Is-sena t-tajba lil kulħadd

2017 – The year of the rooster

In the Shanxi province in China a big Trump-style rooster figure welcomes the news year.

Alan Williams, the man who discovered The Beatles, dies

The founder of Jacaranda Club in Liverpool died aged 86. Alan Williams was the man who discovered the legendary group Beatles.

Williams, who was their first manager, parted company with the group in 1961 just before they rose to world stardom.

The Jacaranda Club Tweeted: Today our founder and the man who discovered the Beatles passed away, Alan Williams you will be missed.

 

Less finger pointing, less hypocrisy would do as a 2017 resolution

Recently the self proclaimed conservatice politician Edwin Vassallo declared that Christian politicians are being ostracised in the two major political parties. That’s a huge statement to make as there are good Christians in both parties.
 
As the Christmas season, shows us, this truly is the time to focus on the genuine good. L-istrina is just one good example. Edwin Vassallo is, and we say this respectfully, wrong.
 
He does not own goodness and is not more truly Christian or morally superior to others. Good people are found in both parties and in the Church as much as there are less good people in both parties and indeed the Church itself.
 
But no one institution owns goodness. No one person is perfect. Good principles or religious faith must be practised and not only preached every day.
 
There is, as we all know a ‘baħar jaqsam’ between what is preached and what is truly practised. A practicing Christian is defined according to Church attendance. But Church attendance is easy isn’t it?
 
Living truly  by what Christ preached is very rare, on an individual human level, in every institution including all the ones mentioned. In fact probably only he truly did.
 
So we have to forgive and try as Michelle Obama said, to answer our opponents and critics with love.
That’s what Pope Francis keeps telling us all, of every faith or non faith.
 
Finger pointing, accusations and assumptions about people of one party being better have been very prominent this year.
Here’s to less finger pointing, less hypocrisy, and to all of us trying harder to live by the best elements of whatever faith, or lack of it but still with principles that we hold dear.

New agreement brings new hopes for Syria

In the past six turbulent years for Syria more than 300,000 people have been killed and a further 4 million fled the war torn country. That is why the latest ceasefire news is welcomed.

The announcement was made in Russia by President Vladimir Putin who brokered the deal supported by the Turkish government. All the 13 opposition factions fighting the Syrian government signed the agreement.

Ceasefire attempts have in recent weeks failed and as this latest agreement comes into force, the international community hopes it will hold and that the new year will bring a new beginning for Syria.

Norman Vella: TM (ta’ żmien Gonzi) ħallelin u oxxeni

Ma konnix nafu li kien hemm is-serq sfaċċat fi żmien Lawrence Gonzi Prim Ministru u Asutin Gatt Ministru tat-trasport. Lilna ta’ din in-naħa ma tgħatinix tort li ma nkunux nafu għax dawk perfetti u aħna l-ħżiena.

Naħseb anqas Norman Vella ma nduna li s-serq sfaċċat li qed jirreferi għalih minn Transport Malta (TM) ilu ħej minn żmien l-amministrazzjoni preċedenti. Illum jista’ jgħidilna li ma kienx jaqbel ma’ dan is-serq sfaċċat, imma meta kienu rranġawlu job mal-PBS ma kienx fetaħ ħalqu.

L-oxxenita ta’ kuntratt li qed jirreferi għalih l-istilla ta’ Simon Busuttil kien sar fl-2007 mill-amministrazzjoni preċedenti.

Biex nirrifreskawlu l-memorja sibna dan l-artiklu minn The Malta Independent li dak iż-żmien, bħal Norman Vella kienet tfaħħar kull ma jagħmel il-gvern – (Illum tfaħħar kull ma tagħmel l-Oppożizzjoni).

Aqra hawn ir-rapport ta’ The Malta Independent dwar id-dħul tas-CVA

Guest Post: Selling vinegar as wine

No one can blame Nationalists who recall the PN party in its first years of government in the late 80’s, for doing so with a good deal of nostalgia, for those were days when their leader professed dialogue as the main ingredient to keep government close to the people. 
 
A good government should be like a young wine that if aged properly should develop a rich taste that is appreciated by all. Not so the PN, for in their quarter century in government the party was hijacked by the establishment and the promise of open dialogue was forgotten. In other words PN aged badly and the young wine turned into vinegar.
 
