PN deputy leader elected vice-president of European workers movement

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 21:33

Nationalist Party deputy leader David Agius has been elected vice-president of the European Union of Christian Democratic Workers of the European People’s Party. Mr Agius obtained 91.5% of the votes cast in the election, held during a congress in Vienna. German MEP Elmar Brok was elected president. The EUCDW includes 24 workers’ movements from 18 EU states.
Categorie: Malta

Italy should go to early vote if government falls - cabinet official

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 21:11

Italy would have to hold new elections if the coalition government falls, a senior cabinet official and member of the co-ruling League party was quoted as saying on Friday. Cabinet Undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti also criticised a flagship policy of the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement, the other partner in the coalition that came to power only in June. Opinion polls show that support for the far-right League has jumped since the election in March, suggesting the party would make significant gains if a new vote were held. Giorgetti said his party's commitment to the coalition had limits and appeared to rule out forming a new government with the current parliamentary arithmetic, should it collapse. "Our commitment will last as long as we can implement the government deal. When that will no longer be the case (our commitment) will end and the people should have a say again," Giorgetti, who is one of the most influential members of the coalition, told Italian news agencies. League leader Matteo Salvini dismissed this week a report saying that his party was considering pushing for a snap election in March. Salvini, who is both deputy prime minister and interior minister,...
Categorie: Malta

Gżira overcome St Andrews to move top

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 20:59

GŻIRA UNITED 2 Garba 12, Cohen 68 ST ANDREWS 1 Woo Ling 74 Gżira United survived the test as the match ended in a 2-1 victory but St Andrews definitely did not deserve to leave empty-handed. In their previous match, Gżira suffered an early lead after nine minutes, but yesterday, they enjoyed a role reversal as, within six minutes of the start of the match, Garba opened the scoring. Nikolai Muscat sprinted down the right flank and squared to Garba who prodded home from point-blank distance. The two teams’ inclination to play adventurous football made for an exciting match. On 41 minutes, a curling free-kick by Matthew Woo Ling on the right, caused panic inside the Gżira box as the ball hit the woodwork at the far post of stranded Justin Haber. Moments later, the alarms rang for Gżira again when Nicholas Mclaren sliced open the defence with a through ball for Kevaughn Atkinson who unleashed a fierce show which Haber repelled with difficulty. From the possibility of drawing level, St Andrews went two goals down. Another breakaway by Garba set Cohen front of Calleja Cremona who slid the ball into the net. Davies still made the Gżira defence work hard to keep thier lines intact, as...
Categorie: Malta

Suspicious package found in Balzan deemed safe

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 20:03

Updated  A suspicious package a man found on his porch on Friday evening was deemed safe after it was checked by the Bomb Disposal Unit. The unit were sent to Triq Valentin, Balzan after the police were alerted by a man who noticed a 25cm long package 'wrapped in yellow tape' on his porch. Roads were sealed off while the operation was underway.      
Categorie: Malta

Dangerous Sliema AC unit moved to safer spot after police report filed

The Malta Independent - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 20:02

An air conditioning unit that was dangerously mounted on the side of a police guard room at Sliema Ferries has been moved to a safer spot after a report filed by a youth who was seriously injured after bumping into the object.

The youth ended up with stitches on his head after he hit the outdoor unit, which was blocking a pavement.

The young man has since reported that the AC unit has been moved to a safer spot at ground level (below).

Categorie: Malta

Security Service had say in identifying Caruana Galizia murder suspects

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 19:27

The security service had a say in identifying the three prime suspects in the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder and a number of individuals who could have “assisted”, according to the intelligence agency’s 2017 annual report. Ms Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb just metres away from her Bidnija home in October 2017. Without mentioning any names, the Malta Security Service report, tabled in Parliament earlier in the week, says the three main suspects were arrested last December, along with a number of other individuals who it was thought could have potentially “assisted” in the murder. Brothers Alfred and George Degiorgio along with Vince Muscat were last year accused of carrying out the bombing. Seven other people rounded up on the same day of their arrest were released without any charges. The MSS said in the report it began its investigations on the day of the assassination. A dedicated group was set up to collect and analyse intelligence about the case. This intelligence eventually led to the arrest of the three prime suspects. Court testimony in the murder case showed that the MSS was already monitoring George Degiorgio in relation to another case in the weeks preceding...
Categorie: Malta

