41.5 million therefore represents 85 per cent of the overall proceeds received by the company.  In addition to the interim dividend arising from the BMIT windfall, GO’s directors are also recommending an ordinary net dividend of €0.14 per share. This represents an increase of 7.7 per cent over last year’s ordinary dividend. The combined dividend of...

Political arguments

After reading what I am about to quote from the latest of Adrian Delia’s hysterical speeches, one can decide whether to laugh or cry. I will refrain from commenting on Delia’s surreal arguments leaving such comments to readers. This is what he said: In si
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Political arguments

After reading what I am about to quote from the latest of Adrian Delia’s hysterical speeches, one can decide whether to laugh or cry. I will refrain from commenting on Delia’s surreal arguments leaving such comments to readers. This is what he said: In six years, this government has not launched one project. This government did not only succeed in weakening and allowing the collapse of the foundations of every structure that makes a country democratic but also broken them up. Those who did not join the Nationalist Party in its fight is corrupt. The PN is the party of women. I had predicted that, as the May 25 election looms closer, Delia would probably regale us with even more ludicrous arguments than he has already done. Will you now laugh or cry?

Goretzka strike salvages a draw for new-look Germany

Leon Goretzka spared coach Joachim Loew a humiliating defeat with a second-half equaliser as a new-look Germany side were held to a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's friendly against Serbia. Having controversially dropped veterans Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thoma
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Goretzka strike salvages a draw for new-look Germany

Leon Goretzka spared coach Joachim Loew a humiliating defeat with a second-half equaliser as a new-look Germany side were held to a 1-1 draw in Wednesday's friendly against Serbia. Having controversially dropped veterans Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels and Thomas Mueller from the national squad two weeks ago, coach Loew had announced the beginning of a «new era» ahead of Wednesday's game. The young Germany side looked comfortable in the opening exchanges, but Serbia scored with their first chance on 12 minutes. A fortunate deflection at a corner found Luka Jovic unmarked in front of goal, and the Eintracht Frankfurt striker nodded the ball past Manuel Neuer. Germany brought on Marco Reus and Leon Goretzka in the second half, and set about grinding down a solid Serbian defence. On the odd occasion Germany did break through, Serbian goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic frustrated the hosts with strong saves. But after Leroy Sane and Ilkay Gundogan could not take chances, Goretzka equalised on 69 minutes, lashing the ball past Dmitrovic from the edge of the box. Germany will open their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign when they face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on Sunday.   Germany - Serbia Live...

Salvini and the Mona Lisa

I found the remarks by Matteo Salvini typical of his heavy, Lega humour, about the “detention” of the Mona Lisa in the Paris Louvre quite amusing if ill-informed. The Mona Lisa was, in fact, sold to the King of France by Leonardo or his direct heirs. So I
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Salvini and the Mona Lisa

I found the remarks by Matteo Salvini typical of his heavy, Lega humour, about the “detention” of the Mona Lisa in the Paris Louvre quite amusing if ill-informed. The Mona Lisa was, in fact, sold to the King of France by Leonardo or his direct heirs. So Italian demands to have it back as of right are ill-founded, despite any French ‘provocation’ on quite unconnected matters. Salvini could just as well have cited the French attempt to annex the French-speaking Val d’Aosta in 1945 or, going much further back and possibly closer to Salvini’s heart, the destruction of the Lombard kingdom by Charlemagne, as “reasons” for having the Mona Lisa back in Italy by way of ‘reparation’. But there was in fact a Salvini precursor. In 1911, an Italian carpenter working in Paris stole the Mona Lisa from the Louvre and carried it to Italy, offering it for sale to the director of the Uffizi gallery, in Florence. Once he had got over the initial shock, the director contacted the police. The carpenter was arrested and the Mona Lisa was restored to its rightful place in the Louvre, after a triumphant ‘procession’ through then Lega-free, northern Italy. But if Salvini needs an outlet for his...

