BirdLife Malta has said that it has notified the authorities about a number of ducks found dead near the Salina Nature Reserve.
In a statement, the NGO said that following various comments on social media platforms in relation to a number of dead farmed ducks close to Salina Nature Reserve, "BirdLife Malta wants to clarify that is has notified the competent authorities about the situation but so far no action has been taken. BirdLife Malta staff at the reserve have noticed and witnessed several farmed Muscovy Ducks dying, with the numbers increasing daily."
"These domestic ducks are found on land which is not managed by BirdLife Malta, adjacent to the canal under the main road close to the entrance to Salina Nature Reserve. BirdLife Malta has communicated about the situation to all governmental authorities including the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), the Government Veterinary Services, the Health Environment Directorate and the Animal Welfare Department. It is very evident that these ducks are very sick."
BirdLife Malta is requesting the authorities to take action to safeguard the well-being of the farmed ducks along with the natural habitat of the area which is also a Natura 2000 site and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated: "The situation is serious and we are hoping to see the authorities step in to solve it at the earliest. We have been informing the authorities that these farmed ducks are alien to this site of high ecological importance and that being farmed without any control was detrimental to the biodiversity of the area but also for the same ducks. In fact, now the ducks have clearly contracted a disease and are dying rapidly. We have now also communicated with the top Public Health officials as the situation could get out of hand if no action is taken as soon as possible. The sick ducks need to be isolated in order to safeguard all."
This species of domestic duck hails from Central and South America and has become a farm animal in various countries. The biggest problem they face is that they need a constant supply of fresh water which in Malta is not found easily as a natural resource, the NGO said. "This is one of the reasons why such ducks should not be placed in the wild anywhere in Malta, not even in coastal areas next to the sea. No one should keep them unless they are sure that they can provide them with the adequate conditions."
Lewis Hamilton has said "now is not the time to be silent" and explained why he criticised Formula One as he set out to rally the sport against racism. In a video released by Mercedes' parent company Daimler on the eve of this weekend's belated season-opening Austrian Grand Prix, the six-time world champion made clear that his comments were not directed at any rival Formula One drivers. "People perceived it as if I was targeting drivers," said Hamilton of his criticism of those who remained silent and did not speak out against racism. "But I really wasn't. It was targeted at the whole industry. And it's been something I've been aware of for a long, long time --and I've not really seen anyone doing anything about it. "People being silent is something that I've experienced for such a long time -- and now is not the time to be silent. "This is a time to help spread the message, the time to pull together. We need as many voices as we can to push for change." Hamilton and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas will wear black overalls and race in a black liveried car this season following Mercedes move to back the efforts for greater diversity in motorsport. The Mercedes cars,...
The French Open will allow up to 20,000 people to attend each day of this year's tournament despite the coronavirus pandemic, organisers announced on Thursday. The French Tennis Federation (FFT) also said that up to 10,000 people would be able to watch the finals and that it may increase the capacity should the situation with COVID-19 continue to improve in France. The clay-court Grand Slam event is set to start on September 27 and finish on October 11, with tickets to go on sale for the general public on July 16. "The number of spectators allowed inside the stadium will be 50 percent to 60 percent of its usual capacity, allowing us to ensure the barrier measures are respected," the FFT said in a statement. It also warned rules regarding attendance could be tightened in the event of another outbreak in the country. "However, if the situation requires more stringent hygiene standards that force us to reduce the number of spectators on site, the tournament organisers will refund any supplementary tickets sold," the FFT added. The US Open in New York is set to be the first Grand Slam since the coronavirus lockdown, starting on August 24, but is to be played behind closed doors,...
The Portuguese Cup final will be moved from Lisbon to Coimbra but the decision is not linked to increased lockdown measures, said the Portuguese federation (FPF) on Thursday. Lisbon is due to host the reformed Champions League format from the quarter-finals onwards between August 12 and 23. The domestic final between Benfica and Porto was originally scheduled to be played on May 24 but was postponed due to the coronavirus crisis. An announcement by the FPF said the match will instead be staged in Coimbra on August 1 at 8.45pm. The decision was taken "a long time ago", an FPF spokesperson told AFP, adding it had "nothing to do with the increase in cases" of coronavirus in the Lisbon region. The FPF also announced the suspension of this year's Portuguese Super Cup, which was also between Benfica against Porto, "to ease the schedule for Portuguese teams". UEFA said on Tuesday it was sticking to is plan for the Champions League and that the governing body is "in permanent contact with the Portuguese football federation and the local authorities". Residents of 19 neighbourhoods of the north of Lisbon have been in lockdown since Wednesday. In total, around 700,000 residents are to...
