Myth debunked: Bilingual children will not master either language

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Obituary: the Azure Window

The Azure Window, which has died after a long illness, was to Gozo what the Tower is to Pisa (in more ways than one).

It had the singular honour of appearing at least once on every page of every issue of Air Malta’s in-flight magazine. It served actively and with full honours in the Tired Adjective Regiment, a unit that included a number of famous, ico­nic, renowned, landmark, gem and breathtaking names in its ranks. It rubbed shoulders with the unfortunately named Fungus Rock, the coastal Inland Sea, a quarry, a shanty town, a car park and several purveyors of fine hot dogs.

Born into a family of Lower Coralline limestone about 30 million years ago, the window was a late starter. For much of its life, the best it could hope for by way of company was nesting sparrows and one or two brave fishermen. It really only came into its own when its ability to make visitors part with their money became clear. A good part of that power was down to nature, which had made it look man-made (like a window, in fact). Rather like sculptural cactus, the Azure Window sat bet­ween nature and culture. And, when the signs began to show of the malady that would end its life, people weren’t sure whether to leave it alone, as they might a work of nature, or restore it, as they would a crumbling church.


Above: The Azure Window at the turn of the last century, when it still showed little sign of terminal illness.

Towards the end, it became clear that the thousands of tonnes of hard rock would not withstand the weight of a human body. To as much as tread on the window was made a hanging offence – though not on the spot, which would have defea­ted the purpose. Astonishingly, when the time did finally come, it was the thousands of tonnes of sea that shuffled it off.

The Azure Window is survived by a heartbroken Prime Minister, four inspired ministers and a sniggering public. Its place on the tentative Eighth Wonder list has been taken by Ta’ Pinu Church.
Mark Anthony Falzon ( via The Sunday Times 12th March, 2017)

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News Media Must Up Their Game Or Trump Will Run The Show

“Journalists covering the White House must always be at the top of their game: tenacious, fearless and dedicated to a fair accounting of the truth. But the Trump presidency will challenge them like no other in our lifetime.”

Canadian veteran journalist Sean Mallen tries to decypher Donald Trump’s relationship with the media.  I made Sean’s acquantance when I produced his ENG live segments during the last Cardinals’ Conclave which elected Pope Francis from St. Peter’s Square in Rome, Italy.

Sean Mallen had an award-winning career of more than 3 decades covering stories from coast to coast and around the world, principally for Global News. He was Queen’s Park Correspondent, Host-Producer of Focus Ontario and the London-based Europe Bureau Chief for Global National. He is a multiple winner of the RTNDA award, including a citation for coverage of referendum night in Montreal in 1995. He has covered several federal, provincial and municipal elections going back to the 1980s. The many international stories he has covered include the Royal Wedding, the Eurocrisis in Greece, the Arab Spring in Egypt, Vladimir Putin’s re-election as president, the Costa Concordia disaster, the last Papal Conclave and both the Athens and London Olympics. He is now a communications consultant in Toronto, specializing in strategic communications. speech writing and high level media training. He is also an award winning travel writer with articles published in the Toronto Star, Post Media papers and other publications.

Read his full article on link below:

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A course in Photography is being organised, which will give participants a sound basis to increase one’s learning and enjoyment of the medium.

This popular course is specifically aimed at persons wishing to make fast, practical inroads into photographic enjoyment. Read more on the link below

“Foundation Course” is being done under the auspices of the MIPP and caters for the enthusiastic  beginner who wants to learn how to control his camera better,

understand better photographic terminology, improve his  pictures as well as grasp the fundamentals of photography. The course is also suitable for students doing their System of Knowledge projects.


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My friend in photography and a fellow Nikonista, Keith Ellul, has been interviewed for the website THE MALTESE GALLERY. See the video below to appreciate his work, his thinking process and inspiration.

Keith Ellul, 37, lives in San Gwann, Malta. He works in the automotive industry as a Spare Parts Manager. He considers himself to be a simple person who loves photography, and enjoys spending his free time in the early mornings by the sea, where he finds peace and balance from his daily routine in today’s hectic life – which is a challenge, as he also has to balance the responsibilities of a full-time job and the demanding role of a parent and a husband, not to mention all the other things that life throws at you. Photography has grown to be more than just a hobby for him, and has now become a fully-fledged passion.


Visit also THE MALTESE GALLERY’s interview here:

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Rough seas chip away at Azure Window

It is a pity to see such an iconic Maltese landmark on Gozo’s coastline being eroded so fast by the forces of nature. Whilst honestly feeling deep down that it was inevitable over time that it would happen like so and disappear forever, it only exemplifies the awesome inmeasurable powers of mother nature in the face of our frail humanity.

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05/01/17 – The Coldstream Guards were joined by the world’s smallest Guardsman at Windsor Castle: watch to the end.

Video contributed by Guardsman Lall, via British Army in London – HQ London District’s social media webpage on FACEBOOK, at URL

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Cold snap hits Malta: put on pyjamas & get cosy under a quilt



Put on pyjamas and get cosy under a quilt, health officials tell elderly

Cold snap hits Malta:
Be sure to stay warm, health officials have told the elderly.

