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Hurricane Michael leaves parts of Florida devastated

The third-most powerful storm ever to strike the US mainland headed northeast to soak Georgia and the Carolinas on Thursday, leaving the Florida Panhandle to assess the devastation left by Hurricane Michael.  The hurricane claiming at least two lives in Flor

EU votes as populists seek a historic breakthrough

Voters were called out for a third day in EU parliamentary elections on Saturday as populists hoped to win a major breakthrough and disrupt European politics for the next five years. Polls were open in Malta, Slovakia and Latvia, with most of the bloc's 28 me
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EU votes as populists seek a historic breakthrough

Voters were called out for a third day in EU parliamentary elections on Saturday as populists hoped to win a major breakthrough and disrupt European politics for the next five years. Polls were open in Malta, Slovakia and Latvia, with most of the bloc's 28 member states - including big players Germany, France and Italy - to vote on Sunday. More than 400 million people are eligible to elect 751 members of the European Parliament with the first official results to be announced late Sunday once voting in all EU countries is over. Polling has shown for months that populists and the anti-immigration far right could make big gains in the vote, which will also help determine who replaces Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the European Commission as well as other top jobs. Read: Malta votes in European and local elections An exit poll after voting in the Netherlands on Thursday however showed a surprise victory for pro-EU socialists, giving hope to establishment forces elsewhere in the bloc that the populist tide could be limited. «To all our friends across Europe still campaigning, this one is for you too!» said Dutchman Frans Timmermans, the lead socialist candidate and one of the main...

Curator’s tour of Fort St Angelo

Heritage Malta is inviting the public to join a curator’s tour of Fort St Angelo and to a visit of the current exhibition Behind Closed Doors: Fort St Angelo & the Royal Navy 1906-1979. On the day, the exhibition catalogue will be offered at the discounted
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Curator’s tour of Fort St Angelo

Heritage Malta is inviting the public to join a curator’s tour of Fort St Angelo and to a visit of the current exhibition Behind Closed Doors: Fort St Angelo & the Royal Navy 1906-1979. On the day, the exhibition catalogue will be offered at the discounted price of €10. The tour, being held tomorrow, will focus on different areas of the fort, including its upper part, which today is managed by the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Interestingly, during its occupation by the Royal Navy, this military site was strictly prohibited to civilians (except for September 7 and 8). Even the Maltese and British servicemen who worked there had clearly defined spaces where they were allowed to enter according to their work and rank. In fact, at the time, only a few individuals had ever visited all the areas of the fort. The discussion about the current exhibition, which was set up to mark the 40th anniversary since the departure of foreign military forces from Malta on March 31, 1979, will reveal some interesting information and anecdotes. Tickets are limited to 50 people on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are available from all Heritage Malta museums and sites and online. The...

Question time: A paradigm shift

The Nationalist Party A small country like Malta will always face challenges in the sports sector for various reasons including the lack of human resources and the investment needed. Notwithstanding the fact that other countries – including those with a sma
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Question time: A paradigm shift

The Nationalist Party A small country like Malta will always face challenges in the sports sector for various reasons including the lack of human resources and the investment needed. Notwithstanding the fact that other countries – including those with a small population – managed to make a success in various sport, reality is that Malta faces a different scenario as apart from our small size we are also an island. Above all, if we want to make a paradigm shift towards professional sports, we need to change our mentality. If those involved in sports keep on considering sports and approach it from an amateurish perspective rather than the professional side, this sector will continue to be tied to the old mentality that has hampered its development to date in our country. The shift toward professional sport must be linked with sustainability. The fact is that sports in Malta is not generating enough financing to sustain itself. For example football is being sustained by a number of club presidents that personally finance their clubs, otherwise it would have faced a drastic decline in terms of activity. Without such club presidents and the few sponsors they manage to attract,...

WHO praises Brazil lawsuit against tobacco giants

The World Health Organisation has praised Brazil's move to sue two global cigarette makers and their local units for costs of treating tobacco-related diseases, but the firms said Friday they were still waiting for details of the lawsuit. British American Tob
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WHO praises Brazil lawsuit against tobacco giants

The World Health Organisation has praised Brazil's move to sue two global cigarette makers and their local units for costs of treating tobacco-related diseases, but the firms said Friday they were still waiting for details of the lawsuit. British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris International and their Brazilian subsidiaries were named by the attorney general's office (AGU) as the targets of the lawsuit filed Tuesday in federal court. The AGU wants to recover at least some of the billions of dollars spent over the past five years on treating patients suffering from 26 diseases linked to smoking tobacco products or exposure to cigarette smoke.  Since the targeted companies take the profits from cigarette sales abroad, «it is only fair that they pay for the burden they are leaving Brazilian society,» prosecutor Davi Bressler said in a statement. The WHO said Thursday it applauded the «Brazilian government's action.» The amount of compensation sought would be calculated if the lawsuit was successful, the AGU said.  Philip Morris spokesman Ryan Sparrow said the company had not yet been served with the complaint and cast doubt on the AGU's chances of success.  "It is worth...