What is it? What is it? It’s a pretty big deal, that’s what. The Taycan is Porsche’s first electric vehicle and the car that’s finally giving Tesla something to worry about. The German car maker reckons its American rival isn’t really a rival at all because they have a different ethos – but for now, they’re the only electric executive cars about. (The Taycan is considerably more expensive, though.) It’s also a big deal because when Porsche tries something new it tends to succeed. When it launched the Cayenne, the idea of a premium sports car maker doing an SUV was madness. Now it’s the firm’s best-selling model. So with the Taycan in the UK for the first time, we took the Turbo S – the top-spec, top performance version – on a mix of motorway miles and winding country roads to see if it has that special Porsche something, or that – hang on, what’s the German for ‘je ne sais quoi’? What’s new? This is not just Porsche’s first electric vehicle, it has been designed to be an electric vehicle from the ground up. So there’s no cramming of batteries and electric motors into engine bays; instead the powertrain has been integrated into the body to give a low and sleek silhouette, while...
Inter have signed full-back Achraf Hakimi from Real Madrid, the two clubs announced on Thursday. Inter will pay Madrid 40 million euros ($44.9 million) for Hakimi, with a further five million euros due in variables, according to reports in Italy. The 21-year-old has signed a five-year contract with Antonio Conte's side. Hakimi joined Madrid's youth set-up in 2006 but struggled to establish himself in the first team and has spent the last two seasons on loan at Borussia Dortmund. He impressed in Germany but Zinedine Zidane was not convinced Hakimi could dislodge current Madrid right-back Dani Carvajal. "Achraf Hakimi is officially an Inter player," read a statement from Inter Milan. "The Moroccan, who was born in 1998, has joined the Nerazzurri on a permanent basis from Real Madrid and has signed a contract which will last until 30 June 2025." "Real Madrid and Inter Milan have agreed to transfer Achraf Hakimi," read a Madrid statement. "The club wants to thank Achraf for all these years of dedication, professionalism and exemplary behaviour since he came to our academy in 2006 and wishes him good luck in his new phase." Hakimi, who can also play as a winger, scored nine goals...
In a move to prevent costly damage to cars, the yellow kerbs at the final two corners of the Red Bull Ring have been removed ahead of this weekend’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix. Teams had expressed worries about the cost of damage and a shortage of spare parts following the closure of their factories during the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown. Several teams face financial problems – Williams are up for sale and McLaren have cut staff and sought a major bank loan to ensure their survival – and the sport has brought in budget caps. The running of three races on consecutive weekends will stretch resources and the removal of the aggressive kerbs will limit bodywork damage. The kerbs have been replaced by timing loops to make sure that drivers obey track limits.
A man who stands accused of trying to import explosives from a seller on the dark web, is now also facing charges of forgery after an expert matched his handwriting to a signature meant to have been made by his father. Fresh charges were issued against Jomic Calleja, 34, currently under preventive custody while facing prosecution for trying to import explosives he allegedly bought from a seller on the dark web. The police had kicked off investigations following a tip-off by foreign security services about the intended consignment of the suspicious materials to a Maltese purchaser and had travelled to Arizona last summer. In previous sittings, doubt was cast over a signature on a lease agreement for a Qormi showroom, purportedly done by the accused’s father. When testifying in court, Carmel Grech, the father, had denied that the signature on the document next to his identity card number was actually his. That denial had prompted the court, presided over by magistrate Donatella Frendo Dimech, to appoint a handwriting expert who had eventually matched the signature to the accused. That match resulted in additional charges for alleged forgery being issued by the prosecution. The...
Novak Djokovic and his wife Jelena, who last week both tested positive for coronavirus following his exhibition tournament in the Balkans, have now tested negative, his press service said Thursday. Neither the 33-year-old player or his partner felt any symptoms, the statement said. The couple had been self isolating since returning to Belgrade from Zadar in Croatia, the town which hosted the second leg of Djokovic's ill-fated Adria Tour. Four players -- Djokovic, Grigor Dimitrov, Borna Coric and Viktor Troicki -- tested positive for the virus after the event which saw little social distancing and packed stands. The world number one's coach Goran Ivanisevic also contracted COVID-19. Players had embraced across the net, played basketball and even danced in a nightclub during the week of the first leg played in Belgrade. Djokovic was widely criticised for hosting the tournament. The Serbian star issued an apology, saying he was "so deeply sorry" that the tournament "caused harm". On Wednesday, the player donated more than 40,000 euros ($45,000) to Serbian town Novi Pazar which has been badly affected by the pandemic. Serbia, with a population of about seven million people, has...