Put on slippers and pyjamas, snuggle up under a quilt and be sure to have a heater running, the Health Standards directorate has urged elderly people.

Malta is currently in the throes of a cold snap that is expected to drag the mercury down to 5ºC tomorrow, and health officials are particularly concerned about the impact the cold could have on elderly citizens.

Elderly people should:
– Ensure rooms are no colder than 21ºC during the day and 18ºC at night
– Keep enough heaters, blankets and quilts handy to stay warm
– Wear pyjamas and slippers
– Avoid the outdoors, coffee and alcohol
– Eat regular meals, drink warm drinks and wear layers of clothing

A circular with this advice has been sent to elderly people’s homes, the directorate said.

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TV news filming ethics code at funerals



“. . .  Appalling to see that One News dispatched a camera crew to film the funeral of a traffic accident victim.

At a stretch, it could be justified in filming the departure of the cortege, and the race cars that followed it – friends of the deceased – but surely not inside the church?

The family of Matthew Azzopardi demonstrated admirable restraint as high-wattage lamps and TV cameras were trained on their grief-stricken faces, while they said their final farewells to a son and brother taken too soon. 

Ghoulish voyeurism and mawkish sentimentality wrapped up in the paper-thin defence of “it’s a public event” or “it’s a human interest story” may get ratings and clicks, but they do not a news item make. 

Only in the topsy-turvy parallel universe that is Malta is it OK to make a media circus out of a person’s funeral simply because that person’s death had been mentioned in the news.

Hyenas. Isthu jekk tafu kif. . . .”




Guidelines for Covering Funerals

When journalists cover funerals, they must do so with the highest degree of sensitivity and professionalism. Although stories of funerals can be deeply moving, newsworthy and even healing for an audience, there is great potential for journalists to intrude on a family’s privacy and cause pain to already vulnerable people.

What is the journalistic purpose? Beyond the emotions of the event, why is this funeral newsworthy? What do we expect to hear and/or see that our public needs to know? What motivations do you have for covering the service?

Who is the individual? Is this person a public figure or well known? The coverage of the funeral of a head of state or a well-known figure can be important to the grieving and healing process of a community.

What were the circumstances of the death? The death of a person who has lived a long and productive life is commemorated differently from the death of a young person or a person killed in an act of violence or negligence.

How welcome is media coverage? Surviving families often request and should be given privacy in their time of grief. However, sometimes families want media coverage so the deceased will not die anonymously. If the family requests your presence or grants coverage of the service, tell your audience so they know you have permission.

How to approach the surviving family: When requesting to cover a funeral, consider using a third party, such as a family friend, funeral director or member of the clergy, to approach the family for permission. Once you have the family’s permission, the funeral home or clergy may be a better contact for helping to determine your coverage plan.

Minimize intrusion: Pooling arrangements can minimize the number of journalists who have to be inside the place of worship or funeral home. Electronic devices, such as small, wireless microphones and cameras that operate in low light and have long zoom lenses, can minimize the need for journalists to be intrusive while recording a funeral service. Journalists can also get close-ups of flowers, candles and other useful shots before anyone arrives. Journalists covering funerals should dress appropriately, plan to arrive early and stay until the service is completed. Photojournalists should minimize their physical movement inside the service and do their work as unobtrusively as possible.

How can we tell the story without pictures? Consider alternatives to covering the actual service. Consider telling the story, for example, with the service audio running over exterior pictures of building where the service is being held.

Minimize harm: Be judicious in selecting the images you show on the air and the sound you use in the story. How would you justify the use of people crying, collapsing or grieving? What alternatives have you considered to using those highly intrusive images? If you cover the funeral service, do you also have to cover the graveside service, which can be even more emotional for those involved? How will you use the images in your newscast headlines, teases and promotions? Minimize the use of highly charged adjectives such as “tragic, emotional, painful and tearful.”

Bud Spencer's funeral at the basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto in Roma – better known as the Chiesa degli artists, 30 June 2016 (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

Bud Spencer’s funeral at the basilica of Santa Maria in Montesanto in Roma – better known as the Chiesa degli artists, 30 June 2016 (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Cold weather alert


Cold weather alert


A spell of cold weather is expected over the coming days and temperatures are expected to drop significantly. The effects of cold can be severe, in particular for those who are over 65 years, have a long term illness, or are not mobile.
It is advisable that those in the above category to have plenty of warm food and drinks and to try to maintain indoor temperatures to at least 18degrees. Drawing the window curtains at dusk will help to keep the heat in. If mobility isn’t an issue, it is also advisable to keep active.
This is also the time to think about how the cold temperatures may affect your friends and family, particularly if they are older, living alone, very young or have long term health conditions as they are particularly at risk from the ill-effects of cold. Think now what you could do to help them and ensure they have access to warm food, drinks and managing to heat their homes adequately.
The Ministry for Health reminds that the seasonal flu vaccine is still available free of charge for all Maltese residents and is available from all Health Centres.

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