Times of Malta

Azure Window used to promote conference about sea conservation
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The Azure Window appeared in anything from perfume adverts to episodes of hit TV series Game of Thrones.  Now, almost six months since its sudden collapse and disappearance, the European Union's maritime and fisheries department has found a somewhat unusual use for an image of the iconic site: to promote a global sea conservation conference. An online banner for the Our Ocean conference to be held in Malta this October features an image of the iconic Dwejra rock formation, which vanished into the sea last March.  The banner was shared by the EU's maritime and fisheries department in a tweet targeting journalists which was retweeted by, among others, the department's head, EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella. At least one potential recruit was quick to point out that the choice of image is somewhat unfortunate and could send out the wrong message.   But the department has said that it is well aware of the Azure Window's fate and that the choice of image is intentional. "We know," the department tweeted in response to a Politico journalist who noted that the window is no more. "The Azure Window was a symbol of the #OurOcean conference and still is, reminding us fragility [sic] of...

Watch: NIMBY in Ta' Giorni as man chucks rubbish over wall
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A man in Ta' Giorni has been caught taking the notion of Not In My Backyard to a whole new level.  In video uploaded to Facebook, the man can be seen chucking rubbish over the back wall of a private yard and into an abandoned field on the other side.  Empty buckets, what look like shoes, a steel frame and other bits of waste all make it past the wall, with the man seemingly keen to give his throwing arm a workout.  By the end of it all, the illegal dumping created quite the rubbish pile, as a photo uploaded along with the video indicated.  The video was shot on August 15, the resident who shot the footage told Times of Malta.   "The property owner knows I took the video," he said, adding that the man littering had been employed to carry out some work on the site.  "I didn't speak to the local council at the time because it was a public holiday," he added. "They are aware of the video but I'll also be advising them accordingly."  Spotted something worth sharing? Get in touch at mynews@timesofmalta.com

Donald Trump fires strategist Steve Bannon
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Updated 7.50pm President Donald Trump today fired Stephen Bannon as his chief strategist in the latest high-level White House shakeup, removing a powerful and controversial figure known for far-right political views. Bannon was a force behind some of Trump's most contentious policies, including a travel ban on people from several Muslim-majority nations, and has fought with more moderate factions inside a White House riven with rivalries and backstabbing. Bannon's ouster comes with the president, seven months into his term in office, increasingly isolated over his comments following white supremacist violence in the Virginia college town of Charlottesville last Saturday. As Trump came under fire from prominent fellow Republicans, business leaders and US allies abroad, he faced mounting calls for Bannon's ouster. "White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Steve Bannon have mutually agreed today would be Steve's last day," White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Friday. "We are grateful for his service and wish him the best." A champion of economic nationalism and a political provocateur, Bannon, 63, is a former US Navy officer, Goldman Sachs investment banker...

'You can't live in fear': Defiance in EU capitals following Barcelona attacks
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Dan Creasey was in a bar close to his coffee stall in London's Borough Market when three Islamists ploughed a van into pedestrians before stabbing revellers and tourists. Two months later, he is back at work in the 1,000-year-old market, feels "100 percent safe" and says customers have not been deterred either. The June 3 attack on Borough Market was one of a series by Islamist militants on European tourist hotspots in the past two years, the latest in Barcelona on Thursday when a van was driven into crowds on the Ramblas boulevard, killing 14. In European capitals that have already seen such attacks -- London, Paris and Berlin -- the mood today was one of defiance tinged with an acknowledgement that some visitors might be scared off. "It's very scary, but at the end of the day, it's not going to deter me," said British tourist Stephen Bishop, 47, outside Paris's Bataclan Theatre where 89 people were killed when it was stormed by Islamists in 2015. "My message is, don't give in. Don't be a coward. Live your life as normal," Bishop said. On Berlin's Breidscheidplatz, where 12 people were killed in a truck attack on a Christmas market last year, people were philosophical. "You...

British TV entertainer Sir Bruce Forsyth dies aged 89
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British TV veteran Sir Bruce Forsyth has died at the age of 89, his manager has said. Sir Bruce was one of the most talented, versatile and popular TV entertainers of his generation. He was knighted in the Birthday Honours of 2011 after his supporters, including many MPs, had campaigned for several years for him to be awarded this honour. With his witty asides, his cheeky smile and his displays of mock outrage, Sir Bruce topped the bill wherever he went for well over half a century. He was still performing with as much zest as ever right into his 80s. Indeed, as a sprightly, lithe 80-year-old, with the slogan "keep on dancing", he was hosting the huge BBC TV hit, Strictly Come Dancing.  His principal claim to fame before that was probably his hosting of the long-running and highly-successful TV series The Generation Game. But he was no less popular in Play Your Cards Right and in Bruce's Price is Right. The statement announcing his death read: "It is with great sadness that the Forsyth family announce that Sir Bruce passed away this afternoon, peacefully at his home surrounded by his wife Wilnelia and all his children. "A couple of weeks ago, a friend visited him and asked him...

Getaway driver tells court she was misled
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A woman who admitted to being involved in two violent thefts that took place last November was handed a suspended sentence today.  Lucienne Lia, 27, of Qormi, was identified by police as the getaway driver in two robberies which happened within a week of each other. The first saw a lotto booth in San Ġwann robbed, while just eight days later an elderly woman had her bag snatched from her.  Tristan Falzon and Roderick Stanyer have been charged in separate criminal proceedings. Legal aid lawyer Patrick Valentino represented Ms Lia and told the court she was unemployed. His client pleaded guilty, but said that she had only been a passenger in the car in the first case and had simply been told to drive Mr Falzon somewhere in the second.  Police inspector Fabian Fleri told the court that Ms Lia had cooperated with police and that he would not object to a suspended sentence, given her clean criminal record.  Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras handed Ms Lia a one-year prison sentence suspended for two years and placed her under a supervision order.   Should Ms Lia fail to comply with the order, her jail term will come into effect, the magistrate warned her.      

