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PROPERTY & LIFE MAGAZINE Property, Business, Investments & Lifestyles

Issue 02 – Nov/Dec 2012

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EDITOR’S NOTE Firstly, a big thanks goes to all our customers, print and web readers. Your support following our first issue of the Property & Life Magazine and the positive feedback received is highly valued. We intend to listen to your esteemed comments. Many business leaders are just too busy these days. They tend to spend more time thinking about themselves, rather than use that time thinking about their employees, the bottom line, goals and strategies. You, maybe? By spending so much time on the “work” aspect, they tend to get more physically and emotionally drained than leaders who take time to breath and build relationships. As a result, these “leaders” begin to avoid their relationships, become irritable, aggressive and close-minded. In, Wired For Success, Ray Williams listed a number of key elements to becoming more mindful: Pay attention; Be non-judging: Have patience; Be in the present moment; Non-reactive (mindful); Have beginner’s mind; Trust. These are also fundamentals which European leaders should ingratiate in when they come to tackle the eurozone crisis. If what’s left of the euro is to be saved, we will need new thinking about the way the European Union works. Our lives are much different than were the lives our grandparents 75 or 100 years ago, a time when people would gather around a table or sit on the front porch in the evening, sip tea, and visit about their day. What they were doing was relaxing and, while not in a very structured way, they were reflecting on their day. We all know that this type of reflection works because it allows us the space, time, or opportunity to reflect. As you sit down to read this issue, we hope you will reflect upon the impact of our exclusive cover story about the GasanZammit merger, a strategic alliance between two of Malta’s foremost automobile leviathans. In this edition, we maintain our editorial policies of bringing you high profile and enrapturing interviews, among which we feature Malta’s new EU Commissioner Dr Tonio Borg, Airmalta CEO Peter Davies, MTA’s CEO Josef Formosa Gauci and Dr Nadine Delicata. We also bring you special features, a case study and prestigious contributions by leading experts such as Architect Konrad Buhagiar and Sara Grech. End of year is just round the corner and it’s that time when we all start to recap all facts and figures, counting our successes and failures of 2012. On behalf of the Editorial Board, I wish our readers a healthy 2013, trusting we may maintain the economic rhythm which allows us regain market growth as soon as possible. Martin Vella Editor-in-Chief

CONTENTS PROPERTY & LIFE MAGAZINE 06 Cover Story Two Legacies One Ambition… To Bring You More Value


A corporate Interview with GasanZammit Motors Ltd CEO Stefan Deguara on the newly merged automotive and marine company

10 Creating a Cultural Revolution

An exclusive one-to-one interview with Air Malta’s CEO Peter Davies

14 Expanding Regional Cooperation


We interview Malta newly nominated EU Commissioner Dr Tonio Borg in the wake of the 5+5 summit

17 Rebuilding Stability

Exclusive takes with French PM Francois Hollande and Italian PM Mario Monti

13 Cliimate and Identity

City Gate Project Architect Konrad Buhagiar writes about Architecture in Malta from Renaissance to Renzo Piano

26 Special Feature


Editor’s Choice Eating – We focus on five fine dining restaurants

20 Auto Reviews

A new concept on test drives featuring the new Honda Civic and the Volvo V40 (p.33)

34 Measuring Results


An rare and truly absorbing interview with Dr Nadine Delicata, who heads the National Cancer Screening Programmes within the Department of Primary Healthcare

37 Metabolic Syndrome – A Problem of Modren Day Living

Our Health & Fitness Expert Richard Geres discusses metabolic syndrome

38 Positioning the Brand


We meet up with Josef Formosa Gauci, CEO Malta Tourism Authority

Publisher: Adrian Friggieri Editor-in-Chief: Martin Vella Technical Adviser : Marcelle D’Argy Smith Publication Manager: Martin Vella Advertising: Martin Vella 9926 0162; 9940 6743

Disclaimer ;

All rights reserved. No part of this work covered by the copyright may be reproduced or copied and reproduction in whole or part is strictly prohibited without written permission of the publisher.

Contributors: Sanja Bjelica, Konrad Buhagiar, George Carol, Deborah DelRe, Robert Formosa, Alain Frendo, Bernard Mangion, Josef Pisani, Fabian Weil, Denise Xuereb

All content material available on this publication is duly protected by Maltese and International Law. No person, organisation, publication or party should rely, or on any way act upon any part of the contents of this publication, whether that information is sourced from the website, magazine or related product without first obtaining consent from the editor. The opinions expressed in the Property & Life Magazine are those of the authors, and are not necessarily those of the editor or publisher.

