The most popular baby names of 2022

 - Culture - Dec 31 SHARE ON:

The results are in, and the most popular names given to babies worldwide during 2022 are Olivia and Liam.

It is interesting to note that the top five baby girl names given worldwide, all remained the same as 2021 and all end in letter “a.” Whilst Evelyn joins the top 10, Isabella, Charlotte, Luna, Emma, Amelia, Mia, Ava, and Sophia.

On the other hand Liam remains on top, worldwide, for baby names given to a boy, barely edging out Noah. Making the top 10 are  Oliver, Elijah, Mateo, Lucas, Levi, Leo, Asher and James.

The list of the most popular baby names in Malta and Gozo will be published at the start of 2023.

View the list of Malta’s most popular baby names of 2021 here.


Road casualties in Malta reach an all-time high of 27 deaths in 2022

 - Local - Dec 31 SHARE ON:

During the 2022 Doctors for Road Safety Conference, with the theme ‘How do we reach VISION ZERO?’, details, statistics and the way forward, on road safety, were discussed. The event brought together key stakeholders including government ministers and high-level officials responsible for transport, environment and health. HE President of Malta George Vella opened the conference.

There was a  steep increase in the number of serious road traffic events in Malta resulting in death, injury and disability, with the highest number of casualties in 2022 reaching an all-time high of 27 deaths.

In his introduction, Dr. Ray Gatt, President of Doctors for Road Safety, acknowledged the decrease in road deaths in cars but expressed concern for the disproportionate increase in the numbers of road deaths and injuries in pedestrians and motorcyclists. He referred to the avoidable high burden of road trauma on the health system in Malta, costs to families, and loss of productivity due to death, injury and disability amounting to some 200 million Euro per year.

The President of Malta welcomed the initiative by Doctors for Road Safety and congratulated the NGO for bringing together all the stakeholders to be able to discuss this important national issue. Acknowledging the particularly worsening statistics and the devastation left behind when people die on our roads, as well as the potential that these are preventable events, he urged all present to address this problem with high priority. He emphasised that a collaborative approach to the Vision Zero philosophy to road safety is essential, with improved roadway environments, educational outreach to address behaviours, enforcement, and rapid post-crash intervention as being key components of this approach.

Mr Jonathan Passmore, Regional Adviser at WHO Europe, explained how road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death worldwide, with road trauma having its greatest impact on the young and economically active. He invited the audience to stand for a moment in remembrance of all victims lost to the roads. As one of the interventions which could curb crashes involving inexperienced drivers, he introduced the concept of a graduated licensing procedure. Mr Passmore reiterated that the only way to achieving Vision Zero is through a safe systems approach. He encouraged all sectors – hospital networks, police, environment, transport, insurance – to collaborate on a study on a number of fatal crashes and analyse them down to all the dimensions of contributing factors from a safe systems approach, making causation, preventable factors as a basis for the next national road safety strategy.

Mr Gordon Caruana Dingli, Vice-President D4RS, analysed the issue further, calling for evidenced-based solutions to a well-defined multi-faceted tragic problem. He said that Doctors for Road Safety will never accept fatalities on our roads and hence our Vision Zero approach to this problem lying at the basis of the NGOs statute. He showed that even with some basic data, crash hotspots could be identified, and timely safety interventions introduced.

Malta Road Safety Council Executive Chair Pierre Vella insisted that Road Safety should not just be about numbers but affects people’s lives. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility and insisted several times that all stakeholders should work together to achieve satisfactory outcomes.

Mr Trevor Hall, Managing Director of Road Safety Support UK, emphasised the importance of enforcement and its visibility in achieving road safety, together with sound legislation at its basis. He discussed enforcement technology in detail, looking at the value of remote enforcement as a behaviour-modifying tool. He brought several examples where this can be utilised to best effect using examples such as reckless driving, dangerous overtaking, overspeeding and distracted driving. In conclusion, he introduced a system currently operational in some parts of the UK, whereby dashcam footage of illegal driving could be uploaded onto a police operated portal so that appropriate enforcement can be effected.

