Marking a year of war against Ukraine

 - International - Mar 6 SHARE ON:

Marking a year of war against Ukraine, a public discussion with Sakharov Prize Laureates and Members of the European Parliament took place at the University of Malta.

It was addressed by Sakharov Prize Laureates 2022 Oleksandra Matviychuk, human rights lawyer and Chair of the Centre for Civil Liberties, and Yaroslav Bozhko, spokesperson for The Yellow Ribbon Civil Resistance Movement, both speaking online from Ukraine, and MEP Cyrus Engerer (S&D, Malta), LIBE Committee member and shadow Rapporteur on the Reception Conditions Directive. The panel included also the EU Asylum Agency’s Head of Communications Anis Cassar, Dr Valentina Cassar, International Relations Senior Lecturer specialising in nuclear politics, US and Russia foreign and security policies, and European security and defence issues, and Ukrainian journalist Inna Honcharuk-Plikhivska.

The discussion opened with a video message recorded for it by EP President Roberta Metsola, who highlighted that “by choosing to open up their borders, their homes and their hearts to our Ukrainian friends – Member States, local communities and even individual European citizens – have triggered what can only be described as a remarkable display of European solidarity. And yet, the reality is that the war in Ukraine remains on-going. We will be called upon to do yet more. But the Maltese have always been known to be people of generosity, ones that you can rely on, and that empathise with the most vulnerable people on our planet. So I am convinced that we will continue playing our part in supporting Ukraine and its people.”

For Sakharov Prize Laureate 2022 Oleksandra Matviychuk, human rights lawyer and Chair of the Centre for Civil Liberties, after the year of large-scale Russian aggression against Ukraine, we can declare that Russia is a vivid example that a state that kills journalists, imprisons activists and disperses peaceful demonstrations poses a threat not only to its citizens, but to the entire region. Therefore, human rights must be as important as economic benefits or security in political decision-making.  The values of modern civilization must be protected”.

Yaroslav Bozhko, political analyst and spokesperson for the Yellow Ribbon Civil Resistance Movement, also a Sakharov Prize Laureate 2022, observed that “this war became a challenge for all Western principles as a whole. We all need the creation of new rules for the entire Western civilization, which will ensure security and protection of human rights in the world. Whether such terrible events will continue in the world will depend on the conclusions drawn from the war in Ukraine”.

MEP Cyrus Engerer (S&D, MT) highlighted that “we are a Union built on the premise of peace between powers that were at war, and our mission should always be to strive for peace globally. At the same time we must stand for what is right and therefore be clear in our declarations and that the unprovoked Russian aggression on Ukraine is  not only unjust but also violates the principles of the UN Charter, its values and the rule-based international order that all nations, including Russia, agreed to. There is one solution to the war in Ukraine – the restoration of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine”.

MEP David Casa (EPP, MT), speaking in a video message, underlined that “the European Parliament stands united when it comes to supporting Ukraine’s fight. The European Union has welcomed more than 8 million Ukrainians, mostly women and children. Close to 5 million people so far benefitted from temporary protection and similar protection schemes across Europe, including Malta which currently has around 1700 Ukrainians registered under temporary protection.Our support will not diminish. It is a dark time for Europe and it is even darker for Ukraine but it is a time when we are standing united. United for Ukraine, united for Europe and united for our way of life.”

The discussion was moderated by Professor Anna Khakee, Associate Professor in International Relations at the University of Malta, and opened by the Head of the European Parliament Office in Malta Dr Mario Sammut. This event was organised by the European Parliament Office in Malta in cooperation with the Department of International Relations at the University of Malta.


Extended schedule for fast ferry to support Gozitan workers & students

 - Local - Mar 6 SHARE ON:
Extended schedule for fast ferry to support Gozitan workers & students

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri took to social media to announce that the government will be offering the service to primarily serve the Gozitan workers and students, as well as others using the service for specific reasons. 

‘We heard, we discussed and acted’ wrote the Minister. ‘We believe the Fast Ferry service between Imġarr and Valletta is a social obligation to Gozo and the residents of the island.’

‘Until the PSO we moved to the European Commission is decided so that this service does not stop, the government will be offering this service with a schedule which is aimed at primarily aiding the Gozitan workers and students.’

Camilleri announced alongside Transport Minister Aaron Farrugia that as of next Wednesday, the extended schedule will be kicking off. 



Toblerone forced to change mountain logo on package

 - Food - Mar 6 SHARE ON:
Toblerone forced to change mountain logo on package

The famous (and delicious) Toblerone chocolate is set to undergo an image change as it will no longer be able to use the Matterhorn mountain on its packaging. 

This is due to Mondelez International, the chocolate’s manufacturer, moving production out of Switzerland. Due to a rule named the Swiss Act, it will no longer be able to include the iconic mountain as part of its logo.

The company will now have to use a ‘streamlined mountain logo’, which will be designed to mimic Toblerone’s unique triangular shape. 

This was revealed by Swiss newspaper Aargauer Zeitung, which also revealed that under the act, national symbols or the country’s Swiss cross, are not allowed on packaging unless they meet strict criteria. 

The Swiss Act, which passed in 2017, specifies that any edible items using Swiss national symbols or claiming to be ‘Swiss made’ must have at least 80 percent of its raw materials from Switzerland. It’s even stricter for milk and dairy products, which have to be 100 percent Swiss.

The packaging will also remove the ‘of Switzerland’, replacing it with ‘established in Switzerland. The chocolate had been produced in the city of Berne since 1908, but Mondelez announced in 2022 that it would be moving to Slovakia. 

Oh, and did you know there’s a bear in the middle of the mountain logo? This caused an internet sensation back in 2018 as many people never noticed. Can you see it?


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Żigużajg defends ‘Gender Boss’ show after PN MP’s concerned post

 - Events - Mar 6 SHARE ON:
Żigużajg defends 'Gender Boss' show after PN MP's concerned post

After Shadow Culture Minister Julie Zahra raised concerns on social media to echo worried parents about a Żigużajg showcase cornering gender fluidity, the renowned festival replied with an official statement for ‘Gender Boss.’ 

The performance is described as a ‘multidisciplinary performance aimed at teaching youngsters about gender fluidity’. Set to entertain the idea that gender is playful and malleable, concerns were raised due to it being aimed at kids aged 8 to 10. 

Żigużajg insisted that ‘Gender Boss’ is in no way a ‘brainwashing tool’ or an ‘act of prejudice’, and is devised by accomplished artists who have received assistance from experts in the field to ‘promote acceptance and understanding of diversity.’ 

This came after Żahra asked whether ‘sociologists, anthropologists, sexologists, psychologists and other experts’ were consulted for advice as the performance could ‘have an opposite effect to that intended on young children.’

The post by Żahra was called out by the likes of ADPD’s Sandra Gauci and Mina Jack Tolu, the MGRM, Volt’s Co-President Alexia DeBono, Allied Rainbow Communities community manager Clayton Mercieca and even Culture Minister Owen Bonnici.


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