Taxi driver hospitalised after altercation / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 23 August 2023

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Updated 1230

Taxi driver hospitalised after altercation: A 64-year-old taxi operator residing in Għargħur suffered injuries following a dispute at Ċirkewwa on the evening of Tuesday. According to an observer, the individual, identified as a White-plate taxi driver, was engaged in a conversation with tourists who had approached him with a query. During this interaction, a Y-plate driver joined the gathering and initiated a conversation with the tourists directly. The first driver questioned the other man about his actions, highlighting that the tourists were already engaged in a discussion with him. In response, the Y-plate driver struck the other taxi driver on the nose and swiftly departed from the scene. As a result of this altercation, the injured taxi driver had to be admitted to the hospital for medical treatment. The aggressor had not been found yet at the time of this report. (Times of Malta)

Significant increase in SLAPPs in Malta: In 2022, Malta witnessed a notable rise in the occurrence of SLAPPs (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation), with a total of forty-four new instances documented. This marks a substantial escalation compared to the mere four cases that were officially logged in the year 2021. These findings are outlined in a report produced by the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation on behalf of the Coalition Against SLAPPs (CASE) in Europe. This surge in SLAPP incidents represents the highest count since the year 2017, during which thirty-three such lawsuits were filed against Daphne Caruana Galizia prior to her tragic murder in October of that same year. (The Malta Indepdent)

Heatwave expected for the weekend: Malta is preparing for yet another heatwave set to occur this weekend, as temperatures are anticipated to surge subsequent to a few days of rainfall earlier this week. During this upcoming weekend, temperatures are projected to escalate from the relatively moderate levels encountered throughout this week, with the peak temperature predicted to reach 37°C. Anticipated temperatures for the weekend are slated to reach a maximum of 34°C, while the minimum is expected to be 25°C. (Newsbook)

Morning Briefing

Whistleblower Alleges Voter Fraud Scheme Alongside Licence Racket

A whistleblower from Transport Malta, who exposed a suspected illicit driving licence operation, asserts that he possesses evidence suggesting extensive voter fraud dating back to 2014. According to a court application directed to Magistrate Rachel Montebello, the informant has made claims about a criminal conspiracy involving the transfer of ID cards belonging to deceased foreign-born Maltese citizens to other foreign residents. This alleged scheme purportedly facilitated their participation in voting for the Labour Party. The individual behind these allegations asserts that substantial sums of money, amounting to “thousands of euros,” changed hands as part of this operation. Furthermore, he asserts that he possesses a comprehensive list of individuals who were involved. (Maltatoday)

Chamber worried of Malta’s depiction as destination for drugs and alcohol

The Malta Chamber of Commerce said it is highly concerned about Malta’s growing international reputation as a destination for tourists seeking “inexpensive alcohol, legal drug consumption and uninhibited revelry.” The Chamber urged government to “step up and act now” as it insisted that such a reputation undermines more desirable avenues of tourism and is diametrically opposite to government’s repeated pledge to promote the Maltese Islands as a hub for quality tourism experiences. “Tourism plays a vital role when it comes to Malta’s identity. Though the number of tourists visiting our islands may have increased, in real terms their spending power has decreased. This is why The Malta Chamber has consistently urged authorities to prioritise quality over numerical influx and to promote Malta’s uniqueness in terms of culture, heritage and history,” the business lobby said. (Newsbook)

Individual Involved in Attempted C-4 Explosives Importation on Dark Web Goes Missing

A man who attempted to procure military-grade C-4 explosives from the dark web and bring them into Malta has now become untraceable. Jomic Calleja Maatouk, aged 36, “has failed to register his presence in a bail book for several consecutive days and is now being sought by authorities. Calleja Maatouk’s partner has also been reported missing, intensifying the concerns.
According to the Times of Malta, law enforcement agencies are currently entertaining the possibility that both individuals may have absconded the country. (Times of Malta)

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