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Malta-24 News Briefing – Tuesday 15th September 2020

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Update 1745 – News Portal Review

TVM says 49 new Covid-19 cases were registered in Malta during the past 24 hours following 1,666 swab tests. 507 cases remain active.

MaltaToday reports Bernard Grech has formally submitted his nomination for Nationalist Party leader on Tuesday as he promised to publish an audit of his crowdfunding campaign.

Times of Malta says the United Arab Emirates has finally received a complete request from the Maltese authorities for information on Yorgen Fenech’s secret company 17 Black.

The Malta Independent reports that although spending has decreased as a result of the pandemic, going forward, the expectation is that people would revert to their previous consumption patterns, an Ernst and Young (EY) Malta survey has revealed. 

Newsbook says an Italian businessman based in Malta was brutally beaten up in January, after three members of the ‘Ndrangheta who operate in a suburb of Milan, arrived in Malta to collect some €2,900. The victim, Giovanni D’Alessandro owed the money to two of the three individuals who turned up in Malta for works they had carried out for his construction company when he employed them off the books.

NET News reports two Spanish women have been arrested at the Malta International Airport last Monday, after being caught in possession of over nine kilos in cocaine upon their arrival from Madrid.

Update 1400 – PN Election

Dr Bernard Grech has officially submitted his nomination for the post of PN leader. Dr Grech handed to its chairperson Peter Fenech on Tuesday. The Commission said that it had verified the application and confirmed that it is valid. Grech was informed that his nomination was accepted and that he is officially a candidate in the election for PN leader.

Update 1230Covid-19 Update

Forty-nine new COVID-19 cases were detected over the past 24 hours, the health authorities said on Tuesday.

That was marginally down from 53 on Monday, but the number of tests was also slightly lower, at 1,666 from 1,736 the previous day.

41 more patients have recovered, leaving 507 active cases.

Update 0825 – Newspaper Review

The Times quotes the daughter of a British tourist killed in a hit-and-run nine years ago who said that Malta’s judicial system has failed their family after the accused walked away with a two-year suspended sentence and a one-year driving ban.

The Independent leads with the death of an 86-year-old woman who had contracted Covid-19. The patient was admitted to hospital after testing positive at the end of August where she was being treated until she died on Monday.

In-Nazzjon reports about rising tension in the seas as fishermen are facing threats by armed Tunisian fishing fleets in Maltese waters. Fishermen said that they feel ‘abandoned’ by the Maltese authorities.

L-Orizzont says that Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia is set to present a Low Carbon Development Strategy to the Cabinet based on the Paris Agreement. Minister Farrugia told the paper that the ‘ambitious’ plan targets carbon neutrality by 2050.

The Independent quotes a statement by the Developers Association warning that it expects any agreement over the White Rocks project to based on the market value of the site. The MDA said it wants full transparency in government negotiations.

The Times says that the magisterial inquiry into transactions between Keith Schembri and Brian Tonna through Pilatus Bank, launched in April 2017 has been concluded but the Attorney General said that the report will not be made public just yet.

L-Orizzont says that the process to select a new State Attorney will soon be triggered. The first person to occupy the role, Dr Victoria Buttigieg, has been appointed Attorney General following the departure of Dr Peter Grech last week.

In-Nazzjon says that the first rains have exposed the lack of planning in roadworks after multiple reports of flooding. Opposition spokesperson for transport Toni Bezzina says that investment in new roads should include anti-flood systems.  

L-Orizzont reports that Transport Malta submitted its response to the Public Contracts Review Board after an objection lodged by Virtu Ferries over the ferry services tender. The paper says this is another step towards sea transportation.

Morning Briefing

Inclement weather brings island to halt

The first torrential rainfall of the end of Summer season, coupled with sporadic thunderstorms brought power cuts and flooded some roads throughout Monday afternoon.

Areas in Żebbuġ, Qormi, Ħamrun, Sta Venera, Wardija, Bidnija, Luqa, Tarxien and Gudja were left without electricity when the bad weather caused a fault on Enemalta’s distribution network. 

Social media was awash with imagery depicting surreal scences in Imsida and Pembroke, with heavily-flooded roads, bring traffic to a halt.

The Meteorological Office at Malta International Airport reports that isolated thundery rainstorms remain possible until this afternoon.

Covid-19 Malta

Malta is once again approaching the threshold of 500 active cases with another large increase of 53 cases reported this afternoon. 18 persons have recovered.

A total of 1,736 swabs were carried out. From yesterday’s large increase, the Department said that 50 cases were related to existing ones.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has this morning announced the death of an elderly woman, aged 86, from Covid-19.

The woman was diagnosed with Covid-19 on 30th August and hospitalised at Mater Dei on the same day. She was transferred to St Thomas Hospital and back to Mater Dei on 5th September. She passed away last night.

Government said that the woman had underlying health conditions.

New AG refuses to release inquiry into passport kickbacks

Newly appointed Advocate General Victoria Buttigieg refused to release a copy of the conclusions of the magisterial inquiry into kickback allegations related to Malta’s passport scheme.

Former PN leader Simon Busuttil has requsted a copy as the person who had originally requested this process.

Attorney General Victoria Buttigieg said in a letter to Busuttil’s lawyer Jason Azzopardi that that the inquiry was sent to the Attorney General’s Office, but said that “the procès-verbal has been examined and in the circumstances no copies of the procès-verbal are going to be released at this stage.”

CDE News

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