500 people in distress in Malta SAR / Malta News Dispatch – Wednesday 24 May 2023

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500 people in distress in Malta SAR – NGO: According to Alarm Phone, an NGO dedicated to assisting distressed individuals at sea, a vessel carrying 500 people escaping from Libya is currently experiencing a water intake issue within Malta’s search and rescue zone. Urgent rescue assistance is required to ensure the safety of those onboard. The NGO reported that water has entered the lower deck, prompting the passengers to seek shelter on the upper decks. The boat is situated in the vicinity between Greece and Malta. Alarm Phone stated on Twitter that the vessel encountered difficulties after its engine failed several days after departing from Libya.

Appeals Court overturns prison sentence for Tyson Grech: The Court of Criminal Appeal has reversed the case of Tyson Grech, who was previously convicted for violating two sets of bail conditions by attending a club in Paceville. Instead of serving a prison sentence, the court has decided to impose a fine. Grech faced charges after being discovered by a police inspector inside the Havana Club at approximately 2am on September 5, 2021, thereby violating the curfew imposed by the court. The police became aware of Grech’s presence in the nightclub through a social media post made by him.

Couple fined for littering bay with confetti: A fine of €450 awaits a couple who allegedly littered the sandy shores of Golden Bay with plastic confetti during a gender reveal party. After receiving a report, officials from the Malta Ranger Unit promptly visited the site and witnessed a significant amount of blue plastic confetti left behind by the attendees of the gathering. The rangers diligently collected the evidence and subsequently handed it over to the community police in Mellieħa, who are anticipated to press charges related to public littering. (Newsbook/TVM)

Morning Briefing

Magistrate declines to recuse herself from inquiry in hospital deal

Magistrate Gabriella Vella has declined Joseph Muscat’s request to recuse herself from the magisterial inquiry into the hospitals deal. The news was shared by the former prime minister himself on social media. In a post on Facebook, Muscat said he was informed that Vella “unilaterally decided against the request to recuse herself” and said he will be taking “all the necessary steps” to ensure that the process treats him with fairness. Muscat lamented that the had ‘lost almost all trust’ in the process, but insisted that he would take the necessary steps to avoid it “does not end up a political theatre as some intend it to be, but rather a process according to the rule of law.” (Times of Malta)

PM avoids comment on Muscat’s request for recusal

Prime Minister Robert Abela adopted a cautious stance regarding his predecessor Joseph Muscat, emphasising that he would refrain from commenting on the ongoing magisterial inquiry into the hospital deal. Replying to journalists on Tuesday, Abela declined to comment on Muscat’s request to seek the recusal of the inquiring Magisrate. Abela told reporters that “n the issue of impartiality of the inquiring magistrate, if I had to comment I would be going beyond what is expected by me. It is not up to me to decide or comment on the partilaity or impartiality of the judiciary. That’s a decision that is up to the magistrate or any other court that will have to decide on this issue.” (Maltatoday)

PN leader lauds public officials who refused to sign Steward concession

PN leader Bernard Grech said that the Opposition has been informed about the Steward concession was not renewed after top-ranking civil servants stood firm against external pressures. He emphasized the significance of institutions functioning properly and civil servants fulfilling their responsibilities without allowing themselves to be manipulated, as this prevents any illegal activities from occurring. Dr. Grech urged civil servants to take inspiration from the actions of senior civil officials who resisted pressure, particularly from the current Prime Minister and other government figures, and refused to sign the new contract with Steward Healthcare. He stressed the importance of public service employees executing their duties diligently, aligning with their obligation to the nation. (TVM)

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