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Watch: Sweet 16 for South Korea

South Korea ensured their place in the Asian Cup last 16 on Friday after continuing their perfect start. The Koreans, runners-up in 2015, squeezed past Kyrgyzstan 1-0 thanks to a Kim Min-jae strike just before half-time. South Korea and China are level on si

Brexit? What Brexit? - Rodolfo Ragonesi

The million-pound question, right?In the last three years I have not taken a position on whether I think Brexit is the right choice for Britain or not. Why should I? Should a Juventino take sides when watching a match between Man. United and Barcelona? Okay,
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Brexit? What Brexit? - Rodolfo Ragonesi

The million-pound question, right?In the last three years I have not taken a position on whether I think Brexit is the right choice for Britain or not. Why should I? Should a Juventino take sides when watching a match between Man. United and Barcelona? Okay, the tribal instinct is to settle old scores, I grant that, or to figure out with whom best to spar when one’s own tribe enters the arena. But that it is what it is really, tribalism. I like to observe the process from a constitutional standpoint. Constitutional law is, however, never simple. If the people have spoken, and the people are sovereign, although the referendum was consultative, I believe it is the right thing to do to respect their decision. The fact that the referendum process was seriously flawed does not in my view, justify holding a second one at this stage. I say flawed, because the people should have been given a clear option from the start, to choose staying in the union with the new package that David Cameron had ironed out, or leaving with a Brexit package that was clear; the same way Malta had voted on a specific package to enter the Union. But life is rarely lived on logical lines, and we all know that...

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

St Julian’s residents are rallying to protect one of the oldest preserved streetscapes in the town from development plans they say would destroy the area’s intangible heritage. A development application recently published by the Planning Authority propose
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One of the oldest streetscapes in St Julian's faces development, but residents are having none of it

St Julian’s residents are rallying to protect one of the oldest preserved streetscapes in the town from development plans they say would destroy the area’s intangible heritage. A development application recently published by the Planning Authority proposes the demolition of a pair of adjacent two-storey houses in the upper part of St Elias Street, to be replaced by a six-storey apartment block. While the houses themselves are believed to hold little heritage value, the area is characterised by a largely uniform row of two-storey houses, many of which have been restored in recent years. “This is the core of St Julian’s. It is within the boundaries of the old walled city, which was mentioned in a census from before the time of the Knights,” resident John Vassallo told the Times of Malta. “Compared to what has happened in Sliema and the rest of St Julian’s, it still has a quaint and picturesque quality.” Mr Vassallo, who is organising opposition to the project, said the proposal would stick out like a sore thumb in the narrow street due to its height and contrasting architectural style. He called for the application to be rejected on the basis of planning policies limiting the...

Today's front pages - March 20, 2019

The following are the top stories in the newspapers on Wednesday. Times of Malta reveals that hunters are expected to ask for permission to shoot turtle dove when they lobby for a spring hunting season at a decisive meeting of the Ornis committee on Wednesda
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Today's front pages - March 20, 2019

The following are the top stories in the newspapers on Wednesday. Times of Malta reveals that hunters are expected to ask for permission to shoot turtle dove when they lobby for a spring hunting season at a decisive meeting of the Ornis committee on Wednesday. It also reports that extensive excavation works to turn a rural area in Xewkija into a park and ride facility and a bus terminus have started although planning permits have still to be issued. The Malta Independent says most unions and associations are in favour of retaining summertime all year round. It also says a development application for 60 dwellings near Madliena has been withdrawn.  In-Nazzjon and Malta Today lead with a PN proposal for a hybrid vote-counting system to ensure transparency as electronic vote-counting is introduced.  Malta Today also reports that the authorities are investigating three cases of measles. l-orizzont says the compilation of evidence starts in court on Wednesday against Jordan Azzopardi, who is alleged by the police to be a drug trafficking circle mastermind.  

