Edward Scicluna says he does not need to justify Silvio Valletta FIAU appointment / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 13 September 2022

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Updated 1700 – Newsportal Review

The Times of Malta leads with the story that Malta’s former finance minister Edward Scicluna has refused to explain his 2014 decision to appoint disgraced former policeman Silvio Valletta to the FIAU board.  “It was my prerogative… and I don’t need to give a reason for it,” Scicluna told the Information and Data Protection Appeals Tribunal on Tuesday.

Maltatoday reveals that Government may ‘buy out’ expensive clause that sees Air Malta pilots receiving salary after leaving. The collective agreement clause states that individuals aged 55 or more, who have been pilots with the national airline for more than 25 years, would be paid two-thirds of their salary each month until they retire.

The Malta Independent says that in a statement, Enemalta has claimed that in the first 8 months of this year it invested over €11-million out of the €15- million allocated for the reinforcement of the electricity distribution system for 2022. The company also said that power cuts were reduced by 34% this summer.

TVM reports that a 45-year-old woman from Ħaż-Żabbar has admitted to stealing thousands of euro in cash over the span of a year from an elderly woman to whom she provided cleaning services every week.

Updated 1230

More families struggle with mortgage, loan and rent payments: An NSO survey has shown that more households are struggling to keep up with arrears on mortgage or rent payments, utility bills, hire purchase instalments or other loan payments, and respondents who said that they found it difficult to keep the home adequately warm in winter, had the highest increase when compared to the previous year. Based on the income year 2020, the number of at-risk-of-poverty persons living in Malta was estimated at 85,754.  According to the European Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (EU-SILC), this translates into an at-risk-of-poverty (ARP) rate of 16.9 per cent, the same share that was recorded for the previous year.

More than half of foreign nurses leave within six months: More than half of foreign nurses relocating to Malta leave or change job in the first six months of arriving. This was revealed by a survey carried out by the Malta Chamber of Commerce. The study also showed that 63 per cent of care workers are third-country nationals, of which nine per cent leave Malta in the first six months. “This is how critical the situation is in terms of human resources and nursing staff,” according to the Chamber’s CEO Marthese Portelli. This situation was attributed mainly to long hours of work, harassment and xenophobia. (Times of Malta)

Higher interest rates will mean businesses will think twice before investing – economist: Economist Philip von Brockdorff warned that Malta might have to revise downwards its growth projections for 2023 after the ECB raised interest rates again last week. He acknowledged the inevitability of the interest rate hikes, but noted that an increase in borrowing costs means businesses will think twice about their business and investment plans, while households will reprioritise consumption. “Households and individuals will end up paying more on the repayment of their loans and unless their incomes are increasing at a rate higher than the increase in the borrowing rate and related costs, this could result in households and individuals spending less than was the case up to now,” he said. (Maltatoday)

PN wants inquiry on construction site incidents published: The Nationalist Party has called for the Occupational Health and Safety Authority (OHSA) to be strengthened in order for the authority to be able to cope with the number of active construction sites which it monitors. In a statement, the Opposition said extracts of reports and inquiries into workplace incidents that shed light on how things could be improved should be made public. Yesterday, construction took another victim, this time a 57-year-old man after falling a height of some 16 metres in Ħal Qormi. The man became the sixth victim this year. (Independent)

Morning Briefing

250 migrants in Malta SAR, AFM evacuate mother, child
The Italian coastguard said that a critically ill child and her mother were evacuated by the Armed Forces of Malta and brought to Malta on Sunday. The girl was found in a “serious state of dehydration” and needed urgent medical attention, the report said. The Italian coastguard said on Monday that the mother and child two were among 28 asylum seekers on a boat in the Mediterranean. They were originally rescued by a Liberian-flagged merchant ship off the eastern coast of Libya. Meanwhile, some 250 asylum seekers are adrift in the Maltese search and rescue region, NGO Alarm Phone said on Monday, as it reported that a 3-month-old girl has died from thirst. (Times of Malta / Newsbook)

1,228 property contracts signed in August
1,228 contracts were signed on residential property in August, 58 contracts more than were signed in August last year – an increase of 5% compared to the same month last year. The NSO said that during the same month, 918 agreements were also signed on residential property – an increase of 30 agreements on those registered in August 2021. Of the 1,246 contracts signed 1,112, or 90.6%, of the contracts were individual buyers. The rest were companies. The value of the property purchased by the individuals was €236.4 million. The largest amount of contracts were concluded in Gozo with 184 contracts. (TVM)

Alleged killer had tried to stab another man, Court hears
The man accused of fatally stabbing Egyptian national Adri Mohammed in Marsa on July 25, had unsuccessfully tried to stab another man, who then put the attacker in an arm lock and disarmed him, a court has been told. Magistrate Doreen Clarke presided as the compilation of evidence against Al Mahy Ezzo Saeed, a Sudanese national who is charged with the murder, continued on Monday. (The Malta Independent)

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