Malta to hold first pilot post-Covid cultural activity / Malta News Briefing – Saturday 25 September 2021

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Updated 1300 Mid-Day Briefing

MCC to hold pilot post-Covid cultural activity
On the 8th of October 2021, the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta will host the first cultural activity for research purposes, which will follow a specific protocol of minimum restrictions as per health authority’s guidelines. This is being done as part of a pilot programme whereby its main aim is to determine the way forward for artistic, cultural and leisure activities based on research and analysis of information that will be gathered during this process. During this activity there will be no restrictions related to social distancing and the wearing of masks will not be mandatory. However, each person attending this activity must do a PCR test up to 7 days following the activity. Registration will only be eligible for persons over the age of 18 who are in possession of a vaccine certificate. Those persons who have symptoms of illness up to 3 days before the activity or who were abroad 14 days prior to the activity, cannot attend. It is not recommended that vulnerable persons attend this pilot activity.

Show of force was not coordinated – Delia
Former PN leader Adrian Delia rejected claims that he assembled supporters wearing his branded shirts at the Independence celebrations on the Granaries and insisted that their attendance was related to genuine love for the party and not a show of force. Current leader Bernard Grech described the actions as unacceptable. “I had, earlier during the day, posted and encouraged people to attend the event. When I arrived I found a group of people sporting polo shirts which had been printed for the team helping me in my electoral efforts.”

Abela shares Malta’s environmental objectives at UN assembly
PM Robert Abela has said Malta’s goal is to become a leader in small island state governance, standing ready to share the country’s plans on decarbonisation and digitalisation. Speaking via videoconferencing at the 76th meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, Abela carbon neutrality is one of the five major pillars of Malta’s economic vision for 2030. Abela emphasised that multilateralism is the key to a strong and sustainable future and urged world leaders plan and commit to a strong recovery from the pandemic for a more egalitarian and sustainable world. “Peace and security are fundamental if we have any ambition to protect international humanitarian principles and minimise the impact of conflict on innocent civilians, including those who are the most vulnerable,” the PM added.

Malta Yacht Register doubles the registered fleet over the last 5 years

Superyacht registration under the Malta flag has expanded signficantly over the last five years, with the number of superyachts over 24 metres doubling during this timeframe and a record increase of 10% registered during the last nine months. In a statement, Government said that the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects and Transport Malta are taking a number of initiatives in support of the yachting industry in Malta with a view to further consolidate Malta’s position as a leading jurisdiction in yachting, both as a destination and the flag of choice.

Covid-19 Update
Health authorities detected 16 new virus cases over the previous 24 hours. A total of 44 patients recovered overnight reducing the active case tally to 443. As a result, the number of active COVID-19 patients in hospital stands at 443.

Updated 0837 Newspaper review

The Independent 
says that the Valletta Cultural Agency is proposing a ban on combustion engine vehicles in Valletta by 2030. The agency said that restricting car access to electric vehicles would boost business and improve the residents’ quality of life.

The Times reports that the St Julian’s local council will issue a fresh tender for the design of the Balluta stairway following criticism over the cost of the proposed project. Councillors voted unanimously to remove a water feature and glass-panel railings in the original design.

In-Nazzjon says that the PN is calling for a reduction in VAT for business in the tourism sector from 18 per cent to 7 per cent. Party spokesperson Peter Agius said that such a mechanism would be possible under an EU derogation.

L-Orizzont reports that a Family Court turned down a request by a woman not to allow her former partner to travel to Italy with their daughter. The Judge decreed that Italy is a signatory of the convention on kidnapping.

The Times says that PN MP Adrian Delia denied that supporters wearing his t-shirts at a party event on Tuesday was a show of force and claimed no prior knowledge that his electoral team members would turn up.

The Independent reports on the start of the compilation of evidence against Pilatus Bank on Friday and its designated money-laundering reporting officer. A magisterial inquiry had found several unreported cases of suspicious transactions.

L-Orizzont says that the Foundation for Social Welfare Services registered over 19,000 cases in 2020, an increased from the year before. Family Minister Michael Falzon warned that the effects of the pandemic cannot be underestimated.

In-Nazzjon quotes a PN statement accusing the national broadcaster of becoming a mouthpiece of the Labour government. It says that the evening news bulletin is significantly skewed towards the government.

Morning Briefing

More EV incentives in upcoming Budget

Finance Minister Clyde Caruana revealed that there will be a “substantial increase” in government grants for the purchasing of electric vehicles in the Budget 2022. “We need to change the formula, we have to change the way we think,” he argued in a consultation meeting on Gozo. “Now that quality of life has increased, people are noticing that open spaces and the environment around them are threatened,” he said. “The solution is to invest in people.”
He added that Government will be prioritizing education, allowing people to have more opportunities in their lives.
“The more people are educated, the more opportunities they have and the more income they receive. If we increase people’s potential, the country will change,” he said.

Pilatus case heard in Court

A magisterial inquiry into Pilatus Bank’s operations had identified several instances where suspicious activity was not reported to authorities, the court heard on Friday as the compilation of evidence against Pilatus Bank and its former MLRO Claude-Anne Sant Fournier kicked off on Friday. Inspector Keith Vella testified that confidential information that reached the police in October 2018 through the FIAU and the MFSA led to investigations into the workings of Pilatus Bank over suspicions of money laundering. Inspector Keith Vella said that the police never spoke to Sant Fournier while the magisterial inquiry was still ongoing. Eventually she was called in for questioning, but she had opted to remain silent while asking for police disclosure.

More COVID-19 vaccine certificates accepted by Malta
The Health and Tourism Authorities notify that as from today, 23rd September 2021, Malta will officially recognise the digital Covid-19 vaccine certificate of Kuwait and Singapore. The vaccine certificates will be recognised by vaccines approved by the European Medicines Authority, which shall be a full course and 14 days after the last dose.

Currently Malta is recognising the digital vaccine certificates of the EU, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, Qatar, Albania, Australia, Egypt, Lebanon, Canada and the United States of America record card.

Covid-19 Update

13 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Friday, with 29 persons recovering, reducing the active case toll to 471. During the past 24 hours, Covid took the life of another victim, a 94-year-old female. The death toll has now reached 457. 15 patients remain in hospital, four of whom in ITU.

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