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MW 13 September 2017

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maltatoday, WEDNESDAY, 13 SEPTEMBER 2017 8 News 24/7 Fitness Club is looking to appoint a qualified fitness instructor willing to work on a shift basis including nights and weekends. Preferably he/she speaks English and Serbian fluently and is able to give group fitness classes. If interested kindly forward CV on info@fitnessclub247.com JAMES DEBONO AN open green space a short dis- tance from the Kalkara church is still being proposed for the construction of 88 apartments and 93 garages on the Kalkara slope overlooking the harbour. The developers were awarded their permit in 2012, but no de- velopment has yet taken place. Applicant Lawrence Fino has now presented an application to renew the permit to ensure the original permit does not expire. Although endorsed by the Planning Authority's internal heritage watchdogs, the project will still have a marked impact on Kalkara views from Birgu and Bighi. Only two board members, Sandra Magro and Franco Montesin – both no longer PA board members – had voted against the applica- tion in 2012. The site just a few metres from the parish church, bounding an extensive stretch of undevel- oped land of some 6,500 square metres, but whose development is foreseen by the Grand Har- bour Local Plan. The application was origi- nally presented in 2009 and ap- proved three years later. It had been preceded by an outline permit issued in 2008, which had already committed the area for residential development. Moreover, the Town Planning Scheme of 1962 had already al- located the site for terraced de- velopment and the site was re- tained in the development zone in subsequent plans. But residents and the Kalkara local council had raised serious objections because of flood-wa- ter problems in the area, which they said would be exacerbated by the big development. To ad- dress these concerns a number of reservoirs were included in the development. Protests organised by the Save Kalkara Valley Front against development on a substantial part of the Kalkara valley took place in 2002 and 2003. Then in 2012, the PA's herit- age planning unit and heritage advisory committee concluded that although located within an 'area of high landscape value' due to the harbour fortifica- tions, the development would not cause any additional visual impact, since the views of the fortifications had already been compromised by existing build- ings. Additionally, the design was deemed similar to traditional dwellings in the area. In the absence of changes to policy or the issue of conserva- tion orders, renewal permits are normally approved automati- cally. Permit renewal request for Kalkara apartments bemoaned by residents The green area (indicated by the red arrow in the main photo) proposed for the Kalkara apartments KAROL Aquilina, in his ut- terance on freemasonry, is the poorer for his ignorance on the subject. All he had to do was to surf on the net for "What is Freemasonry" and he will cer- tainly understand that one has to be a person of great moral standing and to be living in good and high repute amongst his neighbours. That a freemason is to obey the civil law and be a charita- ble person goes without say- ing. Searching "Ten Thousand Famous Freemasons" will con- firm to Karol Aquilina and oth- ers the immense lineage of the Universal Order of Freemasons. With regular freemasonry one had to have a firm belief in God from the outset before even be- ing considered for membership. In Grand Orient Freemason- ry, one has to be of great moral standing before being accepted. The Holy Bible is ever present in masonic meetings. The Laws & Regulations, Workings and Meeting Places are well pub- lished all over the world. The only right to secrecy is the members' list although in many countries today official regis- ters exist. Many Grand Lodges have open day visits for the gen- eral public. It is of no wonder that the PN is in such great shambles and that its corridors are full of 'Brutuses' and a myriad of fac- tions. Should there have been true freemasons amongst its ranks, there would have cer- tainly be more brotherhood, loyalties and a great sense of belonging. That membership in freemasonry is incompat- ible with what the PN reflects in its great lack of democracy and that is totally contrary to the UN and European Char- ter of Freedom of Associa- tion, Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Conscience not- withstanding that the party has accepted animal and gay rights besides others lesser rights. I have vivid memories of having a good drink with Dr George Borg Olivier (not a free- mason) when PM, many Sat- urday mornings at the Valletta masonic quarters just below the steps of his offices at the Auberge d'Aragon. Maybe Karol Aquilina, like many others in high places within the PN, prefers to be as- sociated with Opus Dei people who enjoy self-flagellation. With his declarations, Aqui- lina should confine himself to a solitary cell and avoid walking corridors of power in Brussels and worldwide. In his travels, Dr Eddie Fene- ch Adami, when visiting Aus- tralia, was presented a little dog by none other than the then Grand Master of that particular area in Australia. Try and check who Gunther Verheugen was, the EU com- missioner responsible for Mal- ta's accession to the EU, or the connections Manuel Barroso had with freemasonry and who was EU commissioner Hans Van Den Broek; or the Duke of Kent. Even Francois Hollande, president of the French Re- public paid an official visit and tribute to the HQ of the Grand Orient de France this year. With people like Aquilina militating within the party, I and many persons like me will never vote PN again. His pres- ence and that of the witch are indeed a guarantee that what- ever it does, the PL will remain in government for many years yet to come. In fact, with the present state of affairs within the ranks of the PN, it would surprise very few people, even within the party itself, if the PN were to split. All of this is thanks to Simon Busuttil for harbouring Daphne Caruana Galizia and allowing her to ride rough over all and sundry. Their negative way of think- ing does not contribute or auger bluer skies for the PN. At least the election of Adrian Delia will certainly confirm that the witch will be a "persona non grata" within Pieta HQ. Unfor- tunately this does not seem to be the case with Chris Said as he has declared to follow faith- fully what Busuttil has started, 'gas down ghal gol-hajt'. Alfred Abela Valletta Aquilina uninformed on freemasonry LETTER TO THE EDITOR MATTHEW VELLA MALTA'S financial services promotional foundation Fi- nanceMalta has hit back at a ranking of jurisdictions for fi- nancial services that dropped the island right places in its global index from 77 to 85 out of 92 countries. "Malta is experiencing con- tinuous growth and achieving excellent results in financial services. Different to what was reported in the recent Zyen Global Financial Services In- dex, the industry is thriving and performing extremely well," FinanceMalta chairman Kenneth Farrugia said. Farrugia said that since the index evaluates attractiveness on factors such as infrastruc- ture and access to high-quality staff, small jurisdictions such as Malta are always going to be at a disadvantage because of the size of the market. "However this does not mean that the country is underper- forming, as what really matters is the real life situation where the industry is exceeding all expectations," Farrugia said. He referred to the World Eco- nomic Forum Global Competi- tiveness Index where out of 142 countries Malta ranks in the top quartile, third with regards to internet bandwidth per user, 16th in the soundness of the banks, 20th in the strength of the auditing/reporting stand- ards, 19th in the quality of the education system and 22nd in the regulation of securities ex- changes. "These are excellent achieve- ments which Malta should be proud off and are the hall- marks of what attracts foreign direct investment," Farrugia said. In 2016, FDI was up by €9.5bn to €151.4bn of which 98% came from financial and insurance activities, retirement schemes were up from 36 in 2015, to 46 in 2016 and 50 up to June 2017. Other indications that fur- ther highlight the success of the industry are the increase in investment services licence holders which improved from 149 as at December 2016 to 163 as at June 17, the registration of services providers which in- creased from 67 in 2015 to 140 in 2016 and 158 in 2017. Also new company and part- nership registrations increased to 2,625 in the first half of this year. "All these indicators amply show that the financial services industry in Malta is robust and is by no means showing any signs of weakness or fragility as might have been implied in the said report," Farrugia said. Growth in Malta FDI belies Zyen downgrade

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