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.


China expects Taiwan’s last Africa ally will switch to Beijing soon

Updated 16 min 31 sec ago
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China expects Taiwan’s last Africa ally will switch to Beijing soon

  • Taiwan, which China claims as a wayward province with no right to state-to-state relations, now has formal ties with only 17 countries
  • China’s hostility to Taiwan has grown since President Tsai Ing-wen’s election

BEIJING/TAIPEI: China expects self-ruled Taiwan’s last diplomatic ally in Africa, the Kingdom of eSwatini, will switch to Beijing soon, a senior Chinese diplomat said on Wednesday, a day after China won over the third Taipei ally in a year.
Taiwan, which China claims as a wayward province with no right to state-to-state relations, now has formal ties with only 17 countries, many of them small, less developed nations in Central America and the Pacific, including Belize and Nauru.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen, who has vowed not to bow to Chinese pressure, came under opposition criticism on Wednesday amid calls for a more friendlier policy toward Beijing.
Taiwan vowed on Tuesday to fight China’s “increasingly out of control” behavior after Taipei lost another ally to Beijing when El Salvador became the third country to switch allegiances to China this year.
Ahead of next month’s summit between China and African leaders in Beijing, China has been upping the pressure on Taiwan’s last remaining ally on the continent, eSwatini, formerly known as Swaziland, to come over to China’s side, diplomatic sources say.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing about the summit, Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong that eSwatini did not have relations with China “for reasons that everyone knows.”
“We look forward to and hope that all African nations, with none left behind, can take part in positive China-Africa cooperation, and become a member of the largest family get together,” Chen said.
“I believe that this is not just the pursuit of China, it is also a widespread shared expectation of African nations. I believe that this target can in the not too distant future be realized,” he added, without elaborating.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has vowed not to bow to Chinese pressure, Taipei has accused Beijing of offering generous aid and loan packages to lure its allies across, charges China denies.
The island’s biggest opposition group, the China-friendly Kuomintang (KMT), urged for a “better alternative” following what it described as “enormous mistakes” in Tsai’s cross-strait policy.
“The ruling party has the responsibility to think of a better cross-strait policy ...The relations with China have turned stagnant and were frozen,” KMT’s spokesman Mong-kai Hung said.
Yu-fang Lin, a KMT lawmaker who leads the diplomacy and defense committee in the Taiwan parliament, urged Tsai to recognize the “one China” principle, an agreement reached between Beijing and then-ruling KMT in 1992, under which both agreed there is only one China, with each having their own interpretation of what that means.
“She should bravely tell her supporters they need a friendlier policy to China, this way there would be more support for her,” Lin said.
China’s hostility to Taiwan has grown since Tsai’s election as Beijing fears she wishes to push for the island’s formal independence, a red line for China. She says she wants to maintain the status quo but will defend Taiwan’s democracy.
State-run Chinese newspaper the Global Times said in a Wednesday editorial that China did not have to “pay a fortune to steal Taiwan’s ‘allies’.”
“Many of the island’s ‘allies’ have a larger trade volume with China than with Taiwan. Their establishment of diplomatic ties with the Chinese mainland is an irresistible trend. It is only a matter of time before Taiwan has zero ‘allies.’”