Merkel briefly stuns audience with Brexit response

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:51

German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefly stunned reporters in Brussels on Friday when she appeared to say that she would work against Britain remaining in the European Union after a possible second referendum. "We would of course take note of that. You know we are preparing for such an eventuality, but in terms of what is in my power and what we can take responsibility for, we will do everything to ensure that this does not happen," she replied, before coughing. Merkel, who was suffering from a cold throughout a two-day EU summit in Brussels, appeared to think she had been asked what she would do in the event of a disruptive "no-deal" Brexit. Her spokesman promptly told her that she had misheard the question, and she rephrased her answer. "Ah, right," she said. "That is a totally speculative question, and I never answer those."
Categorie: Malta

Strasbourg reopens its Christmas market following terrorist attack

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:50

Strasbourg reopened its traditional Christmas market under heavy security on Friday, the morning after French police shot dead a gunman suspected of killing four people in the heart of the historic city. Cherif Chekatt, 29, was killed in the Neudorf neighbourhood of Strasbourg after firing on police, ending a two-day manhunt that involved more than 700 members of the security forces. The attack on Strasbourg's cherished Christmas market, a target full of religious symbolism, evoked France's difficulties in integrating western Europe's largest Muslim minority and dealing with homegrown militants inspired by Islamic State. "It's reopening just in time," said stall-holder Bernard Kuntz, preparing his scarves and stoles imported from India ahead of the expected arrival of French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who was expected to speak. "We were getting worried. Some of the guys have taken out loans to be here, and we've already lost two days." On Friday, a fourth victim died as a result of the wounds they received in what Strasbourg Mayor Roland Ries said was indisputably an act of terrorism. Ries expressed relief that Chekatt had been killed and said everyone in Strasbourg,...
Categorie: Malta

Guardiola boosted by timely return of Aguero and De Bruyne

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:30

Manchester City's influential duo Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne are in contention to face Everton at home in the Premier League on Saturday, as they look to rebound from their first domestic defeat of the season last weekend. City boss Pep Guardiola told a news conference on Friday that both players had come through training this week unscathed and might feature against a side City have not beaten at home in the last two seasons. "He (Aguero) did the last two training sessions. On Thursday, he trained with the team. He has no pain and we will decide," Guardiola said. "With KDB (De Bruyne), it is the same case as Sergio – he has no pain but we will see." Ahead of a packed festive schedule with six games in the space of 20 days, City's squad may be stretched with David Silva, Danilo, Benjamin Mendy and Claudio Bravo all sidelined. Defender John Stones was forced off in City's 2-1 win over Hoffenheim in the Champions League on Wednesday and his fitness will be assessed ahead of the weekend. Yet Guardiola said the mounting injury list would not force the club into the transfer market in January. "No, we are not going to sign anyone," he said of his second-placed side, who sit...
Categorie: Malta

Watch: 'Tension' in EU fund talks, but Muscat is 'very optimistic'

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:28

There was “tension” all around when discussing the cohesion fund within the European Union’s budget, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat admitted on Thursday. Dr Muscat however said he was "very optimistic" that a solution acceptable to all parties would be found in the months ahead.  "It looks like the Commission is coming round to realising how important these funds are," he told the Times of Malta in Brussels.  "A group of 16 countries is arguing this way, and the gap between what was first proposed and now has been reduced substantially. We're not there yet but I'm very optimistic," he said.  EU leaders held further talks on cohesion fund negotiations on Friday but were tight-lipped about any further progress, saying only that they hoped to sew up negotiations by autumn 2019.  The Times of Malta reported in May Malta was set to be among the EU’s biggest cohesion fund losers under budget plans unveiled by the European Commission. Those initial proposals would have seen cohesion funds cut across the board for all recipient member states, with Malta having to make do with 24 per cent fewer funds - a drop of €179 million - for the 2021 to 2027 period.  EU cohesion funds, which are...
Categorie: Malta

Italian journalist becomes fourth fatality of Strasbourg Christmas market attack

The Malta Independent - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:18

Antonio Megalizzi, an Italian journalist who was injured in the Strasbourg attack, has died.

