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MW 25 January 2017

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TIM DIACONO THE headmaster of the nation- al sports school has defended his PSD teacher's decision to invite pro-lifer Miriam Sciber- ras to deliver a "very graphic" lesson on abortion to students. Headmaster George Micallef, also one of Malta's main foot- ball commentators, told Mal- taToday that the lesson "was a positive one that taught pro-life values in line with the school's ethos". "I didn't plan it myself, but I cannot object to something positive. It was part of the PSD content, and there was no prop- aganda or political pressure in the lesson." The National Sports School on Monday uploaded a Facebook post – which has since been de- leted – to announce that Mir- iam Sciberras, chairperson of the pro-life NGO Life Network, had delivered a tutorial about "the gift of life" to a group of Form 5 students. "Dr Sciberras thoroughly ex- plained what happens from the moment of conception to the moment of implantation and also showed our students very graphic videos of an abortion," the post read. "She spoke about situations where women might be confused about their current situation. They might think that abortion is an easy option to get rid of all those worries and life- changing events and therefore they might see that abortion is the easy way out to solve their problems. "Our students had the time to ask questions and discuss the pros and cons of an abortion. Dr Sciberras provided pro-life options, information and edu- cational materials through mes- sages based on natural law." Sciberras, a dentist, has been a vocal critic against abortion, embryo freezing, the morning- after pill, and IVF for lesbians and single mothers. In a somewhat cautious state- ment, the education ministry said that it has always instruct- ed schools to deal with sensitive issues "objectively" and added that it will be evaluating the material presented by Sciberras. WWW.MALTATODAY.COM.MT WEDNESDAY EDITION €1.00 Newspaper post PAGE 9 • Editorial WEDNESDAY • 25 JANUARY 2017 • ISSUE 506 • PUBLISHED EVERY WEDNESDAY AND SUNDAY PAGE 8 Sports school head defends pro-lifer's 'graphic' PSD abortion lesson PAGE 2 Education ministry looking into 'very graphic' videos on abortion shown to sports school students by Life Network leader Miriam Sciberras Lawyer who spoke to Azzopardi on Lowenbrau redemption says company acted correctly PAUL COCKS THE Marsovin law yer who told the National Audit Office he had spoken to Jason Azzo- pardi prior to redeeming the Lowenbrau factory's ground rent in 2009, has refused to comment over what sort of political contact the company enjoyed in the lucrative deal it secured on the Qormi land. Joseph Chetcuti, famed pre- senter of the makeover show Arani Issa, had told the NAO he had "earlier informed the PS [Parliamentary Secretary] Rev- enues and Land [Jason Azzo- pardi] of the company's in- tention to redeem the ground rent" on the 21,000 square metres it had on perpetual em- phyteusis since 1990. In the contentious saga over whether the Government Property Department was pressured to drop the Qormi land's condition to retain a brewery on site, a tit-for-tat between justice minister Ow- en Bonnici and Jason Azzo- pardi has left the public none the wiser. Azzopardi, former parlia- mentary secretary for lands, is denying even knowing that in 2009 Marsovin redeemed the ground rent on the land it was granted in 1990 – days after signing a €7.8 million prom- ise-of-sale agreement with Vassallo Builders Group Ltd (VBGL) for the land, that was conditional on the removal of an onerous requirement to leave a brewery on site. The NAO has been unable to determine with any degree of certainty whether political pressure was applied with the GPD to remove the condition for a brewery, part of the deal the government had with Mar- sovin for the land it rented for Lm10,000 a year, in perpetuity. The removal of that condi- tion by the GPD was now found to be irregular, and doubly sus- picious when it was so instru- mental for Marsovin to sell the land, freehold, to VBGL. The GPD's chief notary, Keith German processed the redemption of the emphyteu- sis over a 48-hour period, with approval from director Fred Bezzina. German has denied taking instructions from ei- ther Bezzina or former finance minister Tonio Fenech and parliamentary secretary Jason Azzopardi. Former Minister Jason Azzopardi and Lawyer Joseph Chetcuti Sports School Headmaster George Micallef Election set for March 2018, Muscat confirms THE next general election will be held around March 2018, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has confirmed. The 2013 election was held in March and the next Maltese gen- eral election must be held not later than Saturday, 20 June 2018. Speaking on the radio pro- gramme Djalogu on One Radio yesterday evening, Muscat said that Labour's electoral pro- gramme will include proposals that build upon the work carried out under the current legislature. "If it wasn't for the work carried out by this government, then sev- eral of our manifesto proposals would not be possible," he said. In his interview, Muscat admit- ted that the Panama Papers scan- dal disappointed him, but argued that the government had made good on its pre-electoral prom- ises to reduce electricity bills, improve the economy and reduce unemployment.

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