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Reclaiming democracy - Francis Zammit Dimech

It’s been a year and we are none the wiser to know who ordered her assassination. The day Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed the greatest loss was hers, denied the right to live out her years. Next, come her husband, children, parents, family, all denied th

The spiritual penthouse - Ranier Fsadni

No one is more conventional than a wild-eyed rock star smashing his guitar on stage. Nothing is more old-fashioned than taking hallucinogens, unless it’s infanticide. No one is more puritan than a vegan, although you’re getting close with affluent middle-
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The spiritual penthouse - Ranier Fsadni

No one is more conventional than a wild-eyed rock star smashing his guitar on stage. Nothing is more old-fashioned than taking hallucinogens, unless it’s infanticide. No one is more puritan than a vegan, although you’re getting close with affluent middle-class families intent on consuming only organic, fair-trade food and giving the children memorable learning experiences rather than toys.  And nothing is more ritualised than the weekly discussion programme. Before an attentive audience, over a panel representing a range of opinion, the presenter presides with thoughtful neutrality. Ready to consider each view, while remaining detached from them all, the presenter is the priest, in sponsored vestments, leading the worship of a pluralist, open society. The best programmes attract millions of viewers.  It’s important to remember all this, given the way the discussion of plummeting Sunday Mass attendance is going. Blame is being cast on conventionality, old-fashioned ways, puritanism and ritualism. Yet none of these things, in themselves, have lost their power to attract, fascinate and guide tastes and behaviour. If there’s something wrong with these in the Maltese Church, the...

May hails 'progress' in Brexit talks with EU's Juncker

British Prime Minister Theresa May hailed «progress» in talks with the EU on Wednesday aimed at solving the Brexit deadlock. May said her meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had been «constructive» with the t
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May hails 'progress' in Brexit talks with EU's Juncker

British Prime Minister Theresa May hailed «progress» in talks with the EU on Wednesday aimed at solving the Brexit deadlock. May said her meeting with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had been «constructive» with the two sides agreeing to work on assurances over the thorny «Irish backstop» issue. «So we’ve made progress,» May said.

Watch: Atletico beat Juventus in Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League mission with Juventus stalled on Wednesday as Atletico Madrid secured a deserved 2-0 victory from a thrilling first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano. Ronaldo returned to the Spanish capital, where he enjoyed unprecedente
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Watch: Atletico beat Juventus in Champions League

Cristiano Ronaldo's Champions League mission with Juventus stalled on Wednesday as Atletico Madrid secured a deserved 2-0 victory from a thrilling first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano. Ronaldo returned to the Spanish capital, where he enjoyed unprecedented success in this tournament with Real, but it was their rivals celebrating at the final whistle as goals from Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin put Atletico within sight of the quarter-finals. This was a victory that Diego Simeone's side fully deserved. Antoine Griezmann had hit the crossbar while VAR twice intervened, correctly, in Juve's favour, cancelling a first-half penalty for a foul on Diego Costa and then ruling out an Alvaro Morata header shortly before Gimenez struck. Juve are certainly not dead and buried yet, particularly given Costa and Thomas Partey will both be suspended for the return in Turin after each picked up yellow cards here. But the failure to score an away goal, and their clear inferiority for much of the second half, does not bode well for their hopes of a comeback. Defeat in the last 16 for either team would be unthinkable, for Atletico, who know the final will be played here, at their own stadium, on...

Watch: Ten-man City fight back to beat Schalke

Ten-man Manchester City staged a dramatic late comeback as goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling snatched a 3-2 victory at Schalke in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday. Sergio Aguero gave City an early lead, but a brace of penalties fro
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Watch: Ten-man City fight back to beat Schalke

Ten-man Manchester City staged a dramatic late comeback as goals from Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling snatched a 3-2 victory at Schalke in the Champions League last-16 first leg on Wednesday. Sergio Aguero gave City an early lead, but a brace of penalties from Nabil Bentaleb and Nicolas Otamendi's red card turned the game on its head. Substitute Sane fired home a wonderful free-kick with five minutes remaining against his former club, though, and Sterling grabbed a 90th-minute winner.

Tuna bribery allegations: MP accuses PM of lying

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had “lied barefacedly” when he claimed to have been unaware of any misconduct justifying the transfer of currently suspended Fisheries director Andreina Fenech Farrugia away from the Fisheries Department in 2010 Opposition MP
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Tuna bribery allegations: MP accuses PM of lying

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had “lied barefacedly” when he claimed to have been unaware of any misconduct justifying the transfer of currently suspended Fisheries director Andreina Fenech Farrugia away from the Fisheries Department in 2010 Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi claimed on Wednesday. Speaking on the adjournment in Parliament, Dr Azzopardi said Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri had also lied to Parliament when he stated that there was “no record” in Dr Fenech Farrugia’s file stating why she had been transferred in 2010. He also claimed that Environment Minister José Herrera had known of a magisterial investigation into Dr Fenech Farrugia since October 2018, but had nevertheless only taken action when the tuna bribery allegations story broke on Spanish and Maltese media. Read: Malta's fishy business mapped out The Opposition MP tabled a 100-page report compiled by the Internal Audit and Investigations Department (IAID), which falls under the Office of the Prime Minister and reports to the Principal Permanent Secretary. The report, he said, had followed a request by European Commissioner for Fisheries Maria Damanaki for an administrative inquiry on the basis of...

