Education Permanent Secretary resigns / Malta News Briefing – Monday 17 January 2022

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Updated 1440

Education Perm Sec resigns

The Education Ministry has announced that Matthew Vella will be the new Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Education and Sport. He will replace Dr Frank Fabri who, during a meeting with the Principal Permanent Secretary earlier this morning, offered to resign as Permanent Secretary. In a statement, the Ministry said that the Principal Permanent Secretary accepted Dr Fabri’s decision and thanked him for his service and the changes he had made while serving in this field of education.

This resignation comes hot on the heels of a scandal involving former Education Minister Justyne Caruana, found guilty by the Standards Commissioner of an ethics breach after awarding a direct order contract to a close friend of hers.

Updated 1245 – Mid-Day briefing

Women’s Lobby reject police assertions on Dembska murder

The Malta Women’s Lobby took the police to task for insisting that the rape and murder of Pauline Dembska was not gender-related, saying they are closing their eyes to patterns that led to femicide. “The fact that the accused attacked two men before he went on to allegedly kill and rape the victim, does not detract from the fact that he did so because she was a woman,” the lobby argued. In a press briefing last week before Abner Aquilina was charged in court, the police insisted that Dembska’s murder was not premeditated, was random and not linked to her gender despite the rape charge.

Anti-vax protest in Floriana

A numebr of anti-vaxxers have called for a national strike outside the Porte Des Bombes in Floriana this morning. Scores of people, representing members of a so-called ‘Freedom Movement’ as well as supporters of the right-wing party, Partit Popolari, protested against what they described as “tyranny” and “in favour of fundamental rights”. Participants walked past institutions such as the Curia, the Police HQ, Parliament and the Office of the PM.

Covid-19 Update

Active Covid-19 cases dropped further as 699 persons recovered while 288 new cases were reported on Monday. 9,509 persons are currently identified as Covid-19 positive. There are 124 persons in hospital, eight of whom in ITU.

Updated 0845

MPs to debate Covid election voting

Parliament is expected to debate today new reglations which seek to regulate Malta’s first elections in times of Covid. MPs this afternoon will discuss a bill seeking to “regulate voting for persons suffering from a notifiable disease or in mandatory quarantine”. Separate voting days for people in mandatory quarantine are being considered, as well as protocols for managed mass meetings.

Shanghai received €2m consultancy fees – Times of Malta

The Times of Malta revealed this morning that Enemalta paid Shanghai Electric Power (SEP) an annual €2 million “consultancy fee”, failing to specify what it received in exchange for the payments. A spokesperson for Enemalta said the December 2014 share purchase agreement included a five-year period in which SEP provided “support” to Enemalta in its operations, against a “management fee”.

Morning Briefing

Court delays decision on new Covid-19 rules

The Court refused to accept a request by a number of businesses to block new COVID-19 regulations that come into force as from today. Magistrate MMiriam Hayman will hear the case on the 28th. Businesses are contesting the new rules, which require a vaccine certificate to enter the venue but also frontline staff, those dealing with clients, to be fully vaccinated. [Times of Malta]

MHRA says redundant Air Malta staff should join private sector

The Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association has joined calls insisting that Air Malta employees being made redundant are transferred to the public sector rather than bloating the public sector. The association said it will support government during Air Malta’s restructuring process, which will see the airline operate a strategy based on commercial lines. “The announced restructuring plan for Air Malta is a must and is set to be in the right direction,” MHA President Tony Zahra stated. “Lessons must be learnt, and past mistakes must not be repeated for the sake of the employees, the tourism sector, and the wider economy as a whole. It is imperative that Air Malta is saved.” [Maltatoday]

Covid-19 Update

There were 301 new Covid-19 cases reported over the past 24 hours. The signficant reduction in the number of new cases confirms the downward trend registered over the past 7 days. Another man and woman passed-away while having the virus. The 505th and 506th victims are a 77-year-old woman and 75-year old man.

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