Your morning briefing brings you some of the main news reported by the Newspapers in Malta, the latest from the major news agencies in Europe and the World and the stories which hit the headlines in the past 24 hours from the Mediterranean, Europe, the Middle East and the World, spanning from Italy to Canada, looking into Spain and Malaysia, the UK and China.
We wish you a good day.
The Malta Business Weekly reports that the EU says member states need to keep an eye on the number of citizenships they hand out in exchange for investment. Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has warned that citizenships for sale represent a security threat.
A multimillion-euro contract for the building of a mini-hospital in Paola will be reviewed after the Court of Appeal expressed “serious doubts on the evaluation process”. The Times reports that Chief Justice Joseph Azzopardi rejected appeals filed by SP BB International JV after the Public Contracts Review Board decided that a fresh evaluation process should be con- ducted by a new team of evaluators. The company, comprising Bonnici Brothers Projects Ltd, Ray Vella and Co. Ltd, Pantalesco and Shapoorji, an Indian firm that served as contractors to the now disbanded Vitals Global Healthcare, had won the €26 million-contract by the Health Ministry despite its offer being almost €4 million higher than the cheapest bid.
The police yesterday questioned Jonathan Ferris on his Egrant inquiry testimony for three hours, with the former anti-money-laundering unit investigator insisting he stuck to what he had already told the magistrate. The Malta Independent also carries the same story.
L-Orizzont continues with following up the issue of ‘bullying’ following the controversy which was created after comments by Kristina Chetcuti in relation to comments done by the Prime Minister’s wife on the way her daughters were bullied. The story has comments by singer Ira Losco who mentions what bullying she went through in her life and also about how bullying is not and can not be justified.
The Malta Independent leads with a story saying that “the much-anticipated €10 million per year deal to provide free school transport for students of church and independent schools has not yet been concluded.”
L-Orizzont carries a story about the issue of the slime emanating from the fish farms and referring about what it calls a ‘mystery’, i.e. the source.
The Malta Independent front page photo focuses on the incident where a karozzin horse collapsed and died yesterday in Floriana, prompting the parliamentary secretary for animal rights to call for a revision of the laws. This was the second karozzin horse to have collapsed on the job since Saturday.
In-Nazzjon reports about how two workers were seriously injured after an incident at the Palumbo Shipyards.
The Trump administration has signed off on sweeping new sanctions against Russia following a near-fatal nerve agent attack against British citizen and former Russian spy Sergei Skripal — a move that could hit hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Russian state imports. Financial Times
Estonia urged the head of NATO on Wednesday to investigate the accidental launching of an air-to-air missile in its airspace on Tuesday by a NATO Air Policing mission plane. Reuters
Some 14,000 firefighters from as far away as Florida and even New Zealand are struggling to curb California’s 18 fires in the midst of a sweltering summer that has seen wind-whipped flames carve their way through national forest land and rural areas, threaten urban areas and incinerate neighbourhoods. AP
The Romanian government has opened a new front in its ongoing battle with President Klaus Iohannis by cutting his office’s budget by about 20 percent. Politico
A top Zimbabwean opposition official fled to Zambia on Wednesday but was denied asylum and is expected to face arrest at home as concerns rose over a government crackdown after last week’s disputed presidential election. AP
China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran on Wednesday in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States. Reuters
Paul Manafort’s protégé on Wednesday wrapped up his testimony after implicating the former Trump campaign chairman and himself in financial crimes and also enduring stinging attacks on his character and credibility. Rick Gates has been the government’s star witness in Manafort’s financial fraud trial, testifying how, at the behest of his longtime boss, he helped conceal millions of dollars in foreign income and submitted fake mortgage and tax documents. AP
The diplomatic spat with Canada has escalated very quickly, leaving Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrestling with how to respond to cool the tensions without backtracking on his support for women’s rights. >>
Israel’s air force bombed 12 Hamas positions across the Gaza Strip Wednesday night after dozens of rockets and mortar shells were fired at southern Israeli communities from the Palestinian enclave, including one barrage that slammed into the city of Sderot, injuring several Israelis. >>
A brutal operation of mutilation intended to defraud insurance funds was uncovered. ANSA reports that consenting individuals join the shocking scheme enduring violent amputations of arms and legs to later claim insurance cover for ‘traffic accident damages’. >>
Libya’s sovereign wealth fund has decided to move from its main office in Tripoli due to security breaches after a number of staff were threatened or abducted, it said in statement on Wednesday. >>
Vladimir Putin presented President Donald Trump with a series of requests during their private meeting in Helsinki last month, including new talks on controlling nuclear arms and prohibiting weapons in space, according to a Russian document obtained by POLITICO. >>
Spain has taken just over 40 percent of all irregular migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe this year, according to the UN Migration Agency. >>
Thousands of passengers will be hit by cancellations as Ryanair pilots in up to five countries walk out this Friday. >>
Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak pleaded not guilty to three new charges on Wednesday in connection to the alleged money-laundering of $10.3m deposited into his personal bank accounts. >>
Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Tuesday declared war on mafia networks exploiting foreign agricultural workers after 16 died in two crashes in the country’s south. The two near-identical crashes, which came within 48 hours of each other outside the city of Foggia in the Puglia region, have put a spotlight on the plight of foreign seasonal tomato-pickers during harvest season. >>
Hundreds of mostly African farm labourers downed tools and marched from fields in southern Italy chanting “we are not slaves” Wednesday, protesting conditions for tomato pickers after 16 migrant workers died in two road crashes. >>
The Telegraph reports that Ian Paisley could become the first MP recalled from Parliament under new legislation, after failing to declare luxury holidays paid for by the Sri Lankan government. >>
The Independent (UK) said that Russia has issued a stern warning and threatened a “horrible” conflict if Nato were to incorporate Georgia into the alliance.
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