Malta to host the Mediterrane Film Festival for the first time

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta will be organising the Mediterrane Film Festival for the first time, an event which showcases creative and artistic talent in this region. The festival will take place between 25 – 30 June in Valletta and various other places around Malta.
The event will allow the MED9 countries (Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia, Croatia and Malta) to meet and discuss the importance of collaboration in the cinematographic sector between Mediterranean countries.
International film producers, studio officials, producers, directors as well as representatives from the Mediterrane Film Commission, the British Film Commission and Hollywood Studios will be taking part.
Maltàs Film Commissioner Johann Grech said “this is one of the many initiatives taken by the Malta Film Commission so that the industry will keep growing and attract more films to our country.” He added that the aim of this festival is to strengthen Maltàs position in the global film market and attract more film projects.
Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo emphasised the importance of collaboration through various opportunities so that an attractive future for Maltàs film industry can be built for the generations to come.
The Italian Ambassador to Malta Fabrizio Romano remarked how “this festival will serve as a tribute to the value of cooperation and the importance of the Mediterranean region to work cohesively in the cinematographic sector”.
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Source: medNews

Borrell tells Putin “Stop the war. Ukraine cannot be a new Belarus”

FLORENCE (ITALPRESS/MNA) – “Message to Putin? The only message I feel to tell him is to stop this war, stop bombing and invading Ukraine. I know he won’t. I tell the leaders to tell Putin to stop the war. The war cannot end just because the Ukrainians can no longer defend themselves. Ukraine cannot turn into a new Belarus”. This was stated by the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, while speaking at the conference ‘The State of the Union’ taking place today in Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
“Peace plans? The only thing that could be defined as a peace plan is Zelensky’s proposal”, added Borrell. While referring to the Chinese proposal, Borrell declared, “it is not a peace plan. What China is proposing is a series of dreams, unrealizable. The peace plans are excellent but we need someone who wants to talk about peace. But how can you talk about peace if there is someone who continues to say that they have military objectives?”.
The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs said that in the Russia-Ukraine conflict “China has a role, I was strongly criticized because I said that China is a bit on Russiàs side” however, “China has not supplied Russia with weapons,” continued Borrell. He added, “the fact that President Xi spoke with President Zelensky, not talking about war, it’s a positive fact. I will go to China…”.

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Source: medNews

UN, Libya is not a safe port of disembarkation

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – According to a report compiled by the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, the northern African country is not a safe port of disembarkation. While noting that violations against refugees and migrants in Libya continue unabated, including in detention centres, the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reiterated that Libya is not a safe country for asylum seekers. “Any refugees and migrants intercepted along the central Mediterranean route should be assigned a safe port of disembarkation, in accordance with the law of the sea, international maritime law, international human rights law, and refugee law,” the UN Secretary-General said. Guterres also called for rights-based alternatives to detention, including by establishing legal and policy frameworks to manage migration in line with international law. (ITALPRESS).

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Source: medNews

Malta, prison for an Egyptian for sexually abusing an Italian tourist

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – 34-year-old Egyptian Najah Agheez, the man who admitted to sexually assaulting Italian local councillor Lara Ali Shahin, has been sent to four years and six months in prison. The court ordered the deportation of Agheez, once the Egyptian will serve his four and a half year sentence.
Last month, the accused pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the victim in a hotel at St. Paul’s Bay, where she was staying while on holiday in Malta. He also plead guilty to harassing her, instilling fear in her, stealing a mobile phone of a man and breaching conditions imposed on him by the Courts in a previous case. The victim, Lara Ali Shahin, is a teacher and member of the local council of Susegana in Veneto, had recounted the ordeal to the media. She was staying at a hotel in Bugibba for a weekend holiday in Malta, and was at a nearby pub when she was approached by a man who was roughly her age, who made advances that she refused. But as she returned to the hotel later in the evening, she came across the same man, who claimed to be staying in the same hotel and on the same floor. He followed her into her room and assaulted her, leaving her screaming for help. As a result, the staff at the hotel was alerted, and a night porter went to the room and stopped the man, who fled. The Egyptian was identified by the Police after he was captured on security footage. (ITALPRESS).

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Source: medNews

Bulgaria prepares to adopt the euro from 1 January 2025

SOFIA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Bulgaria is making efforts to be ready to adopt the euro by 1 January 2025 at the latest. The country’s preparations and progress in this direction were discussed during meetings between the Bulgarian Finance Minister Rositsa Velkova and the President of the Eurogroup Pascal Donahue and with the European Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis at the ECOFIN meeting held between 27-28 April 2023. This was stated as by the Bulgarian Ministry of Finance.
With regards to the media speculation regarding Bulgariàs accession to the Eurozone, the Ministry of Finance categorically stated that the issue of postponing the introduction of the euro after January 1, 2025 was not raised in these meetings.
“Membership in the Eurozone is a priority for our country. The active work in view of the adoption of the single European currency continues, both in the technical and legislative aspects. The Ministry of Finance considers it unacceptable to spread false news and contradictory messages in the media, especially those with a good reputation in the public life”.

Source: medNews

Maltàs press freedom continues to deteriorate

VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – According to Reporters Without Borders’ annual World Press Freedom Index, press freedom in Malta continued to weaken in the past year. Malta was classified in 84th place among 180 countries, six places lower than in 2022.

