Sons of slain journalist call for Malta leader’s resignation

Forensic police work on the main road in Bidnija, Malta, which leads to Daphne Caruana Galizias house, looking for evidence on the blast that killed the journalist as she was leaving her home, on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP)
Updated 19 October 2017
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Sons of slain journalist call for Malta leader’s resignation

VALLETTA: The sons of slain investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have called on the Maltese prime minister to resign.
In a Facebook post Thursday, they said Joseph Muscat should take political responsibility for “failing to uphold our fundamental freedoms.”
The sons, Matthew, Andrew and Paul Caruana Galizia, said they were not endorsing Muscat’s call for a reward to lead to their mother’s assassins, saying “we are not interested in justice without change.”
“We are not interested in a criminal conviction, only for the people in government who stood to gain from our mother’s murder to turn around and say that justice has been served,” they said.
Caruana Galizia, a harsh critic of Muscat’s and who reported extensively on corruption on Malta, was killed by a car bomb on Monday.
Her sons wrote that identifying their mother’s assassins was not enough. Corruption on the Mediterranean island nation also needed to be rooted out, they said.
Muscat has denounced the assassination, and has proposed a reward to find her killers.
On Thursday, some 200 journalists held an event in support of the slain journalist.
A group representing journalist — the Institute of Maltese Journalists — has filed a court case seeking to ensure source confidentiality on all data that is lifted from Caruana Galizia’s computers and mobile phones during the investigation.
Investigators, meanwhile, were looking at similarities with other car bombings in Malta over the last two years — six in all including Caruana Galizia’s. None have been solved.
Former police commissioner John Rizzo told the Malta Independent that it appears that mobile detonated explosives were used in each of the six bombings since the start of 2016, which caused four deaths and two serious injuries. The previous victims were all known to police, the paper said.
“Very few people could construct such a bomb. Instructions may be obtained online but building such a device would still require a certain degree of skill,” Rizzo said.
Investigators have not publicly identified which explosives were used in the journalist’s murder, but experts say any military grade explosives, like Semtex, are not available in Malta and would have had to be brought in from abroad.
Muscat defended the failure to solve the rash of car bombings as he left parliament Wednesday evening. Including the last six, there have been over 30 in the last 15 years on the island.
“I will continue to defend the institutions and I am a firm believer in the institutions,” he said.


British PM Theresa May dealt new Brexit defeat in upper house of parliament

Updated 3 min 55 sec ago
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British PM Theresa May dealt new Brexit defeat in upper house of parliament

LONDON: Prime Minister Theresa May was dealt a new defeat by Britain’s upper house of parliament on Wednesday over her Brexit plans, this time in a challenge to the government’s push to adopt wide-ranging powers to amend laws.
The defeat is the latest in the House of Lords for May and her Conservative government as parliament debates the EU withdrawal bill which will sever ties with the European Union and pave the way for Britain to leave in March next year.
The vote can be overturned by the lower house, the House of Commons, but underscores the deep divisions over Brexit across parliament and could encourage lawmakers hoping to derail May’s plans to forge a new relationship with the EU.
While many of the defeats were expected, it is the rifts over whether to remain in a customs union with the EU that have taken center stage. A new debate on this is scheduled in the Commons for Thursday, adding to the pressure on May.
After Wednesday’s defeat over plans to adopt the so-called Henry VIII powers, which are named after the 16th century monarch who ruled by proclamation but are seen as a power grab by opposition parties, the government was expected to offer peers some concessions on their more detailed objections.
“This House has a responsibility not to give the executive more power than is necessary,” Lord (Peter) Goldsmith told peers before they voted.
The Lords voted 349-221 in favor of an amendment to change the wording of the bill so that instead of ministers being able to use the Henry VIII powers where they consider it “appropriate,” they would have to prove it was “necessary.”
The government has said it needs the powers to be able to meet a tight deadline to effectively “copy and paste” EU rules and regulations into British law by the time of Brexit.
The defeats, while embarrassing, have so far failed to shake the government, but after being debated in the Lords, the bill will return to the Commons, where lawmakers will decide whether to keep the amendments or overturn them.
Earlier, Brexit minister David Davis told lawmakers he expected parliament to uphold the government’s policy “for good reason,” and again said that Britain would leave the EU’s customs union after Brexit in favor of a new trade agreement.