As Malta took a step back from its daily routine to enjoy the festive season, Lovin Malta’s newsroom kept an eye out for the country’s biggest stories. From heartwarming acts of kindness to worrying political revelations, the past seven days have made for a particularly interesting newsweek.
Having said that, here are Malta’s six biggest stories from the past week. Let’s go!
1. A family of nine was rehoused after living in a two-room Valletta house.
A Maltese family of nine was given a new lease of life this festive season after being rehoused into more appropriate surroundings.
The family used to rent out a home in Valletta that was made up of just two rooms. The seven children, whose ages range from nearly two to 14, had to sleep in the kitchen, and the entire family had to share a single bathroom.
The family was rehoused in Floriana after a spate of bad news; Graziella Bonello, the mother, was diagnosed with a rare disease, and Paul Tabone, the father, was in a car accident and lost his job. They were especially appreciative of the extra space they had this year, both to decorate for Christmas as well as in light of the online learning that most of their children had this year.
2. It was revealed that a Junior Minister was fighting calls for Caruana Galizia public inquiry a month after pocketing thousands in Yorgen Fenech deal.
Junior Minister Rosianne Cutajar was gearing up to present amendments to a Council of Europe report demanding a public inquiry into the assassination of Daphne Caruana Galizia when she pocketed €46,500 for Yorgen Fenech’s attempted purchase of a Mdina residence.
Earlier this month, local newspapers revealed that Cutajar acted as a go-between over Fenech’s attempts to purchase a Mdina home for €3.1 million in May 2019 – all whilst holding the positions of MP and government representative.
One month after she helped broker said deal, Cutajar was within the halls of the Council of Europe fighting tooth and nail to ensure the government’s amendments and vociferous complaints against the damning report are heard.
3. A beloved Siġġiewi icon passed away after battling cancer.
People gave tribute to lovable and iconic Siġġiewi personality Leli Aquilina, better known by his nickname Il-Quċċu, after he sadly passed away in recent weeks after battling cancer.
Aquilina had rose to fame after participating in a lighthearted vox pop wherein he spoke openly about how much he enjoys sex. Following his death, many people took to social media to pay tribute to him.
Il-Quċċu’s influence even reached the higher levels of Maltese politics, with outspoken government consultant Robert Musumeci, who is also from Siġġiewi, opening up about what the man meant to him, saying he was one of the people who inspired him.
4. Chris Fearne confirmed that a new COVID-19 passport may be rolled out for Maltese citizens.
Health Minister Chris Fearne confirmed that a new COVID-19 passport may be rolled out for Maltese citizens to help them travel easier after being vaccinated. The statement coincided with the momentous arrival of 10,000 COVID-19 vaccines in Malta.
Just a day after this announcement, Infectious Disease Unit nurse Rachel Grech became the first person to ever be administered the COVID-19 vaccine in Malta. Prime Minister Robert Abela and Health Minister Chris Fearne could be seen watching over the nurse as she received the vaccine.
A day after that, top virologist Chris Barbara got vaccinated against the virus, thus becoming the first high-profile Maltese person to get publicly inoculated against the virus.
5. A 15-year-old girl went missing for the fourth time in a year.
On Christmas Day, 15-year-old Luana Borg was reported missing for the fourth time in a year.
She was last seen wearing a pink hoodie, a black jacket, and carrying a black backpack. She was also wearing a burka to avoid being recognised.
Borg was also reported missing in November 2020, July 2020, and December 2019, however she was always found a few weeks after.
6. A Maltese MEP apologised for saying he helps his wife in the kitchen.
Prominent Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba apologised after uploading a photo of himself in the kitchen saying he was there to ‘help’ his wife. His initial post included a caption saying: “My joy at the end of the week is helping Sarah in the kitchen”.
Agius Saliba said it was natural for him to use the word “help” when talking about sharing housework with his wife after returning home from a week at work. However, he wanted to apologise for any offence he caused by using that verb.
His status caused backlash among certain circles for the perceived antiquated gender roles he had inadvertently supported in his words.