Author: Jessica Arena

Stepping into the office suite, occupying a single floor in a block on a Birkirkara side street, the atmosphere is more akin to the hottest new coffee shop than a traditional workplace. Inspirational quotes and vibrant colours decorate the walls. Friendly conversations are being had over cups of coffee. The space is informal and relaxed, with people sitting comfortably at their work stations, many from different government departments. The pandemic has brought out both the advantages and drawbacks of working remotely. But having to shift an entire workforce to remote working is no longer a necessity. It is now an…

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The government is seeking the public’s opinion about €193 million in EU funds that will be invested over seven years into social initiatives, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Parliamentary Secretary for EU funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi launched a public consultation on the allocation of funds through the European Social Fund Plus programme on Monday. The financial framework, which runs from 2021 till 2027 will see Malta allocated €193 million to be invested into social initiatives to improve and adapt services to new and emerging needs. Zrinzo Azzopardi said the government was looking to strengthen five key priorities,…

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AFM

Bathers and beach-goers at the sandy Marsaxlokk bay have had to be evacuated after a World War Two bomb was found. Members of the public told Times of Malta that beach goers were evacuated on Monday morning by the Armed Forces of Malta after the district police were called.  A spokesperson for the police confirmed that a report of potential explosives, was made at around 11.15am and it is believed the device is a World War Two bomb.  The Explosive Ordnance Disposal arrived on site and operations are understood to be still underway. It is not yet known whether the…

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The Environmental Planning Review Tribunal has allowed works to begin on a contested application to construct a block of flats outside the development zone in Sannat. The application to turn a rural site into 22 flats with 15 underlying garages and pool on Triq ta’ Bebunaq and Triq it-Tempju tal-Imramma is being fronted by construction magnate Joseph Portelli’s business partner, Mark Agius and architect Saviour Micallef. The Planning Authority approved the application in March of 2020, despite a recommendation for refusal, with heritage NGO Din l-Art Ħelwa appealing the decision last May on grounds that the decision had gone against…

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As the sun goes down at the end of the day, twinkling fairy lights come alive like fireflies dotting the tree-lined quad and the lights come up on stage. The sounds of instruments being tuned and people chatting lightly while taking their seats are both foreign and familiar, as acquaintances nod at each other from across appropriately distanced lines of seating. Concerts are back on and the APS Summer Festival is ambitious in both its scale and its scope. The last two years have been hard on artists and the arts, with the pandemic hindering opportunities for artists to work.…

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An injured biker has sworn off his motorcycle and hit out at transport minister Ian Borg for the state of road safety, after an overturned culvert caused him to lose control of his bike and crash. Andrea Camilleri, 25, was driving his motorcycle on Friday evening on Triq il-Wied in Iklin, an arterial road that links Naxxar to Iklin, when the car in front of him drove over the newly installed culverts and knocked one out of place.  With little time to react, Camilleri drove through the open culvert and was thrown off his 125cc motorcycle. He ended up needing…

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The Envrionmental Resources Authority has approved an environmetal impact assessment report for the construction of a gas pipeline between Malta and Sicily. The authority said it does not object to the project as long as safeguarding conditions outlined in the report and eventually imposed through the conditions of the development permit are met. The board met to decide on the project’s final assessment report on Friday, and a vote in favour was taken, the authority said in a statement. In 2017, the government set up Melita TransGas Ltd to oversee the project, which will see the laying of a 159km…

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The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage has halted works near the Wignacourt Aqueduct in Balzan over concerns about potential damage to the 400-year-old structure.  Heavy machinery has been carrying out roadworks at the site in recent days.  The works are being carried out on Infrastructure Malta’s instruction and form part of the Central Link project. On Wednesday, citizens raised the alarm after pictures showing an excavator digging close to the aqueducts and appearing to uncover parts of the underground portion of the structures appeared online. “The Superintendence has instructed the contractor to halt works until a site visit could be carried…

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Pretending to be a fortune teller for financial gain, leading an idle and vagrant lifestyle, as well as public drunkenness are among the minor contraventions that will shift to being heard by a justice commissioner rather than by a magistrate, in a bid to free up the courts and improve efficiency. A spokesperson for the Justice Ministry told Times of Malta on Thursday that a Bill due to be presented to parliament after the summer recess would be proposing that 39 contraventions listed in the Criminal Code be heard by regional tribunals instead of the magistrates’ court. The offences include:…

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A minor infraction is set to land one a tribunal hearing rather than a court, as a new bill aims to widen the powers of justice commissioners to include the hearing of minor offences, Justice Minister Edward Zammit Lewis said in a press conference on Wednesday.  The minister said a new bill will expand the types of crimes that can be heard by commissioners for justice, which typically oversee tribunals that adjudicate traffic offenses, among other things, in a bid to ease the burden of cases from the magistrates’ court. He added that the consultation process of depenalisation had been…

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