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Malta News Briefing – Thursday 19 November (UPDATE)

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Update 1830 – Covid-19 Deaths in Malta – Two men die of Covid-19. The first case concerned a man, who at 75, was diagnosed on November 2 and died late on Wednesday at the Good Samaritan Long-term Care Facility. The second case involved another man, who at 73, was diagnosed on November 11 and died on Thursday at Mater Dei Hospital.

The number of deaths now reached 106 from 45 a month ago.


Updated 1745- News Portal Briefing

Times of Malta reports that the third suspect implicated in August’s double murder in Sliema has arrived in Malta and is expected to be arraigned in court on Friday. 

MaltaToday  reports that Beppe Fenech Adami has criticised Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri’s silence in the wake of another death at the Corradino Correctional Facility.

TVM reports that three people were grievously injured after being involved in a very serious traffic accident last night in Triq il-Qajjenza, in Birzebbugia.

Newsbook reports that Yorgen Fenech’s lawyers are seeking the Court’s protection over an incident which took place at the Corradino Correctional Facility last Monday, in which director of prisons Alex Dalli disrupted a meeting one of them held with their client.

Updated 1300

Covid-19 Update

The Health Department reported 140 new cases of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours, with 117 recovering. The number of active cases has reached 2155. 3093 swab tests were carried out in the past 24 hours.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths linked to Covid-19 has reached 104.

Central Bank: Covid-19 led to dwindling confidence in service, construction sectors

The Central Bank said there was a sharp decline in confidence in services and construction sectors in its monthly economic update.
The decline comes as the country recorded a spike in Covid-19 cases. The CBM said that its Business Conditions Index had not changed from September to October, stabilising above the low levels estimate around June.

Despite this, the CBM said the index continued to signal “very low levels” of economic activity. It provided a sobering assessment of Malta’s economic activity, saying “sentiment remained negative in all sectors”.
Maltese residents’ deposits grew at a slightly slower annual rate of 5.8% over the year to September, while annual growth in credit to Maltese residents rose to 11.2%.

Men cleared of holding journalists in Castille against their will
Three men accused of illegally detaining journalists after a late-night cabinet meeting at Castille last November, have been cleared for lack of sufficient evidence to prove that there been illegal arrest.

Jody Pisani, Mark Gauci and Emanuel McKay were facing criminal prosecution for holding Monique Agius, Miguela Xuereb, Julian Bonnici and Paul Caruana Galizia against their will inside the Auberge de Castille on November 29, at around 3am.

That night, journalists had been covering an extraordinary press conference called after a lengthy cabinet meeting during which Yorgen Fenech’s request for a presidential pardon had been discussed and subsequently, rejected.

Updated 0845 – Newspaper Review

Business Today publishes an interview with Malta Enterprise CEO Kurt Farrugia who said that businesses should consider whether they can survive without government support in six months’ time and start planning accordingly.

The Malta Business Weekly quotes Finance Malta Chairman Rudolph Psaila who said that penalties for illegitimate business in Malta are greater than any rewards. He was speaking at an event on trust and transparency held by the Malta Business Network.

The Independent questions the minister for infrastructure about a series of inaugurations of incomplete roads. Minister Ian Borg defended the decisions and said that the government announces the opening of roads when they are ready to be used for traffic.

L-Orizzont covers a meeting between the General Workers Union and Minister Carmelo Abela about the EU Directive on minimum wage. The union insisted on a minimum wage rate of 60 percent of the gross average wage.

The Times quotes results from a study by the Faculty of Social Wellbeing which finds that a third of people in Malta would consider it ‘unacceptable’ for a member of their family marrying an African migrant.

In-Nazzjon leads with a statement by the Medical Association expressing disagreement with a judicial protest filed by 62 individuals on Tuesday accusing the Health Minister and the public Health Superintendent of causing ‘national panic’.

L-Orizzont says that the number of inmates at the Corradino Correctional Facility is double the population it was designed for. The paper says that this is a challenge especially in the times of Covid-19 infections.

Business Today reports that Malta International Airport won the Best Airport Award and the HR Excellence Award at this year’s edition of the Airports Council International. MIA CEO Alan Borg thanked staff members for the achievement during a challenging year.

L-Orizzont reports that a former parish priest has been jailed for three years after he was found guilty of indecent acts with a 14-year-old boy. The priest was referred to the police by the church authorities.

The Times reports that a priest who was found guilty of defiling a minor was originally accused of another two cases. The courts imposed a protection order in favour of the victim, prohibiting the priest from approaching him.

The Independent follows the case of a priest who was convicted for sexual acts with a minor between 2010 and 2013 when the boy turned 16. The victim’s parents were alerted to the abuse when he finally opened up to them.

The Malta Business Weekly reports that the Mdina Glass furnaces have been put out for the past nine months because of the pandemic, the longest period in the iconic company’s 52-year history.

In-Nazzjon speaks to Professor Albert Fenech who said that it is a lie to declare that the coronavirus pandemic is under control. He said that the economy cannot recover unless the spread is stopped. 

Morning Briefing

Covid-19 Update

A 74-year-old man became the 104th victim of coronavirus, after passing away at Mater Dei Hospital, five days after having been diagnosed with COVID-19, the Health Ministry reported yesterday eveing.

Health authorities have reported 173 new cases of coronavirus in Malta over the past 24 hours. These were identified through 3380 swab tests. 135 persons have recovered during the same time, increasing the tally of active cases to 2133.

Three-car accident in Qajjenza

A number of persons were injured in a collision involving three cars at Qajjenza, near Birzebbuga, on Wednesday, with Civil Protection officers rescuing passengers from the wreckage.

The accident happened at about 8pm and involved a pick-up, a Nissan Qashqai and a Fiat Punto.

Three persons have suffered serious injuries.

Konrad Mizzi’s Ministry dealt with Vitals deal alone – Projects Malta

The controversial concession of the country’s hospitals to Vitals Global Healthcare was led entirely by Konrad Mizzi’s ministry, with the government’s public-private partnership quango Projects Malta being completely sidelined, a judge was told.

Projects Malta director William Wait testified in the case filed by former PN leader Adrian Delia against former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat over the Vitals deal. Wait was a director at the time of the VGH approval.

He said Projects Malta was bypassed, with the concession going straight to Cabinet and confirmed Projects Malta’s role was merely “secretarial”.

Things could have been done differently in Electrogas project – Minister

Energy Minister Michael Farrugia told Parliament some things could have been handled differently in the Electrogas power station project but decisions taken had to be seen in the context of the time and the overriding need to ensure that Malta had a secure supply of electricity.

The minister was replying to a parliamentary question by Nationalist MP Herman Schiavone, who asked the Energy Minister whether he could justify the government’s decision to absorb €40 million in excise duty costs while delaying €18 million in penalties due from Electrogas.

However, he added that the interconnector outage at the end of last year confirmed the importance of security of supply. He insisted that half of Malta would have been without electricity for months, had a new power station not been built.

 CDE News

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