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No details on hotel data hack impact

The Westin Dragonara, one of the hotels impacted by the massive Marriot International personal data hack, will not say how many guests were affected. Questions sent to the hotel were directed to the company’s communications department for Europe, with a spo
timesofmalta.com

No details on hotel data hack impact

The Westin Dragonara, one of the hotels impacted by the massive Marriot International personal data hack, will not say how many guests were affected. Questions sent to the hotel were directed to the company’s communications department for Europe, with a spokeswoman telling the Times of Malta that an identification process is still under way. “We have not finished identifying duplicate information in the database but we believe it contains information on up to 500 million guests who made a reservation at a Starwood property,” the spokeswoman said, without supplying any specific information on the Westin Dragonara. Marriott International announced on Friday that hackers had illegally accessed its Starwood Hotels brand’s reservation database since 2014, potentially exposing personal information on about 500 million guests. A spokeswoman for the St Julian’s hotel, which forms part of the Starwood brand, had confirmed that all guests that had made reservations at any of the brand’s properties before September 10 “may be impacted”. Apart from seeking information on the number of affected guests, Times of Malta also wanted to know how many people had been contacted since the data...

Today's front pages - December 12, 2018

The following are the top stories in Malta's newspapers on Wednesday. Times of Malta reports how Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Tuesday stood by embattled government official Neville Gafà who Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne had ordered to be fired. In-Na
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Today's front pages - December 12, 2018

The following are the top stories in Malta's newspapers on Wednesday. Times of Malta reports how Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Tuesday stood by embattled government official Neville Gafà who Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne had ordered to be fired. In-Nazzjon also highlights the situation in its front page.  In-Nazzjon also has the Strasbourg gun attack on its front page.  l-orizzont gives prominence to remarks by the Transport Minister that an international call for bids for the boring of the Malta-Gozo tunnel will be issued in six months' time.  MaltaToday says the Malta-Gozo medical helicopter operated by Steward Healthcare cannot be used for three months every year because of legally required maintenance.  The Malta Independent reports concerns by a representative of PEN International over the behaviour of the Maltese delegation to the UN.  PEN manager Sarah Clarke claimed she was verbally insulted by a member of the delegation during the UN conference on migration held in Morocco. 

Do not become inured to the sight of blood - Roberta Metsola

Habitual exposure to anything, however unpleasant it may be, renders one to become accustomed to it, as is the case with casualty personnel and the sight of blood. Our society is now facing the same situation.  We are fast becoming immune to daily revelation
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Do not become inured to the sight of blood - Roberta Metsola

Habitual exposure to anything, however unpleasant it may be, renders one to become accustomed to it, as is the case with casualty personnel and the sight of blood. Our society is now facing the same situation.  We are fast becoming immune to daily revelations of corruption, government handouts to party loyalists, including handing over public land worth millions for peanuts, multiple jobs to the same individuals and an in-your-face ‘we shall because we can’ attitude, which has no respect for any norms and laws. It is an established practice worldwide that ministers and politically exposed persons (PEPs) accept that they must live according to strict codes of conduct, and submit themselves to intrusive and uncomfortable levels of scrutiny. And yet, five years of constant, escalating scandals, of standards slipping so far and so fast that you can’t even see them anymore, have seemingly numbed our sensibilities, so that what was once unacceptable, is now fatalistically shrugged away by far too many. Since Labour took over power, their actions were never casual. They were always casual. The civil service was decapitated the morning after the election, with many permanent secretaries...

Trust in electronic vote counting

Malta’s electoral system is complex and depends on an elaborate vote counting process that usually takes days to declare the winners of an election. So, when both main political parties agreed to introduce an electronic vote-scanning system as from the nex
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Trust in electronic vote counting

Malta’s electoral system is complex and depends on an elaborate vote counting process that usually takes days to declare the winners of an election. So, when both main political parties agreed to introduce an electronic vote-scanning system as from the next European Parliament and local council elections in May 2019, many had hoped the tense few days after the election would become a thing of the past. Election results should be known within six hours of the start of vote counting. However, doubts have now been expressed on how well the Electoral Commission has overseen the project, whereby two international IT companies would provide the e-counting technology and security systems. When the new system was stress-tested, a staggering 40 per cent of the ballot sheets were rejected and had to be scrutinised manually to determine the voting intentions of voters. A second test was conducted following some software changes made by the technology companies. The failure rate of the vote scanners fell but was still considered high, at about 20 per cent. Nationalist Party secretary general Clyde Puli expressed concern on some issues relating to project. He said there were various...

Car sharing fleet sponsors Gozo team

Malta’s new green transport initiative, GoTo, has been announced as an official sponsor of popular Gozo football club, Victoria Hotspurs. With more than 1,000 motorists already registered with GoTo across Malta, the newly-launched initiative offers an incre
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Car sharing fleet sponsors Gozo team

Malta’s new green transport initiative, GoTo, has been announced as an official sponsor of popular Gozo football club, Victoria Hotspurs. With more than 1,000 motorists already registered with GoTo across Malta, the newly-launched initiative offers an increasingly popular, environmentally-friendly alternative to private petrol-fuelled cars. The car-sharing initiative, which is currently rolling out a fleet of 150 electric cars nationwide, provides easy, convenient and green transport for its registered users across the island, as well as designated, strategically-positioned parking spaces at each destination. GoTo’s rapidly-growing success has now led it to become an official sponsor of one of Gozo’s most historic football clubs, Victoria Hotspurs. “Victoria Hotspurs FC is extremely thankful to GoTo Malta for becoming the team’s official sponsor,” Victoria Hotspurs president Anton Tabone said. “I think this may be a first for football in Gozo, to have an international company sponsoring a local football team. It is also a matter of pride for our ambitious club to be associated with such a company. At Victoria Hotspurs FC wish GoTo Malta all the possible success in its...

