Extinct Barn Owls return to Maltese islands through FKNK initiative

 - Local - May 18 SHARE ON:
Extinct Barn Owls return to Maltese islands through FKNK initiative

‘Silently, through the darkness of the night, amidst the woodland of Buskettt, the Barn owl hunts its prey. A species that has been extinct for the past 30 years from the islands, the Barbaġann is now once again silently roaming the notorious woodlands.’

In a newly released statement, the Federation for Hunting and Conservation – Malta (FKNK) announced that the reintroduction of the bird species was made possible through a project entrusted to them. 

The first of its kind, the FKNK tried to materialise the project since 2009. With several challenges along the way, they were given responsibility over the Razzett tal-Bagħal in Buskett in 2015. 

Minister Roderick Galdes, at the time Parliamentary Secretary, handed over the 17th century farmhouse with the primary obligation to commence the Barn Owl Reintroduction Project (BORP). 

With funding from the Conservation of Wild Birds fund, two breeding pairs were reintroduced in 2020. Unfortunately, two of the subjects were stolen and never recovered. Two more were secured during the pandemic. on the 9th of May, the first fledging hatched successfully, introducing 5 offspring. 

To date, 11 Barn Owl chicks have been bred in captivity and are being prepared to be released. Barn Owls are fundamental to biodiversity, with a project exploring the possibility of expanding it into semi-urban areas. 


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Malta has the lowest divorce rate in Europe reveal figures

 - Love & Sex - May 18 SHARE ON:
Malta has the lowest divorce rate in Europe reveal figures

According to new figures issued by Eurostat, Malta had the lowest divorce rate in Europe during the year 2020. 

According to the agency, there were 0.5 divorces registered for every 1,000 people, making it the lowest rate since divorce was legalised in 2011.

Malta’s rate is far lower than EU average, which stood at 1.6 divorces per 1,000 people. Denmark, Latvia and Lithuania had the highest rate at 2.7 divorces per 1,000 people. Before 2020, the Maltese rate stood at 0.7 per 1,000 since 2017. 

The only year the rate was lower than in 2020 was when divorce became legal in 2011. The rate only covered divorces registered over a period of three months and not a full year. 

Times of Malta was informed by divorce lawyer Stephen Thake that while Malta’ rate has continued to be the lowest in Europe, there could bee other factors at play not reflected in official statistics. 

Apart from separation cases potentially undergoing conversion into divorce and thus not being picked up by the EU agency, Thake said that in Malta divorce is not the primary ‘remedy’ and many opt for simple separation. 

There is also an increasing trend whereby people move in with other people without ever getting divorced if they no longer want to live with their spouses. This came with the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, which saw the closure of court for three months. This impacted the possibility of people getting divorces and thus people opted for simpler means instead of legal procedures. 


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Thousands of speeding tickets could have been unlawfully handed out

 - Local - May 17 SHARE ON:
Thousands of speeding tickets could have been unlawfully handed out

Questions were raised about the legality of thousands of fines and speeding tickets, after a man dodge a speeding ticket after it was ruled that the speed camera was not calibrated according to law. 

The incident happened after Alistair Cachia was fined back in November 2019 after his car was captured by the speed camera located on Triq Tal-Barrani in Zejtun. 

Cachia refused to pay the €69 fine before seeing a certificate which confirmed that the camera was calibrated according to law. According to Maltese law, all measuring instruments must be calibrated periodically to ensure they display fair and accurate measurements. 

The speed camera which took Cachia’s vehicle photo had been calibrated more than a year earlier, despite a 2011 legal notice specifying that speeding cameras must be calibrated once a year. 

LESA’s only evidence of the speeding was thus deemed unlawful and thus forced the tribunal to revoke the contravention. This does not mean that the camera was malfunctioning however. 

Times of Malta reported that until the law is amended, speed cameras are being calibrated annually again. Since 2011, speed cameras were responsible for half a million contraventions, which is an average of 50,000 speeding tickets every year. 

The first three months of 2022 saw a total of 12,376 speeding tickets issued. The 50km/hr speed limit camera in Nutar Zarb Street in Attard was the one which issued the most tickets every year for a decade. 

If drivers exceed the speed limit by less than 15km/hr, they need to €35.65. The price shoots up to €69.65 if they are caught speeding over that limit, wiping off three points off the driver’s license. This means that over the last ten years, the speed cameras generated around €25 million in tickets. 


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Wizz Air to set up Wizz Air Malta this October

 - Travel - May 17 SHARE ON:
Wizz Air to set up Wizz Air Malta this October

Budget airline Wizz Air will be setting up Wizz Air Malta, which the company hopes to begin its operations in October. 

The Hungarian-based company said that with the Malta registered aircraft it will continue to increase the travel possibilities for Maltese and international travellers. 

Wizz Air serves many cities across Europe as well a destinations in North Africa, the Middle East and a newly started service to Sri Lanka. 

Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia announced the airline on Tuesday, saying that this was yet another indication that Malta ‘is truly the preferred jurisdiction in the aviation industry.’ 

The announcement came after months of talks between the Civil Aviation Directorate within Transport Malta, Wizz Air and the European Aviation Safety Agency. 


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