Dozens testify in inquiry into passport sale kickback claims
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Scores of company representatives testified in a marathon court hearing today as the inquiry continued behind closed doors into allegations of kickbacks from the sale of citizenship scheme. The court process was triggered off following claims by Opposition leader Simon Busuttil that the Prime Minister's chief of staff Keith Schembri and Nexia BT director Brian Tonna benefitted from the scheme.  A procession of witnesses choked the corridors of the court building, which is normally deserted at this time of the year. The inquiry in front of Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras is not open to the public or press. Magistrate Galea Sciberras' inquiry was launched after Magistrate Aaron Bugeja, who is conducting a separate inquiry into allegations that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat or his wife set up an offshore company in Panama to launder kickbacks, ruled that there were grounds for an investigation to be launched into the financial dealings of Mr Schembri and Mr Tonna. The Panama Papers had revealed that Keith Schembri and then energy minister Konrad Mizzi were first outed as the owners of companies in the secretive Panamanian jurisdiction. Nexia BT, local representative of Panamanian...

Dogs sniffed out cocaine and heroin hidden in car chassis, court told
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Police dogs put to work on cars arriving from Sicily sniffed 18kg worth of cocaine and heroin out of a car's chassis, a court heard today.  Mark Dominic Vella, 53 and from Manchester, stood silent throughout the hearing on his lawyer's advice, not even confirming his name. His silence was registered as a plea of not guilty.   Mr Vella has been charged with conspiracy to import cocaine and heroin, importing the illicit drugs and having them in his possession after police found 12kg of suspected heroin and 6kg of suspected cocaine in his car upon his arrival from Sicily yesterday morning.  Inspector Kevin Pulis told the court that officers were performing routine checks on cars arriving from Sicily when a canine unit alerted handlers to something odd about Mr Vella's Mazda Titan truck.  Initial searches came up short, but when the dogs kept indicating the truck, it was hauled to the police garage and taken apart. The drugs were found inside the truck's chassis, the inspector said. Mr Vella, who has also been charged with using an unauthorised number plate on his truck, did not request bail.  The court, presided by magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, ordered a complete inventory of...

Two dead, six hurt in Finland knife attack
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Updated 6.35pm - Police say two dead Two people were killed and six people needed hospital treatment after a knife attack in the Finnish city of Turku, police said in a news conference today. Police said they arrested one person after a shootout and warned people to stay away from the city as they reinforced security nationwide. Interior Minister Paula Risikko told Helsingin Sanomat she did not yet know whether the attack was related to terrorism. Finland is traditionally peaceful but the Finnish Security Intelligence Service raised the terrorism threat level in June, saying it had become aware of more serious terrorism-related plans in Finland. Witness Laura Laine said she was alerted by hearing a young woman screaming loudly at the corner of the market square. "We saw a man at the square, he had knife in his hand, and he was swinging it in the air. We understood he had stabbed someone," she told Finnish broadcaster YLE. Turku lies on Finland's southwest coast about 160 km (100 miles) west of the capital Helsinki. Turun Sanomat said police were inspecting departing trains and buses. They also reinforced security in Helsinki airport and streets as well as a train station in...

Drug mule lied under oath, says man caught in cocaine sting
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A man sentenced to 13 years behind bars for conspiring to import cocaine has filed an appeal, claiming the jury's star witness lied under oath and that the guilty verdict had been reached on the basis of assumptions. Last month, Stephen Egbo, 39, of San Ġwann, was found guilty by 7 votes to 2 of conspiring to import cocaine from the Netherlands back in 2010. He was handed a 13-year sentence and €30,000 fine.  Mr Egbo had been arrested following a sting operation put into place after police arrested drug mule Attila Somiyai as he arrived in Malta.   According to Mr Somiyai, Mr Egbo was due to pick up more than 500g of cocaine from him. Mr Somiyai was jailed for nine years in 2014 for his part in the operation and received a reduced sentence for cooperating with police.  Lawyers for Mr Egbo have filed an appeal arguing that Mr Somylai was lying and that all other evidence indicated that Mr Egbo was innocent.  Mr Somylai had told the court that he had recognised Mr Egbo by his dreadlocks. But according to the defendant's lawyers, Mr Egbo did not have dreadlocks at the time and only grew them later, before the trial by jury. Lawyers have also noted that their client was not carrying...

