Times of Malta

Showing off Malta

Love to Paradise is a film by Maltese-Australian multi-hyphenate film-maker Julian Galea – he wrote, produced, edited, photographed, and directed it, and even has a small cameo in it. It is a story about American tourist Giovanni (Myko Olivier) who falls in love with local artist Carmen (Marysia S. Peres) and embarks on a passionate and life-changing journey across the magical islands of Malta. Love to Paradise boasts sparkling chemistry between the two actors, their performances engagingly honest, while Galea lovingly captures the vibrancy and colours of the Maltese islands. Julian grew up in Sydney, Australia with three brothers and Maltese immigrant parents. From a young age, he found movies absolutely fascinating. “One day my father bought a VHS video recorder and I couldn’t take my hands off it,” recalls Galea. “I’d fool around with friends, family and pets for days piecing together crappy videos and was always the go-to camera guy at any party or family function.” When in high school, Julian finally bought a 35mm SLR camera and built a darkroom in his parents’ attic; learning about film, light, composition, and framing. However much as he loved it, it never crossed his...

Police remove 'mafia state' banners from City Gate

Two banners hung on City Gate calling Malta a 'mafia state' were removed by the police this afternoon within half an hour. The reason behind their removal is not known. An eyewitness said there was a heavy police presence in Freedom Square and at one time a senior officer was seen making a phonecall and likely receiving instructions over the phone. Officers then removed the banners. The police were then seen entering Parliament with the banners rolled up but went out again and walked towards a car parked next to the building within seconds. Lawyers who spoke to Times of Malta said the police action was illegal and those who had put up the banners were not doing anything wrong. Neil Falzon, from the non-governmental organisation Aditus, said the NGO was ready to assist in the filing of human rights cases against such violations. A spokesman for the police said they were probably removed because of the wording. Civil society meets at City Gate this afternoon for a ‘national demonstration for justice’ in the aftermath of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder. The event, organised by the Civil Society Network, comes at the end of a week of vigils and silent protests that took...

Caruana Galizia's car bomber ‘very careful not to injure other people’ - John Rizzo

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s killer was very careful to target her and her alone without injuring other people, former police commissioner John Rizzo believes. Mr Rizzo, who led the force for 12 years and is considered to have been one of Malta’s best investigators, said the person who set off the bomb was likely to have been in the vicinity in what looked like a “very well-planned” operation. “I am not involved at all, so I can only speak based on what I’ve seen. There is no doubt that the bomb was very powerful. When you talk about Semtex, we’re talking about powerful material. “There is no doubt that it was intended to kill. I also think that whoever did it did it specifically to kill her. The killer was very attentive to targeting just her. “There were incidents in the past when bystanders or children got hurt too, but in this case it seemed very well-planned and targeted her and her alone. Even the place when the bomb went off is indicative of how Daphne was the sole target,” Mr Rizzo told The Sunday Times of Malta. There have been cases of car bombs injuring innocent bystanders. For example the blast in Marsa in September 2016, which injured two men when a Ford Transit...

A touch frustrating

The Ritual3 starsDirector: David BrucknerStars: Rafe Spall, Robert James-Collier, Sam TroughtonDuration: 94 minsClass: 15KRS Releasing Ltd The Ritual is based on the acclaimed horror novel of the same name by Adam Nevill, a story of a trip taken by four friends that goes horribly awry. Luke (Rafe Spall), Hutch (Robert James-Collier), Phil (Arsher Ali) and Dom (Sam Troughton) take a hiking trip in the forbidding, yet beautiful, Swedish forests after they lose their friend Rob in a horrific and tragic hold-up in a convenience store. When Dom hurts his ankle, the group takes shelter in an abandoned cabin in the middle of the woods. Their lack of preparedness for their hike is nothing compared to the horrors that are about to be unleashed on them, as they stumble on what seems to be the location of some weird and mysterious ritual. As they try to get out of the woods, a malevolent force trails their every move. Unable to contain their fear or handle the threat, cracks soon begin to show within their friendship as bickering and resentment feed their fears and paranoia. If The Ritual relies on many tropes for its central premise – a vast expanse of forbidding forest, animal carcasses...

Freedom in Isla del Sol

Deciding to abandon Peru and head briefly into Bolivian territory in the final part of his journey, Mark Strijbosch is totally mesmerised by an island in the middle of the highest lake in the world. Reaching it was just a boat ride and an insane climb away. Coming from a little paradise of an island in the middle of the Mediterranean, the lure to island life is difficult to resist. We love endless horizons where imagination and dreams are born. Boats and long, sunny days are embedded in our DNA so when I gazed upon a map and saw an island called Isla del Sol, I would have had to be tied down not to go there. Convincing my friends was extremely easy, as by this time we were fed up of the tourist route and more of the same people sharing similar stories of Machu Picchu. We yearned for some alone time, off the grid, so we decided in an instant to abandon Peru and head briefly into Bolivian territory, on an island in the middle of the highest lake in the world – Lake Titicaca. As an island man, boats excite me and travelling in them to me does not feel like travelling. I never tire of the waves and love the rocking feeling they provide, so a two-hour extension of a 12-hour bus ride...

