Restaurants report lower sales on Christmas, improvement in New Year / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 5 January 2022

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Times of Malta says that Nationalist Party MP Hermann Schiavone is calling time on his political career and will not be contesting the next general election. 

MaltaToday says that Paulina Dembska’s murder should serve as a wake-up call to address gender inequality in Malta, the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality (NCPE) said on Wednesday.

Newsbook says that Eight individuals were fined between 20 December and 2 January, by the Environmental Health officials carrying out inspections to ensure that those in mandatory quarantine were obeying the rules.

TVM says that the national airline Air Malta has announced that for this winter and the coming summer it will be retaining all routes it is flying to, but will be reducing flight frequencies.

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Restaurants report lower sales during Christmas, improvement in NY: Catering establishments reported lower sales over Christmas, but registered an improvement around the New Year, according to the Association of Catering Establishments. Matthew Pace, the organisation’s secretary-general, said that a survey carried out by the organisation showed that 70% of restaurants reported a lower sales week than 2020 while 89% stated that sales in the same week were lower than in 2019, mainly due to the many cancellations due to the rise in Covid-19 cases. 4% of businesses in the catering industry decided not to open on Christmas day due to mass booking cancellations, he added. (The Malta Independent)

Pressure on police not to arraign politicians before elections – NGO: NGO Repubblika claimed that the police are being pressured so as not to arraign before the upcoming general election is over. Addressing the press outside St Luke’s Hospital, Repubblika’s president, Robert Aquilina, spoke about political pressure being exercised on the police, describing it as a scandal in itself. “Justice must be served on all without fear or favour,” Aquilina said. He urged Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà and Deputy Commissioner Alexandra Mamo not to give in to the pressure they are currently facing, as he warned that Repubblika will be holding them accountable if any politician absconds. (Newsbook.com.mt)

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.

Morning Briefing

Hundreds attend vigil in memory of Paulina Dembska

Hundreds of people gathered in Sliema, placing flowers and candles at Gnien l-Indipendenza to honour the memory of murder victim Paulina Dembska, who was killed at the same site a few days earlier. The family of the Polish woman joined via a WhatsApp call as womens’ rights activists read out a message from Paulina’s mother expressing her daughter’s love for Malta. Her mother said that Paulina “loved this place. She loved animals, she loved cats, she loved Malta. Take care of yourselves all, because again I tell you, no one knows the place or the hour.” Earlier during the day, reports had said that the woman had signs of violence around her head and on her chest, with the autopsy showing she was raped and strangled. (Maltatoday/Independent)

Auditor asked to investigate golden handshakes

The ADPD party has asked the auditor-general to investigate the ‘golden handshakes’ received by MPs who leave the Cabinet. The ADPD noted that there is lack of transparency in this process, including on the criteria used to establish the amount and whether verification measures are required. The Party referred the recent case of former Education Minister after having resigned from Cabinet for the second time after being found guilty of breaching ethics when awarding a contract to a close friend.

The party observed that Justyne Caruana is currently in the news, having resigned from the Cabinet, for a second time, this time after breaching ethics in the award of a contract to a close friend. (Times of Malta)

Covid-19 Update: A man died while COVID-19 positive as the number of new virus cases rose to 1147 on Tuesday. Virus cases in hospital numbered 124, with five in intensive care. The health authorities said the latest victim was a 65-year-old man.

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