Updated 5.15pm Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of late financier Jeffrey Epstein, was arrested in the US on Thursday and charged with six counts of sexual abuse related to the ongoing Epstein sex crimes investigation. The daughter of late newspaper baron Robert Maxwell was detained "without incident" in Bradford, New Hampshire at 8:30 am (1330 GMT) Boston FBI spokesperson Kristen Setera told AFP. A spokesman for the Southern District of New York, which is investigating whether Epstein had any accomplices, said she had been charged "for her role in the sexual exploitation and abuse of multiple minor girls by Jeffrey Epstein." Epstein, 66, hanged himself in a New York cell in August last year while awaiting trial on charges of trafficking minors for sex. He had pleaded not guilty. Several of his accusers have said the 58-year-old Maxwell maintained a network of girls to perform sexual favors for Epstein, a registered sex offender who hobnobbed with the rich and famous. Maxwell's whereabouts have been unknown since Epstein's arrest in July 2019, sparking a tabloid frenzy to try to track her down and rumors about where she might be. The English socialite is a long-time...
A US PGA Tour coronavirus policy change involving asymptomatic players allowed American Cameron Champ to enter the field for the Rocket Mortgage Classic that teed off Thursday in Detroit. The change began Wednesday night involved players who test positive but show no symptoms of the deadly virus that forced a three-month tour shutdown before events resumed in June. Since the return, all positive tests for players or caddies required a 10-day isolation period based on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) protocols. After several asymptomatic positive tour tests followed by negative tests and following direct consultation with the CDC, the PGA decided to move forward within CDC guidelines allowing players and caddies who test positive but show no COVID-19 symptoms to return to competition if they have two negative tests at least 24 hours apart. The immediate change enabled Champ to be added to the field for the Detroit Golf Club tournament hours before Thursday's opening round. Champ tested positive on June 23 at last week's Travelers Championship but returned three negative tests in the 72 hours following the positive test. Like all players, Champ would still have...
Scores of ducks have been dying at Salina, prompting the Veterinary Services to launch an investigation into the cause of death. The Cleansing Department collected at least 20 dead ducks on Thursday alone, sources told Times of Malta. Neighbours said a large number of ducks were seen dead in the past few days. Many appeared to blame stagnant water in the canal where the ducks live. A commenter on the Rubs Puppy Love site said some 240 ducks had died in a month. Birdlife Malta, which manages the Salina Nature Reserve said that the area where the ducks live, including the canal, do not form part of the reserve. “These are domestic ducks and are not to be mistaken for wild birds, including other migrating ducks,” Birdlife said. The society said it had noted their predicament and alerted the authorities. “The reserve's management immediately called in the relevant authorities and people were sent on site to carry out tests. We are not aware of the conclusions of these tests and we have been calling on the Animal Welfare Department to take action and end the suffering for these ducks which are also in the wrong habitat, seeing that birds like these need fresh water to...
Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli invited British Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a morning jog before their next meeting, after he cited the Maltese as the fattest in Europe. On Tuesday the British PM name dropped the Malta's bulging waistlines at the launch of an anti-obesity campaign, citing it as an example to be avoided. “We are significantly fatter than most others – apart from the Maltese for some reason,” Johnson said. He warned that failure to take drastic action would see the UK overtake Malta as having the highest incidence of obesity in Europe. Farrugia Portelli, who was being interviewed by presenter Nicky Campbell on BBC Radio 5, said it was regrettable that both countries were high on the list. "It just means that we'll have to schedule a morning jogging routine before our next meeting, hopefully on one of our beautiful beaches," she said. The obesity call-out garnered widespread attention among the Maltese, with some taking offence to the British PM singling out Malta. "Jog-off Boris, at least we don't wear sandals with socks," one commenter wrote on social media. Malta has consistently topped the chart with high levels of obesity in both adults and...
Two Egyptian migrants have been jailed for four years each for their involvement in last December's riots at Safi detention centre and complicity in arson which caused damages of €86,914.69. Guma Mohammed and Yousef Halef Abdel Hamid, who had initially claimed to be Palestinian and Libyan respectively, were among 22 migrants who were arrested during the disturbance shortly before Christmas. What started out as a peaceful protest had degenerated into a riot, with stones and other items thrown at staff and the police. At one point the two accused, along with some eight other migrants, had headed into one of the tents, which served as a dormitory to 170 residents. Soon after, the tent was engulfed by a raging fire, the court was told. A detention officer who described the incident, told the court that the tent cost €70,000, while each of the 170 beds cost €75. Those figures, added to the cost of linen that went up in smoke, resulted in €86,914.69 in damages. Magistrate Joseph Mifsud said that complicity in the arson attack, wilful damage to third party property, disobedience of legitimate orders and breach of peace, had been sufficiently proven. “Public order applies to all,” he...