Alexander-Arnold pulls out of England squad

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has withdrawn from the England squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers due to a back injury. Alexander-Arnold had been struggling with the problem before linking up with England and on Wednesday it was decided the right-
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Alexander-Arnold pulls out of England squad

Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold has withdrawn from the England squad for their Euro 2020 qualifiers due to a back injury. Alexander-Arnold had been struggling with the problem before linking up with England and on Wednesday it was decided the right-back wouldn't recover in time to feature against the Czech Republic and Montenegro. The 20-year-old has returned to Liverpool to continue treatment on the injury with a view to featuring for the Premier League leaders after the international break. «Trent Alexander-Arnold has withdrawn from the England squad and returned to Liverpool,» a Football Association statement read. «The right-back arrived nursing a back injury and, despite progress in recent days, it was unlikely he would be able to play a role in the forthcoming UEFA EURO 2020 qualifiers. »The 20-year-old will now continue his rehabilitation at his club leaving Gareth Southgate with a 22-man squad." World Cup semi-finalists England host the Czech Republic in their opening qualifier at Wembley on Friday before travelling to Montenegro for the second Group A match on Monday. Manchester City's Kyle Walker and Tottenham's Kieran Trippier are the other specialist right...

PN votes for suspension of Orban's Fidesz from EPP

The Fidesz party of firebrand Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was suspended from the European People's Party Wednesday, the EU's biggest and most influential political grouping, the EPP said. The Nationalist Party voted in favour of the suspension. A to
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PN votes for suspension of Orban's Fidesz from EPP

The Fidesz party of firebrand Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was suspended from the European People's Party Wednesday, the EU's biggest and most influential political grouping, the EPP said. The Nationalist Party voted in favour of the suspension. A total 190 party members voted in favour of the suspension, with only three against, after reports of long and often heated discussions with Orban at a meeting in Brussels. Fidesz had faced expulsion from the EPP after running a controversial billboard campaign that accused European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker and liberal US billionaire George Soros, a bete-noire of Orban, of plotting to flood Europe with migrants. The campaign has since been dropped and Orban has apologised for insulting partners from the EPP - the mainstream conservative group of MEPs - though the party leadership had warned this was not enough. A statement said the suspension was a joint decision by Fidesz and the EPP in a last minute re-wording intended to stop Orban from slamming the door on the group forever. Sanctioning Orban has split the EPP, amid concern that the Hungarian leader will team up with Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini,...

Short walk once-a-week can lower risk of death

A brisk stroll once or twice a week is enough to reduce the risk of dying from heart attack, stroke or cancer, according to a statistical study of nearly 90,000 people released Tuesday. People who walked or gardened 10 minutes to an hour each week had an 18%
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Short walk once-a-week can lower risk of death

A brisk stroll once or twice a week is enough to reduce the risk of dying from heart attack, stroke or cancer, according to a statistical study of nearly 90,000 people released Tuesday. People who walked or gardened 10 minutes to an hour each week had an 18% lower risk of death from any cause compared to full-on couch potatoes, researchers reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Two-and-a-half to five hours weekly of such «moderate physical activity» - broken into segments of no less than 10 minutes - resulted in a 31% reduction in risk, they found. And those who clocked up at least 25 hours almost halved the risk. Not everyone, however, has that much time to spend on leisure-time exercise, the authors acknowledged. Heart-pumping and pulse-quickening activities such as biking, running and competitive sports «are more time-efficient than moderate intensity activity,» they said. For cardiovascular disease alone, there was no additional benefit to be gained by graduating from five to 25 hours, they noted. Researchers led by Bo Xi, a professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Shandong University in northern China, sifted through data collected annually on 88,140...

Ornis Committee recommends spring hunt for quail

The Ornis Committee will be recommending to the government a spring hunt for quail from April 10 to 30, from two hours before sunrise up to midday, with no individual bag limit, and a national bag limit of 5,000 birds. The decision was taken with five votes f
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Ornis Committee recommends spring hunt for quail

The Ornis Committee will be recommending to the government a spring hunt for quail from April 10 to 30, from two hours before sunrise up to midday, with no individual bag limit, and a national bag limit of 5,000 birds. The decision was taken with five votes for and two against. This followed a hunters proposal for a quail hunt between the above dates and a turtle dove hunt from April 15 to 30. In a statement, the hunters’ federation, FKNK, said it made its recommendation on the basis of its report “Traditional Turtle Dove Hunting in Spring on the Maltese Islands – Lifting of the Moratorium”. Committee members requested more time to evaluate the FKNK report, which urges the government to immediately lift the moratorium and open discussions with the EU Commission for a long term solution to be reached on the hunting of turtle doves. A decision on the turtle dove season will be taken at the next meeting to be held shortly.