Russian confrontation - Martin Scicluna

When I come across an article like ‘Crimea: five years on’ of March 7 by the Ambassador of Russia to Malta, Vladimir Malygin, I can’t help being reminded of Lord Acton’s famous definition of an ambassador as “an honest man sent abroad to lie for th
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Russian confrontation - Martin Scicluna

When I come across an article like ‘Crimea: five years on’ of March 7 by the Ambassador of Russia to Malta, Vladimir Malygin, I can’t help being reminded of Lord Acton’s famous definition of an ambassador as “an honest man sent abroad to lie for the good of his country”. I have never met Malygin, but I am confident he is an honest man and like so many  Russians in Malta warm-hearted and friendly. But there is no escaping the fact he represents Russia’s President Putin. Today, Orwell’s 1984 is everywhere – from the flood of deliberate disinformation from the Russian government designed to undermine democracy to the sustained assault on media impartiality from the Trump White House. Orwell’s overwhelming fear was that: “The very concept of objective truth is fading out of the world. Lies will pass into history… If the Leader says of such and such an event, ‘It never happened’ – well, it never happened. If he says that two and two are five – well, two and two are five.” When I read in Ambassador Malygin’s article of “the voluntary reunification of the Republic of Crimea” and “the 2014 anti-constitutional coup in Ukraine”, I despair about whether the ambassador and I are talking...

Signs for worth while retirement - Godfrey Farrugia

A lifetime of hard work should be followed up with an adequate pension and a good quality of life. Much has been said about the need to build upon our pension system, while guaranteeing it for future generations. However, not enough has been said about the qu
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Signs for worth while retirement - Godfrey Farrugia

A lifetime of hard work should be followed up with an adequate pension and a good quality of life. Much has been said about the need to build upon our pension system, while guaranteeing it for future generations. However, not enough has been said about the quality of life that awaits older persons who are currently retired or who are on their way there. An adequate pension is no guarantee of a happy life in one’s old age, as Malta is undergoing radical change and the landscape around us is drastically shifting. There is a certain irony to the notion that we are sacrificing the very characteristics which make Malta and Gozo an excellent place to retire in, so as to protect our pension system for future generations.  In Malta and Gozo we enjoy a safe and community-oriented island society, where traditionally we have taken care of our older relatives and kept them involved in various aspects of our lives in a productive capacity, where they look after grandchildren and contribute and participate in community life.  Our islands are a competitive and wonderful place for expatriates to retire in, and the proof is in the pudding, with many having moved here over the past few...

Italy seizes blocked NGO migrant ship

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

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

FKNK report proposes 2019 turtle dove spring hunting

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

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

288kg of cocaine found hidden inside containers

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

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

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

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

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

Health Ministry ‘insists’ on IT contract renewal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

May to submit plan for delaying Brexit by Wednesday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Relaxation of rule of law in Europe ‘dangerous tendency’

The relaxation of the rule of law, especially among European Union newcomers, could become a dangerous tendency, Andrius Kubilius, who is running to be the next secretary general of the Council of Europe, has warned. The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, i
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Relaxation of rule of law in Europe ‘dangerous tendency’

The relaxation of the rule of law, especially among European Union newcomers, could become a dangerous tendency, Andrius Kubilius, who is running to be the next secretary general of the Council of Europe, has warned. The Council of Europe, founded in 1949, is an international organisation aimed at upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law in Europe. It has 47 members. Last year, the Council of Europe’s rule of law experts – or the Venice Commission – said Malta needed better checks and balances to ensure a proper rule of law system on the island. Mr Kubilius, a former Lithuanian Prime Minister, said during a brief visit to the island he was still getting familiar with the rule of law situation in the various member states, however, he called on all governments to carefully heed the commission’s advice and implement recommendations. “When looking into rule of law and democracy issues I’ve noticed that the relaxation of standards, especially among EU newcomers, can become quite a dangerous tendency,” he remarked. Mr Kubilius added he was optimistic about the current discussion within the EU in creating some link between structural assistance and rule of law values in...

