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INDEPTH: Next Chief Justice may not come from the Bench, Justice Minister Owen Bonnici hints

The next Chief Justice may not come from the Bench, Justice and Culture Minister Owen Bonnici hinted on INDEPTH.

The Malta Independent editor-in-chief Rachel Attard asked Bonnici about the process to find a successor for incumbent Silvio Camilleri, who will be retiring on 26 April 2018. Bonnici pointed out that the government can also appoint a lawyer who never served as a judge, magistrate or Attorney General.

Bonnici also confirmed that the members of the judiciary had expressed their wish for the minister to choose someone from the Bench. "I will also give weight to what they are telling me," he assured.

Bonnici said that the new Chief Justice will be appointed by the government in consultation with the Opposition. This system came after an agreement was made with Nationalist Party.

This means that the Chief Justice will not be chosen by the Judicial Appointments Committee, which makes recommendations on the appointment of judges and magistrates.

Bonnici said both the Opposition and government had decided that the committee should not enter into play on the decision.

"The Judicial Appointments Committee is chaired by the Chief Justice. When we drafted the law we saw that the Chief Justice, as chair of this committee, would not be part of the process to find his successor."

He also spoke about the changes that are expected in the coming months when it comes to the criminal courts. The Minister said that apart from appointing more members of the judiciary,  the next impetus will be to give the necessary tools and change the way the criminal court works. Bonnici said he wants to remove the backlog of cases.

"Also when it comes to the prosecution, the Attorney General will have a main role in the compilation of evidence. Our current system is old and obsolete and I want to change it even though I know I will find some resistance. This is another proposal from the Bonello report."

Minister Bonnici was also asked about the rule of law, the Attorney General and V18.




Three things to keep in mind if you win the €74M EuroMillion’s Jackpot from Malta

There are countless stories of lottery winners who have lost it all. We can theorize all day as to how that happens, but the fact is simple, there are several key things you can do to keep your winnings if you are the next one to win a jackpot.

1. Claim You Prize

In 2015, there were 114 people who forgot to claim prizes of $1 million or more. If you think you are a winner, don't doubt yourself. Make sure you have your numbers reviewed, so you don't miss out on your prize.

2. Travel

As wonderful as buying new clothes might sound, clothes age. Memories, however, last a lifetime.

3. Enjoy the moment

Before jumping into the logistics and planning what you will do with your winnings, be sure to savour the moment. Don't let the moment pass you by, commit it to memory!

Today, there are there are more ways than in the past that we can better our odds of joining the winner's circle.

Confused? Each lottery has different odds of winning, so by betting on the lotteries with the best odds, we increase our chances to win. The problem in the past was that the lottery with the best odds could be half-way around the world and wasn't offered at the local store. That is why more and more people are opting on betting on lottery results online rather than buying a ticket. People can go to Jackpot.com and bet on any lottery in the world with the click of a button.

Jackpot.com is a global platform that lets people bet on 18 of the world's biggest lotteries. That freedom lets people chose which lottery they want to bet on based on its odds of winning and how big its jackpots are.

Right now, the EuroMillions lottery has an impressive jackpot of €74M and getting in on the action with Jackpot.com is simple. Just got to Jackpot.com, select the EuroMillions lottery and pick 5 numbers between 1-50 as well as 2 Lucky Stars between 1-12. Then all you have to do is complete your purchase and wait for the draw. The overall odds of winning a EuroMillions prize are 1 in 13 and the chances of winning the jackpot are 1 in 139,838,160. With those odds, it's easy to understand why people from around the world want to get in on the action.

And if somebody from Malta wins tonight, it will be Jackpot.com's second big winner from Malta in the past few weeks. Over Christmas, one lucky Jackpot.com customer won €248,000 by using the quick pick option on the site. Congratulations to him and let's see if his luck is contagious. 

 From the US to Europe, to Africa to Australia, Jackpot.com has it all, so shop around and if you get lucky and win big, keep these suggestions in mind. And be sure to follow Jackpot.com on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for up-to-the-minute draw results, exciting news, and exclusive deals throughout the year.

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Pope marries couple on papal plane in Chile, saves policewoman, accuses sex abuse victims of slander

It was all in a day's work for the ever-unpredictable Pope Francis.

First he celebrated the first-ever airborne papal wedding, marrying two flight attendants at 36,000 feet during a flight on Thursday to this northern Chilean beachside town.

Then after landing, Francis came to the rescue of a policewoman who was thrown from her rearing horse as his popemobile passed by.

In between, he did what he actually came to do: celebrate Mass for some 50,000 people in a desert-hot field near the town of Iquique.

And as a final gesture to cap a most remarkable day even by Franciscan standards, the 81-year-old Argentine set off a near-national uproar by accusing victims of Chile's most notorious pedophile priest of slander.

Welcome to the Francis papacy, five years on.

It all began with LATAM Flight 1250 from Santiago.

The crew of Chile's flagship carrier was gathering in the first-class section for the usual photo with the pope when flight attendants Paula Podest and Carlos Ciuffardi revealed that they were a married couple. Francis motioned for them to sit next to him for the photo and asked if they had been married in the church.

They told Francis that they had been wed in a civil service in 2010 but had been unable to follow up with a church ceremony because the Feb. 27, 2010 earthquake that rocked Chile had damaged the church.

Francis then made a proposal of his own: "I'll marry you!" and they readily agreed. The head of the airline served as the witness.

"He told me it's historic, that there has never before been a pope who married someone aboard a plane," the 41-year-old groom told journalists aboard the flight after he exchanged his "I do's" with his beaming bride.

