Malta
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Rent prices a struggle for former drug abusers

Finding affordable accommodation has become a huge stumbling block for some of those who complete Caritas’ drug rehabilitation programme, director Leonid McKay warned on Wednesday evening. “Rent prices have skyrocketed… Having decent and affordable acco
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Rent prices a struggle for former drug abusers

Finding affordable accommodation has become a huge stumbling block for some of those who complete Caritas’ drug rehabilitation programme, director Leonid McKay warned on Wednesday evening. “Rent prices have skyrocketed… Having decent and affordable accommodation is a right, not a commodity and the state needs to ensure that this right is safeguarded for every individual,” Mr McKay said. He was speaking in San Blas, at the graduation of seven men and three women, aged between 23 and 53, from Caritas’ rehabilitation programme. Recovery was a lifelong journey, and Caritas was especially focusing on aftercare in the two years after the programme, he said. “Completing the residential programme does not mean that your problems have come to an end. I will mention only one of the biggest obstacles – especially for those who do not have a house to return to or need to avoid their previous negative environment. “Finding affordable accommodation once a person starts reintegrating within society has become a huge obstacle.” Caritas Malta’s director commended the investment in social housing, adding he looked forward to proposals about the rental market. Damage of Cannabis outweighs...

Malta one of main refugee host countries

Malta hosted 19 refugees for every 1,000 inhabitants last year, putting it among the main host countries in the world, a new United Nations report has found. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report on displacement found that Sweden was the on
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Malta one of main refugee host countries

Malta hosted 19 refugees for every 1,000 inhabitants last year, putting it among the main host countries in the world, a new United Nations report has found. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report on displacement found that Sweden was the only European country to have a higher ratio, at 24 refugees for every 1,000 inhabitants. Last year, there were approximately 8,000 refugees on the island, the report found, nearly half of whom had received assistance from UNHCR. Malta had another 1,378 pending asylum applications and 11 people who claimed to be stateless – or not considered to be a national by any State under the operation of its law.  UNHCR said that there were nearly 10,000 people living in Malta who were considered the “population of concern” when it came to displacement and status. The flow of migration, especially in the central Mediterranean, has been in the national and international spotlight in recent weeks, ever since the Maltese and Italian governments locked horns over a boat carrying more than 600 migrants earlier this month. The two countries declined to allow the vessel carrying the rescued migrants to dock, with the boat eventually being...

Kilauea sends 'lavaberg' floating off to sea

Tourists travelling in a boat were surprised by lava from Hawaii's fissure floating in the sea on Monday. Video of the floating lava was posted on social media and has since garnered at least 16,000 views. Social media user, Joshua Burbank, who filmed the vid
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Kilauea sends 'lavaberg' floating off to sea

Tourists travelling in a boat were surprised by lava from Hawaii's fissure floating in the sea on Monday. Video of the floating lava was posted on social media and has since garnered at least 16,000 views. Social media user, Joshua Burbank, who filmed the video captioned «One of the strangest things I've seen this week. It's a lavaberg, the size of a van, floating in the sea!» Kilauea's eruption began around six weeks ago, devastating Hawaii's Big Island. The volcano has destroyed hundreds of houses and has led to the evacuation of entire communities. Around two dozen fissures have opened on the volcano's flanks since it started, and experts say so far, there is no end in sight.

Trump backs down, signs order to end family separations at US border

US President Donald Trump backed down on Wednesday on an immigration policy that sparked outrage at home and abroad, signing an executive order to end the separation of children from their parents when immigrant families are caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico bo
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Trump backs down, signs order to end family separations at US border

US President Donald Trump backed down on Wednesday on an immigration policy that sparked outrage at home and abroad, signing an executive order to end the separation of children from their parents when immigrant families are caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. The order requires that immigrant families be detained together when they are caught entering the country illegally, although it was not immediately clear for how long. It also moves parents with children to the front of the line for immigration proceedings. The order does not end a «zero tolerance» policy that calls for criminal prosecution of immigrants crossing the border illegally. “It's about keeping families together while at the same time making sure that we have a very powerful, very strong border,” Trump said as he signed the order in a hastily arranged Oval Office gathering. Videos of youngsters in cages and an audiotape of wailing children had sparked anger in the United States from groups ranging from clergy to influential business leaders, as well as condemnation from abroad, including Pope Francis. Trump, a frequent viewer of cable television newscasts, had recognized the family separation issue...

