Times of Malta

General, sporting, and business news for Malta and the surrounding region
Times Of Malta
  1. Wednesday’s last BOV National League Crossovers match between San Ġiljan ASC and Birżebbugia ASC had to be postponed following confirmation of a player, whose identity is unknown so far, having tested positive for COVID-19. Despite the earlier matches having already been played, Malta Aquatic Sports Association issued a statement ahead of the match in question announcing its rescheduling as a measure of health and safety as Malta reaches a new high in cases.   Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta
  2. Athletic Bilbao Forward Inaki Williams admitted on Wednesday that he was one of six positive coronavirus cases recorded at the La Liga club. Williams, 26, had returned to pre-season training with the Basque side this week ahead of the new La Liga campaign which begins in mid-September. "Today it was confirmed that I tested positive after a PCR test. I'm asymptomatic and fortunately I'm doing well. I have to remain isolated now at home to beat the virus," Williams posted on Twitter. Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta.
  3. The match between Nice and Lens on the first weekend of the French Ligue 1 season will be played behind closed doors despite earlier hopes a crowd would be allowed into the Allianz Rivieria, the southern club's president said on Wednesday. The promoted outfit are set to travel to Nice on August 23. The French government announced this week that the cap of 5,000 people at public gatherings such as sports events would be maintained until October 30. Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta.
  4. Russia's sports ministry said Wednesday it would help its athletics federation pay a doping fine that is a key condition to removing the threat of expulsion by the sport's global governing body. The Russian athletics federation has been suspended since 2015, and its athletes were barred from the 2016 Rio Olympics. World Athletics said last month it would go further by expelling Russia unless it made an outstanding payment of $6.3 million in fines and costs for anti-doping breaches by August 15. Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta.
  5. Martina Agius (third from left) in full PPE with her swabbing centre colleagues. Photo: Courtesy of Martina Agius

    Twenty-four newly-warranted doctors have been deployed to testing and contact tracing centres to help alleviate pressure brought about by a resurgence in COVID-19 infections. The junior doctors, who were only recently granted their medical warrant, were in the process of getting promotions that would see them focus on their specialised areas. As they were due to start working in their new roles in three weeks’ time, it was decided they would help at the contact tracing and swabbing centres until then. The doctors’ union has not opposed the decision. In recent weeks, the centres have been inundated with work as the number of new COVID-19 cases spiked. As a result, two new testing centres will be opened in the coming days after a waiting list system had to be introduced to deal with backlogs. It came after Martina Agius, a podiatrist working at the Luqa swabbing hub in addition to her regular duties, spoke out this week about the deteriorating working conditions at testing centres. She said workers were understaffed, unmotivated, missing payments and dealing with an increasing shortage in personal protection equipment (PPE). Hours after she spoke out on Monday,  Prime Minister...
  6. Police are investigating an allegation of racism against a member of staff at Bayern Munich’s youth academy, a police spokesman confirmed Wednesday. The allegations were made as part of a report by broadcaster WDR against an unnamed long-serving coach in the German champions’ youth section. The club has confirmed the case, but made no further comment. Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta.
  7. A stairway leading to nowhere in the villa’s garden. Photos: Heritage Malta

    Abandoned places may look lonely and forlorn and yet each tile, each corner, each object, each decoration, is imbued with stories. Villa Guardamangia in Pietà is nowadays a far cry from its impressive origins, however, the building is still evocative of an aristocratic and glorious history. [attach id=909288 size="medium" align="right" type="image"]Delicately designed iron work[/attach] Costing €5 million to the Maltese government, the villa is scheduled as a Grade 2 building, reflecting its architectural and historical value. Although the property is renowned as one of the finest examples of baroque buildings of the time, it is the memories which are encapsulated in its fabric which make it so special. Sought after by the most privileged, Villa Guardamangia has even succeeded to capture Queen Elizabeth II’s heart, during her stay from 1949 to 1951, when she was still a princess and her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, was assigned to Malta as an officer of the Royal Navy. Indeed, this is the only place outside Britain which she has ever called ‘home’. Nostalgic old films and photos taken at this villa at the time provide us with a glimpse of how majestic this property...
  8. Picture: Twitter screengrab.

    Cell phone footage of restoration workers drilling down the stone wall of Istanbul's 14th-century Galata Tower created a political firestorm Wednesday and forced the culture ministry into a hasty retreat. The iconic 67-metre (220-foot) structure overlooking the Golden Horn is a massive draw for tourists and an enduring symbol of Istanbul. It was the ancient city's tallest structure when completed by the Genoese in 1348. But its future looked in sudden doubt when a press officer of the Istanbul city government tweeted a clip of two restoration workers taking apart a corner section of the tower's inner wall with jackhammers. A pile of large stones lay at their feet as they worked. "It was really shocking to see this kind of vandalism being performed in the most important cultural site of Istanbul," the city's cultural heritage department director Mahir Polat said. "This conduct is insane." The 20-second clip became a social media sensation and made the tower a trending topic on Turkish Twitter. Galata was already a source of tension between the city -- whose mayor Ekrem Imamoglu is a prominent opponent of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan -- and the Turkish culture ministry. The...
  9. Palermo, Sicily. Photo: Shutterstock

