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What happened on... August 22

10, 25 and 50 years ago

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10 years ago - The Times

Friday, August 22, 2008

Massive aviation fuel spill kept secret for a week

Two Enemalta employees were suspended and their manager put on forced leave following a massive spill of aviation fuel at the corporation’s Wied Dalam plant in Birżebbuġa, which was kept under wraps for over a week. Around 31 tons of the fuel were spilled into Birżebbuġa valley from an underground storage facility during a fuel transfer. The corporation said  the staff manning the plant immediately initiated procedures to contain the spill and recover the fuel. However, hydrologist Marco Cremona says contamination of water in these cases is gauged in milligrams, which means that despite the clean-up, a spill of this scale presents a huge potential for contamination of the aquifer, particularly considering that the facility is underground.

Foundation says detractors are misleading the public

The St John’s Co-Cathedral Foundation has expressed serious concern over the proposal made by Flimkien għal Ambjent Aħjar and Friends of the Earth to utilise part of St John’s Co-Cathedral or its adjacent historical buildings as an exhibition space without conducting any sort of professional or technical research.

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25 years ago - The Sunday Times

Sunday, August 22, 1993

Egyptian claims Maltese run illegal immigrant racket

Prospective Third-World country immigrants who wanted to enter Italy illegally had to pay between $700 and $800 to a Maltese organisation which would take them to Sicily from Malta by boat, an Egyptian told the Milan daily Il Corriere della Sera.

The Egyptian, identified only as Abdul, said that, if the ‘client’ could swim, the price was $700 and he would be dropped some 100 metres off the coast, where­as if he was unable to swim, he would be charg­ed an extra $100 by the organisation boss to be landed, at the risk of being caught by Italian coast guards. The difference in price explained the  discovery of the bodies of 10 illegal immigrants found drowned on the southern shores of Sicily. The Egyptian was caught, with other would-be immigrants, as he tried to land illegally on the Sicilian coast between Pozzallo and Marina di Siracusa.

In his report, Giorgio Petta claims that every day many would-be clandestine immigrants arrive in Malta from Africa, the Middle East and Asia to be taken to Italy where they hope to find a better life. Petta describes the illegal immigrant transport racket as “involving millions of dollars” and says the business goes on as speedboats and fishing boats “run by Maltese bosses” land such people punctually every night.

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Half a century ago - Times of Malta

Thursday, August 22, 1968

British actress has unlucky holiday in Malta

It was a very unlucky holiday for British actress Sharon St John who is now recovering from an appendicitis operation at the Blue Sisters Hospital, St Julian’s. Ms St John, who arrived a week ago, originally planned to leave Malta yesterday for the UK for snow-ski lessons. She had been promised a part in a new James Bond film provided she learnt snow-skiing in time for the start of shooting in Switzerland next October.

But Dame Luck decided otherwise. A few days ago she felt a great pain but thought it was food poisoning. Her friend, however, called a taxi at 4 in the morning and Ms St John was rushed to the Blue Sisters Hospital where she had her appendix removed that same morning.

All her plans had to be cancelled. “I have to forget about the film now,” she said in an interview.

Her fiancé, Eddie Stacey, who ‘doubles’ in films, had to leave the island to double for Yul Brynner in a film being shot in London.

Man succumbs to injuries in  Qormi fireworks explosion

George Debattista, 53, who was seriously injured in a fireworks explosion at Qormi on Monday, died at St Luke’s Hospital yesterday.

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