Inmate found dead at Corradino prison

A 26-year old inmate was found dead at Corradino Correctional Facility on Tuesday, prison authorities have confirmed.  In a statement, authorities said the man had been found unconscious in his cell during routine rounds. He was given first aid and taken t
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Inmate found dead at Corradino prison

A 26-year old inmate was found dead at Corradino Correctional Facility on Tuesday, prison authorities have confirmed.  In a statement, authorities said the man had been found unconscious in his cell during routine rounds. He was given first aid and taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.  Sources said the man had only recently begun his sentence.  Police investigations are ongoing. A magisterial inquiry and internal investigation have also been ordered.

Inter knocked out after being held at home by PSV Eindhoven

Inter were knocked out of the Champions League after they could manage only a 1-1 draw at home to Group B's bottom club PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday to finish third behind Tottenham Hotspur. The Dutch side, with only one point from their first five games, took a
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Inter knocked out after being held at home by PSV Eindhoven

Inter were knocked out of the Champions League after they could manage only a 1-1 draw at home to Group B's bottom club PSV Eindhoven on Tuesday to finish third behind Tottenham Hotspur. The Dutch side, with only one point from their first five games, took a shock lead in the 13th minute when Hirving Lozano headed home after Kwadwo Asamoah lost possession in defence. The visitors then survived incessant Inter pressure until Mauro Icardi headed in from Matteo Politano's cross in the 73rd minute. At that point, Inter were heading into the last 16 as Tottenham Hotspur were losing to Barcelona. Yet Tottenham later equalised to draw 1-1 at Barcelona and squeezed through ahead of Inter on their head-to-head record after the two sides finished with eight points. Inter - PSV Eindhoven Live Score

Spurs reach last 16 as Moura snatches draw at Barca

Tottenham Hotspur made it into the last 16 of the Champions League by coming from behind to grab a 1-1 draw at Barcelona on Tuesday which saw them finish second in Group B at the expense of Inter Milan. Spurs were facing a much-changed Barca side who had alre
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Spurs reach last 16 as Moura snatches draw at Barca

Tottenham Hotspur made it into the last 16 of the Champions League by coming from behind to grab a 1-1 draw at Barcelona on Tuesday which saw them finish second in Group B at the expense of Inter Milan. Spurs were facing a much-changed Barca side who had already qualified as Group B winners and started without talisman Lionel Messi but they fell behind to an astonishing run and strike from Ousmane Dembele in the seventh minute. Tottenham dominated much of the game but were repeatedly denied by outstanding saves from Barca's reserve goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen before pulling level when Lucas Moura turned in a Harry Kane cross from close range in the 85th minute. Danny Rose spurned a glorious chance to give Spurs the win but they squeezed through to the knockout stages thanks to Inter Milan drawing 1-1 at home to already-eliminated PSV Eindhoven. It meant both teams finished with eight points but Spurs qualified due to their superior head-to-head record. Barcelona - Tottenham Live Score  

Salah fires Liverpool into Champions League last 16

Mohamed Salah's first-half strike gave Liverpool the 1-0 win over Napoli they needed at Anfield to qualify for the Champions League's last 16 on Tuesday, sending the Italian side crashing out. Liverpool knew that a 1-0 win, or a victory by two goals or more,
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Salah fires Liverpool into Champions League last 16

Mohamed Salah's first-half strike gave Liverpool the 1-0 win over Napoli they needed at Anfield to qualify for the Champions League's last 16 on Tuesday, sending the Italian side crashing out. Liverpool knew that a 1-0 win, or a victory by two goals or more, would be enough to seal a top two spot in Group C, and Salah was again the hero for the hosts, scoring what proved to be the winner in the 34th minute. Napoli pressed for a leveller in the second half, with Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson denying Arkadiusz Milik in stoppage time, but the home side's resolute defence -- which has conceded just six Premier League goals all season so far -- stood firm. Paris St Germain's victory at Red Star Belgrade meant they finished top while Napoli, who started the day leading the way, exited the competition as Liverpool snatched second spot on goals scored. Liverpool - Napoli Live Score

Paris St Germain through after brushing aside Red Star 4-1

Paris Saint Germain reached the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday as superb first-half goals from Edinson Cavani and Neymar helped them to a 4-1 win at Red Star Belgrade. The result lifted the French champions to the top of Group C on 11 points from
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Paris St Germain through after brushing aside Red Star 4-1

Paris Saint Germain reached the last 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday as superb first-half goals from Edinson Cavani and Neymar helped them to a 4-1 win at Red Star Belgrade. The result lifted the French champions to the top of Group C on 11 points from six games, two ahead of Liverpool who also qualified thanks to a 1-0 home win over Napoli that left them ahead of the Italian side on goals scored. The visitors dominated the first half in Belgrade, and Cavani fired them ahead with a 10th-minute tap-in from close range after Kylian Mbappe raced clear of his marker and squared the ball back to the Uruguay striker. Neymar doubled Paris St Germain's lead in the 40th minute with a brilliant individual goal as his shimmies and lightning footwork left several markers flat-footed before the Brazil forward stroked the ball past goalkeeper Milan Borjan. Roared on by a 55,000 home crowd, Red Star came out with renewed purpose in the second half and pulled one back when defender Marko Gobeljic unleashed a sumptuous volley after a fine cross from the left by full back Milan Rodic. But PSG weathered the storm and put the game beyond Red Star's reach as Brazilian midfielder Marquinhos...

