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  • Families enjoy traditional irkotta in Kirkop

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Sweet and savoury irkotta dishes ruled the day at Kirkop today, during the annual Irkotta fest. The festival, organised by the council in collaboration with the Culture Permanent Secretariat and the Malta Tourism Authority, aims to raise awareness about the traditional way irkotta is made. Until a couple of decades ago, many Kirkop residents earned their living producing irkotta. Maltese irkotta is not the same as ricotta, in that while ricotta is made from re-cooking the by-product that results from cheese production, whey, irkotta is made from whole milk heated in seawater.  

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  • Simon Busuttil warns on Zonqor: You will have to steamroll over us

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Simon Busuttil has warned the government it would have to steamroll over the Nationalist Party if it did not back down on the university at Zonqor Point. He called on the Prime Minister to clearly rule out developing a university on the earmarked site, which was an outside development zone. The Nationalist Party leader said the Prime Minister's hard-headedness had united a movement of "moderates and progressives" against him on the Zonqor project. The reference was to the slogan adopted by Joseph Muscat when he was elected Labour leader in 2008. Dr Busuttil said the PN was with the new movement that was born as a reaction to the proposed development on ODZ land. To applause he then listed  groups that formed part of the movement. Dr Busuttil said the environment was the future the PN had to embrace and insisted that previous PN governments had "a good environmental track record". "Don't let anyone tell you our environmental record was not good," he told PN councillors this morning. Dr Busuttil said the environment was one reason why he wanted Malta to join the EU since the country would have obtained funds to improve environmental standards. He said air and sea quality had...

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  • Interview training for Hong Kong toddlers

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Hong Kong's parents send their toddlers to interview classes, in a bid to beat fierce competition for a seat in a good kindergarten. Yiming Woo reports.

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  • Gozo branch established of AHDA Family Support Group Malta

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    A Gozo branch of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD( Family Support Group (Malta) has been established, through an...

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  • Chris Said’s farewell: Good bye secretary general, hello Gozo

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Outgoing secretary general Chris Said urged PN councillors to remember him for the hard decisions he had to take over the past two years and not for the people he may have hurt in the process. "I spent countless sleepless nights to find solutions that hurt the least but all my decisions were taken to ensure the party continued functioning, continued regenerating itself and nothing else," he said to resounding applause. This was Dr Said's last speech as secretary general since he will not contest the post again when his two-year term ends on June 3. Dr Said was asked by PN leader Simon Busuttil to focus on Gozo after the Giovanna Debono debacle and a string of bad electoral results for the party in Gozo. Dr Said also asked those he may have hurt in the process to forgive him. The outgoing secretary general said in two years the party's finances were put on a sure footing: "The media outlets are not losing money, employee wages are being paid on time but more important we also regenerated the party and will continue to do so." In a crescendo that earned him a standing ovation, Dr Said noted that the PN had cut its electoral deficit with Labour by half and this was an encouraging...

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  • Said’s farewell: Good bye secretary general, hello Gozo

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Outgoing secretary general Chris Said urged PN councillors to remember him for the hard decisions he had to take over the past two years and not for the people he may have hurt in the process. "I spent countless sleepless nights to find solutions that hurt the least but all my decisions were taken to ensure the party continued functioning, continued regenerating itself and nothing else," he said to resounding applause. This was Dr Said's last speech as secretary general since he will not contest the post again when his two-year term ends on June 3. Dr Said was asked by PN leader Simon Busuttil to focus on Gozo after the Giovanna Debono debacle and a string of bad electoral results for the party in Gozo. Dr Said also asked those he may have hurt in the process to forgive him. The outgoing secretary general said in two years the party's finances were put on a sure footing: "The media outlets are not losing money, employee wages are being paid on time but more important we also regenerated the party and will continue to do so." In a crescendo that earned him a standing ovation, Dr Said noted that the PN had cut its electoral deficit with Labour by half and this was an encouraging...

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  • Updated: Government to seek legal advice on Skanska waiver

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The government will be seeking legal advice on a waiver clause included in a 2009 agreement signed with the government which exempted Swedish construction company Skanska from liability on the Mater Dei Hospital structure. It said the previous administration had given a waiver to foreign companies and local contractors who worked on Mater Dei, releasing them from their contractual responsibilities. In a statement, the government said it would be fighting the waiver at both political and legal levels for the Maltese people to get what they paid for and what they deserved. The government, it said, was waiting for the conclusion of the independent inquiry by Judge Philip Sciberras but it had already embarked on intensive work so that all those who were responsible would get what they deserved. Speaking in an interview on One Radio earlier this morning, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat referred to the Mater Dei concrete scandal saying that remedial works to strengthen the hospital’s concrete structure would cost €30 million. The Prime Minister said government would be seeking legal advice on the implications of such waiver. “There are issues with Skanska, with whom we are asking to...

