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MALTATODAY 28 August 2022

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maltatoday | SUNDAY • 28 AUGUST 2022 COMMENT What are we skinning? The continued degradation of Mal- ta's intellectual life. Why are we skinning it? Be- cause the announcement that the University of Malta will be getting a €1.1 million budget cut makes it pretty apparent where the country's priorities lie. The University isn't special though. Neither was the Malta Film Awards ceremony, and look how much that cost. But we famously – or rather, infamously – have no idea how much that cost, exactly. Yes, its calculation seems to be beyond the capabilities of the Ministry for Tourism and its many employees. Maybe they all missed a cru- cial university credit back in the day? Possibly, though I don't remember university budget cuts making the head- lines during my time. You'd have to go pretty far back for it to have an impact on the current crop of politi- cians and their cronies. Do you though? The post-Muscat crop is largely made up of barely-fe- tal candidates. Oh yeah, and the man of the hour for the Film Awards story was in fact one of their num- ber. Yep. Along with the likes of economy minister Silvio Schembri... Maybe it's just the nostalgia of skiving classes that led to the cuts. Indeed – the best way to prevent students from skiving is to cut down on courses for them to skive away from. So it could be that it's the op- posite. That we're dealing with actual geniuses here. True. There's the university of life, then there's the universi- ty of inter-dimensional galaxy brains, where our main boys and gals appear to operate. If only they'd transfer those crumbs of wisdom and dy- namic super-intelligence to the general populace. Hard to disagree with you there after we've had to endure listening to what feels like an entire village defending an alleged fraudster instead of getting an- gry with him for effectively em- bezzling them out of their cash. Aren't the Maltese supposed to be angry as hell, though? Statistically, yeah. But they seem to vent most of that rage on low-income foreigners, so that solves it. If only those eggheads at Tal-Qroqq could help us make sense of all of this. They would, but the budget is unlikely to cover it. So we'll just have to settle for another stretch of xenophobic alienation, it seems. Do say: "Budget cuts across the board are to be expected considering the double-wham- my of COVID recovery and glob- al inflation, but such a sizeable slash to the country's leading educational institution com- municates quite the message." Don't say: "The university of life has served us well so far. Rewarded with a government job for my slavish support of a local MP and living my best life. That's most of us anyway. Those hard-grinding, pen- cil-pushing suckers at Tal-Qro- qq don't seem to have gotten the memo." When a man goes missing JOSANNE CASSAR PAGE 6 The Skinny Malta, shrunk down MICHAEL FALZON Gone fishing PAGE 7 No 154 – We Don't Need No Education, Apparently RAPHAEL VASSALLO 'No one will turn our streets into a jungle… except me!' PAGES 10 & 11 EDITORIAL Populist tonic for the summer malaise PAGE 2 SAVIOUR BALZAN Revolving doors PAGE 5 Carmelo Fino's disappearance was a result of a number of mistakes, some due to genuine human error, others due to an attempt to obfuscate and cover up what amounts to sheer negligence The police released a grab from CCTV footage showing Karmenu Fino on the day he went missing from St Vincent de Paul home for the elderly

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