Cannabis trafficking suspects plead not guilty

Two suspected drug traffickers were remanded in custody after pleading not guilty upon their arraignment on Tuesday, following their arrest on Sunday evening. Abdiladeef Abdiraham Hassan, 22, unemployed, and Abdiwahab Ahmed Ali, 34, a delivery man, both Somal
timesofmalta.com

Cannabis trafficking suspects plead not guilty

Two suspected drug traffickers were remanded in custody after pleading not guilty upon their arraignment on Tuesday, following their arrest on Sunday evening. Abdiladeef Abdiraham Hassan, 22, unemployed, and Abdiwahab Ahmed Ali, 34, a delivery man, both Somali nationals, were charged with the alleged trafficking of cannabis resin as well as aggravated possession of the drug. They were arrested last Sunday evening when police patrolling the area of St Thomas Street, Ħamrun noted a pedestrian whose behaviour sparked suspicion. Later, a search at the men’s residence had allegedly yielded cannabis resin and other paraphernalia indicating that the suspects allegedly trafficked drugs. “I was kicked out of my residence because of him,” said Mr Ali, pointing at the co-accused and explaining that he occasionally did delivery jobs for €10 a day. Duty magistrate Audrey Demicoli heard both men plead not guilty and remanded them in custody. No request for bail was made at this stage. Inspector Matthew Galea prosecuted. Lawyer Christopher Chircop was legal aid counsel.

Mickey in concert

A most anticipated magical Christmas show is back for the fourth consecutive year. Shine a light along with Mickey and Minnie together with the Malta National Children’s Choir at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, in Valletta on Saturday and Sunday. Nearl
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Mickey in concert

A most anticipated magical Christmas show is back for the fourth consecutive year. Shine a light along with Mickey and Minnie together with the Malta National Children’s Choir at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, in Valletta on Saturday and Sunday. Nearly 100 students from the Malta National Children’s Choir will be accompanied by established young artists, dancers, singers along with Mickey and Minnie for this spectacular show.  There will be 90 minutes of the greatest hits and soul-baring performances including latest hits, Christmas songs and music from Disney’s repertoire; lively rhythms to make any person of any age sing and dance. The Magical Christmas concert will be held at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta on Saturday at 8pm and on Sunday at 4pm. For tickets visit https://www.showshappening.com/mcc/The-Magical-Christmas-Concert .

Time Person of the Year goes to murdered and persecuted journalists

Time magazine on Tuesday named journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of journalists imprisoned by Myanmar's government, as its «Person of the Year,» in a cover story headlined «The Guardians and the War on Truth.&raq
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Time Person of the Year goes to murdered and persecuted journalists

Time magazine on Tuesday named journalists, including a slain Saudi Arabian writer and a pair of journalists imprisoned by Myanmar's government, as its «Person of the Year,» in a cover story headlined «The Guardians and the War on Truth.» The honor went to a series of journalists including Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was killed two months ago at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul when he went there to collect documents for his forthcoming marriage. Also honoured was the Capital Gazette in Maryland, USA, where five journalists were killed by a gunman angered by the paper's reporting in June.  The magazine also recognised Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who the government of Myanmar convicted on September 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, and Maria Ressa, a journalist from the Philippines targeted for arrest following her criticism of the country's repressive administration.  Editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal said the four journalists and one news organisation were representative of a broader fight by others around the world, including the at least 52 journalists...

Malta U-15 girls obtain second win in Thailand tournament

SINGAPORE U-15 0MALTA U-15          4  The Malta U-15 girls team secured their second straight win in the Development Tournament, currently being played in Thailand after beating Singapore 4-0 at the Chang Arena in Buriram on Tuesday. Led by coach Dori
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Malta U-15 girls obtain second win in Thailand tournament

SINGAPORE U-15 0MALTA U-15          4  The Malta U-15 girls team secured their second straight win in the Development Tournament, currently being played in Thailand after beating Singapore 4-0 at the Chang Arena in Buriram on Tuesday. Led by coach Dorianne Theuma, the Maltese girls took the initiative from the outset. They made their pressure count on the 13 minutes when Kailey Willis headed home a corner to open her account in this tournament.  Theuma’ girls continued to show the better ideas. They doubled their lead on 26 minutes with a fine long-range effort from Veronique Mifsud.  Moments later, Mifsud tried her luck with a free-kick from outside the area but her shot was marginally wide. The Maltese remained the better side for the remainder of the half. They increased their advantage early in the second half when Willis scored her second goal of the game with a close-range finish.  Theuma made a number of substitutions in the second half but the Maltese girls continued to control the game, adding another goal through Willis who thus completed her hat-trick. The Malta U-15 girls’ team wrap up their tournament commitments against hosts Thailand, this Thursday (1.30pm –...