Polish mother superior speaks out about priests sexually abusing nuns

A senior nun has spoken out for the first time about priests sexually abusing nuns in staunchly Catholic Poland following an an unprecedented public admission by Pope Francis. Mother Superior Joanna Olech was speaking after the pontiff earlier this month admi
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Polish mother superior speaks out about priests sexually abusing nuns

A senior nun has spoken out for the first time about priests sexually abusing nuns in staunchly Catholic Poland following an an unprecedented public admission by Pope Francis. Mother Superior Joanna Olech was speaking after the pontiff earlier this month admitted that priest have used nuns as «sexual slaves» - and may still be doing so. «The problem of sexual abuse committed by priests against nuns has also existed in Poland for a long time,» Olech, who was the secretary general of women's religious orders in Poland between 1995-2008, told Poland's KAI Catholic news agency in an interview. Olech said that in one of several cases she has seen, «a young nun who became pregnant, was forced to leave her order, but the father of the child is still a priest and certainly has not suffered any consequences for his actions.» «These cases have never been made public», even after being reported to the superiors of priests responsible for sexual abuse, said Olech. She added that the scale of the abuse in Poland was unclear as «no studies have been done.» Sexually abused nuns have nowhere to turn, said Olech, who has spent the last 50 years in a religious order. But she also insisted that...

More than €1.3 million invested in Castille in past six years

More than €1.3 million were invested at Castille in the past six years, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Wednesday. Replying to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, Dr Muscat said a good chunk of the investment, which came to €1
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More than €1.3 million invested in Castille in past six years

More than €1.3 million were invested at Castille in the past six years, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Wednesday. Replying to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Jason Azzopardi, Dr Muscat said a good chunk of the investment, which came to €1,315,023, was on refurbishment. Dr Muscat noted that nearly the same amount - €1,261,117 - had been invested in the refurbishment of Castille by the last Nationalist administration. The aim of the investment carried out in the past years was to give the auberge the dignity it deserved as the Prime Minister’s office. Work carried out since 2013 included whitewashing and other works related to offices and halls, interventions on the lighting system to get this in conformity with modern standards, the replacement of furniture, work on office doors, skirting works, parquet floorings, gypsum works, floor polishing, work on office windows and halls, replacement of curtains, work on CCTVs and work on the restrooms and kitchenettes. Dr Muscat noted that in the past six years, the auberge hosted a series of events related to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the Valletta Summit 2015 and the EU Council Presidency in 2017. This...

Elderly man charged with sexually molesting ‘vulnerable’ woman

An elderly man who pleaded not guilty to sexually molesting his friend’s girlfriend, whom he allegedly lured to his home under a false pretext, was remanded in custody upon his arraignment on Wednesday. Manweli Zahra, the 67-year old Birżebbuġa resident w
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Elderly man charged with sexually molesting ‘vulnerable’ woman

An elderly man who pleaded not guilty to sexually molesting his friend’s girlfriend, whom he allegedly lured to his home under a false pretext, was remanded in custody upon his arraignment on Wednesday. Manweli Zahra, the 67-year old Birżebbuġa resident was charged with groping the 32-year-old vulnerable woman, forcing himself upon her in an unwanted show of intimacy, and demanding sexual favours. The man had apparently lured the woman to his home on Sunday afternoon, telling her that he had news about her boyfriend whom she had not seen for a while. Having chatted to her previously about her boyfriend and thus gained her trust, the man’s invitation was taken up by the unsuspecting woman who went to the accused’s home where the alleged offence was committed. The man pleaded not guilty and requested bail, his legal aid counsel Yanika Bugeja stating that the man was still presumed innocent and further pointing out his clean criminal record. Moreover, given the man’s apparent mobility problems, the prospect of his escape from Malta was rather unlikely. However, prosecuting Inspector John Spiteri strongly objected to bail, not only because of the nature and severity of the offences,...

Partner of Serbia's gay PM gives birth to baby boy

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic's partner gave a birth to a baby boy Wednesday, her office said, heralding it as a historic event although the conservative country does not legally recognise same-sex marriages or partnerships. «Ana Brnabic is one of
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Partner of Serbia's gay PM gives birth to baby boy

Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic's partner gave a birth to a baby boy Wednesday, her office said, heralding it as a historic event although the conservative country does not legally recognise same-sex marriages or partnerships. «Ana Brnabic is one of the first Prime Ministers whose partner has given birth while in office... and the first in the world in a same-sex couple,» her media office said in a statement. «The delivery went well and both the mother and baby are doing fine,» it added. According to local media, the boy was named Igor. Brnabic, 43, became one of the few openly gay government leaders in the world when she came to power in June 2017. But she has not been a vocal advocate on LGBT issues in a country where homophobia is widespread. In February alone there have been at least two acts of vandalism at an LGBT centre in central Belgrade. During an appearance at a Pride parade in Belgrade in 2017, Brnabic declined to comment on whether she would like to see same-sex marriage legalised in her country. «I can't give you my personal opinion right now because I'm here as the prime minister representing the Serbian government,» she said at the time. Although the country...

