Maltese team deemed safe as Turkey hit by new 6.4 magnitude quake

 - International - Feb 21 SHARE ON:
Maltese team deemed safe as Turkey hit by new 6.4 magnitude quake

After a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit the southern province of Hatay in Turkey on Monday, the same area which was hardest hit by the quake on February 6th, it was confirmed that a Maltese volunteer team in the area was marked safe from the danger.

The news was announced by Foreign Minister Ian Borg who, through social media, revealed that he was informed by the Maltese embassy in Ankara that the SOS Malta team was safe. 

The team had reportedly left the area where the earthquake struck as they had been on their way to the airport. 

This comes after SOS Malta revealed on Monday that it had a team mobilised to bring aid to the victims. 

The earthquake, which hit the town of Defne at 2004hrs, killed three people and reignited the panic which was caused affecter the prior earthquake which left around 45,000 dead in both Turkey and Syria. 

213 people were reportedly hospitalised, Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu revealed. In Syria, White Helmets said that more than 130 people were injured and that damaged buildings had collapsed. 


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19 national records broken in weight-lifting competition by local athletes

 - Sports - Feb 20 SHARE ON:
19 national records broken in weight-lifting competition by local athletes

Over the weekend, the Cottonera Sports Complex hosted the first Junior and Senior Weightlifting event of 2023, where many familiar faces battled it out for top positions in the start of a busy year of competitions. 

Notably, Youth World Champion Tenishia Thornton has moved up to the Junior level and competed in a new weight category after weighing in light for the 64kg class. 

The 17-year-old made history last year by winning the Youth World and Youth European Championships, among other titles. During the recent competition, Tenishia demonstrated her determination to continue her success, achieving an 85kg snatch and 105kg clean and jerk, setting a new Senior National Record of 190kg in the 64kg weight class.

Yasmin Zammit Stevens returned to the competition floor after stepping away since the Commonwealth Games, achieving a 177kg total in the 71kg weight category. 


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Luana Vella took third place in the female category with a 60kg snatch and 74kg clean and jerk, competing in the 59kg class. Junior athlete Rheanna Briffa (-55kg) achieved the second-best junior result of the day following Thornton, with a 49kg snatch and 71kg clean and jerk. Mariah Grima (-55kg) came in third with a 47kg snatch and 59kg clean and jerk.

In the men’s group, Anton Micallef narrowly defeated Vlad Baldacchino, claiming the highest Sinclair point result of the day. Anton (-81kg) achieved a 115kg snatch and 140kg clean and jerk, which is his second-best result ever. 

Baldacchino (-102kg), who has been in and out of the competition scene due to injuries, achieved an impressive 131kg snatch and finished with a 148kg clean and jerk. Shaun Ciantar (-89kg) also had a respectable result, snatching 112kg on his last attempt and successfully clean and jerking 135kg on his second attempt.

Junior athlete Luke Treebyward (-89kg) achieved a personal best result, finishing with an 89kg snatch and a successful third attempt of 103kg in the clean and jerk. This competition served as a qualifier for the Senior European Championships, and Tenishia Thornton will represent Malta. It also served as a qualification for senior and junior categories at major events happening in 2023.



€150,000 worth of heroin confiscated at Malta’s airport

 - Local - Feb 20 SHARE ON:
€150,000 worth of heroin confiscated at Malta's airport

A 45-year-old Polish man has been arrested after police investigations found him to be connected to the trafficking of drugs. 

The man was arrested yesterday at the Malta International Airport after he was found to be in possession of four kilos of a substance suspected to be heroin. 

The man was stopped by police as soon as he arrived in Malta from Frankfurt, Germany, after intel tipped off the police as to his carrying of the illegal substance. 

Assisted by Customs officers, the police opened his luggage and found, in a fake luggage bottom, a packet where the drug was hidden. 

The drug had a street value of around €150,000. The man is currently being held in the Floriana Police Headquarters as police investigations continue. 


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Feeding Knowledge Pilot Study Launched in Malta

 - Food - Feb 20 SHARE ON:
Feeding Knowledge Pilot Study Launched

The Feeding Knowledge Pilot Study, which was officially launched earlier today by Hon Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli, and spearheaded by Dr Bernice Sant, alongside Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA), will be extremely helpful for health-conscious people, to dine in restaurants and any other places offering catering services, to include the Macro-nutrient details, namely fats, saturated fats,  carbs, proteins, fibre, sugars, salts for every dish they offer. 