Collective bargaining services should not be free – UĦM

Workers should not be forced to enrol in a trade union, but if they benefit from better conditions through collective bargaining they should be obliged to make a financial contribution, UĦM Voice of the Workers is proposing. The idea was floated by UĦM CEO
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Collective bargaining services should not be free – UĦM

Workers should not be forced to enrol in a trade union, but if they benefit from better conditions through collective bargaining they should be obliged to make a financial contribution, UĦM Voice of the Workers is proposing. The idea was floated by UĦM CEO Josef Vella during the opening session of an annual two-day seminar organised in collaboration with the European Centre for Workers’ Questions. Mr Vella was reacting to a recent proposal by the Prime Minister who called for a discussion on the possibility of introducing mandatory membership in both trade unions and employers’ associations. The move was justified on the grounds that a unionised workforce would be a deterrent for precarious employment, exploitation and abuse. However, with the exception of the General Workers Union, this solution was rejected on various grounds, including possible breach to the right of free association. In his remarks Mr Vella spoke in favour of the “agency shop model” whereby non-union members pay a fee whenever they benefit from a service negotiated by a trade union. However, the money would not go to their coffers but a centralised fund meant to finance research and statistical initiatives...

Should we lie to children about Santa? Experts give their advice

Ah yes, December. Christmas trees and decorations are popping up in shop windows, the weather is warming up, and the school holiday period looms. This may be exciting or distressing, depending on your relationship with your family. Not everyone celebrates Chr
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Should we lie to children about Santa? Experts give their advice

Ah yes, December. Christmas trees and decorations are popping up in shop windows, the weather is warming up, and the school holiday period looms. This may be exciting or distressing, depending on your relationship with your family. Not everyone celebrates Christmas. But, for those who do, you may find yourself lying to your children during the holidays about jolly old Saint Nick. But is there real harm in lying to your children to prop up a popular myth? And don’t you deserve the credit for buying all the presents? As adults we know Santa Claus isn’t real, but many of us remember the disappointing day we discovered this was the case. We asked five experts from various fields if you should lie to your children about Santa. Four out of five experts said no Here are their detailed responses: If you have a “yes or no” education question you’d like posed to Five Experts, email your suggestion to: sophie.heizer@theconversation.edu.au Disclosures: David Zyngier is convenor of The Public Education Network. Sophie Heizer, Commissioning Editor, Education, The Conversation This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

40 bird-trapping sites identified by CABS, all using illegal callers

CABS reports 45 cases of abuse to the police - Illegal sale of plovers on Maltapark.com Night inspections by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) identified a total of 40 bird trapping sites used for the illegal night trapping of plovers outside the pe
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40 bird-trapping sites identified by CABS, all using illegal callers

CABS reports 45 cases of abuse to the police - Illegal sale of plovers on Maltapark.com Night inspections by the Committee Against Bird Slaughter (CABS) identified a total of 40 bird trapping sites used for the illegal night trapping of plovers outside the permitted hours. CABS wildlife crime officer Fiona Burrows said the sites were easy to locate as they used illegal bird calling machines which could be heard “from kilometres away«, adding that the majority had been active for at least three years. “After our team found sites with active callers in Burmarrad and Mġarr on December 4 and 5, we called Mosta police who declared that they could not respond as it is the job of the ALE to deal with such cases. However, as ALE don’t work during night hours our reports could not be processed and the poachers were left undisturbed,» Ms Burrows said, adding that officers from the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) were also unavailable to assist with night operations when requested. The following night, a joint patrol of CABS staff and ALE officers was organised to dismantle the bird callers and deregister the trapping sites in question. However, the illegal calling devices had been...

Making it a December to remember

EnKor is a local, versatile choir founded in 2002 and made up of singers of different ages and nationalities. The choir, also known as #teamorange (for the orange accessories the singers wear) boasts a varied repertoire, performing pieces of many genres that
timesofmalta.com

Making it a December to remember

EnKor is a local, versatile choir founded in 2002 and made up of singers of different ages and nationalities. The choir, also known as #teamorange (for the orange accessories the singers wear) boasts a varied repertoire, performing pieces of many genres that range from classics like Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love, modern pop pieces like Only Hope, and finally its signature gospel and worship tunes. Tomorrow, EnKor will be holding a concert – A December to Remember – during which the audience will be treated to a most enjoyable evening of music as the choir takes it on a journey through the many years and genres of EnKor, including some signature Christmas classics that are sure to get all present into the Christmas spirit. The concert will be in aid of two local organisations. It all starts at 8.15pm at the University of Malta Chaplaincy. Tickets can be purchased from ticketline.com.mt. For more information on EnKor and A December to Remember, look up the choir on Facebook by following the link to facebook.com/EnKorMalta.