Watch: 'Likes' and chat don't solve problems, Spalletti tells Icardi

Problems are not resolved by text messages and 'likes' on social media, Inter coach Luciano Spalletti on Wednesday warned unsettled forward Mauro Icardi, who was stripped of the captain's armband last week amid protracted contract negotiations. The Argent
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Watch: 'Likes' and chat don't solve problems, Spalletti tells Icardi

Problems are not resolved by text messages and 'likes' on social media, Inter coach Luciano Spalletti on Wednesday warned unsettled forward Mauro Icardi, who was stripped of the captain's armband last week amid protracted contract negotiations. The Argentine has refused to play for the team since and underwent a scan and tests on Wednesday in Milan after complaining of a painful knee. The 26-year-old arrived at the Istituto Clinico Humanitas with his wife and agent, Wanda Nara, and his father, emerging 45 minutes later. «This morning, Mauro Icardi underwent a scan .. due to pain in the right knee,» the team said in a statement.  «The scans didn't reveal significant changes compared to those performed before the start of the current season.» Icardi complained of the knee problem just after losing the captain's armband to goalkeeper Samir Handanovic last week. The decision came amid constant speculation over his future, fuelled by his wife Wanda on social media, which has caused friction within the team. «Some problems aren't resolved via chat, videos and 'likes' but with words and being together, with real contact,» Spalletti told a press conference ahead of the team's Europa...

Investigative journalism flagged clerical child abuse, says Archbishop

Archbishop Charles Scicluna heaped praise on investigative journalism which exposed clerical child abuse and gave the Church the opportunity to tackle the problem and make amends. “Thanks to the media for their interest in this topic, not only from a journa
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Investigative journalism flagged clerical child abuse, says Archbishop

Archbishop Charles Scicluna heaped praise on investigative journalism which exposed clerical child abuse and gave the Church the opportunity to tackle the problem and make amends. “Thanks to the media for their interest in this topic, not only from a journalistic point of view but for so many investigative stories that brought this topic to where it should belong. “Journalists became part of the solution,” he told a press conference at the Vatican. Pope Francis has called a summit on preventing clergy sex abuse. The meeting, with almost 200 participants, will take place between Thursday and Sunday. The organisers will meet a dozen abuse victims who have gathered in Rome to protest about the Catholic Church’s response to the crisis and demand an end to decades of cover-up by Church leaders. The victims will not address the summit but will meet organisers on the eve to discuss their aspirations and expectations. Mgr Scicluna, the Vatican’s leading sex crimes investigator and an organiser of the meeting, said the summit will focus on the key aspects of dealing with the crisis: responsibility, accountability and transparency. “We need to come together to make the church a safe place.

Why not to currently invest in the banking sector

Stocks of European banks are currently lagging behind market indices. 2018 saw roughly 300 billion euros in shareholders’ money wiped out across the European banking sector, down 25.8% compared to 11.0% for the wider market. Despite a more positive start t
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Why not to currently invest in the banking sector

Stocks of European banks are currently lagging behind market indices. 2018 saw roughly 300 billion euros in shareholders’ money wiped out across the European banking sector, down 25.8% compared to 11.0% for the wider market. Despite a more positive start to the year, European banks are still lagging other sectors, up 5.6% compared to 6.7% for the wider market. European Banks are indeed facing a double-edged sword, whereby they are caught in a situation where the European Central Bank, via its monetary policies, has instilled negative interest rates on high grade fixed income assets. Concurrently, it has sequentially implemented a host of stricter capital requirements, essentially forcing the bank’s hand to hold very high grade assets as well as limiting risk. This has inevitably resulted in the tightening of net interest margins, reducing operating income. Given that the outlook for growth in the European Economic Area remains tepid, there is little hope for a material rise in interest rates in the short term. Indeed, in the ECBs most recent comments they expect the Eurozone’s path of inflation will be shallower while its economic slowdown will be “stronger and broader” than...

Watch: Stopping female circumcision in Kenya (ARTE)

  In Kenya, female circumcision has been banned since 2011. In spite of numerous NGOs campaigning against it, the brutal practice continues in rural areas.
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Watch: Stopping female circumcision in Kenya (ARTE)

  In Kenya, female circumcision has been banned since 2011. In spite of numerous NGOs campaigning against it, the brutal practice continues in rural areas.

Three UK MPs quit Conservative Party over Brexit

Three MPs quit Britain's governing Conservatives on Wednesday over Brexit, saying the issue had «re-defined» the party and was «undoing all the efforts to modernise it». «It is with regret that we are writing to resign the Conser
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Three UK MPs quit Conservative Party over Brexit

Three MPs quit Britain's governing Conservatives on Wednesday over Brexit, saying the issue had «re-defined» the party and was «undoing all the efforts to modernise it». «It is with regret that we are writing to resign the Conservative whip and our membership of the party,» Anna Soubry, Heidi Allen and Sarah Wollaston said in a joint letter to Prime Minister Theresa May. The trio added that they planned to sit in parliament alongside eight former Labour lawmakers who, also citing their opposition to Brexit, resigned from the main opposition party this week to form the new Independent Group.  Mrs May is in Brussels on Wednesday for talks with the European Union aimed at staving off a no-deal Brexit. 