The prosecutor's office announced the death three days after the attack in the eastern French city and a day after the suspected gunman was shot dead by police.

Although they did not entirely clarify their announcement, prosecutors appeared to suggest that the person who died Friday was one of 12 wounded people and not another person who has been described as being brain dead.

Various Italian news outlets are reporting that the fourth fatality is Megalizzi. The journalist was reportedly shot in the head. 

Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz, who handles terror cases throughout France, told a news conference that seven people are in police custody, including four family members of Cherif Chekatt and two who were detained on Thursday night.

Chekatt, 29, was shot dead Thursday during a police operation in the Neudorf neighbourhood of the city.

"We want to reconstruct the past 48 hours in order to find out whether he got some support," Heitz said.

The Strasbourg shooting was the latest in a series of deadly attacks that have claimed more than 200 lives in France since 2015.

On Friday the Christmas market reopened for the first time since the attack amid tight security. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attended the reopening and had a stroll to meet with shopkeepers.

Access to the market has been reduced while extra police officers and military have been deployed to the site, in addition to private security guards.

"This Christmas market is part of our history. It's part of our common events and belongs to all the French people," Castaner said. "And this morning, we wanted to show, as we walked down the lanes, that we always know how to get our head up again."

Heitz gave more details about the police operation that led to Chekatt's death on Thursday evening after a two-day manhunt. He said the suspect was localized after police received two crucial tipoffs from Neudorf residents. Three officers patrolling in Neudorf ultimately spotted a man corresponding to the suspect's description. He noticed their vehicle and tried unsuccessfully to enter a building. When police officers identified themselves, Chekatt turned around and opened fire.

"A projectile hit the vehicle above the left rear door, two police officers responded, shooting several times, and killed him," Heitz said.

Investigators found a gun, a knife and ammunition on Chekatt's body.

The immediate aftermath of the shootout between French security forces and the suspect was caught on camera from across the street, with video footage showing armed officers at the scene and the body of the man slumped in a doorway.

More officers arrive at the scene soon after, followed by crime scene investigators.

The Paris prosecutor's office formally identified the man as Chekatt, a Strasbourg-born man with a long history of convictions for various crimes, including robberies. Chekatt also had been on a watch list of potential extremists. He had his first conviction at 13, and had 26 more by the time he died at age 29. He served jail time in France, Germany and Switzerland.

Witnesses said the gunman shouted "God is great!" in Arabic and sprayed gunfire from a security zone near the Christmas market on Tuesday. Security forces wounded the man in the arm but he managed to escape in a taxi.

Categorie: Malta

Trophies matter, insists Mourinho ahead of Liverpool clash

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 18:00

Liverpool may be top of the Premier League but Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said that it is trophies in the cabinet that count ahead of the sides' showdown at Anfield on Sunday. Klopp's side remain the only unbeaten team in the league this season, but the German has yet to clinch an honour in his three years on Merseyside. United languish 16 points behind their rivals in sixth place, but Mourinho led the Old Trafford outfit to Europa League and League Cup victories in his first season in Manchester in 2017. "I think trophies matter, it matters, especially when you have the potential to fight for trophies and especially when you clearly say the objective is to win the trophy," the Portuguese told a news conference on Friday. "I think Juergen told already they want to win the Premier League, is their objective," he added. United travel to their rivals with a depleted squad after their injury list grew in their 2-1 defeat by Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday. Marcos Rojo was forced off at halftime, joining the likes of Victor Lindelof and Alexis Sanchez on the sidelines. Defenders Luke Shaw, Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian and attacker Anthony Martial were all...
Categorie: Malta