Watch: Spain beat Iran 1-0 with Costa's third goal of World Cup

Spain squeezed 1-0 past dogged Iran in their World Cup Group B encounter on Wednesday thanks to a fortuitous goal from Diego Costa, but the Europeans suffered a string of second-half scares. The veteran forward notched his third goal in two games when Ramin R
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Watch: Spain beat Iran 1-0 with Costa's third goal of World Cup

Spain squeezed 1-0 past dogged Iran in their World Cup Group B encounter on Wednesday thanks to a fortuitous goal from Diego Costa, but the Europeans suffered a string of second-half scares. The veteran forward notched his third goal in two games when Ramin Rezaeian's attempted clearance bounced off the Spaniard's leg and into the net in the 54th minute. Though Spain had besieged the Iranian goal in the first half, they were on the back foot for parts of the second, with Karim Ansarifard rifling into the side netting, and Saeid Ezatolahi having a goal ruled out for offside by the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system. The result left Spain joint top of their group with Portugal on four points, but Iran close behind on three going into the third and final set of games. After two defeats, Morocco are out. Iran - Spain Live Score Standings provided by Sofascore LiveScore

Value for money? Major aid donors fail transparency test

Most of the world's biggest aid donors are failing to make public what their spending achieves, according to a study released on Wednesday that ranks China, the United Arab Emirates and Japan as the worst performers. Publish What You Fund, a campaign group, a
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Value for money? Major aid donors fail transparency test

Most of the world's biggest aid donors are failing to make public what their spending achieves, according to a study released on Wednesday that ranks China, the United Arab Emirates and Japan as the worst performers. Publish What You Fund, a campaign group, assessed the transparency of 45 organisations worldwide that spend at least $1 billion a year in aid to poor and crisis-affected countries.  One in four either failed to describe the projects they funded at all or described them in technical language that the public would struggle to understand, while only one in three reported the results of such projects. «This makes it very difficult for watchdogs, partner country governments and donors themselves to understand what is working and if the promised results are being achieved,» said Catherine Turner, the head of Publish What You Fund. China's Ministry of Commerce, which manages the country's foreign aid spending, was the worst performer, followed by the foreign ministries of the UAE and Japan. The Chinese embassy in London said China does not attach political strings to foreign assistance or interfere in the internal affairs of recipient countries. A UAE foreign ministry...

Highest temperature in May was 28.5˚C

With the air temperature averaging at 20.3˚C, the sea temperature averaging at 19.3˚C and around nine hours of daily sunshine, May weather was generally pleasant, heralding summer’s imminent arrival. The last weekend of the month was particularly summery
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Highest temperature in May was 28.5˚C

With the air temperature averaging at 20.3˚C, the sea temperature averaging at 19.3˚C and around nine hours of daily sunshine, May weather was generally pleasant, heralding summer’s imminent arrival. The last weekend of the month was particularly summery, with May 25 enjoying a maximum of 12.9 hours of sunshine and the air temperature rocketing to the month’s highest maximum of 28.5˚C two days later. On the other hand, the lowest minimum temperature dropped to 12.8˚C on the first Sunday of the month. While May was steeped in 279.6 hours of sunshine, this total was 19.5 hours less than the quota for this time of year. With no sunshine recorded, the second day was the month’s dullest. This was followed by another gloomy day, on which the sun shone for a fleeting 0.2 hours and a maximum gust of 35 knots blowing from a south-west by west direction was recorded. May was generally windier than expected, with the wind speed averaging at 9.4 knots rather than the 30-year climate mean of 8.6 knots. During the month, 5.4mm of precipitation were measured, with dew collected on three separate days contributing to this total. In addition to this, two thunderstorms were reported by the...

Watch: Ronaldo earns Portugal win

Cristiano Ronaldo powered-home a fourth-minute header to give Portugal a 1-0 World Cup victory over Morocco that took them top of Group B on Wednesday and meant the unlucky North African side become the first to be eliminated from the tournament.  Morocc
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Watch: Ronaldo earns Portugal win

Cristiano Ronaldo powered-home a fourth-minute header to give Portugal a 1-0 World Cup victory over Morocco that took them top of Group B on Wednesday and meant the unlucky North African side become the first to be eliminated from the tournament.  Morocco were the dominant side in the second half and Portugal were grateful to goalkeeper Rui Patricio for a fantastic diving low save to touch clear Younes Belhanda's sharp header, while Medhi Benatia blazed over the bar when he should have scored after an hour. However, Portugal held out and go on to complete their first-round against Iran while Morocco face Spain, both on June 25. 

Nine-year-old put into care after mother beat her

A nine-year-old girl was put into care after her mother admitted to beating her with a mobile phone cable, leaving marks which were noticed by the school authorities. The visibly upset mother, a44-year old Moroccan woman who earns a living as a maid, was gran
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Nine-year-old put into care after mother beat her

A nine-year-old girl was put into care after her mother admitted to beating her with a mobile phone cable, leaving marks which were noticed by the school authorities. The visibly upset mother, a44-year old Moroccan woman who earns a living as a maid, was granted bail after admitting to having overstepped the limits of discipline. The nine-year old admitted to the school officials that the marks had came from being beaten by her mother. Social services agency Appoġġ was informed, in turn reporting the matter to the police who immediately intervened. Marched to court on Wednesday afternoon, the woman, whose identity is not to be revealed under court order, admitted her actions, communicating her intention through an interpreter. Prosecuting inspector Paula Ciantar informed presiding magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras that the minor had first been taken to Appoġġ and was later entrusted to a residential home. Upon the woman’s admission, the court declared that it would put off judgment until a pre-sentencing report was drawn up in the minor’s best interests. Meanwhile, the court upheld a request for bail against a deposit of €150 and a personal guarantee of €5,000. The court also...