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  • Government to seek legal advice on Skanska waiver

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The government will be seeking legal advice on a waiver clause included in a 2009 agreement signed with the government which exempted Swedish construction company Skanska from liability on the Mater Dei Hospital structure. Speaking in an interview on One Radio this morning, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat referred to the Mater Dei concrete scandal saying that remedial works to strengthen the hospital’s concrete structure would cost €30 million. Reacting to a story published in Malta Today which revealed an excerpt of a contract signed by the Nationalist government in February 2009 with the Swedish company, the Prime Minister said government would be seeking legal advice on the implications of such waiver. “There are issues with Skanska, with whom we are asking to meet,” he said. He also noted that the reputation of the Swedish company was also at stake. Dr Muscat said the quality of concrete was much below the minimum standards comparable to that used in pavements and consequently cost much less to produce. “Where did the money go?” the Prime Minister asked. “We will not stoop to the levels of the Opposition which said the building won’t come down as it had already withstood some...

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  • Smash Hits Badminton Club tournament at the Gozo Sports Complex

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Smash Hits Badminton Club in Gozo hosted its biggest tournament yet at the Gozo Sports Complex last Sunday....

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  • Gynaecologist walks into Facebook muddle

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Dr Carlo Matrisciano An Italian gynaecologist may have landed himself in trouble after marketing himself to women on Facebook promising clearance-sale prices. In one message, Carlo Matrisciano encouraged a woman who had just accepted his friend request to take advantage of the special check-up offer between April 22 and April 25 in which a swathe of consultations and tests are offered for just €39. The money will buy you a gynaecological consultation, a breast consultation, a gynaecological ultrasound and a colposcopy – a special screening that may include taking a tissue sample to test for cervical... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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  • Varoufakis says Greece has made strides at reaching deal with lenders

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Greece has made "enormous strides" at reaching a deal with its international lenders to avert bankruptcy, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said. "It is now up to the institutions to do their bit. We have met them three quarters of the way, they need to meet us one quarter of the way," he told the BBC's Andrew Marr show. Varoufakis also said it would be "catastrophic" if Greece left the euro, predicting it would be would be "the beginning of the end of the common currency project".

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  • Reversal of fortune for family in poverty

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Catherine and Adonis Belli’s decrepit house in Qormi. Photos: Chris Sant Fournier Stacks of boxes packed with foodstuffs and rows of crockery and dinnerware fill the bare room, making it slightly more worthy of being deemed a kitchen. Catherine Belli welcomes me inside and offers a slice of cake. “It’s been lovely – we haven’t been hungry at all in these past few days,” she smiles, as she continued unpacking plates, bowls, mugs, pots and pans. Ms Belli, 39, and her husband Adonis, 30, who live together with Mr Belli’s 24-year-old sister Graziella and Ms Belli’s 31-year-old brother Kevin in a decrepit house in Qormi, were “overwhelmed” by the generosity demonstrated by... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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  • Mario de Marco calls for PN to embrace green conscience

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Mario de Marco has appealed for past mistakes not to be repeated as the Nationalist Party deputy leader pledged his party's support to a growing movement against a university on virgin land. Dr de Marco told PN councillors this morning too many mistakes were committed in the past in the name of economic growth and for which the country was now paying the price. The PN general council closes today with PN leader Simon Busuttil's speech. Acknowledging people were extremely cynical when political parties spoke in favour of the environment, Dr de Marco urged party members to realise that times have changed and there was a growing green conscience. Touching on a sore point for many within the PN, Dr de Marco said a few years ago the party had missed the bus on divorce and civil unions because it did not realise how society had changed. "Today the PN is at another cross roads on how to tackle the environmental aspirations of society. Let us have the courage to do what we believe is right. Let us do this with conviction not convenience. Let us be part of this green movement." Dr de Marco saluted the creators of a new movement against the the building of outside development zones,...

