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Good morning

Apart from a review of Malta’s newspapers. read on the latest on Julen’s rescue. the developments in Venezuela, Trump’s State of Union Speech issue and the Pope’s visit in Panama in today’s morning briefing.

Read more following the links.

US, Canada, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Peru and Argentina gave backing to Guaido’s self-proclamation as Venezuela’s acting president

Saving Julen – Breakthrough achieved during the night – Operations to continue today – Latest

Malta wants to be most post-Brexit friendly country for the UK

Fear makes us crazy says Pope Francis as he arrives in Panama – He announces visits to Iraq and Japan

Trump concedes to Pelosi and postpones State of Union Speech – Latest

Cohen postpones testimony citing threats by Trump

Yellow Vests launch MEP candidate list

Real Madrid replace Manchester United as world’s wealthiest football club

 

Malta’s Newspapers Review

 

The Malta Business Weekly leads with a story about the EU Commission’s efforts to monitor golden visa schemes run by Malta, Cyprus, and Bulgaria. The Commission warned that the programmes can be used for tax-evasion and money-laundering and said it is setting up a special team to monitor such schemes more closely.

In-Nazzjon covers the announcement by the EU Commission, too, and says that the lack of transparency surrounding Malta’s cash-for-passports scheme has drawn the EU’s attention. The paper says that the Commission recommends stronger due diligence and screening processes.

The Times quotes Prime Minister Joseph Muscat who declared in Parliament that the government would back a move by the UK to extend the Brexit date. He said that in the event of a no-deal, Malta would be required to pay €6 million more in contributions every year.

The Malta Independent reports that the government is working on an action-plan to prepare for the scenario of a no-deal Brexit in March. The Prime Minister said that Malta would offer UK citizens a residency permit valid for 10 years.

L-Orizzont, too, covers the government press conference and quotes the Prime Minister that Malta wants to be the most UK-friendly EU member after its departure from the bloc. Muscat said he regrets a no-deal scenario but the government will have made preparations for it.

In-Nazzjon quotes Opposition Leader Adrian Delia who said that Malta needs to have the best relationship with the UK whether it leaves the EU without a deal or not. Delia said the Opposition main concern is consequences for Maltese citizens currently living the UK.

The Times says that a European doctor’s lobby has raised concerns over an online medical school based in Malta that could provide a way for underqualified doctors to operate in EU hospitals. The European Digital University obtained a licence by the education authorities in Malta last year.

The Malta Independent says the PN still has concerns over the security of the new vote-counting process as issues were identified during a mock test late last year. The opposition party said that its confidence in the system had ‘seriously decreased’ after the contractors were found to make changes to the system bypassing the parties and the Electoral Commission.

L-Orizzont speaks to PN Deputy Leader David Agius and Chief Political Coordinator Jean Pierre Debono after allegations of disagreements between them. In reply they said that they enjoy a very good relationship.

In another story, L-Orizzont reveals that Air Malta is exploring ways to collaborate with Turkish Airlines. The paper says that Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi and President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca met senior officials of the Turkish carrier.

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