medNews

ISRAEL, NEW OFFSHORE NATURAL GAS FIELDS

The Greek energy company Energean Oil & Gas plc announced the discovery of 28-42 billion cubic meters (BCM) of natural gas in the northern Israeli offshore gas field. This is in addition to the 45 BCMs already discovered. This is a much smaller site than the 281 BCM in the Tamar field and the 605 BCM in the Leviathan field, however consistent enough to allow Energean to become a competitive player in the Israeli energy market. The share price of Energean rose by 7% after the news was released. This is reported by the economic newspaper Globes.

Exploratory drilling began on 15 March and reached a depth of 4,880 meters, and was completed a week earlier than expected. A further evaluation will now be launched to further refine the potential of resources and determine the actual content.

 

The CEO of Energean, Mathios Rigas, said: “We are pleased to announce this significant new gas discovery at Karish North, which further demonstrates the attractiveness of our gas field off the coast of Israel. We are building the FPSO Energean Power with unused capacity , which will allow us to quickly, safely and economically develop both North Karish and future discoveries. We have already signed a contract to sell 5.5 billion cubic meters (0.2 Tcf) of this new resource, and our strategy it is now to guarantee the transfer of the remaining volumes. We continue to see a strong demand for our gas, which we believe will be further supported by today’s announcement “.

Once the operations on Karish North are completed, Stena DrillMAX will return to drill in Karish’s field. Following this program, Energean will have six other drilling options remaining under the contract with Stena Drilling.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

GIANNI MORANDI IN CONCERT, GREATEST HITS OF 60-YEAR CAREER

The first notes of “Un mondo d’amore” were enough to make the 3.000 people present at Malta Fairs & Conventions in Malta, which welcomed Gianni Morandi with an enthralling enthusiasm. The show, organized by Giuseppe Rapisarda Management, saw Gianni Morandi retrace the fundamental stages of his sixty-year career. In the playlist his greatest hits: “Occhi di ragazza”, “Scende la pioggia”, “La fisarmonica”, “Non son degno di te”, “Uno su mille”, “Dobbiamo fare luce”. The fans witnessed a journey through the music of yesterday and today, the same that marked the career of the artist but also that of Italian costume and musical culture.  Gianni Morandi returned the warmth of the audience by giving a great show. The next appointment with Italian music in Malta will be July 19th when the three young artists of Il Volo will be on stage at the MFCC.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

TURKEY WANTS TO GET RID OF ENERGY DEPENDENCE

Turkey wants to get rid of energy dependence and become an exporter of oil and gas, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources of Turkey Fatih Donmez said, Trend reports March 28 with reference to the Turkish media. He said that for these purposes, oil and gas exploration is being carried out in the country. The minister noted that Turkey is an energy hub, and this is evidenced by such important projects as TANAP and the Turkish Stream. TANAP project envisages transportation of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz field to the western borders of Turkey. The length of TANAP is 1,850 kilometers with an initial capacity of 16 billion cubic meters of gas. Around six billion cubic meters of this gas is meant to be delivered to Turkey, with the remaining volume to be supplied to Europe.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

MALTA, NATIONAL UNITY TOP PRIORITY FOR VELLA

During his first official speech as the new President of the Republic of Malta, George Vella declared that Malta has to work hard to achieve unity and he will work to eradicate divisions in Maltese society. “There undoubtedly remains the need and space for different and divergent opinions, but there needs to prevail a genuine and reciprocal respect.”  

Vella was sworn in today as the tenth President of the Republic of Malta in a special sitting of the House of Representatives. His appointment was approved in an unanimous vote by the Maltese Parliament for the next five years.

“As President, I expect this first expression of unity and political maturity, to manifest itself in the coming weeks, as we hold elections for the European Parliament.” He said as a nation, “we are far from perfect, and still have a lot to contribute to leave a better place for upcoming generations. We still have our differences on the way our institutions work and operate, about the rule of law, the powers of administration, and about executive structures. We still carry on our national conscience the black stains of atrocious acts such as the murders of Karin Grech (1977), Raymond Caruana (1986), and Daphne Caruana Galizia (2017). All of this does not befit the peace-loving character of us Maltese”.

