Hamrun Spartans sack coach Mark Buttigieg after disappointing start to season

 - News - Feb 14 SHARE ON:

Current BOV Premier League champions Hamrun Spartans have announced the sacking of their coach Mark Buttigieg.

This comes after a  disappointing start to the season which sees the Spartans sitting in 5th place of the table, despite heavy financial backing from president Joseph Portelli and some big name signings like Luke Gambin. The decision to fire the coach was reportedly made after their unexpected 1-0 loss to Gudja last night.

Hamrun have since released a statement to their various social media accounts saying “The club wishes to announce that it has reached an agreement for the consensual termination of the contract with coach Mark Buttigieg,”

“The club wishes to thank Mr Buttigieg for the extraordinary work done, culminating with the conquest of the BOV Premier League last season.

“The coach joined Ħamrun Spartans last season and was instrumental with his technical and leadership skills which together with the arrival of Joseph Portelli contributed immensely to the winning of the league trophy immediately in the first season.

“Mark Buttigieg will remain forever in the history of our club.”

It is still left to be seen who will be Mark’s successor with no candidates known as of now or if maybe president Joseph Portelli might be looking abroad for a replacement.



Valentine’s Day has quite the bloody and bizarre history

 - Culture - Feb 14 SHARE ON:
Valentine’s Day has quite the bloody and bizarre history

The colour red is highly associated with Valentine’s Day – the roses, the hearts and the teddy bears donning scarlet. However, the colour red might be associated to the holiday in a far gorier and bloodier fashion as the holiday has a history of beheadings, martyrdom and power-hungry emperors.

Valentine’s Day is a celebration of Saint Valentine, a martyr within the Catholic Church. However, Saint Valentine might have been one of three  Valentines, all of whom died under Emperor Claudius II.The first one was allegedly a romantic and rebellious priest who went against the emperor’s order to ban soldiers from marrying as Claudius believed that single men made better troops.

This Valentine married them in secret, leading to his beheading upon being caught. The second Valentine was also beheaded, with the third being arrested for helping Christians escape Roman prisons.Due to a lack of historical records, it is difficult to tell whether Saint Valentine was one or all three of these men. As with legends and other such events, the Valentines were moulded into one celebration. 

Some have suggested the holiday is there to commemorate the saint’s death but others have argued that it is a replacement for the festival Lupercalia. This was a Roman fertility festival, in which which priests would gather at a cave where the founders of Rome, Remus and Romolus, were said to have been raised by a wolf. 

Here animal sacrifices- possibly of goats and dogs – were allegedly carried out, followed by some bizarre rituals carried out to increase fertility. Again, take all this with a grain of salt. Today, the holiday is estimated to cost people around £40 on average on Valentine’s day. It was found that around one in ten people claim to buy their partners flowers, but let’s be honest – that’s better than sacrificing a goat for them. 


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Orizzont editor Victor Vella suspended following social injustice reporting

 - Local - Feb 14 SHARE ON:
Orizzont editor Victor Vella suspended follow social injustice reporting

Editor-in-chief of newspapers L-Orizzont and it-Torċa Victor Vella has been suspended by Union Print, owner of the newspapers. The writer was suspended last month after he refused to stop publishing stories about workers’ rights, migration and other social injustices. The suspension was revealed by Newsbook on Sunday evening.

Vella will be facing disciplinary proceedings, risking being sacked from the post after a 27-year journalism career. Union Print is owned by the General Workers Union and union President Victor Carachi is listed as the publisher’s sole director. A GWU spokesperson however denied that the suspension had any link to the newspaper’s editorial line and described it as a purely administrative matter. 

The GWU spokesperson said that the union would be assisting Vella in his disciplinary proceedings with Union Print, its own subsidiary. Despite denial by the GWU, sources close to the newspapers informed Times of Malta that persons high up in the union were unhappy with Vella’s editorial policy on social issues as it ‘put the government in bad light.’

Both l-Orizzont and it-Torċa ran stories about people working on low salaries and in precarious situations. They also wrote about people struggling to cope with rising costs of living, people facing housing difficulties, migration and a report on the urge in food prices in supermarkets. 

After newspapers were issued, the newsroom would get calls from above and be pressured to stop publishing such stories, with migration being one of their biggest bones of contention. Vella declined to comment pending disciplinary proceedings when contacted by Times of Malta. 



Around 1 million tourists came to Malta in 2021 as sector improves

 - International - Feb 14 SHARE ON:
Around 1 million tourists came to Malta in 2021 as sector improves

Around 1 million people visited Malta during 2021, meaning the numbers recovered slightly when compared to the previous year when the pandemic hit.However, numbers still remain significantly lower than 2019, as 2021 registered a total of 969,246 visitors entering the island. The National Statistics Office (NSO) released the data on Monday. 

This is a 47% increase over the 659,513 visitors who came to the island during the pandemic’s first year. This is still far below the 2,771,888 of 2019. Around 42.1% of visitors were aged between 25 and 44 years, while another 28.3% were aged between 45 and 64. 21.9% were people aged under 24, with the remaining visitors aged over 65. 

Nights spent also improved as the total increased by 60.5%, surpassing 8.3 million nights. The total tourism expenditure was estimated at €870.7 million.This was an increase of 91.3% compared to the previous year. The total expenditure per capita stood at €899, increasing from €691 in 2020 and €807 in 2019. 

Tourists coming from Australia spent the most days when compared with other tourists. This was followed by tourists from the USA, Switzerland, Ireland and the UK. With most travelling to Malta on holiday, 71.2% of the visitors were first-time tourists travelling to Malta. This doubled from the amount of first time tourists who came in 2020 when the pandemic hit, with visitors even staying longer. 


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