News

Pope Francis confirms his wish to vist Malta

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Pope Francis confirmed that he still wants to pay a pastrol visit to Malta in the near future.
During an interview on Radio COPE, the radio station of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Pope Francis declared: “my choice so far of travel to Europe is the small countries. First it was Albania and then all the countries that were small. Now Slovakia is on the program, then Cyprus, Greece and Malta. I wanted to take that option: first to the smaller countries.”
It is expected that the Holy See will visit the two Mediterranean islands after visiting Glasgow in November where he will be attending the United Nations Climate Change Conference.
The President of Malta George Vella confirmed that there has been contact between his office and the Vatican. “What we know is that the Pope is interested in a visit, 99% hès going to Cyprus. We cannot exclude anything.” He explained that the dates will be announced once there is an agreement. Robert Abela said that any correspondence between his office and the Vatican will remain confidential until an agreement is reached.
A spokesperson for the Archbishop’s Curia said that the date of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Malta will be announced once it has been confirmed. The decision will also take into account the situation regarding the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the health and safety of the Holy Father, the faithful and all those involved, as the Maltese Church has always done in consultation with the health authorities.
The Vatican made it also clear that these plans depend on the Popès health condition. The Pope underwent surgery to remove part of his colon earlier this month.
The Pope was meant to visit Malta in May last year, however these plans were disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pope Francis will be the third pontiff to visit Malta after St John Paul II and pope emeritus Benedict XVI.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

Money laundering and fraud charges against Yorgen Fenech

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Yorgen Fenech, the businessman accused as the mastermind behind the assassination of Maltese investgative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, has pleaded not guilty of fraud and money laundering accusations between April and October 2019.
The accusations are linked to a Maltese company. Two business associates of Fenech, Joseph and Nicholas Cachia who have also been charged, have also pleaded not guilty to the charges. Joe Cachia, 67 owns three racehorses abroad.
Nicholas Cachia, 46, was mentioned recently in court as the man whom Fenech was discussing his plans to escape from Malta to Sicily to reach France.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

Malta, Yorge Fenech accused of illegal purchase of weapons

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Yorgen Fenech accused as the mastermind behind the assassination of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, was charged before court of acquiring unlicensed weapons and ammunation. He pleaded not guilty to the charges. Yorgen Fenech was questioned at the Police Headquarters in Floriana earlier this afternoon. The police investigations have been underway for months, since data was extracted from Fenech’s phone. It is still unclear why the weapons and explosives were purchased. Fenech had attempted to purchase automatic weapons, cyanide, grenades together with some 800 rounds of ammunition. Fenech is already facing a life sentence after prosecutors issued a bill of indictment last week for his part in the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.
Last week, deputy attorney general Philip Galea Farrugia listed an impressive cache of weapons that Fenech bought online. Although it has not yet been established whether these were in Fenech’s possession and how he intended to use them, the purchases were made days after he was outed as the owner of 17 Black in November 2018. A suspicious $50,000 transaction was made from one of Fenech’s crypto wallets in January 2019 to a seller on the dark web, but it was not clear what this attempted purchase was for. A smaller transaction, of $2,098 in April 2019 was linked to an attempt to buy 1g of potassium cyanide. Yorgen Fenech has been in prison for almost two years following his arrest on 20 November 2019 while he was on his yacht in St. Julian’s.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

Malta back to the EU’s “safer” travel list

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Malta has been officially removed from the red travel list following weeks of an increase in COVID-19 cases. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) has put Malta on its red list in mid-July, when the number of new infections spiked right after it opened up to tourists and having removed some of the restrictions. The number of active cases has gone down to 641. 36 patients are being treated at Mater Dei Hospital, with two patients in intensive care. The pandemic has claimed 435 lives so far.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

Caruana Galizia, accused businessman faces life imprisonment

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Attorney General is requesting life imprisonment for Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech for his involvement in the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia. Fenech is also being indicted for complicity in the 2017 murder and criminal conspiracy. While the first indictment carries a life imprisonment, the second carries a sentence of 20 to 30 years in prison.
Fenech will stand trial as he stands accused of masterminding the murder. Two alleged hitmen, brothers George and Alfred Degiorgio will also face trial, while a third man, Vince Muscat, has already been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder.
The Bill of Indictment was filed by Deputy Attorney General just before a scheduled sitting in a bail request before the Criminal Court.
The prosecution said that Yorgen Fenech ordered cyanide powder from Ukraine and a number of weapons, including grenades and guns, and hundreds of bullets in 2018. The information came from emails found on Fenech’s devices that showed how he paid in Bitcoin for the poison and weapons.
The prosecution presented messages exchanged between Fenech and his brother as proof that the acccused was attempting to flee from Malta to Palermo when he was arrested in November 2019. The prosecution shot down the defencès argument that Fenech was only taking his yacht from Malta to Siciliy for repairs by insisting that the repairs were scheduled for January 2020.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