Earthquakes or tiger attacks: understanding fear can help prevent disasters

It’s been more than four years since a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated Nepalese cities, claiming thousands of lives. Since then, there have been thousands of aftershocks. Yet when I spoke with residents of Bharatpur – Nepal’s fourth largest city
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Earthquakes or tiger attacks: understanding fear can help prevent disasters

It’s been more than four years since a magnitude 7.8 earthquake devastated Nepalese cities, claiming thousands of lives. Since then, there have been thousands of aftershocks. Yet when I spoke with residents of Bharatpur – Nepal’s fourth largest city – as part of my ongoing research, beginning in 2014, I was surprised to discover they were more concerned about wild animal attacks than the prospect of another high-magnitude quake. Understanding what people worry about is crucial to preparing for natural hazards such as earthquakes and mitigating their effects. To prevent disasters, local people, municipal authorities and national governments all need to pull in the same direction – especially when budgets are low for disaster planning. But if residents feel that their everyday fears are ignored by those in power, they may disengage, leaving authorities unable to influence their behaviour in a time of crisis. Throughout my research into the way cities are governed, I have investigated what people worry about, how they cope, how they raise their concerns and what role local authorities play in addressing them. I have consistently found that people tend not to worry about things they...

More than 200 migrants rescued by AFM in two separate missions

More than 200 migrants were rescued by Armed Forces of Malta officials late on Friday in two separate rescue missions. The 216 rescued people were saved as they were crossing the Mediterranean on dinghies. At least one pregnant woman and a number of minors ar
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More than 200 migrants rescued by AFM in two separate missions

More than 200 migrants were rescued by Armed Forces of Malta officials late on Friday in two separate rescue missions. The 216 rescued people were saved as they were crossing the Mediterranean on dinghies. At least one pregnant woman and a number of minors are believed to be among them. An AFM spokesperson said early on Saturday that the migrants had been rescued in two separate missions within Malta’s search and rescue area. The AFM rescue crew had headed out to sea to respond to a distress call and rescued an initial group of migrants and was heading back to Malta when a second call came in, prompting a change of plan and second rescue. The rescued men, women and children were expected to reach Malta at around 8.15am, the AFM spokesperson said. Once in Malta, they will be examined by a doctor, have their paperwork processed and be given the opportunity to apply for asylum, in accordance with their rights under international law. 

Defragmenting the minuscule - Malcolm Borg

Fragmentation of agricultural land, often divided into parcels not larger than a few hundred square metres, has always been considered by academics and public administrators as a major obstacle that hinders professional, remunerative agricultural activity of
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Defragmenting the minuscule - Malcolm Borg

Fragmentation of agricultural land, often divided into parcels not larger than a few hundred square metres, has always been considered by academics and public administrators as a major obstacle that hinders professional, remunerative agricultural activity of any kind. Professional and hobby agriculture are very different kettles of fish. For modern and remunerative agriculture, the priority should be placed on the former and not the latter, which will probably mean less enterprises but of a larger dimension. Very small enterprises are probably destined to exit the professional agricultural market. Land fragmentation characterises many Maltese agricultural land. There is no doubt that this is a phenomenon which is having a negative impact on the sector. For the negative socio-economic and environmental factors to be mitigated, one needs to support and develop projects and policies for a reorganisation and consolidation of agricultural land. Fragmentation of land is always one of the major causes of a lack of innovative development in the agricultural sector. A medium-term objective might be the setting up of innovative procedures for the re-organisation of agricultural land to...

Zakarin wins Giro's first summit finish, bad day for Yates, Lopez

Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha soloed to a snow-capped summit finish victory on a chaotic 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday that shook up the overall picture. The Russian thereby climbs to third in the overall standings, which is where the now 29-year-old f
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Zakarin wins Giro's first summit finish, bad day for Yates, Lopez

Ilnur Zakarin of Katusha soloed to a snow-capped summit finish victory on a chaotic 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia on Friday that shook up the overall picture. The Russian thereby climbs to third in the overall standings, which is where the now 29-year-old finished on the 2017 Giro. «I came to the Giro d'Italia to make the top five and I hope it's still possible,» Zakarin said after spraying champagne on the podium. Slovenia's Jan Polanc of Team UAE kept hold of the overall lead as favourites another Slovene Primoz Roglic and Italian Vincenzo Nibali crossed the line together 2min 57sec adrift, with Briton Simon Yates and Colombian Miguel Angel Lopez another two minutes back. «It was a very hard stage, I tried to pace myself on the climb and I'm happy to have managed to defend the maglia rosa,» said Polanc. On this first summit reckoning in a mountain-packed second section of the Giro, the peloton climbed to 2,237m altitude, with Zakarin dropping Spain's Mikel Nieve in the final section and beating him by 35sec at the panoramic finishing post in the Gran Paradiso national park. Movistar pair Mikel Landa and Richard Carapaz came third and fourth on a great day for the Spanish...

Arsenal, Chelsea return unsold Europa League final tickets

Arsenal and Chelsea have returned over half of their combined allocation of 12,000 tickets for next week's Europa League final due to the difficulty and great expense for fans travelling to Azerbaijan. A lack of direct flights between London and Baku means su
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Arsenal, Chelsea return unsold Europa League final tickets

Arsenal and Chelsea have returned over half of their combined allocation of 12,000 tickets for next week's Europa League final due to the difficulty and great expense for fans travelling to Azerbaijan. A lack of direct flights between London and Baku means supporters face costs of over £1,000 ($1,300) just to make the 5,000-mile round trip before tickets and accommodation are taken into account. Arsenal had initially complained over their small allocation, but confirmed to AFP that they have returned 2,200 tickets for the Gunners' first European final in 13 years. AFP understands that Chelsea have sold just 2,000 of their 6,000 allocation. UEFA denied reports that sponsors had also returned tickets and said they were confident that local fans will snap up the spare tickets to ensure there is a capacity crowd at the 68,000 Olympic Stadium. «The majority of these tickets have already been sold to local fans in Azerbaijan and we are confident that the remaining ones will also be sold as demand is very high,» UEFA said in a statement to AFP. The Chelsea Supporters' Trust (CST) joined other supporters' groups in criticising UEFA for the location of the final, but also turned on their...

