Mark Anthony Sammut shuts down rumours of him contesting in PN leadership race

 - Local - Mar 31 2022 SHARE ON:
Mark Anthony Sammut shuts down rumours of him contesting in PN leadership race

Newly-elected Nationalist Party MP and General Council President Mark Anthony Sammut has shut down any rumours or speculation that he will be contesting the PN’s leadership race after the party’s monumental general election loss last weekend.

In a Facebook post published on Wedneday, Sammut addressed the ‘articles by ‘pseudo-commentators who write about people without even knowing them’. He went on to highlight that his only interest is to exercise his duty as a new MP and serve as a voice for those who elected him as well as work within the PN as general council president.

The young PN candidate-turned-MP was elected to parliament on two districts after contesting the general election for the first time ever, garnering 1,904 and 921 first count votes in the fourth and tenth districts, respectively.

Per PN statute, a leadership race must be held after the loss of a general election, with Joe Giglio and Adrian Delia recently revealing that they will not contest either – leaving Bernard Grech with no challengers.


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Ukrainian soldier awarded honorary medal after telling Russian warship “go f*** yourself”

 - International - Mar 31 2022 SHARE ON:
Ukrainian soldier awarded honorary medal after telling Russian warship "go f*** yourself"

After becoming a global symbol of relentless courage for telling a seemingly-intimidating Russian warship to ‘go f*** itself’ after being threatened with bombing, Ukrainian soldier Roman Gribov has received a medal for his service and for showing strength and Ukrainian spirit.

Gribov was part of Ukraine’s 13-troop Snake Island unit, who were initially reported dead after footage of the soldiers refusing to surrender the Black Sea outpost towards the end of February.

Despite the Russian ship proposing “[they] lay down [their] weapons and surrender to avoid bloodshed and unnecessary victims”, it was welcomed by the cuss phrase heard across the globe uttered by the Ukraine soldier. While not being bombed, it turns out that the unit was actually captured by Russia and released only a few days ago.


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Aaron Farrugia’s daughter taking her soft toy to the swearing in ceremony is the cutest thing ever

 - Local - Mar 31 2022 SHARE ON:
Aaron Farrugia's daughter taking her soft toy to the swearing in ceremony is the cutest thing ever

Robert Abela’s Cabinet announcement was the newly-elected Prime Minister’s first big task following his party’s landslide win last weekend, but it was one of the ministers’ daughters who stole the show at yesterday’s swearing in ceremony.

The high-profile event saw President of Malta George Vella swearing in the new Cabinet of Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries together with Robert Abela and, in a recent post, Aaron Farrugia’s daughter was spotted finding comfort in her soft toy companion during the ceremony.

“Even though he wasn’t on the official invitations, the soft toy had to come for the swearing in ceremony”, Farrugia said jokingly in the Facebook post published earlier today. Formerly the Minister for Environment, the 42-year-old has been just been granted the super Ministry of Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects.

While the appointment of Malta’s new Prime Minister and Cabinet is something to respect and congratulate, it has been the children of Malta’s politicians who have really won the nation’s heart, with Prime Minister Robert Abela’s daughter Giorgia Mae being the star of Monday’s Valletta celebrations.


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€1.2 billion deficit reported for 2021 by government

 - News - Mar 30 2022 SHARE ON:
€1.2 billion deficit reported for 2021 by government

By the end of last year, the Government’s Consolidated Fund reported a deficit of €1,242.2 million, which is around €200 million less than 2020. This was mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2021, Recurrent Revenue amounted to €5,394.5 million, 22.9% higher than the €4,389.3 million reported a year earlier. 

The largest increase was recorded under Income Tax (€554.1 million), followed by Value Added Tax (€202.4 million), Social Security (€136.0 million), and Grants (€49.7 million). By the end of the year 2021, total expenditure stood at €6,636.8 million, 13.3% higher than the previous year. 

During the reference period, Recurrent Expenditure totalled €5,718.1 million, which is a rise of €1,079.2 million in comparison to the €4,638.9 million reported in the previous year. The main contributor to this increase was a €883.5 million rise reported under Programmes and Initiatives. Furthermore, increases were also witnessed under Personal Emoluments (€115.8 million), Contributions to Government Entities (€67.2 million) and Operational and Maintenance Expenses (€12.7 million).

The largest development in the Programmes and Initiatives category was related to the Pandemic assistance scheme (€378.1 million), which includes the COVID-19 Business Assistance Programme.

Other increases under Programmes and Initiatives were reported under Energy support measures (€180.0 million), EU own resources (€98.2 million), Hospital concession agreements (€38.5 million), Social security benefits (€37.8 million), St Vincent de Paul Residence service contract (€20.0 million), Waiting lists for medical services (outsourcing) (€13.8 million).

Increases continued for Church schools (€10.7 million), Residential care in private homes (€9.3 million), Extension of school transport network (€7.8 million), Interest rate subsidy scheme (€7.2 million), Allocation in respect of local councils (€6.0 million), Chief medical officer medicines (€6.0 million), Tax relief measures (€5.8 million), Grant for electric vehicles (€5.5 million) and Child care for all (€4.8 million).

The interest component of the public debt servicing costs totalled €183.8 million, which is an increase of €2.6 million when compared to the previous year.

By the end of December 2021, Government’s capital spending amounted to €734.9 million, €302.3 million lower than 2020. The drop largely resulted from the reclassification of the COVID-19 Business Assistance Programme (€384.2 million), which featured under Capital Expenditure between March and December 2020 but is now classified under Recurrent Expenditure. This decline outweighed an increase of €81.9 million reported in other capital projects.


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