Woman reported missing

A 41-year-old woman has been missing for the past five days, the police said in a statement on Wednesday.  Jeanette Burke last made contact with her family in the UK on January 23. She was reported missing to the police last week, on February 15. The police
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Woman reported missing

A 41-year-old woman has been missing for the past five days, the police said in a statement on Wednesday.  Jeanette Burke last made contact with her family in the UK on January 23. She was reported missing to the police last week, on February 15. The police urged anyone with information about Ms Burke or her whereabouts to get in touch with authorities on 212240001 or 119 or at any local police station.

Historic 'language question' in court returns to haunt former bank employee

The historic 'language question' in Malta's courts has returned to haunt a former HSBC employee who sued the bank's board for allegedly not being paid outstanding wages upon termination of his employment. The case was filed by the police after the bank allege
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Historic 'language question' in court returns to haunt former bank employee

The historic 'language question' in Malta's courts has returned to haunt a former HSBC employee who sued the bank's board for allegedly not being paid outstanding wages upon termination of his employment. The case was filed by the police after the bank allegedly failed to pay Dennis Francalanza, whose termination of employment was declared unfair by the Industrial Relations Tribunal in November 2015. The bank's failure was deemed to be a breach of the collective agreement. Before going into the merits of the case, Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech observed that the summons had been filed in English. She observed that the Constitution and the Criminal Code laid down that the language of the courts was Maltese. The Judicial Proceedings (Use of English Language) Act further laid down that where one or more of the parties was English-speaking and the Maltese-speaking parties made a declaration consenting to the proceedings being conducted in the English language, or where none of the parties was a Maltese-speaking person, the court may order that the proceedings be conducted in the English language. However, no such declaration had been made, nor was the court requested to issue...

May heads to Brussels for Brexit crisis talks

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday prepared to head to Brussels for talks on the Brexit crisis, even though EU leaders have refused any renegotiation of the deal she agreed with them in December. With just five weeks to go until Brexit on March 29
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May heads to Brussels for Brexit crisis talks

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday prepared to head to Brussels for talks on the Brexit crisis, even though EU leaders have refused any renegotiation of the deal she agreed with them in December. With just five weeks to go until Brexit on March 29, the deal has been blocked by the British parliament and the country appears headed for a chaotic exit that economists warn will wreak havoc in both Britain and the European Union. May is due to meet European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker at 1730 GMT on Wednesday, two days after Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and Attorney General Geoffrey Cox visited the EU headquarters. The visit also comes a day before Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, is expected to meet the EU's Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier as part of a diplomatic ballet aimed at heading off a no-deal Brexit. May's spokesman said the prime minister was «working hard to secure legally binding changes» to the backstop -- a controversial part of the withdrawal agreement she signed with EU leaders at a summit in December. The backstop would keep Britain in the EU customs union and give Northern Ireland a different economic status from...

Unaccompanied children: Over 30,000 went missing between 2014 and 2017

Missing Children Europe’s new secretary general has called on EU member states to develop a sustainable, long-term solution to protect children who arrive at European borders, ahead of a conference in Malta tackling children lost in migration. Aagje Ieven s
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Unaccompanied children: Over 30,000 went missing between 2014 and 2017

Missing Children Europe’s new secretary general has called on EU member states to develop a sustainable, long-term solution to protect children who arrive at European borders, ahead of a conference in Malta tackling children lost in migration. Aagje Ieven said inefficient cooperation between countries and the shortcomings of national asylum and child protection systems led children to mistrust the current systems and seek out dangerous solutions to reunite with their families and to have access to a better quality of life, or simply stay safe. Ms Ieven is urging European leaders to address the lack of solidarity within Europe and to introduce a relocation mechanism following disembarkation. Together with high-level European, UN and African representatives, Ms Ieven will be in Malta this week for the third ‘Lost in Migration Conference: Global Strategies and Political Commitments’, being held at the University of Malta Valletta Campus between tomorrow and Friday. Organised by the President’s Foundation for the Well-being of Society and Missing Children Europe, the conference is geared to look beyond Europe towards the full migratory journey of the child. “As a society, it seems...

Police kill man who injured three in Marseille knife attack

French police on Tuesday shot dead a man who wounded three pedestrians in a knife attack in the southern city of Marseille, officials said. The prosecutor's office said the attack was not politically-motivated. «It's a common law assault,» said pr
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Police kill man who injured three in Marseille knife attack

French police on Tuesday shot dead a man who wounded three pedestrians in a knife attack in the southern city of Marseille, officials said. The prosecutor's office said the attack was not politically-motivated. «It's a common law assault,» said prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux. A fourth person suffered leg wounds from bullet fragments, police said, adding that they had opened fire on the assailant when he threatened them with a weapon. The knife attack occurred in the afternoon on a busy street in the centre of the city, the second largest in France. In October 2017, a man wielding a knife killed two women at the Saint Charles main train station in Marseille in an attack later claimed by the Islamic State group. The assailant was shot dead by soldiers on patrol to guard against such terrorist attacks.

