Steward says Govt has no legal authority to takeover hospitals / Malta News Briefing – Thursday 23 March 2023

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Updated 1700 – Afternoon Portal Review

The Times of Malta says that a judge has ordered the police commissioner to take criminal action against author Mark Camilleri for publishing thousands of messages between Labour MP Rosianne Cutajar and Yorgen Fenech, in breach of a court ban.

TVM reports that the Government has reiterated that it is firmly sticking to the position communicated in the statement it issued earlier this week when it claimed that it will immediately take over the operation of the hospitals.

The Malta Independent says that a planning permit for a mega-development in Balzan connected to Gozitan developer Joseph Portelli was revoked by the Environment and Planning Tribunal on Thursday.

Newsbook reveals that Keith Schembri’s company – Kasco Ltd – has been awarded a €52,650 tender by the Malta College of Arts, Science, and Technology (MCAST) for the supply and delivery of environmental friendly xerographic paper in December 2022.

Updated 1230

Steward says Govt has no legal authority to takeover hospitals

The hospital sage took another turn on Thursday with Steward Health Care threatening legal action over Government’s attempts to terminate the hospitals privatisation deal. Earlier this week revealed that it had sent the hospitals’ operator a termination letter, rejecting the termination conditions which Steward sought to impose when it announced on March 16 that it would be quitting Malta, including a €100m payment that Steward wants to enforce for having its deal to run the hospitals cancelled early. In a statement, Steward said that the “Control Step-in Notice and Termination Notice” had “no legal basis”. “Contrary to statements made publicly earlier this week, the government of Malta is legally not in a position to force its step in and is therefore not currently participating in any additional capacity within the concession,” it argued. (Times of Malta)

FinMin hints at need to strengthen finances

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana told Parliament that high inflation was expected to affect economies for longer than expected. He also said that there was unprecedented pressure in the European Commission and from certain EU countries for member states to rein in their deficits and place a stronger emphasis on the green economy, particularly greater use of alternative sources of energy. At the same time, he told MPs, Member States were being told to ‘balance your books and cut back on subsidies’. Caruana also revealed that Maltese banks were not impacted by the recent troubles of Credit Suisse and two American banks. (Times of Malta)

70% feel in good health – NSO

In 2021, seven out of ten people in Malta reported that they feel they are in good health. The rest suffer from medical conditions, with the survey showing a strong correlation of this population segment with people who are on the brink of poverty. The study shows that half the population (49%) are content while 42% feel calm and at peace most of the time. One third of the population reported that they feel a sense of frustration and suffer from bad moods in their lives. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

Malta to support EC on case against Hungary on gay discrimination

Malta has announced its decision to intervene in the case opened by the European Commission over a Hungarian law which discriminates against the gay community. The law introduced in Hungary prohibits LGBTIQ+ content, including sex education and media content, from being shown to children at school. It is part of a broader ‘anti-pedophilia’ act, which aimed at imposing harsher penalties against child abuse. According to the Parliamentary Secretary for Equality, Malta decided to join the case in light of Malta’s IDAHOT declaration in 2021, which reiterated its support for legal steps taken by European institutions in their commitment to protect human rights. (Maltatoday)

Investment in education tops €846m in first year of legislature – Education Minister
€846 million were invested in the educational sector throughout the previous legislative year. Education Minister Clifton Grima said that in order to ensure that students have access to the greatest resources to realize their full potential, this record sum of money had been given to his ministry in order to invest in a number of initiatives. The Minister emphasized the numerous accomplishments that the PL has made over the past 12 months on the anniversary of finishing the first of this legislature’s five years. (The Malta Independent)

87 prosecuted on Paceville fights

Some 87 individuals were arrested prosecuted last year over fighting in Malta’s entertainment mecca Paceville.
Replying to a parliamentary question by Opposition MP and former St Julian’s mayor Albert Buttigieg, Home affairs minister Byron Camilleri said that in 2022 a further three people were prosecuted for blasphemy and another three for damaging private property. The nightlife hub of Malta is lined up with bars, clubs, and gentleman’s clubs, and is often in the news for violent brawls involving revellers and club bouncers. (Newsbook)

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