Trump says 1,500 more troops to deploy to Middle East

President Donald Trump announced Friday that some 1,500 additional US troops would deploy to the Middle East against a backdrop of soaring tensions with Iran. «We want to have protection in the Middle East,» Trump told reporters as he prepared to
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Trump says 1,500 more troops to deploy to Middle East

President Donald Trump announced Friday that some 1,500 additional US troops would deploy to the Middle East against a backdrop of soaring tensions with Iran. «We want to have protection in the Middle East,» Trump told reporters as he prepared to set off on a trip to Japan. «We're going to be sending a relatively small number of troops, mostly protective,» Trump added. «It'll be about 1,500 people.» The deployment includes reconnaissance aircraft, fighter jets, engineers, and the extension of the presence of a Patriot missile defence battalion that accounts for 600 of the personnel. «This is a prudent response to credible threats from Iran,» said Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. Pentagon officials said the 1,500 additional troops were in response to recent incidents in the region that US intelligence had tied to Iran's leadership. Those have included a rocket attack on the Green Zone in Baghdad, explosive devices that damaged four tankers in Fujairah at the entrance to the Gulf, and a Houthi drone attack against a Saudi oil installation. «We view this as a campaign,» said Rear Admiral Michael Gilday, director of the Pentagon's Joint Staff. Gilday stressed that the...

At least 19 students die in India fire

Updated 8pm At least 19 students - most of them female - died Friday in a fire at an Indian building housing a college, officials said, as images showed people jumping to escape the blaze. «The students lost their life both because of the fire and jumpi
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At least 19 students die in India fire

Updated 8pm At least 19 students - most of them female - died Friday in a fire at an Indian building housing a college, officials said, as images showed people jumping to escape the blaze. «The students lost their life both because of the fire and jumping out of the building,» Deepak Sapthaley, a fire official in the western city of Surat, told AFP. Images showed blazing orange flames and black smoke billowing out of the building. Sapthaley added that when the blaze began 50 or 60 people were inside the coaching institute on the top floor of the building, which is several storeys high.  The cause was not yet known.  «The toll has jumped to 19 and includes 16 females. Sixteen persons died because of burns and three others from injuries after they jumped,» Jayesh M Patel, medical officer at Surat Municipal Institute of Medical Education and Research, told AFP. Officials had initially given a toll of at least 15 dead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who comes from Gujarat state where the fire broke out, said on Twitter: «Extremely anguished by the fire tragedy in Surat. »My thoughts are with bereaved families. May the injured recover quickly. Have asked the Gujarat Government and...

Agius named MFA Player of the Year

Andrei Agius won the coveted MFA Player of the Year Award for the 2018/2019 season, during the MFA Awards Night which were held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, on Friday. The Hibernians defender was one of the five finalists who were Valletta trio Hen
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Agius named MFA Player of the Year

Andrei Agius won the coveted MFA Player of the Year Award for the 2018/2019 season, during the MFA Awards Night which were held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, on Friday. The Hibernians defender was one of the five finalists who were Valletta trio Henry Bonello, Steve Borg and Rowen Muscat and Agius’ team mate at Hibernians Jake Grech. Agius, 32, played every single game in the domestic league for the Paolites. Meanwhile, Miguel Alba of Valletta was named MFA Foreign Player of the Year while Hibernians’ coach Stefano Sanderra was awarded the Coach of the Year accolade. Birkirkara midfielder Matthew Guillaumier won the Young Player of the Year award. In the major women’s award, youth Haley Bugeja of Mġarr United claimed the Player of the Year award. Awards in full:  MFA FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR Andrei Agius (Hibernians). COACH OF THE YEAR Stefano Sanderra (Hibernians). YOUNG PLAYER OF THE YEAR Matthew Guillaumier (Birkirkara). FOREIGN PLAYER OF THE YEAR Miguel Alba (Valletta). BOV FIRST DIVISION BEST PLAYER Ige Adeshina (Sirens). BOV SECOND DIVISION BEST PLAYER Gilbert Martin (Fgura United). BOV THIRD DIVISION BEST PLAYER Claudio Calleja (Żurrieq). BEST YOUTH LEAGUE PLAYER...

Taiwan holds first gay marriages in historic day for Asia

Taiwan made history on Friday with Asia's first legal gay weddings as same-sex couples tied the knot in jubilant and emotional scenes, the culmination of a three-decade fight for equality. The weddings, which came a week after lawmakers took the unprecedente
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Taiwan holds first gay marriages in historic day for Asia

Taiwan made history on Friday with Asia's first legal gay weddings as same-sex couples tied the knot in jubilant and emotional scenes, the culmination of a three-decade fight for equality. The weddings, which came a week after lawmakers took the unprecedented decision to legalise gay marriage despite staunch conservative opposition, places Taiwan at the vanguard of the burgeoning gay rights movement in Asia. Some dozen couples were among the first to arrive at a government office in downtown Taipei to legally register their relationships as marriages. They embraced and kissed in front of the gathered press before proudly holding aloft their wedding certificates and new identity cards listing each other as spouses. Among those tying the knot were social worker Huang Mei-yu and her partner You Ya-ting.  They held a religious blessing conducted by a progressive Buddhist master in 2012 but longed for the same legal rights granted heterosexuals. «It's belated, but I'm still happy we can officially get married in this lifetime,» Huang told AFP after signing her marriage certificate, clutching a bouquet and beaming.  Legal recognition of their love, she said, was a crucial step and...

