PM reaffirms Malta’s position on Israel-Hamas conflict – Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 18 October 2023

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PM reaffirms Malta’s position on Israel-Hamas conflict: Malta condemned unequivocally the action taken by the terrorist group Hamas and while acknowledging the right of Israel to defend itself within the parameters of international law. However, it i was important that the terrorist group is not put in the same boat as the Palestinians in Gaza, PM Robert Abela said. Abela was speaking at an extraordinary meeting of the European Council, which took place virtually, to discuss the situation in the Middle East. Malta’s message continues to be in favour of respect towards international law by all those involved and a just and comprehensive road towards peace, which can only be achieved via a two State solution, Abela said. (Times of Malta)

Inflation reaches 4.9% in September: The latest inflation data from Malta’s National Statistics Office reveals that the annual inflation rate, as measured by the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (HICP), was 4.9% in September 2023. This represents a slight decrease from the 5% reported in August 2023. In comparison to the euro area, Malta’s annual change rate in September was higher, standing at 4.9%, which was 0.6 percentage points above the 4.31% recorded for the euro area. The data for September 2023 highlights significant variations in inflation across different categories. The highest annual inflation rates during this period were observed in the food category, which experienced a notable 9.9% increase. (NSO)

New lawyers finally get their warrant: Recently graduated lawyers have finally received their warrants to practice, and the Justice Minister has taken steps to prevent such an “unacceptable” delay from occurring again. In a ceremony attended by Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and other dignitaries, Jonathan Attard issued warrants to 104 lawyers and two legal procurators. A group of lawyers had previously resorted to legal action in May, citing delays in receiving their practice warrants due to an impasse related to a new fit-and-proper test, which all new lawyers must pass to demonstrate their good conduct and high moral standing. The Minister described the delay ass both unacceptable and unnecessary, indicating that the Ministry was in the process of amending legislation to establish a timeframe for the test process conducted by the Committee of Lawyers and Legal Procurators. (The Malta Independent_

Morning Briefing

Chamber says minimum wage increase is naive and suicidal

The Malta Chamber of Commerce strongly criticized the potential wage increases, describing them as “at best naive and at worst suicidal,” as unions and employers’ associations prepared for crucial discussions about a potential minimum wage hike in upcoming talks on Wednesday. These discussions mark the culmination of the work carried out by the Low Wage Commission, an advisory body consisting of Malta’s social partners, established earlier this year. On a related note, Prime Minister Robert Abela stressed on Sunday that Malta’s minimum wage “must be increased,” with ongoing talks involving the government and social partners. While certain social partners remain resistant to a wage increase, others are more receptive to the idea, with some proposing that the government share a portion of the increase. However, it is unlikely that the government will agree to this proposal, as Finance Minister Clyde Caruana informed social partners during a pre-budget consultation that this suggestion is not being considered. (Times of Malta)

Qormi man sentenced to probation for upskirt filming

A man has been sentenced to probation and required to undergo treatment for behavioral issues after he confessed to filming under an unsuspecting woman’s skirt at the Valletta bus terminus. The defendant, George Valletta, a 57-year-old from Qormi who stated he worked as a sprayer, was brought before Magistrate Giannella Camilleri Busuttil on Tuesday, charged with harassment. Police Inspector Daryl Borg informed the court that undercover police officers on duty at the Valletta bus terminus had observed the defendant behaving suspiciously. When the officers approached for a closer look, they discovered a camera in his bag that was still recording. The footage turned out to be voyeuristic content surreptitiously filmed of a female tourist. Valletta was immediately detained and taken to the police station. In court today, the defendant pleaded guilty to the charge of harassment through inappropriate behavior with sexual connotations that could reasonably be deemed humiliating or degrading. (Maltatoday)

Malta fined by ECHR for ‘inhumane detentions’
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled o that Malta must implement tangible measures to align its detention practices with human rights standards. Additionally, the court ordered Malta to pay €25,000 in compensation for the inhumane detention conditions suffered by an Ivorian individual. The ECHR expressed its apprehension regarding Malta’s “flawed national system, which obstructs the safeguarding of human rights.” It urged the government to enhance the conditions of detention for migrants and establish a legal framework for their detention. (The Malta Independent)

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