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Malta-24 News Briefing – Tuesday 3 November – Update

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Updated News Portal Briefing

The Times of Malta reports that Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers have filed a legal application calling for the murder case to resume and for middleman Melvin Theuma to return to the witness stand for cross-examination.

MaltaToday reports that seven Labour Party candidates will be vying for Miriam Dalli’s seat in the European Parliament when the casual election is held on Thursday.

Newsbook says that The Malta Financial Services Authority’s board of governors has appointed an independent panel to “initiate an assessment of the facts reported in the local media to safeguard the interest of the authority.

TVM reports that two men, a Maltese and an Algerian, were arrested in two separate operations by the District Police and the Anti-Drug Squad. Both were caught in possession of a quantity of drugs.

Update – 1300h A total of 106 new COVID-19 cases were detected between Monday and Tuesday, health authorities said.  Another 108 patients recovered leaving 1,937 active patients as of 12.30pm on Tuesday.

Update 1200h Property sales increased by 21% in October, when compared to the previous month, the developers lobby said. It welcomed the results which, it said, signalled the positive impact its proposals, which were implemented by the government, are having on the economy, despite the ongoing pandemic. Malta Independent

Update 1145h Malta’s financial services regulator has tasked an independent panel to investigate a potential breach of ethics surrounding a trip to Las Vegas by its CEO Joseph Cuschieri and legal counsel Edwina Licari. The board of governors of the Malta Financial Services Authority tasked former chief justice Joe Azzopardi and lawyer Mark Simiana to “carry out the assessment process in an expeditious manner”. – MaltaToday

Update – 0920h Malta’s ambassador to Austria has expressed solidarity with the country and called for calm after terror attacks in central Vienna killed three people and left over a dozen injured. Meli Daudey observed that such attacks sought to instil fear and lamented that they succeeded in causing people to feel fear and anger. The Ambassador also noted that Vienna had been perceived as a safe city – the career diplomat described it as one of the safest cities she has lived in – but added that this perception would now change. – Newsbook.com.mt

Updated 0858 – Newspaper Review

The Times reports on the Caruana Galizia public inquiry on Monday during which former Police Assistant Commissioner Silvio Valletta confirmed that he had travelled with businessman Yorgen Fenech but did not see anything wrong with the decision at the time.

In-Nazzjon follows the testimony of former Police Assistant Commissioner Silvio Valletta who said that chief of staff Keith Schembri used to call him for information about his work, and he felt an obligation to answer.

L-Orizzont speaks to the foster parents of a child who was reportedly taken out of Malta with a false passport by her natural mother last week. The parents said they will not rest until they know that the girl is safe.

The Independent says that the daily number of new Covid-19 cases reached a record of 218 on Monday, surpassing the 204 cases registered on 17 October. Authorities said that a record number of 3,557 tests were conducted between Sunday and Monday.

The Times quotes Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci who warned that Covid-19 cases will continue to rise unless people observe the mitigation measures. There are currently 1,937 active cases registered.

In-Nazzjon reports that the total number of Covid-19 cases climbed to 6,617 since the start of the pandemic in March., with 458 registered only in the last three days. The paper says that the cause of transmission for hundreds of cases is still unknown.

L-Orizzont speaks to former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat about reports that he is planning to relocate his family to the UAE. Muscat denied the rumours and said that the ‘speculations’ have no basis.

The Independent reports that a development project planned on the car park area outside the former trade fair grounds will be decided by the Planning Authority Board on Thursday. The mixed-use projects would include 115 apartments as well as office and retail areas.

Morning Briefing

Las Vegas trip will not hurt Malta’s Moneyval chances – PS Bartolo

Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services and Digital Economy Clayton Bartolo said that he was not concerned that the revelations that MFSA boss Joseph Cuschieri travelled to Las Vegas with Yorgen Fenech might have a negative impact on the Moneyval evaluation.

“I am of the opinion that we have done all that we needed to. We worked hard over the past nine months and made the changes that were needed. We are confident that the Moneyval result will be good for the country.”

Asked for his opinion on the matter, Bartolo said that his opinion is was not relevant in these cirucmstances: “The MFSA is an independent authority, it has a board of governors looking into what needs to be done and I will not be the one to say what needs to be done. I have full confidence in the board of governors and know that they are taking decisions, seeing everything that needs to be done. I will leave it in their hands to proceed cautiously so that we can assure that our country continues fighting for its reputation.”

MAM says it is not business as usual, calls for additional restrictive measures

Reacting to the record number of new cases registered yesterday, Medical Association of Malta president Martin Balzan said that the latest figures were alarming and that it was not correct for the political authorities to continue to refer to the current situation as business as usual.

“When the prime minister goes on television and reassures people that everything is okay, then the public interprets that as a carte blanche to do as they please. This attitude is counterproductive, we cannot have messages not based on science during an epidemic,” Balzan complained.

Once again, the MAM President called for more restrictive measures: “All evidence suggests that mask-wearing has failed in Malta as well as abroad. When you’re seeing these kinds of numbers, you have to close down social events. Going to work or school is one thing, but anything that’s not essential, there’s no point,” Balzan said.

Covid-19 Update

The number of new cases shot up to 218 yesterday, Health authorities reported. Recoveries were more than a hundred less (111), meaning that active cases have gone up again to 1,973. The new infections were identified from over 3,557 swab tests.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Chris Fearne said that a “brand new hospital” in St Paul’s Bay is receiving patients who test positive for COVID-19 in old people’s homes, thus ensuring that other residents stay safe. 23 patients were already being treated there.

CDE News

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