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USA UK and Malta News
15/05/2012 - 21:45

Malta news: migrants rescued

Malta news: migrants rescued - 73 migrants rescued -MaltaPost reports profit - Government wants to produce Juncker, Solana to give evidence in Cachia Caruana hearings.

Malta news: migrants rescued
73 migrants rescued
Another 73 migrants were rescued from high seas yesterday morning by the Armed Forces of Malta, after their boat started going adrift to the south of the island. The AFM’s Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC Malta) at Luqa Barracks coordinated the rescue and dispatched an AFM Air Wing Alouette helicopter to the scene to evaluate the situation, in reaction to the initial alert. The boat in distress was located some 32 nautical miles south of Malta, and appeared to be adrift in relatively heavy seas and strong winds. An AFM Maritime Squadron Protector-class patrol craft, the P-51, was sent to the location, which it reached at 10am, locating a dinghy powered by an outboard engine. The rescue was launched given the bad weather conditions prevailing at the time while the dinghy was adrift, and coupled with a request for assistance from the people aboard.  The rescue operation was significantly hampered by the rough weather in the area, but by noon the P-51’s crew successfully rescued all the people in distress – 22 women and 51 men. The P-51 arrived at Haywharf base in Floriana, shortly before 2pm. The migrants were in reasonably good health. This is the fourth arrival of migrants in eight days. A total of 93 irregular migrants made it to shore in Malta on Friday night and Saturday morning, after two separate emergency operations. Last week, a vessel carrying a group of 88 migrants – including three toddlers and a 12-year-old – made it to Għajn Tuffieħa under its own steam. Seven migrants were reported to have died en route during a seven-day voyage. Libyan Foreign Minister Bin Ashour Khayal was reported to have said on Saturday, that matters could get far worse.(independent.com.mt) The great advance is that these operations are not arrests but operations succor

MaltaPost reports profit
The challenges brought about by industry-specific conditions impacted the general operating environment of MaltaPost. During this reporting period, the company was faced with a considerable increase in direct mail costs due to changes in tariffs regulated by the Universal Postal Union (‘UPU’). This change in the tariff structure, as regulated by the UPU, also adversely impacted the company’s revenue streams. MaltaPost, being the national regulated postal operator, is mindful of its obligations to provide an affordable universal service albeit extending some of its core services at a loss in the short term as local letter tariffs continue to be the lowest in the EU. The company is working closely with its regulator, the Malta Communications Authority, to ensure a fair regulatory approach which is appropriate and relevant to the challenging and dynamic competitive market in which it operates. As announced previously, the company concluded acquisitions of key properties, including its Head Office in Marsa and other strategically located properties. These were financed by a blend of own funds and bank borrowings which, understandably, impacted the interim results through a decrease in net finance income and an increase in depreciation and amortisation charges. As a result of the above, for the six months ended 31 March, 2012, MaltaPost reported a profit before tax of €796k compared to €1.69 million for the corresponding period last year.(independent.com.mt) The postal service are they become delinquent?

Government wants to produce Juncker, Solana to give evidence in Cachia Caruana hearings
Committee meeting suspended as government, opposition disagree on procedure
The government has informed the parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee that it intends to invite Luxembourg Prime Minster Jean-Claude Juncker and former Nato Secretary General Javier Solana among other witnesses to give evidence before the committee when it discusses the Opposition censure motion against Richard Cachia Caruana, Malta's permanent representative to the European Union. The proposed list of witnesses, which also includes Prime Minister Gonzi, Nato and EU officials and members of Malta's defence secretariat within the Office of the Prime Minister, was presented when the committee held a stormy meeting to discuss the procedure it will follow for its hearings. The Opposition is claiming in its motion that a document published by Wikileaks showed that in 2004 Mr Cachia Caruana had talks with Nato officials, during which he discussed ways of reactivating Malta's membership of Partnership for Peace, behind Parliament's back. The government has denied the claim, insisting that the talks were solely about Malta being given access to Nato documents. At the beginning of the sitting, Opposition foreign affairs spokesman George Vella complained of unacceptable attempts at intimidation by the government, aimed at undermining parliamentary scrutiny. He said that he was basing his remarks on a government  statement yesterday which claimed that the opposition was turning parliament into a kangaroo court or a criminal court. This, he said, was not the case. Foreign Minister Tonio Borg said the attacks had been made by the Opposition on the government, which used an individual to attack the administration and even made accusations of betrayal.(timesofmalta.com) Parliament can call anyone witness.

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