Greece expects decisions from Eurogroup on debt

Greece said on Wednesday it expected eurozone finance ministers to take decisions on Thursday outlining «substantive» measures to render the country's debt sustainable. Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos also said there was no truth in sp
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Greece expects decisions from Eurogroup on debt

Greece said on Wednesday it expected eurozone finance ministers to take decisions on Thursday outlining «substantive» measures to render the country's debt sustainable. Government spokesman Dimitris Tzanakopoulos also said there was no truth in speculation that a deal settling a name dispute with neighbouring Macedonia was tied in any way to Greek debt relief. «We are optimistic that we are on the verge of a solution with substance, which will have a multiplying effect to the already noted momentum of the Greek economy,» Tzanakopoulos told a news briefing. «The accepted criteria for all sides is that this solution be convincing for markets and embed the creditworthiness of our country, the final act in restoring the credibility of Greece to be able to plan for the next day like any ordinary country.» Eurozone finance ministers will discuss debt relief for Greece on Thursday to ensure the country can return to market financing after eight years of loans from eurozone governments and to enable sustained economic growth. Athens is set to formally exit a bailout programme in August, the third for the indebted country which first sought external aid in 2010. EU officials have...

South Korean leader demands 'concrete' plans for denuclearisation by North

South Korea's president has urged the North to show a plan for concrete steps towards denuclearisation, raising the pressure on Kim Jong Un during his visit to Beijing. The North Korean leader is on his third visit to China this year, to discuss the outcome o
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South Korean leader demands 'concrete' plans for denuclearisation by North

South Korea's president has urged the North to show a plan for concrete steps towards denuclearisation, raising the pressure on Kim Jong Un during his visit to Beijing. The North Korean leader is on his third visit to China this year, to discuss the outcome of his summit with Donald Trump, underscoring the major improvement in relations between the communist neighbours. A report by the Korean Central News Agency said Mr Kim expressed his gratitude to Chinese President Xi Jinping when they met on Tuesday. KCNA said that during a banquet hosted by Mr Xi, the North Korean also said Pyongyang and Beijing are seeing their ties develop into «unprecedentedly special relations». At the summit with the US president in Singapore, Mr Kim pledged to work towards denuclearisation in exchange for US security guarantees. The US and South Korea suspended a major joint military exercise planned for August in what was seen as a major victory for Pyongyang and its chief allies, China and Russia. In Seoul, President Moon Jae-in urged North Korea to present «far more concrete» plans on how to scrap its nuclear programme and the US to take unspecified corresponding measures swiftly. "It's necessary...

Your dyslexic kid has trouble reading? That may be about to change

Dylxesia is cracaeeitrhsd by dfliiutfcy with lnrnaeig to raed flulntey dstipee nmoarl iitcelnlngee. If you found it difficult to read that phrase, you can start to understand how people with dyslexia feel each time they open a book. This is set to change, tho
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Your dyslexic kid has trouble reading? That may be about to change

Dylxesia is cracaeeitrhsd by dfliiutfcy with lnrnaeig to raed flulntey dstipee nmoarl iitcelnlngee. If you found it difficult to read that phrase, you can start to understand how people with dyslexia feel each time they open a book. This is set to change, though, with the first Maltese fiction reader for children with a font that, rather than being dyslexia-friendly, is designed for people with dyslexia. Merlin Publishers will soon be publishing Għand Rebus Totall, from the new series Is-Saħħar ta’ Petut by Clare Azzopardi, using this font, which was created following research that lasted nearly a decade. Parents and teachers often ask for books that are specifically for children with dyslexia – a common reading condition that negatively impacts many children’s ability to share in the joy of reading, Merlin director Chris Gruppetta told the Times of Malta. However, the size of the Maltese market meant it was not feasible to have different editions of a book – one with regular and another with dyslexia-friendly fonts. Dr Gruppetta was always reluctant to use dyslexia-friendly fonts, which, while possibly useful, were “horrid to look at”. He “strongly” believes that a book should...

To hedge or not to hedge?

2018 has been characterised by a number of political and economic risks which have impacted capital markets negatively. From the threat of trade wars, to divided European governments, to shifting economic policy by central banks; these are just a few of the h
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To hedge or not to hedge?

2018 has been characterised by a number of political and economic risks which have impacted capital markets negatively. From the threat of trade wars, to divided European governments, to shifting economic policy by central banks; these are just a few of the headwinds that investors have been faced with, and the market has acted accordingly. As is typical during turbulent periods, the dollar has rallied considerably against all major and especially emerging market currencies. Currency exposure is an element in an investor’s portfolio that is often overlooked at his/her own peril. When investing in an asset which is not denominated in your domestic currency (in our case the Euro), the position is affected by both the capital fluctuations in the asset as well as the currency in which it is denominated, or asset return plus currency return. In fact, assets that are based in emerging market currencies typically would command a greater level of expected return than assets in developed countries, due to its’ risk and interest rates expectations. Taking a practical example, when a European investor is taking a position in an equity instrument that tracks the performance of the S&P 500...

