Malta News Briefing – Sunday 13 November 2022

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News Briefing

Former Infrastructure Malta boss Frederick Azzopardi insists he has ‘nothing to hide’ as Cassola goes to police

Former Infrastructure Malta boss Fredrick Azzopardi insisted he has nothing to hide after Arnold Cassola handed a cache of documents over to the police on Saturday claiming it contains evidence of corruption in the Marsa junction project. The independent election candidate and former Alternattiva Demokratika chairman said the evidence included an exchange between Azzopardi and Yorgen Fenech. On Saturday, Cassola said in a statement that he had handed Police Commissioner Angelo Gafà “first-hand evidence” of corruption related to the Marsa project. When contacted for more details, he said the 24-page dossier he gave the police included correspondence between Fenech and various Turkish contractors, as well as the exchange with Azzopardi. The texts, which he said were sent in early 2019, have Fenech asking “x’tixtieq minn dik?” (what would you like from that?) to which Azzopardi replies “circa 45% of 11m”. Contacted for comment, Azzopardi said that Cassola was “either misleading or being misled.” (Times of Malta)

Increase in respiratory illnesses amongst kids

Several young children are being treated for respiratory illnesses in recent weeks, with paediatricians linking the early spike of infections to eased COVID-19 measures and an increase in socialising. While it is normal for respiratory infections, such as seasonal influenza and common colds to increase during the colder months, doctors have noted an increase in young children being admitted to hospitals for respiratory illnesses. (Times of Malta)

France, Malta discuss migration

Migration flows was among the hot topics of a bilateral meeting between Malta and France with Foreign Minister Ian Borg and Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of France Catherine Colonna holding talks on the margins of the Paris Peace Forum. Borg reiterated how the reform of the Common European Asylum System (CEAS) remains a crucial one, where what is being said on paper can be implemented in reality. Ian Borg went on to say that the relocation system is an important one for our country and thanked France for the assistance it has found and will be finding in 2023 on this aspect.

NGO laments new appointment at Cannabis authority

Local NGO ReLeaf Malta has shared its disagreement at the appointment of former Caritas Director Leonid McKay as head of the cannabis authority, saying this went against the spirit of the law. In a statement, the NGO said that “t is regrettable to observe that once more people who use cannabis are being treated as second class citizens, denied meaningful representation, pushed to the fringes, and once closer to a prohibitionist mind frame.” Mariella Dimech, Malta’s first chair of the newly-created Authority for the Responsible Use of Cannabis was sacked after just 10 months by the Home Affairs Ministry. (Maltatoday)

Doctors address increasing road fatalities
The Chairman of the Council for Road Safety, Pierre Vella said that alcohol, cannabis and other drugs must be taken in consderation with regard to the recent spate of traffic accidents. World Health Organisation’s Regional Consultant Jonathan Passmore suggested Malta should consider using the Australian system in the issue of driving licences known as Graduated Licensing. Passmore said licences should be issued according to the age of drivers who have passed specific tests. (TVM)

Valletta man arrested for drug possession
A 33-year old man from Valletta was arrested after he was found to be in possession of 84 sachets of drugs. He was arrested in Cern Street with 51 sachets containing heroin and 33 sachets containing cocaine, a police report said.

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