Now we have a situation where the sour lot that comprises the PN MPs are trying to convince us that the vinegar has been turned back into wine. With things looking so bad in a party that continues to pour acid at each chance they get, the PN camp isn’t convincing anyone that it is good as wine.

Sustained decline in 2016 deficit

Government finance data published recently by the National Statistics Office (NSO) showied a reduction of €100.7 million in the consolidated fund deficit in the period January to November of this year. As a result, the deficit for the eleven-month period was more than halved over last year.

The steady reduction in the deficit achieved in the past months reflected the consistent growth in recurrent revenue and a more contained growth in expenditure. Indeed, recurrent revenue increased by €150.4 million or 4.8 per cent while total expenditure increased by €49.6 million or 1.5 per cent.

The increase in recurrent revenue was backed by higher revenue from income tax (€118.1 million) and social security (€59.9 million) which in turn reflected the affirmative performance of the labour market during this year. Other increases were registered in revenues from licences, taxes and fines, VAT and fees of office.

The increase in recurrent expenditure mainly reflected the increase in expenditure on programs and initiatives (€74.7 million) which mainly reflected added expenditure towards social security, health and education as well as the EU Presidency 2017. Other expenditure increases were recorded in contributions to Government entities, personal emoluments and operational and maintenance expenses.

The Ministry of Finance notes that the increase in recurrent revenue for the eleven-month period was significant, despite a €75.8 million decline in grants reflecting the closure of the European Union financing period 2007-2013 at the end of last year. Reductions in the EU grant component is being balanced by lower EU funded capital expenditure.

Over 93 million in funds for migration and security in Malta

By the end of November 2016, 80% of the Internal Security Funds and 45% of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Funds were committed to projects.

The Funds and Programmes Division within the Ministry for European Affairs and the Implementation of the Electoral Manifesto is in charge of the management of the Internal Security Fund and the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

The Internal Security Fund supports actions aiming at addressing threats which jeopardise the security of the country through international crime networks and terrorism, while also raising the levels of security for citizens and businesses in cyberspace and through controls at the border.

On the other hand the aim of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund is to provide assistance to Malta in its management of migration flows, through the provision of asylum and reception facilities to migrants, the organisation of activities and actions aimed at assisting migrants in their integration into the Maltese community, while also strengthening cooperation with third countries with respect to return management.

An allocation of over 93 million Euros in EU Funds was granted to the said Division to distribute amongst entities in charge of the internal security of Malta as well as those involved in the asylum, integration and return of migrants residing in Malta. Following the said allocation the two funds were launched in November 2015 with the issuance of the first calls for applications.

By end of November 2016, 6 calls for proposals were issued with respect to the Internal Security Fund, while 5 calls for proposals were issued with respect to the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund. In total 19 project submissions were received under the Internal Security Fund while 16 projects were submitted under the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.

By end of November 2016 80% of the Internal Security Fund and 45% of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund were committed to projects, with more projects envisaged to be committed next year in order for all the funds to be taken up.

The projects which were identified to be financed through the funds, vary in nature, under the asylum and reception national objective the security of the open centres will be reinforced, while a specialised unit at Mater Dei Hospital will be set up to deal with highly infectious diseases.

In addition, the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees will be assisted through the provision of interpreters either locally or from abroad, while a new unit dealing with assessments under the Dublin Regulation will be set up.

Furthermore, as part of the integration measures that will be undertaken, the Ministry for Social Dialogue will be setting up a hub whereby third country nationals will be assisted in their establishment in Malta, while also undertaking national campaigns to bring together third country nationals living in Malta with the Maltese general public.

Training will also be provided to persons within the public services who deal with third country nationals to facilitate their entry and stay in Malta. Work will continue to be undertaken by the Ministry for Education in schools through the provision of a number of activities addressed at children and adults in their acquisition of the Maltese and English language.

A club is also envisaged to be set up so to provide third country national youths the opportunity to mingle in an informal environment with fellow Maltese youths. A number of language training courses in Maltese and English as well as cultural orientation classes will be organised. In addition the provision of voluntary return and forced return will be provided and assisted through the funds.

The fund will also be assisting the initiative undertaken by the Maltese government to share the burden being undertaken by Italy, Greece and Turkey following a sudden inflow of nationals of third countries to their country. In such instances, the fund will be providing a sum of money for their relocation or resettlement in Malta.