Summer solstice at Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples

To mark the summer solstice, Heritage Malta will be organising guided tours of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples tomorrow and on Friday at sunrise, when the sun can be seen rising in particular alignment with these sites. In addition, those present will also ha
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Summer solstice at Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra temples

To mark the summer solstice, Heritage Malta will be organising guided tours of Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples tomorrow and on Friday at sunrise, when the sun can be seen rising in particular alignment with these sites. In addition, those present will also have the opportunity to visit the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Archaeological Park’s Visitor Centre. On the first day of each season, the sun rises in alignment with these prehistoric buildings and although it is not known for certain whether these orientations were intentional, they are so systematic that this isvery probable. In prehistoric agricultural societies, observation of the motion of the stars, the moon and sun could have been related to the changing seasons and times of planting and harvesting crops. Participants for this event will group early in the morning next to the Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Visitor Centre entrance. The tour will include the experience of the summer solstice, guided tour of both Ħaġar Qim and Mnajdra Temples, access to the visitor centre with a 4D show and a coffee break. The summer solstice sunrise can be witnessed from either Ħaġar Qim or from Mnajdra Temples. To ensure that all visitors get to observe...

This week at the cinema - June 20, 2018

Ocean’s 8 (2018)Genre: Action comedyDirector: Gary RossStarring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Griffin Dunne, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, AwkwafinaDuration: 110 minutesClass: 12AKRS Releasing Ltd The America
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This week at the cinema - June 20, 2018

Ocean’s 8 (2018)Genre: Action comedyDirector: Gary RossStarring: Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Griffin Dunne, Sarah Paulson, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Mindy Kaling, AwkwafinaDuration: 110 minutesClass: 12AKRS Releasing Ltd The American heist comedy, directed by Gary Ross, is a spin-off from Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s trilogy, featuring an all-female ensemble cast. Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) has been devising the biggest heist of her life for over five years. Together with her partner-in-crime and girlfriend Lou Miller (Cate Blanchett), they recruit a crew of specialists, including jeweller Amita (Mindy Kaling), street con Constance (Awkwafina), suburban mother Tammy (Sarah Paulson), hacker Nine Ball (Rihanna) and fashion designer Rose (Helena Bonham Carter). Their target is a Cartier necklace worth more than $150 million, owned by air-headed celebrity Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway). The film received a lukewarm response, with most critics loving the female performances. Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: “In Ocean’s 8, Debbie and her team come together and devise their jigsaw puzzle of a heist with an aplomb that feels as natural as it is crowd-pleasing.”...

Silence over role of ex-CHOGM chief in official visit to Australia

The Office of the Prime Minister is refusing to give details about the role of Phyllis Muscat – the former chief of the CHOGM task force in 2015 – in an official government delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his family on a two-w
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Silence over role of ex-CHOGM chief in official visit to Australia

The Office of the Prime Minister is refusing to give details about the role of Phyllis Muscat – the former chief of the CHOGM task force in 2015 – in an official government delegation that accompanied Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and his family on a two-week visit to Australia earlier this year. Giving details of his visit to Australia during the Easter holidays, Dr Muscat said the delegation had consisted of three members of his private secretariat, his chief security officer and Ms Muscat. Asked to give details about Ms Muscat’s role in the visit, an OPM spokesman did not reply. The Times of Malta asked the OPM to state whether Ms Muscat currently occupied any official role at the OPM and who had decided to include her in the official delegation. Read: Ex-CHOGM task force head Phyllis Muscat lands top arts job The OPM also refused to quantify what Ms Muscat’s participation in the official delegation had cost taxpayers. Replying to questions in Parliament, Dr Muscat said the main purpose of his visit to Australia had been to take part in the opening of the Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, as chair in office of the Commonwealth. Giving a breakdown of the €143,000 spent on his...

Concert analyses migration in the Mediterranean

A timely, migration-themed concert, inspired by Antoine Cassar’s poetry, opens in Valletta today. Being held on World Refugee Day,  The Map of the Mediterranean will focus on the theme of migration, how it has shaped the region, as well as the difficultie
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Concert analyses migration in the Mediterranean

A timely, migration-themed concert, inspired by Antoine Cassar’s poetry, opens in Valletta today. Being held on World Refugee Day,  The Map of the Mediterranean will focus on the theme of migration, how it has shaped the region, as well as the difficulties it presents. It will feature new music by composers Luc Houtkamp and Guy Harries and is being performed by the POW Ensemble, which also includes Tom Armitage. “Without migration, the Mediterranean would not be what it is now: a richly diverse amalgam of people with an array of cultural backgrounds and heritages,” Dutch composer Houtkamp says.  Cassar’s poem – which carries the same title as the concert – describes the shapes of the Mediterranean Sea from the four cardinal directions in relation to the history of its peoples, including ancient and contemporary migrations. He says: “The theme of migration gives many points of departure for a musical event, such as the shared melodies, food or even the names. Other aspects of migration, such as the need for people to leave everything and integrate into new communities, are also explored.” Houtkamp says that stanzas in Maltese and English will form the backbone of the concert.