Italy's Senate blocks Salvini migrant trial

Italy's Senate voted Wednesday to block the trial of far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for allegedly illegally confining migrants rescued at sea by an Italian coastguard ship last year. Senators voted 237 to 61 in favour of the immunity commission's
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Italy's Senate blocks Salvini migrant trial

Italy's Senate voted Wednesday to block the trial of far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini for allegedly illegally confining migrants rescued at sea by an Italian coastguard ship last year. Senators voted 237 to 61 in favour of the immunity commission's recommendation that Salvini, who heads the anti-immigrant League party, should not face trial. The case relates to the rescue in August of 190 people by Italy's Diciotti coast guard ship, who were left stuck at sea for five days without permission to dock. Thirteen migrants with health problems were eventually disembarked on Lampedusa island off Italy's southern tip. The ship then headed to Catania in Sicily, but was blocked for another five days before the remaining 177 migrants were allowed off. The permission came only once the interior minister had been assured that other European countries would take them in. A Catania prosecutor opened an investigation into the case but in November decided not to press charges. However, a ministers' tribunal, made up of three judges chosen at random, asked the Senate for permission to go ahead with a trial. Italy's constitution says that parliament can block proceedings if lawmakers...

Eggs and health: unscrambling the message

It’s hard to keep up with the message on eggs. Are they good for you or not? In the 1960s, people were told: “Go to work on an egg”. But in the 1970s the public was advised to avoid eggs because they were linked to high blood cholesterol. The negative p
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Eggs and health: unscrambling the message

It’s hard to keep up with the message on eggs. Are they good for you or not? In the 1960s, people were told: “Go to work on an egg”. But in the 1970s the public was advised to avoid eggs because they were linked to high blood cholesterol. The negative press on eggs continued in the 1980s when raw eggs were linked to salmonella poisoning. The message changed in 1999 when a study, published in JAMA, a leading medical journal, found no link between egg consumption and the risk of cardiovascular disease – except possibly in people with type 2 diabetes. This lack of a relationship between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease was reaffirmed in 2013 in an analysis of 17 reports of studies involving over 3m participants. Indeed, eggs seemed to have been rehabilitated as part of a healthy diet, so much so that it became fashionable to keep chickens. Eggs were in the news again in 2018 when a report from China on half a million people noted a lower incidence of cardiovascular disease (mainly haemorrhagic stroke) in people who regularly ate eggs, for reasons that remain uncertain but could be due their to contribution to protein intake, as suggested by previous studies in Japan,...

Freedom Day sparks debate on 60 eventful years in Malta’s contemporary history

A public discussion commemorating Freedom Day will spark a debate on one of Malta’s most controversial periods in contemporary history (1955-2004) – with the participation of historians Mark Camilleri, Henry Frendo and former prime minister Alfred Sant. T
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Freedom Day sparks debate on 60 eventful years in Malta’s contemporary history

A public discussion commemorating Freedom Day will spark a debate on one of Malta’s most controversial periods in contemporary history (1955-2004) – with the participation of historians Mark Camilleri, Henry Frendo and former prime minister Alfred Sant. The discussion will examine whether Dom Mintoff’s proposal for Integration with Great Britain was a forerunner of EU accession 60 years later. The Integration proposal with Great Britain, approved in 1956 by 77 per cent of the participating 59.1 per cent of the electorate was never implemented. This was followed by Mintoff’s resignation from government in 1958, Malta’s Independence in 1964, the withdrawal of British troops and the Royal Navy from Malta in 1979 and Malta’s accession to the EU in 2004.     “The question of national identity is indissolubly linked to the historical days we hold as dear. However, and here lies the catch, we do not all agree on which of those days should have precedence over others and which historical commemoration should be honoured as the one representing our national character the most. Our identity as a people seems to be in a tangle. Though we would very much like to think that we have travelled...

Gudja coach Mansueto keen to wrap up promotion

Qrendi 0Gudja United 2 Gudja coach Josef Mansueto has urged his players to handle the pressure as the southerners took another step towards promotion when they beat lowly Qrendi 2-0. It was a deserved victory for Gudja who scored a goal in each half to wrap u
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Gudja coach Mansueto keen to wrap up promotion