African rhino injures poacher in rare reversal of fortunes

A rhino turned the tables on a suspected poacher in Namibia, charging and injuring the man while he was allegedly tracking it. The Namibian newspaper reported that the incident happened in Etosha National Park after suspect Luteni Muharukua and other alleged poachers illegally entered the wildlife area in the hope of killing rhinos for their horns. Police said the rhino "appeared from nowhere" and inflicted a severe leg injury on Muharukua after he fell while fleeing. The suspect's friends found refuge for him on a nearby mountain and police arrested him there, a day after he was injured. Muharukua is being treated at a hospital under police guard.

Għaxaq shooting: ‘Court must send message Malta not a wild west country’

A police inspector today implored a court to send a clear message that Malta was not a wild west country, after an Għaxaq man on Saturday fired a shot in the air over frustrations at construction works near his home. Victor Psaila, who turned 42 yesterday, was charged with threatening his neighbours and breaching the peace after growing “frustrated” with the ongoing works. A court heard how he grew increasingly angered at the “messy” works on a wall in a narrow Għaxaq alley. Legal aid lawyer Martin Fenech said his client's pleas with his neigbhours to halt the works, as well as calls to the OHSA and PA, fell on deaf ears. Dr Fenech said his client had no intention of hurting anyone when he fired off a shotgun in the air from his roof. His client had a license for the weapon, Dr Fenech said. Prosecuting officer Johann Fenech said the man could have easily called the police to handle the matter. The shotgun pellets could have injured people, the officer pointed out. In opposing bail, the prosecutor urged the court to send a message that Malta was not a wild west country which tolerated such incidents. Magistrate Marse-Anne Farrugia said the incident was a serious one, which could...

A productive and practical governor

Sir Henry Storks was one of the most effective and, therefore, popular governors of Malta. A sceptic might think that this was due to the brevity of his governorship: out of the total duration of 30 months, he spent 12 months in Jamaica where he was sent to replace and investigate the actions of Governor Edward John Eyre for his overreaction to a local rebellion. Storks was a consummate administrator and diplomat. In his early career he served as adjutant-general to the British troops in Cape Colony; for five years he acted as assistant military secretary in Mauritius, and during the Crimean War he was in charge of all the British establishments in Turkey. At the end of the latter war, he oversaw the withdrawal of the British troops from Turkey. In 1859 Storks became the last Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands until the islands were united with Greece in 1864. By the time he arrived in Malta, Storks was a fearless but impartial executive who won respect for these qualities. Furthermore, he was accustomed to doing business in the Mediterranean: he had served in the Ionian Islands with his regiment in the 1840s and while there he married the daughter of Cavaliere...

Simon Busuttil: Daphne’s legacy

On Monday afternoon, I had just finished reading Daphne Caruana Galizia’s last post. It was about a court sitting, held in the morning, in a libel case filed against me by the Prime Minister’s chief of staff after I publicly denounced him when he was caught red-handed with a secret company in Panama, along with Minister Konrad Mizzi. I was reflecting on her concluding sentence – “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate” – when the first news shot in. Online portals were reporting an explosion involving a car in Bidnija. I froze. Moments later the phone rang. “What happened?” I demanded, ditching all formalities, “Is it Daphne?” “It could be,” came the unconvincing reply, “but we’re not sure yet.” Barely a few minutes later, the confirmation came through. And that’s when everything changed. Daphne was gone. Nothing will ever be the same again. When the editor of The Sunday Times of Malta asked me to write a tribute for Daphne, I accepted instantly, before even considering that, knowing what Daphne thought of the political class in Malta, a tribute from a politician was probably the last thing she would have wanted. Indeed, never have I felt so...

A disaster of a disaster movie

Geostorm2 starsDirector: Dean DevlinStars: Gerard Butler, Jim Sturgess, Abbie CornishDuration: 109 minsClass: 12KRS Releasing Ltd After years wearing the writer and/producer’s hat on such blockbusters as Independence Day (1996), its middling sequel, Godzilla (1998) and 2000’s The Patriot, Dean Devlin takes the director’s seat in this disaster movie in which Gerard Butler stars as Jake Lawson, a scientist who has overseen the construction of a system of satellites that can control the earth’s climate. This sytem became necessary after  a series of catastrophic weather events worldwide caused the destruction of many cities across the globe and the death of millions. But a few years after the system, dubbed ‘Dutch Boy’, comes online, to remarkable effect, some glitches in the system itself pose a new threat. Lawson is called out of forced retirement to investigate the glitches and is soon caught up in a race against time, as a potentially cataclysmic ‘geostorm’ threatens to wipe out the earth once and for all. His younger brother and rival, Matt (Jim Sturgess), discovers a conspiracy going up to the highest level of power in Washington DC. The subject of climate change may be...

