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Malta - aktuelle News & Infos

Development threatens country house in Tarxien built before the Great Siege

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 21:32

The 500-year-old Grade 1 scheduled Villa Barbaro in Tarxien may have withstood the onslaught of the Great Siege but it is under threat from an application to build an apartment block directly in front of it. The development would dwarf the unique two-storey heritage country house and wipe out its all-important context. The owner of the house, Marquis Antony Cremona Barbaro, who has been fighting a frustrating battle to extend the buffer zones around his pre-Great Siege property, has thrown down the gauntlet in the firm belief that the protection of the context of a historical building of the sort is as important as scheduling the country house itself. In reality, he admitted, adequate buffer zones to ensure the proper safeguarding of these buildings and their gardens from disproportionately high surrounding development were seldom granted, with the result that many had already been “visually disfigured”, neutralising the purpose of the protective scheduling. “There is absolutely no point in giving maximum scheduling and supposedly full protection to these heritage buildings, as in the case of Villa Barbaro, if their setting is not safeguarded too,” he argued about the importance...

Two hurt as argument between seven people gets out of hand

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 19:36

A man and a woman were seriously injured on Sunday afternoon when an argument involving seven people got out of hand. The police said they were informed of the situation in Villabate Street, Zabbar, at 4pm. Officers from the local police station and the Rapid Intervention Unit were deployed to calm the situation. The argument involved a 26-year-old woman and a 20-year-old man from Cospicua, a 43-year-old woman from Vittoriosa, a 23-year-old man and a 53-year-old woman from  Zabbar, a 24-year-old woman from Qormi, and a 46 year old man, whose home town was not immediately known. The injured were the 46-year-old man and the 26-year-old woman, who are being treated at Mater Dei Hospital.  It is understood that no weapons were used. 

Paraglider stranded after crashing into cliff face

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 18:22

A paraglider was lucky to escape injury on Sunday afternoon when he crashed into the cliff face at Mtaħleb. The man ended up dangling from the chute which was stuck to the rocks, but he was pulled up safely by a team from the Civil Protection Department. 

Cassola resigns from AD after 30 years, citing differences over abortion

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 17:33

Arnold Cassola has resigned from Alternattiva Demokratika, a party which he co-founded and led for several years, amid differences over the topic of abortion. He told Times of Malta, however, that he will contest the European Parliament elections as an independent candidate. In a letter to chairperson Carmel Cacopardo, Prof Cassola said that there were clearly differences between him and the party's executive over abortion. He said he was strongly against abortion except where the life and health of the mother were in danger. On Friday, AD's MEP candidate Mina Tolu said that political parties' refusal to discuss abortion and reproductive rights was "frightening and unacceptable". Prof. Cassola had called on the party to dissociate itself from her comments and to reaffirm a position against abortion. This, he said, was a red line for him. Mr Cacopardo had replied that AD had no position on abortion and the party executive would discuss Prof. Cassola's request at its next meeting.  Prof. Cassola in his resignation letter said it would be better for AD to be free to take its decisions without hindrance from his 'minority position'. He said he was therefore, with regret, resigning...

Iran launches 'cruise missile capable' submarine

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 16:50

 Iran on Sunday launched a new locally-made submarine capable of firing cruise missiles, state TV said, in the country's latest show of military might at a time of heightened tensions with the US. The launch ceremony, led by President Hassan Rouhani, took place in the southern port city of Bandar Abbas. "Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is fully self-reliant on land, air and sea," Rouhani said. "Our defensive power is meant to defend our interests and we have never sought to attack any country," he added. Named the Fateh (Farsi for 'Conqueror'), Fars news agency said the new submarine is Iran's first in the semi-heavy category, filling a gap between the light Ghadir class and the heavy Kilo class submarines that the country possesses. Fars said the near 600-tonne underwater vessel is equipped with torpedoes and naval mines in addition to cruise missiles, and can operate more than 200 metres below sea level for up to 35 days. The US withdrew from a 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018 and re-imposed biting unilateral sanctions later last year.  Iran's Revolutionary Guards on February 7 unveiled a new ballistic missile with a range of 1,000 kilometres (620...

