Tag Archives: Top News

MALTA, FINAL RUSH TO THE ELECTIONS

A week from the elections that will see the citizens of the archipelago state elect their representatives to the European Parliament and the local councils (the equivalent of Italian municipalities), the electoral battle continues amid crossed attacks, rallies and particular initiatives put in place by some candidates.

Parliamentary activity was suspended until after the election at the initiative of the majority, a choice motivated by the fact that participation in parliamentary sessions was considerably diminished due to the numerous campaign activities. The opposition strongly criticized this choice, defined by the leader of the Nationalist Party Adrian Delia as a move that endangers the country’s democracy. Among the accusations made against the majority, also the fact that the decision was taken suddenly, without prior discussion with the opposition, and on the eve of an important parliamentary debate that provided for the discussion on the finances and on the work done by the Embryo Protection Authority.

 

The Labour Party, frontrunner in the polls, has implemented a particularly intense campaign, full of activities that have involved – or will involve in the coming days – all the towns of the country. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is dedicating himself to these initiatives, accompanied from time to time by prominent members of the party, together with candidates for the European elections and for local councils.

The Nationalist Party, divided internally and with a leadership that cannot hold the party together, continues to show its difficulties even during the electoral campaign.

The local media have highlighted, on several occasions, the disparity in spending between parties, with the Labour Party investing more resources than the Nationalist Party, and even among candidates. Some of the latter have put in place very specific initiatives. For example, two candidates organized a lottery. The first prizes are a car and a vacation, respectively.

The difference in investment in the electoral campaign reflects the state of finance of the two main parties. In particular, the Nationalist Party is also facing a period of financial crisis, while the Labour Party has more economic resources, which also derive from the citizens’ great response to fundraising organized by the majority party.

 

Just seven days from the vote, the polls are stable, and predict a clear victory for the Labour party, expected to win – for the first time – four of the six Maltese seats in the European Parliament. The Labour Party is affiliated with European socialists, while the Nationalist Party identifies itself with the European People’s Party, which currently holds a majority in the Strasbourg Assembly. The elections in Malta will take place on Saturday 25 May 2019.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)

 


Source: medNews

JORDAN: IN JANUARY EXPORTS INCREASE BY 11.4%

The statistical data issued by the Department of Statistics indicate that the value of total exports reached JD 857.7 million during January and February 2019 [i.e., an increase by 9.8% compared with the same period of 2018]. The national exports value reached JD.721.4 Million during January and February 2019 [i.e. an increase by 11.4% compared with the same period of 2018]. The value of re-exports reached JD 136.3 million during January and February 2019 which indicates an increase by 2.5% as compared with the same period of 2018.

The imports value reached JD 2242.9 million during January and February 2019, thus decreasing by (1.8%) compared with the same period of 2018.

The deficit in the trade balance has reached JD 1385.2 million therefore; the deficit has decreased during January and February 2019 by (7.8%) compared with the same period of 2018. The imports coverage by total exports has become 38.2% during January and February 2019 while it was 34.2% for the same period of 2018, which means an increase by 4.0 percentage points.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)

 


Source: medNews

ITALY-TUNISIA, SEVEN COOPERATION AGREEMENTS SIGNED

Last Tuesday Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed urged Italy, as a member of the European
Union (EU), to support Tunisia’s request to be removed from the European list of high-risk money laundering and funding countries of terrorism.

The meetings between Italian and Tunisian representatives were held during the visit to Tunis by Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and a large delegation of Ministers, for the signing of
seven cooperation agreements between Italy and Tunisia.

“Tunisia relies on Italian support to help it obtain a favorable EU response, to its request to introduce a common management of the annual tariff quota for olive oil, in order to promote the
export of Tunisian olive on the European market “, added Youssef Chahed at the closure of the Tunisian-Italian economic forum.

Addressing the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the head of government expressed the desire to see the EU effectively implement the principles that govern the negotiations under the free trade agreement (ALECA). It also urged the Italian government to support his government in its efforts to increase the number of Italian tourists in Tunisia, which in his opinion do not yet meet
the ambitions.

For his part, the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte expressed the desire to strengthen economic cooperation with Tunisia, in particular in terms of investments in order to provide social
stability and promote growth to stem the flow of irregular migration. ” Italy wants to implement all the favorable conditions for an advantageous collaboration with Tunisia in many sectors,
including mainly infrastructure, energy, industry and technology, “said Conte, recalling that 900 Italian companies are currently established in Tunisia, generating around 68 thousand jobs. “This
number makes Italy the second largest foreign investor in Tunisia,” said the Italian Prime Minister.
The head of the Tunisian government Chahed Youssef and Giuseppe Conte, President of the Italian Council of Ministers signed the joint declaration of the first meeting of the strategic Superior Council between Tunisia and Italy, focusing on the prospects for bilateral partnership for the period to come.