Malta Independent

At least two dead, six injured as man goes on stabbing spree in Finnish city of Turku
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Two people have died and six others were injured afer a man went on a stabbing spree in Finland's western city of Turku before police shot him in a leg and detained him, police said, adding that authorities were looking for more potential suspects.Finnish broadcaster YLE says several people were seen lying on the ground in Puutori square in central Turku. On Twitter, police urged people to avoid that part of Turku.One person has been "apprehended," Finnish police said, adding "several people had been stabbed" in two squares in the city. Their conditions weren't immediately available.Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat says six people were injured, one man and five women, and that a woman with stroller was attacked by a man with a large knife.Prime Minister Juha Sipila said the government was closely monitoring the ongoing police operation and holding an emergency meeting later Friday.Witness Laura Laine told broadcaster YLE that she stood approximately 20 meters (65 feet) from where the stabbing took place."We heard that a young woman was screaming. We saw a man on the square and a knife glittered. He was waving it in the air. I understood that he had stabbed someone," Laine was quoted as saying.Police planned a news conference at 7 p.m. (1600 GMT; 12 p.m. EDT) in Turku, about 150 kilometers (90 miles) west of Helsinki, with Finland's interior minister and the national police chief.Finnish television channel MTV said security had been heightened at Helsinki's international airport but didn't give details."Police have told us not to go to the city center so we are in this coffee shop a few blocks away from the city center," said Vanessa Deggins, an American who is studying business in one of Turku's three universities. She didn't witness the actual attack, but heard sirens going past."This is a safe country by American standards. I have gone home alone at 2-3 a.m.  ... I feel safe. This is a safe country." 

Man charged with drug trafficking after 18kg find on truck arriving from Sicily
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Mark Dominic Vella, a British man who lives in Saint Paul's Bay was arraigned before Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras and charged with drug trafficking.The 53-year-old man stands accused of trafficking 12kg of heroin and 6 kg cocaine. The drug was hidden inside the chassis of the truck he was driving from Sicily to Malta. Testifying in court, Inspector Kevin Pulis explained how a police dog led the authorities to the hidden substance. Pulis told the court that the police had been carrying out routine checks in Valletta waterfront. The police's canine unit alerted the officers of the hidden substance inside the Mazda van. At first, initial searches proved unsuccessful. However, the police dogs showed particular interest into this van and the police decided to inspect further by dismantling the van. Vella stood accused with importation of cocaine and heroin and for being in possession of the said drugs. He is also charged with using an unlicensed numberplate for his van. The accused, originally from Manchester, remained silent throughout the whole proceeding. His silence was listed as a not guilty plea. No request for bail was made at this stage. Arthur Azzopardi defended the accused. Case to continue on Tuesday.

Company representatives go to court to testify in passport kickback inquiry
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Dozens of representatives from various companies have gone to the courts in Valletta to testify in the case regarding the allegations of kickbacks from the sale of citizenship by the Prime Minister's Chief of Staff Keith Schembri and Nexia BT Director Brian Tonna. The hearing, presided by Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, is not open to the public or the press. The inquiry was launched after a previous court had ruled that there was sufficient grounds for an investigation to be launched. It was Magistrate Aaron Bugeja who gave this ruling, the same magistrate that is now conducting a separate inquiry into offshore companies in Panama, in particular the Egrant company. Keith Schembri and Minister Konrad Mizzi were named in the Panama Papers leak back in February 2016. The two were confirmed to have opened companies in Panama. As the election date drew closer, outgoing leader of the Oppostion Simon Busuttil had also claimed he had evidence that Keith Schembri and Brian Tonna received kick backs from the sale of passports, a controversial programme launched earlier in the last legislature.The allegations led to several inquiries. None of them have so far been concluded. 

Single officer killed 4 suspects in Spain attack
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A senior police official in Spain says that a single police officer killed four of the suspects who carried out the attack in the Catalan seaside town of Cambrils.Catalan regional police official Josep Lluis Trapero says that it was "not easy" for the officer involved despite being a professional. A total of five suspects were killed after the Cambrils attack in which a car ploughed into a crowd, killing a woman.Hours earlier, a van struck a crowd of pedestrians, killing at least 13 people in Barcelona and injured more than 100 people.

