Thursday Morning Briefing
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Good morning,

Earthquakes in two countries, the hurricane in the US and a road collapse following torrential rain in Italy makes this morning briefing look like reporting apocalypse now.

In our daily briefing we also bring you other news which make the headlines in Malta, Europe and around the world.

Good Day

The Latest 

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  • Malta has been pinpointed as being at the centre of illicit smuggling across the Mediterranean by an international police investigation led by Italy’s Guardia di Finanza, according to a report by Daphne Project partners La Repubblica.

  • A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck just off the popular island of Bali, where the International Monetary Fund and its sister lending organization, the World Bank, are holding annual meetings through Sunday.

  • A suspected third member of the Kremlin hit squad behind the Salisbury nerve agent attack has been named, according to a respected Russian news website. Sergey Fedotov, 45, travelled to the UK on the same day as the two assassins already charged by British authorities – and boarded the same flight home.

  • Italy’s new deficit targets confirm the coalition government’s more expansionary fiscal stance, which was a key driver of the credit agency revision of the Outlook on the country’s ‘BBB’ sovereign rating to Negative at the end of August, says Fitch Ratings.

  • The naval forces in eastern Libya under the command of the leader of the self-styled army Khalifa Haftar said they had seized two Italian fishing boats with 13 crewmen on board as they were inside Libyan territorial waters on Wednesday.

  • Theresa May will today ask her Brexit “war Cabinet” to agree a backstop plan that would keep Britain in a customs union with Brussels until a permanent trade deal can be agreed. The European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator said Wednesday that an agreement on Britain’s exit “is within reach,” if negotiations make progress before a summit next week.

  • U.S. President Donald Trump may meet Russia’s Vladimir Putin in Helsinki next spring, the daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat said in its online edition on Wednesday, citing unnamed sources.

  • The most powerful hurricane ever to hit north-west Florida has flooded beach towns, submerging homes and snapping trees like twigs. Hurricane Michael made landfall on Wednesday afternoon as category three storm with 125mph (200km/h) winds in the state’s Panhandle region.

  • Pope Francis compared abortion to hiring a “hitman to solve a problem” during his weekly general audience Wednesday in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican.

  • Austin Powers star Verne Troyer’s death was a suicide, a coroner in Los Angeles has said. The actor, best known for playing Mini-Me in the spy comedy franchise, had openly battled alcoholism and died aged 49 in April.

  • Keiko Fujimori, a powerful Peruvian politician whose father ruled the country in the 1990s, was arrested in a money laundering investigation on Wednesday, calling into question the future of the political family and their right-wing populist movement.

  • The leaders of Greece and Egypt on Wednesday backed efforts by regional ally Cyprus to exploit off-shore gas deposits, despite strong objection from Turkey.

  • Greece’s government, now free of its bailout programme, is to renew its call for Germany to pay €279 billion in war reparations in compensation for the Nazi occupation during World War II, which could strain the already-fraught relations between the two countries.

  • Several of Belgium’s top football clubs have been raided as part of a police investigation into alleged fraud involving the transfer of players.

  • The Juventus star’s lawyer has released a statement in which the footballer vehemently denies rape allegations made against him, and branded documents purportedly containing his admissions to the contrary as “complete fabrications”.


The Review

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  • The Malta Independent and L-Orizzont reports about the Press Conference given in relation to a report published by the Church which revealed three cases of abuse in 2017. The head of this commission said that there should be no prescription in cases related to child abuse.

  • L-Orizzont and the Independent also report on the escalation of the tension which culminated in Parliament and beyond, between Prime Minister Joseph Muscat and the former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil over the ownership of the Egrant, with the former PN leader claiming that unless proved otherwise he believes the company is owned by Muscat, while Muscat saying that Busuttil’s attitude leaves a lot to be desired.

  • The Times of Malta’s lead story is about the Daphne Project story which revealed the extent of smuggling through Malta.  In another story we read about the outcome of a Transparency International study into the citizenship scheme.

  • In-Nazzjon front page story is about the Nationalist Party proposals for the forthcoming Budget, as yesterday, the party presented the pre-budget document.

  • The Malta Business Weekly reports that a deal has been reached between GO and Vodafone whereby GO will offer its Fibre-to-Home internet network to Vodafone subscribers. The deal, which will provide faster internet speeds and more competitive prices, was approved by the Malta Communications Authority.

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