Author: Matthew Xuereb

A man who contracted COVID-19 last March is still suffering from lingering symptoms, including fatigue and muscle weakness, and is currently receiving physiotherapy to get back on track. Renowned actor Mario Micallef, usually a jovial character, recounted with Times of Malta his “painful and terrorising” experience in hospital when he was very close to dying and how he was now dealing with his remaining symptoms, primarily shortness of breath and a nasty cough. “Just 10 days before, a friend of mine, my age, died of COVID so I was conscious about the risks I faced when I got the virus.…

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Bodies that represent business have complained about the “preferential treatment” being given to political parties by the tax authorities. The Malta Employers’ Association and the Chamber for Small and Medium Enterprises said they expected the country’s leaders to lead by example. They were reacting to a report in Times of Malta that the tax authorities were chasing the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party’s media companies over some €5 million in unpaid VAT. The PL’s ONE and the PN’s Media.Link both recently received formal notices from tax officials after repeatedly failing to honour deals to settle years of unpaid VAT.…

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An application for the conversion of three St Julian’s townhouses into a restaurant, which is already in operation, is being recommended for refusal after works were carried out without a permit. Filed by Nicolas Suarez, the application is for internal and external alterations to connect the three houses in Triq il-Mensija and change their use from residential to a class 4D outlet, which allows cooking on site. The applicant already has a permit to run a snack bar from one of the houses but wants to upgrade it to a restaurant. Multiple works without planning permission Permission is also being…

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The Court of Appeal has cancelled a government contract of €3.7 million awarded for the cleaning of facilities falling under the Active Aging and Community Care Directorate. The court found that the contracting body had failed to investigate why the winning bidder had submitted a tender that would cost the government substantially less than all the other bids it had received. The contractual process should start afresh, the three judges ordered. Chief Justice Mark Chetcuti and Mr Justices Giannino Caruana Demajo and Anthony Ellul delivered judgment after failed bidder X Clean Limited filed an appeal against a decision by the…

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Anthony Debono and his wife, former Gozo minister Giovanna Debono, have expressed relief that their “nightmare” is finally over after a court of appeal upheld a previous court judgment exonerating him from a ‘works-for-votes’ scandal. “They are relieved this nightmare is all over. A nightmare which they should have never gone through,” their lawyer, Joe Giglio said on behalf of the family. Contacted following the judgment and asked whether they felt they were victims of a political witch-hunt, Giglio said: “They were the victims of a system that is warped and the fact that this case was a political one…

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A proposed block of apartments with pools and jacuzzis, lying partly in Nadur’s urban conservation area, has been recommended for refusal despite amendments being made to the original plans. The proposal, for Triq David Cocco Palmeri, was filed by Mark Agius, the business partner of Gozitan property mogul Joseph Portelli. It seeks to demolish an existing building, which has breathtaking views of Mġarr harbour and the Gozo channel, and replace it with an extension to an adjacent block that received planning approval earlier this year. Also proposed is the excavation of a basement complex for 10 garages, the construction of…

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A company that specialises in the recycling of electronic waste is struggling to get insurance cover for its facility. Brian Cardona, the director of Electrowaste Malta Ltd, said he had spent two years visiting every insurance company on the island only to be told facilities such as his were classified as high risk and could not be insured. Cardona buys electronic waste, dismantles the items at his Għaxaq facility and then sells them for recycling. Most of this waste is in the form of copper and circuit boards. White goods are exported for recycling without being dismantled. “This is not…

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The Planning Authority board has put off a hearing of an application for the development of Manoel Island after objectors requested the recusal of board members who had decided on a previous application in March 2019. Michael Sciortino, on behalf of eNGO Flimkien Għal Ambjent Aħjar, made the request at the start of a meeting on Thursday. RELATED STORIES He also requested that the Gżira local council recuses itself due to a possible conflict of interest: it had taken part in the 2019 decision and sits on the Manoel Island Foundation, the guardian of rights and obligations agreed to between…

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Ponte Ferries is still in discussions with the competent authorities in Augusta over a ferry service to the Sicilian port and no final approved permit to operate has been issued, the company said yesterday. However, documents seen by Times of Malta have shown that a temporary permit was issued by the Augusta port authorities on August 11, which allowed Ponte Ferries to operate. In spite of this, the operator continued with its cancellation of trips and provided clients with alternatives such as airline flights, refunds and vouchers. Asked about the temporary permit, a company spokesperson said this related “to a…

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Għargħur’s parish priest walked off the altar in protest on Tuesday after a former priest who is banned from exercising any priestly duties joined the celebrant just before Holy Communion. Parishioners said they saw the two “arguing” at the altar until parish priest Christopher Galea stopped the mass and returned to the sacristy. When contacted, Fr Galea said the incident took place when a former priest, Adrian or Adrijanu Cachia, wore priestly attire and joined him at the altar. The move forced the interruption of the liturgical celebration of St Bartolomew for a few minutes.  “I knew he was banned by…

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