Watch - Updated (2): Spain manhunt deepens as Barcelona insists 'I am not afraid'
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Police shot and killed five people wearing fake bomb belts who staged a deadly car attack in a seaside resort in Spain's Catalonia region Friday, just hours after a van plowed into pedestrians on a busy Barcelona promenade.Spanish authorities said the back-to-back vehicle attacks — as well as an explosion earlier this week in a house elsewhere in Catalonia — were related and the work of a large terrorist group. Three people were arrested, but a manhunt was underway for the driver of the van used in Thursday's Barcelona attack, which killed 13 people and injured 100 others. The Islamic State group quickly claimed responsibility.Amid heavy security, Barcelona tried to move forward Friday, with its iconic Las Ramblas promenade quietly reopening to the public and King Felipe VI and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy joining thousands of residents and visitors in observing a minute of silence in the city's main square."I am not afraid! I am not afraid!" the crowd chanted in Catalan amid applause.But the dual attacks unnerved a country that hasn't seen an Islamic extremist attack since 2004, when al-Qaida-inspired bombers killed 192 people in coordinated assaults on Madrid's commuter trains. Unlike France, Britain, Sweden and Germany, Spain has largely been spared, thanks in part to a crackdown that has netted some 200 suspected jihadis in recent years.Authorities were still reeling from the Barcelona attack when police in the popular seaside town of Cambrils, about 130 kilometers (80 miles) to the south, fatally shot five people near the town's boardwalk who had plowed into a group of tourists and locals with their blue Audi 3. Catalonia's interior minister, Joaquim Forn, told Onda Cero radio they were wearing fake bomb belts.One woman died Friday from her injuries, Catalan police said on Twitter. Five others were injured.Cambrils Mayor Cami Mendoza said the town had taken precautions after the Barcelona attack, but that the suspects had centered their assault on the narrow path to the boardwalk, which is usually packed with locals and tourists late into the evening."We were on a terrace, like many others," said bystander Jose Antonio Saez. "We heard the crash and intense gun shots, then the dead bodies on the floor, shot by the police. They had what looked like explosive belts on."Others described scenes of panic, and found safety inside bars and restaurants until police had secured the area.Local resident Markel Artabe said he was heading to the seafront to get an ice cream when he heard the shots."We began to run. We saw one person lying on the pavement with a shot in his head, then 20 to 30 meters farther on we saw two more people, who must have been terrorists as they had explosive belts around them. We were worried so we hid."The Cambrils attack came soon after a white van veered onto Barcelona's picturesque Las Ramblas promenade and mowed down pedestrians, zig-zagging down the strip packed with locals and tourists from around the world. Catalonian authorities tweeted that the dead and injured in the two attacks were people of 34 different nationalities.Forn told local radio RAC1 the Cambrils attack "follows the same trail. There is a connection."He told Onda Cero that the Cambrils and Barcelona attacks were being investigated together, as well as a Wednesday night explosion in the town of Alcanar in which one person was killed."We are not talking about a group of one or two people, but rather a numerous group," he said.Forn also suggested a possible connection to an incident Thursday in which the driver of a Ford Focus plowed through a police checkpoint leaving Barelona after the attack, injuring two police officers. The driver was killed. Police initially said there was no connection to the Barcelona carnage, but Forn said an investigation was under way."There is a possibility (of a connection), but it is not confirmed," he said.The Barcelona attack at the peak of Spain's tourist season left victims sprawled across the street, spattered with blood and writhing in pain from broken limbs. Others were ushered inside shops by officers with their guns drawn or fled in panic, screaming and carrying young children in their arms."It was clearly a terror attack, intended to kill as many people as possible," Josep Lluis Trapero, a senior police official for Spain's Catalonia region told reporters late Thursday.The Islamic State group said in a statement on its Aamaq news agency that the attack was carried out by "soldiers of the Islamic State" in response to the extremist group's calls for followers to target countries participating in the coalition trying to drive it from Syria and Iraq.A third Barcelona suspect was arrested Friday in the northern town of Ripoll, where one of the two detained on Thursday had also been nabbed and where the investigation appeared to be focusing Friday. The third arrest was made in Alcanar, where the gas explosion in a house was being investigated."There could be more people in Ripoll connected to the group," Forn told TV3 television, adding that police were focusing their investigation on identifying the five dead in Cambrils as well as the driver of the Barcelona van.Spanish public broadcaster RTVE and other news outlets named one of the detained in the Barcelona attack as Driss Oukabir, a French citizen of Moroccan origin. RTVE reported that Oukabir went to police in Ripoll to report that his identity documents had been stolen. Various Spanish media said the IDs with his name were found in the attack van and that he claimed his brother might have stolen them.Citing police sources, Spain's RTVE as well as El Pais and TV3 identified the brother, Moussa Oukabir, as the suspected driver of the van. Forn declined to comment on questions about him Friday, citing the ongoing investigation.Media outlets ran photographs of Driss Oukabir they said police had issued to identify one of the suspects. The regional police told The Associated Press that they had not distributed the photograph. They refused to say if he was one of the two detained.The driver, however, remained at large."We don't know if the driver is still in Barcelona or not, or what direction he fled in," Forn, the Catalan interior minister, told SER Radio. "We had local police on the scene, but we were unable to shoot him, as the Ramblas were packed with people."Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called the killings a "savage terrorist attack" and said Spaniards "are not just united in mourning, but especially in the firm determination to beat those who want to rob us of our values and our way of life."After the afternoon attack, Las Ramblas went into lockdown. Swarms of officers brandishing hand guns and automatic weapons launched a manhunt in the downtown district, ordering stores and cafes and public transport to shut down.By Friday morning, the promenade had reopened to the public, albeit under heavy surveillance and an unusual quiet.Newsstands were open selling papers and souvenirs near Plaza de Catalunya, but the iconic flower shops that line the promenade remained shuttered. Vendors who typically sell counterfeit sneakers and soccer jerseys displayed on white sheets were nowhere to be found."We all feel fine, right?" said Tara Lanza, a New York tourist who arrived in Barcelona even after hearing of the attack."It's sad," John Lanza said, as the family stood outside the gated La Boqueria market. "You can tell it's obviously quieter than it usually is, but I think people are trying to get on with their lives."At noon Friday, a minute of silence honoring the victims was observed at the Placa Catalunya, near the top of the Ramblas where the van attack started. Rajoy declared three days of national mourning.Since the Madrid train bombings, the only deadly attacks had been bombings claimed by the Basque separatist group ETA that killed five people over the past decade. It declared a cease-fire in 2011."Unfortunately, Spaniards know the absurd and irrational pain that terrorism causes. We have received blows like this in recent years, but we also that terrorists can be beaten," Rajoy said.

Body found in sea in St Julian's is of French man missing since Saturday
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A decomposing body discovered on Wednesday afternoon in the waters of St Julian’s has been identified as the missing French man from a boat party on Saturday 12 August, police have confirmed.The body was seen at around 6.30pm on Wednesday, and lifted out of the water by the Armed Forces of Malta. He was then taken to Haywharf and taken to the morgue.Last Saturday, the boat was on its way to shore after a boat party when six men leapt off the boat. Five of the six made it shore, while the sixth person, the Frenchman found on Wednesday, never made it. A late-night helicopter search and rescue operation had failed to find the man and an AFM helicopter continued the search for days after. 