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  • Boat owners invited to join President’s Cruise for Solidarity

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Boat owners are being invited to join ‘The President’s Cruise for Solidarity’ on July 12 in aid of the Community Chest Fund. The activity, which is being held for the first time, will see boat owners unite in a cruise of solidarity leaving Grand Harbour at 9.30am to St Paul’s Bay. President Marie Louise Coleiro Preca will join the cruise on one of the boats. Participants will be presented the a unique flag to hoist on their boat from days before the activity. Entertainment, including at sea, will be provided in St Paul’s Bay with the participation of jet skis. President Coleiro Preca expressed her pride in the organisers of this and other activities and said that the Community Chest Fund was spending €230,000 every four weeks to provide specialised care and therapy to people who needed it.

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  • Editorial: Building momentum

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Many who voted in favour of banning spring hunting in last month’s referendum did not do so merely to stop a cruel and outdated practice. They were determined to finally elevate environmental awareness to the top of the national agenda. The referendum was lost by a whisker, thanks to the timely intervention of the Prime Minister, but there was victory in defeat. Thanks to the de-politicisation of the hunting referendum, the silent majority loosened their tongues and the environment finally found its voice. Joseph Muscat said he had taken note of the close vote, so he should not be surprised by the chorus of disapproval which greeted the proposal to build a university at Żonqor. There has been a seismic shift in public opinion about the environment and it can only grow. Yesterday we saw the creation of another movement, this time specifically to protect outside development zones. Maltese society is finally waking up to the fact that we cannot keep stifling the few remaining open spaces. The environment cannot remain the realm of a construction industry which has exploited it at the expense of the majority. Society demands a planning authority which does not twist and turn policy...

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  • Poles vote in presidential run-off

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Poles are voting in the final round of a cliffhanger presidential election race between the conservative incumbent Bronislaw Komrowski and an even more conservative challenger. In his five years in office, Mr Komrowski, 62, has been popular and was easily expected to win re-election. But he narrowly lost in the first round of voting to Andrzej Duda, a little-known 43-year-old lawyer and member of the European Parliament with the Law and Justice party who waged an energetic campaign. Polls in recent days have shown the race as being too close to call. The first round had a large protest vote for a rock star. Exit polls will be published when polling stations close at 9pm local time but final results are not expected until Monday at the earliest.

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  • Joe Grima’s public rants are in breach of contract

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The Prime Minister’s special envoy Joe Grima’s social media rants against the President and migrants are in breach of his €35,000 contract seen by The Sunday Times of Malta. His contract stipulates “the special envoy may not, at any time, express views which run counter to government policy. Serious breaches of this nature may result in immediate termination of [the] employment agreement”. A further clause states the special envoy may not issue a declaration to the media and/or the press without prior authorisation from the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat recently refused to condemn comments made on Facebook by his special envoy to the UN World Tourism Organisation who attacked President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca for urging migrant integration. Read more in The Sunday Times of Malta.

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  • Bar-hopping nun spreads the word for Pope Francis

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Sister Mary Spiteri in a bar in Luqa yesterday. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina Men sit in groups around wooden tables at a Luqa bar, sipping their Saturday morning tea-in-a-glass, when a soft-spoken nun walks in. “I’ve come back to pray with you,” Sr Mary Spiteri, 72, tells the three men sitting closest to the door of the Luqa Shooters’ Club. They respectfully pause their conversation and join her in making the sign of the Cross. Sr Mary stands by their table as she says the Hail Mary, followed by another short prayer to Our Lady. “Pope Francis wants us to get out of our convents and go among the people and spread the word of God,” she tells them and they thank her... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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  • Mepa still seeking €65,000 in expenses for Żonqor site

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The planning authority is seeking to recoup more than €65,000 for expenses incurred to demolish illegal buildings in 2004 on Marsascala land owned by Michael Axisa, in the same area the government is offering expropriation money to build a new university. Mr Axisa (known as il-Lay Lay) is one of the landowners on the site at Żonqor Point earmarked for the proposed American University of Malta. An ongoing court case started five years ago by Mepa against Mr Axisa’s company Lay Lay Limited demanded repayment of enforcement action costs for structures built on land outside development zone. The Sunday Times of Malta asked the government whether the money owed is being taken into consideration in ongoing negotiations with Mr Axisa to expropriate his land for development. A spokesman for the Office of the Prime Minister replied: “There is no decision on whether Mr Axisa’s land will fall within the parameters of the AUM for the simple reason that a decision is still to be taken on the matter.” Read more in The Sunday Times of Malta.

