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.

http://www.timesofmalta.com/mobile/articles/view/20170107/local/rough-seas-chip-away-at-azure-window.635803

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THE WORLD’S SMALLEST GUARDSMAN

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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 https://www.facebook.com/ArmyInLondon/videos/1305778586152284

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

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(FROM THE TIMES)

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

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A COLLEAGUE OF MINE EXPRESSED HIS DISGUST AT A LOCAL MALTESE TV STATION’S COVERAGE OF A TRAFFIC ACCIDENT’S VICTIM. HIS COMMENTS SAY IT ALL. FURTHER BELOW ARE WELL PRACTISED AND DIVULGED MEDIA COVERAGE GUIDELINES FOR COVERING FUNERALS, WHICH SOME FOLKS ARE NOT TAUGHT ABOUT ON CAMPUS OR BY THEIR RESPECTIVE NEWSROOMS:

“. . .  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. . . .”

 

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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


PRESS RELEASE ISSUED BY THE MINISTRY FOR HEALTH 

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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2017’s challenges are the remaining ailments of 2016

We are barely into the new year, and 2017 already poses itself in my eyes to be no better than 2016.

Am not just referring to the Maltese road deaths’ statistics, which notched their first victim in the earliest hours of the new year, but rather to the helpless sense of security at an international level when we see the terrorist attacks successfully perpetrated against the reveling civil society in Turkey over these festive holidays.

Admittedly, nobody feels safe travelling to anywhere these days, on both sides of the Atlantic pond, and especially to places in the Arab world or elsewhere beyond the known powers of democracy or Western cultures’ values and morals on life, decency and other we take so much for granted here.

Naturally, it is easy to blame the major powers’ interventions by proxy in several hotspots, by stoking the animosity between factions, by labeling one party as more righteous, deserving or legitimate than the other/s on the opposite side. And that not just by podium spewed rhetoric, but also by providing weapons, consultant boots-on-the-ground expertise and associated top notch hardware, or economic sanctions to ball bust one side through resolutions and proclamations.

On the other hand, the new trendy neo-liberalism of treehugging orators are sacrificing basic centuries honed notions of national security for sake of political correctness, embracing anybody anytime anyhow running away from such zones of upheaval and strife.

That in all this mess of humanity, the upsurging economic prosperity of some around us and ourselves isn’t bothering us in the least as being a temporary bubble of financial opiate giving us a high,  is really blissfully procrastinating the doom and gloom which history teaches when it comes round its full circle.


And some wise folks are so stockpiling for such emergencies, just like the threat of a nuclear holocaust is round the corner: be it tinned foodstuffs or fuels, it’s also ammunition, weapons and bog rolls too. World War Z virus apocalyptic scenarios and general world pandemonium panic immediately spring to mind.

Scenes of school age kids, brandishing weapons and dressed up in militant uniforms, instead of the tools of learning and play are not reassuring either. We are not preparing them in the Western world for what some powers are secretly harping at in their secret agendas.

J’accuse the younger generations as being the “playstation generation”, of not being capable of thinking without tech or perform without tech, when fire can be made by rubbing two sticks and information researched also in plain books without the ease or speed of Google!


Am so thinking we have given up, favouring the quick and easy fix instead of the character building ways that sorted the weak from the strong. Muzzling in the statement on facts is just like denying  freedom of speach.

Those modifying societal behaviours are textbook supressors of reality of the grim Orwellian kind. The quick branding of messengers by deriding them or the thoughts and observations made doesn’t cancel events from history or manage to muzzle other minds to voice things out. Fact remains, the liberty of speach is the right to tell people simply what they don’t want to hear.

Enough from me: I’ll end my rant here for now, as too much negativity is bad for the soul and spirit! Yet, read more from Prof. Stephen Hawking on this link in the Guardian (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/01/stephen-hawking-dangerous-time-planet-inequality?CMP=fb_gu)

But, heck: I promised more here and this is one effort!

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Best wishes for 2017

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Farewell to a friend and mentor

More about Lino Arrigo Azzopardi from my esteemed colleague Darrin Zammit Lupi

Darrin Zammit Lupi's Blog

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A good friend passed away today.  Lino Arrigo Azzopardi, an Associated Press photographer here in Malta for many years, passed away aged 77 after a battle with cancer, a battle which destroyed his health and his body, but not his sense of humour and his joyful, funny character traits.  He was one of a kind, a chap I learnt so much from, particularly in my early days as an incoming wire photographer.  Though we worked for competing agencies, that never got in the way of helping each other out – sometimes it might have been helping with equipment technical issues, or passing on a few image negatives when one of us missed an event, or tip-offs.

lino-and-i_1998Lino and I at the Office of the Prime Minister in 1998, waiting for the newly-elected prime minister to arrive after winning the general elections.