Bail for teenager who tried to run over policewoman

A young driver who tried to run over a policewoman last Sunday in Cospicua, was granted bail since the alleged victim had taken the witness stand on Thursday. Kurt David Azzopardi, 18, from Qormi, unemployed, was arraigned on Monday under arrest, pleading no
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Bail for teenager who tried to run over policewoman

A young driver who tried to run over a policewoman last Sunday in Cospicua, was granted bail since the alleged victim had taken the witness stand on Thursday. Kurt David Azzopardi, 18, from Qormi, unemployed, was arraigned on Monday under arrest, pleading not guilty to attempted grievous bodily harm, committing an offence against a police officer, failure to obey legitimate police orders, reckless and dangerous driving as well as driving without a police licence and without insurance cover. He was further charged with breaching a bail decree granted last month. The young man had been remanded in custody upon his arraignment following the episode, which appeared to be the latest in an escalating series of incidents with the female officer. When proceedings against the accused continued on Thursday, the policewoman testified that the young man’s dangerous driving had almost caused a collision with the police vehicle. The policewoman had got out of the car and approached the young driver, intending to have a word with him. However, as she got close to his car, he had sped off, injuring her in the process as her leg was caught by his tyre as a result of the sudden...

Formed with fire

In a quiet and bright courtyard in Mdina, six local artists are showcasing their skills in the ancient art of ceramics. They have known each other for years and call themselves friends but all have different styles. In Formed with Fire, they express their co
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Formed with fire

In a quiet and bright courtyard in Mdina, six local artists are showcasing their skills in the ancient art of ceramics. They have known each other for years and call themselves friends but all have different styles. In Formed with Fire, they express their concerns and interests mostly through the way they portray the human figure. “We all give different interpretations but the one thing in common between our works is that they are formed with fire,” Mario Sammut, one of the exhibitors, says. Ceramic art is made from clay, or clay mixed with other materials, that is shaped and subjected to heat. Different types of clay, used with different minerals and firing conditions, may produce earthenware, stoneware, porcelain or bone china. This particular exhibition features earthenware, that is pottery that has not been fired to vitrification and is thus permeable to water, and stoneware, a vitreous or semi-vitreous ceramic that is fired at high temperatures, is non-porous and may be glazed. Kenneth Grima presents a set of artefacts which resemble primitive art, yet have a contemporary style. Sina Micallef showcases two of her sculptures, one of which is an abstract reclining figure and...

ECB debates switching course before change of helmsman

Politics will have an unusually large role in picking a new chief for the European Central Bank this year, as the switchover coincides with European Parliament elections and the choice of a new Commission. But beyond the horse-trading over the right person fo
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ECB debates switching course before change of helmsman

Politics will have an unusually large role in picking a new chief for the European Central Bank this year, as the switchover coincides with European Parliament elections and the choice of a new Commission. But beyond the horse-trading over the right person for the presidency, some policymakers and observers are debating whether the Frankfurt institution needs new priorities after 20 years in operation. «Good luck stepping into the shoes» of 71-year-old Mario Draghi after he leaves in October, a European source speaking on condition of anonymity told AFP. The Italian has shepherded the eurozone through eight years of crisis with sometimes dramatic steps, as well as seeing off frequent political challenges to the central bank's independence. He has extended the bank's «toolbox» of options for supporting the economy with trillion-euro stimulus programmes and negative interest rates. And with «forward guidance» about future policy, the ECB now communicates more clearly and forcefully with markets about how it will pursue its price stability target. One widely tipped candidate to succeed Draghi, Bank of Finland governor Olli Rehn, believes the central bank must evolve further in the...

China slams US 'lies' about Huawei-government ties

Beijing on Friday accused the United States of spreading «lies» about Huawei after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the telecom giant was not being truthful about its ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has been thrust at the centre of escal
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China slams US 'lies' about Huawei-government ties

Beijing on Friday accused the United States of spreading «lies» about Huawei after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the telecom giant was not being truthful about its ties to the Chinese government. Huawei has been thrust at the centre of escalating tensions between the world's two top economies, with President Donald Trump saying Thursday the fate of the company could be included in any deal to resolve their trade war. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he was not aware of the «specifics» of Trump's comments and repeated that dialogue must be based on «mutual respect». The Trump administration has infuriated Beijing by blacklisting the smartphone and telecommunications company over worries that China uses it as a tool for espionage and allegations of breaking Iran related sanctions. Huawei has repeatedly denied that it works with the Communist-led government. «To say that they don't work with the Chinese government is a false statement,» Pompeo told CNBC. Lu said US politicians have spread rumours about Huawei without providing evidence. "These American politicians continue to fabricate various subjective, presumptive lies in an attempt to mislead the American...

One traffic fatality between January and March

There was one road traffic fatality in the first quarter of 2019, the National Statistics Offce said on Friday. It said in a statement the number of reported road traffic accidents in the first quarter this year reached 3,656, up by 8.4% over the comparative
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One traffic fatality between January and March

There was one road traffic fatality in the first quarter of 2019, the National Statistics Offce said on Friday. It said in a statement the number of reported road traffic accidents in the first quarter this year reached 3,656, up by 8.4% over the comparative period in 2018. The northern harbour district registered the largest share of all road traffic accidents with 1,375 cases or 37.6%. Road traffic casualties decreased by 3% to a total of 360 over the same period in 2018. Thirty drivers, six passengers and 23 pedestrians/other persons were grievously injured. One driver's injuries proved fatal. Vast majority injured were men Classified by gender, 71.2% of those grievously injured were males. The only recorded fatality comprised of one male while the majority of casualties fell in the 26 to 40 age-bracket. The largest number of road traffic casualties (63.1%) involved passenger cars, followed by motorcycles (21.7%) and goods-carrying vehicles (9.4%). Four cyclists were hit but sustained only slight/insignificant injuries. Road traffic casualties caused by collisions between vehicles topped the list with 68.9% of the total. When did most accidents happen? The highest road...