Malta Independent

Live - Daphne’s murder: People gather in Valletta for rally calling for justice

People have started gathering in Valletta to take part in the rally that is being organised by the Civil Society Network in memory of Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was murdered last Monday.Some have been seen carrying placards with the last words Daphne wrote on her lost blog: “There are crooks everywhere you look now. The situation is desperate”.Others carried placards with quotes from her website.

Daphne Caruana Galizia assassination: A week and a crime like no other

Daphne Caruana Galizia was murdered by car bomb at around 3pm on Monday 16 October close to her home in Bidnija. This is the sixth car bomb since the start of 2016 and the fourth fatality. While the method of detonation appears to be common to all the attacks, with indications pointing towards a mobile-controlled device, the president of the Malta Police Officers Union, Sandro Camilleri, had previously said that the other five attacks most likely used fireworks materials, while the more powerful explosive Semtex is believed to have been used in Caruana Galizia’s assassination.An eyewitness, who described hearing two explosions within seconds of each other at the time of the journalist’s murder, could in fact have heard the detonator going off, followed by the main explosion, according to retired forensic expert Dr Anthony Abela Medici.Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera — a regular focus of the journalist, whose article on the former’s personal life was the first to draw the nation’s attention to the blog Running Commentary —  was the on-duty magistrate called to the scene, and immediately ordered the sight be secured and preserved pending the arrival of foreign experts.As was confirmed by Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar in an otherwise uninformative press conference, Dutch experts were called in to handle the forensics, while FBI consultants — who it appears had been coming to Malta anyway — are providing technical expertise.The experts have since recovered all evidence from the site of the explosion.Home Affairs Minister Michael Farrugia told this newsroom that the police force has also been given a blank cheque to do whatever it takes to solve the murder, and acknowledged that as a ministry they “are responsible for improving upon crime prevention and ascertaining that the police do all that is possible to solve criminal acts.”Magistrate Anthony Vella would later take over the inquiry following Magistrate Scerri Herrera’s request to Chief Justice Silvio Camilleri. Peter Caruana Galizia, Daphne’s husband, along with other members of her family, had earlier filed a court application requesting her removal from the case.Matthew Caruana Galizia recounted the horrific scene in a social media post, in which he lambasted the authorities for allowing a culture of impunity to fester in the country, saying that Joseph Muscat, Keith Schembri, Chris Cardona, Konrad Mizzi, Attorney General Peter Grech and the long list of police commissioners who took no action, were complicit in her death.Thousands of people from all walks of life carried candles and remembered the journalist in a vigil held in Sliema later on in the evening, while at the same time several other people expressed their grief in front of the Maltese High Commission in London.Daphne Caruana Galizia’s last words, ‘There are crooks everywhere you look now, the situation is desperate’ — published a mere 30 minutes before her death — were scribbled on the Regional Road.Police Commissioner Lawrence CutajarPolice Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar has been a focal point of the public’s outrage for his perceived inaction following the attack and the many similar incidents that preceded it.Five car bombings have taken place during Cutajar’s tenure as police commissioner, with seemingly little to no progress made in their investigation, despite two surviving victims. When asked whether he felt that calls for his resignation were justified, Cutajar dismissively replied that “all cases under reference are still being investigated.”This newsroom sought to clarify these statements by expressly asking whether he intended to resign and the reasons for his decision. A reply, however, was not forthcoming.The general election in June had somewhat shifted public attention away from questions surrounding Police Commissioner Cutajar’s competence, which critics say has negatively impacted the entire police force, but with the death of the popular — albeit controversial — journalist, serious doubts have once again been raised. The failure to issue a police press conference more than 48 hours after the horrific murder along with the need to contact foreign experts to assist in the case have only served to sow further distrust in the Malta Police Force across civil society.The press conference called on Thursday at 6pm saw Police Commissioner Cutajar and Assistant Commissioner Silvio Valletta mostly refusing to divulge any information pertaining to the case.At the press conference, The Malta Independent asked the police commissioner how he could ease the public’s concerns regarding his integrity, given that Caruana Galizia was a vociferous critic of his appointment and questioned his credibility, in response to which Cutajar nonchalantly replied:“I am sorry to hear that. I don’t know if people are questioning my integrity.”A petition calling for his removal has since been gathering steam — more so in light of Thursday’s shambolic press conference — with close to 10,000 signatures already collected.International coverageWhile the brutal killing of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia has devastated many here in Malta, it has also sent shock waves across the globe. Her assassination has been condemned in editorials from some of the most widely-followed and respected news sources around the world, including The Guardian, The Times, CNN, The New York Times, L'Espresso, and The Financial Times.International news agencies and other media have also been reporting how Caruana Galizia — described as a ‘one-woman WikiLeaks’ by the influential political journal Politico — had uncovered jaw-dropping levels of corruption, especially through her work on the Panama Papers. Her achievements have also been praised, particularly her inclusion in Politico’s 28 people “transforming European politics, policy and ideas.”Political leadersFollowing the attack, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat postponed Parliament’s scheduled budget speech and proceeded to make the rounds on various international news networks to defend the country’s institutions and rule of law, and to condemn a “barbaric attack on freedom of expression that goes against every sense of decency and civility.” He has since pledged to “stop at nothing” to get to the truth behind the murder, and has made repeated calls for “national unity”. Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia reiterated calls for the Prime Minister’s resignation and the removal of Attorney General Peter Grech and Police Commissioner Lawrence Cutajar when delivering his speech in Parliament.“The budget is irrelevant,” he said, clearly evoking Eddie Fenech Adami’s 1986 address in Parliament following the infamous political murder of Raymond Caruana in Gudja. Condemning the total collapse of the rule of law within just four years of Labour administration, Delia said that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat was partly responsible for Caruana Galizia’s death.The Labour Party later described Delia’s speech as “opportunistic and divisive.”Both Delia and Muscat have insisted that despite the criticism levelled against them by Caruana Galizia, they have always believed in the basic principle of free speech.Prime Minister Joseph Muscat went on to “challenge” the Opposition leader — who has consistently praised the journalist’s work regarding elements within the Labour administration, but who has failed to acknowledge allegations made in his own regard — to approach the courts and request an inquiry into such allegations, as he had following the Panama Papers revelations.Former Opposition leader Simon Busuttil, described the attack as political murder and criticised the Prime Minister in an interview with CNN. He also said in parliament that for the first time in his political career, he had serious doubts whether Malta would be able to recover from this dark period. Former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi, who first spoke to this newsroom at the vigil held in Sliema, called on the public to feel emboldened and to speak out against what is wrong as a way of honouring the life of Caruana Galizia. He later said that on a day when freedom of expression was threatened through the murder of one the pillars of democracy, the government should have sent a stronger message, beyond simply re-scheduling the budget speech, be that in the form of a national day of mourning or the cancellation of all political activities. Such messages, Gonzi explained, were vital in showing the public the gravity of Monday’s events.“It has been four days since her murder and those candles we lit up will soon burn out. The more time passes, the more we forget, just like we have done with the other five car bombs that have taken place since the start of 2016.”Maltese MEP and former Prime Minister Alfred Sant, in an interview with a French news network, said that Maltese society was united in wanting to find out who had murdered Daphne Caruana Galizia. The Maltese MEP said that “she represented a person who had quite a lot of legitimate interest in what she carried out. She carried out her investigations with a lot of vigour and did not mince her words. Lately, she had attacked the Leader of the Opposition in quite a brutal way, who in my opinion was from the party she belonged to.”Ramon Mifsud, Deborah Schembri, and Luciano BusuttilWhile the nation was seemingly in mourning, Sergeant Ramon Mifsud, who had been the subject of several of Caruana Galizia’s articles, took to Facebook in a post that received widespread condemnation from the public — ‘Had wara had tasal ta kulhadd demel!!!!!! Feeling happy :) [sic]’.Mifsud was later suspended from duty and will now appear before a Public Services Commission, which will take the final decision on his termination.Asked if action would be taken against other police officers who had ‘Liked’ Mifsud’s post, Police Commissioner Cutajar said that “investigations by the Internal Affairs Unit are ongoing.”Daniel Zerafa, a Labour Party local councillor for Marsaxlokk, went on a social media rant, attacking the foreign press, which he said had misreported the murders, referring to colonialism and terrorism in what can only be described as a series of non sequiturs. He also blasted the foreign media for expecting “a small island nation situated in the middle of three destabilized continents” to follow the rule of law.A day after the attack, recently appointed legal counsel to the Lands Authority and Planning Authority Deborah Schembri, who is also a former parliamentary secretary and MP, said on a current affairs programme on the Labour Party’s television station:“We have spoken a lot about freedom of speech. Even here we need to be careful that when writing, there are certain lines that should not be crossed. We should not hurt people unnecessarily, because this is not freedom of speech but this is abuse and people will feel hurt and irritated. Those who may feel that they do not have legal remedy may take the law into their own hands,” she said.Parliamentary Secretary for Reform Julia Farrugia Portelli, in a thinly veiled Facebook post, slammed her fellow Labour Party member by commenting that she could never accept any form of argument where somebody insinuates that a journalist should be punished should they cross a line.Schembri would later take to social media to “apologise” and “clarify” her position.Former MP and current Sports Council chairman Luciano Busuttil — who was often subject to the journalist’s criticism for his and his wife’s abuse of the blue badge parking system for the disabled — inappropriately seemed to insinuate that the Opposition was involved in the killing, writing on social media: “Someone told me good chess players know that sometimes you need to sacrifice the queen in order to save the king.”Car Bombs since 201616 January 2016: Martin Cachia was killed instantly when a bomb went off inside the Alfa Romeo car he was driving on the Marsascala bypass. Cachia had had appeared in court on a number of occasions in connection with drugs, contraband cigarettes and human smuggling.26 September 2016: A bomb filled with screws and ball-bearings went off inside a van as it was being driven along Aldo Moro Road in Marsa, grievously injuring the driver, Josef Cassar.31 October 2016: John Camilleri, known as ‘Giovanni tas-Sapun’, was killed inside a car that exploded in Triq Paderborn in St Paul’s Bay.29 January 2017: Victor Calleja, also known as ‘Ic-Chippu’, died when the car he was in blew up in Marsa.20 February 2017: Romeo Bone, from Floriana, lost both his legs in a car explosion on Marina Street in Msida.16 October 2017: Daphne Caruana Galizia assassinated in a car bomb a few hundred metres away from her home in Bidnija.

