Met Office issues warning as gale winds expected / Malta News Briefing – Wednesday 8 February 2023

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Updated 1745

Met Office issues orange warning: Winds of force 8 to 9 are expected from early Thursday morning until Friday afternoon, potentially postponing festivities to commemorate the Feast of St Paul’s Shipwreck. The Met Office has issued a yellow warning as strong gale-force winds are expected in the coming days. (Maltatoday)

Malta needs exit strategy from energy subsidies – IMF: Government should prepare an exit strategy from the fixed-energy-price policy while protecting vulnerable groups. In its annual assessment of Malta’s economic and financial performance, the Fund said that this strategy should aim to contain fiscal costs and introduce market price mechanisms to enhance incentives for energy conservation and help accelerate the green transition while protecting vulnerable groups. The IMF recommended that authorities should reform such plans by next winter 2023/24. More in our detailed report.

The Times of Malta reveals that the former chairman of the Planning Authority is due to take over as chair of the Environment Resources Authority. Vince Cassar will replace Victor Axiaq as chair of the environment watchdog if he is approved when parliament’s Public Appointments Committee discusses his nomination.

Updated 1230

Malta well-prepared for tsunami, quake impact: The Civil Protection Department has received specialised training should an earthquake or tsunami hit Malta, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri. Replying to PQs after the tragic events in Turkey and Syria, Camilleri explained that CPD officers received training abroad several times in the past 13 years. Some 32 CDP officials are currently in Turkey assisting search and rescue operations in the quake-hit zones. They were assigned to search for survivors in a hotel which collapsed in Malatya.

Turkish embassy collecting items for tremor victims: The Turkish embassy in Malta has said that it is open to any Maltese citizens who wish to donate several necessary items needed by the victims of the earthquakes that recently struck Turkey and neighbouring Syria this week. Over 5,000 people have died, with the death toll expected to rise significantly as many still remain trapped under rubble. The Civil Protection Department will also be accepting supplies to be sent to help the people of Turkey and Syria following the earthquakes which occurred earlier this week. A list of required items is available here. (TVM)

UNESCO wants study on proposed construction near Gġantija: UNESCO has asked for a heritage impact assessment with regards to a proposed development of an apartment block near Gġantija. This request has led to a postponement of the decision on the permits. The Superintendent of Cultural Heritage has informed the developer’s architect that the UNESCO World Heritage Centre has written to Malta’s permanent delegate to UNESCO insisting on this assessment. (Times of Malta)

Morning Briefing

Ethiopian airlines considers flights to Malta

Cooperation between Ethiopia and Malta, including the possibility of Ethiopian Airlines using Malta as a stopover for flights to the United States, were discussed on Tuesday when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali visited Malta for a few hours. Ali was hosted for talks with Prime Minister Robert Abela. Through a statement, Government said that the Ethiopian national airline, the largest airline company in Africa and the fourth largest in the world in terms of destinations, is considering flights to Malta. Abela said that this development was not only positive for Malta but it would also enable Ethiopian Airlines to fly on to the United States. (Times of Malta)

No breach of human rights in Fenech’s freezing order

Yorgen Fenech’s claim that his fundamental rights were being breached by a freezing order over all his assets, imposed as part of the money laundering proceedings against him, has been dismissed in court, a judge ruling that there was no doubt that the asset freeze was justified. Mr. Justice Grazio Mercieca remarkjed that Fenech had failed to use the several remedies which were available to him under ordinary law and had instead opted to immediately file constitutional proceedings. (Maltatoday)

Persons on social benefits drop by half over a decade

Just 227 persons are currently receiving unemployment benefits, Government revealed, adding that this constituted the lowest number in history. Data provided by the Minsitry for Social Policy said that this represents a drop of 95% over the past decade. It also revealed that persons dependent on other social benefits were practically halved, from 10,784 to 5,157 over the same timeframe. (Newsbook)

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