Tariffs and GDP impact

Political bias might be interfering with the accurate dissemination of information on how the tariffs on China will impact the US economy. The players opposing tariffs say it will reduce GDP and those supportive of this tariff suggest it will increase GDP. S
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Tariffs and GDP impact

Political bias might be interfering with the accurate dissemination of information on how the tariffs on China will impact the US economy. The players opposing tariffs say it will reduce GDP and those supportive of this tariff suggest it will increase GDP. So which is it? The outcome is rather unclear. The GDP impact depends on a combination of economic interactions that could lead to either side being correct depending on what assumptions are used and what retaliatory actions result. In order to cut through the political bias, it is important that we understand the underlying mechanisms. The impact of tariffs is of high importance to market participants as it directly impacts which way the market moves. GDP is calculated using personal consumption expenditures, gross private domestic investment, government consumption and investment, and net exports. The tariff on China will likely impact (directly or indirectly) all four of the GDP inputs to varying degrees. Impact on each variable Consumption spending will likely go down as a result of tariffs. If one solely considers the consumption of Chinese goods, the increased expense of consumption will reduce the volume of purchases.

Daphne Project team wins special European press award

The team behind the Daphne Project walked away with a special European press prize on Thursday during a ceremony held in Warsaw. The European press prize celebrates the highest achievements in European journalism. Forbidden Stories, the French NGO that coordi
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Daphne Project team wins special European press award

The team behind the Daphne Project walked away with a special European press prize on Thursday during a ceremony held in Warsaw. The European press prize celebrates the highest achievements in European journalism. Forbidden Stories, the French NGO that coordinated the collaboration between 18 media houses, including Times of Malta, picked up the special award together with other journalists who worked on the Daphne Project. The collaboration saw 45 journalists come together to continue the work of assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. These journalists spent five months poring over 750,000 files and official documents to complete Ms Caruana Galizia's work on corruption and international money laundering networks. Ms Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a car bomb outside her home on October 16, was at the forefront of some of the bigger stories in recent years, including the Panama Papers. The Daphne Project team would go on to put a spotlight on the links two top government officials had with a mystery Dubai company called 17 Black. The collaboration also put a spotlight on Pilatus Bank’s links with Azerbaijan’s ruling family, fuel smuggling and passport sales to...

Sleepless in Berlin: Nightingales flock to scruffy city parks

Sarah Darwin, the great-great granddaughter of British biologist Charles Darwin, was sleepless in Berlin when, to her «enormous surprise», she heard a nightingale warbling merrily outside her window. «It's very, very rare in the UK, so to b
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Sleepless in Berlin: Nightingales flock to scruffy city parks

Sarah Darwin, the great-great granddaughter of British biologist Charles Darwin, was sleepless in Berlin when, to her «enormous surprise», she heard a nightingale warbling merrily outside her window. «It's very, very rare in the UK, so to be living in the middle of a capital city in Europe and hearing a nightingale singing outside your bedroom window is quite an extraordinary experience,» the Berlin-based British botanist told AFP. The trills got Darwin thinking, and led to the launch of a citizens' project examining why the non-descript-looking brown bird, with its distinctive song, has been flocking to the German capital. The project by Berlin's Natural History Museum, where Darwin works, asks city dwellers to go out and record nightingales' song with their smartphone and upload it onto an app. Through the sound clips collected, scientists are also seeking to map out whether the birds take on «different dialects» in different parts of Berlin. «What's really exciting in Berlin is that, unlike for instance in England, where the population of nightingales has plunged by 90% in the last 60 years, in Berlin there's in fact a positive trend,» said Silke Voigt-Heucke, who is...

37 issues flagged over Tal-Balal roadworks

Confusing junctions, potential bottlenecks, unsafe bike lanes and missing street signs are among 37 different issues flagged by Transport Malta over the roadworks at Tal-Balal, between Naxxar and San Ġwann. The €4.4 million upgrading project is being carri
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37 issues flagged over Tal-Balal roadworks

Confusing junctions, potential bottlenecks, unsafe bike lanes and missing street signs are among 37 different issues flagged by Transport Malta over the roadworks at Tal-Balal, between Naxxar and San Ġwann. The €4.4 million upgrading project is being carried out by another government agency, Infrastructure Malta, and began last August without planning permission, with a permit only granted in November when much of the work had already been done. Transport Malta was asked by the Planning Authority to give its comments and recommendations on the basis of plans submitted by the roadworks agency after the permit was issued. Read: Tal-Balal Road will be ready ‘as soon as possible’ In an unusually lengthy reply, the transport watchdog listed dozens of issues with the plans, including the fact that the roundabouts along the two-kilometre road catered had one circulatory lane despite nearly all the entry arms having two lanes, potentially creating bottlenecks. One particular roundabout at the junction with Triq Murray earned itself eight different recommendations, including over its confusing layout, potential road blockages, missing signage and access requirements. Transport Malta also...