On the other hand, as part of the Internal Security Fund, a number of infrastructural works will be undertaken within the Malta Police Force, the Customs Department and the Armed Forces of Malta. Various equipment will also be purchased to increase the surveillance undertaken on land by the Malta Police Force and on sea and air by the Armed Forces of Malta.

In addition, upgrades will be made to the exchange of information currently undertaken by the Malta Police Force in relation to criminal activities identified, while the Armed Forces of Malta communications systems will be further enhanced.

Through the fund, a number of bullet vests will be procured, the third helicopter has been part-financed and delivered to Malta in September, while a new Explosives Ordinance Disposal robot and ancillary equipment was procured by the Ammo & Explosive, Storage and Disposal Company within the Armed Forces of Malta. Other deliverables will include, a new fixed wing patrol aircraft to be used by the Armed Forces of Malta, new scanning equipment to the Customs Department, as well as new surveillance equipment to be utilised by the Malta Police Force.

Further project activities are envisaged throughout next year, with the inclusion of other project proposals such as the setting up of a new open centre for migrants, as well a new command and control room for the Malta Police Force, and hanger facilities for the Armed Forces of Malta.

Guest Post: L-Aqwa team fl-Ewropa

Nitkellmu ħafna dwar kif illum Malta hi l-aqwa fl-ewropa imma ftit nirrealizzaw kif wasalna sa hawn fi ftit anqas minn erba’ snin tal-ewwel leġislatura ta’ Joseph Muscat bħala Prim Ministru. Biex jagħmel pajjiż l-aqwa fl-ewropa, hu nnifsu jrid ikun ukoll l-aqwa fl-Ewropa.

Rata ta’ tkabbir ekonomiku ta’ 6% wara tliet snin fil-gvern hija diffiċli ħafna li tinkiseb, imma dan il-gvern irnexxilu jissorprendi l-aspetattiva tiegħu stess.

Il-ġid li kien maħsub li jinħoloq f’ħames snin irnexxilu joħloqhom fl-ewwel tlieta, l-ammont ta’ mpiegi li Simon Busuttil kien qed jipproġetta li joħloq fuq ħames snin li kieku l-PN tela fil-gvern (20,000) dan il-gvern ħoloqhom fl-ewwel tliet.

Attwalmwent ħoloq iktar, għax l-istatistika turi li nħolqu 22,000 fl-ewwel tliet snin. B’kollox mill-2013 sal-lum inħolqu 23,000 post ġdid tax-xogħol.

Għalhekk wieħed jasal biex jikkonkludi li għandna l-aqwa pajjiż fl-Ewropa imma dan grazzi għad-deċiżjonijiet li ħa l-gvern li allura huwa l-aqwa gvern fl-Ewropa.

Dan il-gvern għandu persuni li huma validissimi bħad-Deputat Prim Ministru u l-Ministru tal-Finanzi. Kull Prim Ministru jixtieq li jkollu persuna tal-esperjenza ta’ Louis Grech jew il-kapaċita ta’ Edward Scicluna bħala Ministru tal-Finanzi.

B’ekonomija b’saħħitha u pjan għat-tul qed nagħmlu minn art twelidna pajjiż aħjar. Din hija responsabbilta li dejjem taqa’ fuq il-Partit Laburista.

Il-fatt li għandna ekonomija b’saħħitha u finanzi li verament qegħdin fis-sod, nistgħu nippjanaw għall-lum u għal għada speċjalment fejn jidħlu l-proġetti infrastrutturali li huma tant importanti għall-ġejjieni ta’ pajjiżna.

Il-Ministru Joe Mizzi, li sab infrastruttura antika qed jeħel bil-problemi li ħallew warajhom in-Nazzjonalisti li issa qed jippretendi li tissolva f’tebqa t’għajn il-problema tat-traffiku li ħallew takkumula għal 25 sena. Ma rridux ninsew li l-ġid li qed joħloq dan il-gvern 38 karozza kull jum qed jinħarġu fit-toroq tagħna.

Għandna toroq mimlijin karozzi u turisti, għax Malta għaddejja mill-aqwa perjodu turistiku tagħha. Nistgħu nibqgħu nsemmgħu lil kulħadd għaliex is-setturi kollha huma mportanti.