44 migrants feared dead as capsized boat discovered off Libyan coast

A group of 44 migrants are being presumed dead after their boat was found capsized off the Libyan coast on Tuesday. In a tweet, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said sources in Libya had informed them report that a boat carrying “at least 44 people” had sun
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44 migrants feared dead as capsized boat discovered off Libyan coast

A group of 44 migrants are being presumed dead after their boat was found capsized off the Libyan coast on Tuesday. In a tweet, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said sources in Libya had informed them report that a boat carrying “at least 44 people” had sunk off the coast of Sabratha in western Libya. “It’s impossible to know how many other shipwrecks go unnoticed due to poor and insufficient search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean,” the NGO said. In a separate tweet, Alarm Phone, which acts as an independent support service for people crossing the Mediterranean to the EU, said it too was alerted to the news after the boat was understood to have washed up on Libyan sands. A spokeswoman for the Armed Forces of Malta said they had no information on the washed up boat and if any migrants had indeed lost their lives. Meanwhile, an Italian charity ship carrying 49 migrants rescued at sea said earlier on Tuesday that Rome had refused to let it dock in the latest stand-off between the government and private aid vessels. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Monday reiterated that Italy's ports were “closed” to new migrant arrivals.

Local chefs travel to China for Malta-themed gala dinner

Local master chefs will be cooking Maltese specialties for hundreds of Chinese later this week during a gala dinner at a Beijing hotel. Aaron Degrabriele, Jimmy Aquilina and  Ramon Muscat will cook up a storm at the Minzu Hotel for an event marking the 47t
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Local chefs travel to China for Malta-themed gala dinner

Local master chefs will be cooking Maltese specialties for hundreds of Chinese later this week during a gala dinner at a Beijing hotel. Aaron Degrabriele, Jimmy Aquilina and  Ramon Muscat will cook up a storm at the Minzu Hotel for an event marking the 47th anniversary of Malta establishing diplomatic relations with China. Former prime minister Dom Mintoff visited China on March 31, 1972, just one month after US president Richard Nixon had done so. Mr Mintoff was the first western European prime minister to visit China after it was accepted into the United Nations. The three chefs will be joined at the Minzu Hotel by fellow master chef Michael Cauchi and University of Malta lecturer Paulino Schembri. The hotel has acquired a special oven allowing the chefs to bake Maltese bread for its guests during the gala dinner, scheduled for March 29. Former tourism minister and Malta-China Friendship Society president Reno Calleja, who spearheaded the event, will be joined by  Malta’s ambassador to China John Aquilina during the event opening. Mr Calleja thanked Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and the Malta Tourism Authority for their financial support as well as lecturer Dr Schembri for...

Spring Equinox sunrise 

The public is invited to experience the Spring Equinox sun­rise from Mnajdra Temples, Qrendi, on Wednesday at 5.45am. After the equinox there will be a tour of the temples, a visit to the visitor centre (including a 4D experience) and serving of refreshment
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Spring Equinox sunrise 

The public is invited to experience the Spring Equinox sun­rise from Mnajdra Temples, Qrendi, on Wednesday at 5.45am. After the equinox there will be a tour of the temples, a visit to the visitor centre (including a 4D experience) and serving of refreshments. Tickets, at €25 for adults, seniors and students and €20 for Heritage Malta members, are available from all Heritage Malta museums and sites and online. Places available are limited. For more information, call 2142 4231.

Resigned Brussels expects Britain to vote in European Parliament elections

Frustrated EU officials may insist London cannot postpone Brexit indefinitely without a plan, but they are resigned to Britain taking part in the European election in May and are making preparations. Prime Minister Theresa May will likely come to Thursday's s
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Resigned Brussels expects Britain to vote in European Parliament elections

Frustrated EU officials may insist London cannot postpone Brexit indefinitely without a plan, but they are resigned to Britain taking part in the European election in May and are making preparations. Prime Minister Theresa May will likely come to Thursday's summit in Brussels to plead for more time for her parliament to agree the terms of an orderly divorce. After some grumbling, EU leaders will probably agree, and then - in what European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker calls an «irony of history» - election planning begins. British leaders say they still intend to leave the bloc, but if they haven't set a firm date for this by the time EU voters head to the polls from May 23 they will have to take part. And then another batch of British members, perhaps the last such cohort, will take their seats in Strasbourg when the next European Parliament opens in the first week of July. Legal advice prepared for member states last week, seen by AFP, confirms that Britain would be in breach of EU law if it failed to hold the vote. And the European Union executive, any member state or even any European citizen who objects to this state of affairs could lodge a complaint. Whatever their views...

