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MALTATODAY 12 December 2021

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SUNDAY • 12 DECEMBER 2021 • ISSUE 1154 • PUBLISHED SUNDAY AND WEDNESDAY maltatoday ELECTION 2022... TRUTH IS OF NO COLOUR WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT Suspected smuggler to be extradited to Italy PAGE 11 CLAIRE BONELLO FREE WITH MALTATODAY JAMES DEBONO MALTA'S education system is roundly criticised for its inabili- ty to invite youths to make criti- cal assessments of their country. Yet even in languages, the Mal- tese student population is find- ing foreign language proficiency less alluring than before. Of the 4,797 students who completed their studies in one or more 'foreign' languages at secondary level in 2021, only 101 continued studying the lan- guage at Advanced level. The shocking finding shows that practically 98% do not want to pursue knowledge of either Italian, French or German after they leave secondary school at 15. Dr Mario Pace, University of Malta senior lecturer in Ital- ian, called for an overhaul in post-secondary foreign language learning away from a one-size- fits-all model. A-levels: only 2% will study foreign language Mind your language The power of indignation INTERVIEW MT2 Not before Easter please, say survey respondents PAGE 15 PAGE 2 MATTHEW AGIUS THE Maltese courts have or- dered the extradition to Italy of a suspected smuggler and shipper, Paul Attard, who is wanted to face trial over the trafficking of 10 tonnes of hashish on his fish- ing vessel, the Quest. The Dutch-flagged vessel was intercepted in international waters after departing Malta in 2018, for Algeria on a voyage allegedly organised by Maltese drug traffickers. It changed its route when it arrived in front of the Moroc- can coast and started to pro- ceed towards Alexandria, Egypt. The Italian Guardia di Finanza, which had been observing the vessel closely, sent a boarding team on the fishing vessel some 40 hours later, after the flag state granted them permission to do so. 10 tonnes of hashish were found in the vessel's cold room. After investigating the massive drug haul, the Italian authorities issued a European Arrest War- rant for Paul Attard in connec- tion with the drugs bust. He was subsequently taken into custody in Malta. A judge this week denied all Attard's appeals, except one in which he asked to serve any eventual prison sentence handed down by the Italian authorities, in a Maltese prison. The court ordered that Attard be returned to face justice in It- aly under the original European Arrest Warrant, specifying that he be held in custody until his return takes place. The Quest's seizure led Italian prosecutors in September 2018 to indict a Maltese man named Paul Attard, after the boat's crew testified in Catania that Attard, 43, was the mastermind behind the hashish transport from Mo- rocco. Evidence collected by police indicates that Attard's relative and ship captain, David Bonello, communicated with Attard during the voyage. €1.95 COVID-19 11 new cases registered, as mask mandate takes effect 111 new cases of COV- ID-19 were recorded between Friday and Saturday, as a new mask mandate for both indoors and outdoors took effect, yesterday. 67 patients recov- ered, bringing the total number of active cas- es to 1,408. The latest data shows hospitali- sation rates are stable, with 21 patients treat- ed at Mater Dei Hospi- tal for the virus, three of whom are receiving intensive therapy. No new deaths were regis- tered. Anti-vaxxers will protest the new man- date on Republic Day in Valletta.

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