Another agreement was signed between Tunisia and Italy in order to strengthen the
Elmed electricity transmission infrastructure to promote energy exchanges between Europe and North Africa. According to Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, this agreement will allow the Tunisian
electricity and gas company and the Italian energy company to effectively start the project by 2023.

Financed by the European Union for 600 million euro, the project received a first tranche, with an Italian contribution of 5 million euro to develop the studies necessary for the realization
of this project.
Furthermore, an agreement was signed between Tunisia and Italy for the conversion of a second quota of Tunisian debts into investment projects worth 25 million euros from 2020 to finance part of the integrated development project at El Mohdeth in the delegation of El Faouar. This project consists of the development of 1000 hectares for palm plantation with a budget of 155 million dinars. Italy has paid 500 thousand euro to finance the specific study of this project.

A memorandum of understanding was also signed on improving infrastructure and school services in primary schools with a credit of 25 million euros, as well as a memorandum of
understanding on the implementation of a program to strengthen decentralization in Tunisia and a gift of 25 million euros for the construction and equipping of 31 new municipalities and the
signing of a memorandum of understanding between the foreign ministries of Tunisia and Italy regarding diplomatic training as well as a memorandum of understanding on the project of the
Italian-Tunisian savings account.

Finally, the Tunisian foreign minister Khemaies Jhinaoui had a meeting with his Italian counterpart, Enzo Moavero During a joint press conference held after the meeting, Jhinaoui said: “The focus was on the need to follow up on the decisions of the Italian-Tunisian High Council for the


Source: medNews

BUSINESS SENTIMENT IN TURKEY IMPROVES

Business sentiment in Turkey showed improvement for the fourth month in a row in April, according to a survey by the Central Bank. The business confidence index increased by a strong 3.3 percent on a monthly basis to touch 105.5 in the month, the Central Bank said. That followed 5 percent, 4.5 percent and 1.6 percent increases recorded in March, February and January, respectively. Five of the business sentiment survey’s eight main sub-indices rose in April month-on-month, data from the Central Bank also showed. The sharpest increase was registered in the sub-index for total orders received over the past three months. The related index soared nearly 17 percent from the previous months to stand at 105.7 in April. The sub-index for current orders and export orders in the next three months rose by 6.4 and 7.6 percent, respectively.
(ITALPRESS/MNA).


Source: medNews

MALTA HAS THE SECOND BEST BUDGET SURPLUS IN EUROPE

According to the latest data published by Eurostat, Malta has recorded the second best budget surplus in Europe, in proportion to GDP. The increase recorded by the state – archipelago amounts to 2%, equal to that of Bulgaria and second only to the performance by Luxembourg, which experienced a 2.4% surplus.

In the Eurostat document, Germany (+ 1.7%), the Netherlands (+ 1.5%), Greece (+ 1.1%), the Czech Republic and Sweden (both + 0.9%), Lithuania and Slovenia (both + 0.7%), Denmark (+ 0.5%), Croatia (+ 0.2%) and Austria (+ 0.1%) show as virtuous countries. Two countries, on the other hand, have budget deficits above 3% of GDP: Romania (-3%) and Cyprus (-4.8%).

With a tweet, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat announced that Malta, for the third consecutive year, recorded a budget surplus that further lowered the state’s debt, now at 46% of GDP. The opposition did not wait for criticism, stating that the surplus derived mainly from the scheme that provides for the sale of passports.

 

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna, in a press conference, said that Malta has seen its economy grow strongly in recent years, and that consequently some sectors of the country, especially infrastructure, need to be improved to be able to support the new economic reality.

Scicluna added that growth in 2018 stood at 7.1% and put the government in front of new challenges. Confirming the sustainability of the economic model implemented by the government, the minister also stated that it slightly lowered (from 6% to 5.7%) the growth forecast for 2019, due to the fact that the expectations of citizens, which after years of economic growth now demand more services provided by the government, have increased.

In his speech, the minister explained how the passport sales mechanism only contributes 0.5% of the surplus and said he was satisfied that the percentage of people at risk of poverty fell to 19.3%. Among the measures taken to achieve this goal, Scicluna mentioned tax exemptions, free school transport, the increase in the minimum wage, free childcare and tax exemptions for certain pensioners.

 

In this context, Malta has officially entered the electoral campaign, in view of the elections for the renewal of the European Parliament and of local councils. According to the polls, the Labor Party has a clear advantage over the Nationalist Party, and could win four or even five seats in the Strasbourg parliament, out of six total seats allocated to the smallest member state. So far, the two largest Maltese political parties have always equally shared the six seats.

The election date, set for Saturday 25 May, will be a historic event as it will be the first election following the reform of the electoral law that has extended the right to vote to all citizens who are over 16 years of age.

(ITALPRESS/MNA)


Source: 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

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