Malta News Briefing – Friday 5 May 2023

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Updated 1300

Malta’s female labour participation tops EU rate
In 2022 Malta had a female labour participation rate of 74% compared to the EU’s 69%, Jobsplus annual report shows. The pace of increase was significant, given that just one year after joining the European Union in 2004, Malta had a female participation rate of just 34.5%. In a report, Jobsplus attributed the increase to “a very successful market activation policy package” that includes an influx of female foreign workers who supported this growth. These policies include free childcare, with the agency saying hat 8,437 children were benefitting from the scheme in 2022, of which 4,029 were new applicants. (Maltatoday)

Court orders Topo to testify
A magistrate on Thursday afternoon ordered Darren Debono to testify in proceedings against Vince Muscat in relation to the attempted 2010 HSBC heist, rejecting objections by Muscat’s lawyers. The testimony was set for May 18. The decision followed a day of legal wrangling during which Muscat’s lawyers said that they were “very hurt” by a decree delivered by the Criminal Court last month stating that their objection to Debono as a witness was based on “mistaken premises.” (Times of Malta)

Police get new tools to support arrests

In recent days the Police Corps will begin the use of a new tool to restrict the movement of those resisting arrest. The Bola Wrap will be added to the equipment already available to the Police Rapid Intervention Unit (RIU) with training currently taking place to prevent the excessive force of targets showing aggression towards them. Together with firearms, truncheons and body tasers, the Bola Wrap will be added to the security equipment to ensure that officials can act at a distance to overcome resistance and restrict the movement of their target. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

Jury finds man was insane at time of murder

A man who fatally stabbed his mother and his aunt five years ago was insane at the time of the murders, a jury decided on Thursday. The jurors returned an 8-1 verdict after having, on Wednesday, heard psychiatrists describe how the accused, Kavin Micallef, was convinced that the pair were conspiring to kill him and his delusion persisted today. The medical experts testified that Micallef was confused and at the time did not realise his actions. The murder took place in July 2018 in the washroom of Micallef’s residence in Gharghur. (Times of Malta)

BOV defends massive Steward loan

BOV’s management defended the bank’s decision to loan €36 million to Steward Healthcare, insisting that its loan approval procedures are of high standard.
Speaking at the launch of the bank’s Q1 results, CEO Kenneth Farrugia and Chairman Gordon Cordina said that they cannot speak about individual clients, but said that the company’s loan approval procedures are rigorous. The bank loaned €36 million to Steward Healthcare. Asked about whether the bank will finance high-rise buildings, despite low consumer demand for these properties, Farrugia said that BOV will not exclude projects from the bank’s portfolio, particularly if they have ESG-goals embedded.

Greenpeace gives thumbs up to Maltese public transport

A Greenpeace study on public transport tickets in 30 European countries and their capital cities put Malta in second place. In the study Greenpeace evaluated public transport on the basis of how easy it is to use the tickets, their price over a protracted period of time, the discounts for disadvantaged groups including students, families, the elderly, the unemployed, refugees and the disabled as well as the VAT rate on the tickets. In general Malta was classified in second place after Luxembourg while in terms of capital cities Valletta came first together with Luxembourg City and Tallinn in Estonia, three cities with free public transport.(TVM)

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