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MALTATODAY 28 August 2022

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Thank you... for having bought this newspaper The good news is that we're not raising the price of our newspaper We know times are still hard, but we have pledged to keep giving our readers quality news they deserve, without making you pay more for it. So thank you, for making it your MaltaToday Support your favourite newspaper with a special offer on online PDF subscriptions. Visit or scan the QR code Subscriptions can be done online on Same-day delivery at €1 for orders up to 5 newspapers per address. Subscribe from €1.15 a week Same-day print delivery from Miller Distributors mt 2 maltatoday | SUNDAY • 28 AUGUST 2022 NEWS PAUL COCKS THE Nationalist Party will not be holding a mass meeting as part of its traditional yearly ac- tivities marking Independence Day, MaltaToday is informed. In fact, the activities lead- ing up to 20-21 September – when the party celebrates Malta's 1964 Independence from the United Kingdom – will be quite subdued and will not be staged on the granaries in Floriana, but in an area in the vicinity, a senior party of- ficial said. The same official said that the party will not inviting re- gional or sectional commit- tees to set up food stalls or information stands, as was the norm for many years, but that it will focus instead on "elevating" the standard of the activities. MaltaToday is informed that journalist Dione Borg has been tasked with or- ganising a debate and that this will most likely be held under the Independence Day monu- ment. But it is as yet unclear what other activities are being planned, if any. Questions sent to PN secretary general Michael Piccinino remained unanswered, while the party's director of information said the party was still working on the programme and would make it public when finalised. This is not the first time in recent years that the party has opted not to organise any major activities. In fact, the last full mass meeting on the granaries was held in 2018, when PN leader Adrian Delia addressed a crowd visibly re- duced from the numbers that the party was used to attract- ing in the past. That year, the activities al- so included entertainment by 'Coldplay' and 'Queen' cover bands, the song festival linked with Independence Day, a party for teenagers and sports activities, and political discus- sions with the participation of leader Adrian Delia held in the space of five days. The year after that, on- ly activities outside the PN headquarters were organised. Then in 2020, the country fol- lowed lockdown measures to combat COVID-19, although Delia and Bernard Grech held their own mass meetings as they campaigned in the run- up to the leadership election. In 2021, Grech, as the new leader, organised a meeting on the Granaries but this was limited to small area with at- tendees having to stay seated and socially distanced. Party members on social me- dia voiced their disappoint- ment at the lack of activities planned. Bernard Grech is currently on his summer holidays in an overland trip in Europe, and is expected back around 13 September. His newly-elected deputy leader, Alex Perici Ca- lascione, has represented the party at the activities organ- ised by sectional and regional committees around Malta and Gozo. No PN mass meeting for Independence Day activities Parties hit out at University budget cuts ADPD – The Green Party ques- tioned the government's prior- ities when slashing the Univer- sity of Malta's budget, whilst heavily subsidising fuels. In reaction to the news that the university's budget for this year was being reduced by €1.1 million, the Greens said that this was a "sheer example" of the Government's misguided priorities. Despite the skyrocketing fu- el prices following the war in Ukraine, the government re- mains committed to softening the blow of high energy and fuel prices, by subsidising the differ- ence, ADPD said. "Reining in public financing should target the reduction of the heavily subsidised petrol and diesel and not jeopardizing the country's future," said AD- PD Chairperson Carmel Caco- pardo. "The University and educa- tion, in general, should be in- jected with additional financial resources in order to be more effective in the holistic develop- ment of our students." He called the PL's pre-election pledge to increase the budget allocation for research and de- velopment to 2% of the GDP "fake". Cacopardo said that Malta was repeatedly classified in the low- er ranking for investment in re- search and development within Europe and emphasised that this may discourage students to pursue their studies at a tertiary level. "The best investment we can make is in the education of future generations. However, the Government has not pri- oritised tomorrow," concluded Cacopardo. The Nationalist Party also slammed the government over the matter, calling the cuts un- acceptable, irresponsible, and unjust.

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