Updated 1730 – Afternoon Briefing
The Times of Malta speaks to Ħamrun Spartans president Joseph Portelli, who refused to confirm whether he is backing Joseph Muscat’s bid to head a football body presenting clubs. Portelli, a construction entrepreneur, told journalists after a press conference that discussions on the former prime minister’s potential appointment are still ongoing. Other club Presidents, including Floriana’s, also refused to commit themselves on the matter.
Maltatoday reports that the Malta Women’s Lobby said that women’s lives should never be put at risk irrespective of whether one agrees with abortion or not. In a strongly-worded statement, the group said a pregnant woman should not have needed to travel to Spain to terminate a pregnancy that was not viable and risked putting her health and life on the line.
According to TVM, beneficiaries who receive in-work benefits are expected to double because from this November single parents who receive an income up to € 35,000 per year. The Minister for Social Policy, Michael Falzon, said that following the widening of these rates, parents of an estimated 20,000 children will be benefitting. The in-work benefit will be paid from next November, which will be enjoyed for the first time by 14,000 working parents.
Newsbook says Malta reported 543 new coronavirus cases today, the highest single-day tally since April. With 179 recoveries the number of known active cases rose to 4,081. Two new deaths took the national death toll since the start of the pandemic to 738
Updated 1245 – Mid-Day Briefing
MFSA dishes out more fines in grey-listing year: The MFSA has significantly increased its enforcement efforts in 2021, its annual report shows. Fines given by the financial regulator exceeded €900,000, a 46% increase over the previous year. The Authority said that enforcement efforts by 46% in the year Malta was placed on the grey list. Over 600 “supervisory interactions” were carried out, a third of which involved aspects related to anti-money laundering. The authority said that 184 enforcement actions had been taken over the past five years (2017 – 2021), and nearly three in four had been conducted in the past two years. The Authority said that it had also received 584 new applications in 2021, a considerable increase over the 265 received in 2020.
Man dies after apparent theft attempt: A 46-year-old man lost his life falling a height of one storey shortly after allegedly committing a theft from a Qawra cafeteria earlier today. Initial investigations showed that he was the same man who had entered the cafeteria, a police spokesman said. Other reports suggested that the man bled to death after smashing the outlet’s glass door during the failed theft. A magisterial inquiry is underway.
New Acting President appointed: The government has announced that Prof Frank Bezzina will be serving as acting president when President George Vella is unavailable. The appointment was made according to Article 49 of the Constitution. Bezzina is Pro-Rector of the University of Malta and is the author of various academic studies. He is a visiting professor in several universities abroad.
Valletta residents challenge council to repeal late night music motion
Valletta residents were up in arms on Wednesday evening, presenting their contestation at a local council meeting following a recent notice allowing music to be played until 1am. The meeting was a chaotic one after the PN councillors accused the mayor of ignoring their calls to address the issue urgently, while the Labour representatives pushed back that they were being “overdramatic” and “performing for the media”. A group calling itself the Valletta Residents Revival presented a position paper calling for the revocation of the legal notices and demanding that residents be consulted as equal stakeholders to develop policies that impact them.
Abortion demands increase after woman denied plea to end pregnancy after miscarriage
Abortion right campaigners called for abortion to be decriminalised in Malta in the aftermath of a news that a 16-week pregnant American lady, who is experiencing a miscarriage, had her plea to end her pregnancy turned down in Malta.
On Wednesday afternoon, the NGO Young Progressive Beings conducted a demonstration outside of parliament in which they urged that abortion not be made politically charged and that no woman be imprisoned for having an abortion.
Covid-19 Update: 523 new coronavirus cases were reported yesterday, the highest single-day tally since April. With 98 recoveries the number of known active cases rose to 3,719.