Priest heads to Rome after serving sentence for child abuse in Chile

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:50

An Irish-born priest, who was convicted of sexually abusing a girl in his care at a religious school in Santiago but served no jail time for the offense, left Chile on Friday for Rome after serving a four-year sentence. Critics have long pointed to the case of the Rev. John O'Reilly as an example of leniency in a country where the Roman Catholic church has long held powerful sway in politics and society. A judge in 2014 sentenced O'Reilly, a leader of the Legionaries of Christ religious order, to four years of "supervised liberty" for abusing a preteen girl at the private Colegio Cumbres in the affluent neighborhood of Las Condes between 2007 and 2009. O'Reilly completed his sentence on December 10, according to a statement issued by the Legionaries of Christ on Friday, and Chilean courts subsequently expelled him from the country. He boarded a flight on Friday in Santiago bound for Rome, where he will await a formal canonical sentence from the Legionaries of Christ, the statement said. O'Reilly could not be immediately reached for comment. The priest's release comes as a growing sex abuse grips the Catholic Church in Chile. Chilean prosecutors this year have investigated...
Categorie: Malta

Watch: NBA roundup: Harden produces 50-point triple-double

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:32

James Harden recorded a 50-point triple-double and came through during a decisive stretch in the fourth quarter to lift the host Houston Rockets to a 126-111 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. Harden posted 50 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to thwart the Lakers, who were 6-1 in their previous games. With Houston clinging to a 109-106 lead following an explosive dunk by the Lakers' Kyle Kuzma with 4:16 to go, Harden sank three free throws before drilling consecutive 3-pointers. The last one rolled in after a tantalizing dance on the rim, extending the advantage to 12 points. Harden accomplished the scoring flurry in just 54 seconds. Kuzma scored 24 points and handed out five assists to complement another strong performance from LeBron James, who tallied 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting. The Rockets got a double-double from Clint Capela (16 points, 14 rebounds) while Danuel House Jr. delivered 15 points in 29 minutes off the bench. Chris Paul added 14 points, nine assists and three steals. Suns 99, Mavericks 89 T.J. Warren scored a game-high 30 points, and Phoenix snapped a 10-game losing skid with a victory over visiting Dallas. Phoenix picked up just its fifth...
Categorie: Malta

Dutch teens fined after admitting to drunken disturbance in St Julian’s

The Malta Independent - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:32

Two teenage holidaymakers have ended up on the wrong side of the law after they caused a rowdy drunken disturbance in the early hours of Friday morning. 

Jordy Marechal, 18, and Rick Ronaldus Markus Wilting, 19, both Dutch nationals, were arrested after threatening officers who were trying to contain their noisy carousing along the St Julian’s seafront at around 3.00am this morning. 

Police officers at the St. Julians Police Station were alerted by shouting in the vicinity of the LOVE monument and upon investigating, came across the, clearly intoxicated, young men. 

After police officers had quietened down the two revelers and moved on, the men had ran back towards the officers, while insulting and threatening them, refusing to obey the police officers’ orders.

This verbal confrontation led to the arrest of the men. 

Standing side by side in the dock, the two youths pleaded guilty to the charges.

They also admitted to charges of breaching the peace and to having been drunk in public.

Lawyer Martin Fenech, legal aid to the youths, told the court that the two were students with limited financial means who had also been robbed just days ago. 

The two youths were sorry for their actions and were ready to pay for their misdeeds Fenech said, also telling the court that the pair had already booked a flight out of the country for today week. 

Having heard the submissions and in view of their early guilty plea and cooperation with the police, magistrate Aaron Bugeja conditionally discharged them for 6 months and fined them both €800, giving them four days in which to pay.

Categorie: Malta

Two young men fined for early morning drunken trouble

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:29

Two teenagers on holiday in Malta landed themselves in hot water after causing a disturbance in the early hours of Friday, getting into trouble with police and ending up in court. Dutch nationals Jordy Marechal, 18, and Rick Ronaldus Markus Wilting, 19, were arrested after kicking up a commotion along the St Julian’s seafront at around 3am. Police officers stationed nearby heard shouting in the vicinity of the Love monument and upon checking came across a young man in an evidently drunken state. After calm was restored, the two men allegedly ran back towards the officers, insulting and threatening them while refusing to obey their orders. This verbal confrontation sparked the men’s arrest. Upon their arraignment, the now sober two youngsters pleaded guilty to their wrongdoing as recounted by prosecuting Inspector Joseph Xerri. They also admitted breaching the peace and being drunk in public. Making submissions on punishment, legal aid lawyer Martin Fenech pointed out that both accused were students with limited means. Moreover, to make matters worse, one of them had allegedly been robbed of his wallet, cash and credit cards a few days ago. Bearing this in mind, they were willing...
Categorie: Malta

