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Good morning

Start your day informed with our Morning briefing brings you a quick roundup of the main news from Malta and around the world.

The Malta Business Weekly leads with Eurostat figures showing Malta as the only EU country where labour costs decreased in the second half of 2018. Nominal hourly labour costs rose by 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter across the EU28 but fell by 0.5 percent in Malta; while the EU average registered +2.6 percent for the third quarter and -0.7 percent in Malta.

The Times follows the compilation of evidence in court against suspected drug lord Jordan Azzopardi, 29, who was arraigned on Friday. The prosecution described how Azzopardi kept a tight security detail and the houses he operated from were equipped with CCTV systems and weapons.

The Malta Independent asked Prime Minister Joseph Muscat about proposals by the Nationalist Party related to the vote-counting process. The Prime Minister said government is reviewing the proposals but insisted that no changes would be adopted without the Opposition’s agreement.

The Times reveals that the owner and director of a cleaning company selected by direct order to render services at St Vincent de Paul owes €4 million to the taxman. The paper says X Clean received over €9 million in direct orders in the past three years.

The Malta Independent reports that the Ornis Committee is set to recommend opening the hunting season for quail between 10 and 30 April. Birdlife Malta, whose representative voted against the recommendation, said the season would only provide a ‘smokescreen’ to hunt for protected turtle doves.

The Malta Business Weekly reports that the UK largest distributor of branded products, Fluid Branding, has opened offices in Malta. The company’s managing director calls the expansion ‘the next logical step’ after setting up bases in Dublin and Amsterdam.

L-Orizzont quotes St Julian’s mayor Guido Dalli that a discussion is needed before any decisions are taken. The paper spoke to the mayor after his deputy said on Sunday that the annual St Patrick’s Day celebrations must find a new home away from the town.

In-Nazzjon says that people are worried about rental prices and the health service, quoting PN Leader Adrian Leader who was visiting residents in Attard. Delia said that the Nationalist Party is now the only hope for families and young people.

L-Orizzont speaks to a couple who decided to adopt a baby with down’s syndrome. Parent Kriz Grima told the paper that the child needs a chance like any one else. In another story, the paper reports on a series of abuse cases on children involving more than 400 priests in two US states.

In-Nazzjon quotes PN Deputy Leader Robert Arrigo who said the country must deliver a message to the government with its vote in the May elections. In another story, the paper reports that Media.Link Communications collected €24,000 in a crowdfunding effort to launch an on-demad media service.

This is a roundup of the news from around the world.

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), 21 March, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.

Wednesday proved to be a rather eventful day in terms of the Brexit issue. In the evening Prime Minister Theresa May said on Wednesday evening the delay to Article 50 is a “great personal regret” and that “it is now time for MPs to decide”. In her statement to the country, May said “I am not prepared to delay any Brexit any further than the 30th June.

A number of former officers from communist East Germany’s secret police, the Stasi, were interviewed by the Scottish prosecution service in connection with ongoing investigations into the Lockerbie bombing.

French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that soldiers will be deployed across the country to help maintain security during more yellow vest protests planned this weekend.

Moab Bouchareb, the acting head of Algeria’s governing party, the National Liberation Front, said the party is throwing its support behind protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The FLN is Bouteflika’s party.

Chris Murphy, a rising star in Democratic Party, during a visit to London, stressed that there was strong and growing bipartisan view in the Senate and House of Representatives in Washington that the US should have a trade agreement with the European Union before one takes place with the UK.

The stage adaptation of the Disney movie ‘Frozen’, is heading to London’s West End. It will reopen the Drury Lane Theatre in Autumn 2020 after the theatre’s refurbishment.

The morning briefing is brought to you by CI Consulta’s media monitoring service Be Informed. Contact us if you require specific media monitoring service for your business, to make informed business decisions.