Update 1830 – A 59 year old man from Zejtun died after falling from a height of five storeys while doing work in a block of an apartments in Triq John Dalli – Żabbar. This is the second incident of its kind this week. On Wednesday, a 38-year-old worker fell to his death on a construction site in Marsascala. Magistrate Rachel Montebello ordered an inquiry. Police are investigating the case.
Updated 1745- News Portal Briefing
Times of Malta reports that Minister Carmelo Abela has defended controversial government adverts which include large photos of himself, saying he is obliged to inform the public of his work.
MaltaToday reports that the Commissioner for Health at the Office of the Ombudsman says unions must not use patients to pressure authorities, but also insists ministries must act swiftly when faced with complaints
Newsbook reports self-confessed Daphne Caruana Galizia hitman Vincent Muscat told George and Alfred Degiorgio, accused of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, that former Labour deputy leader and economy minister Chris Cardona was best placed to provide information on the journalist.
TVM reports that after a number of people were defrauded by a couple which was asking them for money to supposedly tow their car, the Police have confirmed with TVM that it has received other similar reports and the case is being investigated.
Updated 1245: Covid-19 update
Health authorities reported 27 new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the lowest tally for more than six months. 30 persons recovered, meaning the active case tally remained stable at 583.
Two men died between Thursday and Friday, taking the death count to 405.
Health authorities noted that 264,658 doses of the anti-Covid vaccine have been given so far. Slightly over two-thirds of the vaccine doses administered were doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine,
Alleged murders sought help by Chris Cardona on Caruana Galizia’s location
Vincent Muscat, the self-confessed killer of Daphne Caruana Galizia revealed that Alfred Degiorgio sought for his advice on whether to ask former Minister Chris Cardona for further help with regards to the plot. “Chris Cardona as a minister could check such things, to check if she was abroad. He would be in a better position than us to find out.” Muscat added that he had drivenDegiorgio to Portomaso to speak to Cardona.
Muscat, was being cross-examined by the defence in the murder case. The hitman, also known as il-Koħħu, has already admitted his involvement and sentenced to fifteen years in jail.
Restaurants to reopen by mid-May: sources
Government plans to allow restaurants to re-open within a month, but bars and band clubs will have to wait for longer, The Times of Malta revealed this morning. The new timelines relating to the easing of further restrictions related to Covid-19 have not yet been released. The reports indicate that health authorities prefer to open restaurants first and see whether this has any impact on coronavirus cases before reopening bars.
Bars have been closed since October.
Restaurant and bar owners have been pushing for an indication of timelines in order to plan their operations accordingly. So far the only target date provided by Government relates to 1st June, by when it intends to fully re-open the tourism season.
The Times says that the government is planning to reopen restaurants by mid-May, but no dates have been set for bars and clubs. Businesses in the catering industry are warning that they are on the brink.
The Independent says that nearly 70 percent of vaccinations administered in Malta so far were Pfizer-BioNTech doses. The AstraZeneca vaccine made 28 percent of all jabs while four percent received the Moderna vaccine.
L-Orizzont speaks with Animal Welfare Commissioner Alison Bezzina who said that the dog-friendly bays that are currently available are less than acceptable. She said that many of these bays are inaccessible and not well-kept.
In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech who said that decisions need to be made to revitalise the party and open it to more young people. Grech said it is his responsibility to make the difficult decisions that.
The Times carries an interview with Phyllis Stewart, whose husband Tom disappeared five years ago after breaking out of Mount Carmel hospital. Stewart said that it does not make sense that no one has seen him since 2016.
In-Nazzjon publishes a statement by the Nationalist Party calling on the Prime Minister to sack minister Carmelo Abela following a report by the Standards Commissioner accusing the minister of using public funds for personal promotion campaigns.
L-Orizzont reports that a police officer won over €10,000 in compensation after he was accidentally shot by another officer during unauthorised training. Judge Grazio Mercieca found the firing officer guilty of negligence and carelessness.
The Independent speaks to the Dean of the Faculty for Social Wellbeing, Andrew Azzopardi, about the state of the prison. He described the system of incarceration of ‘diabolical’ led by a director with a disproportionate share of power.
Marsa flyover inaugurated
The Marsa flyover project was inaugurated on Thursday evening.
PM Robert Abela said that this project carried an investment of €70 million, including a seven-lane flyover, and was the result of an ambitious plan the government has for the country. Malta will be ready to start competing again in the global market once the COVID-19 pandemic was over. Abela said infrastructure projects such as this were vital for Malta’s competitive edge.
With more than 12 kilometers of new lanes running separately at three levels, it is estimated that travel time has been reduced by almost 80% and there has also been a reduction in smoke pollution. The project includes seven flyovers with the longest being 227 metres and the highest, four and a half storeys.
Doctors warn cannabis use can lead to use of other drugs
The Association of Private Family Doctors (APFD) warned that cannabis use could potentially lead to an increase in the use of other illicit drugs
The body however said that it acknowledged “the need” for the decriminalisation of possession of small quantities of cannabis for personal use but warned that legalising the use of the drug will lead to an increase in its overall consumption.
The association said cannabis use was harmful to young brains with the risk of dependence and move towards harder illicit drugs being more likely.
It proposed the setting up of a minimum age and said that the younger generation should be shielded from the risk of having cannabis more accessible through it being cultivated in homes.
New Judges Announced
Magistrates Neville Camilleri and Audrey Demicoli and lawyers Christian Falzon Scerri and Ian Spiteri Bailey are to be appointed judges after a public call for nominations. The Office of the President said in a statement on Thursday that a public call for nominations was issued in February and 29 nominations were received by the Judicial Appointments Committee.
Health authorities reported 55 new cases of coronavirus while 45 patients have recovered, bringing the total number of active cases to 588. As of yesterday,259,274 vaccine doses were administered with 78,139 individuals receiving the second shot. No deaths were recorded.