Three mini market hold-ups solved after thief pleads guilty

A man has pleaded guilty to armed holdups at different outlets of a local mini market chain over the past month. Justin Camilleri, a homeless and unemployed 31-year old, pleaded guilty to two separate armed robberies and another one which only reached the att
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Three mini market hold-ups solved after thief pleads guilty

A man has pleaded guilty to armed holdups at different outlets of a local mini market chain over the past month. Justin Camilleri, a homeless and unemployed 31-year old, pleaded guilty to two separate armed robberies and another one which only reached the attempt stage. He was further accused of having driven a stolen Ford Focus, having stolen number plates and also with having defrauded the owner of a petrol station out of some €457. Other charges related to the breach of a Probation Order and recidivism. Prosecuting inspectors Fabian Fleri and Lydon Zammit explained that the 14 charges revolved around similar offences, with the exception of one that was an attempt. All three robberies had targeted different outlets of the same retail chain, the first taking place at Sta Venera on the evening of November 5, when the man, armed with a knife, made off with an undisclosed amount of cash and top-up cards, after holding two women against their will. Just over a month later, last Friday evening, another shop in Birkirkara was targeted, with the thief making off with cash and top-up cards after holding up three employees. Two days later, on Sunday evening, the same man once again...

More overnight diversions at Marsa Junction on Wednesday

Infrastructure Malta is completing the temporary lanes and traffic lights required to start the third phase of the Marsa Junction Project, to open them to road users on Thursday morning. Some of the roads converging at the Marsa Junction will be closed for on
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More overnight diversions at Marsa Junction on Wednesday

Infrastructure Malta is completing the temporary lanes and traffic lights required to start the third phase of the Marsa Junction Project, to open them to road users on Thursday morning. Some of the roads converging at the Marsa Junction will be closed for one night on Wednesday at 7pm, so that they can be modified to accommodate the new temporary lanes and traffic lights being prepared this week. Road users travelling to and from Triq Aldo Moro will be diverted to a number of alternative routes in the same area. Once the final works are completed during the night, on Thursday morning the new temporary lanes and traffic lights of the Marsa Junction will be opened to road users as announced last week. The temporary routes will remain in place for several months, while the first of the project’s seven flyover structures are being built. Roadside diversion signs will be posted along the routes affected by Wednesday night’s diversions. Infrastructure Malta, Police and Transport Malta officials will be stationed in the area to guide road users in difficulty. While Wednesday’s overnight works are in progress, road users travelling south (from Valletta and the Marsa-Ħamrun Bypass)...

UK PM May must go now, says lawmaker in her Conservative Party

Theresa May needs to be replaced as British prime minister now, a leading Eurosceptic lawmaker in her Conservative party said on Tuesday as he urged colleagues to trigger a vote of no confidence in her leadership. «What I would like to happen today is f
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UK PM May must go now, says lawmaker in her Conservative Party

Theresa May needs to be replaced as British prime minister now, a leading Eurosceptic lawmaker in her Conservative party said on Tuesday as he urged colleagues to trigger a vote of no confidence in her leadership. «What I would like to happen today is for Conservative members of parliament to realise that we simply cannot go staggering forward any longer like this and I'm afraid to put their letters of no confidence in,» Steve Baker told BBC radio. May on Monday postponed a parliamentary vote on her Brexit withdrawal deal after it became clear it would be defeated to seek more concessions from the European Union but Baker said her policy was doomed for failure. «If we can't go forwards with her deal ... then I'm afraid the only way to change the policy is to change the prime minister and I really think it' her duty to go,» he said.

Fighting spirit the key behind Spartans' bright start, says Pepe

Tactical discipline and never-say-die spirit have been the hallmarks behind Ħamrun Spartans’ bright start to the 2018-19 Premier League season. On Saturday, the Spartans produced another gritty performance against neighbours Pietà Hotspurs as despite thro
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Fighting spirit the key behind Spartans' bright start, says Pepe

Tactical discipline and never-say-die spirit have been the hallmarks behind Ħamrun Spartans’ bright start to the 2018-19 Premier League season. On Saturday, the Spartans produced another gritty performance against neighbours Pietà Hotspurs as despite throwing away a two-goal lead they still managed to fight back and a Wilfried Domoraud goal three minutes from half-time handed them a 3-2 win. This was the Spartans’ sixth win from their last seven matches in all competitions and enabled them to join Sliema Wanderers and Balzan in fourth place on 22 points. Enrico Pepe has been one of the key performers for the Spartans as the arrival of the former Floriana defender has played a key role in turning the Reds into one of the tightest backlines in the top flight and in fact they are currently the third best defence in the top flight with only nine goals conceded in 12 matches. Contacted by the Times of Malta, Pepe admitted that he was annoyed by the team’s defensive lapses late in the first half against Pietà but said that at the end of the day, the most important thing was that they managed to return home with all three points in the bag. “I have to admit that our performance against...

Blockchain: from concept to reality

Many think of blockchain as a technology which is solely related to digital currency, which was its original purpose back in 2009. Blockchain has evolved into something much more than cryptocurrency use. In the broader sense, blockchain allows digital informa
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Blockchain: from concept to reality

Many think of blockchain as a technology which is solely related to digital currency, which was its original purpose back in 2009. Blockchain has evolved into something much more than cryptocurrency use. In the broader sense, blockchain allows digital information to be stored and distributed without requiring a central party, through a shared and continuously reconciled database, which database is public (not stored in one single location) and easily verifiable. Blockchain is capable of recording and tracking a multitude of transactions, from financial ones, to supply chains, land registries and medical records. The emerging technology which underpins the network is a powerful tool which should be sensibly understood by business leaders in order to assess the potential return on investment of a blockchain. The technology should be viewed as a means to address a specific need as opposed to a goal in itself or a one-size-fits-all solution to all problems. Before fully embracing the potential of blockchain, one will likely question what the benefits for implementing a blockchain network are as opposed to a traditional network, and what the costs and risks are. In order to...