Meta tħares lura lejn din is-sena ta’ xogħol tal-gvern mhux faċli li ssib kritika u għalhekk ix-xogħol tal-Oppożizzjoni qed isir iktar diffiċli. Ħafna mil-kritika li qed issir hija inġusta għaliex m’hijiex kirtika kostruttiva bbażata fuq il-verita, imma kritika distruttiva bbażata fuq tgħawwiġ ta’ fatti.

 

Debbie Reynolds dies within hours of her daughter, Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher’s mother, Debbie Reynolds passed away Wednesday afternoon while planing her daughter’s funeral.

The 84-year-old fell ill and suffered a stroke at her house in Beverly Hills. She died later in hospital and press reports suggest that her last words were “I want to be with Carrie”.

 

 

Il-poplu Malti irid ġustizzja u mhux vendikazzjoni

Il-poplu Malti u Għawdxi għandu l-għatx għall-ġustizzja u mhux għall-vendikazzjoni wara dak li seħħ fiż-żminijiet fejn f’pajjiżna kien hawn l-intoleranza.

F’ċerimonja quddiem il-mafkar ta’ Karin Grech f’San Ġwann, il-Prim Ministru u Mexxej tal-Partit Laburista Joseph Muscat semma kemm lil Karin Grech kif ukoll lil Raymond Carauna, li ftit tal-ġimgħat ilu żar il-qabar tiegħu b]ala sinjal ta’ tifkira u rispett.

Għall-poplu Malti iż-żewġ każi huma ġerħa li għadha miftuħa.

F’pajjiżna trid tinqata’ l-mentalità li jħares lejn dawn il-vittmi bit-twemmin politiku tagħhom, il-poplu huwa mdejjaq b’dawk iż-żminijiet li fih kienet tispikka l-intolleranza.

 

TMI: Office of the Prime Minister silent as questions surrounding hijack grow

Seriously? Do they really think the hijack was staged and organised by the Maltese government? The Malta Independent is asking for the reason behind the hijacking. How on earth would the Maltese government know.

So, their conspiracy theory goes something like this. The Maltese Government scouted for two hijackers in Libya. Once the hijackers have been identified it was time to find an airline ready to take part in a staged hijack.

Once Afriqiyah airline agreed and accepted the terms, the Maltgese government colluded with its officials to plan the hijack of one of their airplanes, carefully choosing  Sebha, a Gaddafi stronghold as the point of departure.

The airline was to carry over a hundred passengers and crew to Malta and then the airline will send another aircraft the following day to get back home hijacked passengers incurring all the expenses. Or these charges were part of the initial agreement between the government of Malta and the airline? Boqq.

Not to mention that for the plot to be successful, the Maltese government must have also colluded with Sebha airport authorities to let two men get on an airplane armed with pistols and hand grenade, albeit replicas, an agreement must have been reached in advance mhux hekk!

Who ever came up with such a plan must be given the Nobel Prize for Strategic Planning, but if there is a Nobel Prize for fiction The Malta Independent will be among candidates.

Happy New Year.

 

Dan qed jgħid għall-Istrina?

L-għada tal-Istrina, il-kandidat tal-PN Salvu Mallia kiteb hekk.

Hekk jaħseb il-PN?

Malta Today reveals: Afriqiyah hijack video clip showing passengers singing revealed to be ‘fake’

Simon’s blogger Daphne Caruana Galizia was one of the first to come up with the conspiracy that the Afriqiyah Airways hijack was staged by the government of Malta.

In a recent post she also uploaded a video ‘supposedly’ taken by one of the passengers clapping as they landed at Luqa International Airport.

She wrote the following under the heading: Onboard video of ‘hijacked’ plane landing in Malta 

When videos and photographs of smiling, clapping and chatting passengers and crew began to emerge online after the ‘hijacking’, we were told that the passengers did not know the plane had been hijacked until they landed in Malta and were escorted off and into a hangar, having been told that they were diverted there because of bad weather in Tripoli, the intended destination.

You’d have thought that they would have noticed had it been a real hijack.

As it turned out, this is all Fake News. Malta Today:

reveals: http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/72956/afriqiyah_hijack_video_clip_showing_passengers_singing_revealed_to_be_fake#.WGPED_krLIU