Civil society ‘guardians of the people’ on Constitution

Repubblika, the NGO that promotes the rule of law, has been invited to meet President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and the Labour and Nationalist parties to give them their proposals for a new Constitution, activist Manuel Delia said. Mr Delia made the announce
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Civil society ‘guardians of the people’ on Constitution

Repubblika, the NGO that promotes the rule of law, has been invited to meet President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca and the Labour and Nationalist parties to give them their proposals for a new Constitution, activist Manuel Delia said. Mr Delia made the announcement while addressing a vigil outside the Law Courts in Valletta on the 16th month anniversary of the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. The vigil was organised jointly by Repubblika and Occupy Justice, the activist movement led by women which was formed in the aftermath of Ms Caruana Galizia’s murder. Mr Delia told those gathered: “The Constitution is a pact between the people and those whom the people temporarily appoint to govern. Political parties are on one side of that contract. They can’t simply agree amongst themselves how to restrain their own powers while we simply watch them shake hands.” He added: “We are making it abundantly clear that we will let no one scare us into silence by branding us traitors. We will raise the alarm if and when we see politicians grasp more power than it is absolutely necessary to lend them in the interest of us all.” Mr Delia said Maltese civil society must be the...

PN the 'underdog' in MEP elections - Puli

The Nationalist party was going for the MEP elections as the «underdog» and a work in progress, the party's general secretary said adding that «the tougher the conditions, the greater our determination to work hard». Speaking during th
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PN the 'underdog' in MEP elections - Puli

The Nationalist party was going for the MEP elections as the «underdog» and a work in progress, the party's general secretary said adding that «the tougher the conditions, the greater our determination to work hard». Speaking during the opening of the PN general council, Clyde Puli encouraged people not to lose heart.  The party faced tough challenges, working against a government that «used fake news» and was not afraid of character assassination, he said. Mr Puli said that had it not been for the PN's media, only the governments voice would be heard. «Our message is often distorted,» he noted. The party spoke on things that affected the country, but the message was not reaching people, he warned. We will not shut down the party's media, despite insistence to do so, he said. Reflecting on his first year as secretary general, Mr Puli said 2018 was the year the party designed a future for itself. It reformed its finances to gain financial sustainability which would guarantee that the party could focus on its work. The party saw the highest number of paid-up members in 13 years last year, raising €1.5 million in the process, Mr Puli said. During 2018, it worked to defend workers,...

Fountain of youth? Study finds new anti-ageing compound in plant

In Japan, the slightly bitter leaves of the Ashitaba plant have long been considered healthy, and a new study has found the traditional belief may have good scientific grounds. A natural substance in the plant appears to induce a key process that helps remov
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Fountain of youth? Study finds new anti-ageing compound in plant

In Japan, the slightly bitter leaves of the Ashitaba plant have long been considered healthy, and a new study has found the traditional belief may have good scientific grounds. A natural substance in the plant appears to induce a key process that helps remove the «cellular garbage» that can build up as cells age and cause a range of diseases and disorders. «It is always nice to find a scientific rationale for traditional medical folk tales,» said Frank Madeo, a professor at the University of Graz's Institute of Molecular Biosciences, in Austria. Madeo, who helped lead the research, said the substance known as 4,4'-dimethoxychalcone or DMC, which occurs naturally in Ashitaba plants, induces a process called autophagy. «This is a cleansing and recycling process,» he told AFP. It removes «superfluous material, especially cellular garbage like aggregated proteins.» That «cleaning» process is key to sustained good health as the body ages. When cells fail to promptly and efficiently remove damaged parts, they can build up and that can lead to diseases including cancer. There are already a handful of compounds known to scientists that work to stimulate the cleaning process. Fasting...

French murder suspect could be linked to 40 unsolved cases: police

French investigators have identified around 40 unsolved disappearances and other cold cases potentially linked to a former soldier who was arrested last year and charged with two murders in southeast France. Nordahl Lelandais has already confessed to the kill
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French murder suspect could be linked to 40 unsolved cases: police

French investigators have identified around 40 unsolved disappearances and other cold cases potentially linked to a former soldier who was arrested last year and charged with two murders in southeast France. Nordahl Lelandais has already confessed to the killing of a hitchhiking soldier in April 2017, and the abduction and murder of an eight-year-old schoolgirl in August 2017. He has also been charged with the sexual assault of two second cousins, both minors. After just over a year of reviewing Lelandais's background and movements, police say he could be connected with around 40 unsolved cases, mainly in the Rhone-Alpes region. «At this point, Nordahl Lelandais hasn't been formally and legally implicated in any of these cases,» Jean-Philippe Lecouffe of the national gendarmerie military police force told journalists at its headquarters outside Paris on Monday. Most of the cases are unsolved disappearances, while fewer than a dozen involve minors, said Lecouffe, who didn't rule out the possibility that more cases might come under review. He did not disclose the specific cases under review, but they may include the 2011 disappearance of a man at the Elements electronic music...

