UPDATED – Malta News Briefing – Sunday 19 September 2021

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Update 1630 – News Headlines

A couple currently undergoing separation proceedings landed in court on Sunday following a physical altercation at their Xewkija home on Saturday which involved the use of a knife.  An Australian-Maltese woman was accused of seriously injuring her husband, from Pietà, with a knife, who, in turn, was accused of slightly injuring his wife.  The 34-year-old woman, who told the court she works as a project manager, was also accused of using a sharp and pointed weapon against her husband while the 37-year-old man, who is a gym instructor, was further charged with breaching the conditions of provisional release on another case. Times of Malta

Bishop Joseph Galea-Curmi argued that a consistent pro-life ethic – protecting life at all stages from conception to its natural end – should be the natural position of a “truly progressive and liberal” society in a mass organised by the Life Network Foundation Malta on Sunday. The mass, in memory of the lives lost to abortion, was at the Lunzjata Retreat House in Rabat, and in his homily, the bishop rejected the argument that being pro-life was a regressive rather than progressive decision. “A society that is truly progressive and liberal gives special care to those who are vulnerable, weak and dependent. This is a society that is genuinely human.” The need to be consistently pro-life Bishop Galea-Curmi emphasised that opposing abortion alone did not make one pro-life: a pro-life ethic needed to be consistent, and reflected on various issues – including immigration and the environment. –

Crisis Resolution Malta hopes that the government will set aside funds in the upcoming budget to implement a national suicide prevention strategy, organisation leader Mark Xuereb told The Malta Independent. This scientifically based strategy – which seeks to implement a national tailor made approach to “grab the bull that is suicide by the horns” – is globally continually being urged by the World Health Organisation, Xuereb said.  Last week, as part of suicide prevention week, Crisis Resolution Malta (CRM) launched a suicide prevention campaign which saw suicide prevention messages on billboards around the island. –Malta Independent

The independent candidate Arnold Cassola has called on the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner to “urgently” examine the situation in Malta’s prison system. “The situation in the Maltese correctional facility of Kordin has become untenable,” Cassola told Commissioner Michelle Bachelet. The independent candidate called out the prison director Alex Dalli for moving about with “a dog by his side, and a pistol at his waist.” He also called out the use of a “torture chair”, which he said is used to tie inmates “practically naked.” “The Maltese Minister for the Interior, Byron Camilleri, remains tight lipped on these happenings and continues to defend the prison director,” Cassola said. “In view of these serious circumstances, I ask the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner to urgently examine this situation, which has become a big blot on human rights in Malta as well as constituting a lack of full transparency in the running of the Kordin prison,” Cassola’s letter read. MaltaToday

Update 1345 – Political Leaders Speeches

Health authorities are in advanced discussions with stakeholders for pharmacies to introduce a roster system to also start opening on Sunday afternoons, Health Minister Chris Fearne said on Sunday. Addressing a Labour Party conference on the theme ‘Renewing Malta Together’, Fearne announced that discussions are under way for people to have the possibility to access pharmacy services not just during the week and on Sunday mornings, but also on Sunday afternoons. “We are in advanced discussions with stakeholders so that through a roster system, pharmacies will also open on Sunday afternoons, giving Maltese and Gozitans the possibility to use their pharmacy throughout the week.” – Times of Malta

The leader of the Partit Nazzjonalista (PN) Bernard Grech said that he never personally former PN leader Adrian Delia, and that both of them are working towards a better Malta. He announced this in an interview by ONE News journalist Colin Deguara during a political activity at the Granaries, Floriana. On recent proposals by the Nationalist Party, Grech said the party has a long-term vision for the country. “We are not like the Labour government, who imports nurses and construction workers when there are staff shortages. We look at the long-term for our country,” he said. Referring to comments made by EU Chief Ursula von der Leyen regarding Malta’s recovery plan being one of the “greenest” that the European Commission has received, Dr Grech asked whether the government agrees with her comment about stopping the golden passports scheme. “It is of utmost importance to stop the procedure,” von der Leyen had said on the cash-for-passports scheme and added that one should keep in mind that such a scheme enables a person to have access to the rest of the member states. MaltaToday /

Update 1245 – Covid19 Update

Malta’s health authorities announced that current 586 active cases of Covid-19 in Malta, 22 are being treated in hospital, while 3 are in Intensive Care. There were 20 new cases and 51 recoveries in the last 24 hours.