Designer: Ian Farrugia Content: Martin Vella Print Production: Union Print Co. Ltd. Office: EBN Ltd, Charles Court, Flat 16, St. Luke’s Road, G’Mangia PTA 1027 Telephone: (+356) 21231385 


Cover story

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Two Legacies One Ambition .... Property & Life Magazine talks to GasanZammit CEO Stefan Deguara about the recent merger between two automotive giants, Gasan Enterprises Ltd and Mira Motor Sales Ltd. and Associated Motors Company Ltd. (Zammit Group of Companies) to learn how the two companies combine. The result: a strong force for organic growth and a marketplace for gamechanging innovation in the automotive industry.

PM: Why did the two Groups decide to merge their respective automotive arms? Is there a strategic fit? SD: Opportunities for organic growth within the local automotive industry are limited. Market size and an unfavourable legislative framework are the main challenges. However, openings for growth can certainly be created; merging is one of the viable options. Clearly, how and with whom to merge is the most challenging decision of all. The decision affects a number of stakeholders including shareholders, principals, customers and employees, so it is not a decision to be taken lightly. This decision was aided by the fact that both companies have a legacy based on family history and share similar values and ideals.

“The intention is to deliver More to our clients; More choice, More convenience and More customer focus” Also fundamental to this transaction is the excellent product fit between the offerings of the two Groups. With this merger GasanZammit

will have a strong presence across all market segments, from the entry-level to luxury premium passenger vehicles. The same goes for the commercial vehicles side of the business as well as for motorcycles, power products, marine engines and ribs. Our message is: ‘Whatever moves you… we have it’. We were also very fortunate that our Principals, the people behind the Brands which both Groups represented, agreed with our strategy and gave us the green light in a short period of time. This definitely facilitated the process and helped to ensure a smooth synergy when merging. Moreover, both parties are bringing experienced people to the equation; individuals who have been with each company

GasanZammit Motors Ltd. With its centre located at the state-of-the-art premises in Mriehel, GasanZammit Motors Ltd, the newly merged automotive and marine company, sets standards within its industry with a portfolio of world renowned brands namely , Capelli, Chevrolet, Ford, Honda, Isuzu, Jaguar, Mazda, Volvo and Yamaha. Housing an impressive nine brands that cover the automotive and marine sectors, the new GasanZammit facility in Mriehel is supported by a fully equipped and modern vehicle servicing centre, which includes an array of manufacturer-specific computerised systems. These systems comprise of engine diagnosis and fault-finding apparatus, brake testers, wheel balancing systems and more. Other departments encompassing GasanZammit, are a body and spray shop and a fully stocked parts department responsible for the sourcing, purchasing and wholesaling of original vehicle parts and accessories for all the marques represented. 6 


Cover story

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PM: What benefits and synergies will this new merged team gain and what are the main benefits for both Gasan and Zammit customers? SD: In light of this merger we will be able to offer a more exciting and frequent lineup of new models for each coming year. This is very important in our business. Next year alone promises to be extremely exciting for GasanZammit with new models being launched across most car segments and budgets.

for several years and who will pool their techniques and strategies to maximise on them. The intention is to deliver More to our clients; More choice, More convenience and More customer focus. We believe that GasanZammit will deliver incremental value to both our present and future clients. PM: Some people talk about merging or combining cultures, while others seek to create a new culture that is separate from those of the legacy companies. What was your approach? SD: This merger is between two legacy firms with a long history in the automotive

“With this merger GasanZammit will have a strong presence across all market segments, from the entry-level to luxury premium passenger vehicles”

business. Both Groups bring to the table a wealth of experience in this industry, thus we concentrated on adopting the best of both company cultures and practices into this newly formed company to ensure as fluid a move as possible.

This merger also means that both new and existing customers will benefit from a larger and more efficient after-sales support team. Our employees are excited and proud to be representing such a large variety of brands.

Furthermore, we have the added advantage of having access to the knowledge and best practices of our Brand Principals and this knowledge will shape and guide us through our dealings under the new entity. Going forward will definitely entail adapting to and learning from each other not only on a shareholder level but also on the employees’ part. This exercise will help the whole company grow and improve together on its existing foundations.

GasanZammit Motors Ltd is about to offer a completely new car-buying experience. Our customers will be able to walk into our facility with whatever budget in hand, choose a car from an extensive selection of brands, buy it, insure it, finance it, service it, fix it, spray it and also take it in partexchange, all in a conveniently centralised location!

Key Insights from Stefan’s Experiences: · A merger is the most challenging decision of all and affects a number of stakeholders including shareholders, principals, customers and employees. · Fundamental to this transaction is the excellent product fit between the offerings of the two Groups, providing a strong presence across all market segments. · Going forward will definitely entail adapting to and learning from each other. 