Appeal over plan to develop 17th-century Lija garden to be heard this week

An appeal is expected to be heard this week over the Planning Authority’s refusal to allow the development of six townhouses at a 400-year-old garden in the heart of Lija. The developer filed the appeal after the Planning Authority last December turned dow
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Appeal over plan to develop 17th-century Lija garden to be heard this week

An appeal is expected to be heard this week over the Planning Authority’s refusal to allow the development of six townhouses at a 400-year-old garden in the heart of Lija. The developer filed the appeal after the Planning Authority last December turned down his request to demolish the large garden on the corner of Triq Annibale Preca in Lija and Triq Sant’Antnin in Balzan.  The refusal came following a storm of objections over the plans. The application would have seen the excavation of the 17th-century garden measuring around 920 square metres, including protected citrus trees and garden rubble walls, to create eight basement garages and six two-storey townhouses with swimming pools. All of the proposed dwellings are four-bedroom units, having a gross floor area exceeding 200 square metres. Alterations to the existing townhouse, which includes baroque-period architectural features, were also mentioned in the application. The applicant not only filed an appeal but also submitted fresh plans that reduced the number of proposed townhouses to three. However, the garden itself will still be taken over, particularly with swimming pools.  Sources close to the industry said this was an...

Rain and strong winds expected to usher in spring

Just when you thought it was safe to pack your umbrellas and take out your beachwear, you might want to rethink your plans.  Three days of showers and strong winds are forecast, starting from Wednesday, according to the Meteorological Office. Rain and wind,
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Rain and strong winds expected to usher in spring

Just when you thought it was safe to pack your umbrellas and take out your beachwear, you might want to rethink your plans.  Three days of showers and strong winds are forecast, starting from Wednesday, according to the Meteorological Office. Rain and wind, reaching gale force strength, are expected on Wednesday and Thursday, the first day of spring. A thunderstorm is forecast for Friday as an upper level trough forms over the central Mediterranean. The weather is expected to be fine by the weekend.  Malta has been basking in sunshine and warm weather since Saturday, a welcome reprieve after a wet winter and the most violent storm since 1982. Read: Destruction across Malta as gale-force winds batter islands

Watch: Maltese Abroad: Magri opens account at Ebbsfleet

CYPRUS Andre Schembri played 73 minutes in Apollon Limassol's 1-3 defeat at the hands of APOEL in the Cyprus championship. The latter have now returned into top spot with 54 points, one point ahead of Apollon. PORTUGAL Malta defender Zach Muscat was in SC O
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Watch: Maltese Abroad: Magri opens account at Ebbsfleet

CYPRUS Andre Schembri played 73 minutes in Apollon Limassol's 1-3 defeat at the hands of APOEL in the Cyprus championship. The latter have now returned into top spot with 54 points, one point ahead of Apollon. PORTUGAL Malta defender Zach Muscat was in SC Olhanense squad as they drew 1-1 against Oriental Lisboa in Portugal's third-tie. Muscat's side are currently sixth on 45 points.  ITALY Martina Borg played a part in Fortitudo Mozzecane's 4-0 win in the Italian Serie B. Fortitudo are currently third on 34 points, behind Empoli Ladies (34) and leaders Inter (48). Nicole Sciberras was in Grifone Gialloverde's team that eased past Ludos 6-1 in the Italian Serie C. The Rome-based club are second on 46 points, three behind leaders Napoli.  Meanwhile, Demi Magrin was involved in Caprera's 6-0 defeat against Torino in the third-tier of Italian football as they remain bottom of the table with 3 points to show after 17 games.  ENGLAND Sam Magri opened his Ebbsfleet United account in their 3-2 win over Boreham Wood in the National League.  The Fleet are 10th on 58 points, eight behind Eastleigh who hold the seventh and final play-off spot in the standings.  (Click here to listen to...