Qrendi 0Gudja United 2 Gudja coach Josef Mansueto has urged his players to handle the pressure as the southerners took another step towards promotion when they beat lowly Qrendi 2-0. It was a deserved victory for Gudja who scored a goal in each half to wrap up the points in a match they held the upperhand throughout. The result enabled Gudja to strengthen their grip on second place as they have now surged seven points clear of third-placed Sta Luċija who suffered a surprising defeat to Mqabba. “This was a very important victory for us,” Mansueto told the Times of Malta. “We have a very good advantage on the teams behind us but it’s important that we keep control of our nerves in the final weeks of the season to ensure we can finish the job. “The team is in a good position but we need to show a positive frame of mind by winning our remaining matches.” Gudja were in control from the outset and they deservedly took the lead after 27 minutes when Dhonatan Santos Da Hora put them ahead after a fine run. The southerners created several scoring chances but failed to put the ball into the net. Their pressure was finally rewarded in stoppage time when Raphael Kooh Sohna made it 2-0 to...

British PM to seek short Brexit delay - EU will not decide this week

British Prime Minister Theresa May, frustrated with MPs' indecision, will ask Brussels on Wednesday for a short delay to Brexit, the BBC reported, citing a Downing Street official. But EU Commission president Juncker said no decision by the EU is expected at
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British PM to seek short Brexit delay - EU will not decide this week

British Prime Minister Theresa May, frustrated with MPs' indecision, will ask Brussels on Wednesday for a short delay to Brexit, the BBC reported, citing a Downing Street official. But EU Commission president Juncker said no decision by the EU is expected at this week's EU summit of EU leaders. With lawmakers deadlocked over the way forward on Britain's 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union -- scheduled to take place in just nine days' time -- May will ask for a short delay, the BBC said. «PM won't be asking for a long extension,» it quoted a Downing Street official as saying on the eve of a summit with EU leaders in Brussels. «There is a case for giving parliament a bit more time to agree a way forward, but the people of this country have been waiting nearly three years now. »They are fed up with parliament's failure to take a decision and the PM shares their frustration." Exasperated European leaders are demanding London tell them clearly what it wants, warning that the risk still remains that Britain could crash out of the bloc on March 29, ending its 46-year membership without formal arrangements. The British premier is struggling to keep control of the Brexit...

Saints’ power tells in the end

San Ġiljan continued where they left off last season by lifting the Enemed Cup after defeating  Sirens at the National Pool yesterday. There is reason to believe that San Ġiljan’s latest triumph will set the stage for more titles to come. San Ġiljan men
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Saints’ power tells in the end

San Ġiljan continued where they left off last season by lifting the Enemed Cup after defeating  Sirens at the National Pool yesterday. There is reason to believe that San Ġiljan’s latest triumph will set the stage for more titles to come. San Ġiljan mentor Marko Orlovic told Times of Malta that yesterday’s Enemed Cup triumph points to a bright future at the club. “We still in pre-season. The target is definitely not the Enemed Cup but it’s always nice to lift a cup,” Orlovic said. “With Dino Zammit back in top form, our youngsters given more time in the water and the inclusion of Kai Dowling, this Cup offered us a good opportunity to build the foundations for the summer season,” he added. This time San Ġiljan had to see off  Sirens who looked tenacious until the Saints’ power told in the end.  It was a balanced affair throughout, with the Saints taking an early lead through Ben Plumpton after which they had to chase their opponents until the closing stages of the second session. Early in the third session, Sirens goalkeeper Nicholas Grixti was prominent with an amazing double save on Plumpton. The scoreline went fluctuating with Aquilina for Sirens and Matthew Zammit for San...

Manoel Theatre celebrates European Day of Early Music

European Early Music network Rema (Reseau Europeen De Musique Ancienne) will be celebrating European Day of Early Music tomorrow. The Monteverdi Project in Malta will join these celebrations and offer a programme of vocal secular music at St Gregory’s churc
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Manoel Theatre celebrates European Day of Early Music

European Early Music network Rema (Reseau Europeen De Musique Ancienne) will be celebrating European Day of Early Music tomorrow. The Monteverdi Project in Malta will join these celebrations and offer a programme of vocal secular music at St Gregory’s church in Żejtun. The first part of this celebration concert will present Monteverdi madrigals and extracts from the opera L’Orfeo, followed by madrigals for five voices by Scarlatti. The second part covers vocal music by Giovanni Felice Sances, Bartolomeo Barbarino and Giovanni Ghizzolo. The original print of Il Terzo libro dei Madrigali et Arie (1613) by Ghizzolo is conserved at the Mdina Cathedral Archives. Performed consecutively, these works form a kind of ‘pasticcio’, telling fragments of a love story that can easily be understood by the audience. What makes these works special is that they are preformed for the first time in this modern age. What few people know, says Mgr John Azzopardi, curator of the Cathedral Archives, is that we possess a very rich collection of 17th century manuscripts and printed scores by numerous Italian and three Maltese composers, as well as a vast collection of Maltese 18th century...