Beane defends HSBC dividends in spite of falling profits

It was good business to pass profits through the shareholders when this was feasible, HSBC Bank Malta’s chief executive officer Andrew Beane told the Times of Malta. HSBC Bank Malta will this year be giving its shareholders a dividend pay-out representing 4
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Beane defends HSBC dividends in spite of falling profits

It was good business to pass profits through the shareholders when this was feasible, HSBC Bank Malta’s chief executive officer Andrew Beane told the Times of Malta. HSBC Bank Malta will this year be giving its shareholders a dividend pay-out representing 47 per cent of net profits, in spite of the fact that its profits slid by 23 per cent to €38.6 million in the financial year ended December 2018. The board recommended a final dividend pay-out ratio of 30 per cent of net profit, bringing the full year ratio to 47 per cent. Asked whether the dividend was aimed at appeasing the main shareholder, the HSBC Group, Mr Beane insisted that the dividend policy was set by the local board with the interests of all the shareholders in mind, depending on how much capital the bank needed to move its business forward. “It’s good business to pass it through to shareholders,” he said. HSBC Bank Malta has paid out more than €100 million in dividends over the past five years, reducing the ratio slightly in the second half of this year “because of technical requirements”.

Kim-dergarten: Vietnam's N. Korea nursery pines for visit by Supreme Leader

Wearing traditional dress, the children in Hanoi's only North Korean-founded kindergarten belt out Korean songs and recite their Korean vocabulary - skills they hope to show off to Kim Jong Un when he visits Vietnam next week. The reclusive North Korean leade
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Kim-dergarten: Vietnam's N. Korea nursery pines for visit by Supreme Leader

Wearing traditional dress, the children in Hanoi's only North Korean-founded kindergarten belt out Korean songs and recite their Korean vocabulary - skills they hope to show off to Kim Jong Un when he visits Vietnam next week. The reclusive North Korean leader is making his first trip to Vietnam to meet with US President Donald Trump between February 27 and 28. It is their second summit, during which Washington hopes to see progress on dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programme.  The serious summit agenda was far from the minds of toddlers at the Vietnam-DPRK Friendship Kindergarten on Tuesday. Instead the three-to-five-year-olds sang and danced in the 'Kim Il Sung' classroom named after Kim Jong Un's grandfather, one of Hanoi's closest allies during the Vietnam War. «Jal gaseyo!» the kids chanted - goodbye in Korean - at the school where portraits of communist leaders past - Kim Il Sung, his son Kim Jong Il and Vietnam's revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh - hang on the wall.  Established in 1978 at a time when conflict-battered Hanoi still received aid from Pyongyang, the school was built almost entirely with North Korean donations, from the blankets and mattresses for naptime to...

PN wants Gozo's status as regional island in Constitution

The Opposition wants to enshrine Gozo as a regional island in the Constitution enabling Gozitans to get the executive powers to take their own decisions about the island. Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said the
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PN wants Gozo's status as regional island in Constitution

The Opposition wants to enshrine Gozo as a regional island in the Constitution enabling Gozitans to get the executive powers to take their own decisions about the island. Addressing a news conference on Tuesday, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said the Opposition wanted to set up a regional council for Gozo that would be elected directly by Gozitans and would have executive powers on all that affected Gozo and its development. It would also be given adequate finances including from European funds. The Labour government was, on the other hand, setting up an authority for the regional development of Gozo which authority was to be controlled by the minister. A Bill setting up the authority was currently being debated in Parliament. Dr Delia said the authority was not what Gozo and the Gozitans deserved. Such an authority would not empower Gozitans to take their own decisions but the minister would keep taking decisions on their behalf. The authority would be appointed directly by the minister and it would take over from the government enforcement responsibilities. It would not have executive powers or finances to implement projects. Dr Delia said this showed yet again that...

Free zones to be in Customs’ hands - not Freeport Corporation

The Customs Department is offering to move out of its historic premises in Valletta to new offices near the former Air Malta headquarters, with director general Joseph Chetcuti saying the site would be the logical one for another free zone. There is currentl
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Free zones to be in Customs’ hands - not Freeport Corporation

The Customs Department is offering to move out of its historic premises in Valletta to new offices near the former Air Malta headquarters, with director general Joseph Chetcuti saying the site would be the logical one for another free zone. There is currently only one free zone in Malta – at Malta Freeport – which is regulated by the Free Zones Act, and falls under the remit of the Economy Ministry. Mr Chetcuti said it had been confirmed that his department would oversee them. In August 2016, Aaron Farrugia, then the CEO of the Freeport Corporation had said that it was the logical authority which should take over free zones, which set off a huge backlash with wrangles go on behind the scenes for some time. Read: No use crying over spilled milk “I was concerned,” Mr Chetcuti admitted, “but not any longer. Malta Enterprise and the Economy Ministry, when they were talking about the logistics hub, were originally envisaging passing the control to another authority. We resisted that and the final outcome respects the common good,” he said. “Free zones should be either near a sea port or the airport – as then they can be securely enclosed and controlled 24/7 by Customs, which would...

