Malta News Portal Briefing – 1745
The Times of Malta reports that Nexia BT managing partner Brian Tonna and three other associates were granted bail on Tuesday by a court hearing criminal charges against them.
MaltaToday reports that the Armed Forces of Malta (AFM) has issued a statement on the 110 migrants that were adrift in Malta’s Search and Rescue Region, saying that the migrants safely reached Italian territory within hours from the initial allegations were reported.
TVM reports that Ryanair airline will increase the Genoa route in Italy to Malta from next summer.
Newsbook says that today is the second anniversary of the cold-blooded murder of Lassana Cisse Souleymane, a 42-year-old father of three, was shot dead two years ago today in what is believed to be Malta’s first racially-motivated murder.
Updated 1300 – Covid-19 Update
For the first time in around a month, Malta has recorded no new Covid-19 deaths. Today, 64 new cases were recorded as 67 people recovered. These new cases were found from 2,164 swab tests taken over the previous 24 hours.
There are now 528 active cases.
The last time Malta had fewer active cases was on October 6.
Updated 1115 – Unemployment on the increase
The number of persons looking for a job has increased by 2,199 in just a year, data published by the NSO has shown. This means that the number of the number of unemployed persons reached 11,930. Back in February 2020, the number stood at 9,731.
The unemployment rate for February 2021 stood at 4.4 per cent, at par with the previous month and 0.9 percentage points more than February 2020.
The unemployment rate for males was 4.5 per cent, 0.1 percentage points more than the previous month. The rate for females stood at 4.2 per cent, down by 0.1 percentage points from January 2021 estimates.
The Times says that former chief of staff Keith Schembri and two of his associates are expected to be released from jail today. Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech said that the risk of interference with the case has been mitigated.
The Independent reports that the office of the Attorney General argued against granting Keith Schembri bail, pointing out that substantial amounts of cash was found at his property. The former chief of staff will be out of jail against a deposit of €60,000.
In-Nazzjon says that the courts have declared that there is enough evidence for Keith Schembri to face trial over charges of money laundering, fraud, and falsification related to sales of equipment to Progress Press.
L-Orizzont speaks to government MP Oliver Scicluna who said that pavements remain a serious challenge for people with mobility disabilities and called for greater enforcement by authorities to clear walkways of obstacles.
The Independent publishes the reactions of the president of the Medical Associations to plans by the government to reopen tourism in June. Martin Balzan warned that all visitors must be vaccinated and produce a negative swab test before being allowed in Malta.
The Times says that a Maltese arms dealer James Fenech was found guilty of technical non-compliance with a United Nations arms embargo on Libya. Fenech said that he was unaware his equipment would be used by private military contractors in the conflict zone.
L-Orizzont picks up a social media message by independent MP Marlene Farrugia who said that PN Leader Bernard Grech should not allow his predecessor Adrian Delia to stand for the general election on the party’s ticket.
In-Nazzjon quotes former PL MP Maria Camilleri who called recent revelations about people in government “shameful”. She said that those who used the party to make money for themselves must apologise publicly.
Schembri placed under bill of indictment, granted bail
Magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech declared that there is enough evidence for Keith Schembri and his associates to be placed under a bill of indictment with regard to financial crime charges including money laundering and corruption. Concurrently, the the Magistrate granted Schembri bail with a number of conditions, including a deposit of €60,000 and a personal guarantee of €90,000. He will be signing his bail book in Qawra.
The former OPM Chief of Staff’s business partner Malcolm Scerri and accountant Robert Zammit were also granted bail under strict conditions.
Flights with Libya to resume – Abela
Malta will reopen its embassy in Libya and resume flights to the country, PM Robert Abela said on Monday in Tripoli. “We are going to reopen our embassy and our consulate in Libya in the coming days,” Abela said during a press briefing with Libyan interim Prime Minister Abdul Hamid Dbeibah.
Abela said that Maltese government looks forward to work with the Libyan government in efforts so that Libya returns to normality immediately. He reiterated that the Maltese government will diplomatically assist Libya to purchase anti-Covid vaccine doses. He explained the support for a Libya led by Libyans, in peace, as a strong country which lives in prosperity: “A Libya that lives in prosperity and peace also means that the Mediterranean and Europe will also live in prosperity”, the Prime Minister said, adding that the Maltese government believes that the international community should assist, and not interfere, in the process for the rebuilding of Libya.
56 new cases of coronavirus were reported on Monday, with 73 recovering. These numbers were identified through 1,946 swabs. Active cases have gone down to 531. A total of 215,700 vaccine doses have been administered, with 59,032 of those being second doses. A 55-year-old became the 399th victim of the virus.