Drought wipes a lake in Chile off the map

The cows and horses would have come for the last blades of grass. Now their bones are scattered on the cracked earth, victims of drought that wiped Santiago's weekend playground Lake Aculeo from the map. Lake Aculeo's demise is so sudden and complete it seem
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Drought wipes a lake in Chile off the map

The cows and horses would have come for the last blades of grass. Now their bones are scattered on the cracked earth, victims of drought that wiped Santiago's weekend playground Lake Aculeo from the map. Lake Aculeo's demise is so sudden and complete it seems as if someone had pulled a giant plug and let all the water out. So sudden was it that as recently as 2011 the 4.6 square-mile (12 square-kilometer) lagoon was a thriving weekend getaway for people from the Chilean capital an hour away. Thousands came here to swim, water-ski, sail or simply cool off in the long austral summer. They camped along its shores and lined up for tables at busy lakeside restaurants. Now, water and cooling summers on Lake Aculeo are a fast receding memory. «We have been suffering drought for 10 years, and now the lake has disappeared, with tourism, camping, business, everything,» laments Marcos Contreras, a campsite employee. Wooden jetties now poke out grotesquely over the flat plain of the lakebed. Canoes and speedboats gather dust on the former lakeshore. A giant sign on the approach shows the lake as it was -- stark blue against the backdrop of the towering Andes -- saying "Help us to protect...

Divided opposition over new Gozo Regional Development Authority

The Democratic Party on Monday will be voting alongside the government in parliament for the setting up of a Regional Development Authority for Gozo, breaking ranks with the Nationalist Party, which is to vote against. The PD said on Monday that the authorit
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Divided opposition over new Gozo Regional Development Authority

The Democratic Party on Monday will be voting alongside the government in parliament for the setting up of a Regional Development Authority for Gozo, breaking ranks with the Nationalist Party, which is to vote against. The PD said on Monday that the authority was in line with its vision for Gozo, reducing the ability of the minister responsible for Gozo to run it like his or her own personal fiefdom. But the Nationalist Party argued last month that the authority would be appointed and controlled by the minister. PN leader Adrian Delia told a press conference that the PN wanted to see the setting up a regional council for Gozo that would be elected directly by Gozitans and would have executive powers on all that affected Gozo and its development. The PD in its statement on Monday said it hoped that the Labour government, «now notoriously famous for its toxic tentacles in supposedly autonomous state institutions» would give the new authority for Gozo the space to deliver what it had been created to produce. "Legislating is useless unless the will exists to give life to that legislation,” stated party leader Godfrey Farrugia.  

Brexit? What Brexit? - Rodolfo Ragonesi

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,
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Brexit? What Brexit? - Rodolfo Ragonesi

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...

One of the oldest streetscapes in St Julian's faces development, but residents are having none of it

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 propose
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One of the oldest streetscapes in St Julian's faces development, but residents are having none of it

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...

Today's front pages - March 20, 2019

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 Wednesda
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Today's front pages - March 20, 2019

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.  

Russian confrontation - Martin Scicluna

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 th
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Russian confrontation - Martin Scicluna

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...

Signs for worth while retirement - Godfrey Farrugia

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 qu
timesofmalta.com

Signs for worth while retirement - Godfrey Farrugia

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...

Italy seizes blocked NGO migrant ship

Italy seized control Tuesday of an NGO ship it had prevented from landing nearly 50 migrants picked up off the Libyan coast, the interior ministry said. The authorities «are in the process of taking control of the Mare Jonio, escorting the boat into th
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Italy seizes blocked NGO migrant ship

Italy seized control Tuesday of an NGO ship it had prevented from landing nearly 50 migrants picked up off the Libyan coast, the interior ministry said. The authorities «are in the process of taking control of the Mare Jonio, escorting the boat into the (southern) port of Lampedusa,» it said. «Questioning of the crew could following in the next few hours,» it added. Hardline Interior Minister said the action showed «that from here on in Italy has a government which defends its borders and enforces respect of its laws, above all as regards human traffickers.» Salvini had on Monday reiterated that Italy's ports were «closed» to new migrant arrivals, insisting his hardline approach to asylum seekers since last summer has effectively stopped departures from crisis-hit Libya. He said the Italian-flagged Mare Jonio had not carried out a rescue operation but instead «aided illegal immigration». «They can be cared for, nourished, clothed, whatever you like, but they won't get permission from me to step foot in Italy.» As the debate raged over the ship's fate, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said another dinghy with an unknown number of migrants on board had sunk off...