    Sicily has introduced restrictions on Sicilians arriving from neighbouring Malta, imposing a two week quarantine and a mandatory swab test following a rise in COVID-19 cases. The restrictions, detailed in a legal notice signed by governor Nello Musumeci, will come into place on August 14, the Ansa news agency reported. Sicilians will have to register on the "siciliacoronavirus.it" website and remain in home quarantine for two weeks before undergoing a swab test.  Non-residents who arrive from Malta will have to register with the health authorities on the siciliasicura.com site and use the connected WebApp. The legal notice does not stipulate that they have to quarantine.  Similar restrictions have been imposed on arrivals from Spain and Greece. It comes after the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna imposed checks on tourists from Malta, Spain and Greece – the three countries considered to pose the highest risk of contagion, according to Italian media.  The northern Italian region has decided that anyone flying in from Malta will have to undergo a swab test within 24 hours. The Italian region of Puglia also obliged travellers from Malta to self-quarantine after a surge in...
  10. Emma Ciantar Piccinino in action for Malta (right).

    Emma Ciantar Piccinino is set to become the latest Maltese women player to seek pastures new abroad as the youth midfielder will be moving to England where she will start a new adventure at the Sunderland Foundation of Light Academy. The 2003-born player has been offered a two-year Football Scholarship programme by Sunderland's Foundation of Light Academy. She joined the team in early August as the Academy will be preparing its girls groups for the five competitions they will be involved in namely the NFYL Women's Premier League, NFYL Women's National Premier, NFYL Women's Cup, AOC Women's Premier League and AOC Women's Premier Cup.  Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta.
  11. The Labour Party has set up 10 fora to discuss 100 ideas for future policies. The initiative was taken to coincide with the party's centenary. Party deputy leader Daniel Micallef said everyone is free to submit ideas to the fora. The fora are: Distribution of wealth, headed by Steve Ellul; The environment as a common heritage, led by Chris Mintoff; Our Health, led by Jan Chircop;  Malta's role in the Mediterranean, Europe and the world, led by Anthony David Gatt; Equality, headed by Rebecca Buttigieg; Holistic education, the future for all, led by Alison Civelli; Malta's democratic set-up, led by  Jonathan Attard;  The social sector, led by Maria Brown;   Gozo, led by Monica Farrugia; Stronger local councils, led by Sarah Agius Saliba. The fora will be coordinated by Daniel Micallef, party president Ramona Attard and MEP Miriam Dalli. Those wishing to participate may write on 100@partitlaburista.org on the Labour Party's Facebook page. 
  12. A still image taken from video footage shows smoke billowing from the scene of a train crash near Stonehaven in northeast Scotland.

     Three people died when a passenger train derailed in northeast Scotland on Wednesday, police said, in what First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described as "an extremely serious incident". "Very sadly despite the best efforts of paramedics, we can confirm that three people have been pronounced dead at the scene," British Transport Police said in a statement. The crash, close to the town of Stonehaven around 25 kilometres (15 miles) south of Aberdeen, followed severe flooding across parts of the region overnight. Smoke could be seen rising from the scene in pictures broadcast on television news channels.   Union TSSA said the train was the 06:38 (05:38 GMT) service travelling from Aberdeen to Glasgow. Sturgeon added that the incident happened in an area where it was difficult for emergency services to access. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I am saddened to learn of the very serious incident in Aberdeenshire and my thoughts are with all of those affected. My thanks to the emergency services at the scene." Thunderstorms and torrential rain battered parts of central and eastern Scotland overnight, creating hazardous travelling conditions. Photos posted on social media by...
  13. The MSE Equity Price Index on Wednesday erased some of Tuesday's strong uplift as it retracted by 0.38% to 3,770.189 points. The declines in GO, HSBC, BOV and MPC outweighed the gains in BMIT and GlobalCapital whilst MIA and PG traded flat. Trading activity improved to €0.17 million largely on the back of increased volumes in MPC. Malta Properties Company plc eased by 0.9% back to the €0.54 level on a total of 200,000 shares having a market value of €0.11 million. On Monday, MPC published its interim financial results showing a reduction in revenues as the lost income from the properties which have been vacated and have either been sold or are subject to a promise of sale agreement offset the upward inflationary adjustments on lease terms. The company also incurred an increase in costs amid higher level of business development activity including due diligence exercises on possible acquisitions. Looking ahead, MPC reiterated that its business model is resilient to the prevailing economic uncertainties and that it is continuing to pursue activities aimed at delivering additional shareholder value through the maximisation of its current property portfolio as well as extrinsic...
  14. Former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin has joined Villarreal from Valencia on a four-year deal, both Spanish clubs announced on Wednesday. Local media reported the deal for the 29-year-old, who left the Premier League side in 2018 after a decade-long spell, is worth eight million euros ($9.42 million). Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta.
  15. The Union of Professional Educators, an affiliate of the UĦM, said Wednesday that reopening schools next month, given the current scenario, is unrealistic and needs to be reconsidered and not promoted. The union was reacting to comments by Education Minister Owen Bonnici where he insisted that the schools will reopen, and teachers are in favour of doing so. The UPE said it hoped the situation would be such that schools could reopen. Students were feeling the impact of imposed social withdrawal, and it was concerned about the negative impact that prolonged closure would have on their academic progress. It however, had reservations about the government's insistence on reopening the schools, should COVID-19 numbers continue to rise. It observed that when the schools were closed in March, Malta had 12 COVID cases. The number now is close to 500.  The union said it is working on a 'strategic plan' aiming to ensure the safe reopening of schools. Its proposals will be forwarded to the government. It asked, however, how vulnerable children and educators would be protected if schools reopened. "How can we look at all these people in the eye and state that their health and safety is going...
  16. Edward Scicluna (File photo).

