The Malta Independent 24 June 2018, Sunday

Making news

Andrew Azzopardi Wednesday, 7 March 2018, 09:55 Last update: about 5 months ago

Some issues that are making the news and others that should:

·         It’s not ok that a 14-year-old is remanded in custody, whatever the reason.  Our support services should have enough resources to cater for these circumstances.  It is unfair on the Judiciary that they had to make such a drastic call.  With all the money we put into social services we should be better placed to ensure that such children do not slip through ourwelfare net.

·         Elections have become a leadership popularity contest.  Now that Joseph Muscat has confirmed he will see through this legislaturefollowing which he will hang his boots (at least when it comes to local politics),it is now an issue of who will take his place.  The Labour Party machine, even though desperately trying to play down the matter know well enough that it is ‘game on’.  Strategically, this is a delicate situation the PL is being faced with.  With two important elections coming up, the MEP and the Local Council elections, the Party is trying to contain the situation as much as possible.  At some point things will start getting out of hand and I predict that the election of the new leadership will happen way before anticipated.

·         Robert Abela was reported in the Times of Malta as writing in Facebook that, ‘... he saw no need for the Constitution to be changed for President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca to be allowed to serve a second term. "If it is truly the wish of Her Excellency Coleiro Preca to continue to serve, she deserves to do so,"’ (Times on Line 26/2/2018).  However, as Prof. Kevin Aquilina clearly explained during my radio show Ghandi xi Nghid on Radju Malta, Article 48 (3)(a) states that "on the expiration of five years from the date of the appointment to that office…" the office of President shall become vacant but in Article 123 (2) it is stated that reappointment "shall not apply to the office of President."

·         The football world is in a state of shock after the terrible news that Fiorentina captain Astori died of what appears to be a heart failure on Sunday morning.  He was just 31 years old.  Whilst this might have been a fluke episode, the current pressures that footballers need to go through to keep up the level of athleticism is disquieting. 

·         Marceline Naudi, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Gender Studies, Faculty for Social Wellbeing (UM) has been pivotal in hosting the ‘European Observatory on Femicide’.  This Observatory located in the University of Malta will serve an important purpose in helping us understand what the issues are and how, through empirical data, we can find solutions to this scourge. 

·         The Faculty for Social Wellbeing will discuss controversial issues during the first edition of the Dean’s Forum that will pit four teams made up of lecturers and students during this event.  This debating society will happen on the 15th March at 5pm at Lecture Theatre 2 (UM).  The issues that will be debated are; ‘Is paedophilia a crime? Is abortion a right? Is paid sex for disabled people a form of prostitution?  Is marijuana a gateway drug? Are there only two genders?’  The event will also include a LIVE performance by 'The Busker’.  Places are limited so people are being encouraged to register with marija.grech@um.edu.mt by the 9th March 2018.

·         As expected MPs voted unanimously to change the Constitution and thus allow 16 and 17 year olds to vote in the forthcoming elections.  Almost 9,000 new voters will be brought to the fold and what a positive change this is going to bring in the political landscape.

·         Malta Today headlines a story stating that; ‘Inspections at Valletta food court ‘Is-Suq tal-Belt’ find 31 workers without permit’.  Why am I not surprised?

·         Former Prime Minister and cancer survivor, Alfred Sant has called for ‘affordable colorectal screening across EU’.  This is what the EU should be contending with; improving quality of life, safeguarding welfare, cultivating health care and not suckling a bureaucracy that is dehumanising its citizens, forgetting people who are at the bottom of the heap and ignoring the gap that keeps widening between the rich and the poor. 

·         L-Orrizont reports that almost 200 people are currently living in garages with the risk of lacking the basic sanitary needs apart from all the rest.  This is a country that has always been proud of its phenomenal record of not having homeless people andwhere ‘we’ enjoy an abundant welfare programme.  It seems that gently, or should I say rather quickly, there seems to be a shift in this scenario.  We are hearing of stories of people living in cars, squatting and the need for more organised food banks and homeless shelters.  This is indeed unfortunate when we are at one of the healthiest economic periods ever.  

·         The civil war in Syria is in its seventh consecutive year.  The statistics are mind-boggling; almost half a million killed, an estimated over 1 million wounded and some 12 million Syrians displaced, and yet Europe, the EU, the World watches passively as children get burned alive and oppression is the order of the day. 

·         An MP calls another MP ‘gbejna’ (goat cheese) – our political dialectic squabbling at its best.  Bless them!

 

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