Daphne’s libel legacy: most plaintiffs still considering whether to proceed with cases

Out of the 12 people who currently have libel cases pending journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia, only two – Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia and now Jeffery Pullicino Orlando – have said they will be dropping their claims against the slain journalist.The Malta Independent on Sunday contacted all those with pending libel claims, with the exception of the American University of Malta’s Hani Hasan Naji Salah, and all said they were still considering their options.  Konrad Mizzi has not yet supplied answers.Minister and Labour Party deputy leader Chris Cardona did not answer a specific question as to whether he would be requesting the removal of a garnishee order he had placed on her in connection with his libel case over an alleged visit to a brothel in Germany.There are, it must be said, arguments in favour of both dropping and pressing on with the libel cases against Caruana Galizia’s heirs, ranging from respect for the dead and bereaved, to exercising one’s right at law to clear one’s name.Pullicino Orlando, for example, was the only one to have confirmed he would be dropping his claim, explaining, “I believe it would be insensitive of me to do otherwise, in the circumstances.”Alfred Mifsud, on the other hand, remarked: “The purpose of the libel was to clear my name from serious accusations levelled at me and that remains a very important objective.”Here is what the plaintiffs said: Prime Minister Joseph MuscatA spokesperson for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat told this newspaper: “The Prime Minister has rarely used libel proceedings as a tool to stop journalists from voicing criticism (even very harsh criticism) in his regard. As a journalist, he was once sued by Mrs Caruana Galizia. He did sue Mrs Daphne Caruana Galizia and her son for different but related defamatory allegations which were complete fabrications and an attempt to tarnish the reputation of the Prime Minister of the country. “The Prime Minister is taking advice on the libel case against Mrs Caruana Galizia. Obviously, the most important element is that the independent magisterial inquiry on Egrant allegations will continue and we are sure it will prove that there was not a shred of truth in the allegations levelled against him.“On the other hand, while respecting the sensitivity of the moment, the Prime Minister does not intend to drop libel proceedings against Matthew Caruana Galizia, also because the Prime Minister believes both sides should be given the opportunity to submit their cases“Obviously, such decisions are up to the individuals concerned to take.” Minister Chris CardonaA spokesperson for Minister Chris Cardona said: “At this moment in time, such personal legal matters are secondary and will be given due attention at a later stage. Minister Cardona, as a member of the Executive, stands with the Prime Minister’s view that the paramount goal of the nation is to see that justice is served.” Alfred Mifsud I am seeking legal guidance but the purpose of the libel was to clear my name from serious accusations levelled at me and that remains a very important objective.I take this opportunity to condemn without any reservation the vile attack and murder of Mrs Caruana Galizia which was a frontal attack on the freedom of the press. While having our differences, as Mrs Caruana Galizia herself professed during her evidence in Court, my attitude towards her was always respectful. Jeffery Pullicino OrlandoI will be dropping the libel case I had instituted against Ms Caruana Galizia. I believe it would be insensitive of me to do otherwise, in the circumstances. Mrs Caruana Galizia and I exchanged not more than two messages over the past month in relation to an Information and Data Protection Appeals Tribunal decision in my favour. I had lodged a complaint about Mrs Caruana Galizia repetitively revealing my whereabouts on her blog in real time in situations which were not in the public interest. She was thus regularly exposing my family, me and my property to criminal attention.I felt that this amounted to cyber-harassment. Adrian DeliaOn Tuesday, Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia said he will be dropping the libel cases he had instituted in the run-up to the PN leadership election Delia had filed four libel suits against Caruana Galizia in late August. Silvio Debono Spokespersons for the db Group belonging to hotelier Silvio Debono, who had filed a record 19 libel cases simultaneously against Caruana Galizia, said: “This is a time for respect and mourning, and not to think about libel suits. We express our deepest condolences to the family.” Lindsey GambinWhat happened has shaken the entire country. To be quite honest with you, I didn’t even think of discussing the issue with my lawyer. It was the last thing on my mind. Having said that, the lies told about me are still out there for everyone to see. They continue to harm my family and me. The libel proceedings opened were intended to clear my name and I still want to do that; however, I will discuss what my options are, if there are any, with my lawyer. Joe GeradaJoe Gerada, who filed libel suits and garnishee orders against Caruana Galizia in connection with the Chris Cardona brothel allegations, said: “There are legal implications one would need to consider, either way. I will need to discuss with my lawyers before any decisions are taken in relation to the libel cases and so far I have not had the opportunity to do so.  Phyllis MuscatFormer Head of the CHOGM 2015 Taskforce Phyllis Muscat said: “Like the rest of the country, I am in shock. This matter is in the hands of lawyers who I’m sure will decide on how to proceed in due course, so any questions should be directed to them. My only thoughts at this time are with the grieving family.” Keith SchembriOffice of the Prime Minister chief of staff Keith Schembri has confirmed with this newspaper that he too is seeking legal advice on the way forward.

