Malta’s President visits Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder site / Malta News Briefing – Monday 13 September 2021

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Times of Malta says data from Keith Schembri’s mobile phone is still subject to an ongoing magisterial inquiry that is secret and confidential in terms of law, the police commissioner said in court on Monday, but that phone is not the same one allegedly “lost” some months ago.

MaltaToday reports that a judicial protest has been filed against the Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci over what was described as her ‘unilateral’ decision to impose hotel quarantine on arrivals from ‘dark red’ countries and charge €1400 for substandard hotel services

Newsbook reports that 40% of children aged between 5 and 16 are at risk of mental disorder, a study piloted by psychiatric registrar Rosemarie Sacco found.

TVM says that according to the latest Eurobarometer survey, Maltese are among the most satisfied with the economic situation in the country and the financial situation of their family

Updated 1230 – Mid-Day Briefing

Covid-19 Update: 35 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday, as 43 recovered, triggering a slight decline in active cases to 723. 35 patients are recovering in hospital but four remain in ITU.

President Vella visits Caruana Galizia’s murder site: President George Vella has visited the site where Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed in a car bomb, a few days after expressing a specific wish to do so. Relatives of the journalist accompanied him to the site this morning, the first official visit after a public inquiry found that the state should shoulder responsibility for the assassination. The Caruana Galizia Foundation said in a statement that “in view of the published findings of the public inquiry into the circumstances of Daphne’s assassination, we welcome the President’s gesture as the Maltese state’s recognition of Daphne’s memory and sacrifice and its acknowledgement that it must bear responsibility for her assassination and for its failure to prevent real and immediate risks to her life,” the foundation said.

Government forwards FATF action plan: Malta has forwarded to the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) a detail plan of action to get off the grey list of untrustworthy financial jurisdictions. The Times of Malta revealed that the government presented the plan to the global watchdog during a virtual meeting on Thursday. It is understood that central to the plan is an improved commitment to effectively fight tax crimes by using intelligence to catch tax cheats and better policing of ultimate beneficial ownership rules.

Updated 0710 – Newspaper Review

The Times of Malta reveals that Malta has presented the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) with an action plan to get off the grey list of untrustworthy financial jurisdictions. The government presented the plan to the global watchdog during a virtual meeting on Thursday.

In-Nazzjon quotes the appeal by PN Leader Bernard Grech from Sunday’s address that the Nationalist Party offers a home to all those who want a change for the better for Malta.

L-Orizzont leads with an interview with an experienced educator who shares a concern that public schools will be opening a week later compared to Church and independent schools

The Malta Independent says the Prime Minister has described Malta’s current economic recovery from the pandemic as strong.

The Times of Malta quotes sources close to the investigation on Pilatus Bank and reveals that the probe is probe skirting problematic account holders for the time being, adding that the investigation not focused on prosecuting account holders ‘at this stage’.

In-Nazzjon says that the PN had positive feedback regarding its proposals for support towards industry.

L-Orizzont reports that the European Court of Auditors is expected to present a report later today on the repatriation of migrants.

The Malta Independent reveals that a controversial apartment block application in Nadur has been downsized and re-activated.

Morning Briefing

Abela defends jobs record

Malta is recovering well from the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Robert Abela said on Sunday. “Why is the country experiencing a strong recovery from this economic shock,” he asked. “As we believed in progressive economic policy rather than moving towards austerity measures.”

Abela recalled details of a number of schemes, saying that 6,000 businesses over the past few days have benefitted from financial support of €1.6 million divided among them, to help pay for their rent. In a comment which seemingly addressed recent concerns of an increase in public sector jobs prior to an election, Abela said that 9 of 10 new jobs offered by government in recent months were created in the education and health sectors. He added that for every new job in the public sector, eight jobs had been created in the private sector.

Development on top of PN leader’s agenda

Development and the cost of living were two key themes for PN leader Bernard Grech on Sunday. On development, Grech tried to clarify his party’s stance, saying that as a country we can’t move forward without development,” insisting that this should not happen at the people’s expense.”
Grech emphasised that all development rules must be adhered to, including the use of specific machinery or making sure that one has the right permits for the work being carried out. He insisted that the Zonqor Point land given to the Sadeen Group for the American University of Malta needs to be given back to the Maltese people, promising that it would be a PN Government priority. On the cost of living, Grech said that the cost of living adjustment will be reviewed to properly reflect rising costs.

Covid-19 Update
A man and a woman who had been diagnosed with COVID-19 died on Sunday as 50 new cases of the virus were detected. The health authorities said the latest victims were an 83-year-old man and an 84-year-old woman. The number of deaths has risen to 449. 33 COVID-19 patients are currently being treated in hospital, including four in the Intensive Therapy Unit. There are currently 731 active cases.

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