Crime scene police undergo forensic training

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:27

Crime scene officers underwent an intense training programme with international experts, Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia said on Friday. In a statement, Dr Farrugia and Consumer Protection Parliamentary Secretary Deo Debattista gave an overview of the training undertaken by police scene of the crime officers by the Netherlands Forensic Institute. The two-week course was delivered by NFI experts Paul Van Den Hoven and Martin Ross, with 12 Maltese police officers participating. Dr Debattista said forensic science involved the responsibility of medicine, the intricacy of law, and the universality of science. Minister Farrugia said forensic science was a critical element in criminal prosecution. Law enforcement and judicial authorities, he said, must be confident that the forensic data they rely on is of high quality and up to international standards.  
Categorie: Malta

Gozo: open to the world

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:25

‘Diversity will not prove to be a barrier but rather a reason for our future success’ – this was the key conclusion of competition winner, 16-year-old Chloe Cauchi when she addressed the motion ‘A diverse society is a sustainable society’. The competition was a public speaking event organised by the Gozo Branch of the English Speaking Union of Malta. Its aim, to offer an opportunity for young people to speak out and to develop their capacity and confidence in doing so. What was striking about their input was not simply their articulateness but also the underlying themes, concerns, values and dreams they expressed. For me, they reflected the specificity and culture of the island itself alongside a universality so vital to a future flourishing Gozo and Malta. Let me illustrate. Speaker Nicole Micallef posed the question whether she should have to abandon her dreams in order to be (or to be deemed to be) a ‘success’ or to achieve ‘satisfaction’ in her life? She argued against the cynical orthodoxy that only money defines success and called for a better balance between dreams and reality. Reflecting a broader theme, she argued for a society that was open to the world in its...
Categorie: Malta

Nature is a rich source of medicine – if we can protect it

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:24

The Pacific yew tree is a fairly small and slow growing conifer native to the Pacific Northwest. The Gila monster is a lizard with striking orange and black markings from the drylands of the Southwestern US and Mexico. Two very different organisms, but with a fascinating connection. They’ve both given us drugs that have saved and improved the lives of millions of people. Paclitaxel, originally isolated in 1971 from the bark of the Pacific Yew tree, is so important for treating various cancers that it is one of the World Health Organisation’s “Essential Medicines”. This compound has been studied in more than 3,000 clinical trials. It’s safe and effective and it generates sales of around $80-100m per year. The Pacific yew tree (Taxus brevifolia) foliage and fruit. Jason Hollinger/Wikimedia Commons., CC BY Nature’s medicinal marvels Exenatide, a synthetic version of a compound found in the saliva of the Gila monster, is an injected treatment used by as many as two million people with type 2 diabetes. In 2014, exenatide products generated sales of $767m. Not only that, but exenatide has also been shown to have potential in the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease. These two examples...
Categorie: Malta

The San Lawrenz Christmas pageant: fifty years on

Times of Malta - Ven, 14/12/2018 - 17:17

The small village of San Lawrenz is this year celebrating the 50th anniversary of its Christmas pageant, held annually on Christmas Eve. The pageant has evolved during the years taking a prominent place in Gozo’s Christmas festival season. Organised and presented by the San Lawrenz Drama Circle, the pageant reenacts the Biblical history of the salvation of mankind, leading to the birth of Christ. The timeless story is unfolded in a spectacular and interesting way, while refreshing spectators’ knowledge of the scriptures, so often, ironically, left out of the Christmas context. More than 150 actors, dressed in Biblical costumes, are involved in diverse presentations of the story, such as tableaux, parades, and other dramatic performances, starting from the parish hall, right into the village’s piazza, and round the two main streets of the village. The San Lawrenz Christmas pageant, the brain-child of George Borg, a 19-year-old from San Lawrenz, had a very humble beginning. It all started in 1968, when Mr Borg, backed by enthusiastic Drama Circle members, proposed and enacted, for the first time in Gozo, the story of the birth of Jesus by parading through the streets of San...
Categorie: Malta