Eritrean man charged with attacking two men outside bar in Marsa
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An Eritrean man has been charged with attacking two men and threatening them with a knife.26-year-old Jamal Osman Humed, allegedly attacked and injured Asmeron Ayneta Haile and Abdi Hassan Ali in a fight which erupted just outside the New Tiger Bar in Marsa. The accused was also charged with carrying a knife in public and being in possession of a blade without a licence, and also of breaching the conditions of a suspended sentence that was handed some two weeks ago. Back in February, Humed stood charged with holding his former girlfriend prisoner in her own home. Only two weeks ago, the man was arraigned with charges similar to the ones he was charged today. The man was also found to be in possession of 1 gram of cannabis.  Inspector Darryl Borg, who is leading the prosecution, objected to bail arguing there is a risk the accused tries to intimidate witnesses. The court granted bail on the condition that the accused does not approach or communicate with the two victims or enter the town of Marsa. He was ordered to leave a deposit of €300 and a personal guarantee of €2500 as security against his obedience of the bail conditions. Lawyer Patrick Valentino appeared for the accused. 

Woman involved in two robberies handed suspended sentence after admitting guilt
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The court has sentenced a woman, who admitted her involvement in two robberies, to a one-year in prison that is suspended for two years.Lucienne Lia, aged 27 and from Qormi, was accused of being complicit in the theft of a lotto office in San Gwaan on 12 November and the aggravated theft from an elderly woman on 20 November.The court, which was presided over Magistrate Natasha Galea Sciberras, heard how Lia was apprehended and found to be the driver of a getaway car following a car chase after the incident on 20 November.Lia would later confess to being in the getaway car in the case at the lotto office.The court was also told that the accused was unemployed, that she had cooperated with the police, and that she was a passenger in the first incident, and was not informed about the theft during the second.Tristan Falzon and Roderick Stanyer have been charged in separate criminal proceedings.The Court imposed a one-year prison sentence that was suspended for two years and placed Lia under a supervision orderPolice Inspectors Fabian Fleri and Kylie Borg prosecuted.Lawyer Patrick Valentino was the legal aid of Lia.  

Man sentenced to 13 years jail files appeal based on ‘credibility’ of star witness
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Lawyers have filed an appeal on behalf of Stephen Egbo, a Nigerian man fighting a 13 years jail term accompanied by a €30,000 fine for being found guilty to conspiring to import cocaine from the Netherlands in 2010.The defence team is making the case that the jury’s lead witness is not credible, having pointed out a number of consistencies in his testimony over various sittings.In July, Egbo, 39 from San Gwann, was found guilty by a jury, with seven votes against two, of conspiring to import cocaine.The initial case dates back to November 2010, when Attila Somlyai, a Romanian national, was intercepted by the police when arriving in Malta for Düsseldorf. After being taken to Mater Dei hospital and examined, Somlyai was found with 60 capsules of cocaine hidden in his stomach, worth some €44,000.The Romanian is currently serving nine years imprisonment and is the leading witness where the prosecution is making the case that the drugs brought down by Somlyai were intended for Egbo. The credibility of the witness is a crucial point for both the defense and the prosecution. Egbo had subsequently been arrested during a controlled delivery operation, and was charged with intending to pick the drugs up from Somilyai, who had arrived from a Dusseldorf flight.Lawyers Simon Micallef Stafrace and Marc Sant, representing the appellant, are basing their arguments on the evidence presented in court, contending that they showed no involvement on behalf of Egbo with any drug conspiracy. It was Somalyai who pointed his fingers at Egbo, and without the former’s testimony there would be absolutely nothing tying Egbo to the case, the lawyers argued.Micallef Stafrace and Sant reminded the court that, in addition to the several inaccuracies and misguided statements made by the Romanian national, he negotiated a lesser prison sentence through his cooperation and therefore had a vested interest.They highlighted the illogicalness of Egbo being the contact for Somylai, and that the former was allegedly planning to meet the latter to pay for the drugs, when no money was found on Egbo or at his home. This, the lawyers argued, proves that the appellant was not the contact person for the delivery.Another shortcoming was the fact that records from a phone call allegedly made by Somaylai to Egbo, using a police phone, was never exhibited in court therefore the presiding judge would just have to take the witness’ word for it. Worse still, it transpired that the Romanian had been speaking to his foreign contact using the police phone in Hungarian, and no translator had been presented to ascertain what was said in the call. The defence lawyers stressed what a big shortcoming this was.Inaccuracies were then pointed out in the description of Egbo’s physical features at the time of the controlled delivery.

