Tag Archives: Malta

Malta PM to Quit as Questions Mount Over Reporter Murder

Malta PM to Quit as Questions Mount Over Reporter Murder(Bloomberg) — Malta’s Joseph Muscat pledged to resign as leader after his closest aides were linked to a car bomb that killed an investigative journalist.Muscat, 45, said that public anger over the murder, two years ago, was justified. His closest adviser and economy minister have both been questioned by police in recent days as the inquiry into the killing gathered pace. “We are starting the process for a new prime minister who will continue carrying out the work for this legislature,” Muscat said in a broadcast on Sunday.The scandal shines an uncomfortable light on the European Union’s smallest member, one whose central banker nevertheless shares a seat at the table with the likes of Germany and France setting the euro-area’s monetary policy.At a time when further expansion is being questioned, the slow drip of negative headlines has refused to go away for a nation that is also on the front lines of migration and further complicates the job of the EU’s newly-appointed executive arm. The long-festering scandal raises deeper questions about accountability and governance in the island nation, and beyond.The journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was investigating suspicious payments by a local power company at the time she was killed and the European Central Bank has raised broader concerns about money laundering in Malta.“I kept my word — not only do we have three persons accused of this murder but, also now, someone accused of being the principal person behind this killing,” said Muscat. He was first elected prime minister in 2013 and said he will stay in office until his Labour Party has chosen a successor in a process starting Jan. 12.Pressure on Muscat to step aside has grown since businessman Yorgen Fenech was arrested last month in connection with the Caruana Galizia’s murder in 2017. Fenech was suspected of trying to flee the country when he was apprehended on his yacht. He has denied involvement in the murder.Protesters in the capital Valletta threw eggs and coins at lawmakers from the ruling party, the Times of Malta said. Demonstrations intensified on Monday, with hundreds gathered around the parliament to ask for Muscat’s immediate resignation, Ansa reported.Three men have been arrested for the assassination, but they have yet to identify the person who allegedly hired them. Police gained evidence against Fenech after the recent arrest of a man for an unrelated crime who offered evidence in return for leniency.The government earlier rejected Fenech’s request for immunity from prosecution in return for revealing information about the murder plot and about alleged corruption involving Muscat’s former chief of staff Keith Schembri, among others, court filings showed, according to Reuters. Schembri has denied any wrongdoing, the agency said.Malta isn’t the only weak link in Europe’s financial and legal controls.Danske Bank A/S, Denmark’s biggest lender, saw suspicious funds funneled through its branch in Tallinn, Estonia, from 2007 to 2015. Allegations have also emerged against Swedbank AB, Sweden’s oldest bank and Helsinki-based Nordea Bank Abp.(Adds anti-government protests in seventh paragraph. A previous version of this story corrected the second paragraph to say that economy minister, not finance minister, was questioned)To contact the reporters on this story: Mathew Carr in London at m.carr@bloomberg.net;Alessandro Speciale in Rome at aspeciale@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net, Flavia Krause-Jackson, Ben SillsFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Lost Second World War submarine HMS Urge discovered off Malta

Lost Second World War submarine HMS Urge discovered off MaltaA Second World War submarine paid for by charity dances and card games has been found more than 70 years after it vanished. The wreck of HMS Urge, which was built with money raised by the people of Bridgend in south Wales, was discovered by a University of Malta survey team two miles off the coast of the island. The discovery came after Francis Dickinson, the grandson of HMS Urge's captain Lieutenant-Commander E.P. Tomkinson, requested the university team search an area that had been heavily mined during the Nazi's two-and-a-half year siege of the island.  A sonar image revealed a submarine-like shape at a depth of 130 metres.     "The damage to the bow shows a very violent explosion … indicating that the ship would have sunk very fast giving no chance to anybody to survive from this tragedy," said professor Timothy Gambin, who led the team. A graphic illustration compares a picture of a U-Class Submarine to a Sonar image of the wreck of HMS Urge Credit: UNIVERSITY OF MALTA/PROJECT SPUR/VIA REUTERS "Besides the damage on the bow, the wreck is in absolutely fantastic condition. It is sitting upright on the seabed, very proud, in the direction that it was ordered to take on its way to Alexandria," he told Malta's PBS. The U-class submarine disappeared in 1942 after being ordered with other vessels to sail from Malta to Egypt, with the loss of all 32 crew, 11 Royal Navy passengers, and a journalist.  She put to sea on April 27, but never made the rendezvous in Alexandria on May 6. The wreck of a submarine, which the University of Malta says is Britain's HMS Urge that vanished during World War Two, is seen lying at the bottom of the sea off Malta Credit: University of Malta/Project Spur/via Reuters   The Royal Navy and most family members have long said she was most likely sunk by a mine shortly after putting to sea, a theory confirmed by the discovery. Another theory, based on German naval reports, suggested that she was sunk on 29 April by a dive-bomber as she tried to attack an Italian vessel near Libya.  Those lost included Bernard Gray, a British war correspondent who had previously covered the Dunkirk evacuation and is thought to have used his connections to wangle a berth on the vessel so he could cover the war in North Africa.  His presence on the vessel was only confirmed in 2002 following an inquiry by archivists at the Royal Navy Submarine museum. A ceremony to declare the site an official war grave will take place in April.