FKNK report proposes 2019 turtle dove spring hunting

A report proposing lifting the moratorium on spring hunting has been submitted to the government and the Nationalist Party by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation. The report, “Traditional Turtle Dove Hunting in Spring on the Maltese Islands – Lift
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FKNK report proposes 2019 turtle dove spring hunting

A report proposing lifting the moratorium on spring hunting has been submitted to the government and the Nationalist Party by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation. The report, “Traditional Turtle Dove Hunting in Spring on the Maltese Islands – Lifting of the Moratorium”, is based on research and studies undertaken by the FKNK since the introduction of the moratorium in 2016. The FKNK said that, on the basis of the findings, results, discussions and relative validation analysis made in the report, the FKNK believed that the Maltese government can immediately lift the current moratorium. It said that since the report thoroughly demonstrated that Malta’s turtle dove spring harvest had a nil effect on the breeding populations in Europe’s reference population countries, the government could apply a derogation to permit turtle dove hunting in the spring of 2019. The report, the FKNK said, was carried out without prejudice to the hunting of the quail in spring. The FKNK urged the government to show its political will and immediately open discussions with the European Commission for a long term solution to be reached on the matter.

288kg of cocaine found hidden inside containers

Cocaine with an estimated value of €32.4 million was found hidden inside four containers at the Malta Freeport, Customs announced on Tuesday evening.   The drug haul was made after Customs officials scanned 12 containers coming from a country in South Ame
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288kg of cocaine found hidden inside containers

Cocaine with an estimated value of €32.4 million was found hidden inside four containers at the Malta Freeport, Customs announced on Tuesday evening.   The drug haul was made after Customs officials scanned 12 containers coming from a country in South America and bound for an unnamed EU member state.  Four of the containers, which were loaded with fruit, were flagged during scans.  In three of them, packets were spotted in refrigerant compressor compartments. In the other, suspicious packages were noted hidden behind the paneling of an inner compartment. Physical searches of the four containers revealed their true contents.  The containers were carrying 96kg, 82.8kg, 64.8kg and 44.4kg of cocaine respectively. In total, Customs officials found 240 packets of the drug weighing a total of 288kg.  The case is now the subject of a police anti drug squad investigation. An inquiry is also being held.  Other big cocaine hauls were made by Customs last year. In February of 2018, 100kg of cocaine were detected in a container at the Freeport and sent under controlled delivery  to Croatia, where a huge criminal gang was arrested. In November, 44kg of pure cocaine was found in a container...

Ronaldo ban would be 'crazy', says Juve team-mate Bernardeschi

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus teammate Federico Bernardeschi said Tuesday it would be «crazy» for UEFA to suspend the Portuguese forward for his controversial goal celebration. Ronaldo faces UEFA charges for «improper conduct» after mim
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Ronaldo ban would be 'crazy', says Juve team-mate Bernardeschi

Cristiano Ronaldo's Juventus teammate Federico Bernardeschi said Tuesday it would be «crazy» for UEFA to suspend the Portuguese forward for his controversial goal celebration. Ronaldo faces UEFA charges for «improper conduct» after mimicking Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone's crotch-grabbing 'cojones' gesture after his hat-trick in Juventus' Champions League comeback win. «It's something that I don't think needs looking at, it (a suspension) would be crazy,» international winger Bernardeschi told a press conference ahead of Italy's Euro 2020 qualifiers. «I think it'll end there, it was a celebration, a gesture. I see him calm and relaxed, as we all are. I'm sure everything will be fine.» Bernadeschi believes Italy can learn from Juventus who came from two goals down in the first leg against Atletico to win the last 16 tie 3-2 on aggregate, and next play Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam in the quarter-finals. «We wrote a piece of history,» said the 25-year-old. «Cristiano is an absolute champion. He gives us so much, he has the charisma of the champion. Staying by his side every day allows you to learn many things.» Italy begin their Euro 2020 campaign at home against Finland in...