Godfrey Farrugia ‘not interested’ in Partit Demokratiku leadership
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Partit Demokratiku MP Godfrey Farrugia says today that he is not interested in the race for the party leadership.Writing on Facebook, Farrugia says that “at this stage , I am not interested in contesting the Leadership of this party, not least because we have capable others willing and able to take on that responsibility while I consolidate PD presence in the highest institution in the land.”His life partner Marlene Farrugia, currently PD leader and only other PD MP, last Saturday said she will not contest the leadership election at the next annual general meeting in October.Anthony Buttigieg, who was deputy leader and resigned after Marlene Farrugia did not rule out contesting for the Nationalist Party leadership, said he will be contesting the post of leader.This is Godfrey Farrugia's full post:Standing up for Peace of Mind for allA life in politics is not easy.At least, it isn't easy for me .The demands of the constituency, preparation for parliamentary sittings and debates, as well as combatting a steamrolling media platform controlling government with my very limited resources , is a challenge if ever there was one.Family and friends repeatedly ask me the same question.  'You are being hung , drawn and quartered by your opponents. Your colleagues , incensed by your resilience , occasionally , knowingly or unknowingly , shamelessly join in the bloodbath.Don't you feel the pain? Is it worth it? Why do you do it?  What fires your unflinching enthusiasm?  Where is this mysterious gorge from which your motivation flows unabated?And I meet these questions and many others with the same simple answer.I love this miniscule group of rocks jutting out from the heart of the Mediterranean Sea.Malta, Gozo, Comino and their rocklets are my home.  They are home to my ancestors whose legacy we now live , and Im hoping against hope that they will be home to my children and grandchildren, whose lives will, in turn depend on the legacy we are currently knitting , weaving , casting and welding for them.I want my grandchildren, your grandchildren , to have the opportunities I have had in my own country.  Simple beautiful things that matter like living a healthy life in a clean and balanced environment, having a good job that pays, a level playing field to succeed through hard work and perseverance.Striving for the basic most important things in life , like the opportunity to live in dignity no matter who and what you are , or what stage of your life you're in, is important to me.All this and much more is a challenge I cannot ignore, simply because I have been brought up totally bereft of the faculty to even contemplate to shirk my responsibility for standing up for peace of mind, for standing up for what is right .In the last few months we have witnessed a meltdown of political standards.The government riding high on a frenzy of gorging on the country's assets. The construction industry blazing forward like a lost asteroid fizzing straight into the next black hole. Government officials under criminal investigation, barging on with the country's most lucrative projects, disappearing whistle blowers , and a parliamentary agenda now hellbent on appeasing the pimping mentality further by the normalisation of increased objectification of women, while hypocritically bemoaning the occasional ruptured spleen that makes it to hospital in time.As for the PN opposition.  Nerik Mizzi must be so tired of turning and turning again, in his grave.Still, I do believe in miracles if we work for them, and I believe that as a people , our democracy will prevail through this political impasse.The little new political party, The Democratic Party, that made it to Parliament albeit on the Nationalist Party ticket, is more than ever determined to serve the country , freely and unencumbered by compromising deals with third parties.With two experienced Members of Parliament, and an impending total overhaul of the Leadership and Executive of this budding political force, the country is going to acquire precisely what it needs : new , fresh, reliable people spearheading the growth of this political endeavour outside parliament, while echoing the voice of our communities and society within parliament.The renewed and fast evolving PD has no baggage to weigh it down and will be run by citizens with whom everyone can work , away from the sticky quagmire that the traditional political landscape has sunk in.The coming couple of months are going to be crucial for PD as it takes the shape that best renders it capable to grow in its capacity to serve our country wisely and loyally.I am determined to serve the country through the Democratic party in Parliament.At this stage , I am not interested in contesting the Leadership of this party, not least because we have capable others willing and able to take on that responsibility while I consolidate PD presence in the highest institution in the land.Meanwhile, I invite you summon the courage that definitely lives within you , so that , you too can be part of the change you want to see.

TVM

Espert tad-droga jissusspetta li l-flakka reġgħet daħlet f’Malta

Espert tad-droga Dr Mario Mifsud jibża’ li fis-suq bħalissa reġa’ hawn id-droga sintetika magħrufa bħala flakka, li t-teħid tagħha f’dożi differenti jew imħallta ma’ drogi oħra jew max-xorb twassal għal imġiba straordinarja li ma ssirx mill-persuni li jkunu f’sensihom. Flakka huwa l-isem ta’ sustanza li dan l-aħħar qiegħda fuq ilsien in-nies minħabba l-effetti koroh li […] The post Espert tad-droga jissusspetta li l-flakka reġgħet daħlet f’Malta appeared first on TVM.

Jitilgħu għal 14 il-vittmi taż-żewġ attakki terroristiċi fi Spanja

Terrur fi Spanja riżultat taż-żewġ attakki terroristiċi tal-bieraħ fir-reġun ta’ Katalunja li sa issa ħallew erbatax-il persuna mejta u 130 midruba minn 34 pajjiż differenti. Waqt li tard ilbieraħ filgħaxija l-Pulizija Spanjola qatlet ħamest irġiel li kienu involuti f’attakk terroristiku ieħor b’karozza fir-raħal ta’ Cambrils, għadha għaddejja bi tfittxija għas-suspettat ta’ 18-il sena li saq […] The post Jitilgħu għal 14 il-vittmi taż-żewġ attakki terroristiċi fi Spanja appeared first on TVM.

Fit-tieni jum tax-xogħol qalulu li ma jridux “iswed” iservihom

Żagħżugħ Malti li missieru huwa barrani, ħassu mweġġa’ fit-tieni jum tax-xogħol tiegħu bi preġudizzju razzista fil-konfront tiegħu. Waqt li rrakkonta dak li għadda minnu, appella biex kull persuna tkun iġġudikata fuq għemilha. Għandu 16-il sena, għadu kemm temm l-iskola sekondarja u beħsiebu jibda kors ta’ sitt snin fl-Istitut għall-Istudji Turistiċi biex isir pastry chef. Gabriel […] The post Fit-tieni jum tax-xogħol qalulu li ma jridux “iswed” iservihom appeared first on TVM.

Taħditiet biex il-ġbir tal-iskart fil-Belt ikun organizzat aħjar

Għaddejjin it-taħditiet bejn il-Kunsill Lokali tal-Belt, il-GRTU u l-Gvern biex il-ġbir tal-iskart fil-kapitali ikun organizzat aħjar. Is-Segretarju Parlamentari Deo Debattista qal li jekk kollox imur kif pjanat fil-ġimgħat li ġejjin ikun hemm bidla fil-mod kif il-Belt tinżamm nadifa, fost oħrajn b’ħinijiet differenti għall-ġbir tal-iskart u vetturi għall-ġbir tal-iskart iżgħar. Turisti u Maltin li għall-ħabta tas-sebgħa […] The post Taħditiet biex il-ġbir tal-iskart fil-Belt ikun organizzat aħjar appeared first on TVM.