Stand with refugees

World Refugee Day commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. It’s also a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee conflict and persecution, says Kahin Ismail. Malta has made great strides in rec
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Stand with refugees

World Refugee Day commemorates the strength, courage and perseverance of millions of refugees. It’s also a key moment for the public to show support for families forced to flee conflict and persecution, says Kahin Ismail. Malta has made great strides in recent years in receiving, managing and generally integrating refugees and migrants into the community. The recent integration strategy, launched in December 2017, should be considered a landmark achievement as it marks a significant policy shift towards management and inclusion of refugees and migrants. The integration policy confirms, firstly, that integration is no longer a taboo subject. This change is highly welcome. It is difficult to address challenges if policymakers refuse to even engage with the term. In this regard, appreciation is due for both policymakers and Maltese society. As the Maltese islands become more cosmopolitan and prosperous, they provide an attractive destination not only for a few days’ visit but also as a place to call home. Refugees contribute and have a role to play in Malta’s success. Social inclusion is a two-way process, with the involvement of both locals and refugees. There are numerous success...

Fan pages and data protection

The administrator of a fan page on Facebook is jointly responsible with Facebook for the processing of data of visitors to the page, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has recently concluded. The right of an individual to have his or her person
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Fan pages and data protection

The administrator of a fan page on Facebook is jointly responsible with Facebook for the processing of data of visitors to the page, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has recently concluded. The right of an individual to have his or her personal data protected is clearly enshrined within the EU’s legal system. The recently enacted General Data Protection Regulation, commonly known as GDPR, and its predecessor, the EU Directive on data protection, ensure that the data relating to an individual is treated with the utmost respect and safeguarded against abuse. The facts of this case were briefly as follows. A German company offers educational services inter alia by means of a fan page hosted on Facebook. Administrators of fan pages can obtain anonymous statistical data on visitors to the fan pages via a function called ‘Facebook Insights’ which Facebook makes available to them free of charge under non-negotiable conditions of use. The German data protection supervisory authority ordered the German company to deactivate its fan page. According to the authority, neither the company nor Facebook informed visitors to the fan page that Facebook, by means of cookies,...

Number missing after Indonesia ferry sinking raised to nearly 180

Some 178 people are missing from a ferry sinking on Monday at a popular lake on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a much higher number than previously believed. The wooden vessel, overcrowded with passengers and motorbikes, did not have a manifest and disaste
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Number missing after Indonesia ferry sinking raised to nearly 180

Some 178 people are missing from a ferry sinking on Monday at a popular lake on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, a much higher number than previously believed. The wooden vessel, overcrowded with passengers and motorbikes, did not have a manifest and disaster officials have several times raised the number of people it was carrying as family members who rushed to Lake Toba in northern Sumatra provided information. Only 18 survivors have been found - in bad weather within hours of the sinking on Monday evening. It is possible many of the victims were still inside the sunken ferry, said North Sumatra province police chief Paulus Waterpau. «Many survivors told authorities that less than half of them had jumped into the water before the boat sank,» he said. Suwarni, whose 20-year-old son and his girlfriend were on the ferry, criticised the search and rescue operation as slow and insufficient. «Millions of questions keep me from sleeping,» she said. «What kind of government is this which can't protect their own people from unnecessary accidents? And after the accident they're not able to find the victims.» "I beg help to everyone to quickly find my son and his girlfriend, even if...

Watch: US quits UN Human Rights Council

The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday accusing it of a «chronic bias against Israel,» a move that activists warned would make advancing human rights globally even more difficult. Standing with US Secret
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Watch: US quits UN Human Rights Council

The United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council on Tuesday accusing it of a «chronic bias against Israel,» a move that activists warned would make advancing human rights globally even more difficult. Standing with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haley slammed Russia, China, Cuba and Egypt for thwarting US efforts to reform the council. She also criticized countries which shared US values and encouraged Washington to remain but «were unwilling to seriously challenge the status quo.» The United States is half-way through a three-year term on the main UN rights body and the Trump administration had long threatened to quit if the 47-member Geneva-based body was not overhauled. «Look at the council membership, and you see an appalling disrespect for the most basic rights,» said Haley, citing Venezuela, China, Cuba and Democratic Republic of Congo. Haley also said the «disproportionate focus and unending hostility toward Israel is clear proof that the council is motivated by political bias, not by human rights.» Washington's withdrawal is the latest US rejection of multilateral engagement after it pulled out of the Paris climate agreement and the 2015 Iran...