'Hold the compass or die': jailed migrants recount ordeal

Gambian Cherno Jallow, Senegalese Cheikhaya Dieng, and Ivorian Fofana Lamine, are finishing 44-month jail sentences in Italy after people smugglers forced them to navigate boats across the Mediterranean. Shortly before they were due to be released, the three
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'Hold the compass or die': jailed migrants recount ordeal

Gambian Cherno Jallow, Senegalese Cheikhaya Dieng, and Ivorian Fofana Lamine, are finishing 44-month jail sentences in Italy after people smugglers forced them to navigate boats across the Mediterranean. Shortly before they were due to be released, the three men told AFP about their ordeals from their prison in Trapani, Sicily. All three left their respective countries in 2015 in search of work, and all three hoped to find it in Libya. But once there, 22-year-old Jallow was kidnapped and his family forced to pay a ransom. The chaos and threats to their safety meanwhile pushed Dieng, 22, and Lamine, 25, to contact people smugglers to try to reach Italy. «On the day of my departure, they gave me a compass and told me: 'Someone will steer the boat and you will hold the compass.'» said Lamine.  «Me, I said I don't have any experience. But they have weapons! I didn't use the compass. I'm Ivorian, the other was Gambian, we didn't speak the same language!» Dieng was on another boat. «When he found out I was a fisherman for years, the intermediary gave me back my money and made me take the rudder,» he said. "I did it to save my life, because if I refused, they could kill me, for...

May tries to save Brexit plan after speaker's bombshell

British Prime Minister Theresa May held crisis talks with her ministers Tuesday after the speaker of parliament threatened to derail her EU withdrawal plan just 10 days before Brexit day, leaving her strategy in tatters. May is still hoping she can get the di
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May tries to save Brexit plan after speaker's bombshell

British Prime Minister Theresa May held crisis talks with her ministers Tuesday after the speaker of parliament threatened to derail her EU withdrawal plan just 10 days before Brexit day, leaving her strategy in tatters. May is still hoping she can get the divorce agreement she struck with the European Union through parliament before March 29, despite MPs having rejected it twice. But in a dramatic ruling that prompted fury in government and warnings of a constitutional crisis, House of Commons speaker John Bercow said on Monday he could not put it to another vote in its current form. Weeks of chaotic political deadlock in parliament have already forced May to concede that Brexit must be delayed, amid fears of an economic shock if Britain ends its 46-year membership of the EU with no new arrangements in place. But she had been hoping to ask EU leaders for only a short delay when they meet at a Brussels summit on Thursday, warning that without a deal, any extension would be lengthy. 'Brexit destroyer' Pro-Brexit newspapers in Britain condemned Bercow as the «Brexit Destroyer» and reports suggested May is now planning to ask for a 12-month delay. "The reality is the best way to...

Satisfaction in Cyprus for Vella

Three years after having hung up his boots and quit competitive cycling, Jason Vella (Agones SFC) has made a return to the international fold, when he took part in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. The race is considered to be one of the most prestigious mountain bik
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Satisfaction in Cyprus for Vella

Three years after having hung up his boots and quit competitive cycling, Jason Vella (Agones SFC) has made a return to the international fold, when he took part in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. The race is considered to be one of the most prestigious mountain bike race events in the world and is included in the Mountain Bike Series in the UCI calendar. The three-stage event saw Vella compete in the Masters 2 men’s category and cover 126km over three days with the highest ascent of 1,916m covered on the last day. Vella did not have a good start in the first stage when he suffered several mechanical issues and a crash. Luckily, despite it being a high speed accident Vella only suffered some bruises.   With two more days of competition ahead, Vella had to give his all on the flat and uphill routes to make up for the time lost in the technical part of the race.   Vella’s determination pulled off as he obtained a second place in his category in both stages two and three. The Maltese mountain biker had to contend with Cypriot, Romanian, Dutch and Lithuanian riders who provided some tough competition. “Having been out of competition for a number of years, I must admit that I lost quite a...

