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USA UK and Malta News
25/04/2012 - 22:36

Malta news: Subsidising energy

Malta news: Subsidising energy - PM to test parliamentary majority on 9 May - Subsidising energy ‘not a good economic policy’ – Central Bank Governor - CABS remote controlled aircraft shot at as it detects illegal trapping sites.

Malta news: Subsidising energy
PM to test parliamentary majority on 9 May
The crucial and highly-anticipated vote regarding the second reading of the Budget Measures Implementation Bill is set for 9 May. The announcement was made by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi at the end of a PN parliamentary group meeting held at the party’s headquarters in Pietà yesterday afternoon, during which the current political impasse in Parliament was discussed. It is also highly significant that on 9 May, the PN will be exactly 24 years in government, bar a two-year period. Addressing the media gathered outside the PN headquarters, the Prime Minister said that the parliamentary group agreed that the most urgent issue to be addressed in the interest of the country right now is the vote regarding the Budget Measures Implementation Bill. This may include other votes on ancillary legislation. “This means that the Parliamentary group regards the budget bill as having the highest priority in the current circumstances”, stated adamantly the Prime Minister. He added that from now till May 9, Parliament will finish the debate regarding the budget implementation bill as well as hold the debate of setting up the Special Vehicle Project in connection with the City Gate project. “Other matters on the agenda will be eventually debated, but only after the vote to determine whether the Government still holds a majority in parliament has taken place” concluded the Prime Minister. Dr Gonzi refused to comment further when asked about Franco Debono’s latest declarations and repeated that a decision has been taken for the crucial money bill to be put to the vote on 9 May. This will be the first opportunity for the Government to test its parliamentary majority following the abstention of Franco Debono in no-confidence vote of 26 January, which the Government only managed to survive after it had to rely on the Speaker’s casting vote.(independent.com.mt) The budget is a very sensitive issue in Europe.

Subsidising energy ‘not a good economic policy’ – Central Bank Governor
The reply given by the governor may not feature in the One News report on the news conference and the governor himself added it almost as an afterthought, but say it he did, thus demolishing a key plank in the Labour Party electoral platform. The news conference, held at the Hotel Phoenicia, was to present the Central Bank’s annual report to the media and most of it consisted in rarefied comments about macroeconomy. But at some specific points, like the above, it touched on the bread and butter issues of the Maltese. More was to come in the Q&A session at the end. Economist and commentator Alfred Mifsud raised the off-the-balance-sheet parts of the national accounts. Beyond what is classified as government debt, there is a wider swathe of debt which cannot not be ascribed to the government as well. A case in point, he said, is Enemalta, which has a debt of between €700 million and €800 million which is guaranteed by the government but does not form part of what is considered as sovereign debt. Another case regards the forthcoming Special Purpose Vehicle with which the government intends to finance the Renzo Piano project for City Gate. This project can never earn the government any revenue. Prof. Bonnici replied one must distinguish between proper government debt and debt through other causes which should be repaid. These other debts would have assets.(independent.com.mt) And why it would not be good policy?

CABS remote controlled aircraft shot at as it detects illegal trapping sites
CABS, the Munich-based birdwatchers' group, confirmed today that it is using a remote controlled aircraft to seek out illegal trapping sites. Spokesman Axel Hirschfeld also confirmed to timesofmalta.com that the aircraft was shot at while it flew over Delimara this morning, adding that it was hit by a number of pellets, but not seriously damaged. He said the plane is equipped with high definition camers with live links to recorders on the ground. A Swiss pilot, who holds a world record for long-distance flying of such aircraft, was brought over to Malta to operate the aircraft. The aircraft can fly up to 20 miles away from its pilot. Mr Hirschfeld said a trapping site was detected near Bahrija yesterday and another 'huge' one near Delimara this morning. The police, he said, were shown the footage and acted quickly, seizing the equipment and live protected birds. He said the police had told CABS not to fly the aircraft too low or near the airport. However operations will continue.(timesofmalta.com) Illegal trapping is illegal and is prohibited.

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