He’d cheated death before, having had a narrow escape in…

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MY MENTOR & MASTER NEWS PRESS PHOTOGRAPHER DIES WITH OTHER 2016 GREATS

LINO ARRIGO AZZOPARDI WAS NOT JUST A NEWS PRESS PHOTOGRAPHY COLLEAGUE, HE WAS MY MASTER MENTOR SINCE THE FIRST DAY I GOT ASSIGNED BY MY HEADQUARTERS TO HANDLE & COORDINATE PRESS MEDIA RELATIONS BETWEEN THE MALTESE MILITARY AND THE NUMEROUS  LOCAL AND FOREIGN PRESS ORGANISATIONS, AT THE HEIGHT OF THE MIGRATION CRISIS WHICH HAD STARTED IN 2002.

Lino passed away overnight at age 77, always the staunch fighter till the end that he was, and the Maltese press corps this morning woke up to the shared sad and shocking news via the ubiquitous FACEBOOK social media platform.

A CAPTURE I HAD MADE OF LINO IN HIS STUDIO AT HOME, DURING SEVERAL LENS AND DSLR BODY RIG TESTS. HE WAS, AS MUCH AS I REMAIN, A GADGET FREAK WHO PERSISTED IN LEARNING NEW TECHNOLOGIES.

A CAPTURE I HAD MADE OF LINO IN HIS STUDIO AT HOME, DURING SEVERAL LENS AND DSLR BODY RIG TESTS. HE WAS, AS MUCH AS I REMAIN, A GADGET FREAK WHO PERSISTED IN LEARNING NEW TECHNOLOGIES.

As a news press photographer, Lino saw the majority of his full time working life with the Department of Information within the Prime Minister’s office between 1958 and 1983. The Institute of Maltese Journalists has described him in its tribute message, as an example of professionalism and as a man who was  – and will remain – an inspiration to all journalists.

His photos captured some of Malta’s most historical moments and memorable events, like Malta’s Independence celebrations back in 1964  and our Island nation’s accession to the European Union way back in 2004.

On social media posts shared amongst friends and former work mates, one sentiment was common: “Everyone who knew him, will definitely carry fond memories”. Many of us, his colleagues, remember him as a jovial, but dedicated and professional photographer.

In March 14, 2001, whilst on an overseas assignment covering a state visit and forming part of a motorcade carrying then President Guido de Marco, he was seriously injured when a truck crashed into the convoy on its way towards Sofia.

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SOFIA, MARCH 2001: A GOODS TRUCK SLAMS INTO A MALTESE PRESIDENTIAL MOTORCADE, SERIOUSLY INJURING LINO ARRIGO AZZOPARDI & KILLING A BULGARIAN CLOSE-PROTECTION OFFICER.

Doctors gave him a 25% chance of survival, and he was put into an induced coma, spending six weeks in intensive care before eventually pulling through. He had been airlifted to St. Luke’s Hospital, where it was discovered that the impact had left him with multiple fractures from the neck to legs, broken ribs and, most seriously, a chest haemorrhage.

Though it nearly knocked the life out of him, Lino often privately conceded and shared with me that it was impossible to recover to 100% full shipshape condition after such an ordeal, and at his age it was doubly difficult. So it was always admirable seeing him at major press events, hauling photo gear kit and snapping away to transmit his shots to AP or EPA in his typical “mucho rapido” manner.

LINO AT THE JUNIOR EUROVISION MALTA, AT THE FORMER MALTA SHIP BUILDING YARDS: it was always admirable seeing him at major press events, hauling photo gear kit and snapping away to transmit his shots to AP or EPA in his typical

LINO AT THE JUNIOR EUROVISION MALTA, AT THE FORMER MALTA SHIP BUILDING YARDS: it was always admirable seeing him at major press events, hauling photo gear kit and snapping away to transmit his shots to AP or EPA in his typical “mucho rapido” manner.

Like many of our mutual colleague friends, I will remember Lino for his great sense of humour, something he maintained until his last days. However, I will also remember him most for being there for me at all hours of the day or night, for putting me on the right track and giving endless golden feedback after covering an event or on life’s problem handling as I went through my own rough patches at work or at home. His steadfast and unwaning wife Jane would keep us both well taken care of in his Sta. Lucia studio at home, with her cute sandwiches and biscuits with plenty cups of warm tea.

LINO ARRIGO AZZOPARDI

LINO ARRIGO AZZOPARDI

Lino had notched many historical events in his life’s work portfolio: there was Prime Minister George Borg Olivier’s declaration of Independence, the appointment of Sir Anthony Mamo as the first Maltese president, and Prime Minister’s Dom Mintoff’s famous lighting of the torch at the Freedom Monument in Vittoriosa.

MediaToday’s managing editor Saviour Balzan today said in an online report  “I recall the time when Eddie Fenech Adami visited Tony Blair before Malta’s accession to the EU, Arrigo was standing in front of Downing Street calling on the two protagonists to look at him and smile, as he snapped away. He was professional, helpful and always a jovial character.”