Ciuffardi said the pope also told them: "This is the sacrament that is missing in the world, the sacrament of marriage. May this motivate others to get the sacrament of marriage. I'll do it for this reason."

Ciuffardi and the 39-year-old Podest have two children, 6-year-old Rafaela and 3-year-old Isabela. They said they plan to take a "mini-honeymoon" and return to Santiago on Friday.

The airborne wedding came about spontaneously, as is often the case with the ever-surprising Francis.

"We told him that we are husband and wife, that we have two daughters and that we would have loved to receive his blessing," Ciuffardi said. "All of a sudden he asked us if we were married in the church, too."

The couple explained that their church's bell tower had fallen during the quake, forcing the cancellation of the church service. One thing led to another, and they never followed up.

"He liked us and he asked, 'Do you want me to marry you?'" Ciuffardi said. "He asked: 'Are you sure?' 'Yes, of course!' we said."

A Vatican official then hastily drew up an official, albeit handwritten, marriage certificate, stating that the two had consented to the sacrament of marriage on Jan. 18, 2018, and that Francis had blessed it "aboard the papal plane from Santiago to Iquique."

Recounting the story to the 70 or so journalists who travel with the pope on his foreign trips, Podest said Francis offered a bit of advice to the not-so-newlyweds.

"He also said that the wedding rings shouldn't be too tight, because they'll torture you, but that if they're too loose, they'll fall off. So we have to be careful," she said blushing.

She said she and Ciuffardi also told the pope that when they first started dating, she was his boss at LATAM. Francis asked if she was still the boss, and both readily agreed.

"And that's why the marriage works," Ciuffardi said.

An hour after the impromptu ceremony, after the flight attendants had passed through the cabin with breakfast trays of fruit cups and warmed croissants, coffee and tea, the plane landed in Iquique and the happy couple bid the passengers farewell.

"We hope you had a good flight," Podest said.

Francis then moved on to the real purpose of his visit, celebrating Mass for the region's migrant community.

During his homily, he urged the Chilean government to continue welcoming migrants and caring for the least fortunate among them, saying, "There is no Christian joy when doors are closed."

The Argentine pope, who has frequently called on wealthy countries to welcome migrants and refugees, praised Iquique for having been a "land of dreams" for so many newcomers. And he urged Chile to continue to be a place of hospitality, employment and justice, especially for migrants, who are often exploited.

"Let us be attentive to the lack of steady employment, which destroys lives and homes," he said. "Let us be attentive to those who profit from the irregular status of many immigrants who don't know the language or who don't have their papers in order."

After the Mass, as his entourage headed back to Iquique, Francis had a scare when a police horse reared up just as his popemobile was passing by, throwing the rider and forcing the pope's driver to swerve slightly to get out of the way.

Francis, who wasn't hurt, had his driver stop so he could get out to check on the officer, described by the Vatican as a Chilean policewoman.

Francis stayed with her, bending down to speak with her, until an ambulance arrived. The Vatican said the rider remained conscious "and received some words of consolation from the Holy Father."

After she was taken away, Francis resumed his ride.

It was the second such incident in recent months. Francis got a black eye in Cartagena, Colombia, in September when his popemobile stopped short and he hit his head on the side rail. He cut his eyebrow and wore a cassock stained with a few drops of blood for the rest of the day.

Francis has insisted on using minimally covered popemobiles on his foreign visits so he can be close to his flock. But Thursday's incident again underscored his vulnerability in the open-sided vehicles that often pass through tight, crowded spaces.

Earlier in the trip, Francis was hit in the head with a flying object that someone in the crowd had thrown toward him. He wasn't hurt, and the Vatican later revealed the offending object: A rolled up canvas hat with the words "Pray for the Chilean family."

Francis' visit though ended on a sour note for many in Chile, as he was asked by a Chilean reporter about his controversial decision to appoint a bishop accused of helping keep quiet about the crimes of Chile's most prominent sexual abuser, the Rev. Fernando Karadima.

Francis said that until he sees proof that Bishop Juan Barros was complicit in covering up Karadima's crimes, accusations of complicity by the victims of against Barros are "all calumny."

Patricio Navia, political science professor at Diego Portales University in Santiago, said the comment will likely erase any good will the pope had won over the issue.

Labour MEPs defend PM over his dismissal of Socialist MEP’s tweet

Labour Members of European Parliament Miriam Dalli and Alfred Sant defended Prime Minister Joseph Muscat after the latter said that he does not react to comments made by MEPs, but only those made by prime ministers.

Replying to a question by The Malta Independent as to whether they feel the statement could  be interpreted as taking the work of MEPs lightly, MEP Alfred Sant expressed his opinion that Muscat is entitled to his own decisions on how to react to other people’s comments.

He told The Malta Independent “The PM is perfectly entitled to his own decision regarding how to comment and react to other people’s comments. There is certainly nothing out of this world in the rule he has actually adopted. I cannot see at all how it can be interpreted as taking the work of MEPs lightly.”

“Whoever interprets it in this way would seem to believe that the work of MEPs consists in simply sending facile and outrageous tweets, as was that sent by Ana Gomes”.

Similarly, MEP Miriam Dalli said, “I do not agree with the interpretation that the Prime Minister is taking the work of MEPs lightly. If it were the case, the Prime Minister would not have met the delegation during its visit to Malta. Likewise, the Prime Minister would not have appeared before the European Parliament to discuss the rule of law in Malta."

The third Labour MEP, Marlene Mizzi, did not answer questions sent by The Malta Independent.

'Politico' says European socialists 'start to call for Muscat's head'

'I only react to comments made by prime ministers' - Muscat

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