Vella referred to other challenges Malta is facing: the reinforcing of the civil liberties, the elimination of all forms of discrimination, the guarantee of women’s rights, the safeguarding of social rights, and the quality of life should prevail for both Maltese and foreign workers as well as for the migrants. Another priority mentioned by the President of Malta is the importance of just and equitable distribution of wealth. “I belief firmly that help is to be provided by way of right, and not as an act of charity or favour.  At the same time, we cannot allow ourselves to think that, thanks to our country’s remarkable economic performance, there is no material poverty among our citizens. This is indeed a challenge, and I take it upon myself to keep up the attention placed on those in need.” 

As a medical professional, Vella declared he hope to continue witnessing the respect that has been shown thus far towards the ethical and moral bases of the medical profession, above all respect for life, from its very inception to the individual’s very last breath. 

He also spoke about the challenges facing Malta as regards the environement, and said he will recommend rigorous adherence to regulations and scrupulous decision-making in the interest of sustainability, and the ultimate obligation towards future generations.

 

In a message sent from the President of the Republic of Italy Sergio Mattarella to the newly appointed President of the Republic of Malta, Sergio Matarella described the deep bond that unites the two countries. Matarella said that at a time when the Mediterranean area is facing profound challenges; starting from the migration; it is indispensable to intensify the collaboration between Valletta and Rome with farsightedness and ambition; both on the bilateral level and in the framework of the European Union to ensure that conditions of stability and a shared future full of peace and prosperity emerge in our neighborhood.

Addressing the highest authorities in Malta in an inter-religious ceremony at St. John’s Co-Cathedral, prior to the swearing-in ceremony of the new President of the Republic, Archibishop Charles J. Scicluna insisted on the importance that political leaders seek wisdom so that they can see what is right and act on it,  by investing in the highest good.  “The economic prosperity of a country is placed on a sound foundation depending on how much its leaders seek first and foremost to embrace attitudes linked to what is wise and right. The same can be said for the reputation of the country: it is strengthened and grows depending on the priorities we have when we embrace the values of integrity, justice and solidarity”.

 

He quoted Pope Francis in his message for the 2019 Day of Peace: “The thirst for power at any price leads to abuses and injustice. Politics is an essential means of building human community and institutions, but when political life is not seen as a form of service to society as a whole, it can become a means of oppression, marginalisation and even destruction”.

Archbishop Scicluna warned that if the first or only thing the political leaders seek is gain or profits, democracy becomes a kerdocracy (a society based on a mad rush after profit) and from there on it is easy to slide into a kleptocracy (a society where power is in the hands of the greediest).  “In fact political office and political responsibility thus constantly challenge those called to the service of their country to make every effort to protect those who live there and to create the conditions for a worthy and just future. If exercised with basic respect for the life, freedom and dignity of persons, political life can indeed become an outstanding form of charity”. 

Archbishop Scicluna declared every election and re-election, and every stage of public life, is an opportunity to return to the original points of reference that inspire justice and law. “One thing is certain: good politics is at the service of peace. It respects and promotes fundamental human rights, which are at the same time mutual obligations, enabling a bond of trust and gratitude to be forged between present and future generations”.

Roderick Agius

 

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

MALTA, LAW FOR MORE WOMEN IN PARLIAMENT

The Maltese government has proposed a constitutional amendment to ensure greater female presence in the House of Representatives.

According to the measure presented this week in a press conference that opened the phase of public consultations on the subject, in the event that a parliament resulting from the election does not guarantee a representation of at least 40% for both genders, up to 12 parliamentarians of the underrepresented gender will be elected in parliament, to ensure a fair representation.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Reforms, Giulia Farrugia Portelli, stated during the conference her intention to pass on the message that “if I have succeeded in having a career in politics, all women can”.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, during his speech, underlined the Government’s conviction that Maltese society should guarantee a balance between genders to promote inclusiveness.

The Prime Minister also wanted to highlight how this is not a system that provides for quotas, and consequently this mechanism will not deprive some elected officials of their seat, but will add a certain number of parliamentarians to reduce the gender gap between the elected”, if it will be necessary. Muscat added that all opinions contrary to this proposal should be listened to and carefully evaluated, to ensure the best possible development of the law itself.