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During Pope Ratzinger’s visit to Malta I vividly recall his stationing himself on the press media’s stand which was located at the back of Rabat’s town square, under the Health Centre’s balcony where I was filming from, and right opposite the church facade. He was flanked by Matthew Mirabelli and Ben Borg Cardona, respectively from The Times of Malta and Agencie France Press. We complained throughout that the stand was a wobbly affair and was really not giving decent pic snaps under the square’s low light conditions. Little did we realise then, that the only shrewd fellow amongst us working like a cool cucumber was Lino, seated on a camping stool and firing away like a Normandy Beach wartime machine-gunner. The rest of us mortals had been standing throughout, and causing most of the vibrations themselves on the stand . . . go figure!

From left to right: Lino Arrigo Azzopardi, Karl Stagno Navarra, and Ruth Castillo, heading out to sea in an AFM patrol boat's bridge, to cover an illegal immigration event, one of many between years 2002 and 2012. And I recall, as the military Public Affairs Officer escorting them, that everyone was missing cellphone connectivity out there to transmit their journalism products.

Another pic snap of mine, from left to right: Lino Arrigo Azzopardi, Karl Stagno Navarra, and Ruth Castillo, heading out to sea in an AFM patrol boat’s bridge, to cover an illegal immigration event, one of many between years 2002 and 2012. And I recall, as the military Public Affairs Officer escorting them, that everyone was missing cellphone connectivity out there to transmit their journalism products.

The Malta Football Association (MFA) said that Lino had long been an accredited news press photographer with them, attending several soccer games over the years on the pitch line. They said he was a man of a few words who always helped everybody with his photography, not only the association.

After Lino had become a freelancer, working for overseas agencies as the Malta-based stringer for the Associated Press (AP) and the European Pressphoto Agency (EPA), he was also contracted as the official photographer for presidents Dr. Ugo Mifsud Bonnici, Prof. Guido de Marco and Dr. Eddie Fenech Adami.

He knackered himself to provide the usual prompt and quality service of news press photography turnaround, and that despite the help of a foreign novice sent by one overseas agency to help him out.

He knackered himself to provide the usual prompt and quality service of news press photography turnaround, and that despite the help of a foreign novice sent by one overseas agency to help him out.

Lino’s most recent major assignment was the CHOGM summit, held in Malta last year. He knackered himself to provide the usual prompt and quality service of news press photography turnaround, and that despite the help of a foreign novice sent by one overseas agency to help him out.

LINO ARRIGO AZZOPARDI, HARD AT WORK DOING THE NEWS PRESS PHOTOGRAPHY TURNAROUND'S POST-EDITING OF CAPTURED SHOTS, ALONGSIDE KURT SANSONE DURING THE CHOGM 2015 SUMMIT MEETING, AT THE FORT ST. ELMO PRESS CENTRE. THIS WAS TO BE LINO'S LAST MAJOR GIG.

LINO ARRIGO AZZOPARDI, HARD AT WORK DOING THE NEWS PRESS PHOTOGRAPHY TURNAROUND’S POST-EDITING OF CAPTURED SHOTS, ALONGSIDE KURT SANSONE DURING THE CHOGM 2015 SUMMIT MEETING, AT THE FORT ST. ELMO PRESS CENTRE. THIS WAS TO BE LINO’S LAST MAJOR GIG.

He hung his press card some time after that, finally deciding to call it a day; and he even phoned me up before he sent his letter of intent to Paul Azzopardi  who was taking over as the new Director at the Dept. of Information. Lino was moved to tears I recall with Paul’s response letter, which was overwhelmingly brimming with heaped praise and thanks for the years of service Lino had given to Maltese news press photography’s chronicling of history and its varied events.

Lino’s funeral will be held on Thursday at 8:30am at the Santa Lucija Parish Church.


Ode to my Mentor

A mentor,
A guide,
A trainer,
A friend,
A person to help you get better and stronger,
to help you achieve your goal,
without them we are lost,
unable to progress,
as I came in
new to the game
lagging behind the rest,
but my mentor stood beside me
until i could catch up with the rest
My mentor was always there
even when I couldn’t keep up with the rest,

Mentors are like the light
illuminating the path to take,
without them we are in the dark
cold and alone,
mentors are our friends
sticking with us until the ends,
mentors are our salvation
leading to victory and success,
mentors are like the rays of the sun
shining down on us with knowledge and experience,
mentors are the people who watch over us
and wish only for our success,

The same is with me,
my mentor guided me and taught me how to play,
he showed me the ropes and tricks of the game,
so I may have fun with my friends,
without him i would be lost,
wandering in the dark.

    – Anon.

SEE PART 3 OF A RECENT TV CHAT SHOW’S INTERVIEW WITH LINO, WHICH COVERED HIS CAREER IN NEWS PRESS PHOTOGRAPHY 

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Christmas service accidentally prints words to Tupac’s ‘Hail Mary’ instead of carol

The rapper’s last single explores the issues of mortality, violence, and sex Rex Features

Around 1,000 programmes containing explicit lyrics shared at one of the biggest Catholic Christmas services in Sri Lanka

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/christmas-carol-service-mixup-accidentally-publishes-rap-song-hail-mary-tupac-columbo-sri-lanka-a7494956.html%3Famp?client=safari

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