Starlites and Depiro come from behind to reach semis

The Louis Borg Cup got under way last weekend with some exciting ties. Depiro managed to overturn a seven-point first leg deficit against BUPA Luxol to reach the semi-finals thanks to late points in the second leg which handed them a two-point aggregate win.
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Starlites and Depiro come from behind to reach semis

The Louis Borg Cup got under way last weekend with some exciting ties. Depiro managed to overturn a seven-point first leg deficit against BUPA Luxol to reach the semi-finals thanks to late points in the second leg which handed them a two-point aggregate win. Starlites GIG and Hibernians produced a hard-fough tie. Hibs came from behind in the first game to open a two-point lead heading into the second leg. But it was the Starlites who reached the last four as they replied with a double digit win in the return match. In the third series, Gżira Athleta registered comfortable victories over Balkan Fusion. One hopes that the latter may be able to strengthen the squad during the forthcoming registration window in January possibly also with some promising fringe players on loan from other clubs. In the semis, Gżira Athleta face Floriana MCP Car Parks while Depiro take on Starlites GIG. The first legs will be played on Thursday with the return matches pencilled for Sunday. GAME 1 BUPA Luxol            89 Depiro          82 (17-12, 29-24, 22-27, 21-19) GAME 2 Depiro          71 BUPA Luxol            62 (15-14, 16-14, 17-17, 23-17) (Depiro win 153-151 on aggregate) This was a very...

EU talks to set CO2 emission limits for cars falter

The European Union failed on Tuesday to reach a compromise over how sharply to curb carbon dioxide emissions from cars and vans as car-producing countries and more environmentally conscious lawmakers could not find a compromise. The EU has been divided for mo
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EU talks to set CO2 emission limits for cars falter

The European Union failed on Tuesday to reach a compromise over how sharply to curb carbon dioxide emissions from cars and vans as car-producing countries and more environmentally conscious lawmakers could not find a compromise. The EU has been divided for months over how strict to be on CO2 emissions from cars and vans. Germany, with the bloc's biggest auto sector, has warned that tough targets could harm industry and cost jobs. Representatives of lawmakers in the European Parliament of the 28 EU countries have held several rounds of talks together with the European Commission designed to find common ground and ended after six hours early on Tuesday, EU diplomats said. The EU executive initially proposed that emissions decline by 30 per cent by 2030, compared to 2021 levels. Germany backed that plan, but a push by several EU countries, including the Netherlands and France, raised the target to 35 per cent. There is also an intermediate target for 2025. European Parliament lawmakers voted in favour of a 40 per cent reduction in October, drawing howls from the car industry. EU diplomats said the targets remained a problem. The targets to curb emissions from the transport sector,...

Unregistered voluntary groups continue to pose risks - NAO

The Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations still does not have adequate information about unregistered groups, raising risks about operations and activities beyond its regulatory ability, according to a National Audit Office report.The report, published Mon
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Unregistered voluntary groups continue to pose risks - NAO

The Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations still does not have adequate information about unregistered groups, raising risks about operations and activities beyond its regulatory ability, according to a National Audit Office report.The report, published Monday, found that there were 1,300 enrolled voluntary organisations as of August this year, but an uncertain number of groups that remained unregistered.The lack of clear information hindered the Commissioner’s «planning capabilities and risk assessments», the audit office said.The report follows legislative changes in November extending the Commissioner’s remit, streamlining enforcement mechanisms and obliging all voluntary organisations to register.The NAO warned that the Commissioner was also facing a lack of information over financing, with many government ministries not informing the office when they issued public grants to voluntary organisations, and obligatory reporting requirements over fundraising left unenforced since 2012. Read: NGO sector ‘vulnerable to money laundering’It found an “environment of significantly high non-compliance” over the timely submission of annual returns but added that the Office of the...

Gżira, Balzan to play in Tipsport Malta Cup

Gżira United and Balzan will face two foreign oppositions in the Tipsport Malta Cup, next January. So far, three other teams, besides the BOV Premier League sides, have confirmed their participation in the international tournament - Czech Republic duo Mlada
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Gżira, Balzan to play in Tipsport Malta Cup

Gżira United and Balzan will face two foreign oppositions in the Tipsport Malta Cup, next January. So far, three other teams, besides the BOV Premier League sides, have confirmed their participation in the international tournament - Czech Republic duo Mlada Bolesvlav and FC Zbrojovka Brno, and Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia. Marko Simovic's Balzan will host Boleslav on January 24th (kick-off: 18.00) while the Maroons, under the guidance of Darren Abdilla, will take on Slovan Bratislava on the same day (kick-off: 20.00).  Slovan Bratislava are a familiar name to Maltese football followers as they were paired with Balzan in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, earlier this summer. The Maltese side gave the Slovaks a run for their money but at the end, it was the latter who qualified with a 4-3 aggregate. Meanwhile, another Maltese team should participate in the competition but it is yet to be confirmed. 

