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New JEF president calls for “more united Europe”

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The newly elected president of the Maltese branch of JEF (Jeunes Européens Fédéralistes), Brendan Zerafa, said that Europe should go “beyond a nation state mentality”.

Zerafa said that his organization is about creating a federative Europe. “This means that we want Europe to include both a state level and a national level,” he said. “We believe that there are some things, like foreign policy, that the EU should take care of and others, like education, that should remain in the hands of the member states.”

“As JEF Malta we advocate a social Europe more than other JEF branches do,” Zerafa said. “This is because Malta’s used to a strong social service.”

“Ultimately JEF is all about advocating democracy, human rights, and a united Europe.”

JEF Malta held  its Annual General Meeting on Thursday, where the outgoing executive were replaced by a unanimously elected new set of members. Having had an important and word-laden scholastic year, in which the MEP elections dominated most of the organization’s agenda, the outgoing JEF Malta President, Christopher Scicluna, labelled the year as a “success” for the organization. He advised the incoming executive members to “follow the footsteps of your predecessors” and “work foremost for the benefit of the organization, and not for private gain.” The outgoing Secretary General, Isaac Zammit, then gave a lowdown of the activities organized by the executive over the past year, such as the JEF BBQ, their involvement in the Freshed Up Party for University freshers, and most notably the three MEP debates which were organised in University, ITS and MCAST respectively. These debates were attended by a large number of students and involved participation from several MEP Candidates from the three largest parties.

Brendan Zerafa briefly outlined his main aims for the next scholastic year; primarily, the raising of awareness of more technical and in-depth European and national issues, ranging from drug decrimilization to the signing of the Euro-American Free Trade Agreement. His intention is for people to start getting informed, and more importantly, to have an informed opinion on these important matters.

Zerafa emphasized that the newly created post of Events Coordinator will help to create more social events and that JEF Malta, thanks to more sponsorships and EU grants, will also have a profitable margin.

The newly elected executive are as follows:

President: Brendan Zerafa

Vice-President: Isaac Zammit

Secretary General: Jake Azzopardi

Assistant Secretary General: Matthias Camilleri

Financial Officer: Joey Reno Vella

Public Relations Officer: Stefan Cutajar

Projects Manager: Alessandra Baldacchino

Events Coordinator: Roberta Briffa

International Officer: Emma Farrugia

Board Member: Isaac Spiteri

 

We at Insite would like to wish all the newly Elected JEFfers congratulations and the best of luck in the upcoming year.

 

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Tourism students praise ‘green’ hotels

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The Tourism Studies’ Association (TSA) has praised the Le Meridian Hotel and the Westin Dragonara Resort for being certified with the International Eco Label, titled the Green Key.

The Green Key is awarded to hotels deemed most eco-friendly in the way they make use of sustainable resources and employ an environmentally-conscious staff.

The TSA said that these two awards “put Malta on the green map and will certainly boost high quality tourists who have the natural environment at heart to Malta.”

“[The Green Key award] helps Malta’s tourism in general,” the TSA said. “This is shown by the media and by Tourism Minister Edward Zammit Lewis himself giving importance to this news.”

“This also proves that tourism and the environment can go hand in hand with sustainability. We encourage more hotels to become more environmentally friendly.”

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New canteen operator next year

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An anonymous source has confirmed with Insiteronline that the University canteen will be under new management as from next year. An official announcement is expected to be made this week.

Speculation arose after major works in the canteen were observed and several benches outside Students’ House were packed up in a van and removed from the University Quadrangle. Vending machines owned by JM operations, the previous occupiers of the canteen, have also been removed from the University grounds.

The source told Insiteronline that JM operations were the only company to have applied when the initial tender for canteen was released but that their application was shot down since they failed to “fill it in properly”.

The source went on to inform us that the University issued a fresh call for tenders but that no company applied. The University is now in a process of negotiating with other parties of its own accord and a decision as to who will run the canteen as from next year is expected to be made early on this week.

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Maltese students in foreign law schools

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Seven members of ELSA Malta, the Maltese branch of the European law students’ association, are currently attending summer law schools in Dublin (Ireland), Vienna (Austria), San Sebastian (Spain), and Brasov (Romania). This forms part of ELSA’s International Summer Law School programme.

“We have an international network of more than 200 law faculties in 35 countries across Europe,” ELSA Malta said. “In order to provide law students with an opportunity to gain legal knowledge and practical experience in different specific fields of law, a number of ELSA groups each year organize law schools all over Europe.”

Students at these summer schools are studying corporate finance and law, dispute resolution, competition law, and energy law.

 

 

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MMSA ‘concerned’ after doctors register industrial dispute

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The Malta Medical Students’ Association (MMSA) is concerned at the industrial dispute that was announced today by the Medicine Association of Malta (MAM).

Earlier today, the MAM filed a judicial protest against the renewal of the collective agreement for the University of Malta’s academic staff. They said that they should have been involved in negotiations and that the University of Malta Academic Staff Association (UMASA) doesn’t represent the medical school’s academic staff.

As part of MAM’s industrial directives, medical school lecturers will not be allowed to deliver lectures or tutorials. If the dispute isn’t resolved by the beginning of October, the MAM warned that the medical school will not open its doors next year.

The MMSA encouraged all stakeholders to come up with a quick compromise to prevent this from happening.

“While we understand that such a scenario will only occur in an extreme situation, such comments may cause distress to the medical students currently studying in Malta,” the MMSA said.

 

 

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KSU and Pulse lock horns at first KPS meeting

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The University Students’ Council (KSU) expressed its disappointment at Pulse for communicating with UMASA during the collective agreement issue, when Pulse had said that they will let KSU settle the issue themselves.

This discussion came about during a Social Policy (KPS) meeting organised today at Skyparks, the first of a series of meetings aimed at informing and getting feedback from the over 50 University organisations.

KSU president Gayle Lynn Callus demanded an explanation from any Pulse representatives who were present.

Joseph Masini, for Pulse, said they felt UMASA was the central stakeholder in the negotiations, and believed communicating with them personally would ease negotiations. In response, Callus said that he hopes Pulse consults KSU whenever it decides to take similar steps in the future.

This all occurred during a presentation, planned to have a small part on the agenda, about KSU’s reaction to the collective agreement that was settled a few days ago.

The aim of this first KPS meeting was to launch the Speak Up campaign with representatives from University organisations. Seven different committees will be meeting from mid August as part of this project, which will be discussing topics like migration and drug decriminalization.

The two main sub-committees, that will be drawing up preliminary reports throughout the scholastic year, will address health and the environment.

Becky Micallef, Social Policy Commissioner, acknowledged Insite for suggesting the creation of a committee to discuss the right to privacy, after controversy that emerged earlier this year about Vodafone giving information about their clients to the police.

Social Policy Coordinator Andrew Muscat opened discussions about the possibility of live streaming future meetings, and of establishing a KSU core group. Both issues will be addressed further in the next KPS meeting.

Maria Micallef, on behalf of the Victim Support Group, was also present at the meeting. She gave a short presentation about the NGO’s plans to collaborate with KSU and any other interested organisations.

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