Latest Updates – Malta News Briefing – Sunday 14 February

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Updated 1800- Political Speeches

PM urges people to dream big, says some are seeking to undermine success

Prime Minister Robert Abela urged people to “dream big” saying the country’s successes should serve as an example to other countries.  Speaking in Floriana, Abela said that he was a realist: “I have always been positive because I had facts in hand to back what I am saying. Last year, there were backhanded campaigns to paralyse our economy.  “But we have always been there…the voice of hope. Yet we have always been realistic and I believe this is the politics that is distinguishing between the two parties,” Abela said. 

However, Abela remarked that there have been subtle campaigns throughout the pandemic to endanger the coutnry’s success: “When we had no infections, people were creating back-handed campaigns so that people don’t leave their house, or don’t buy from local businesses. In fact, I would like to remind entrepreneurs of the amount of subtle campaigns that tried to force businesses onto their knees and paralyse the economy,” he said. (Timesofmalta.com/Maltatoday.com.mt)

PN makes new energy proposals

The PN is proposing a 20 per cent reduction in charging tariffs for electric vehicles, which will see the current rate of 13c go down to 10c5 per unit for night time charging. Leader Bernard Grech said: “We will continue coming up with new proposals for the environment because our party is for the environment and we believe that it can be crucial for the future of our country,” Grech said in an address at party headquarters. 

“We want to help people who are looking to make the switch to electric vehicles and encourage those who already have.” 

Grech also spoke at length on the situation at Air Malta, after the Finance Minister, Clyde Caruana, revealed how Air Malta is losing some €170,000 every day in operational losses. “Saving Air Malta is crucial – we have to make sure that tourists still have the best accessibility to our country when the pandemic passes, which will in turn continue to boost the tourism industry,” he said. (Source Timesofmalta.com/Maltatoday)

Covid-19 Update

138 new COVID-19 cases were reported on Sunday while 109 recovered. The health authorities also reported the death of three patients diagnosed with COVID-19.

Updated 0900 – Newspaper Review

Malta Today reports that the modified gas pipeline from Sicily will not make the cut for EU funding. The government submitted new designs for hydrogen-ready infrastructure after the Commission said it would not fund the original plans.

The Independent on Sunday says that former Finance Minister Edward Scicluna will be paid €12,000 as a board member of the financial services authority, on top of a €138,000 salary as governor of the Central Bank.

Illum carries an interview with Finance Minister Clyde Caruana who said that Air Malta is making losses of €170,00 every day. The government is preparing a technical plan on the situation and intends to request EU financial assistance to save the airline.

The Sunday Times claims that junior minister Rosianne Cutajar took a €9,000 cut on a deal by Yorgen Fenech to purchase a property in Mdina. The parliamentary secretary was also paid a €46,000 brokerage fee by the property seller on the same deal.

It-Torċa speaks with a 78-year-old man who expressed his dejection after nearly a year of staying indoors because of the virus. The man says he only speaks to his daughter over the phone and rarely goes out of the house.

Il-Mument covers a press conference by Moviment Graffitti which denounced plans by Infrastructure Malta to build new roads in Burmarrad. Activist Andre Callus said that farmers in the area risk losing their land.   

Kullħadd says that the government is investing €5 million in new courtrooms, offices for the judiciary and the digitalisation of the court systems. Meanwhile, another four judges will be appointed to the bench.

The Sunday Times reports that used car importers are facing a crisis following the new barriers set up by Brexit. A spokesperson for the Malta Car Importers Association said that over half of used cars on the roads come from the UK. 

Malta Today says that Health Minister Chris Fearne is viewed as the best-performing minister by the public with a rating of 25.2 percent, a decline from 27.9 percent in October. Minister Ian Borg placed second and gained five points to reach 16 percent this month.

It-Torċa quotes the CEO of the SME Chamber, Abigail Mamo, who said that illegal flower vendors are a blatant abuse of the system and that plans to quash the activity have repeatedly fallen short.  

The Independent on Sunday publishes an interview with MEP Alfred Sant who said that a section of operators in the construction industry are not acting professionally, calling for the laws to be enforced more effectively.

Illum speaks to lawyer Cedric Mifsud about the controversy around the pre-1995 rentals laws. The lawyer, who has represented both property owners and tenants, said that the law needs to be phased out.

It-Torċa speaks to a doctor about cases of inflammation among children caused by the Covid-19 virus. The doctor said that no instances have been reported in Malta so far, but that authorities need to remain vigilant.

Il-Mument says that the number of Covid-19 deaths in February rose to 23 after another two victims were reported on Saturday. The two patients, both men and aged 63 and 82, died at Mater Dei hospital.

Kullħadd says that a PN activist who supported former leader Adrian Delia has been taken off the party’s Electoral Commission. The activist was one of eight members to withdraw from the race to join the PN’s Sliema committee.

Morning Briefing

Health Superintendent gets second jab

Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci received the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccination, health authorities announced. The authorities reported that 48,474 virus jabs have been administered so far, of which 14,739 have been the second dose.

Covid-19: 154 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the past 24 hours, according to the latest figures released by the Health authorities. With 206 recovering, the tally of active cases goes down to 2,344. These cases were identified through 2,639 tests.

The death tally edged up again, to 290, after two men, aged 63 and 82, passed away in the past 24 hours.

Court rejects Yorgen Fenech’s request to have guarnishee order revoked

The Court turned down a request by Yorgen Fenech to have a garnishee order of €5 million revoked. The garnishee order was requested by Daphne Caruana Galizia family for moral and material damages against the businessman, George and Alfred Degiorgio and Vincent Muscat, as well as self-confessed middleman Melvin Theuma over their roles in the October 2017 car bomb explosion that killed the journalist.

Fenech had argued that the order was both unnecessary and excessive. MagistrateAnna Felice noted that such a warrant could be revoked if any of the reasons justifying its issue, ceased to exist.

CDE News

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