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  • Thousands flee Nepal landslide

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Thousands of people have fled villages and towns along a mountain river in in north-west Nepal after it was blocked by a landslide that could burst and cause flash floods. The landslide created a dam and a lake 1.2 miles long on the Kaligandaki River and people living on the banks were moved to higher ground for fear the river could burst and send flash floods through the area north of Beni Bazaar, about 125 miles north west of the capital Kathmandu. Soldiers and police were sent to monitor the river and help and warn villagers. Two powerful earthquakes devastated Nepal on April 25 and May 12, killing nearly 8,700 people and injuring 16,800 others. The quakes and aftershocks also triggered many landslides in the Himalayan nation. In 2002, dozens of people were killed when an avalanche held back the nearby Seti River, which then burst through the snow blockage and sent water gushing through villages along its banks.

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  • MCST chairman Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando at office one day each week

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, who earns almost €60,000 as executive chairman of the government’s science agency, only frequents his office on Wednesdays and is at his dental practice on the other days of the week. When Times of Malta contacted the Malta Council for Science and Technology posing as a client seeking to speak to Dr Pullicino Orlando, the receptionist said it would be better to call his dental clinic as he was normally only at the MCST office on Wednesdays. The receptionist then provided the phone number of Dr Pullicino Orlando’s private clinic in Żebbuġ. When Times of Malta followed up with a call, it was told that Dr Pullicino saw clients from Mondays to Saturdays every morning, except Wednesdays; and he was available in the afternoons every Monday and Tuesday. When contacted for a reaction, Dr Pullicino Orlando said his financial package came up to €55,000 and was identical to that of his predecessor – former CEO Nicholas Sammut who resigned in 2013. Read more, including the transcripts of the phone calls, in The Sunday Times of Malta.

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  • Hefty price for inferior concrete at Mater Dei

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The concrete used in some parts of Mater Dei Hospital is estimated to have cost half what Maltese taxpayers were charged for it, The Sunday Times of Malta has learnt. Concrete is made up of a mixture of cement, sand, gravel and water. Tests on cores taken from the hospital indicates that less cement than required was used in the formula and in some cases limestone (franka) gravel was used instead of the stronger, and costlier, hard stone (qawwi) type. It is the latest development in a probe which found weak concrete across Malta’s only general hospital, inaugurated in 2007. The government has requested an urgent meeting with the Swedish contractor after it was established that repair works will cost some €30 million. The Health Ministry was not in a position to say how many cubic metres of concrete had been poured at Mater Dei Hospital, while the Arup Group, theUK engineering firm commissioned to study the strength of the hospital’s structure, would not be drawn to say whether the concrete produced would havecost less. Read more in The Sunday Times of Malta.

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  • Press digest

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The following are the top stories in the national and international press today The Sunday Times of Malta says the concrete used in some parts of Mater Dei Hospital is estimated to have cost half what Maltese taxpayers were charged for it. In another story, it says Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, who earns almost €60,000 as executive chairman of the government’s science agency, only frequents his office on Wednesdays and is at his dental practice on the other days of the week. MaltaToday says that a waiver in the Mater Dei contract exonerates Skanska and the Maltese partners. It-Torca says that the Nationalist government had identified Zonqor as a potential site for a rubbish dump. The Malta Independent on Sunday says the new university in Zonqor will comprise five colleges with buildings not exceeding three stories. Illum quotes that according to Health Parliamentary Secretary Chris Fearne consultants Arup never saw such inferior concrete in any public building in Europe. Il-Mument says the government has supplied Cyrus Engerer with a diplomatic passport. Kullhadd says that the Nationalist cabinet removed three million metres of land from ODZ in 2006 in spite of more than enough...

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  • Russian singer booed at Eurovision

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Russian singer Polina Gagarina's performance at the Eurovision Song Contest - an event described by organisers as beyond politics - has been marred by boos apparently prompted by the Ukraine conflict and the Kremlin's anti-gay attitude. The race for the title between Gagarina and Sweden's Mans Zelmerlow went back and forth for most of the balloting as jurors from 40 countries voted, along a worldwide audience submitting their preference by phone and app. Zelmerlow finally triumphed with 365 points, with Gagarina receiving 303. Italy came third. Cheers greeted Zelmerlow's win, but the crowd's reaction to Gagarina struck a jarring note for those who believed in the contest's slogan, Building Bridges. Kiev did not send a candidate this year. With many in the West viewing Moscow as the aggressor in Ukraine, the Russian's song, A Million Voices, and its message of peace and understanding raised some eyebrows during the qualifiers leading up to the contest final. As scattered boos rang out after points were given to Gagarina, one of the hosts reminded the audience that "music should stand over politics tonight". With many Russians critical of last year's winner, bearded...

