UPDATED News Roundup
Energy prices will be frozen next year as Malta stares down the barrel of a global gas-shortage crisis. Times of Malta reports that the government is planning to cap the prices that consumers are charged for electricity, as the country’s fuel purchasing agreements draw to a close this winter. A total of €200 million in public funds have been earmarked for the initiative, though the allocated figure might not be fully utilised. The move comes as European leaders fear the icy repercussions of a winter with a shortage of natural gas. A perfect energy storm has been brewing during 2021, described by government insiders as “the next crisis on the horizon”. A cold winter around the world last year sent demand for gas rising, depleting reserves. Times of Malta
Two persons brought up from car hanging over Qawra construction site
Two persons can count themselves lucky after they ended up hanging down in their car over a construction site. At about 2.15 p.m. Civil Protection Department personnel were called out to Qawra Road to assist a man and a woman, both Valletta residents, who were in the car. TVM
122 New Covid-19 Cases – 12 in hospital
Malta’s Health Authorities announced that there were 122 new Covid-19 cases. The total number of cases now is 847. Twelve persons are receiving cure in hospital. 41 patients were reported to have recovered from the virus.
Fearne clashed with Mizzi over backroom talks on hospitals
Health Minister Chris Fearne clashed with Konrad Mizzi in 2019 after getting wind of backroom dealings to offer Steward Healthcare a more favourable deal than the one struck with Vitals to run three public hospitals. Fearne went on to take the matter to then prime minister Joseph Muscat, insisting that this “could not go on”. – Times of Malta
Steward: government will refuse €100 million termination penalty
The Maltese government is refusing demands by Steward Healthcare for an amended concession agreement for higher payments, and will refuse a potential €100 million claim by the American healthcare group. Protracted negotiations between both sides are close to a stalemate, says a top government source who also revealed the Labour administration wants Steward to abide by the obligations it signed up to in 2017. “There is no way the government will accept the terms of the deal that Steward was working on with the Muscat administration,” the source said. MaltaToday
Former inmate speaks out: Disciplinary actions ‘rarely’ follow prescribed procedure
The ways in which disciplinary actions are meted out at the Corradino Correctional Facility are “slipshod and rarely follow a prescribed procedure”, which allows for various parties in authority “to abuse their power as it goes unchecked by any external board,” according to a detailed report sent to The Malta Independent on Sunday by an anonymous former inmate. – Malta Independent
Thousands expected to participate in President’s Fun Run
Thousands of individuals are set to participate in the Fun Run, which is being organised by the Office of the President. This year’s format will be slightly different from the previous editions – it will take the form of a walk in every locality in Malta and Gozo. The Fun Run will take place in accordance with the protocols of the health authorities and that anyone applying for and attending the Fun Run must present the vaccine certificate. Newsbook
Before the walk started, Opposition and Nationalist Party leader Bernard Grech expressed his appreciation to the local councils who all accepted the invitation and responded positively. He said that the activity is an example of the kindness of the Maltese people – united in the localities to show that the country is strong, especially regarding solidarity. He urged the people to support the activity by giving donations for the persons mostly in need. TVM
Greens appeal for human approach to drugs
The Green Party has called for society to move away from war-on-drugs policies and support drug policies “with a human face”. In a press briefing outside Parliament, ADPD chair Carmel Cacopardo said a drugs policy should be one that takes care of, and defends the vulnerable rather than punishing them or ignoring them. Cacopardo said the concerns of employers and social partners over health and safety at the workplace should also be addressed, but emphasised on a social approach and medical intervention, rather than criminalisation. “The resources saved from the unnecessary prosecution of drug users should be invested in community services. In fact, research shows that community services accessible to all together with a better quality of life, greener environment and public sport and recreation facilities are much more important than a culture fear,” Cacopardo said. (Maltatoday)
MFSA withholds access to Pilatus documents
The MFSA has refused to authorise the release of legally “privileged” documents in a US case opened by Pilatus Bank’s parent company. Alpene Limited requested the documents in a bid to support its claim that Pilatus Bank was wrongfully cosed down by regulators in response to the arrest of bank owner and chairman Ali Sadr. As part of the legal claim against Maltese regulators, Alpene Limited has demanded access to documents in relation to the actions taken by the MFSA leading up to the appointment of senior banker Lawrence Connell to run Pilatus Bank. (The Times of Malta)
The number of active Covid-19 cases reached 766 with 59 new cases recorded on Saturday, while only 45 recovered.
The number of victims increased to 463 after the death of a 71-year-old man. Ten patients with Covid-19 are in hospital, health authorities said, with two in intensive care.