14 Tunisian oil workers kidnapped in Libya freed

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 16:11

Updated 9.15pm - Fourteen Tunisian oil workers kidnapped in Libya were freed Sunday night after three days in captivity and are in good health, the Tunisian consul in Libya said. The consul, Taoufik al-Guesmi, did not disclose the conditions for the release of the workers, whose abductors had demanded a man jailed in Tunisia for drug trafficking be released from prison.   The 14 Tunisians were abducted on Thursday in Zawiya, a town just west of the Libyan capital Tripoli, as they were heading to work by bus in an oil refinery. The bus driver was also kidnapped but then released, a security source in the town said.  Zawiya is held by armed groups, including some who are involved in people-smuggling rings or the contraband sale of fuel. Abductions are common in Libya, which has been mired in chaos since the fall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi in a 2011 NATO-backed uprising. The kidnappings are usually carried out by armed groups which demand a ransom. In June 2015, 10 Tunisian consular staff were abducted by a militia. They were eventually released in exchange for one of its members who was held in Tunis. 

Malta-Tunisia jobs agreement ‘discourages illegal migration’

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 16:08

The employment agreement between Malta and Tunisia sends out a strong signal there is a legal way to migration, Tunisian Ambassador Zyed Bouzouita told The Sunday Times of Malta. The agreement, signed during last week’s visit to Malta by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, paves the way for Tunisians to work here tempora­rily so as to fill the void in the Maltese labour market. “This agreement sends out a strong signal that there is a legal way to migration and that illegal migration certainly does not pay. “The most important thing for us is that this exchange of workers between Malta and Tunisia is based on a legal framework, it shows that migration can be managed and illegal migration will be dissuaded. We want this to be a model project for other countries,” Mr Bouzouita said. He said the accord was good for both countries. “Malta needs an influx of foreign labour and at the same time Tunisia has an unemployment problem – there are skilled workers who are looking for a job either in Tunisia or outside the country.” Tunisia’s unemployment rate is currently 14 per cent, he said, so this agreement would help reduce the jobless rate among the young who would like to spend...

Mellieħa Bay Hotel to be demolished

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 15:53

All employees at Mellieħa Bay Hotel have been notified of their forthcoming redundancy amid a plan to demolish the complex and replace it by a brand new five-star resort. A company spokesman told The Sunday Times of Malta that the existing complex will cease operations later this year and while no precise date was given, no bookings are being accepted after the end of October. Inaugurated in 1969, Mellieħa Bay Hotel was at the time Malta’s largest hotel with 428 beds and had cost £1 million to build. Its opening heralded a new era in Malta’s post-Independence economy, a major step in promoting the island in the UK market, through Thomson Organisation Ltd. Thomson had started operating chartered flights as part of an all-inclusive package offered to British tourists. The hotel spokesman told the newspaper that, 50 years down the line, the ageing building requires a major overhaul and it has been decided to start this process by closing it down towards the end of the year. “The directors of the company are looking into a new project consisting of the building of a brand new five-star resort hotel that will be a major addition to Malta’s tourism product. The employees are being...

Hijacker who forced plane to come to Malta granted bail

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 14:32

One of the two men involved in the hijack of an Afriqiyah Airlines Airbus 320 to Malta just before Christmas 2016 has been granted bail. The plane was on an internal flight when it was hijacked and forced to land in Malta by pro-Gaddafi loyalists. The hijackers surrendered here and no one was injured.  Soko Moussa Shaha Ali, and Ali Ahmed Saleh, both in their 20s, were arrested after releasing the 109 passengers and seven crew members on board. They had threatened to blow up the plane but their weapons later turned out to be fake.  READ: Plane hijack drama in Malta ends; all hostages released  The two were arraigned on Christmas Day 2016 amid tight security and have been awaiting trial since, while facing the prospect of life imprisonment if found guilty. READ: Libyan hijackers plead not guilty - taken to court under heavy escort By means of an application filed last week, Mr Soko Moussa’s lawyer argued that his client was entitled to release from preventive arrest in terms of law, provided that he could adequately guarantee the observance of bail conditions. Moreover, the court was bound to grant bail once the maximum term of preventive arrest envisaged by law had run its...