Watch: Metro could generate €300 million a year

The metro being proposed by architect Konrad Xuereb could generate as much as €300 million a year, he assured Times Talk, saying that the 50km project had to be seen as complementary to other. The controversial proposal was first made last July, and Mr Xuer
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Watch: Metro could generate €300 million a year

The metro being proposed by architect Konrad Xuereb could generate as much as €300 million a year, he assured Times Talk, saying that the 50km project had to be seen as complementary to other. The controversial proposal was first made last July, and Mr Xuereb, who has worked on infrastructural projects in the UK, said that it would take just 10 years to build the underground system, at a cost of €3-4 billion. Read: Of traffic and trees – time to step up the game Watch the full interview on Times Talk as from Wednesday.

Żejtun musico-literary night

To mark Żejtun Local Council Day, the council is organising a musico-literary night on Tuesday, at 7.30pm at the parish hall in Republic Square. The event will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of local councils.  The event will include the reading of M
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Żejtun musico-literary night

To mark Żejtun Local Council Day, the council is organising a musico-literary night on Tuesday, at 7.30pm at the parish hall in Republic Square. The event will also commemorate the 25th anniversary of local councils.  The event will include the reading of Maltese  poems and stories that were shortlisted for this year’s Żejtun Literature Contest.  The Ġieħ iż-Żejtun award will also be presented. The event will be animated by singer Corazón Mizzi and her band with Maltese songs from her new album Għall-Bejgħ. Those wishing to reserve a seat may e-mail chircop. sean@gmail.com or call 2166 3866. Everyone is invited. Entrance is free of charge.

Watch: Indonesia flood death toll rises to 89, dozens missing

At least 89 people are known to have died after flash floods and landslides tore through Indonesia's Papua region, with the toll expected to rise further as rescuers hunt for dozens still missing, the national disaster agency said Tuesday. Scores have also be
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Watch: Indonesia flood death toll rises to 89, dozens missing

At least 89 people are known to have died after flash floods and landslides tore through Indonesia's Papua region, with the toll expected to rise further as rescuers hunt for dozens still missing, the national disaster agency said Tuesday. Scores have also been injured in the disaster, triggered by torrential rain on Saturday, with some 6,800 people evacuated to temporary shelters. The military has taken up the grim task of putting mud-caked corpses into body bags, with the search hampered by mountains of debris including rocks and fallen trees. Seventy-four people remain unaccounted for, while around 150 suffered broken bones, cuts and other injuries. «Many people are choosing to stay at shelters because they're still traumatised and scared of more flash floods, so some evacuation centres are packed,» said national disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho. The government has issued a 14-day state of emergency in Papua, which shares a border with independent Papua New Guinea on an island just north of Australia. Flooding is common in Indonesia, especially during the rainy season which runs from October to April. In January, floods and landslides killed at least 70 people...

Two hospitalised after car overturns in Marsa

Two pensioners have been hospitalised after their car hit concrete barriers being used to separate lanes during roadworks on Triq Aldo Moro in Marsa. The car, a Mercedes Benz, overturned, trapping the 76-year-old driver from Birkirkara, and his 74-year-old fe
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Two hospitalised after car overturns in Marsa

Two pensioners have been hospitalised after their car hit concrete barriers being used to separate lanes during roadworks on Triq Aldo Moro in Marsa. The car, a Mercedes Benz, overturned, trapping the 76-year-old driver from Birkirkara, and his 74-year-old female passenger. Police said the severity of their injuries was not yet known. Investigations are still under way.