Malta, people smuggling ring smashed before boarding to Italy

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The Maltese authorities have arrested a suspected human smuggler from Bangladesh at the Malta International Airport. The 36-year-old man was part of a group of 11 people from Bangladesh who were stopped during passport control before boarding a plane to Italy. The individuals were suspected to be in possession of fake documents.
During a search, the police found a substantial amount of cash and other items which indicate that the 36-year-old man was organising and assisting the trip for the rest of the group using fake documents to travel to Italy. The Immigration Police were assisted by the Anti-Money laundering squad in their investigation.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

Malta plans third Covid vaccine booster from september

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – Maltese Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Health Chris Fearne announced that as from mid-September, the Maltese health authorties will start administering an additional booster dose to immunocompromised individuals and those in homes for the elderly. Fearne added that fully vaccinated individuals will spend less time in quarantine if they come into contact with a coronavirus patient. From 16 August, all those who are fully vaccinated will spend seven days in quarantine instead of 14. The quarantine period will end once a negative test is presented. However, these new rules will not be applicable to household contacts, the Covid positive patient themselves or travellers. Meanwhile, due to the high rate of vaccine uptake, the Maltese health authorities will not increase restrictions to curb the spread of the virus. To date, 392,100 individuals have been fully vaccinated. Superintendent of Public Health Professor Charmaine Gauci said that 95% of the cases reported over the past week have been attributed to the Delta variant. She added that the majority of cases registered in July were individuals travelling to Malta. During the same month, over 700 cases were registered among English language students, however all schools took the necessary measures in this regard and have reopened for those who are fully vaccinated. The number of active cases in Malta stands at 1,134. There are 36 Covid-19 patients in hospital, of whom four are in intensive care. So far, the pandemic has claimed 424 lives.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

New fast ferry service from Malta to Sicily suspended due to legal action

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The new ferry service from Malta to Augusta will be suspended following a legal challenge before the Sicilian authorities by another competing operator.
The competing operator objected to Pontès use of Augusta port for which the company had applied last November. The operator does not operate to Augusta port. Local competitor Virtu Ferries, which was not mentioned by Ponte Ferries, said that it had not filed any legal challenges. Tickets for Ponte Ferries’ fast ferry catamaran service to Sicily went on sale on 23 June, with one-way trips starting from as little as €9.99. However, Ponte Ferries announced that customers who have booked ferry trips in the coming days will be offered an alternative travel arrangement as the company has chartered an aircraft. They will also be given a free voucher for car rental. Alternatively, customers can claim a refund and will, in addition, be given a voucher to use the service for free over the next 12 months. A spokesman for Ponte said: “Pontès objective from the start has been to offer an alternative ferry service to Sicily for customers who want value and a choice of operators, and we remain committed to fulfilling our mission”.


Source: medNews

Malta, Sicilian man arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – A Sicilian man was arrested by the police in Malta on serious suspicions of drug trafficking. The police confirmed that the 48-year-old man was arrested on Friday afternoon after days of surveillance.
The police raided his car and residence in Sir Charles Cameron Street in Gzira. During the search, 20 small packets of cocaine and around € 3,000 in cash were seized by the police.
The police investigations are still ongoing, however the Sicilian is expected to be arraigned before court on Sunday accused of drug trafficking.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

Malta, the Caruana Galizia family accepts an apology from premier Abela

LA VALLETTA (MALTA) (ITALPRESS/MNA) – The family of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia assassinated four year ago, has accepted Maltese Prime Minister Robert Abelàs apology. This was stated by Caruana Galiziàs son, Paul, during an online press event held on Friday afternoon after a parliamentary session in which both sides of the House discussed the findings of the three-judge board of inquiry. The inquiry report, which was published on Thursday, concluded that the Maltese state must shoulder responsibility over the death of the journalist as it had created a favourable environment for those who sought to eliminate her. The 437-page report concluded that although there is no proof that the Maltese State was actively involved in the murder, the culture of impunity was created from the highest echelons of power within former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s office. Paul Caruana Galizia explained that the family had experienced great difficulties. However, he added that the conclusions are a step forward towards attaining full justice and that the family is expecting complete accountability.
(ITALPRESS).


Source: medNews

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