Updated 0824 – Newspaper Review

Illum publishes survey results showing that 85 per cent of people believe that there is too much development going on. The sentiment was shared among all age groups, but it was highest among the 16-35 bracket, with 97 per cent concerned about overdevelopment.

Malta Today reports that investigators discovered that state witness Melvin Theuma held millions, despite declaring earnings of around €20,000 a year. The taxi driver owned some €1.25 million in properties and owned six cars, including a €600,000 Jaguar.

The Independent on Sunday speaks with Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri who said that the prison system needs a system of checks and balances. Asked about the prison director’s position, the minister said he takes his decisions based on facts.

The Sunday Times says that the father of a woman who died after attempting suicide in her prison cell is expected to take legal steps against Corradino Correctional Facilities. Martin Borg Nicholas Virtu claims his daughter Kim was subjected to inhumane treatment.

Il-Mument quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech that the party is soon launching proposals for the education sector. Grech said the policies include a reform of the salaries and conditions for educators.

It-Torċa publishes survey results showing that the Prime Minister enjoys a trust rating of 52 per cent, 20 percentage points more than the Opposition Leader. Robert Abela gained 1.2 points from July while Bernard Grech lost 1.8 points.

The Independent on Sunday says that Infrastructure Malta has awarded nearly €42 million in direct orders since 2019. A spokesperson for the agency said direct orders are typically issued in cases where urgent repairs are needed.  

Malta Today says that lampuki catches have fallen drastically this year, raising prices per kilogram by almost a third. A fisherman said the industry normally delivers more than 1,000 crates of fish a day but this year they are only averaging 120.  

The Sunday Times carries an interview with development tycoon Joseph Portelli who admitted meeting politicians regularly in order to understand whether his project proposals align with the government’s vision.

Illum reports that the government has declined to answer questions about the status of a technical study on a national living income, officially launched in August 2020. A spokesperson said that discussions are ongoing on this process.

Il-Mument carries an interview with PN secretary-general Michael Piccinino of the Independence Day celebrations. He said that the planned events are calling on everyone to be part of the change that the party is leading.

Morning Briefing

Labour promises Gozo-Malta airlink

The Labour Party has pledged that Gozo will get an air link to Malta, with PM Robert Abela insisting that such project can be done in “a sustainable” way, promising that no agricultural land will be lost. Speaking during the Party’s general conference held in Għajnsielem Abela said:
“Just as we introduced the fast ferry service we will also create an air link… Gozo must not only look at this as a project to improve accessibility but also as one enabling the creation of new economic niches such as the possibility of having a flying school and drone research facility”.
The Prime Minister revealed that from the next tranche of EU funds between now and 2027, government will allocate a record €162 million for Gozo.

Better conditions for teachers a must – PN
Education was the main focus for PN leader Bernard Grech on Saturday, with improved salaries for teachers, fully airconditioned classrooms and solar panels on schools among the commitments made by the Nationalist Party. “The Labour government sees teachers like child-minders, seeing them only as a means to allow parents to go out to work. But we see them as educators who are forming the hearts and minds of our children,” Grech said during a question and answer session as part of the PN Independence festivities. “We need to incentivise all levels of the profession to stay on, and also to constantly improve their own skills. We will find ways of ensuring that teachers who invest in their own education and up-skilling will also be better rewarded.”

Marmara survey shows PL increasing lead

According to a new political survey authoried by statistician Vincent Marmara, and reported on It-Torca this morning, Labour would get 56.2% of the votes and the PN 42.1%. PM Robert Abela continues to enjoy a higher trust rating (52.2%) then his counterpart Bernard Grech who remains at 30.7%.

Covid-19 Update: Health authorities 25 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, while 51 patients have made a recovery. Active cases declined to 617. 21 patients are currently in hospital, three of whom in ITU.

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