Updated – Malta News Briefing – Monday 9 January 2023

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Updated 1615

The Times of Malta reports that the owner of satirical news site Bis-Serjetà has been charged with making online threats after he implied that evangelical group River of Love should be carpet bombed. Matthew Bonanno said that police had served him with a court summons for misusing electronic equipment to threaten the commission of a crime in relation to a Facebook comment he published a year ago, on January 4, 2022.

Maltatoday follows a court case where a man has gone on trial accused of raping a vulnerable woman and causing her and her daughter, at the time his girlfriend, to perform sexual acts against their will.

Newsbook reports that more Air Malta flights have been delayed after aircraft experienced technical issues.

TVM leads with Jobsplus data that show that over a period of one year, the number of full-time workers in the labour market increased to 256,063. The NSO said this increase is attributed to an increase of 14,956 full-time jobs and a reduction of 520 in the number of persons registering for work.

Updated 1200

Foodbank registers 44% increase in referals

The Foodbank Lifeline Foundation registered an increase of 44% in referrals last month, despite a drastic decline in donations. In a report on the Times of Malta, it was revealed that last Christmas, a total of 325 families were on the books of the foundation, up from 225 families in December 2021. The NGO also noted how it faced a drastic jump in prices when buying from suppliers. In 2020, a family pack would cost the NGO €20.50c – which soared to nearly €30 in 2022.

Government to ditch Huawei project

The Maltese government will dissolve a state-owned company once planned to implement a controversial facial recognition CCTV system in touristic hotspots, supplied by the Chinese technology giant Huawei. The Safe City Malta project was created by the Muscat administration in partnership with Huawei, but was called out by privacy experts like Prof. Joseph Cannataci, a special rapporteur for the United Nations. Government had intended to use the facial recognition CCTV in ‘problem areas’ like Paceville and Marsa. (Maltatoday)

No date for debate on abortion bill

No date has yet been set for the Consideration of Bills Committee in Parliament to discuss the government’s bill amending Malta’s abortion laws, PN Whip Robert Cutajar said. The bill was voted through the second reading stage on 19 December, with PL MPs voting in favour and PN MPs voting against. The bill will introduce a new clause into Malta’s Criminal Code, allowing exceptions to Malta’s strict anti-abortion laws. (The Malta Independent)

Morming Briefing

Gozo to get 40k sqm airstrip, 15 daily flights expected

A 40,000sq.m Gozo airstrip is expected to be approved without any environment impact assessment in government bid to complete it by end-2023. Maltatoday says that authorities are planning to allow up to fifteen flights from the strip. The runway, known as Ta’ Lambert, will be extended from its current 174 metres, to a total length of 445m and a safety area of 30m on each end of the airstrip.

Government planning tax on aesthetic procedures

Government plans to introduce an 18% VAT on aesthetic procedures, which could see a sharp increase in the cost of interventions like botox, varicose vein treatment or even teeth whitening. The Times of Malta has revealed that the Department of Inland Revenue is currently in discussions with the Medical Council to determine which services will be charged VAT. The report says that this VAT payment could see a sharp increase in the prices of a number of procedures, including the removal of warts and skin tags, treatments for pigmentation or acne scars, getting botox or fillers and even straightening out teeth with braces unless it is medically necessary.

Two teens admit to vandalism on Cottonera lines

Two 14-year-old boys were caught red-handed vandalising the newly restored Cottonera Lines at St John curtain wall. The restoration works were completed last week. The pair were caught spraying graffiti on the bastions, according to media reports that suggested that their own parents will cover the damages. Newsbook reports that the two boys admitted their wrongdoing with their parents expected to cover the expenses.

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