Incinerator site: minister still open to alternatives

Magħtab is the «preferred site» for the planned €150 million waste-to-energy plant but alternatives could still be considered, environment minister José Herrera told Parliament's environment committee on Tuesday.  The minister said Magħta
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Incinerator site: minister still open to alternatives

Magħtab is the «preferred site» for the planned €150 million waste-to-energy plant but alternatives could still be considered, environment minister José Herrera told Parliament's environment committee on Tuesday.  The minister said Magħtab presented logistical advantages due to its proximity to the existing landfill. Answering questions from Nationalist MP Robert Cutajar, he said the government was open to alternatives, but pointed out that the Opposition had yet to suggest any other options.  Dr Herrera stressed that Malta could not afford another landfilling site as large as that at Magħtab and Għallis, which covers approximately the same area as Valletta. Going for full recycling would have been the ideal solution, but placing such a burden on the country at this stage would have been unrealistic, he said. Responding to queries from Opposition MPs Dr Cutajar and Godfrey Farrugia about the choice of Magħtab as a preferred site, he said a technical report on the project, commissioned from SLR Consulting Limited, was publicly available online. However, a report drawn up by the EU’s Joint Assistance to Support Programmes in European Regions (JASPERS) body could not be published...

Diabetic children do not need LSAs - association president

The president of the Malta Diabetes Association has called for ending the assignment of a learning support assistant to primary and secondary students needing to receive insulin injections during school hours. Chris Delicata said in Parliament on Monday tha
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Diabetic children do not need LSAs - association president

The president of the Malta Diabetes Association has called for ending the assignment of a learning support assistant to primary and secondary students needing to receive insulin injections during school hours. Chris Delicata said in Parliament on Monday that diabetic children were perfectly capable of administering their own medicine, and did not suffer from any learning disabilities as a result of their condition.  His call was backed by Opposition MP Claudette Buttigieg who described the practice as a waste of resources which could be better deployed elsewhere. However, the need for schools to have properly staffed and up-to-date clinics ready to respond to health emergencies was emphasised. Mr Delicata also said a national diabetes screening programme, similar to that already introduced for breast and colon cancer, was necessary to ensure that as many cases of diabetes as possible were prevented.He expressed his organisation’s satisfaction at the fact that a Working Group on Diabetes had been established within the House for the second legislature running. He also commented positively on various initiatives adopted by the Government while pointing out where improvements were...

EU rules out reworking Brexit deal, prepares for no-deal

EU leaders will not renegotiate Britain's Brexit deal, including the Irish border «backstop», Donald Tusk said on Monday after Prime Minister Theresa May put off a parliamentary vote on a package that was facing heavy defeat. EU officials said Eur
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EU rules out reworking Brexit deal, prepares for no-deal

EU leaders will not renegotiate Britain's Brexit deal, including the Irish border «backstop», Donald Tusk said on Monday after Prime Minister Theresa May put off a parliamentary vote on a package that was facing heavy defeat. EU officials said European Council President Tusk could meet May as early as Tuesday to prepare talks on Brexit during a regular Brussels summit which May will attend on Thursday and Friday. Tusk said he had scheduled a meeting of the other 27 leaders on Brexit, to be held at some point during the summit. «We will not renegotiate the deal, including the backstop,» he said on Twitter after May said she would go back to European neighbours to seek new reassurances about the insurance clause which would bind Britain into a customs union with the EU in order to avoid a «hard» EU border for troubled Northern Ireland. Read: Chaos as Theresa May withdraws parliamentary Brexit vote May's domestic critics want a time limit on the backstop, but Dublin and its EU allies insist that it must be able to be used until some better way is found to avoid customs checks on the EU-UK land border while letting Britain escape EU rules. EU officials said it was almost...

Advisory council backs government's fiscal projections

The government’s latest financial forecasts were endorsed by the Malta Fiscal Advisory Council on Monday. Set up by the Finance Ministry, the independent council is tasked with reviewing fiscal and economic policy objectives proposed by the government. In
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Advisory council backs government's fiscal projections

The government’s latest financial forecasts were endorsed by the Malta Fiscal Advisory Council on Monday. Set up by the Finance Ministry, the independent council is tasked with reviewing fiscal and economic policy objectives proposed by the government. In a statement, the council on Monday said it had endorsed the government’s updated official macro-economic and fiscal forecasts for 2018 and 2019. According to the Finance Ministry, the Maltese economy will maintain strong growth over the forecasted horizon. However, real GDP growth is expected to decelerate gradually, from 6.7% in 2017, to 5.8% in 2018, and 5.3% in 2019. The government is expecting further fiscal surpluses over the two-year period, albeit smaller than in 2017. The fiscal surplus, which in 2017 amounted to 3.5% of GDP, is set to drop to 1.1% in 2018, and then increase slightly, to 1.3% in 2019. Meanwhile, the debt-to-GDP ratio is expected to maintain its gradual downward trend, falling from 50.9% in 2017, to 46.9% in 2018 and to 43.8% in 2019. The analysis carried out by the council suggests that there could be a marginal downside risk for real GDP growth for 2018, however for 2019 the risk outlook is...

