Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat on Sunday told the nation that he would resign next month, following pressure from angry citizens for the truth about the 2017 car bombing that killed a journalist pursuing corruption.
Muscat said in a televised message that he had informed Maltese President George Vella that he would quit as leader of the governing Labor Party on Jan. 12 and that “in the days after I will resign as prime minister.”
Hours earlier, nearly 20,000 Maltese protested outside a courthouse in the capital, Valletta, demanding that he step down in the largest such turnout of nearly daily protests in recent weeks.
“As prime minister, I promised two years ago that justice would be done in the case of the murder of Daphne Caruana Galizia,” Muscat said to open his speech, adding that “today I am here to tell you that I kept my word.”
However, the slain reporter’s family contends that Muscat’s departure would not satisfy those in the nation who are determined that corruption and cronyism between politicians and business figures be rooted out.
“People will be out in the streets again tomorrow,” tweeted one of her sons, Matthew Caruana Galizia, who is also a journalist.
“Justice is being done,” Muscat said, adding that besides three people being arrested soon after the bombing for carrying out the actual attack, now there is “someone accused of being the principal person behind this killing.”
Muscat was referring to prominent Maltese businessman Yorgen Fenech, who on Saturday night was arraigned on charges of complicity in the killing, and of organizing and financing the bombing.
Fenech entered pleas of not guilty.
Muscat’s former chief of staff, Keith Schembri, was allegedly linked to the killing.
Schembri was among government members targeted by Caruana Galizia’s investigative reporting.
Schembri, who last week resigned, was arrested in the probe, but later released.
He denies any wrongdoing.
The slain reporter had written extensively about suspected corruption in political and business circles on the EU nation, an attractive financial haven for many investors.
Among her targets were those in Muscat’s political inner circle, including those in his Cabinet.
Caruana Galizia was the subject of lawsuits by some of her subjects, including in government. While many celebrated her as an anti-corruption champion, some in the country whose dealings she exposed scorned her work.
“I reiterate my deepest regret that a person, who, with all her positive and negative qualities and contribution toward the democracy of our country, was killed in such a brutal way,” Muscat said.
“The sensations of genuine sadness and anger for this murder are justified. And I will never accept that someone conveys a signal that in any way he or she is justifying this murder,” he added.
Muscat used his speech to praise his tenure’s achievements, including strong economic growth and civil rights, such as legalized marriage and adoption for same-sex couples.
Referring to the reporter’s slaying, Muscat said, “This case cannot define everything that our country is and what we have accomplished together.
French authorities yesterday said that they would close a Paris mosque as part of a clampdown on radical Islam that has yielded over a dozen arrests following the beheading of a teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. The mosque in a densely populated suburb northeast of Paris had disseminated a video on its Facebook page days before Friday’s gruesome murder, railing against teacher Samuel Paty’s choice of material for a class discussion on freedom of expression, a source close to the investigation said. The French Ministry of the Interior said the mosque in Pantin, which has
LONGSTANDING NEUTRALITY: The US request came as it vied for influence in Southeast Asia with China, but Indonesia has never let foreign militaries operate there Indonesia this year rejected a proposal by the US to allow its P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance planes to land and refuel there, four senior Indonesian officials familiar with the matter have said. US officials made multiple “high-level” approaches in July and August to Indonesia’s defense and foreign ministers before Indonesian President Joko Widodo rebuffed the request, the officials said. Representatives for Indonesia’s president and defense minister, the US Department of State’s Office of Press Relations and the US embassy in Jakarta did not respond to requests for comment. Representatives for the US Department of Defense and Indonesian Minister of Foreign Affairs Retno Marsudi
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday night said that he has no problem with being held responsible for the many killings under his crackdown on drugs, and that he is ready to face charges that could land him in jail, but not charges of crimes against humanity. Duterte’s televised remarks were among his clearest acknowledgement of the prospects that he could face a deluge of criminal charges for the bloody campaign he launched after taking office in the middle of 2016. Police have reported that at least 5,856 drug suspects have been killed in raids and more than 256,000 others arrested since
WEIGHING THE RISKS: One biogeochemist said that the known risks of disease from not sterilizing baby bottles outweighed that of microplastics Bottle-fed babies might ingest more than 1 million pieces of microplastics each day, new research showed on Monday, highlighting the abundance of plastics in our food products. There is growing evidence that humans consume huge numbers of the tiny particles, formed when larger pieces of plastic break down, but very little is known about the knock-on health consequences. Researchers in Ireland looked at the rate of microplastic release in 10 types of baby bottles or accessories made from polypropylene, the most commonly used plastic for food containers. They followed official guidelines from the WHO on sterilization and formula preparation conditions. Over a 21-day