US policy on Libya shifts - Richard Galustian

The ‘international community’ recognises its past initiatives over the last seven years have all failed and ‘the West’ now needs, as a matter of urgency, an end to the Libyan debacle. However the fact is ‘the West’ is much divided over what shoul
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US policy on Libya shifts - Richard Galustian

The ‘international community’ recognises its past initiatives over the last seven years have all failed and ‘the West’ now needs, as a matter of urgency, an end to the Libyan debacle. However the fact is ‘the West’ is much divided over what should happen in Libya, notably France and Italy, who each have vast economic interests that are at odds with one another. While the US and UK of course have an eye on their potential economic interests in a future-liberated Libya, theirs is more of an anti-terrorism effort aimed at eradicating IS’s presence in Libya and specifically to find Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi who is thought to have recently moved to Libya and set up a new HQ. IS released an 18-minute video of him speaking, thought to have been taped in Libya. The first such video showing al-Baghdadi to surface in five years. In the intervening period, the battle to take Tripoli continues by Field Marshall’s Haftar’s forces. Following on the heels of a vote by several members of the East Libyan parliament to label the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, Washington is also contemplating the designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation. The London based pan-Arab daily Asharq...

How we traced 'mystery emissions' of CFCs back to eastern China

Since being universally ratified in the 1980s, the Montreal Protocol – the treaty charged with healing the ozone layer – has been wildly successful in causing large reductions in emissions of ozone depleting substances. Along the way, it has also averted
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How we traced 'mystery emissions' of CFCs back to eastern China

Since being universally ratified in the 1980s, the Montreal Protocol – the treaty charged with healing the ozone layer – has been wildly successful in causing large reductions in emissions of ozone depleting substances. Along the way, it has also averted a sizeable amount of global warming, as those same substances are also potent greenhouse gases. No wonder the ozone process is often held up as a model of how the international community could work together to tackle climate change. Read: Report accuses China firms over ozone-depleting gas However, new research we have published with colleagues in Nature shows that global emissions of the second most abundant ozone-depleting gas, CFC-11, have increased globally since 2013, primarily because of increases in emissions from eastern China. Our results strongly suggest a violation of the Montreal Protocol. A global ban on the production of CFCs has been in force since 2010, due to their central role in depleting the stratospheric ozone layer, which protects us from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Since global restrictions on CFC production and use began to bite, atmospheric scientists had become used to seeing steady or accelerating...

Smokin' hut: Singapore's solution for cigarette puffers

Smokers in Singapore will no longer have to sneak a drag on the street, with the launch of the city-state's first air-conditioned «smoking cabin», but the experience won few fans among cigarette puffers on Wednesday. The city-state has some of th
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Smokin' hut: Singapore's solution for cigarette puffers

Smokers in Singapore will no longer have to sneak a drag on the street, with the launch of the city-state's first air-conditioned «smoking cabin», but the experience won few fans among cigarette puffers on Wednesday. The city-state has some of the world's strictest anti-tobacco laws and smoking is banned in most public places, with a fine of up to Sg$1,000 ($725) if caught. E-cigarettes are also banned outright. The new cabins, which are fitted with a Danish filtration system that can purify cigarette smoke before it is released into the air, can reportedly fit up to 10 people at a time. But tobacco enthusiasts appeared unimpressed, with many choosing to light up at a nearby open-air smoking corner instead. «The atmosphere in there is stifling, honestly. Because it's so small and squeezy, I feel a bit like a second-class citizen smoking in there,» e-commerce executive Azfar Zain told AFP after using the cabin. «There are no seats, either. I'm not comfortable with smoking there unless they make the room bigger.» Office worker Rama Dass said he preferred to smoke outside, adding, «sometimes I just need a bit of fresh air». Singapore-based Southern Globe Corporation, which launched...

Fair hearings and consumer rights - Antoine Grima

Article 39 (1) of the Maltese Constitution guarantees the individual’s right, whenever charged with a criminal offence, to a fair hearing only before an independent and impartial court and no other administrative set-up. This safeguard is superior, and allo
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Fair hearings and consumer rights - Antoine Grima

Article 39 (1) of the Maltese Constitution guarantees the individual’s right, whenever charged with a criminal offence, to a fair hearing only before an independent and impartial court and no other administrative set-up. This safeguard is superior, and allowed to be so. Crucial parts of the Competition Act, introduced in 2011, have been declared to be inconsistent with Article 39 (1). This debilitated the Competition Office.  Two approaches are suggested to resolve this.  One proposes amending Article 39 (1).  No precise details have been published except that the Article 6 (1) model of the European Convention may be used as an “inspiration”. This means that instead of amending the ordinary law, which was declared to be inconsistent with the human rights provisions of the Constitution, the Constitution is amended to accommodate the ordinary law.  It is argued that this route would safeguard the position of other public authorities, which as things stand, might be equally challenged before the court and end up powerless like the Competition Office.  This point was raised before the Civil Court (constitutional jurisdiction) in the estate agents case. The court defended the...