The report noted that journalists in Malta have to cope with a highly polarised environment under the strong influence of political parties.

Although the public inquiry into the assassination of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was concluded in 2021, the report said that the Maltese government was reluctant to implement the recommendations listed in the inquiry report. The inquiry had concluded that the state must shoulder responsibility for the assassination because it created an atmosphere of impunity. Almost six years after the assassination of Caruana Galizia, the report noted that full justice is yet to be served.

It was observed that the ruling Labour Party exerts a strong influence over the public broadcaster. It also makes use of public advertising to exert pressure on private media.

“Many politicians select specific journalists for exclusive interviews, while those considered “hostile” are ignored, including within the party media,” the report said.

As for Maltàs legal framework, while press freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution, the country’s legal and regulatory framework does not allow journalists to exercise their rights. It was observed that the independent media are discriminated against in accessing information, with the local authorities have gone so far as to challenge in court each of the 40 requests for access to information sent by a media outlet, effectively targeting it with a new type of Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (SLAPP).

Journalists are regularly the targets of SLAPP, and family members of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed in 2017, are even targeted with posthumous defamation lawsuits.

It was also noted that while it is relatively easy to launch a media outlet, the small market offers limited funding sources for independent media whose sustainability is undermined by the non-transparent and discriminatory distribution of public funds.

The report notes that the subsidies offered during the coronavirus pandemic were mostly granted to political parties’ media entities.

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Source: medNews

Libya, fear of refugee inflow closed border with Sudan

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – As the Libyan authorities in the eastern region warned of an influx of displaced people from Sudan toward the Libyan border, according to eyewitnesses, the land border crossing between Libya and Sudan has been closed from both sides, while Sudanese and Chadian security are patrolling the border strip to prevent any attempts of infiltration. Sudanese nationals residing in the Wahat area near the southern borders of Libya said they noticed no changes in the traffic movement through the borderline. However, the Libyan authorities in the eastern region confirmed that hundreds of Sudanese nationals have already arrived at the Libyan southern border individually. Meanwhile, charitable organizations in the desert oasis of Jalu confirmed their readiness to provide aid and assist refugees fleeing neighbouring Sudan. Since the clashes erupted weeks ago, the fighting between the Sudanese army and its paramilitary rival, the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), killed over 560 people and more than 4,600 injured. The violence has forced tens of thousands to flee their homes to safer places in Sudan, with over 75,000 crossing overland into neighboring countries, according to UN figures.

Source: medNews

Malta, Italians top the list of passengers onboard cruise liners

Italians are considered as the main market for visiting Malta onboard cruise liners according to Malta’s National Statistics Office. Official statistics show that close to 72,000 passengers visited Malta on cruise liners during the first quarter of the year. 21 cruise liners entered Valletta’s Grand Harbour between January and March, two less than the number of cruise liners visiting Malta during the first quarter of last year. However, the number of passengers increased by 46,786 over 2022. On average, every cruise liner visiting Malta carried just over 3,400 passengers, being 2,332 more than for the same period last year. Passengers from European Union countries amounted to 72.6% of the total traffic. The main markets were Italy with 24.1% and Germany with 18.4%. The total number of passengers from non-EU countries amounted to 19,744; 14,468 more than the first quarter of last year. 32.1% of these passengers came from the UK and 13.9% from the US. Over 53% of passengers were females, and the majority were in the 40 to 59 age group.


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Source: medNews

336 migrants rescued in Maltàs SAR region to disembark in La Spezia

LA VALLETTA (ITALPRESS/MNA) – 336 migrants, including women and children, were rescued in Maltàs search and rescue area by a civil search and rescue vessel, Geo Barents, operated by Doctors Without Borders (MSF Sea).
In a tweet, MSF Sea said that its vessel rescued 336 people, “including many women and children, from an overcrowded wooden boat in distress.”
MSF Sea said that following the alert received from NGO Alarm Phone it took about four hours to complete this rescue operation.
“Everyone is now safely on board the ship and being cared for by our team,” MSF said.
MSF Sea confirmed that the Italian authorities have assigned La Spezia as a place of safety to disembark the 336 survivors. “This is against international law and this is unacceptable. Other suitable ports are significantly closer to our current location. Why not Pozzallo, Palermo or Augusta? This decision also affects the physical and psychological well-being of survivors. After their traumatic experience, this unnecessary waiting causes them even more suffering. Humanity first,” reaffirmed MSF Sea.
The latest complex operation was the second such rescue carried out in Maltàs SAR by the MSF vessel in less than a month, with another 440 asylum seekers rescued by the Geo Barents in early April.
Although the Maltese authorities were alerted about the migrants in distress, no action was taken to rescue the people who were trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa.

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Source: medNews

Kosovo and Turkey sign military agreement

ISTANBUL (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Minister of Defense, Armend Mehaj met with the Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar Mehaj during an official visit in Turkey.
According to an official statement, the excellent cooperation between the two countries was discussed, a cooperation that will be further deepened.
“We are working on the signing of the SOFA agreement, the personnel exchange agreement and the agreement in the military training, technology and science. Turkey remains our partner in developing and strengthening our military”, Mehaj declared.

Source: medNews

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