Health Ministry ‘insists’ on IT contract renewal

Pressure is being mounted on the Finance Ministry to approve the renewal of a lucrative IT contract provided at Mater Dei Hospital by a company owned by the husband of Health Minister Chris Fearne’s chief of staff, Finance Ministry, sources told Times of Ma
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Health Ministry ‘insists’ on IT contract renewal

Pressure is being mounted on the Finance Ministry to approve the renewal of a lucrative IT contract provided at Mater Dei Hospital by a company owned by the husband of Health Minister Chris Fearne’s chief of staff, Finance Ministry, sources told Times of Malta. The sources said that as a contract connected to the maintenance of the Patient Administration System – known as CPAS – is coming to an end in a few months’ time, pressure is being mounted on the Finance Ministry to approve a direct order contract to Cursor Ltd to continue with the job without the need for a new tender. “They (the Health Ministry) want us to issue the CPAS contract renewal through a direct order to the same company supplying the system since 2013. This is not on and we are resisting it as technology changes and other operators should be given a chance. However, pressure is increasing week-in-week-out and it will soon reach our minister,” a senior official said on condition of anonymity. Asked to state when the current contract with Cursor Ltd will expire, how much has the company been paid so far and whether a new public tender will be issued, a spokeswoman for the Health Ministry at first refused to...

No, sadly a French minister didn't call her cat 'Brexit'

Despite reports to the contrary, French Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau has not named her cat «Brexit», her office said on Tuesday. Reports began circulating on Sunday after the Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported that the 54-year-old had writ
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No, sadly a French minister didn't call her cat 'Brexit'

Despite reports to the contrary, French Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau has not named her cat «Brexit», her office said on Tuesday. Reports began circulating on Sunday after the Journal du Dimanche newspaper reported that the 54-year-old had written about her pet on her private Facebook page. «I've ended up calling my cat Brexit,» the paper quoted Loiseau as writing. «It wakes me up meowing like crazy every morning because it wants to go out, but as soon as I open the door, it just sits there undecided and then looks angry when I put it outside.» The joke at British expense - an allusion to Britain's inability to decide when and how it wants to leave the European Union - was picked up by numerous London-based newspapers and American media outlets, and amplified on social media. But it was in fact just a joke as «Brexit» the cat - unlike the cat thought up as an experiment by Austrian physicist Erwin Schroedinger - is neither alive, nor dead. It simply does not exist. «It was a joke, obviously,» Loiseau told Radio J on Sunday afternoon. «I don't have a cat.» This did not stop her facing a question from a British journalist at EU negotiations in Brussels on Tuesday who enquired...

Barnier warns any Brexit delay would come at 'cost' to EU

The European Union's chief negotiator warned Tuesday any extension of the Brexit talks would come at a cost to the bloc, urging London not to take one for granted. Michel Barnier said when EU leaders meet to consider any request to postpone Brexit beyond Marc
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Barnier warns any Brexit delay would come at 'cost' to EU

The European Union's chief negotiator warned Tuesday any extension of the Brexit talks would come at a cost to the bloc, urging London not to take one for granted. Michel Barnier said when EU leaders meet to consider any request to postpone Brexit beyond March 29 they would expect Britain to explain why it might help. Prime Minister Theresa May is expected to send a letter in the coming hours to ask EU leaders to delay Brexit as Britain seeks an orderly divorce. The leaders, who will meet May on Thursday at their Brussels summit, are expected to approve an extension to avoid the chaos of a cliff-edge split. But it is still not clear whether May can command a House of Commons majority to approve the deal she signed in November and remains the only one available. Barnier told reporters the leaders would decide but that any «long extension... should be linked to something new, a new element or new political process.» «Extending the uncertainty without a clear plan would add to the economic cost for our businesses but could also incur a political cost for the EU,» he said. «It is for the British government and parliament to decide very quickly what the UK wants to do next.» If, for...

