Two women die while Covid positive / Malta News Briefing – 6 January 2021

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Times of Malta says that Malta will be in breach of European Commission travel rules if it cuts the expiry date of COVID-19 certificates for second doses to three months, as the government plans to do later this month.

MaltaToday says that a judge has postponed the HSBC heist trial of Vincent Muscat, ordering that a key witness, Daren Debono it-Topo, testify first in the compilation of evidence

Newsbook says that Darren Debono, also known as ‘it-Topo’, not to be confused with the former footballer, has been sentenced to 10 years and six months of prison after pleading guilty to being involved in the 2010 botched HSBC heist.

TVM says that Police authorities have confirmed they are investigating homophobic comments posted yesterday by Fr David Muscat.

Updated 1330

Archbishop apologises for priest’s homophobic remarks: Archbishop Charles Scicluna apologised to all gay people and their families after a priest over homophobic comments uploaded to Facebook. He also said he would take action against Mosta priest David Muscat but did not mention the priest by name. Speaking in a televised homily, Mgr Scicluna said he was shocked by the remarks which appeared to say that being gay was worse than being possessed by the devil. The Archbishop said he would take action to prevent a repetition of the incident. “I want to apologise on behalf of the Church to all those who were hurt by these harsh words, and their mothers and fathers who also feel betrayed by the church they love,” he said.

River of Love members face police interrogation over murder suspect’s links: Police have questioned several members of the evangelical Christian group River of Love over the possible links murder suspect Abner Aquilina had with the group, according to
reports. Aquilina was arrested shortly after murdering Polish student Paulina Dembska on 2 January in a public garden in Sliema. She was raped and strangled according to an autopsy and so far, no link was established between her and Aquilina. Aquilina’s police interrogation had to be suspended because doctors referred him to Mount Carmel Hospital. Investigators are now trying to establish Aquilina’s movements prior to the murder and are following leads that hours before committing the crime he had attended
a River of Love ceremony.

Covid-19 Update: A total of 1144 new daily cases were reported today while 709 people recovered. 114 people are being treated in hospital, 5 of whom are in the ITU. Two women died while diagnosed with COVID-19

Malta News Briefing

Debono reaches plea deal on HSBC hold-up

Darren Debono, one of the men accused of a 2010 attempted hold-up on HSBC bank, has reached a plea bargain in exchange for evidence against his co-accused. The Times of Malta reports that he has reached an agreement with the prosecution and will today be pleading guilty to his involvement in the alleged crime following lengthy talks with the authorities. Reports suggest that Debono, will be offering up evidence against co-accused Vincent Muscat known as il-Koħħu, and wil get around 10 years in jail as a result of the plea bargain. Debono and Muscat are being accused of their alleged role in the robbery as well as the attempted murder of two police constables in a shoot-out during the heist. (Times of Malta)

Schiavone not to seek re-election

Hermann Schiavone will resign from politics at the end of the current legislature to make way for new candidates in the Nationalist Party. “In recent months I have continued to ask how best to serve people, and I have come to the conclusion that the best way to do this is to create space for new blood in the party and in parliament,” Schiavone wrote in a Facebook post. Schiavone was elected from the fifth district, which in the next election will contested by the Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech. “I have the peace of mind that the party leader will contest the fifth district, meaning people will have good options. Bernard Grech deserves the vote of all those who supported me.” (Maltatoday)

Covid-19 Update: 922 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Wednesday, with 409 persons recovering. There are now 14,632 active cases, with 121 patients requiring hospitalisation, five of whom in ITU. Two persons in their Sixties died overnight after testing positive for coronavirus.

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