May is savaged at home after delaying Brexit vote

UK Prime Minister Theresa May drew widespread criticism on Monday after delaying a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal she appeared certain to lose heavily. The Opposition Labour Party said Britain now no longer had a functioning government. «The gov
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May is savaged at home after delaying Brexit vote

UK Prime Minister Theresa May drew widespread criticism on Monday after delaying a parliamentary vote on the Brexit deal she appeared certain to lose heavily. The Opposition Labour Party said Britain now no longer had a functioning government. «The government has decided Theresa May's Brexit deal is so disastrous that it has taken the desperate step of delaying its own vote at the eleventh hour,» Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said in a statement. «We don't have a functioning government ... Labour's alternative plan for a jobs first deal must take centre stage in any future talks with Brussels.» Scotland Chief Minister Nichola Sturgeon said the Brexit deal should have gone before parliament immediately so that it could be voted down.  The postponement, she said was «an act of pathetic cowardice by a government now collapsing under utter chaos».  The deputy leader of the DUP, the N.Ireland party propping up the conservative government, said he would not welcome a no-deal Brexit, but was not afraid of one.  The Northern Irish party said May needed to renegotiate her Brexit divorce, or be replaced by someone willing to change course. "What (the EU) need to be faced with is either...

Żebbuġ public garden gets a €200,000 renovation

Ġnien it-Tfulija in Żebbuġ has been given €200,000 facelift financed in part through the Planning Authority’s Development Planning Fund. The garden has been embellished with exercise equipment, a new lighting system, benches and a gazebo. CCTV cameras
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Żebbuġ public garden gets a €200,000 renovation

Ġnien it-Tfulija in Żebbuġ has been given €200,000 facelift financed in part through the Planning Authority’s Development Planning Fund. The garden has been embellished with exercise equipment, a new lighting system, benches and a gazebo. CCTV cameras have also been added. The PA fund is made up of contributions developers must pay when undertaking construction projects. So far this year, €1 million from the fund has been used to enhance 17 public gardens in 10 towns and villages, Infrastructure Minister Ian Borg said. Dr Borg said a further €27 million in funds were available for councils to use and urged them to make use of all the funds. The minister was joined by Żebbuġ mayor Sarah Agius Saliba and parliamentary secretary Silvio Parnis. Mr Parnis said that local councils had submitted 85 proposals to receive funding, with 32 of those approved – 28 in Malta and four in Gozo. Just over €2.5m had been allocated in the first tranche of funding and 18 projects had already been completed, with most of the rest scheduled for completion within the next six months. Mayor Agius Saliba thanked Dr Borg and Mr Parnis for their support.

Sliema's Azzopardi undergoes knee surgery in Italy

Athletes from many sports that have suffered major knee injuries over the years in Italy have turned to Rome and the experienced knee surgeon Professor Francesco Franceschi. Sliema Wanderers midfielder Ayrton Azzopardi, who is currently nursing a debilitatin
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Sliema's Azzopardi undergoes knee surgery in Italy

Athletes from many sports that have suffered major knee injuries over the years in Italy have turned to Rome and the experienced knee surgeon Professor Francesco Franceschi. Sliema Wanderers midfielder Ayrton Azzopardi, who is currently nursing a debilitating knee injury, has turned to the renowned Professor Franceschi in a bid to regain his full fitness. Azzopardi's season was cut short last September when he fell and tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Sliema Wanderers’ 2-0 win against St Andrews Luxol. On Sunday, the midfielder travelled to Rome with Sliema's Team Manager Gianfranco and Physioterapy Manager Paolo Cardinale, to receive the best possible treatment for his injury. He visited Professor Franceschi at the University Campus Bio-Medico to undergo an operation on his left knee. Professor Franceschi, chief of the “Upper and Lower limb Surgery” Unit, has vast experience in treating sportsmen and most particularly Italian football players and athletes. He has performed over 5,000 knee operations, including on a number of Serie A stars. “The operation went well and the midfielder will now continue with his rehabilitation programme,” Sliema Wanderers said in a...

One good turn…

“In Malta there’s no poverty.” We love to repeat this statement over and over, maybe because it assuages our conscience or maybe because it makes us feel like we’re living in a bed of roses. We replay this statement so much that now we believe it to
timesofmalta.com

One good turn…

“In Malta there’s no poverty.” We love to repeat this statement over and over, maybe because it assuages our conscience or maybe because it makes us feel like we’re living in a bed of roses. We replay this statement so much that now we believe it to be true. So much so, that when activists and NGOs try to raise awareness about poverty in Malta, we push them to the side lest they mar the bright lights of the shining sky scrapers and the glittery shopping malls. Children’s literature can help throw the spotlight on the realities of poverty, without any homilies or lengthy sermons. A magical story can just as easily leave an impact on a child’s imagination and spur the new generation to empathise and be more aware than ours.  Clare Azzopardi’s new picture book, Il-Ħanut tal-Ħelu li Mar Dawra, illustrated by Matt Stroud and published by Merlin Publishers, is about a boy called Max. Every Saturday, Max stops by at this old sweet shop. In a country full of modern shops, one as soulless and as similar to the next, this little sweet shop sticks out, because it’s very old fashioned. The wooden shop windows, the old benches and the timeworn cash register gives it a charm like no other.

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