Malta has alternately been influenced by
British and Italian culture. It was not until the 19th
century that its own Maltese literature was developed.
The capital city of Valletta, which is included on the
UN agency UNESCO World Heritage List, has an interesting
architecture with both European and Arab influences.
Valletta has been elected European Capital of Culture
An early nationalist writer who praised the Maltese
people was Mikiel Anton Vassali. He was followed in the
late 1800s by romantics like Gan Vasallo, Dwardu Cachia
and Guze Muscat Azzopardi. The 20th century poet Dun
Karm wrote poems in a national, democratic spirit. His
most famous poem L-Innu Malti is the text of
Malta's national anthem.
Latest population statistics of Malta, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Art music has close ties to Italy, while folk music
has grown under the influence of both North Africa and
Southern Europe. In the past, bagpipes and drums were
often played in the context of folk music. Nowadays,
guitars and tinplate instruments are more common.
The architecture of Valletta derives from the Roman
Catholic Johannite Knights, who had their headquarters
in Malta from 1530 to 1798 (see Ancient History).
Europe's foremost architects and builders then flocked
to the island to build the capital. The building art
also shows traces of Arabic architecture. During the
time of the Johannite Knights, many exiled artists also
arrived, whose decorations of houses and churches can
still be seen. One of them was the Italian Michelangelo
Merisi da Caravaggio or Caravaggio alone. At the Museum
of Fine Arts in Valletta you can see works from the
early Renaissance to modern times.
In addition to Valletta, Malta has two more world
heritage sites: an underground chamber from 2500 BC and
seven ancient stone temples.
The popular traditions are closely intertwined with
Catholicism. Each village has a saint who is regularly
celebrated with processions and fireworks. The largest
folk festival, imnarja, takes place on June 29
every year. Thousands of Maltese gather for singing
competitions (ghana) and picnic with fried
rabbit. The annual carnival in Valletta with its large
dance performances also attracts large crowds.
Investigation frees Prime Minister Muscat from corruption suspicions
The one-year investigation by a judge in the country has found no evidence
that Joseph Muscat was guilty of financial crime in connection with the scandal
surrounding the so-called Panama Papers. Nor is there anything to suggest that
his wife, one of his close advisers or the Minister of Tourism, Konrad Mizzi has
been guilty of corruption. Muscat had promised to resign if the investigation
had indicated that the accusations made by former opposition leader Simon
Busuttil following the murder of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia last year.
Rescue vessels are prevented from leaving Valletta
Two vessels assisting migrants / asylum seekers in the sea are being
prevented by the port authorities from leaving the port of Valletta. The captain
of one ship, Lifeline, was arrested at the end of June, but has now been
released against the bail. Prosecutors allege that he brought command of a ship
that is not properly registered. The German organization Sea-Watch, which owns
the second rescue vessel, says the decision to keep them in Valetta is part of a
political campaign to prevent them from rescue operations at sea. At the same
time, the UN refugee agency UNHCR reports that up to 300 people are feared to
have died in the Mediterranean in just the last four days. According to IOM,
1,000 people have lost their lives since the beginning of the year when they
tried to get to Europe by boat.
Malta receives migrant ships
After a few days earlier, together with Italy, having rejected a ship owned
by a German aid organization, with over 200 migrants on board, Malta is
changing. The ship is allowed to add to Valletta after several EU countries,
including Italy and France, agreed to help Malta receive the asylum seekers who
are on board. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat says those who have asylum will be
allowed to stay in the country.
Voting rights from 16 years
Decides to lower the age to vote for 16 years; The new voting age will apply
for the first time in the 2019 European elections.
Migration problems in focus for EU countries in the south
Leaders of seven EU countries in southern Europe (Spain, Cyprus, France,
Greece, Italy, Malta and Portugal) gather for a summit in Rome. There, they make
a joint statement expressing their support for the EU's common migration policy.
They have agreed that the EU needs to strengthen its external border guarding,
fight human smuggling and do more to address problems in migrants' home
countries. They call on all EU countries to do more to help those countries
receiving the most asylum seekers / migrants.