UK paper touts possible Papacy for Mario Grech / Malta News Briefing – Saturday 14 May 2022

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Mid-Day Briefing

UK paper touts possible Papacy for Mario Grech

Cardinal Mario Grech is one of several cardinals who have been considered as possible successors to Pope Francis in the next conclave, according to a report by The Times (UK) quoted by its namesake in Malta. After being forced to abandon plans due to a knee ailment, there has been growing concern about the present Pope’s health. The 85-year-old has also made his first public appearance in a wheelchair. According to The Times of London, the succession will be a struggle between two groups, with conservatives who despise Francis’s “mercy-before-dogma” approach pitted against his more liberal supporters who praise his outreach to homosexual Catholics and divorcees. Grech, 65, is secretary-general of the synod of bishops and would be seen, according to the sources quoted, as a ‘compromise candidate’.

Fitch confirms Malta’s A+ rating, expresses concern on deficit levels

Fitch Ratings has confirmed Malta’s rating at A+ with a stable outlook but has warned on fiscal woes. The credit rating agency said that “Malta’s direct economic and energy ties to Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are limited but, as a small and open economy, Malta is highly exposed to the weaker economic outlook in key tourism markets in the EU and the UK”, thus lowering Malta’s growth projections. Fitch expressed concern with the high deficit levels reported by the country, as well as perceived weaknesses in the quality of Malta’s institutions and governance framework.

Morning Briefing

Separate accidents leave two men hurt

The weekend started off with two accidents leaving two men hurt. The first concerned another workplace accient, in which a 49-year-old was hurt while working in an excavator at a construction site in Fgura. The other saw an elderly man severely hurt while attempting to put out a grass fire in Qormi. A medical team and employees of the Civil Protection Department on site provided first assistance to the 76-year-old victim, who was subsequently transferred to Mater Dei Hospital.

Bezzina takes umbrage at links to Buttigieg’s comments

Ray Bezzina, a former Nationalist Party official, has denied ever receiving or entertaining demands from any “big cat” to destroy Albert Buttigieg’s campaign.   Bezzina has urged the PN’s ethics panel to investigate Buttigieg’s assertions in a tersely worded letter.  Although Buttigieg did not identify any people in his opinion released on Friday, the terms ‘unelected official’ were generally construed as a reference to him, according to Bezzina. Independent candidate Arnold Cassola came to this conclusion, suggesting that the anonymous official may have been Bezzina, who joined the DB Group after quitting from the PN after the election.

Covid-19 Update: Health authorities reported 111 new positive cases of Covid-19, with the number of known active cases going down further to 2,444, as 182 people recovered.

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