Tal-umbrelel jieħdu lezzjoni wara t-tbeżbiża li ngħataw

It-tbeżbiża li l-awtoritajiet tat-turiżmu u tal-artijiet taw lill-operaturi tad-deckchairs u l-umbrelel fil-bajjiet jidher li serviet ta’ lezzjoni. Minn tagħrif li ksibna u titwila li għamilna f’uħud mill-bajjiet innutajna li rregolarizzaw ruħhom kemm dawk li dawk li ma kinux skont il-permess, kemm dawk li kienu taħt il-mira tal-kampanja ta’ infurzar, u anke dawk li ma kinux […] The post Tal-umbrelel jieħdu lezzjoni wara t-tbeżbiża li ngħataw appeared first on TVM.

Se jitnaddaf u jissebbaħ Il-Magħluq ta’ Wied il-Għajn wara s-sajf

Iż-żona magħrufa bħala ‘Il-Magħluq’ f’Wied il-Għajn se tiġi rijabilitata u msebbħa bix-xogħlijiet fuqha mistennija jibdew wara s-sajf bit-tama li ma tibqax bħala ġerħa ambjentali fil-qalba ta’ din il-lokalità. Michelle Piccinino, Direttur fl-Awtorità tal-Ambjent u r-Riżorsi, qalet lil Television Malta li diġà hemm fondi allokati għal dan il-proġett u għaddejja b’diskussjonijiet mal-partijiet interessati fosthom ma’ għadd […] The post Se jitnaddaf u jissebbaħ Il-Magħluq ta’ Wied il-Għajn wara s-sajf appeared first on TVM.

Persuna maqtula u diversi feruti f’attakk bis-skieken fil-Finlandja

Persuna nqatlet u tmienja oħra ndarbu f’attakk bis-skieken fil-Finlandja. Il-pulizija fil-Finlandja qalet li sparat fuq raġel, li hu rrappurtat li ta daqqiet b’sikkina lil diversi persuni fil-belt ta’ Turku. Ir-raġel ġie arrestat wara li l-pulizija sparat f’saqajh. Il-midja Finlandiża qed tirrapporta li tal-inqas żewġ persuni oħra ndarbu fl-attakk. Rapporti oħrajn qed isemmu ħames jew sitt […] The post Persuna maqtula u diversi feruti f’attakk bis-skieken fil-Finlandja appeared first on TVM.

Sena ħabs sospiża għal mara li kienet kompliċi f’żewġ serqiet

Mara ta’ 27 minn Ħal-Qormi ammettiet li kienet kompliċi f’żewġ serqiet li ġraw f’Novembru li għadda minn fuq anzjana u minn banka tal-lottu. Il-pulizija qalet li l-mara ikkoperat fl-investigazzjoni u kienet darba passiġġiera u darb’ oħra saqet il-karozza, waqt li ż-żewġt irġiel huma akkużati seperatament li wettqu r-reati. Il-prosekuzzjoni qablet li l-mara tingħata sentenza sospiża, […] The post Sena ħabs sospiża għal mara li kienet kompliċi f’żewġ serqiet appeared first on TVM.

Jingħata l-libertà proviżorja l-Eritrean involut fi ġlieda fit-Tiger Bar

F’każ ieħor fil-qorti, raġel mill-Eritrea Jamal Osman Humed tressaq akkużat li attakka żewġ immigranti u heddidhom b’sikkina fi ġlieda li nqalgħet il-Ħamis ħdejn it-Tiger Bar fil-Marsa. Huwa ġie akkużat ukoll li jeddidhom li joqtolhom u li kellu sikkina u li kiser il-paċi pubblika. Il-prosekuzzjoni xlietu wkoll li kiser il-kundizzjoni ta’ sentenza sospiża li ngħata mil-Qorti […] The post Jingħata l-libertà proviżorja l-Eritrean involut fi ġlieda fit-Tiger Bar appeared first on TVM.

FILMAT – l-Ingliż li nqabad bi 18-il kilo droga ma jlissinx kelma fil-Qorti

Ikompli jiżvolġi fil-Qorti l-każ dwar il-qabda ta’ 18-il kilo droga eroina u kokaina li l-pulizija, permezz tal-klieb, sabu fil-vettura ta’ Mark Dominic Vella, ċittadin Ingliż minn Manchester li joqgħod San Pawl il-Baħar. Meqjusa bħala waħda mill-akbar qabdiet tad-droga ta’ dan it-tip, il-pulizija qed takkużah fost oħrajn bl-importazzjoni tad-droga u bit-traffikar tad-droga. L-Ingliż Mark Dominic Vella […] The post FILMAT – l-Ingliż li nqabad bi 18-il kilo droga ma jlissinx kelma fil-Qorti appeared first on TVM.

NewsBook

Filmat: “Il-PN ma jridx jibqa’ distakkat mis-soċjetà” - Frank Portelli

Il-Kandidat għall-elezzjoni ta’ Kap tal-Partit Nazzjonalista Frank Portelli qal li hemm bżonn li l-PN ma jibqax distakkat mill-membri tal partit u mis-soċjetà u spjega li għalhekk il-programm tiegħu għal din l-elezzjoni qed isejjaħlu basics to basic, lura għal għeruq.

Jingħata l-libertà proviżorja wara li attakka żewġt irġiel

Eritrean ingħata l-libertà proviżorja wara li kien akkużat li attakka żewġ immigranti u heddidhom b’sikkina.

