‘I have apologised for Daphne’s murder’, former PM says / Malta News Briefing – Tuesday 7 September 2021

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Latest Update- News Portal Briefing

Times of Malta says a magistrates’ court has found there is sufficient evidence for Yorgen Fenech to be indicted over money laundering and fraud to the detriment of Glimmer Ltd, a company he partly owned. 

MaltaToday reports that the national airline Air Malta will adopt gender-neutral language to replace the customary “ladies and gentlemen” salutation.

Newsbook reports that a 24-year-old man is in danger of dying after falling off a cargo container in Ħal Far Industrial Estate.

TVM says that a 61-year-old British man was grievously injured yesterday after he was hit by a car in St Julian’s.

Updated 1300 – Mid-Day Briefing

Covid-19 Update: The daily infographic will start placing emphasis on Covid-19 hospitalisations and ITU admissions, the Health Minister announced. There are 29 Covid-19 positive patients at Mater Dei, 2 of whom in the ITU. 41 new cases were detected while there were 29 new recoveries.

‘I have apologised for Daphne’s murder’, former PM says: Former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said he has already apologised to the family of murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. He says he does not expect an apology back. In a letter to the Times of Malta editor, Muscat said he disagreed with the views of widowed Peter Caruana Galizia. Caruana Galizia had said that “Joseph Muscat has nearly apologised, conditional on the ridiculous demand that we first apologise to him.” But Muscat shot back saying he did not “nearly apologise”, but apologised as was his duty as prime
minister during whose tenure this heinous crime took place.

PN wants probe into alleged donations from Yorgen Fenech to Labour: The Nationalist Party on Tuesday demanded a police investigation into a draft agreement that would have seen a company linked to the Labour Party receive €200,000 from murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.  In a counter-statement, Opposition leader Bernard Grech would soon have a lot to answer for. 

Updated 11:41 New school measures announced

The Education Ministry announced new Covid-19 measures for the upcoming scholastic year.

For those students under Year 8, there will be a distance of 1.5 metres between desks. Those students who are in Year 9 and over will only have a distance of one metre between desks. Lab work, fieldwork, P.E. and outings will be allowed but students need to be in bubbles and respect Covid-19 measures.

School tuck shops can open but only offer pre-packaged items. Kindergarten assistants and LSEs need to wear a mask or visor at all times. School assemblies can be held as long as the concept of school bubbles and social distancing is respected. Discussions regarding graduation ceremonies are ongoing.

Updated 0845: Newspaper Review

The Times leads with the criminal charges filed against former EU Commissioner John Dalli over allegations that his aide at the time requested a €60 million bribe from a Swedish company. EU investigators had said that Dalli knew about the solicitation.

The Independent says that John Dalli denied any wrongdoing ahead of a case in court over allegations that his office in the EU Commission sought a €60 buy-off to influence EU regulation. The case is expected to start in the coming week.

In-Nazzjon follows a PN press conference which said that at least 24 companies ceased operations in Malta have renounced the Maltese license since the FATF grey-listing. The party called for a solid plan to return the country to the whitelist.

L-Orizzont quotes a report by Dar il-Hena foundation indicating that the number of persons who stayed at its shelters decreased by almost two-thirds during 2020, compared with the previous year.  

The Independent reports on the hearing of a money-laundering case brought against Yorgen Fenech. The prosecution presented chat exchanges between the businessman and his associates, discussing transfer of monies.

The Times quotes statements by the Malta Employers Association and the SME Chamber calling for equal treatment of businesses by tax authorities. The bodies were reacting to reports that political media companies owe some €5 million in VAT.

In-Nazzjon covers a visit by PN Leader Bernard Grech to the Majjistral Park. Presenting a set of proposals about the environment, he said that the party wants a balance between development and the conservation of natural open spaces.

L-Orizzont asks PN MP Hermann Schiavone whether he had any communication with Yorgen Fenech in March 2019. Schiavone replied that he could not exclude getting in touch with the businessman about an event held around that time but could not recall the exchange.

In-Nazzjon quotes a PN statement denouncing the Labour Party following reports that a PL-linked firm was set to receive hundreds of thousands of euros from Yorgen Fenech. The PN said the party in government is above the law.

Morning Briefing

Parents want normal return to school

It is time for school curriculum to return to normal as the COVID-19 pandemic is being brought under control, a parents’ association said on Monday. The Maltese Association of Parents of State School Students (MAPSSS) said that while it understands the need to maintain health measures like mask-wearing and social distancing, students should return to the full educational curriculum. They added that students were being limited to core subjects and it is time for the resumption of peripatetic lessons like art, music, physical education and ethics.

With 80% of the whole population fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and the easing of measures in various sectors, MAPSSS said that while measures such as mask-wearing, adequate physical distance in class and hand sanitising should remain, “students should now go back to the full educational entitlement that includes not only core subjects but also the resumption of peripatetic lessons like art, music, PE and ethics.”

Dalli says charges are a conspiracy

Former Minister John Dalli said he would be strongly fighting charges that his aide attempted to solicit a €60 million bribe back when he was European Commissioner for Health. He described the charges as the culmination of a conspiracy between Malta’s police commissioner Angelo Gafa, who when the bribery allegations came out was an inspector in the police force and had investigated the allegations with former Commissioner John Rizzo and Giovanni Kessler, who was the director of the EU’s anti-fraud agency OLAF when the agency concluded that he had been complicit in a bribery scandal. Dalli will be arraigned on Friday 17 September in front of Magistrate Caroline Farrugia Frendo at 12pm.

More COVID-19 vaccine certificates accepted by Malta

The Health and Tourism Authorities notify that as from today, 6th September 2021, Malta will officially recognise the digital Covid-19 vaccine certificate of Egypt and the Lebanon COVID-19 vaccination record card.
The vaccine certificates will be recognised by vaccines approved by the European Medicines Authority, which shall be a full course and 14 days after the last dose.
Currently Malta is recognising the digital vaccine certificates of the EU, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, Serbia, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey, Qatar, Albania, Australia and the United States of America record card.

Covid-19 Update: 37 new cases were reported on Monday, with 49 recoveries. Another victim was reported overnight, this time a 77-year-old man. 2,601 swab tests were taken on Sunday, with active cases declining to 710.

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