Where wine and science meet

Science can be a wonderful thing, but it surely doesn’t evoke that spontaneous, emotional response which typifies how we react to the divine nectar – unless, of course, science and wine meet in your glass. That unusual blend was presented by the Delicata
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Where wine and science meet

Science can be a wonderful thing, but it surely doesn’t evoke that spontaneous, emotional response which typifies how we react to the divine nectar – unless, of course, science and wine meet in your glass. That unusual blend was presented by the Delicata winery in collaboration with sciANTific last week at their first ever Wine Science Show. It was an insightful wine-tasting event which demonstrated the hard work and passion involved in today’s wine growing but also scientific principles that support it. Wine is often described as an expression of the land, which reigns supreme, made with the help of a rather hands-off winemaker, who lets the grapes tell their own story. While it’s true that wine was made long before anyone could explain it, nobody can deny though that scientific research has hugely improved its overall quality. Modern-day winemakers rely on it to underpin their rationale and actions so as how to create the best possible authentic bottle of wine from a given lot of grapes. For their maiden Wine Science Show, fourth-generation winemaker Matthew Delicata and Delicata’s seasoned viticulturist Jonathan Falzon were joined by scientist Anthony Galea. Galea is a young...

UK election body says 'some' EU citizens turned away at polls

UK election authorities acknowledged Thursday that some EU citizens were turned away at UK polling stations while trying to cast ballots in the European Parliament polls. The hashtag #DeniedMyVote began trending in Britain as voters cast their ballots in one
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UK election body says 'some' EU citizens turned away at polls

UK election authorities acknowledged Thursday that some EU citizens were turned away at UK polling stations while trying to cast ballots in the European Parliament polls. The hashtag #DeniedMyVote began trending in Britain as voters cast their ballots in one of the 28 countries taking part in four days of voting. «Early morning visit to cast my vote only to have it disenfranchised because my declaration that I wouldn't be voting in Sweden (my country of citizenship) hadn't been processed in time,» Twitter user Lina Dencik wrote. The lobby group, The3Million, representing the interests of EU nationals working and living in Britain said it had been contacted by «hundreds» of people who were turned away. Britain's Electoral Commission said it was monitoring the situation but refused to take the blame. «We understand the frustration of some EU citizens of other EU member states,» it said in a statement. It attributed the incidents to misunderstandings by some people of European election rules for those living abroad. «The very short notice from the government for the UK's participation in these elections impacted on the time available for awareness of this process among citizens,»...

Champions Valletta name Abdilla as coach

Valletta will be under the guidance by Darren Abdilla as from the 2019/2020 campaign after the Malta champions unveiled him as their new coach, on Thursday. Abdilla pledged his future with the Citizens for the next three years, taking over from Gilbert Agius
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Champions Valletta name Abdilla as coach

Valletta will be under the guidance by Darren Abdilla as from the 2019/2020 campaign after the Malta champions unveiled him as their new coach, on Thursday. Abdilla pledged his future with the Citizens for the next three years, taking over from Gilbert Agius who will stay at the club as assistant coach. After taking charge of the club following Danilo Doncic's resignation in the final games of the season, club legend Agius steered Valletta towards the Premier League title and FA Trophy final.  «Valletta Football Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Darren Abdilla as new coach for the senior squad,» the Citizens said in a statement on their social media platform.  «Abdilla has signed a contract with the Champions till the end of season 2021/2022. On behalf of all of us at Valletta FC we would like to welcome Darren and wish him all the best with our senior squad.» Last season, Abdilla resigned from his post as Gżira United coach following a 1-0 defeat to Hibernians, ending a five-year stay at the Maroons.  During his time with the Maroons, Abdilla managed to guide the club into European football for the first time since the 1973/1974 campaign. 

Muscat ends campaign with call for unity and pledge to deliver

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wound up the Labour Party’s election campaign on Thursday with a message of unity and a pledge to deliver further on the achievements of recent years.Speaking in Birgu, Dr Muscat highlighted the 55 per cent of his party’s 201
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Muscat ends campaign with call for unity and pledge to deliver

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat wound up the Labour Party’s election campaign on Thursday with a message of unity and a pledge to deliver further on the achievements of recent years.Speaking in Birgu, Dr Muscat highlighted the 55 per cent of his party’s 2017 electoral pledges that he said had already been achieved and the tangible benefits he said these had delivered. He reiterated his characterisation of Saturday’s European Parliament and local council elections as a choice between himself and PN leader Adrian Delia, while stressing his full confidence in each of his party’s candidates. At the same, Dr Muscat stressed the need to challenge racism and xenophobia, as he has in recent campaign appearances since the arrest and arraignment of the men alleged to have killed an Ivorian migrant. “The challenge of our time is learning how to live alongside each other,” Dr Muscat said. “In this country, whether you are Maltese or foreign, everyone has to follow the same laws, but the future is one of integration, not segregation. If anyone believes the language of hate can unite us, they are wrong.“Our history is one of a people that always welcomed other peoples while demanding the right...

New app will guide you to ‘smart’ recycling bin

A new web application that directs people to the nearest available ‘smart’ recycling bin has been launched. IBiNs, which gauge the volume of waste disposed, have doubled the collection of plastic waste and contributed to a dramatic increase in the collect
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New app will guide you to ‘smart’ recycling bin

A new web application that directs people to the nearest available ‘smart’ recycling bin has been launched. IBiNs, which gauge the volume of waste disposed, have doubled the collection of plastic waste and contributed to a dramatic increase in the collection of recyclable paper, metal, glass and plastic compared to the same quarter last year, according to GreenPak. The company said all ‘old’ recycling skips in 42 localities served by GreenPak had been replaced and the new system led to a 23 per cent drop in the number of trips made by collection truck. GreenPak teamed up with Vodafone to develop an app directing people to the nearest IBiN. If that one happens to be full, the app will indicate the next available one.  The app works on any mobile device. Speaking at Santa Luċija in the presence of GreenPak CEO Mario Schembri and Labour MEP Miriam Dalli, Vodafone Malta’s director of enterprise and business development, Kenneth Spiteri, said helping protect Malta’s environment was one of his company’s three strategic pillars. Vodafone Malta was, therefore, committed to using its next generation technology to help redefine the way waste was managed, he added. Dr Dalli highlighted her...

