Covid-19: 42 persons now in hospital / Malta News Briefing – Monday 20 December 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Times of Malta says that a man jailed over the murder of Gżira hairstylist Alfie Rizzo has failed in a double bid to be released from prison, with his second attempt deemed a waste of the court’s time. 

MaltaToday says that Robert Abela is putting pressure on Justyne Caruana to resign, even though the Prime Minister remains reluctant to kick her out himself after a damning report by the Standards Commissioner.

Newsbook says that Member of Parliament Ian Castaldi Paris confirmed on Monday that he will not be contesting the upcoming general election, despite “sensationalist stories” which have emerged in his regard.

TVM says that a Prof Neville Calleja said that the booster against Covid is offering 90% protection.

Updated 1241: Mid-Day Briefing

CBM Expects Domestic Demand To Drive Recovery In 2022: The Central Bank of Malta (Bank) is forecasting that Malta’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 6.0% in 2021, by 6.5% in 2022, 5.3% in 2023 and 3.8% in 2024. Compared to the Bank’s earlier projections, GDP growth is being revised upwards by 0.9% in 2021, 0.7% in 2022, and 0.5% in 2023. The upward revision in 2021 and 2022 is primarily driven by stronger growth in investment and government consumption, and to a lesser extent, by a stronger projected recovery in private consumption. Further details on this assessment are available here.

Labour MP to pay €300,000 in overdue taxes and penalties: Labour MP Ian Castaldi Paris has to pay some €300,000 in overdue taxes and penalties, The Times of Malta revealed today. This payment is required after a probe into his fiscal affairs found hundreds of thousands of euros in undeclared income. The contractual agreement comes after the notary was probed by the Tax Compliance Unit on the back of a red flag raised by a local bank some two years ago. While Castaldi Paris insisted the numbers were actually lower, The Times of Malta stood by its story, quoting sources within tax authorities. According to the same sources, his “unexplained wealth” reached €1 million.

Caruana Galizia murder – Bomb supplier denied bail: The Criminal Court has denied a bail request made by Jamie Vella, who stands accused of procuring the bomb which killed journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. In her decree, Madame Justice Edwina Grima pointed out that Vella is accused of one of the most serious crimes in the Criminal code, murder. The judge noted that there had been no changes in the applicant’s circumstances since his last bail application, which had previously also been refused.

Covid-19 Update: 252 new cases were reported on Monday, health authorities said, with 42 persons now in hospital, five of whom in ITU. With 80 recoveries, the total number of active infections has reached 2190.

Morning Briefing

Malta accused of violating international obligations as it refuses migrants entry

More than 220 people are still stranded at sea, after they were rescued in Malta’s SAR zone this week in four different operations by German NGO Sea-Eye. Maltese authorities turned down a request for disembarkation on Saturday, with Sea-Eye crew looking for docking in Italy. “We are close to Sicily now, even though the rescues took place in the Maltese SAR zone, the Maltese Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre did not respond and coordinate these cases,” Sea-Eye Four spokesperson Sophie Weidenhiller told the Times of Malta. “Our ship has asked for a port of safety to bring the people on land but so far only Italy has responded. They said they have forwarded our request to the authorities but they also pointed out that this happened outside of the Italian SAR zone and not under the coordination of the MRCC Rome.” The same NGO said that Malta violated its international obligation to rescue people at sea, after the rescue boat Sea-Eye 4 arrived in the Maltese search and rescue zone on Thursday, 16 December 16 with 223 people in four rescue operations. (Times of Malta / Maltatoday)

Dads demand equal rights

Fathers from across the island got together on Sunday in Floriana to protest against what they described as an imbalance in access to their children.
The fathers argued that every Christmas, the children end up separated from their fathers for no reason whatsoever, despite the fact that the fathers are persons of integrity and love their children. With the theme “Put the father back in Father Christmas”, the group said its objectives are, among others, to work for justice without delay as well as against a discriminatory application of the law in regard to fathers denied the enjoyment of their children. (TVM)

Covid-19 Update: Hospitalisations increase

New Covid-19 cases remained high on Sunday (282), but an increase in hospitalisations was probably the news which caught the eye the most, increasing from 22 to 30 over 24 hours. Four of them are in ITU. Active cases have reached 2018.

Once you're here...