Dr Antoine Casha, Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Malta, focused on the need for strengthening existing legal frameworks for more effective enforcement (e.g. alcohol). This includes revision of the sections of the law addressing driving under the influence of alcohol, which need to be more flexible and robust for law enforcers. There is also the need for a complete new section of the law to address driving under the influence of drugs, for which there are as yet no defined criteria or process for detection and enforcement.

Dr Gordon Sammut, Associate Professor in Social Psychology, at the University of Malta discussed the importance of tackling behaviour on the roads and the benefits of punishment and rewards, also stressing that the cost of non-compliance needs to be meaningful and significant to act as an effective deterrent

All speakers recognised the need for collaborative commitment and responsibility to action as well as more post-crash support to families of victims. This was echoed Dr Lucianne Licari, founder of Tara Malou Licari Foundation, doctor and mother of 17-year-old road victim Tara, who made a heartfelt appeal to the authorities to work together to tackle issues to prevent more deaths and suffering to families like herself and others in the audience. Similar appeals came from family members of road victims in the audience.

The conference was closed by Minister Aaron Farrugia who acknowledged the significant increase in the numbers of cars on our roads over the years and the importance of a culture change towards alternative mobility. He revealed that interventions by his ministry were being discussed, including new terms of reference to be embedded in law for the Road Safety Council and the updating of Malta’s Road Safety Strategy. Discussions are also underway with the Education ministry on educating future generations by inclusion of this subject on the national curriculum. He acknowledged that current enforcement efforts are definitely not enough, and together with education will be a key to driving change. He appealed for fast action by all concerned to address this important issue and reiterated the commitment of the Government towards Vision Zero, while pledging further investment for achieving this goal. He concluded by welcoming the participation and contribution of the NGO and all other stakeholders in addressing this important issue.


Ronaldo signs for Al-Nassr

 - Sports - Dec 30 SHARE ON:

Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a two-year deal with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr.

The Portuguese star, was a free agent after his contract at Manchester United was mutually terminated.

Ronaldo had previously turned down a £305m Saudi Arabia move in the summer and has now signed a similar deal reported to be paying him around 200 million per year.


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Malta’s National Costume for Miss Universe – THE MALTESE LIRA

 - Art - Dec 30 SHARE ON:
The National Costume with which Maxine Formosa Gruppetta will be representing Malta at the 71st Miss Universe on January 14th has been revealed. She will be leaving Malta on January 4th and head all the way to New Orleans, USA, to represent Malta against 86 countries from all around the world. Miss Universe is the most followed beauty pageant in the World. Alan J. Darmanin is the National Director of Malta at Miss Universe.
The inspiration behind the costume is the Maltese Lira, which was the currency of Malta from 1972 to 2007, after which it was replaced by Euro.
THE DRESS, which is a collection piece from worldwide renowned Maltese fashion designer duo ‘Charles & Ron’ depicts the LM 10 banknote which has been digitally manipulated into graphic design. Banknotes issued by the Government of Malta and then by the Central Bank of Malta were written in English up to 1972. From 1973 to 1985, they were written in Maltese on the obverse (with the currency identified as “lira”), and in English on the reverse (identifying the currency as pound). From 1986 to 2007, Maltese was used on both sides.
THE JEWELLERY, which are collection pieces from popular Maltese sibling jewellery makers with their brand name ‘Carisma Collections’, depicts the coins used in the Maltese Lira currency. A new coinage was issued in 1986 in denominations of 1c, 2c, 5c, 10c, 25c, 50c and Lm 1. A third series was introduced in 1991 due to the change in Malta’s coat of arms. The one of a kind statement set of earrings consist of 2 Cents Maltese coins issued in 1995, which symbolize the Peace and Prosperity of an olive tree alongside their brand logo signifying Diversity, Charisma & Self-Love. Other coins depict the octagonal shape Maltese 25 Cent which displays a typical Maltese coastal scene including a rising sun and a traditional Maltese boat – The “Luzzu”, the Great Siege Monument and Queen Penthesilea depicting the ‘Woman as Hero’.
THE BIG BACK PIECE, in the shape of a coin, depicts the Maltese coat of arms, which signifies the Courage & Determination of the Maltese nation, which is found on the back side of some of the Maltese Lira Coins. The 2000 on the coin symbolizes the year of birth of Miss Universe Malta 2022 – Maxine Formose Gruppetta!
Photography: CP: Creative Photography
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