Watch: Russia on brink of next stage after beating Egypt

World Cup hosts Russia kept up their free-scoring ways to move to the brink of a second round place with a 3-1 win over Egypt in their Group A match at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday. Russia's place in the knockout stages will be secured on Wednesda
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Watch: Russia on brink of next stage after beating Egypt

World Cup hosts Russia kept up their free-scoring ways to move to the brink of a second round place with a 3-1 win over Egypt in their Group A match at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday. Russia's place in the knockout stages will be secured on Wednesday if Uruguay avoid defeat against Saudi Arabia in the next Group A game. Russia - Egypt Live Score

95 per cent chance Balzan trees will survive relocation, local council's expert says

The Balzan council has appointed a horticultural expert to oversee the relocation of two mature trees which are due to be uprooted for the realignment of Triq il-Wied, the mayor said yesterday. Ian Spiteri told the Times of Malta when contacted that accordin
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95 per cent chance Balzan trees will survive relocation, local council's expert says

The Balzan council has appointed a horticultural expert to oversee the relocation of two mature trees which are due to be uprooted for the realignment of Triq il-Wied, the mayor said yesterday. Ian Spiteri told the Times of Malta when contacted that according to the expert, Peter Calleja, the ficus trees have a 95 per cent chance of survival. The two trees will be relocated to a public garden a few streets away, in an area between Triq Bosio and Triq l-Għerusija. Dr Spiteri said that the council was shown the Planning Authority’s policy on such roads and was told that realignment was necessary. Part of a private car park will also be expropriated to align the road. This meant that the trees would have ended up in the middle of a carriageway. Aside from this, the council was looking to have pavements installed. “We insisted that the road should have a 1.2 metre pavement on both sides. There is no pavement and it’s very dangerous. “I think safety should be everyone’s priority here,” he said. He said that while the council wanted the two iconic trees to remain where they have stood for years, this could not happen at the expense of safety. Moreover, it made little sense to invest...

Parliament approves controversial amendments to embryo protection law

Controversial amendments to the Embryo Protection Act were approved by Parliament on Tuesday evening and now await the President’s formal assent to become law. Party lines were observed as the government MPs voted for the bill and the Opposition voted again
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Parliament approves controversial amendments to embryo protection law

Controversial amendments to the Embryo Protection Act were approved by Parliament on Tuesday evening and now await the President’s formal assent to become law. Party lines were observed as the government MPs voted for the bill and the Opposition voted against. Opposition MPs were granted a free vote but all voted against the Bill. Three government and two Opposition MPs were abroad on government or parliamentary business. The vote was 34 in favour and 27 against.   The vote came a few hours after lawyer Tonio Azzopardi in his personal capacity filed a constitutional application arguing, among other things, that the amendments should be declared null because they breached constitutional provisions on the right to life and respect for human life in all its stages. Pro-life groups had staunchly resisted the bill, saying that embryo freezing was being introduced by choice and not in exceptional cases and this was not in the interest of embryos that were not given a chance to be born and whose life was being put in danger. The groups had a meeting with President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca on Sunday and also argued that the new law would breach the Constitution, as freezing of human...

MP's comment to EP delegation raises eyebrows

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi asked in Parliament on Tuesday how Labour MP Robert Abela had told a delegation from the European Parliament that there was never any mention of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in phone intercepts recorded by the Malta Secu
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MP's comment to EP delegation raises eyebrows

Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi asked in Parliament on Tuesday how Labour MP Robert Abela had told a delegation from the European Parliament that there was never any mention of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia in phone intercepts recorded by the Malta Security Service. Had the Labour MP been granted illegal access to Security Service information, or was he simply bluffing? Dr Azzopardi asked during the adjournment. Had Prime Minister Joseph Muscat granted Dr Abela illegal access to information which was not even accessible to the inquiring magistrate? If not, was the prime minister comfortable with such statements by his MP? Dr Azzopardi said Dr Abela's comments was recorded in the Mission Report filed by MEPs Ana Gomes, David Casa, and Sven Giegold after their recent visit to Malta. He said that he had waited for the government to request a correction but none had been forthcoming. Should it transpire that anyone had gained unauthorised access to the material in question, he said, it would be a “very serious crime” of “unprecedented gravity.”  

Grandmother granted sole custody of young grandson abandoned by her daughter

A 60-year-old woman who single-handedly raised five children has been granted sole custody of her five-year-old grandson after a court ruled that his mother – the grandmother’s daughter – was irresponsible and not in a position to raise him. The court h
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Grandmother granted sole custody of young grandson abandoned by her daughter

A 60-year-old woman who single-handedly raised five children has been granted sole custody of her five-year-old grandson after a court ruled that his mother – the grandmother’s daughter – was irresponsible and not in a position to raise him. The court heard how the grandmother had raised the young child since he was one year old following temporary court orders. His father was unknown and his mother, 26, showed no interest in him. She did not see him for many months and had been prepared to give him up for adoption. In July 2016 the grandmother and her daughter came to blows and the mother was arrested by the police. The incident was witnessed by the young boy, who was traumatised and has since been receiving treatment. He has since then not seen his mother again. She did not even seek contact at Christmas or on his birthdays. The mother did not reply to the court summons and the grandmother testified that she did not know where she is. It is believed that she is suffering from depression. The grandmother told the court that she was seeking permanent custody of the child because she could not bear to see him abandoned by his mother or living in an institute. The court in its...