Body in Croatian freezer might be woman missing for 18 years

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 14:25

The mystery of a Croatian student who disappeared 18 years ago might have been solved with the discovery of a body in a freezer, press reports said Sunday. The freezer was in a home in Mala Subotica, northern Croatia, belonging to the sister of Jasmina Dominic, who was 23 when she went missing in 2000, they added. Dominic was studying in Zagreb at the time, and her family informed police that she was gone only five years later, the daily Vecernji List said. Late Saturday, a 45-year-old woman was arrested in Mala Subotica in connection with the investigation, regional police spokesman Nenad Risak told AFP. "We suppose that the body found in the freezer is that of a woman born in 1977 and whose disappearance was reported on August 16, 2005," he said. Police believe the person was murdered but are still awaiting autopsy results, the spokesman added. He declined to identify the woman who had been arrested, but local media said it was the victim's sister. The website eMedjimurje reported that the body had been found in a house where the sister lived with her husband and three children. Dominic's father, who died a few years ago, said in 2011 that his daughter told him in 2000 that...

‘Revolutionary’ environment law grinds to a halt

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 13:01

It was once hailed as a ‘revolutionary’ environmental law, but less than three years on, the Public Domain Act appears to have ground to a halt, with legal deadlines ignored and no sites having benefitted from its protection. Introduced in 2016, the law allows sites to be nominated for public domain status, imposing a positive obligation on the government to preserve them for future generations. It sets a deadline of September 15 every year for the Lands Minister to present Parliament with a list of nominated sites, to be compiled by the Planning Authority after a public consultation process. The 2017 report included 24 nominated sites. But the process has been bogged down by a Lands Authority investigation into ownership rights, and none of the sites have yet been granted protection. The 2018 process, meanwhile, never took place and no report was submitted by the September 15 deadline. Stakeholders have since expressed concern over whether the 2019 process will begin in time for the next deadline. Opposition MP Jason Azzopardi, who piloted the law through Parliament as a private member’s bill, told The Sunday Times of Malta that despite unanimous cross-party support for the...

PN wants Gozo declared a region

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 12:53

The Nationalist Party would be “pushing” the government to declare Gozo a region as part of amendments to the Constitution, leader Adrian Delia said on Sunday. Speaking at an event in Gozo marking the start of week-long meetings during the party’s general council, Dr Delia said that while the government was not considering such a move, the PN would continue pushing for the island to be declared a region. “This will remain the party’s position on the matter and we will push the government to make it happen,” Dr Delia insisted. Former PN leader Simon Busuttil had made a similar pledge ahead of the last general election as this would enable Gozo to apply for up to €250 million in EU funds. Dr Delia also lambasted the government for “forgetting about Gozo”, insisting that while for the PN the island always remained a priority, the Labour government did not even mention Gozo in its Budget speech for 2019. “There was some chapter that mentioned Gozo but this seemed like some afterthought. We started the general council here to underline this fact,” the PN leader said. He argued that the government had also repeatedly failed to keep promises it had made to the people in Gozo,...