This pilot project will serve as an eye-opener for those who weren’t aware of what their dishes consist of and help those who always wanted to take better action on their diet but never had the courage to make that initial start.

Dr Bernice Sant, who is a performance, Sport & Exercise Psychologist, and a keen fitness enthusiast, stated that she always sought to promote healthier habits of how one can live and maximize the quality of life that person is living. Through extensive studies, experience and collaboration with MHRA, we came up with an initiative to try to create awareness about health promotion that leads to a better quality of life, and eventually a stronger relationship with the consumer.

This simple change in Menus, will include a smaller print (so as not to be too invasive) underneath every dish on the Restaurant Menu. After a careful assessment of the sector, based on the right resources and marketplace, Oka’s at the Villa, which forms part of the Xara Collection agreed to be fully onboard with this initiative, therefore being the first high-level restaurant in Malta which is including an accurate macro-nutrient for every dish found in their menu so that guests will be consciously aware of their food choices. 

With this initiative, together with MHRA and Oka’s at the Villa, we are being pioneers in the restaurant sector where if the study is successful, we will be able to offer and increase more restaurants that are interested in being part of this educational initiative. While we are aware that there were initiatives in the past, to introduce this information in the menus but it was still too early for the consumer to accept, however, today, people are more aware of their health and they are much more eager for education on what they eat, so we are convinced that now is the right moment that this initiative will be appreciated more. Appreciated in the sense that people will feel that they can go to a restaurant and eat a meal in a more conscious way for their health, as well as being more able to improve the quality of their social life. 

Dr Sant concluded by thanking Hon Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli and Hon Minister Owen Bonnici, who was approached when he was still Minister for Research and Innovation, for their outstanding support when approaching with this project.

Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli, Minister for Inclusion, Voluntary Organisations and Consumer Rights stated that the latest study is a positive step towards the Ministry’s mission of creating a more inclusive society that prioritizes consumer interests. The Minister highlighted the importance of the study, particularly in relation to the Ministry’s responsibility for inclusion, as a large percentage of the population has some form of food intolerance. The study provides consumers with a clearer picture of the food they consume, including information on nutrients and intolerances, such as high blood pressure. The Ministry will continue to work towards ensuring that all consumers have access to relevant and accurate information.

Justin Zammit Tabona; Managing Director of Xara Collection stated that “As the Xara Collection, we are very proud of our continuous efforts to push our gastronomic boundaries through our sustainable initiatives, namely at the Xara Gardens by making a better world through Cuisine and hospitality and continually pushing to put Malta on the International gastronomic map. Therefore, when contacted by the team for OKA’s to take part in the ‘feeding knowledge project’ we immediately hopped on board this initiative as we truly believe that our clients will appreciate that we are providing more information for a healthier lifestyle.”

Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association CEO, Andrew Agius Muscat stated that many of our restaurant members are seeking new ways to improve the dining experience they offer to their guests.  We believe that initiatives such as the one being spearheaded through this pilot project significantly led to improved awareness of the quality level of the food being served. When Dr Bernice Sant approached MHRA with this initiative, we immediately supported her because we believe that what is being done here reflects the latest eating habits and requirements of restaurant guests seeking healthier menus, better service, and improved dining experiences.  By supporting this pilot study, Oka’s at the Villa by Xara Collection has positioned itself as a leader in the dining scene in Malta and hopefully will inspire other restaurants to follow suite. 

On 27th February, MHRA will be organising a Seminar together with the Department for Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) and other stakeholders, namely, to discuss the employment law for all Restaurateurs. During this seminar we will be presenting for the first time the result of a research on the Dining habits in Malta & Gozo carried out by one of the leading companies in catering supplies, ProKitchen. During this event we will also be presenting the MHRA BOV Deloitte Restaurants Performance survey for the year 2022.

This pilot study is in collaboration with the Ministry for Inclusion, Voluntary Organisations and Consumer Rights, Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government, Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA), Oka’s at the Villa by Xara Collection, QSquared, and Mustard Creative company. 


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