Insight into the genius of Arrighi

Silver has no colour and one ray of light could throw the whole composition off. This is where the photographer’s style comes into play – making him an artist as much as a sculptor. And this is what Daniel Cilia does in the new The Apostolato book, accor
timesofmalta.com

Insight into the genius of Arrighi

Silver has no colour and one ray of light could throw the whole composition off. This is where the photographer’s style comes into play – making him an artist as much as a sculptor. And this is what Daniel Cilia does in the new The Apostolato book, according to Cardinal Prospero Grech, himself a photography enthusiast. “Whoever looks closely at the photographs in this volume cannot help but admire both Daniel Cilia’s insight and technique, by means of which he opens the reader’s eyes to the genius of Arrighi,” Cardinal Grech said. Cardinal Grech also commends the printer’s role in the foreword to the book, which serves as a “beautiful monument” to the collection of 18th-century statues adorning the Mdina Metropolitan Cathedral museum. The volume came into being 20 years ago through a larger conservation project. The Apostolato was in a deteriorating state of preservation and restoration kicked off in 2007. The collection of 15 silver statues featured in the new limited edition publication dates back to between 1741 and 1743. Made by Roman silversmith Antonio Arrighi and portraying the Apostles, John the Baptist, St Paul and Our Lady, the statues had been commissioned by the...

Back to the golden era

Another film, Stan & Ollie, will be shown at the Spazju Kreattiv cinema at St James Cavalier today at 7.30pm. Steve Coogan and John Reilly play the legendary film icons Laurel and Hardy – the world’s favourite comedy double act. Diminished by age and wit
timesofmalta.com

Back to the golden era

Another film, Stan & Ollie, will be shown at the Spazju Kreattiv cinema at St James Cavalier today at 7.30pm. Steve Coogan and John Reilly play the legendary film icons Laurel and Hardy – the world’s favourite comedy double act. Diminished by age and with their golden era as the kings of Hollywood comedy now behind them, they face an uncertain future. As they start crisscrossing the country, attendances are disappointingly low. But they’ve always been able to make each other laugh and as the charm and beauty of their performances shines through their audiences laugh too, and they reconnect with legions of adoring fans, old and new. The tour becomes a hit, but Stan & Ollie cannot quite shake the spectre of Laurel and Hardy’s past; and long buried ghosts, coupled with Oliver’s failing health, start to threaten their precious partnership. A portrait of the most tender and poignant of creative marriages begins to unfold as the duo, aware that they may be approaching their swan song, try to rediscover just how much they mean to each other. Further screenings of the filmwill take place on Saturday at 6pm, Sunday at 9pm and February 27 at 7.30pm. For more information, call 2122 3200 or...

Rebel British MPs take up their seats in parliament

The seven MPs who broke away from the UK's main opposition Labour Party took their seats as an independent group in parliament for the first time on Tuesday as rumours swirled of possible further defections. The biggest split in British politics in nearly fou
timesofmalta.com

Rebel British MPs take up their seats in parliament

The seven MPs who broke away from the UK's main opposition Labour Party took their seats as an independent group in parliament for the first time on Tuesday as rumours swirled of possible further defections. The biggest split in British politics in nearly four decades showed up divisions in both Labour and the ruling Conservatives that have been stretched to breaking point since the Brexit referendum in 2016. One of the seven lawmakers, Chuka Umunna, a leading campaigner for a second referendum, said on Tuesday that he now wanted to establish a new centrist political party by the end of the year at the latest. «There needs to be an alternative,» he told BBC radio. The MPs said they were leaving the party over leader Jeremy Corbyn's support for Brexit and his failure to stamp out anti-Semitism. Left-wingers were divided over the creation of the «Independent Group», pointing to the ultimate failure of the Social Democratic Party started by four rebels from the Labour Party in 1981. «During a national crisis over Brexit, the breakaway of seven MPs with no policy programme is a dangerous distraction,» wrote Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, who once supported the SDP. But Labour's...

Man admits injuring tenant he intended to scare

A man who allegedly intended to scare an unwelcome guest out of his home but ended up injuring him, has been handed a suspended jail term. Tripoli-born Mousa Sulayman Mousay Bin Husayn, 26, residing at Pieta’, was charged with having unintentionally injure
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Man admits injuring tenant he intended to scare

A man who allegedly intended to scare an unwelcome guest out of his home but ended up injuring him, has been handed a suspended jail term. Tripoli-born Mousa Sulayman Mousay Bin Husayn, 26, residing at Pieta’, was charged with having unintentionally injured the man to whom he had been lately acting as host. Prosecuting Inspector Robert Vella explained how the accused had wanted to part company with the other man, but ended up arguing with him. It was during that argument that Bin Husayn grabbed a kitchen knife in an attempt to scare the other man. But the altercation somehow resulted in the other man suffering slight injuries to his thigh. Mr Bin Husayn had later turned up at Pieta’ police station to report the incident. Inspector Vella further explained that the knife had been cleaned, as had the area of the house where the incident took place. The knife, sealed in brown packaging, was handed to the court. The accused pleaded guilty, saying he never intended to hurt the other man but had simply wanted to scare him away. The court was informed that the victim would shortly be released from hospital where he is receiving treatment for slight injuries. Magistrate Rachel Montebello...