Adrian Delia will not attend rally: ‘It’s not about me, it’s about democracy’

Opposition Leader Arian Delia will will not be attending today’s manifestation in Valletta to commemorate Daphne Caruana Galizia, killed with a car bomb last Monday.Asked if he would be attending the national protest Adrian Delia said that “today is not about me but about the rule of law and democracy. I will not stir controversy on a day of national unity and will continue to fight for democracy and freedom of speech as the Leader of the Opposition.” Adrian Delia explained that the Nationalist Party has given all its support for the protest to be a success.Muscat will also not be attending, saying this morning that he had received signs that he was not wanted.

Murder believed to have been commissioned locally, ties to international organised crime suspected

As the car bomb murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia continues to fuel rampant speculation, one of the main leads the police are pursuing is that the crime could have been commissioned by a local resident with ties to international organised crime, sources close to the police force have told The Malta Independent on Sunday.The sources were, however, quick to stress that other possibilities remain given that evidence is still being thoroughly examined. Sources also confirmed that information has already been provided to the police force which could prove “significant”, but stressed that it was still too early to say.They were unable to confirm whether the journalist was working on a new line of investigation, saying that it is still being ascertained whether any data could be recovered from Caruana Galizia’s laptop, which had been recovered from the wreckage of her car.The other five car bombs in Malta since the start of 2016 are also being examined to discover whether there is a link between the attacks, given that it appears all six used mobile detonated devices.It is widely believed that Semtex – a military grade explosive that is not available in Malta – could have been used in Caruana Galizia’s attack, while the police have said that pyrotechnic material had been used in the previous five car bombs. On Friday, investigators and forensic experts finished clearing the crime scene in Bidnija of all evidence. Four members of the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and four Dutch forensics experts are assisting the Maltese police with their investigations.The car has been taken to a police facility in Pembroke for examination, while it is assumed that all other pieces of evidence have been taken to respective police facilities for analysis.An autopsy took place on Friday.Foreign involvement in the bomb is widely suspected given the type of explosive used. Sources close to the Armed Forces of Malta that spoke to this newsroom earlier this week said the material had most likely been smuggled into the country and that this was the first time it has been used in Malta.The sources said the bomb could have been brought to Malta already assembled, or it could have been smuggled into the country in separate components and assembled in Malta. It is also believed that there are no people in Malta skilled in the use of Semtex.