'I braced and waited for the inevitable' - instructor recalls moments before terrifying Paqpaqli crash

A freelance race driving instructor who sat in the passenger seat of a Porsche Spyder supercar which crashed to the crowd at the Paqpaqli show in 2015 recalled those terrifying moments when testifying in court on Tuesday, and insisted he had nothing to do wit
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'I braced and waited for the inevitable' - instructor recalls moments before terrifying Paqpaqli crash

A freelance race driving instructor who sat in the passenger seat of a Porsche Spyder supercar which crashed to the crowd at the Paqpaqli show in 2015 recalled those terrifying moments when testifying in court on Tuesday, and insisted he had nothing to do with the layout of the temporary track. Thomas Theodoros Bangma testified via video conference at the compilation of evidence against driver and car owner Paul Bailey and the 13 former members of the Paqpaqli ghall-Istrina organizing committee. In testimony that lasted almost three hours, Mr Bangma said he had been engaged by the event-planning German company Sport Driving GmbH, to travel to Malta together with fellow instructor Frederick Dineuff to participate in the charity event. Upon his arrival, he had been instructed by the local Porsche representative, Sandro Cauchi to assist amateur drivers during rides in two Porsche 911 GT3 models. On that fateful Sunday afternoon, having completed his assigned task, Mr Bangma said he had been invited by Mr Bailey for a ride in the Porsche Spyder. The latter had been driving car enthusiasts along the temporary track (the airport runway), offering them a taste of high-speed racing. Mr...

Monticelli signs for Ħamrun Spartans

Ħamrun Spartans added their first signing of the season as they unveiled midfielder Antonio Monticelli, on Tuesday. Monticelli, 29, will be featuring for his second Maltese club after playing for Floriana during the 2015/2016 campaign under the guidance of c
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Monticelli signs for Ħamrun Spartans

Ħamrun Spartans added their first signing of the season as they unveiled midfielder Antonio Monticelli, on Tuesday. Monticelli, 29, will be featuring for his second Maltese club after playing for Floriana during the 2015/2016 campaign under the guidance of coach Giovanni Tedesco, who took the reins of the Spartans last month. Last season, the former Floriana player was on the books of Serie D clubs Budoni and Palmese where he played 31 games in all competitions.   

Entertainment, controversy and surprise during opening round of games at World Cup

All 32 World Cup nations have now played a match in Russia, where the first round of games featured entertainment, controversy and surprise. There was not a single 0-0 in the opening 16 matches at the 2018 World Cup and over half were decided by a solitary go
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Entertainment, controversy and surprise during opening round of games at World Cup

All 32 World Cup nations have now played a match in Russia, where the first round of games featured entertainment, controversy and surprise. There was not a single 0-0 in the opening 16 matches at the 2018 World Cup and over half were decided by a solitary goal, including the dramatic victories by Uruguay, Iran and England. The tournament opened last Thursday with Russia pitted against Saudi Arabia and though that may have been considered the most underwhelming World Cup opening fixture in history, the hosts set the tone for what was to come by administering a 5-0 thrashing. Uruguay and Iran grabbed late winners the following day before Spain drew 3-3 with Portugal in a pulsating all-time classic, and one which featured the first of a series of penalties. That one, which Cristiano Ronaldo converted en route to his hat-trick, was a straight forward decision and though the introduction of Video Assistant Referee technology for the first time at a World Cup was supposed to reduce controversy, it may have only increased it. Australia were the first to rue its use when referee Andres Cunha changed his mind and awarded France a penalty in Les Bleus' 2-1 success. England too were...

EU leaders worried over Irish border issue in Brexit talks

European Union leaders will express concern on Friday over a lack of progress in talks with London on how to avoid reimposing controls at the border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. Leaders of the 27 countries that w
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EU leaders worried over Irish border issue in Brexit talks

European Union leaders will express concern on Friday over a lack of progress in talks with London on how to avoid reimposing controls at the border between British-ruled Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic after Brexit. Leaders of the 27 countries that will remain in the EU after Britain leaves next year will take stock of negotiations on a withdrawal agreement and on a political declaration on what future relations with London should look like. A draft document outlining conclusions of their European Council meeting in Brussels singles out the lack of an operational arrangement for the Irish border, called by EU leaders a backstop solution. The backstop solution has been agreed in very general terms in December, but there has been no consensus since on how to put it in place in practice by Brexit day in March 2019. «The European Council expresses its concern that no substantial progress has yet been achieved on agreeing a backstop solution for Ireland/Northern Ireland,» the draft conclusions, seen by Reuters, said. Britain and the EU want to keep a free flow of people and goods over the border without returning to checkpoints, symbols of the three decades of violence in...

Politicians' 'incredibly weak' accountability standards laid bare in Ombudsman's report- AD

The parliamentary Ombudsman’s annual report raised questions about government accountability, Alternattiva Demokratika said on Tuesday afternoon. Addressing a press conference following a meeting with the Ombudsman, AD chairman Carmel Cacopardo said that th
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Politicians' 'incredibly weak' accountability standards laid bare in Ombudsman's report- AD

The parliamentary Ombudsman’s annual report raised questions about government accountability, Alternattiva Demokratika said on Tuesday afternoon. Addressing a press conference following a meeting with the Ombudsman, AD chairman Carmel Cacopardo said that the report, published recently, made for a very worrying read because it demonstrates clearly that the political class’s understanding of the fundamentals of accountability are “incredibly weak”. The AD head that government should not only be answering questions when these are asked by journalists, but should also be open to supplying information when asked for it. READ: Secrecy is hindering investigations, Ombudsman lambasts “The country was shocked that the Ombudsman needed to go to court and wait for the court’s decision on appeal merely to open an investigation on alleged irregularities in the management of appointments and promotions in the Armed Forces. “This is one of the country’s biggest obstacles which are being created by the political class to thwart accountability mechanisms. The fact that these obstacles are created by members of the cabinet of minister does not bode well for democratic accountability in this...

