It’s only the second week of the year, and 2021’s already been pretty damn crazy.
From nationwide teacher strikes to brand new viral memes, the past week has given way to an insanely diverse news sphere – and it’s safe to say that we’re here for it. Having said that, here are the six biggest stories Malta witnessed over the past week. Here we go!
1. Most of the country’s teachers went on strike
The Malta Union of Teachers (MUT) ordered a two-day strike after Prime Minister Robert Abela refused its request for schools to go online for two days. In light of the union’s orders, some schools didn’t open, resulting in confusion and chaos as some primary school students were left stranded on a Qawra street.
But whilst most teachers stayed home, some disobeyed the union’s directives. Bormla mayor Alison Zerafa Civelli did just that, saying that the MUT should think about “what’s good for our children”.
Similarly, Health Minister Chris Fearne came out against calls to close schools, arguing that the government would rather impose other measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 before taking such a drastic decision.
The strike was called off last Friday evening after the MUT struck a deal with the government.
2. A local chef went viral for her questionable creations
Malta saw the sudden rise of yet another polarising Internet personality – chef Doris, from the YouTube channel Doris & Joel’s Kitchen.
Doris shot to fame thanks to her unique recipes and techniques which seem to defy conventional culinary traditions. From ‘tacos salmon al tonne’ to ‘apple berries omelette’, Doris’ recipes and charismatic demeanour put an entire nation under her spell.
Soon after going viral, Doris took to YouTube to explain why she does what she does. “I started this initiative to help those who are lonely in the pandemic, to spend some time in the kitchen learning how to make simple recipes,” she explained. Love her or hate her, there’s no denying that Doris and her controversial videos will go down in Malta’s meme history.
3. A cheating ring was uncovered amongst BCOM students
First-year students studying commerce at the University of Malta were set to automatically fail a study unit after a cheating ring was discovered.
The unit in question, titled Quantitative Analysis for Business, is a maths heavy unit that focuses on quantitative analysis techniques such as linear algebra, differential calculus, linear programming, and optimisation techniques.
Following severe backlash from students, the Dean of the aforementioned faculty appointed a new disciplinary board to review the decision to fail all students.
4. A police superintendent failed a cocaine test
Superintendent Maurice Curmi was suspended from the police force after failing a cocaine test. Curmi, who was stationed at the Rabat (Gozo) police station, tested positive for the drug during a test carried out by the police at the Floriana Depot.
The Public Service Commission will now decide whether Curmi should be fired. Curmi was subject to a police investigation in 2014 after a man who was attached with a wooden chair said that the officer refused to properly investigate his aggressor.
Following this, leading Maltese DJ Joven Grech called out musicians being banned from performing at festivals over petty criminal charges from years back whilst high-ranking police officials partake in such activities.
5. Maria Efimova refused to publish ‘proof’ she hired forensic experts
After raising €15,000 in a public fundraiser, former Pilatus Bank employee Maria Efimova refused to publish proof that she spent the money on a forensic examination of Egrant-related documents that she claimed to have in her possession.
Efimova told Lovin Malta that the forensic analysts told her that no revelations will be made until she is granted whistleblower status from Malta or from the EU. She didn’t state which forensic analysts she hired.
Efimova had risen to prominence back in 2017, when she told now-assassinated journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia that the Panama company Egrant belongs to Michelle Muscat – wife of then-Prime Minister Joseph Muscat.
6. Four men were arrested following a shooting in Bormla
Two Maltese nationals and two foreigners were arrested in connection with a shooting incident that took place in Triq id-Dejqa in Bormla.
No one was injured in the incident. It appears that one of the men, a 55-year-old, shot at two brothers, aged 24 and 20. The shooter’s son, aged 26, was also involved in the argument.
Police said that they found a shotgun, which was likely used in the shooting, in the residence of the 55-year-old. They also found a shotgun casing and some shot from the road.