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Lost WW2 British submarine found sunk off the coast of Malta

Lost WW2 British submarine found sunk off the coast of MaltaThe wreck of a British submarine, which vanished at the height of World War Two, has been discovered lying at the bottom of the sea off Malta, university marine archaeologists said on Thursday. HMS Urge had been based with other submarines in Malta and had carried out several deadly missions when the British navy ordered it and rest of the flotilla to redeploy to Egypt because of a relentless German siege of the Mediterranean island. A team from the University of Malta, which has spent two decades surveying the local seas, said that at the request of the grandson of Urge’s commander, they combed an area this summer that had once been heavily mined by Nazi forces.



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Spanish charity rejects Malta offer to take some migrants, not others

Spanish charity rejects Malta offer to take some migrants, not othersThe Maltese government said Saturday it would take in 39 migrants just plucked from the Mediterranean but refused entry to 121 others aboard the same rescue vessel for more than a week. As a result, Spain’s Proactiva Open Arms ONG decided not to disembark any migrants in Malta. Valletta issued a statement saying it could transfer the 39 migrants rescued late Friday since they were in Malta’s rescue zone and the operation had been coordinated.



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Malta to relocate 65 migrants after rescue ships defy Italy ban

Malta to relocate 65 migrants after rescue ships defy Italy banMalta’s prime minister said Sunday his country would relocate to other EU nations 65 migrants from the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, after two other boats defied efforts to stop them landing in neighbouring Italy. All 65 were transferred to a Maltese navy ship on Sunday evening, the German charity Sea-Eye which operates the boat said in a statement, adding that its vessel had been refused entry to Valetta port. Premier Joseph Muscat tweeted earlier that “following discussions with the EU Commission and the German government”, the 65 people would be transferred from the Alan Kurdi to a Maltese military “asset which will then enter a Maltese port”.



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Italy says Malta not taking in migrant ship is 'inhumane'

Italy says Malta not taking in migrant ship is 'inhumane'By Philip Pullella and Steve Scherer ROME (Reuters) – Italy said on Friday Malta had refused to take in a Dutch-flagged ship carrying more than 200 rescued migrants and said the decision was “inhumane”, 10 days after shutting its own ports to a migrant vessel. The new stand-off between the neighboring Mediterranean countries arose as Italy’s new government has been pressuring European partners to shoulder more of the burden of immigration from North Africa. Transport Minister Danilo Toninelli criticized tiny Malta on his Facebook page, where he also posted a photo of an email full of nautical information and signed by the Armed Forces of Malta inferring that it was not responsible for the latest ship as it was not in a “SAR (Search and Rescue) Situation”.



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Italy's interior minister says Malta should take rescue boat

Italy's interior minister says Malta should take rescue boatMILAN (AP) — Italy's populist, anti-migrant interior minister said Friday that Malta should allow a Dutch-flagged rescue ship carrying hundreds of migrants rescued from rubber dinghies off the Libyan coast to make port there because the ship is now in Maltese waters.



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Italy, Malta must allow disembarkation of stranded migrants: UN

Italy, Malta must allow disembarkation of stranded migrants: UNSome 629 people, including pregnant women and scores of children, were saved by SOS Mediterranean Saturday and are stuck aboard the French NGO’s ship Aquarius, which is currently between Malta and Sicily waiting for a secure port. Malta on Sunday reiterated its refusal to accept the ship, ignoring calls from Rome.



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Italy shuts ports to migrant boat, asks Malta to open its doors

Italy shuts ports to migrant boat, asks Malta to open its doorsBy Crispian Balmer ROME (Reuters) – Italy will refuse to let a humanitarian ship carrying more than 600 migrants dock at its ports and has asked the Mediterranean island of Malta to open its doors to the vessel, government officials said on Sunday. Malta brushed off the request, saying it had nothing to do with the rescue operation, opening the prospect of a diplomatic rift between the two European Union allies. The move by Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who is also head of the far-right League, represents an opening gambit to make good on his electoral promises to halt the flow of migrants into the country.



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Italy shuts ports to migrant boat, asks Malta to open its doors

Italy shuts ports to migrant boat, asks Malta to open its doorsBy Crispian Balmer ROME (Reuters) – Italy will refuse to let a humanitarian ship carrying more than 600 migrants dock at its ports and has asked the Mediterranean island of Malta to open its doors to the vessel, government officials said on Sunday. Malta brushed off the request, saying it had nothing to do with the rescue operation, opening the prospect of a diplomatic rift between the two European Union allies. The move by Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, who is also head of the far-right League, represents an opening gambit to make good on his electoral promises to halt the flow of migrants into the country.



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