The Malta Independent 14 April 2024, Sunday
View E-Paper

Space exploration

Alfred Sant MEP Monday, 4 March 2024, 08:00 Last update: about 2 months ago

News about the landing (successful or otherwise) of space craft on the moon has not been lacking. Most ventures were organised and financed by private interests, even if they originated from different countries.

Why have there not been for so many decades manned expeditions to the moon following the spectacular adventures of the 1960’s? Meanwhile unmanned craft were sent on voyages to the farthest reaches of space. But the moon seems to have been forgotten.

ADVERTISEMENT

It is difficult to tell whether the reason for this was the disasters that happened on some space missions, like the Challenger episode in 1986 when eight astronauts died tragically. However by that time, the race to the moon had already faded out.

Perhaps a more valid reason could have been that the competition between the US and the then USSR had cooled down. In the past, the race to the moon had become a vital game for them. Yet today one can hardly claim that there is absolutely no competition regarding who can aspire to a dominant position on this globe.

***

THE FIAU ISSUE

The way by which the procedures and decisions of the FIAU (Financial Analysis Intelligence Unit) have been nullifed by the courts is not a minor matter. The FIAU is the agency which monitors and controls how financial and banking transactions are handled by the financial services industry in Malta in order to ensure that abuses do not happen.

If Malta is to retain the confidence of foreign countries in the integrity of its financial services sector, it needs to have this watchdog recognised as operating in a robust and effective manner. However the agency also needs to be run according to the legal norms prevailing in modern society. The courts have declared that in the cases it investigates, the FIAU is assuming the role of detective, prosecution, jury and judge -- which is not on.

I hardly think we’re the first jurisdiction to have faced this problem. We could follow the example of other countries in trying to solve it. What are we waiting for in order to do so?  

***

INFLUENCERS

In Europe and beyond queries are being raised about the role of influencers on social media – people who become very popular among internet users by discussing topics that attract much interest – like fashion, music, sports... They then ride on this popularity to deliver commercially loaded messages that serve as hidden publicity... for which they get paid.

Well, what’s wrong with that? The reply is that it is not right for such messages to stay hidden since enticing people in this way to make certain purchase decisions amounts to a manipulation of the trust that followers share in an influencer. Moreover, influencers make money from the “advertising” they carry without declaring this as a business.

Nothing is quite clear yet regarding how influencers should be treated. It was after the Council and the European Parliament had already agreed on the regulation of digital services that they realised how they had overlooked completely this “new” business category.

                       

  • don't miss