“Għas-sigriet tal-Qrar m’hemmx eċċezzjonijiet” - Il-Vigarju

Il-Vigarju Ġenerali Mons. Joe Galea Curmi jisħaq li s-sigriet tas-sagrament tal-Qrar m’għandux eċċezzjonijiet.

Inter javviċinaw lil Arsenal għal Mustafi

​Mustafi għandu 25 sena u lagħab 19-il darba mat-tim nazzjonali Ġermaniż.

Rappreżentanti ta’ kumpaniji jixhdu fl-inkjesta kontra Keith Schembri u Brian Tonna

Għadd ta’ rappreżentanti ta’ kumpaniji dehru quddiem il-Qorti biex jixhdu dwar l-allegat każ ta’ ħasil ta’ flus mill-bejgħ tal-passaporti, miċ-Chief of Staff tal-Prim Ministru Keith Schembri u d-Direttur Maniġerjali ta’ Nexia BT Brian Tonna. Il-każ qed jinstema’ mill-Maġistrat Natasha Galea Sciberras fil-magħluq.

Filmat: Ir-reklam li qed ibikki d-dinja

Filmat ta’ tliet minuti dar kull rokna tad-dinja u s’issa rawh 2.4 miljun darba fuq Facebook u 648,000 fuq YouTube.

Arsenal jixħtu għajnejhom fuq Draxler

Draxler lagħab 17-il darba ma’ PSG fejn skorja erba’ goals.

Jappella minn 13-il sena ħabs għax skontu x-xhud gideb

Iż-żewġt irġiel kienu ftiehmu biex idaħħlu d-droga f'Malta

Jinżamm arrestat ir-raġel li nqabad bi 18-il kilo droga

​L-Ingliż ta’ 53 sena li joqgħod San Pawl il-Baħar mixli b’importazzjoni u bi traffikar ta’ 18-il kilo eroina u kokaina baqa’ b’ħalqu magħluq fil-Qorti.

Filmat: Ara l-preparamenti fuq il-Fosos għall-kunċert ta' Joseph Calleja

​Hekk kif għada t-tenur Joseph Calleja se jtella’ l-kunċert tiegħu flimkien mal-kantawtur Taljan Andrea Bocelli fuq il-fosos tal-Furjana għaddejja attività ġmielha biex ilestu l-aħħar preparamenti.

L-Insara jkomplu jirritornaw lejn Mosul

Aktar minn 600 familja Kattolika rritornaw lejn djarhom fil-Pjanura ta’ Nineveh fit-Tramuntana tal-Iraq, inkluż Mosul, wara l-ħelsien ta’ dawn l-inħawi mill-ISIS.

Finlandja: Raġel jattakka bosta persuni b'arma li taqta', persuna mejta

Jidher li l-Pulizija sparat u laqtet lill-allegat aggressur f’siequ u arrestatu

L-Oppożizzjoni tressaq għadd ta’ proposti għall-ħidma Parlamentari

​L-Oppożizzjoni ressqet numru ta’ proposti biex fi kliem il-Viċi Kap tal-Partit Nazzjonalista Mario de Marco u l-Whip tal-PN David Aguis, il-Parlament Malti jiffunzjona b’mod aħjar b’mod li jirrifletti aktar il-bżonnijiet tal-lum.

Real Madrid jistgħu jirrilaxxaw lil Nacho

Nacho qed ifittex club minħabba li din hi s-sena tat-Tazza tad-Dinja u għalhekk jixtieq isib postu mat-tim nazzjonali Spanjol.

Jekk se tgħaddi minn Ħaż-Żabbar

Transport Malta qalet li se tingħalaq Triq il-kunvent, Ħaż-Żabbar minħabba x-xogħlijiet li qed isiru.

Tlift mowbajl? Ara hux wieħed minn dawn il-200!

618-il oġġett għadhom qed jistennew lil sidhom, hekk kif ingħataw lill-Pulizija minn persuni li sabuhom f’postijiet pubbliċi.

"Ħalluhom jużaw il-kompjuter fl-eżamijiet"- ġenituri ta' tfal bid-Dyslexia

Il-ġenituri tat-tfal bid-Dyslexia qed jitolbu li waqt l-eżamijiet uliedhom jitħallew jużaw il-kompjuter u l-calculators sabiex jegħlbu d-diżabilità tagħhom, bħalma jagħmlu fid-dar u fl-iskola.

Real Madrid jippjanaw offerta għal De Gea

Skont il-ġurnal Ingliż The Sun, il-ġganti Spanjoli ilhom ħafna jsegwu lil dan il-plejer u jixtiequ li jingħaqad magħhom mill-aktar fis possibbli.

Esklussiva: Malti f'Barċellona jiddeskrivi kif sebħet Las Ramblas

Newsbook.com.mt tkellem ma' Marvic Camilleri li jgħix ftit metri 'l bogħod minn fejn għadda l-vann qattiel

​It-tliet lokalitajiet Maltin bl-inqas barranin

Għall-kuntrarju, il-barranin jgħoddu iktar minn 20% tal-popolazzjoni fi tliet lokalitajiet oħra

Identifikat il-katavru li ttella' mill-baħar f'San Ġiljan

Ġie dentifikat il-katavru tar-raġel li ntlemaħ fil-bajja ta' San Ġiljan.

Iweġġa' gravi wara li waqa' bil-mutur

​Taljan ta’ 50 sena minn Birkirkara weġġa’ gravi wara li waqa’ bil-mutur.