Updated – Malta News Briefing – Sunday 26 June 2022

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News Update

€2.2 million worth of cocaine intercepted on its way to Malta from Sicily

25kg of cocaine on its way to Malta from Sicily was intercepted by the police on Saturday afternoon. The police said two people, a 24-year-old man from Moldova, and an 18-year-old Russian woman, were arrested by the drug squad after the narcotics were found in the car they were driving. They were arrested as they were disembarking the catamaran after it arrived in Malta. The police searched the car after receiving an anonymous tipoff. The cocaine was found in the car’s fuel tank, and has an estimated street value of €2.2 million.

Man charged with raping woman with physical debility in Pembroke

A suspect tracked down one week after allegedly raping a woman afflicted by a physical debility was remanded in custody upon his arraignment on Sunday.  Police investigations to track down the suspected rapist, Syrian national Ebrahem Hamood, 33, were triggered by a report filed at the St Julian’s police station a week ago by the alleged victim, a foreign national who works in Malta. The woman, visibly traumatised and bearing bite marks on her face, later told police that as she was walking out of Paceville at around 2.30am on June 19, heading home, a pickup van drew alongside. The driver offered her a lift to Swieqi, but along the way, he headed to Pembroke instead. His passenger, realising that that was not the route home, told the driver to stop but he locked the van doors. When the driver stopped in the vicinity of the Pembroke barracks, she tried to get out, but he allegedly grabbed her by the hair, bit her on the face and pulled off her clothes.  He then allegedly raped her and drove away. (Times of Malta)

Covid-19 hospitalisation rate doubles

The Times reports that hospital admissions due to COVID-19 were more than double those recorded last week after the figure had tripled the week before, new data shows. A weekly review of the global COVID-19 situation compiled by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that Malta’s hospital admissions were at 14.1 per 100,000 patients in the week ending June 19, up from 6.9 per 100,000 the week before. The week before, the admission rate had tripled from 2.3 per 100,000 patients.

Motorcyclist suffers injuries

A 65-year-old motorcyclist from Birżebbuġa was hospitalised after suffering grievous injuries in an accident on Saturday. The police said the accident happened at around 6:45pm in Triq l-Imdina, Ħal Qormi. (Malta Today)

Portelli doesn’t deny buying island in Montenegro

Newsbook reports that Maltese construction and real estate mogul Joseph Portelli has not denied that his company bought an island in Montenegro in a multi-million deal. According to reports which appeared on Montenegrin media, J Portelli Projects purchased the “attractive” island from the Russian group Metropol in a deal worth between €90 million and €100 million. Contacted by Newsbook.com.mt, Portelli did not deny that his company bought an island in Montenegro.

Man hospitalised after fire

TVM reports that a 75-year old man was hospitalised this morning after he was injured in a room fire in Birkirkara. The Police told TVMnews that they were informed about the fire in Sqaq it-Torri at around 7.30am. (TVM)

Morning Briefing

President Metsola discusses effects of war with business, employers organisations
EP President Metsola exchanged views on the current geo-political situation and its economic repercussions with the Malta Chamber and Malta Employers’ Association whilst visiting Malta. Discussions focused on key issues faced by businesses and employers in Malta and Gozo, due to importation blockage, rising prices of imports, and shortages of raw materials and consumables. Metsola highligted action taken by the European Parliament including calls to create an Island Pact – a specific strategy focusing on island states and regions, taking into account the specific challenges encountered. She also said that access to EU funding for islands – both states and regions – must be easier, simpler and faster. Metsola acknowledged that the current challenges are felt across the board – especially by consumers – and that the European Union must be sensitive towards the needs of the employers, employees, SMEs and consumers. [The Malta Independent]

Cannabis reform will increase psychiatric problems – Caritas director
The decriminalisation and subsequent facilitation of the use of cannabis will lead to an increase in psychiatric problems, Caritas Malta director Anthony Gatt has warned. While addressing a graduation ceremony at the Caritas Therapeutic Centre in San Blas, Gatt argued that the problem of drug abuse remains a reality, as he noted that the recreational use of cocaine and cannabis was on the rise. Gatt added there is now growing pressure from lobby groups to completely legalise cannabis, warning that this could have catastrophic consequences. [Newsbook]

Muscat only candidate for football post

The Malta Professional Football Clubs Association said that former PM Joseph Muscat is the only candidate for the position of chairman of the Malta Professional Football Clubs Association. In a statement on Saturday afternoon, the MPFCA said that it had no intention of appointing a full-time chief executive officer but is planning to install a chairman from outside the Premier League clubs to help out in the transition phase that is stipulated by the Malta FA strategy. Earlier, Jean Claude Micallef, a former Labour MP had expressed his intention to contest the post but has now apparently backed down. [Maltatoday/Times of Malta]

Covid-19 Update

456 cases of coronavirus were reported on Saturday, taking the tally to 4,666, practically doubling in a week.

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