Benedetti wins Giro d'Italia 12th stage, Polanc takes pink jersey

Italy's Cesare Benedetti won Thursday's 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia at Pinerolo in the Italian Alps ahead of compatriot Damiano Caruso. Slovenian Jan Polanc took the overall lead. It was the first win for 31-year-old Bora rider Benedetti who led a long br
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Benedetti wins Giro d'Italia 12th stage, Polanc takes pink jersey

Italy's Cesare Benedetti won Thursday's 12th stage of the Giro d'Italia at Pinerolo in the Italian Alps ahead of compatriot Damiano Caruso. Slovenian Jan Polanc took the overall lead. It was the first win for 31-year-old Bora rider Benedetti who led a long break-away group in the first mountain stage after the 158km run from Cuneo. Polanc, also among the leading group, took the leader's pink jersey from UAE Emirates teammate Valerio Conti of Italy. Benedetti crossed just ahead of Bahrain-Merida's Caruso with Ireland's Edward Dunbar of Team INEOS third. «I've worked a lot for the others in the past but today I got my opportunity,» said Benedetti. «I'm not a talent, I'm not (usually) a winner, but the way I finished it off is exactly what I wanted to do.» It was the third stage win for Benedetti's Bora team after Germany's Pascal Ackermann's two sprint wins. The first 15 finishers had all been part of a large early breakaway that built up a sizeable advantage. Polanc finished 25 seconds behind Benedetti but more than nine minutes ahead of Conti and more than seven minutes ahead of fellow Slovene Primoz Roglic, who climbed to second Behind the breakaway, the opening skirmishes...

Blatter lashes out at Infantino after World Cup expansion scrapped

Sepp Blatter has blasted his successor as FIFA head Gianni Infantino for thinking he can ride roughshod over decisions already made by the organisation after plans for a 48-team 2022 World Cup were shelved. Speaking to AFP, disgraced Blatter said that «
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Blatter lashes out at Infantino after World Cup expansion scrapped

Sepp Blatter has blasted his successor as FIFA head Gianni Infantino for thinking he can ride roughshod over decisions already made by the organisation after plans for a 48-team 2022 World Cup were shelved. Speaking to AFP, disgraced Blatter said that «you can't just change willy-nilly rulings taken by the Executive Committee», adding that Infantino wanted to «revoke» the decision made in December 2010 to make the 2022 World Cup in Qatar a 32-team tournament. The expansion, which was scrapped on Wednesday evening, was a pet project of Infantino, who pushed the idea despite the need for Qatar's fellow Gulf nations to put aside a two-year blockade and help to host the proposed larger tournament. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain cut all ties with Qatar in June 2017, accusing Doha of supporting Iran and Islamist groups, and while Kuwait and Oman have not taken sides in the crisis Oman said in April it was «not ready» to host matches. «Wanting at any cost to organise the World Cup in the (Gulf) region... he knew very well that was like going into a nest of vipers and it is not football's role to get involved with all that,» said Blatter, 83, who is serving a six-year ban from...

Delia: Saturday's elections will only be 'the end of the beginning' for the PN

Saturday’s elections would mark the ‘end of the beginning’ for the PN, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said on Thursday, borrowing a phrase from Winston Churchill. As of Monday, he told a Net TV interviewer, the Nationalist Party would embark on a fresh
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Delia: Saturday's elections will only be 'the end of the beginning' for the PN

Saturday’s elections would mark the ‘end of the beginning’ for the PN, Opposition leader Adrian Delia said on Thursday, borrowing a phrase from Winston Churchill. As of Monday, he told a Net TV interviewer, the Nationalist Party would embark on a fresh process where it would analyse what it had learnt and channel it to its programme for an alternative government. Dr Delia said the past 20 months since he became PN leader had been a journey during which he had the privilege to meet people from all walks of life to discuss their needs and their view of what the country needed. He had discussed all sort of things, such as the people’s complaints that salaries and pensions were inadequate, how rents had gone through the roof and how students were learning things they did not need, but not getting the right skills of the 20th century. Many complained about how Malta was losing its character. And despite the country becoming more populated and congested, some spoke about their solitude.   In the health sector, while the PN would continue to speak about the Vitals scandal, he had also heard complaints about the medicines the people had to buy and about shortcomings in the care of...

Star's gems worth €3.5 million 'forgotten' on Cannes flight

A woman left jewellery worth more than 3.5 million euros she was taking for pop singer Rita Ora to wear at Cannes film festival on a plane, police told AFP Thursday. The Kosovo-born star was loaned the gems by a luxury brand when she walked the red carpet at
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Star's gems worth €3.5 million 'forgotten' on Cannes flight

A woman left jewellery worth more than 3.5 million euros she was taking for pop singer Rita Ora to wear at Cannes film festival on a plane, police told AFP Thursday. The Kosovo-born star was loaned the gems by a luxury brand when she walked the red carpet at the festival last week. But a courier sent from London with the jewellery forgot her cabin luggage and her coat when leaving her plane at Nice Airport. By the time she realised her mistake, the aircraft had already taken off on the return journey to London Luton. «Someone with their head in the clouds nearly lost several million,» a police sourced joked, saying the jewellery was recovered at Luton and send back to Nice via London Heathrow. Ora, 28, later appeared at a party in Cannes in a striking diamond necklace and a white bustier dress. 

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