Updated 1700 – Afternoon Portal Briefing
The Times of Malta reports that PN health spokesperson Stephen Spiteri said that if the amendments announced by Health Minister Chris Fearne last week do not properly address the word “health”, the PN will very likely oppose the new version of the bill.
TVM quotes NSO figures which show that between January and November, 2,150,174 tourists visited Malta and Gozo, spending over 15.6 million nights. During the first eleven months of the year, tourists spent over €1.9 billion, with every tourist spending an average of almost €890, a decrease of €25 for every tourist over the 2021 spending
Newsbook says that the number of schoolchildren that have been referred to the Anti-Substance Unit within the National School Support Services due to their use of e-cigarettes has risen sharply last year, according to statistics provided in Parliament.
Maltatoday reports that murder victim Sion Grech had tried to defend herself during the knife attack in which she was fatally stabbed. The trial by jury is now in its second week.
Updated 1215 – Mid-Day Briefing
MFSA analyst withheld documents, provided misleading info on Pilatus bank – Repubblika President: Repubblika President Robert Aquilina alleged that besides withholding documents, an unidentified MFSA analyst had provided incorrect and misleading information to the inquiry on Pilatus bank. In 2020, an MFSA official testified that the MFSA had failed to submit copies of certain documents to the magistrate, despite his prior order. Aquilina called on the MFSA to explain why the magistrate had only been handed the documentation that had been stored inside the MFSA safe, several months after he had given the order. (Maltatoday)
Importers pessimistic on medicine availability outlook: Medicines importers remain pessimistic about the possibility of any quick resolution to the ongoing medicine shortages that have seen a number of key medicines go out of stock, even if the authorities are striking a more optimistic note. While authorities indicated that the issue could be solved in the next three to six months, Mario Debono, who heads the Malta Chamber of SMEs’ pharmaceutical section, disagreed with this prognosis, describing an “air of pessimism” that reigned among importers of pharmaceuticals who did not see the possibility of a short-term resolution to the present crisis. (The Malta Independent)
Malta signs statement rejecting Israel’s punitive measures against Palestine: Malta has joined 89 other UN Member States in expressing rejection at the “punitive measures against the Palestinian people, leadership and civil society” taken by Israel. In the statement, the signatories expressed deep concern on the measures taken by Israel after the General Assembly adopted a resolution requesting an advisory opinion by the International Court of Justice. Israel’s Security Cabinet decided to withhold $39 million from the Palestinian Authority and transfer the funds to a compensation program for families of Israeli victims of Palestinian militant attacks. (Maltatoday)
Non-EU workers increase by times in past decade
The number of workers coming from non-EU countries increased by ten times in the past decade. Figures tabled by Finance Minister Clyde Caruana show how non-EU workers in Malta increased tenfold in a decade, figures tabled in parliament on Monday show that 52,664 citizens from third countries were registered to work in Malta and Gozo on a full-time and part-time basis as of last August. In 2011, fewer than 5,000 foreigners from beyond the EU’s frontiers were working in Malta. JobsPlus figures show that the amount of foreign workers increased even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. (The Times of Malta)
Government to borrow €1.6 billion in 2023
Government will be able borrow some €1.6 billion this year to finance its deficit and redeem four maturing bonds, the Treasury said. The money will be raised through the issuance of Malta Government Stocks with a maturity of more than one year. The government’s annual borrowing plan was published by the Treasury in line with provisions of the Government Borrowing and Management of Public Debt Act. The money raised through the new stocks will be primarily used to finance the government’s deficit, estimated at close to a billion euro as well as for repayment of older stocks. (Maltatoday)
11 persons die due to weight issues in 2020
In 2020, 11 persons died in Malta due to obesity or due to overweight. Health Minister Chris Fearne said in Parliament that from 2020 till October last year, 51 persons were admitted in hospital due to obesity. He added that during 2020 (the last year currently available on these deaths), there were 11 obesity related deaths. Obese persons are more at risk of certain disease, such as blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke among others. (TVM)