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Malta News Briefing – Saturday 28 November

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Updated 1233 – Covid-19 Update

There were 108 cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with 121 recoveries. These were identified out of 2870 swab tests. The number of active cases has declined to 2059.

Updated 1220 – Clothing retailers suffer negative Black Friday

Black Friday sales saw a surge of sales in electronics but clothing retailers saw their business go down by up to 50% compared to last year. This data was revealed by SME Chamber President Abigail Mamo. Some retailers experienced relatively better performances and managed to limit the decline to 20%.

Electronics shops, however, reported sales more or less in line with previous levels, with some seeing an even better take than last year.  

The worst-hit were shops that specialise in elegant or occasion wear, Mamo revealed in comments tot The Times of Malta. These outlets typically see a boost in business for the Christmas season.

Bishop Mario Grech to be elevated to Cardinal today

Former Gozo Bishop Mario Grech will be elevated to the rank of Cardinal today in a ceremony to be held at the Vatican. Grech will deliver a speech on behalf of the other 12 new Cardinals.

Newspaper Review

The Times follows the testimony of former minister Konrad Mizzi in the Caruana Galizia public inquiry during which he chose not to answer to more than 100 questions put to him. In a statement he insisted that he was never paid any kickbacks.

The Independent quotes Konrad Mizzi who told the Caruana Galizia public inquiry that he had no involvement in the murder of the journalist and that he is saddened by it. The former minister said he was on a visit abroad when he received news of the assassination.

In-Nazzjon leads with the appearance of Konrad Mizzi before the Caruana Galizia public inquiry during which he refused to answer questions by the board. In a statement, the former minister said he always acted with the approval of Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.

L-Orizzont reports that a man has been sentenced to four years in jail after being found guilty of defiling his daughters aged 12 and 17. The father admitted to the sexual acts but said he wanted to educate the children to the dangers of sexual abuse.

The Times speaks with Chamber of SMEs CEO Abigail Mamo who said that electronics stores matched and, in some cases, even surpassed last year’s sales levels on Black Friday. Clothing stores, on the other hand, saw a decrease in business by half.

In-Nazzjon speaks with bishop Mario Grech who will made Cardinal by Pope Francis today. Mons. Grech said that he is approaching this new ‘universal responsibility’ with some trepidation but great faith.

The Independent reports on the testimony of Joseph Cuschieri, who said he resigned out of his own free will from CEO of the Financial Services Authority. The resignation came on the same day that a board handed its review on his trip to Las Vegas with Yorgen Fenech.  

In-Nazzjon reports on the death of four Covid-19 patients between Friday and Saturday, with the total number of victims rising to 132. Health authorities announced that 96 new cases were registered on Friday.

L-Orizzont carries a feature on the life and career of Argentinian football star Diego Maradona who died this week aged 60. The paper says the icon has been added to traditional nativity scenes in Naples, where he spent a successful stint as a player.

Morning Briefing

Covid-19 Update

A total of 96 new cases were identified in the previous 24 hours, with Malta’s number of active cases reaching 2,076. Over the same timeframe, 132 persons recovered from coronavirus. 3,049 people were swabbed between Thursday and Friday. 

A total of 194 patients are getting treatment in hospital, Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci said on Friday, with 15 of them at Mater Dei’s ITU. 

There are currently over 4,000 people in quarantine.

Konrad Mizzi refuses to answer inquiry questions

Former Labour minister Konrad Mizzi refused to answer more than 100 questions when he was forced to testify at the public inquiry into the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. 

Mizzi had originally sought to avoid appearing infront of the board but the latter refused his attempt. Still, Mizzi refused to answer to any of the questions posed, particularly on his Panama company and various projects myred in controversy.

His only two comments were limited to insisting that all his decisions were given Joseph Muscat’s go-ahead, adding that he “never took kickbacks or rewards” during his political career.

Nothing wrong in Vegas trip – Former MFSA CEO

Former financial regulator Joseph Cuschieri has defended a free trip to Las Vegas paid by Yorgen Fenech, telling a public inquiry that he saw no conflict of interest at the time.

Cuschieri resigned earlier this week as CEO of the financal services regulator, a decision confirmed by the authority’s board.

The trip took place just weeks after Cuschieri had quit his job as CEO of the Malta Gaming Authority. “At the time, I didn’t see any conflict of interest,” he told the inquiry into Caruana Galizia’s assassination on Friday. “In hindsight, had I the gift of foresight, I would answer differently.”

Availability of flu jabs is ‘patchy’ – Family Doctors

The Association of Private Family Doctors (APFD) complained about the “patchy supply” of flu vaccines which has meant that vulnerable people still need to be inoculated. Worse, there is still no indication when this could happen, the association said in a statement on Friday.

The APFD noted the particular circumstances and the patchy supply in which the yearly influenza vaccination is taking place, however it laments the uncharacteristic way in which patients with chronic diseases who booked their yearly influenza vaccination with their private family doctors have been treated to date.

Investment in airport technology seeks to thwart criminal attempts

Malta will be able to strengthen its frontiers on an investment of €13.6 million from EU Funds to install new technology. This will enable the Police to exercise greater control over the airport as they will be in a position to identify those travelling with criminal aims or without the necessary permission, particularly from non-EU areas.

While launching this new sophisticated system at the international airport, Minister Byron Camilleri and Parliamentary Secretary Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi said this control will take place without Malta compromising its position on the free movement of persons, which is one of the fundamental principles of the EU.

The Minister for Internal Affairs, National Security and Law Enforcement, Byron Camilleri, said a balance has to be attained between the required response for security reasons and the free movement of persons that are part of the EU’s Schengen Zone.

 CDE News

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