    The Nationalist Party has described evidence by Finance Minister Edward Scicluna before the Daphne Caruana Galizia murder inquiry as 'incredible' and astonishing. "Under Scicluna’s financial watch, Labour witnessed the worst scandal-ridden legislature in history, with major stories of abuse and corruption relating to the Panama Papers, money-laundering-ridden banks, uncovering of secret offshore companies and a number of shady government-sponsored financial deals such as the Electrogas energy deal and the privatisation of Malta’s three major hospitals to a company with zero experience in health administration whose ultimate beneficial owner was never disclosed. "Edward Scicluna now rails against the fact that decisions were taken by an inner core, which he was excluded from, ignoring the most obvious fact that as a Finance Minister he would have signed off on most of these shady deals. He had every opportunity to express his dissatisfaction by voting accordingly but failed to do so, repeatedly. He moreover repeatedly voted his confidence in Joseph Muscat and the “inner circle” composed of Konrad Mizzi and Keith Schembri that he now laments of," the shadow minister of finance,...
  17. Buying shares in various companies has become extremely easy these days. Thanks to the internet, everyone can research and invest their money from the comfort of their home. Furthermore, they do not have to deal with brokers – all they have to do is register on brokerage sites, make a first deposit and they are all set.  As 2020 enters its second half, the coronavirus pandemic is still the most trending topic. Economies around the world have suffered a lot and that is why many investors backed out and decided to save their money because they think it’s too risky to invest right now.  As of right now, the only way to stabilise the global market is by putting the pandemic under control. Several countries are still researching various vaccines. Russia is by far the closest to finding a solution. They claim that they have found the cure and that they will start vaccinating their population. They’ll start with just a fraction of their population, while the mass vaccination will begin somewhere in October. Even though we are in a chaotic state, some countries have stable stock markets and it is a smart move to buy shares there. So, with that thought in mind, here is a list of some of...
  18. Wayne Pisani, new MMF vice-secretary.

    The Malta Motorsport Federation (MMF) recently held an extraordinary general meeting to fill the vacant posts of treasurer and vice-secretary. During the EGM, a number of amendments to the MMF’s statute were presented among other agenda matters. Tonio Cini, MMF president, updated members with the work and incentives taken by the federation as part of the contingencies put in place as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the organisation of motorsport events by members, admittedly, the biggest challenge the MMF and its members faced this year. Among other matters Cini also gave an overview regarding the progress on the first phase of the FIA MMF Young Drivers Development Programme with the support of FIA, and the Gran Turismo e-Gaming competition held online in collaboration with World Pro Racing. Pierre Sammut, retiring MMF treasurer read the audited financial report and mentioned some of the projects currently being undertaken and the plans and targets the federation made for 2020/21. The audited financial report was approved by all member clubs present for the meeting. The meeting then moved on to consider a number of amendments to the MMF statute dealing with...
  19. How different might America and the world be today if Henry Wallace had succeeded Franklin Roosevelt as US President in April 1945 instead of Harry Truman. Photo: Facebook.

    With Joe Biden having picked Kamala Harris as his vice-presidential running mate, I thought it would be a good idea to discuss another vice president from America’s past. How different might America and the world be today if Henry Wallace had succeeded Franklin Roosevelt as US president in April 1945 instead of Harry Truman. I first encountered Wallace a number of years ago after reading Peter Kuznick and Oliver Stone’s excellent book The Untold History of the United States. For the last of Roosevelt’s three terms, Wallace served as vice president from 1941-1945. He was on the ticket again as Roosevelt sought a fourth term in office but was removed by the Democratic Party establishment at the Democratic Party National Convention of July 1944 and replaced with the more conservative Truman as they believed Wallace to be too progressive . Roosevelt won re-election in 1944 but stepped down due to his ailing health and was replaced by Truman. One of the strongest proponents of the 'New Deal' As one of the strongest proponents of the New Deal, Wallace spent almost eight years as Secretary of Agriculture from March of 1933 until September of 1940 before becoming vice president.
  20. Well-travelled Italy striker Mario Balotelli is listening to offers from Beskitas after being released from hometown club Brescia, Turkish newspapers reported on Wednesday. The temperamental 30-year-old striker had a difficult return to the Serie A outfit last term and is surveying his options abroad. Continue reading this article on Sports Desk, the new sports website by Times of Malta  
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