Small models in large exhibition

Over 100 never-seen-before scale models are on display at an annual exhibition put up by the Malta Society of Model Makers. The collection includes a large variety of figurines and scratch-built dioramas, besides models of aeroplanes, ships and armoured fight
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Small models in large exhibition

Over 100 never-seen-before scale models are on display at an annual exhibition put up by the Malta Society of Model Makers. The collection includes a large variety of figurines and scratch-built dioramas, besides models of aeroplanes, ships and armoured fighting vehicles (AVFs). There is also a wide range of mechanised models, most of which are made out of recycled material. “Ninety-five per cent of these are made from recycled metal, including printers, computers and calculators,” Peter Calleja, the society’s PRO, said. Mr Calleja, now is in his early 60s, has been making models since he was 14. “Perhaps it’s because there was nothing better to do at the time, besides running outside,” he said with a laugh. He mostly does AVFs and figurines, which he says are normally made out of white metal and resin and can vary in size between 28mm and circa 120mm. The society is made up of about 30 members, the youngest of whom are in their teens. Every week they meet at the Capuchins Hall in Floriana to discuss projects. “We don’t hold competitions so there is no rivalry between us. We simply learn from each other,” said Mr Calleja.  “We only compete abroad.” The annual exhibition is the...

Prisoner stopped from harming himself in lock-up

A 19-year-old Maltese man was stopped from harming himself while he was being held in custody at the police headquarters. The police managed to stop him in time but the man was sent to Mater Dei as a precaution. The incident took place at 7pm on Monday.
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Prisoner stopped from harming himself in lock-up

A 19-year-old Maltese man was stopped from harming himself while he was being held in custody at the police headquarters. The police managed to stop him in time but the man was sent to Mater Dei as a precaution. The incident took place at 7pm on Monday.

Italian ship rescues migrants as Rome vows to 'stop' them landing

An Italian charity ship rescued some 50 migrants at sea off Libya Monday, prompting Rome to warn it was ready to «stop once and for all» such private vessels from bringing those saved to Italy. Italy's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini ha
timesofmalta.com

Italian ship rescues migrants as Rome vows to 'stop' them landing

An Italian charity ship rescued some 50 migrants at sea off Libya Monday, prompting Rome to warn it was ready to «stop once and for all» such private vessels from bringing those saved to Italy. Italy's hardline Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has repeatedly declared Italian waters closed to NGO rescue vessels and has left several of them stranded at sea in the past in a bid to force Europe to take its share of asylum seekers. «Mare Jonio has just rescued a rubber boat in distress that was sinking with around 50 people on board,» the Mediterranea collective of aid groups and associations that runs the ship said on Twitter. Volunteers aboard the Mare Jonio pulled the migrants - reportedly including 12 minors - off a dinghy some 40 nautical miles off the coast of the north African country. A Libyan coast guard vessel had approached the dinghy while the rescue was underway but left the migrants to the Mare Jonio, which was expected to request permission to bring them to safety in Italy. It was not immediately clear whether the Mare Jonio had defied an order from the command centre in Rome telling it to leave the rescue to the Libyans. Italy, with the support of the EU, has since...

Saul replaces Ruiz in Spain squad for Norway, Malta games

The Spain national team coach Luis Enrique has made amendments to his 23-man squad for the Norway, Malta games of their UEFA Euro 2020 group qualifiers after Fabian Ruiz was replaced by Saul. The decision was taken after Napoli's midfielder Ruiz underwen
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Saul replaces Ruiz in Spain squad for Norway, Malta games

The Spain national team coach Luis Enrique has made amendments to his 23-man squad for the Norway, Malta games of their UEFA Euro 2020 group qualifiers after Fabian Ruiz was replaced by Saul. The decision was taken after Napoli's midfielder Ruiz underwent tests in a hospital in Madrid earlier on Monday due to a fever which left him out of the Italian club's latest Serie A tie against Udinese on Sunday. Saul, of Atletico Madrid, will now form part of the squad that will host the Norwegian side in the Mestalla before facing Malta at the National Stadium in Ta' Qali, on March 26. The Colchoneros midfielder has collected 15 caps for La Roja so far, scoring two goals in the process.  Meanwhile, Real Madrid player Marcos Asensio was reportedly not present in their first training session as he completed a separate training programme which included some gym work and physiotherapy.  

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