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  • Sweden wins Eurovision Song Contest, Malta placed 11th in second semi-final

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Sweden has been crowned the winner of the 60th Eurovision Song Contest for Mans Zelmerlow's performance of Heroes. It is the sixth time in the contest's history that Sweden has come out on top, this time fighting off strong competition from Russia and Italy to take home the prize and be confirmed as the host of next year's competition. UK act Electro Velvet came away with a disappointing five points for their track Still In Love With You, which saw primary school teacher and Mick Jagger tribute Alex Larke perform alongside former Voice contestant Bianca Nicholas for an electro-swing number. Australia was welcomed to the competition for the first time as a special guest to mark the 60th anniversary, with Guy Sebastian, a successful musician in his home country, offering Tonight Again as the country's debut track and ending up in fifth place. Lithuania drew praise for what appeared to be its support of gay rights by including a double same-sex kiss during the performance. Serbia impressed with Bojana Stamenov singing Beauty Never Lies, a song penned by Charlie Mason who wrote last year's winning song Rise Like A Phoenix for Austria's Conchita Wurst. Russia, Belgium and Latvia...

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  • Wowed by the wonder of wool

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Lisa Vella-Gatt on her ecological farm with her alpacas. Photo: Reuters Hidden away at the foot of a Portuguese mountain is a sustainable ecological farm with 14 woolly leggy alpacas run by a Maltese woman. Lisa Vella-Gatt, 46, owns the Monte Frio Alpacas farm in Benfeita, Portugal, which she has been running since she moved there in 2009 after years living in London. The quiet, shaggy creatures run free in the farm, giving Ms Vella-Gatt around 50 kilos of wool every year. Originating from Peru, alpacas are the smallest of the Camelid family, which includes camels, llamas and dromedaries. They are primarily bred for their wool, which is very fine, light, and... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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  • Contrasting views of MFSA at Finance Malta conference

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The Malta Financial Services Authority offices in Mrieħel. Most of the speakers at the annual Finance Malta conference highlighted the innovative and proactive role of the MFSA in making Malta a “jurisdiction of choice” – except for one who said the island ranked a poor 71st as a financial services centre. Bryane Michael, from the University of Oxford and Hong Kong University, said a study of international finance centres (IFCs) look­ed at 800 regulatory provisions objectively, and Malta fared “alongside Burundi”. London and New York top the so-called ‘power score’, with Hong Kong and Singapore next. He told The Sunday Times of Malta that there was... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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  • BoE confirms research on a possible Brexit

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    The Union Flag flies next to the European Flag outside the European Commission building in central London. Photo: Neil Hall/Reuters The Bank of England plans to assess the implications of a possible British exit from the European Union, it said in a statement, confirming an e-mail it inadvertently sent to a newspaper about the supposedly confidential research project. The Guardian reported that an aide to a senior bank official said in the e-mail the project should be kept secret from most BoE staff and any journalists asking about it should be told the bank was looking at a broad range of European economic issues. British Prime Minister David Cameron, who was re-elected on May 7, has pledged to reshape Britain’s ties... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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  • What business thinks about Britain’s referendum on EU membership

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    Douglas Flint Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s ties with Europe and then give voters an in-out referendum on European Union membership by the end of 2017. The following are the views of business leaders. Vodafone chief executive Vittorio Colao: “The decision to stay or to end it is clearly a political decision for the voters and this is for the British citizens to decide. As Vodafone, we are convinced that for our shareholders, our customers and the company itself, it would be good to stay in Europe and it would be good to support the creation of a single digital... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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  • Innovation seminar promotes thinking outside box

    May 24 • News • 0 Views

    A TB testing clinic in an African country used its Pepsi distributor network to help speed up the delivery of tests to the lab. A story about ways to improve TB testing in Africa captured the spirit of a seminar on ways to promote innovation, organised by Strategy Regeneration. Its CEO Nicholas Sadron said that 89 per cent of CEOs believe that innovation is important – but only eight per cent do something about it. “Why? Because it is so messy and uncomfortable,” he said, adding that when people were confronted with problems, they tended to keep banging their heads against the wall, rather than trying to approach the problem from a different angle. One of the projects his company had worked on was in Africa, where... This article is part of our premium content. Full story is available on Times of Malta Premium.

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