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Renowned Italian journalist Maurizio Costanzo dies aged 84

 - International - Feb 24 SHARE ON:
Renowned Italian journalist Maurizio Costanzo dies aged 84

Maurizio Costanzo, the renowned Italian journalist, writer, and pioneering TV talk show host, passed away at the age of 84, his press office confirmed on Friday.

Costanzo was widely known for his popular talk show, The Maurizio Costanzo Show, which aired on Silvio Berlusconi’s Mediaset network for years, making him a star and household name in Italy. 

He was recognized for his quick wit, sharp commentary, and penetrating interviews.

Costanzo began his career in journalism at the age of 18 with the Roman newspaper Paese Sera and later founded the short-lived tabloid L’Occhio. He was also a radio and TV host, including for the popular Bontà loro show on state broadcaster RAI. 

Costanzo was also a screenwriter for several films and the co-writer of the lyrics of the hit song Se Telefonando.

Costanzo’s campaigns were well-known and included one against the mafia that almost took his life in 1993. Despite the Cosa Nostra bomb attack, he doubled down on his fight against organized crime. 

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni led tributes to the journalist, describing him as an “icon of journalism and TV,” thanking him for bringing culture, charm, and kindness into the homes of Italians.

Costanzo’s passing marks the end of an era in Italian media, where he was a key figure, shaping and influencing the industry for decades. His legacy will continue to inspire future generations of journalists, writers, and TV hosts in Italy and beyond.

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Adrian Delia wins Vitals-Steward Hospital case against government

 - Local - Feb 24 SHARE ON:
Adrian Delia wins Vitals-Steward Hospital case against government

Judge Franco Depasquale has nullified a controversial decision to hand over the management of three hospitals to a consortium. 

In a damning judgment, Judge Franco Depasquale ruled that the Gozo General Hospital, St Luke’s Hospital, and Karin Grech Hospital should be returned to the government due to fraud and the failure to meet targets. 

The decision has put Joseph Muscat’s government under the spotlight with former PN leader Adrian Delia, who instituted the case against the deal, called the ruling “a victory for Malta.” 

In response, the government said it was analyzing the ruling and promised to safeguard national interests, employment, and hospital services.

The hospitals were handed over in 2015 to Vitals Global Healthcare, a company with no previous experience in managing hospitals. 

When it failed to live up to its obligations, the concession was handed to US company Steward Healthcare. Both Vitals and Steward Healthcare were found to have acted fraudulently in the ruling delivered on Friday.

Judge Depasquale ruled that there was fraud in three stages of the process. The shareholders of Vitals had already concluded a memorandum of understanding with the government before it published its intention to privatize the hospitals. 

Vitals abused its position, and its investors used fraudulent tactics to get the concession. VGH had an apparent conflict of interest that should have led to its disqualification, and it kept the memorandum of understanding hidden, evidence of its fraudulent intent.

Adrian Delia argued that both the original concessionaire and its successor had failed to fulfill contractual obligations, including the creation of state-of-the-art facilities, a medical campus in Malta and Gozo, and the modernization of the Gozo General Hospital. 

Since neither Vitals nor Steward had met those milestones, the concession was rescinded, and the hospitals returned to the people.

Delia summoned a long line of witnesses, including high-profile figures such as Muscat, Konrad Mizzi, who was in charge of the health portfolio at the time of the Vitals deal, and current health minister Chris Fearne.

 Muscat and Mizzi have both stood by the deal, insisting they acted in the public’s best interest. By contrast, Fearne has been keen to distance himself from the whole affair, saying he had very little to do with the original deal.

The ruling has put the government under scrutiny, and there are calls for accountability from those responsible for the controversial deal. The decision is a victory for the people of Malta, who will see the hospitals returned to the government’s management.

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Soon enough there will only be apartments in Malta!

 - Local - Feb 24 SHARE ON:
Soon enough there will only be apartments in Malta!

During the last quarter of 2022, a total of 357 building permits for 2,064 new dwellings were approved in Malta and Gozo and Comino. 

This represents an increase of 33.2% in the number of approved new dwellings when compared to the same quarter of the previous year. 

This increase was driven mainly by the approval of apartments, which made up 68.7% of the total number of approved new dwellings.

The South Eastern district had the highest number of approved new dwellings with 515, while the Western district had the lowest with 210. 

Marsaskala had the highest number of approved new dwellings with 203, followed by Ir-Rabat, Għawdex with 188, and San Pawl Il-Baħar with 185. Marsaxlokk and Is-Siġġiewi had 132 and 97 approved new dwellings respectively.

Compared to the same quarter of 2021, the number of new dwellings approved in Malta and Gozo and Comino increased by 35.0% and 26.5% respectively. 

This indicates that the demand for new housing continues to rise in these regions, which could be attributed to a growing population and an increasing demand for housing.

The average number of approved new dwellings per building permit was 5.8. This suggests that developers are taking advantage of the strong demand for new housing by building larger residential complexes that can accommodate multiple families.

Could this indicate that Malta could be heading towards having just apartments and running houses into extinction? Read the full report here.

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Vascas Jewellers to close doors after 30 years of service

 - Local - Feb 24 SHARE ON:
Vascas Jewellers to close doors after 30 years of service

It has been announced that Vascas Jewellers & Home, purveyors of the finest jewellery in the Maltese Islands for well over 30 years, will be closing its doors and moving on to new projects. 

The brand became a local staple – a name which immediately pops up in the minds of Maltese and Gozitan alike when the finest jewellery accessories and items are brought up. 

However, this is not the end of the journey for the renowned brand. Instead, it is the beginning of a new chapter as the Vassallo Family and Vascas co-founders, Mark Vassallo, along with kids Nicky, Andy and Becky will be starting a new chapter.

What is this new and exciting phase you ask? A fresh new brand and a new luxury flagship store will be opening in Naxxar. For now, it is still quite hush hush, but more information will be revealed in the coming months with regards to the new launch. 

So keep your eyes peeled for the new announcements as we bid farewell to this three decade icon that made the islands shine a little bit brighter. 

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