Tunnels, trains, and tarmac: Muscat details plans for infrastructure of the future

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 12:12

The Malta-Gozo tunnel will allow the government to introduce free buses linking the sister isle to the airport, Mater Dei Hospital and other strategic locations across the mainland, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said on Sunday. “We were going to announce this in a few days but we can announce it here this morning – imagine getting on a bus here in Rabat (Victoria) and having one direct link to key locations in Malta… and we are saying this is going to be free for the public,” he said. Dr Muscat was addressing a political gathering at the Labour Party club in Victoria, Gozo, and said the permanent link would be a game changer for Gozitans. He also said it was “no secret” that the government was looking at the possibility of introducing a metro system for the entire archipelago. The government however could not expect the public to tolerate the poor quality road infrastructure for years to come while the lengthy studies on such an underground system were conducted. Read:Immersed Gozo tunnel ‘would cater for a monorail’ “Imagine, we have been working on studies related to the permanent link to Gozo for five years. A metro system would take a quarter century and we cannot drag our...

Japan PM nominated Trump for Nobel after US request

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 11:09

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after being requested to do so by Washington, a Japanese newspaper reported Sunday. Washington sounded out Tokyo over the possibility of nominating Trump for the prize after his landmark summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in June last year, an unnamed Japanese government source told the Asahi Shimbun. The report came after Trump's claim on Friday that Abe had nominated him for the prize. Trump said Abe had sent him a copy of a five-page nomination letter delivered to the Nobel Peace Prize committee in which the Japanese leader praised his efforts in defusing tensions with Pyongyang. "He said 'I have nominated you respectfully on behalf of Japan. I am asking them to give you the Nobel Peace Prize.' I said thank you," Trump told reporters at the White House. "Many other people feel that way, too. I'll probably never get it. That's okay." Japanese officials did not respond to AFP's requests for comment on Trump's claim or the newspaper report.   

Village bars resurgence is residents’ nightmare

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 10:56

As people move away from traditional entertainment hubs like Paceville, village bars are experiencing a revival. But the trend does not spell good news for residents. It’s gone midnight in the sleepy town of Lija and the streets leading to the village core are devoid of life. So far, so typical of a Friday night in your average Maltese village. But first appearances can be deceptive and, upon turning a specific corner, the scene changes drastically. The change can be heard before it is seen – a loud ‘murmuring’ that, as it turns out, emanates from a sizeable group of people who are enjoying a drink and a smoke outside the doors of a particular village bar. Their chatter is punctuated by the grating noise of distorted bass that can be heard through the open entrance doors. The effect is devastating to anyone whose home lies adjacent to the bar, as window panes and the old stonework react to the sudden blasts. The bar is located bang in the middle of what is supposed to be one of the quietest residential areas of Malta. A description that ceases to apply every Friday and Saturday night from 8pm up till the early hours of the morning. And it is a scene that repeats itself across an...

3 to 5 other potential suspects in Caruana Galizia murder probe but...

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 08:30

The police insist they need to gather more “rock solid evidence” before interrogating and proceeding against other suspects believed to be closely connected with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. “The police’s target is not just to arrest and interrogate, but to get a sound prosecution and conviction,” a police source said, amid mounting criticism over the length of time it is taking to bring more suspects to justice. Officials from the EU’s law enforcement agency Europol were recently in Malta to hold discussions with local investigators and are expected back for “updates” in the coming days. The police are trying to net more suspects connected with the murder, including the people who are suspected to be linked with the commissioning of the devastating car bomb that killed Ms Caruana Galizia 16 months ago. Three men have since been charged with planting and detonating the bomb which killed the 53-year-old journalist. Foreign investigators have questioned the reluctance of the Maltese police to proceed against more suspects, believed to be between three and five men. “We believe there is the basis to move ahead with the arrest and interrogation of certain individuals and...

