Former PM ‘does not trust magisterial inquiry’ on hospitals / Malta News Briefing – Saturday 4 November 2023

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Former PM ‘does not trust magisterial inquiry’

Former PM Joseph Muscat expressed his support for the Nationalist Party’s request for Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà to conduct an investigation into the hospital deal, as he voiced his lack of confidence in the ongoing magisterial inquiry. “I agree with the Nationalist Party. I want the Police Commissioner to investigate, and I have complete confidence in him… as far as I understand, the Commissioner himself is willing to initiate an investigation. The question is: who is preventing him from doing so?” asked the former Prime Minister from the Labour Party, while speaking with Emanuel Cuschieri on Smash TV. During his appearance on the Linja Diretta program, Muscat, a staunch supporter of Cuschieri, went on to claim that Magistrate Gabriella Vella, who is currently overseeing the magisterial inquiry into the deal, was hindering the Commissioner from commencing his own investigation. (Times of Malta)

Industrial tribunal members seek PM assistance after ‘Union attack’

The Chairman and members of the Industrial Tribunal have reached out to the President and Prime Minister seeking “protection, support, and assistance” after they were individually identified in a recent court case initiated by the Union of Professional Educators. The correspondence was dispatched following a constitutional application filed by the union, which contested the tribunal’s decision to deny it the right to advocate for learning support educators (LSEs) and aid its members in collective bargaining proceedings. The Union of Professional Educators had brought the matter to court, contending that the tribunal’s decision was in violation of the right to representation. This dispute arose subsequent to a ruling by the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations, which acknowledged the union as the representative of the majority of LSEs in State employment but determined that this specific category could not be recognized as a “separate bargaining unit.” (Maltatoday)

Malta is more beautiful than 20 years ago -MDA President

The president of the Malta Developers’ Association has claimed that Malta is more beautiful now than it was 20 years ago. Michael Stivala, speaking on Jon Mallia’s podcast, admitted that his view was rather controversial. The developer went on to claim that the public was “influenced by the media’s anti-development sentiment”, implying that the audience does not have a mind of its own. Asked if Malta has become more beautiful now than it was twenty years ago, Stivala said certain localities are more beautiful while others are uglier. “But overall, the country looks better than it did,” he said. (Newsbook)

Morning Briefing

Unions seek urgent PM meeting, saying government employees missing out on COLA
Malta’s trade unions have united in their call for an immediate meeting with Prime Minister Robert Abela regarding the missing additional cost-of-living-allowance mechanism for public sector and public service employees, which would enable them to receive their full entitlement. These unions have expressed their apprehension about the consequences for workers resulting from the exclusion of the relativity adjustment in the COLA mechanism, as was revealed in the budget announcement. The letter requesting the meeting was collectively signed by the Confederation of Maltese Trade Unions (CMTU), FORUM, the General Workers’ Union (GWU), and the UĦM Voice of the Workers. They have clarified that the relativity mechanism was mutually agreed upon in 2021 and was incorporated into the 2023 budget. However, this crucial mechanism was conspicuously absent from the budget speech delivered this week. (Times of Malta)

Almost half of Maltese kids are overweight – nutrionist

The prevalence of childhood obesity, including in Malta, is increasing. Speaking on TV, nutritionist Fleur Bugeja remarked that she has observed this concerning trend in her professional experience. According to the nutritionist, research suggests that nearly 45% of children in Malta are grappling with overweight or obesity issues. She attributed this primarily to the excessive use of technology and a lack of physical activity. Furthermore, Bugeja pointed out that in Malta, a higher percentage of men than women are either overweight or obese. Women tend to be more proactive in seeking assistance to address their weight concerns, with 85% of those seeking help being women. (TVM)

Malta reaches fourth place in EU for breast cancer screening

In 2021, Malta’s breast cancer screening rate for women aged 50 to 69 ranked as the fourth highest in Europe, as reported by Eurostat. Breast cancer is a prevalent form of cancer and a significant contributor to female mortality in the EU. Preventative measures play a crucial role in mitigating the impact of the disease and reducing mortality rates. However, the COVID-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on preventive healthcare, affecting numerous screening programs in hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the EU. This context must be considered when evaluating the data for the year 2021. The top three countries in 2021 with the highest breast cancer screening rates for women aged 50 to 69, indicating those who had undergone a mammography within the previous two years, were the Nordic EU nations: Denmark (83.0%), Finland (82.2%), and Sweden (80.0%). Malta (77.8%) and Slovenia (77.2%) closely followed suit.

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