Daphne murder: Magistrate Scerri Herrera’s first witnesses raise eyebrows

Before Magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera stepped down from the inquiry into the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia, the witnesses she had summoned to court just hours into the inquiry raised eyebrows.Among those seen at the law courts waiting to be questioned were Minister Chris Cardona, OPM chief of staff Keith Schembri, and Andre Falzon (the partner of Rebecca Dimech). Opposition leader Adrian Delia was also summoned but he did not go to court, waiting for the magistrate to rule on the application by the family to pass on the case to another magistrate (which she did).It is understood that the magistrate had been keen to question everyone who Caruana Galizia had written about in the last months.The questioning never happened, however, and those called in were dismissed, as the Caruana Galizia family had in the meantime filed a court application for the magistrate to step down from the inquiry given the chequered history between Caruana Galizia and Scerri Herrera.By the next morning the magistrate had stepped down and another magistrate was appointed to the inquiry.Asked about Schembri’s presence at the courts on Monday night, a government spokesperson said, “Along with others, Keith Schembri was asked to go to court by magistrate Consuelo Scerri Herrera. He was later asked to leave the court without an explanation of why he was requested to be present at the courts.  The magistrate can tell you the reason he was asked to be in Court with a number of other persons.”A spokesperson for Cardona explained, “Minister Cardona was called in by the then inquiring magistrate, together with a series of other individuals, including the Leader of the Opposition. However, he was dismissed before speaking to the inquiring magistrate, as by that time an application had been filed in relation to the afore mentioned magistrate.”

TMIS, like TMI on Thursday, honours Daphne with empty page instead of her article

As sister paper The Malta Independent did on Thursday, today The Malta Independent on Sunday carries an empty page in the space usually allotted to Daphne Caruana Galizia, who was killed by a bomb placed in her car last Monday.Today, the first Sunday after her death, this space has been left empty in memory of her except for a black ribbon accompanied by the words: “Your pen has been silenced but your voice will live on”.

Main aim of investigation 'not to quench thirst for information, but to find who is guilty' - Muscat

The ultimate aim of investigations should not be to quench people's thirst for information, but rather, to find out who is guilty, according to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.Muscat was replying to a question on a live radio interview on ONE radio, where he was asked whether there is any new information regarding the investigations on the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.Muscat replied that even if he did have information regarding what leads the police are following, "it would be a disservice to the investigations," for him to give it out."I understand that people have a thirst to know what is happening," he said, "but there is a fine balance when one is providing information, to make sure that the information does not confuse the ultimate aim.""The ultimate aim is not to quench the thirst for information, but to find who is guilty," he stated, continuing, "and in order to find out who is guilty, the information might take a bit longer to come out, but I believe the priority of the country should be to find out who is guilty, and then give all the information." Some leads mentioned in media being followed by policeSome of the leads mentioned in the media are being followed by the police, amongst others which are not, Muscat said."Police are looking at various options, some of which are mentioned in the news and others which were not mentioned in newspapers," he said.He added that he believes the foreign experts are still here, and the government will bring others who have certain apparatus if needs be. PM will not attend demonstration todayPrime Minister Muscat will not be attending today's justice demonstration in Valletta, saying that from comments by the organizers, he understands that he will not be welcome."I know where I am welcome and where I am not," he said.Muscat said that he encouraged the Labour Party to attend. "I asked the party to attend to send the message of national unity, because Joseph Muscat is not the labour party, the party is a movement much bigger than that."  Muscat 'shouldering responsibility' for 'treating this situation differently to others'"I understand why people ask me why different cases were dealt with in a different way, with not the same commitment from the government," Muscat said."Besides a person being murdered, it is also a journalist who has been murdered, and damage has been caused to the reputation of the country, and we need to make sure that our reaction is not only one of dignity but also shows from here that this country is not going to accept something like this, they need to understand that we are using extraordinary measures."The prime minister went on to say, "the fact that we are offering one million euro is without precedent. I think the situation of today merits that we give off a very strong sign following what happened this week.""There may be people who are hurt by this because they may ask why did you not treat a case related to people close to me in a different way?" he said, "As a prime minister I shoulder this responsibility. We need to show that what happened this week will be seen to in an unequivocal way by the Maltese government, who is representing the population.""I think we have already shown this type of reaction, even on international media," he said.  Adrian Delia is a "small person" Muscat went on to say that Leader of the Opposition Adrian Delia is a "small person," in reference to his speech in Parliament last Tuesday."What Adrian Delia said in parliament shows what a small person he is," said Muscat, adding "it could have been an opportunity for him to rise to the occasion.""I know that Delia's stance was not widely welcome throughout his party," he added.Later in the interview, Muscat mentioned again that Delia should sumbit himself for a magesterial investigation."Caruana Galizia had a lot of severe allegations about Delia," he said. "The leader of the opposition should do what I did and go before the magistrate to investigate what happened," he said, adding that "the fact that he says no to it makes me think he is scared to do something like that."  