Frankfurt most well-connected airport in Europe

Frankfurt airport is Europe's top-ranked airport in terms of connectivity after expansion by Lufthansa and new low-cost entrants such as Ryanair, according to the ACI Europe airports association on Tuesday. Frankfurt airport, Germany's largest hub, went from
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Frankfurt most well-connected airport in Europe

Frankfurt airport is Europe's top-ranked airport in terms of connectivity after expansion by Lufthansa and new low-cost entrants such as Ryanair, according to the ACI Europe airports association on Tuesday. Frankfurt airport, Germany's largest hub, went from third to first place in terms of direct connectivity (the number of direct air services offered by an airport), taking the top spot from Amsterdam London Heathrow, lacking in space for additional new routes, dropped to third place, with connectivity down 0.2 per cent. ACI said that Britain was the only country in the EU to record a loss in direct connectivity over the last year with a drop of 0.8 per cent «It is an indication of how the uncertainty around Brexit is already casting a shadow on the future of the UK's air connectivity,» a spokesman for ACI Europe said. Frankfurt also remained top in terms of hub connectivity (the number of connecting flights offered), both in Europe and also worldwide.

Russian fans hope a clairyovant cat has purrfect form

All of Russia is praying a furry fortune-teller's form continues as Achilles, the clairvoyant cat of St Petersburg, predicted a second Russian victory in the World Cup. Last week the sleek, white cat predicted a Russian victory and the hosts duly thumped Saud
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Russian fans hope a clairyovant cat has purrfect form

All of Russia is praying a furry fortune-teller's form continues as Achilles, the clairvoyant cat of St Petersburg, predicted a second Russian victory in the World Cup. Last week the sleek, white cat predicted a Russian victory and the hosts duly thumped Saudi Arabia 5-0, spreading the cat's fame nationwide. On Tuesday Achilles once again sniffed the small football on the table before heading straight for the Russia bowl of food and greedily gobbling up morsels while a bank of photographers clicked noisily. Achilles, who lives in St Petersburg's Hermitage museum, is deaf, however, and was not put off his meal. Only once he'd finished the Russia bowl did Achilles show interest in the Egypt bowl, as the assembled group laughed. Russia play Egypt in Saint Petersburg later on Tuesday. The World Cup will be played at venues across Russia until the final on July 15. This was not Achilles’ first psychic feat: the cat had already made its mark last summer, when it correctly predicted the outcome of every Confederations Cup bar one, when it could not make up its mind. That match, it must be said, ended in a draw.

Watch: Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in another World Cup upset

Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in Group H on Tuesday to become the first Asian side to beat a South American one at the World Cup. Asian teams had managed three draws in 17 matches against South American sides but the four-times Asian champions made their ext
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Watch: Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in another World Cup upset

Japan beat 10-man Colombia 2-1 in Group H on Tuesday to become the first Asian side to beat a South American one at the World Cup. Asian teams had managed three draws in 17 matches against South American sides but the four-times Asian champions made their extra man count after Colombia midfielder Carlos Sanchez became the first player to get a red card in Russia. His sending-off in the third minute, for a deliberate handball, was the second fastest in World Cup history after Uruguay’s Jose Batista was dismissed after 55 seconds against Scotland in 1986. Shinji Kagawa scored from the resulting penalty to give Japan the lead.

Updated: Valletta meet FK Kukesi in Champions League

Valletta will start their 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League campaign against FK Kukesi of Albania after the draws were released at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, on Monday.  The Maltese champions will play the first leg at the Zeqir Ymeri Stadium, in Albania
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Updated: Valletta meet FK Kukesi in Champions League

Valletta will start their 2018/2019 UEFA Champions League campaign against FK Kukesi of Albania after the draws were released at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon, on Monday.  The Maltese champions will play the first leg at the Zeqir Ymeri Stadium, in Albania on either July 10 or July 11. Danilo Doncic's clan will host the Albanian side on either July 17 or July 18.  FK Kukesi, second in last year's Albanian championship, will be participating in just their second Champions League campaign after making their debut last season where they were dumped out in the first qualifying round by Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova.  Meanwhile, if the 24-time Malta champions advance to the second qualifying round, they would face the winner of Olimpija Ljubljana of Slovenia or Azerbaijan's Qarabag FK, who last year appeared in group stages of the Champions League alongside Roma, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid. If Valletta fail to advance to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League, the Maltese champions will drop into the second qualifying round (Champions Path) of the Europa League, where they would face either FC Spartak Trnava of Slovakia or Bosnia's HSK Zrinjski. 

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