The government’s decision to introduce corrections to the electoral law comes from a series of critical elements relating to the state of Maltese politics, especially when compared to the situation in other European countries. The document includes a FAQ section, which explains the reasons that led to this choice. The document also refers to the Democracy Index 2018, which states that similar measures adopted in other European countries such as Spain, Slovenia, Portugal, Belgium, France and Ireland have led to good results, while the quota mechanism has always caused numerous controversies and debates.

 

The document also shows that the objective of the reform is to lead to a situation in which both genders have a representation (indicated as “critical mass”) of at least 33%. The committee that worked on the proposal suggests for this measure to stay into force for 20 years, before being put to the scrutiny of the parliament, which will then have to decide whether to maintain it, modify it or eliminate it.

In Republican history, until today Malta has seen only 27 women elected as parliamentarians.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)

 


Source: medNews

LEBANON, 14% OF ALL BOARD MEMBERS ARE FEMALE

A study published by the International Finance Corporation on female participation in boards of directors in Lebanon shows that 50% of surveyed companies have one or more female corporate board members, with women representing 14% of all board members in Lebanon. The study covers a sample of 1,600 Lebanese companies, and uses data collected through an analysis of publicly available information and the Masri enterprise database. It is also based on qualitative analysis, which entails focus groups and interviews with male and female board directors and executives, as well as on an online survey.

 

The study found that gender-diverse boards lead to stronger company performance. It noted that Lebanese firms that have female board members posted an aggregate return on equity (ROE) of 20.7% in the 2014-16 period, which is twice as high as the ROE of 10.3% for corporates with all-male boards. It also indicated that gender-diverse boards showed increased preference for equity financing and less dependence on debt. In this context, it pointed out that the average equity-to-asset ratio of Lebanese companies with gender-diverse boards was 14.7% in the 2014-16 period, compared to a ratio of 2.8% for corporates without female participation. It added that the aggregate debt-to-asset ratio of firms with gender-diverse boards was 12 percentage points lower than the ratio of corporates with an all-male board of directors.

In parallel, the qualitative analysis of the study shows that female attributes, such as excellent problem-solving skills and sound economic and strategic thinking skills, benefit companies in Lebanon, especially in the areas of risk management and planning, as well as in setting a firm’s strategic direction. 

It also considered that female corporate board members in Lebanon face several barriers. It said that women in the country are subject to societal expectations about their roles, which hinders their ambitions and opportunities. It adds that even highly qualified female board members in Lebanon experience marginalization, and have less authority and executive power than their male counterparts.

Further, in considered that there is an experience gap between females and males in the country, but anticipated the experience gender gap to narrow. It noted that more women than men are continuing their education beyond the secondary-level, and many of them are pursuing corporate careers. As such, it expected women’s experience levels to eventually reach parity with their male peers in many sectors in the country. Still, it pointed out that concrete action is needed to develop the untapped potential of a larger female presence in businesses, which, in turn, would lead to job creation and boost economic growth.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)

 


Source: medNews

MALTA HOSTS FIRST E-MOBILITY SUMMIT

The first E-Mobility Summit was held in Malta, dedicated to eco-sustainability in transport and focused on electric vehicles and technological innovations in the automotive sector.

During the summit, which was opened by Prime Minister Joseph Muscat, it was repeatedly stressed that Malta is particularly suited to acting as a forerunner in the field of e-mobility, due to the small size of the country and the mild temperatures during winter months . In fact, many participants pointed out that the two biggest concerns about electric vehicles derive from the number of kilometers that can be traveled with a full battery charge, which in Malta is not a problem given the very short distances, and the performance of the battery at low temperatures. Battery performance can be reduced by up to 40% when the temperature falls below zero, but this is a problem that Malta does not know, given that even in winter temperatures are usually well above zero.

 

However, the very cold winter is not a problem for Norway: during the summit, it emerged that about three vehicles out of four purchased in Norway are electric. The Scandinavian country, in addition to offering strong incentives for those who buy electric vehicles, has also invested heavily in infrastructure and especially in charging stations, which are widespread throughout the country. The project in Norway was carried out in cooperation with various car manufacturers.

The discussion covered in detail the case of Malta, for which future priorities were highlighted. Among these, the improvement of the infrastructures – specifically the charging stations and the possibility of installing charging points at home – has been repeatedly emphasized.

