Newspaper Review – Saturday May 19 2018

10 minute read.

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The main headline on The Times <<Malta at risk of being taken over by Mafia – NGO>> reports on a 24-page report published in the past days by Fondazione Caponnetto, an Italian anti-mafia NGO. The report says it found connections between companies registered in Malta and criminal organisations including ‘Ndrangheta, Camorra, and Cosa Nostra. The foundation says that Italian criminal gangs are using the island to circumvent sanctions and now pose a risk “which an EU Member state cannot afford. The Caponnetto report is also quoted as claiming that certain actions taken by the Maltese government have made the country more attractive to organised crime.

The Times carries another story on the frontpage: <<’VRT fees could rise by half’>> which reveals that VRT operators want an increase on the testing, proposing a fee of €30 up from the current €20. Contacted by the newspaper, Abigail Mamo from the Chamber of Small and Medium Businesses, said that the demands were reasonable since the fee set 20 years ago has remained unchanged while cost of living has increased. Mamo said the government is in disagreement and wants to keep the fee unchanged.

<<Three remanded in custody, charged with hate messages about injured policeman>> is the main story on The Malta Independent frontpage. Two man and a woman aged 21 to 28 were charged in Court with “publicly inciting persons to commit a crime” and misuse of electronic equipment after comments the three posted following the hit-and-run on PC Simon Schembri this week. The three pleaded not guilty while lawyer Mark Refalo appearing for two of the accused said that the Facebook comments were meant to deride not incite hate. Magistrate Joe Mifsud said that the police need to be protection and that the Court would send a strong signal in that direction. The three were remanded in custody.

A second story on The Malta Independent follows events at the Ta’ Qali farmers market after a string of cases of traders selling of imported goods as local produce. <<Pitkalija concerned as more imported produce in passed off as local>> reports concerns among traders that non-local produce sold at the market is on the rise. A merchant was caught this week with imported produce, dressing it up in local packaging, after a similar case a few months ago. Sources who spoke to the newspaper said that there was not enough monitoring of the market.

The In-Nazzjon frontpage follows the story of the man found unconscious in an Ħamrun apartment Monday by the police and died after three days in hospital care. <<Żewġ Libjani akkużati bi qtil>> reports that two Libyan men were arraigned in Court after investigations into the case by the Ħamrun Police Station and the CID accused of killing Mahmoud Elmejdi, also Libyan. The newspaper says that the case revolved around outstanding payments. In a second story <<Ħadd m’għandu d-dritt li jżeblaħ lill-Pulizija>> In-Nazzjon gives a synopsis of a more detailed report in the inside pages on the court declaration by Magistrate Joe Mifsud on the case of three persons accused of inciting violence with Facebook comments expressing satisfaction at the Luqa hit-and-run.

L-Orizzont covers the visit by a GWU delegation to President Coleiro Preca, part of the union’s activities marking its 75th anniversary. <<L-importanza tal-unions għall-ħaddiem>> quotes the President that trade-unionism is as important as observing social security contribution obligations. Marie Louise Coleiro Preca regretted that only a minority of worker join trade unions today even if they still have “battles to face.”

The newspaper inserts another two stories. <<”Il-mod kif taħdem Julie Meyer ma jagħmilx sens”>> is an interview with a Malta-based foreign businessman who told L-Orizzont that he refused an invitation by Ariadne Capital CEO Julie Meyers to join her Follow the Entrepreneur Investor Summit 2017 because he could not comprehend her way of doing business. <<”Il-libertà tal-espressjoni mhijiex għal kulħadd”>> quotes PL MP Rosianne Cutajar’s comments to the newspaper that economic growth is tied to rule of law, and the economic performance of the country shows that Malta’s rule of law and freedom of expression are safe. In the same interview, followed-through on the inside pages, Cutajar questions the impartiality of The Shift News which this week carried a story about a journalistic investigation into secret chat groups on social media.

The Malta Independent devotes its backpage to the wedding of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle in <<Prince Charles to walk Markle down aisle at royal wedding>>. Kensington Palace announced that Markle’s father will not attend the wedding after falling ill and that Prince Charles will walk her down the aisle at St George’s Chapel in Windsor on Saturday, in “another twist in a royal wedding that is proving to be different from many others.” The newspaper reports that Markle’s mother, Doria Ragland, was the bookies’ favourite to accompany the bride.

In The Times’ Talking Point, MEP Roberta Metsola writes that Gozitans do not need “handouts” but an equal playing field. <<Do not leave Gozo behind>> states that in the past years ecnomic disparity between Malta and Gozo has increased and criticises the government for not keeping its promises with the Gozitans on a number of capital projects. The PN MEP says that people in the island are willing to invest if the government shows concrete signs of support. Metsola writes that Gozo’s eligibility for EU funding is not tied to Malta’s and urges the government to put the smaller island on the forefront in the EU budget negotiations under way.

L-Orizzont backpage covers the developing story on the proposed US-North Korea summit on June 12, which is now in doubt. <<L-Istati Uniti ma tridx tneħħi lil Kim Jong-Un mis-setgħa>> quotes American President Donald Trump that the White House does not seek to replace Kim Jong-Un. The President was responding to a warning by North Korea that it might reverse its decision to join the historic summit. The Communist country was reacting to comments by US Security and Defence Advisor John Bolton who said that events in North Korea could be a repeat of Libya where, after agreeing to abandon the nuclear programme in 2003, Libyan leader Ghaddafi was overthrown and violently killed in 2011.

On the backpage In-Nazzjon reports the attack on the mass protests in Podgorica, Montenegro since the attack on investigative journalist Olivera Lakic on May 8 in <<Attakk ieħor fuq ġurnalista>>. Demonstrators criticise the government for not doing enough to protect the press. The EU warned the country that incidents of this sort will impinge on any accession negotiations. A second article <<X’jgħid ir-rapport tal-pensjonijiet>> highlights the main points from the EU report on pensions reform, especially quoting the document “effectively, the common perception in contemporary Malta, is that one cannot survive on a pension.” The newspaper carries a third article <<Kunsill li jrebbaħ>> through which the author congratulates the leadership of the Nationalist Party on the “eye-opening” General Council held last week.

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