The latest about the ‘hijacked’ ship, the Brexit saga dominate today’s headlines.
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The Latest news
The Armed Forces of Malta have taken over control of a vessel that was ‘hijacked’ by migrants and is escorting it to shore, the Department of Information said today.
In a statement, the Armed Forces of Malta said that it established communications with the Captain of Motor Tanker ELHIBRU 1 when it was about 30NM away and still proceeding towards Malta. The Captain repeatedly stated that he was not in control of the vessel and that he and his crew were being forced and threatened by a number of migrants to proceed to Malta. AFM Patrol Vessel P21 stopped the tanker from entering the Maltese territorial waters.
An AFM Special Operations Unit team was dispatched to board and secure the vessel in order to hand over control of the ship to the Captain. The team was backed up by AFM Patrol Vessel P51, two Fast Interceptor Craft, and one the AFM’s AW 139 helicopters. P21 kept on escorting and monitoring the tanker throughout the operation.
The tanker, her crew and all migrants are being escorted by the AFM to Boiler Wharf to be handed over to the Police for further investigations; estimated time of arrival 0830hrs.
A first attempt by MPs to find a consensus route forward for Brexit has ended in deadlock and confusion after the Commons rejected every option put forward, albeit with a near-even split on the idea of joining a customs union.
These are the main news from Malta’s newspaper front-pages.
The Times reveals that funding to the Public Broadcasting Services grew by 25 percent between 2014 and 2017. The paper says that a share of the funds is being used to sponsor commercial programmes, clashing with the National Broadcasting Policy.
The Malta Independent reports on contrasting opinions on a metro system between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition. Joseph Muscat said that only the population in the Sliema area could justify a metro, while Adrian Delia said it was ‘very evident’ Malta needed such a system.
In-Nazzjon also quotes the Prime Minister who spoke about difficulties in introducing a metro system that is commercially profitable. Muscat said that either more foreigner had to relocate to Malta or taxes to be raised to make such a project feasible.
The Times says that a study commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner recommends a broader spread of school children with low socio-economic status. The research finds that children from asylum-seeking family families were concentrated in state schools within two of the six regional areas in Malta.
The Malta Independent speaks to the Clerk of the House of Representatives who said that parliament could presently accommodate an increase of 12 more MPs, as a consultation document on gender-balance in public life is recommending.
L-Orizzont says that over €165 million were invested in Valletta between 2013 and 2018, excluding initiatives by the Valletta18 Foundation. The paper says that the government is launching the Valletta Cultural Agency today.
In-Nazzjon quotes PN Leader Adrian Delia who criticised the government for lacking long-term policies for workers. Addressing a Chamber of Commerce event, Delia said that short-termism is leading to low wages.
L-Orizzont quotes Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who, at a Chamber of Commerce conference, said that he wants to leave a cosmopolitan Malta before the end of his term. Muscat said that a diversified economy and society will allow Malta to face challenges ahead.
In other news we read:
German railway operator Deutsche Bahn said on Wednesday it will explore a sale or public listing of its British unit Arriva, adding this would enable the group to lower debt and free up cash for growth investments.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš suggested scrapping his country’s turn with the EU’s rotating Council presidency because it is a waste of money and nothing more than “blathering with sandwiches,” according to local media.
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