The sessions of the summit also included other key elements such as European legislation, the commitments undertaken at the EU level for the reduction of emissions and the innovations in the sector in the years to come, especially the autonomous cars. On this last point, the fact that the concept of vehicle ownership will be questioned of technological evolution has been highlighted, and that this will require a change of mentality of the whole society. This innovation could potentially solve the traffic problem, which for years has been affecting the daily life of all residents and which has been a government priority for over a decade.

 

The summit also included an exhibition of electric cars, in addition to the stands of some government agencies operating in the field of environmental protection.

In addition to Prime Minister Muscat, Minister of the Economy Chris Cardona, Minister of the Environment Josè Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary Silvio Schembri, the Director of the European Union for the Environment Daniel Calleja Crespo and MEP Miriam Dalli took the floor.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

GEORGE VELLA NEW PRESIDENT OF MALTA

Former Foreign Minister George Vella will be the new president of the Republic of Malta. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced it on Twitter. Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, outgoing president, will lead the Foundation for Social Welfare.

The announcement was preceded by a meeting of the Government that unanimously approved Muscat’s proposal to appoint Vella as the tenth president.

George Vella was Deputy Prime Minister of Malta and Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Environment between 1996 and 1998. Subsequently he served as Minister for Foreign Affairs in the legislature between 2013 and 2017. Vella was elected to the Parliament for the first time in 1978.

He was born in Zejtun, is married to Mrs. Miriam and together they have three children and seven grandchildren.

Vella, 76, will take an oath on April 4th.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

MALTA, 35TH PLACE FOR QUALITY OF DEMOCRACY

The German foundation Bertelsmann Stiftung has just published the “Sustainable Governance Index – SGI”, which assesses the quality of democracy in the world.

The report places Malta in 35th place in the ranking of countries with the most robust democracy. The index is the result of a series of indicators: electoral process, access to information, civil rights and social freedoms, and rule of law.

The site of the Bertelsmann Stiftung foundation elaborates an explanation of this result articulated on various points. The site recognizes the presence of an impartial and effective electoral law, in the sense that guarantees governability to the winner, which is always clearly identifiable, even in the case of a victory with a tiny margin.

The score related to civil law and social freedoms is high, also in consideration of the fact that the Maltese parliament has recently approved a law which guarantees ample rights to LBGTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) and which promotes gender equality. In this field, however, various forms of discrimination based on political affiliation and against foreigners have been found, especially in some categories of workers.

 

While a legislative improvement is recognized as regards the fight against corruption, implementation of these procedures is not considered satisfactory. The Bertelsmann Stiftung website also states that the parliamentary opposition, historically, has always accused the majority, and consequently the government, of corruption, but it is also noted that such instances have never been fully considered, and sometimes they have been even ignored.

Regarding the state of information and the press in general, there is an improvement in the independence of public television. Also under the heading “pluralism”, the score is positive, and it is emphasized that the various social components have several forms and modalities of expression. On the other hand, there is a reasonable margin of improvement with regard to access to government information and certain laws, which preclude confidentiality and the acts are still in force.

 

In the “Rule of law” category, the most critical issues were found in the “appointment of magistrates” and “prevention of corruption” sub-indices, while legal certainty and judicial review obtained positive scores. Among the negative aspects, the fact that the judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the President of the Republic on the indication of the Prime Minister, who enjoys wide discretion in the matter.

The Scandinavian countries lead this particular ranking: Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway take the first four places, followed by Germany and Switzerland (fifth with the same merit), Estonia and New Zealand, the first non-European country, which occupies the 7th position.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

EGYPT, RESTRUCTURING THE PUBLIC SECTOR

The government is on track in efforts to restructure and develop Egypt’s battered state-owned companies.

As the Ministry of the Public Business Sector (MPBS) continues to implement its plans to develop 26 public-sector companies in order to optimise their outputs and reduce their losses, the cabinet has decided to set up a fund to settle their debts to the banking system. 

There were 48 loss-making companies in the sector and 73 profit-making ones. In the 2015-16 fiscal year, the sector’s losses amounted to LE7.5 billion.

There are 119 state-owned companies under the ministry umbrella, and it is seeking to conclude partnership agreements with international investors to revive some of the state-owned companies operating in the automotive, steel, engineering and transportation sectors.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: medNews

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