May to submit plan for delaying Brexit by Wednesday

British Prime Minister Theresa May will write to EU President Donald Tusk with a plan for delaying Brexit beyond March 29, her spokesman said Tuesday, admitting the parliamentary deadlock had reached crisis levels. The letter will be sent before May heads to
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May to submit plan for delaying Brexit by Wednesday

British Prime Minister Theresa May will write to EU President Donald Tusk with a plan for delaying Brexit beyond March 29, her spokesman said Tuesday, admitting the parliamentary deadlock had reached crisis levels. The letter will be sent before May heads to a Brussels summit on Thursday, where she has already promised to seek what could be a lengthy postponement of Britain's exit from the European Union. May had hoped to persuade MPs before then to back the divorce agreement she has struck with the EU, but her plan to hold a fresh vote was dramatically blocked by the speaker of the House of Commons. Exasperated European leaders are now demanding London tell them clearly what it wants, warning that the risk still remains that Britain could crash out of the bloc in 10 days, ending its 46-year membership without formal arrangements. Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief negotiator, warned on Tuesday that any extension of the Brexit talks would have «political and economic costs» for the remaining 27 EU states. «A long extension... should be linked to something new, a new element or new political process,» Barnier told reporters, urging May to secure the backing of the British...

Pope rejects resignation of French cardinal in sex abuse cover-up

Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was handed a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report sex abuse by a priest under his authority, the cardinal said on Tuesday. «Monday morning, I handed over m
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Pope rejects resignation of French cardinal in sex abuse cover-up

Pope Francis has rejected the resignation of French Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who was handed a six-month suspended sentence for failing to report sex abuse by a priest under his authority, the cardinal said on Tuesday. «Monday morning, I handed over my mission to the Holy Father. He spoke of the presumption of innocence and did not accept this resignation,» Barbarin, who has appealed his sentence, said in a statement from his see in the southeastern city of Lyon. The 68-year-old is the most senior French cleric caught up in the global paedophilia scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church. On March 7 a Lyon court ruled that Barbarin, a cardinal since 2003, was guilty of failing to report allegations of abuse of boy scouts committed by a priest, Bernard Preynat, in the 1980s and 1990s. After the ruling, Barbarin said he would go to Rome to tender his resignation. The pope had previously defended the cardinal, saying in 2016 that his resignation before a trial would be «an error, imprudent». Barbarin's lawyer has announced plans to fight the guilty ruling, which was hailed by abuse victims as ushering in a new period of accountability in the French Church. The case came as the...

'Fascist' perfume, flatulent hippo star in Israel election social media war

A new ad with an elegantly dressed minister using «fascist» perfume drew online outrage Tuesday, the latest in a social media war ahead of an Israeli election that has also featured a flatulent hippo. Israeli law prevents political ads from being
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'Fascist' perfume, flatulent hippo star in Israel election social media war

A new ad with an elegantly dressed minister using «fascist» perfume drew online outrage Tuesday, the latest in a social media war ahead of an Israeli election that has also featured a flatulent hippo. Israeli law prevents political ads from being aired on television until two weeks before the April 9 election, so parties have flooded social media with clips instead. The elections are expected to be close and social media is playing a part in the campaign as never before. Messaging tool WhatsApp is particularly popular among Israelis and makes sharing clips easy, though Facebook and Twitter are also unavoidable in the self-proclaimed «start-up nation,» known for its high-tech prowess. «There's very heavy use of the internet in campaigning, but it's a wild west,» said Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler of the Israel Democracy Institute think tank. «There's no regulation.» In keeping with Israel's seldom subtle political scene, many clips have been over the top, and the one released late on Monday featuring Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked pushed lots of buttons. The ad, viewed hundreds of thousands of times on social media, tries to play on accusations from her critics that Shaked has...

Social media could stop spread of hateful content in aftermath of terror attacks

The deadly attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed and many others critically injured, was streamed live on Facebook by the man accused of carrying it out. It was then quickly shared across social media platforms. Ve
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Social media could stop spread of hateful content in aftermath of terror attacks

The deadly attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in which 50 people were killed and many others critically injured, was streamed live on Facebook by the man accused of carrying it out. It was then quickly shared across social media platforms. Versions of the livestream attack video stayed online for a worrying amount of time. A report by the Guardian found that one video stayed on Facebook for six hours and another on YouTube for three. For many, the quick and seemingly unstoppable spread of this video typifies everything that is wrong with social media: toxic, hate-filled content which goes viral and is seen by millions. But we should avoid scapegoating the big platforms. All of them (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google, Snapchat) are signed up to the European Commission’s #NoPlace4Hate programme. They are committed to removing illegal hateful content within 24 hours, a time period which is likely to come down to just one hour. Aside from anything else, they are aware of the reputational risks of being associated with terrorism and other harmful content (such as pornography, suicide, paedophilia) and are increasingly devoting considerable resources to removing it.