A financial agreement between the Family Ministry and women’s shelter Dar T’ghanniqa t’Omm was signed on Thursday afternoon, with the aim to help pregnant women who are in a problematic situation to choose life and gain support from the shelter. The agreement consists of €130,000 over 3 years.
Dar T’ghanniqa t’Omm, a shelter which is run by NGO Life Network Malta, helps mothers experiencing crisis pregnancies. Mothers seek shelter, support and guidance on how to raise their new-born whilst residing in the residence, and some mothers remain living there even once the child is born.
Family, Children’s Rights and Social Solidarity Michael Falzon underlined that the government is against abortion and that he wishes to help such women who are in a difficult situation, so that they can choose life over abortion. He recalled that on Mother’s Day he gave out flowers to the mothers residing at the residence, and how one mother told him she never received such a gift before. “That comment remained in my mind, and I am proud and happy to help in this way,” said Falzon.
Four babies born at women’s shelter, another nine on the way
Miriam Sciberras, chairperson of Life Network Malta explained that in the first six months of 2020, the team provided 570 hours of counselling and received 79 calls on their helpline.
In the first six months of 2020, Dar T’ghanniqa t’Omm provided 570 hours of counselling and received 79 calls on their helpline from distressed women who were worried that they would not manage to bring up their child due to their situation. There have been five mothers that have used the maternity shelter programme. “We have had four babies born at the shelter and another nine on the way,” said Sciberras. She said that a total of 24 babies were born to mothers who sought help some way by the foundation.
Sciberras said that the residence carried out 38 donations to families in need, which included food, nappies, hospital bags and blankets. “We wish to provide more education to Maltese and foreign women to understand conception and the development of their child,” explained Sciberras. She said that it is not an easy situation for the mothers but the team are there to help every step of the way.
Tony Zarb, former general secretary of the General Workers' Union, has been appointed acting secretary of the union's pensioners section after the death of its secretary, Tony Busuttil. Zarb was unanimously appointed by the section committee. Zarb stepped down from the GWU in October 2015 and later served as part-time government consultant.
Wasteland on the periphery of Zabbar has been converted into a park in a €600,000 project by Parks Malta. The area was, up to some months ago, used for illegal dumping, especially of building debris. Park ta’ San Klement, as the area has now been called, was inaugurated by Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli, who is responsible for Parks Malta. She said this is one of the biggest parks in the south of Malta, covering some 40 tomna or the length of four soccer grounds. 300 tons of waste were removed from the site before rubble walls were restored and irrigation and lighting systems installed. Some 2,200 young trees were added to the mature trees already on the site. APS Bank contributed €35,000 to the project.
Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli said that the 700,000 target number of tourists that Malta is expected to experience by the end of 2020 includes pre-COVID numbers.
During the reopening of the Malta International Airport (MIA) on Wednesday, and on other occasions in which the tourism sector's recovery plan was being discussed, Minister Farrugia Portelli stated that the ministry is expecting to see 700,000 tourists visiting our islands by the end of 2020.
However, this caused some confusion as to whether this number refers to the amount of tourists Malta will be experiencing starting from the reopening of the MIA or if it also includes the tourists that came in at the start of the year; that is, from January to mid-March prior to the travel ban which was introduced to avoid imported COVID-19 cases.
The Malta Independent asked for clarification on this and the minister confirmed that the speculated number refers to the total amount of tourists they are expecting in 2020 as a whole - "we are aiming that during this year, 2020, we will have at least 700,000 tourists who will visit our islands."
This newsroom also asked about how much in losses the government is expecting to see within the restaurant and hotel sectors seeing that they were heavily impacted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and will be facing a tough road towards recovery.
"Rather than looking at losses, we are focusing on how we will keep this industry alive and running so as to safeguard employment," she said.
"This has been one of the primary concepts that we have seen being implemented over the past few months through the financial aid we gave to restaurants in Malta and Gozo. Now we are moving on to the next step wherein families will start receiving vouchers to be directly injected into these restaurants," she added.
Farrugia Portelli explained that this aid will balance out restaurants' profits between internal tourism as well as external tourism which is being revitalised now that the MIA has reopened.
The airport was shut on 20 March as Malta moved to curb the importation of cases of Covid-19, but, after 103 days closed, reopened to tourist flights on Wednesday from a limited number of destinations.
