Commissioner for welfare of prisoners resigns / Malta News Briefing – Friday 28 April 2023

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Updated 1615 – Afternoon Portal Review

The Times of Malta reports that the commissioner for the welfare of prisoners resigned on Thursday, less than three months after being appointed to the role. Mauro Farrugia said he was stepping down due to personal circumstances.

Maltatoday reveals that a recorded interrogation of one of the assassins who murdered Daphne Caruana Galizia is to be exhibited in proceedings against the alleged bomb suppliers. The recording will be redacted in places where the subject discloses sensitive information about an ongoing investigation into a separate major crime.

Newsbook says that Prime Minister Robert Abela said he is seeking to convince outspoken Xagħra mayor Christian Zammit to return to the party and the local council after resigning on Thursday.

The Malta Independent looks into the MFA’s conclusions following an investigation of allegations against former coach Devis Mangia. The report found that there was no sufficient evidence to support the allegation of sexual harassment by former national coach Devis Mangia, but sufficient evidence was found to support the allegations of improper conduct.

Updated 1225

GWU pushes again for mandatory Union membership
The General Workers Union has pushed for mandatory union membership once more, arguing that doing so will help combat unstable work. Prior to Worker’s Day, union general secretary Josef Bugeja brought up this notion again on Thursday at a meeting with PM Robert Abela. The proposal had been put out by the GWU in its pre-Budget report for the 2019 budget. The initiative has sparked debate and criticism, including from employers. The union had defended its plan by claiming that it would strengthen the battle against exploitation and insecure work in industries like construction and tourism where unionization is either very low or nonexistent. (Times of Malta)

Maltapost introduces levy where customs clearance is required

MaltaPost has introduced a a charge for goods that either contain pharmaceuticals or need additional inspection by the Customs Department according to media reports. Consumers have expressed dissatisfaction over being charged a €5 processing fee for some international packages that were picked up from MaltaPost. Others noted that even though the online retailer they bought from had already charged VAT for their initial transaction, they were still charged VAT.A spokesperson for MaltaPost said that the processing fee was only applied in a couple of instances. This fee may apply if the item purchased from outside the EU is excisable or if it requires further clearance from any government border agencies other than the Customs Department. (Maltatoday)

Negotiations for new agreement with educators ongoing

The discussions on the sectoral agreement between the teacher’s union (MUT) and the Education Ministry are “still ongoing,” with weekly meetings having been held since January of this year, MUT President Marco Bonnici said. Bonnici revealed that “the MUT and the Education Ministry are still exchanging principles and proposals to establish common grounds and areas of agreement and/or disagreement,” saying that the process is still ongoing, and “negotiations are proceeding as planned.” He said that the MUT aims to improve the working conditions including the financial package of educators. (Newsbook)

Morning Briefing

EU laments low amount of Russian assets frozen by Malta

The European Commission express it surprises that Malta has frozen only low amounts of Russian-owned assets following the enforcement of sanctions. During a meeting with Maltese MPs at the Foreign and EU Affairs committee in parliament, the EU’s justice commissioner expressed Didier Reyenders noted that Malta had only frozen some €220,000 in Russian-owned assets as part of efforts to hold the Russian state accountable for the invasion of Ukraine. The commissioner said he would be following up with the Maltese government to understand why the figure was so low. (Times of Malta)

Freeport announces major investment
Malta Freeport Terminals has announced a major investment in its first terminal expansion in two decades by squaring off its outermost quay to accommodate mega containerships.The agreement with the government was signed on Thursday after parliament had earlier this year approved a resolution for a change in the lease agreement. Government has obtained state aid clearance to finance half the cost of the infrastructural works, estimated at €55 million, needed to reclaim the land. In exchange, government asked for a change in the lease agreement through which new conditions were imposed on the company. (Maltatoday)

Outspoken Xagħra mayor resigns

Outspoken Xagħra mayor Christian Zammit has tendered his resignation from his post as well as from that of President of the Labour Party’s Gozo regional committee. In a brief message on Facebook, Zammit – who contested last year’s general election with Labour – said that the he had taken the difficult decision to step down from the council, without elaborating. In recent years he has been highly critical of the state of the environment in Gozo and a few days ago warned that partisanship was scaring people away from participating in local politics. (Newsbook)

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