EP committee endorses 'severe criticism' of Malta's rule of law

A European Parliament committee on Tuesday voted in favour of a resolution raising rule of law concerns in Malta. The rule of law resolution about Malta and Slovakia sailed through the civil liberties committee, with 40 votes in favour and seven against. MEP
timesofmalta.com

EP committee endorses 'severe criticism' of Malta's rule of law

A European Parliament committee on Tuesday voted in favour of a resolution raising rule of law concerns in Malta. The rule of law resolution about Malta and Slovakia sailed through the civil liberties committee, with 40 votes in favour and seven against. MEP Sophie in’t Veld, who led the rule of law missions to the two countries, heralded the large majority in the committee expressing “severe criticism” of the Maltese and Slovakian government for the insufficient action being taken against corruption and crime, and for not finding who ordered the killings of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak. The resolution will be voted on in plenary next month. The civil liberties committee called on a full and independent public inquiry into the murder and into the response by the public authorities to it. 'Hate speech and disparagement' According to the resolution, the Maltese authorities have not yet sought to obtain data stored on Ms Caruana Galizia’s laptops and hard drives from the German federal police. The data was handed over by representatives of the Caruana Galizia family. The resolution raises concerns about the “hate speech and disparagement” of the memory of Ms Caruana...

French comedy film

Guillaume Canet, 43, is told by a young co-star that he’s no longer rock ’n’ roll and cannot sell films anymore. He then tries to prove her wrong and gets help from his girlfriend, Marion Cotillard. The film, in French, with English subtitles, will be s
timesofmalta.com

French comedy film

Guillaume Canet, 43, is told by a young co-star that he’s no longer rock ’n’ roll and cannot sell films anymore. He then tries to prove her wrong and gets help from his girlfriend, Marion Cotillard. The film, in French, with English subtitles, will be shown tomorrow at 7.30pm at the Spazju Kreattiv cinema. Entry is free, but booking is required. This screening is a collaboration between the Alliance Française de Malte Mediterranée and Spazju Kreattiv with the support of the French Embassy and the Institut Français.

Watch: Djokovic and Biles win Laureus sports people of year awards

Novak Djokovic's stupendous comeback from injury last year which saw him win two Grand Slam titles earned him the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award on Monday at a lavish ceremony. Sports journalists from around the world formed part of the judiciary panel a
timesofmalta.com

Watch: Djokovic and Biles win Laureus sports people of year awards

Novak Djokovic's stupendous comeback from injury last year which saw him win two Grand Slam titles earned him the Laureus Sportsman of the Year Award on Monday at a lavish ceremony. Sports journalists from around the world formed part of the judiciary panel and the Times of Malta Sports Desk also cast their vote in these prestigious awards.The 31-year-old Serbian - who added the Australian Open in January to the Wimbledon and US Open crowns he won in 2018 after coming back from elbow surgery - won the award for a fourth time beating the likes of France's World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe and NBA superstar LeBron James.Iconic American gymnast Simone Biles won Sportswoman of the Year for a second time on the back of the 21-year-old's historic achievement last year in adding a fourth all-around world championship to her full to bursting medals cabinet.Djokovic was delighted with his award - voted on by the 68 members of the Laureus Academy which includes sporting legends such as nine-time singles Grand Slam champion Monica Seles and Britain's six-time Olympic track cycling gold medalist Chris Hoy. "Last year was an incredible season for me, returning from injury to win Wimbledon and...

'Pregnant' cat burglar smuggled kittens through Taiwan airport

An alleged cat burglar from Hong Kong reportedly smuggled two stolen Persian kittens through Taiwan's biggest airport by hiding them under her clothes and pretending to be pregnant, local media said Tuesday. The brazen theft prompted authorities at Taoyuan ai
timesofmalta.com

'Pregnant' cat burglar smuggled kittens through Taiwan airport

An alleged cat burglar from Hong Kong reportedly smuggled two stolen Persian kittens through Taiwan's biggest airport by hiding them under her clothes and pretending to be pregnant, local media said Tuesday. The brazen theft prompted authorities at Taoyuan airport to launch an investigation into how the woman was able to breeze through security without her feline contraband being spotted, Apple Daily reported. The Taiwanese tabloid said police obtained footage from the airport showing the woman, carrying a white bag, leaving a public washroom more plump than when she entered before passing through security. Cat breeder Chang Chin-yi told AFP she noticed two kittens -- Anngi and Da Lili -- had been stolen on February 5.  «It was during feeding time, I went in... with bowls of meat and that's when I saw that the cats were missing,» she said inside her apartment in an upmarket suburb of New Taipei City where she has some 40 Persian cats that sell for as much as $3,300 each.  Chang immediately suspected a Hong Kong woman who planned to buy Anngi and had stayed at her house the month before. Chang changed her mind on the purchase fearing the woman already had too many cats. "(She)...

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