Watch - Sant: Friends of friends is just how Malta works

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 07:14

‘Friends of friends’ networks are an inevitable way of life in a small society like Malta’s, MEP Alfred Sant told The Sunday Times of Malta in an interview. During his time as Opposition leader, Dr Sant would frequently criticise PN governments for cronyism and political patronage in what he termed the ‘friends of friends’ networks. Questioned if the ‘friends of friends’ style of government had been eliminated by Labour, Dr Sant said an island like Malta functions on the basis of such networks. “It is not a good idea, but that is how it works. I do not like it. But that is how it works”, Dr Sant said. The MEP, who served as Opposition leader from 1992 to 1996 and from 1998 to 2008, and Prime Minister from 1996 to 1998, countered that these networks had not come about overnight and he had spent many years deploring such practices. Sometimes, these ‘friends of friends’ did deliver good investment opportunities, he added. “For instance, back in the 1960s ‘friends of friends’ of George Borg Olivier and Dom Mintoff came back to Malta, set up tourism systems and factories that are still delivering now.” The MEP said it was worth bearing in mind that ‘friends of friends’ networks...

World bishops head to Vatican for sex abuse summit

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 06:38

Pope Francis gathers bishops from around the world at the Vatican this week for a hotly-awaited summit on tackling the wave of child sex abuse scandals assailing the Catholic Church. The heads of around 100 bishops' conferences from every continent will convene from Thursday to Sunday for the meeting, with victims' groups demanding that a concrete action plan on fighting paedophilia be drawn up. Archbishop Charles Scicluna is a member of the three-man organising committee.  The pope, who asked the bishops to speak to victims of abuse in their respective countries before the Rome convention, has tried to dial down "inflated expectations" for a cure-all. The conference aims to be an opportunity to improve awareness of the global phenomenon of sexual abuse of minors within the Church, despite many in Africa, Asia and the Middle East being in denial of what they call "a Western problem". In many parts of the world, discussing violence towards children and even sex is taboo, leading the Vatican to organise this week's "educational" gathering. Some abuse victims, particularly from countries where their plight is ignored, have also been invited to attend. "Someone who has met a victim,...

Today's front pages - February 17, 2019

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 06:24

The following are the top stories in Malta's newspapers on Sunday. The Sunday Times of Malta reports that the police need to gather more “rock solid evidence” before interrogating and proceeding against other suspects believed to be closely connected with Daphne Caruana Galizia’s assassination. The newspaper also reports that feedback on whether the public agrees with extending Malta’s controversial cash-for-passports scheme is still being “analysed”, according to the government website dedicated to public consultations. Citizenship Parliamentary Secretary Julia Farrugia, who is responsible for the scheme, told the Times of Malta in September the evaluation of the public consultation was in its “final stages”. The Malta Independent on Sunday quotes tuna farm operators claiming that  suspended Director of Fisheries Andreina Fenech Farrugia favoured Spanish tuna tycoon Jose Fuentes. The director in a reaction said she was being singled out from tens if not hundreds of people. It also reports that an emergency contraceptive pill is to be made available to rape victims in hospital.    MaltaToday also follows up the allegations against Dr Fenech Farrugia, saying that Jose Fuentes...

Sixth Sunday in ordinary time: Trust we build on

Malta aktuelle Nachrichten - So, 02/17/2019 - 00:01
Today’s readings: Jeremiah 17, 5-8; 1 Corinthians 15, 12.16-20; Luke 6, 17.20-26. How can people be happy when they are hated, abused or when they are weeping, poor or hungry? This is a very punching provocation from today’s gospel text that calls for serious reflection and re-examination on our part as to where we stand with the gospel of Jesus Christ. The text is that of the Beatitudes from St Luke, a different version from that we find in St Matthew. It is the text about living authentically. Coming from Luke, it is more in line with the prophetic teaching of the Old Testament echoed in today’s first reading from Jeremiah. Jeremiah speaks of ‘curses’ and ‘blessings’ not as if God sends them but as inherent to the choices we make in life. Facing life as it comes across, we need to put our roots where they can reach out to running water. The alternative would be to content ourselves with settling down for false securities that even religion can provide. God’s word offers guidance for our well-being and wisdom to avoid unwarranted consequences of short-sighted choices we often make. A major question posed to us today by these Scripture readings is about where and in whom or in...