Adrian Delia: Banning of Italian senator is beginning of totalitarianism

MSS senator Mario Michele Giarruso, who said on Wednesday he will be in Malta with the Italian anti-Mafia committee, 'to shed light' on journalist Daphne Caruana Galiazia's murder, told Italian media today he had been requested by the Maltese government not to form part of the delegation.The senator said in a statement earlier last week that this murder had a lot of sinister shades.He said the Maltese government should resign and allow a proper independent investigation led by independent third parties to take placeIt was not tolerable that a state like Malta became prosperous by favouring mafias and organised crime, he said."If we allow this to pass, we will become accomplices to what has happened. So far, neither the European Union nor Italy has made any reaction of note."Mr Giarrusso said the Maltese government had a lot to answer for on the assassination of the journalist and the investigations that followed, which were being conducted in a superficial manner."The government should resign not because it was accused of corruption and was under a magisterial investigation but because of its indirect complicity by not taking action to prevent this homicide," he said.Speaking on Radio 101, PN leader Adrian Delia was asked about this latest development. It was clear he had not heard of this before the start of the interview. However, he was quick to respond. If this report is true, he said, it means that the freedom of expression has begun to be threatened in Malta. Whoever criticises the government will find himself under pressure. This is very dangerous: it is the beginning of totalitarianism, Dr Delia said.In a statement this morning, which has not reached gthis newsroom, the Maltese government denied Senator Giarruso's claims and said Malta's ambassador in Rome has already requested an exoplanation about this'invention'.The Foreign Affairs Minister has also asked for an explanation from Italy's ambassador in Malta.The government said both confirmed that the Maltese government had never been consulted or e4xpressed itself, formally or informally, on any members of the delegation.In his interview on Radio 101, Dr Delia said that even before last Monday, he and his party had been saying that Malta is no longer a normal country. While the economy is better, the institutions were being hollowed out. Monday's murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia has shown that freedom of speech is under threat.Mrs Caruana Galizia was given the most extreme measure: a death sentence. The Opposition is not saying this murder was organised by politicians but the institutions have long been weakened and now they are collapsing.People have seen the Commissioner of Police and this has added to the uncertainty that has enveloped the Maltese nation. On Monday, everything changed. Now children are asking (Dr Delia did not specify if they were his children) if it was safe for them to enter their father's car. There was a low attendance at an event held at the university: was this because people are afraid?This was a political murder and politicians must shoulder their responsibility. The Opposition had said that the Commissioner of Police is not up to what is required. Seeing him at the Crime Conference people were aghast: they were askingthemselves: Is this who we have to defend us? He does not exactly guarantee protection but rather more fear and uncertainty. It was the prime minister who was res;ponsible for the choice of this commissioner..In Parliament last week, he asked Minister Michael Farrugia is he trusts the Commissioner. Dr Farrugia replied he trusts theprime minister but he did not say he fully trusts the Commissioner.The same goes for the Attorney General: he has been put in a position where he cannot do anything. He should be defending the rule of law and the separation of powers but instead the government is now in a position to decide upon anything. The Opposition is not saying it wants to appoint the Police Commissioner of the Attorney General but that these posts be filled with people who get the support of two-thirds of Parliament.The governent is now offering €1 million for information about the murder of Mrs Caruana Galizia. It would have been beter if this sum was spent to defend her from attacks. The government was obliged to protect her even if she refused to be protected.Dr Delia added that in his first reaction to the murder, he had asked if the borders of Malta had been secured so as to trap any eventual murders from escaping abroad. This has not happened.The decisions that Malta needs to be taken are not those that can be compressed in a four-year term of office. Who is the Police Commissioner and who is the Attornety General are the concerns of all Maltese, not jjust of the government of the day. The same holds gtrue with regards to FIAU, MFSA and other institutions.Over the past week, he has been interviewed by The Financial Times, the BBC and other world media who all asked him if Malta is a mafia state. Are the people of Malta safe in their homes? Can people still invest in Malta? Can people still visit Malta? What happened last Monday has changed the country. The Opposition will not be cowed, it will always defend the country and its people. It will bring back the rule of law.    

Government denies Italian Senator banned from Malta visit

The Government of Malta today denied statements by the Senator of the Five Star Movement, Mario Michele Giarrusso, claiming that the Maltese Government has requested that he should not form part of a delegation visiting Malta on behalf of the Italian Parliament led by the Chairperson of the Anti-Mafia Commission, Rosy Bindi.The Government of Malta, through its Ambassador in Rome, has already asked Hon. Bindi to provide an explanation for the allegation by Mario Michele Giarrusso. The Ministry for Foreign Affairs has also transmitted this message to the Italian Ambassador in Malta. Both Bindi and the Italian Ambassador in Malta have confirmed the position of the Maltese Government that it has never been consulted or expressed any opinion, neither formally nor informally, on any of the members of the delegation which will be in Malta on a visit planned and already scheduled prior to this week.In a separate statement, the commission itself corroborated the government’s position, saying that Giarrusso’s presence in Malta had never been contemplated.


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