A 41-year-old man and a 69-year-old woman died overnight while positive for COVID. The deaths were announced by the health authorities on Sunday, whose data on Facebook shows that a total of 49 people tested positive for COVID over the past 24 hours. A further 43 recovered. This means that there are currently 723 active COVID cases in Malta. Of these, 31 are at Mater Dei Hospital, two of whom are receiving intensive care. More on Times of Malta
The Prime Minister Robert Abela has said the Labour Party is capable of recognizing past mistakes, unlike the Nationalist Party. “Labour is the most trusted party, people believe our word. Our word is our contract,” he said.
Interviewed on party radio station ONE Radio, Abela insisted Labour is the only party with credentials to move the country forward. The PM also hit out against Grech for defending the extension of development zones undertaken in 2006, insisting it comes as no surprise, given two of its authors were once again active within the PN. He also called out the PN for its “populist agenda”. “It’s easy to be populist and opportunist, but when you’re in the position you want to be in, being populist or opportunist doesn’t work when it comes to taking the right decisions for the country,” he added. Abela insisted the PN takes its position based on what is deemed controversial on social media. More on MaltaToday
The misinformation campaign is not only happening through the use of fake websites, but through the state broadcaster as well, meaning that the Prime Minister is part of this issue, Opposition and PN leader Bernard Grech said on Sunday. In recent weeks, a misinformation campaign was underway in Malta, where a number of media outlets had their websites replicated in order to share false stories. However, Bernard Grech said that the issue does not only lie with these fake websites, but rather it is also embedded within the tax-payer funded PBS, where the Government is dictating what it publishes and what it does not, Grech said. “A Government which dictates what someone has to listen means that he is controlling the public broadcaster and is not allowing the truth to come out. Rather, he is twisting the truth,” he said. More on Malta Independent
Malta Today publishes survey results showing the PN trailing the PL by 13 percentage points, stable since July. The report says that the Caruana Galizia public inquiry does not appear to have impacted voting intentions.
Illum says that over 200,000 tourists visited Malta in August, mainly arriving from France, Italy, and the UK. The figure represents a 75 per cent increase from the same month last year, giving operators a reason for optimism.
The Sunday Times reveals that tax authorities have written to the media companies of the PL and the PN advising them to start settling their VAT bills. One and Media.Link owe some €5 million to the taxman between them.
The Independent on Sunday says that a planned visit by Pope Francis in November may delay the general election. The legislature has officially begun its final 12 months, but government insiders say that the Prime Minister is unlikely to leave the election till late.
It-Torċa speaks with a representative of the education section within the General Workers Union who called on teachers’ unions to work together. His comments follow criticism by the Union of Professional Educators about the section’s authorisation.
Il-Mument quotes PN Leader Bernard Grech denouncing a yacht marina project in Marsascala during an event in the town. He said that the proposed plans are unacceptable and called for a change in the way politics is done.
Illum publishes an interview with Prof. Andrew Azzopardi criticising prison director Alexander Dalli’s management. He denounced the military model employed in prison and suggested that senior officials at Corradino take an emotional intelligence assessment.
Malta Today reports on a nationwide study concluding that 62 per cent of children and adolescents are likely to develop emotional problems. Led by the Association for Child and Adolescent Mental Health, findings show that half of the cohort may suffer from anxiety.
The Independent on Sunday speaks with an owner of agricultural land calling for a shake-up in the laws governing the lease of agricultural land. The unnamed person said that the law impedes landlords from enjoying the ownership of their land.
The Sunday Times speaks with a recent tourist to Sicily who had to extend her stay to a month in quarantine after her daughter tested positive for Covid-19 multiple times. The mother of two advised other travellers to consider longer insurance cover.
Il-Mument says that movements within the Labour Party indicate that the government is pressing ahead with plans for a general election in the second half of November. The Prime Minister has neither denied nor confirmed possible dates circulating in the media.
It-Torċa reports that the Vaccinations Committee in the UK has not granted approval to Covid-19 jabs for children between 12 and 15, arguing that the vaccine offers limited benefits to this age group.
PN MP Jason Azzopardi sued by Satabank owner in Bulgaria
PN MP Jason Azzopardi revealed on Saturday he is being sued by the former owner of Satabank in what he described as a form of SLAPP action over claims it should have never been given a license to operate. Speaking on social media, Azzopardi said the case had been opened back in 2019, but was only informed about it this week. The libel, according to Azzopardi, relates to a Parliamentary speech in which he said that the owner of Satabank was being investigated for money-laundering crimes in Luxembourg and alleged that he had ties with the Russian mafia. The PN MP described this libel as an attack on freedom of speech and meant to have a chilling effect on people calling out wrongdoing.
Greens want reversal of development policy
Malta could still save a sizeable chunk of land earmarked for development back in 2006, ADPD said. The Green party argued that local plans, which set out which areas can be built up, must be revised as soon as possible to prioritise environmental protection and quality of life considerations over speculation and economic interest. ADPD chairperson Carmel Cacopardo said: “It is essential that the development zone boundary is restored to its 2006 position as far as is possible. It is not possible to keep developing further land. A sizeable portion of the two million square metres earmarked for development in 2006 is still undeveloped and can still be saved”.
Pope Francis thinks highly of Malta – President Vella
President George Vella said that the Pope loves Malta dearly and thinks highly of the Maltese. Speaking on 103, he said that he was surprised by Pope Francis’ humility and modesty ahead of the pontiff’s visit to the Maltese islands. Vella recalled that Pope Francis does not only hold the Maltese bishops in high regard but also the country: “I don’t want to in any way minimise the privilege and memory of being granted so much time to meet the Pope, during which we spoke about Malta’s problems… he loves Malta dearly and he thinks very highly of us.”
Coronavirus cases edged up again on Saturday with 62 new positive patients, almost double the recoveries, which stood at 33. This has taken the tally back to over 700, at 719. 3,351 swab tests were carried out yesterday. Malta’s death count also added one victim to the grim list, after a 64-year-old woman passed away while positive, making her the 442nd victim of the virus in Malta.