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Malta-24 News Briefing Sunday 9th August 2020

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Updated 1244 – 54 new cases of coronavirus reported

The Health Department reported another 54 cases of coronavirus in Malta. As nine recovered, the number of active cases stands at 396.

Among the new cases, there are a 75 year old and a one year old.

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Updated 0918 – Newspaper Review

Malta Today says that a proposed new law would give the Asset Recovery Bureau the power to confiscate luxury possessions such as cars and property acquired by dirty money without a formal criminal conviction.

The Sunday Times reports that a Maltese shipper was at the centre of an international investigation into the flow of drugs between Libya and Italy. Last week, the US imposed sanctions on individuals and companies suspected of being part of the network.

The Independent on Sunday publishes an interview with Aditus Foundation director Neil Falzon who said that the call for offers by the government for a ship to hold immigrants, normalizes the ‘absurd’ idea of forcing people to live on boats.

Il-Mument quotes the 2020 report of the Basel Anti Money-Laundering Index which puts Malta in the lowest position among EU members in the fight against dirty money.

Illum carries an interview with Oliver Scicluna, the Commissioner for the rights of people with disability, who hopes that schools reopen for students with autism and intellectual challenges. The paper says the Education Ministry is under pressure from parents.

It-Torċa says that the surge in coronavirus cases in Malta in the first week of August is one percentage point lower than the average in the EU. It reports that there were 74,000 new infections reported across member states, up from 44,000 in the previous week.

Kullħadd quotes figures by the World Health Organisation measuring Covid-19 incidence, deaths, and recoveries per 100,000 inhabitants. The paper says that Malta ranks among the safest countries in the EU.

Il-Mument says that the economic and health crisis are the result of wrong decisions by Prime Minister Robert Abela and draws parallels with predecessor Alfred Sant who had urged people to ‘enjoy their summer’ while the country was going through political turmoil.

Malta Today publishes survey results showing that Bernard Grech enjoys the highest approval ratings among PN supporters. The leadership hopeful received a 63 percent score in the high category, compared with Adrian Delia who received 23 percent.

The Sunday Times carries results by a Misco survey with 400 PN paid-up members about the leadership elections. Bernard Grech enjoys the support of 63 percent of tesserati, Adrian Delia has 17 percent and a fifth of respondents did not offer a response.

The Independent on Sunday speaks to PN leadership hopeful Bernard Grech who rejected claims that he sides with any of the party’s in-fighting factions and said that his primary objective is to unite the PN.

Kullħadd says that PN activists opposing Adrian Delia’s leadership warned that there are more damaging stories involving the incumbent before the election date, even if he passes the due diligence process.

It-Torċa quotes the results of a survey on general election voting intentions which puts the Labour Party ahead of the Nationalist Party by 15 percentage points.

Il-Mument follows the case in court of Salvu Dalli, suspected of killing his 37-year-old son in Għaxaq this week. Dalli pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Morning Briefing

PN Leadership: Survey shows preference for Bernard Grech

In an opinion poll carried out by MISCO among 400 PN members, Bernard Grech came out the clear leading favourite to win the race for PN leadership. While 63% opted for Grech, only 17% said they would choose the incumbent leader, Adrian Delia. A significant majority of respondents said the PN would lost the election with Delia at the helm, a figure which goes down to 44% if Grech was elected in his stead.

Asked to specify the reasons for choosing Grech, the majority of respondents said they did so because he was clean and a change was needed.

Covid-19 in Malta

Another high return of positive cases in the past 24 hours, with the Health Department reporting 40 cases, taking the active case tally to 351. No persons recovered.

The Department said that 19 of these cases are linked to particular clusters – including a new one at a confirmation party. With the exception of two imported cases, the rest are all sporadic. Speaking on 103, statistician Vincenct Marmara said that R-factor stood at 1.5.

Two new swabbing centres, in Qormi and Burmarrad, will open in the next few days.

Drug smugglingThe Times of Malta reveals this morning that a Maltese shipping agent is believed to be involved in a major Europe-wide drug smuggling operation on which international sanctions were imposed last week. It is suspected that this operation involved the trafficking of drugs from Libya to Italy and other European nations through Malta.

The exclusive story also reveals that the taskforce investigating this crime network has also identified suspicious communications between the group and officials in Maltese state entities, including the police.

Ghaxaq murder

A man from Ghaxaq accused of shooting and killing his own son on Friday has pleaded not guilty to the charges

Salvu Dalli, 68, was charged with killing his son Antoine – aged 37, in the father’s residence in Ghaxaq on Saturday. Dalli pleaded not guilty to the charges brought against him

In a press briefing prior to the arraignment, the police said that an autopsy was held on Saturday morning, confirming the cause of death. Dalli was killed with a shotgun shot to his stomach.

CDE News

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