Until the 15 of July, the airport will only be receiving flights from ‘safe corridor’ destinations which include, Italy (Sardinia and Sicily only), Iceland, Slovakia, Cyprus, Lithuania, France, Latvia, Norway, Switzerland, Estonia, Denmark, Hungary, Austria, Luxembourg, Germany, Czech Republic, Finland and Ireland.
The airlines operating the routes are Air Malta, Ryanair, Lufthansa, Wizz Air, Swiss Air, and Luxair.
The airport will open to flights from all destinations as from 15 July, including the UK which has had its doubt about putting Malta on its green list.
The Tourism Minster has said that British travel agency statistics have shown that there has been a spike in demand over the past two weeks for UK citizens who wish to come to Malta, and the numbers are pretty much on par with those of 2019.
James Pearsall will be appointed Chairperson of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD), Minister within the Office of the Prime Minister Carmelo Abela said
Pearsall was nominated by the Government after full consultation with the social partners members within the Council.
James Pearsall will take over the role at the end of July, with this serving as a transition period until then. Pearsall will be the sixth chairperson of the MCESD.
Minister Carmelo Abela thanked John Bencini for serving as Chairperson of the MCESD for seven years. Many successes have been achieved in recent years, including the agreement on the minimum wage and recently a social pact on aid to workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whilst Minister Abela congratulated Mr Pearsall on his appointment, he remarked that he is convinced that Mr Pearsall will be making his contribution to further strengthening social dialogue in the interest of the common good. Mr Pearsall has experience in both trade unionism and in administration.
The Minister said that with this appointment, the MCESD should go further and should strengthen its structures so that the social partners continue to find common ground on which to work together.
Minister Abela said: “We need to continue renewing ourselves as a council both in the way we work and in the way the discussion takes place. I am confident that under Mr Pearsall’s leadership we will have stronger debates which will consider what needs to be done in the future as well as the current challenges such as changes in the employment law. Another discussion that needs to take place concerns the next steps for the economy of our country and those economic activities that our country should focus more on. Within the MCESD, we are not just debating economic development but also social development; all that affects our lives in its various aspects. I am convinced that we will continue to strengthen this structure under Mr Pearsall’s leadership—also in terms of its internal administration—in order to enable the MCESD to guide government in the best manner possible”.
In his comments, Pearsall thanked the Minister and the Prime Minister for their trust. He said that “the next step is to enable consultation to become a powerful tool. This can be achieved if each entity within the Council is better prepared, as even the MCESD itself will start presenting research-based topics for discussion, particularly in relation to the well-being of citizens, this with the aim of being inclusive and allowing all to contribute to the economy. A strong social environment cannot be achieved without a prosperous economy. We should now analyse all the lessons learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic. The MCESD gave its contribution and participated in the economic regeneration plan. It is now the time to work together, with the means, with the strength, with all the necessary expertise and experience of both employers and employees, so that we join our efforts and focus our discussions on how to build a better country”.
Biographical Note – James Pearsall
James Pearsall started his career at Malta Drydocks and continued working for many years in the field of vocational training including the opening of vocational schools, as well as participating fully in the establishment of MCAST where he retired from his position as one of the directors at the Institute of Building and Construction Engineering. Mr Pearsall gave his contribution to the trade union field where he served for years as President of the General Workers Unions and through which he was also a member of the MCESD.
Pearsall holds a Master’s degree in HR Training & Performance Management as well as a Diploma in Social Studies. He is part of the IPS educational board of the Institute of Public Service, which offers continuous professional training to all public service employees. For many years, he has been contributing to the work of the Industrial Tribunal.
Hector Bellerin says Arsenal remain in the hunt for Champions League qualification after recovering from a slow restart following the coronavirus shutdown. The Gunners lost their opening two matches as the Premier League returned following the three-month hiatus. But a resounding 4-0 win over Norwich on Wednesday, including two goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, followed victory against Southampton last week. With Chelsea and Leicester losing on the same night and 10 points separating third-placed Leicester and Burnley in ninth, Bellerin believes Arsenal can still secure a return to the Champions League. Arsenal are seventh, eight points off Chelsea, who occupy the fourth and final Champions League spot. "For us that has been the goal since the beginning of the season," said the right-back. "And obviously coming back from lockdown that has always been our goal. "It wasn't the best of starts to our Premier League return, but we have been working really hard through the whole of quarantine -- not just physically but tactically as well." If Arsenal are to achieve their ambition then the goals of Aubameyang will be a big factor. His first effort was his 50th Premier League goal...