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Sara Grech Limited has moved to NEW Head Quarters! by Deborah DelRe

When you think of property you think Sara Grech. Sara Grech has become Malta’s leading household name in Real Estate. The daughter of a Real Estate Pioneer, Alexander Grech, returned to Malta after her studies in the USA and opened her own agency on the island.


ow 25 years on Ms Grech is pioneering a new Business concept to the islands. “There are plenty of agents on the islands,” says Ms Grech, “with all agents having no influential competitive advantage, we are different”. Sara Grech Limited, The Real Estate Leaders are currently operating their head quarters from Msida. The new address is The Emporium, Rue D’Argens, Msida. The move accommodates recent growth including the refurbishment of the present lounges in Sliema, Fgura and St. Paul’s Bay and with the forthcoming brand new lounges to be launched, one in Attard and the other one in Portomaso. The refurbishment of all present lounges will offer all customers, more privacy and a stylish atmosphere with a good feel factor of competency and exclusivity along with selective client privileges. Sara Grech, Chairperson, said: “There is a clear need for a more competitive advantage in the industry and with our new Head Quarters we have power in the numbers of agents knowledge who share information efficiently and willingly. The team concept works phenomenally well, whilst our headquarters and lounges will meet the needs of our clients, as well as improve the working conditions for our agents and staff. What better way to run a business with satisfied and happy internal staff? We look forward to starting the New Year in a new working environment and will welcome our clients and contacts very soon in our refurbished offices. All our lounges including the new exclusive shops are all strategically very well positioned making it simpler for our clients to access. We have changed our business model and are pioneering a new way of working within the real estate industry. Our Market concept brings us all together enabling the workforce to communicate effectively. We have also extended our opening hours from 8am – 8pm daily and from 9am – 6pm Saturday and

demand within the property market, we have been receiving an increasing amount of enquiries from new and existing customers for property valuations and property research information.

Sunday to ensure that our clients have the time to enjoy their purchase or lease when it is most convenient for them” The agents and staff at Sara Grech are committed to providing clients a service second to none with an honest approach that is both friendly and professional. Their

Due to this rapid increase in demand we are looking to expand our team, hence

“There is a clear need for a more competitive advantage in the industry and with our new Head Quarters we have power in the numbers of agents knowledge” we are looking to recruit Property Agents to join our alliance. We are a one stop and most importantly ONE FAMILY. All our agents have the right approach, are highly motivated and love what they do,” concludes Sara.

property Agents have all the resources necessary to make sure that clients’ expectations are exceeded with prompt and accurate assistance from carrying out sound valuations of your property through to the whole process of successfully completing the well earned purchase or sale.

For further information, contact Sara Grech’s Head Quarters at +356 2347 0000 or visit their website on

“We also continue endeavouring perpetual improvement and with the escalation in 


corporate interview of the month

property & life magazine

Creating a Cultural Revolution by Martin Vella

Air Malta’s chief executive Peter Davies talks with the Property & Life Magazine about Air Malta’s five-year restructuring programme after having been given the green light by the European Commission. On the restructuring process, Mr Davies emphasises that it is imperative for Air Malta to continue re-assessing its contracts with its suppliers to further reduce costs and increase revenue. He discusses why a cultural revolution is paramount to the airline’s long term sustainability. PM: What are your priorities going forward and what business model do you consider best for Air Malta? PD: The priorities are to get the company in a profitable position as soon as possible. That is a prerequisite with the restructuring programme. It is about trying to achieve set-targets. Obviously, it affects a lot of people, processes and procedures. We spend lots of our time looking into ways where we can do things better, how we can improve our processes and how can we design a more enjoyable experience for customers in a cost-effective way. Our current primary objective is a financial turnaround. However, there is a series of other specific objectives which we are trying to achieve in terms of profitability. This affects all segments of the business. We have been reassessing many of our contracts. We have reviewed every single aspect of the company in terms of process and procedure - our ground handling, our passenger handling, our engineering, how we fly our airplanes whilst engaging more with our pilots and each individual department to reengineer our business processes. PM: Does your strategy set you apart from other airlines that are more focused on growth? PD: That is a very interesting and important question. Air Malta is the national airline of this country and the values of Air Malta are the values of Malta. We have a job to do in terms of bringing as many people into this country as possible, because 10 


tourism contribute a significant portion of the GDP. We also have a responsibility to provide a solid route network to and from the islands not only for businesses but also for Maltese tourists alike.

“If you play rugby, as I did, it is a game of 80 minutes and it’s always great to get three points on the score board with every achievement” I think we have a very specific task to do. No one owes us a living. We have to fight in the market place to survive. We understand the responsibilities we have as a company, but we have to prepare ourselves and make ourselves different. We are a destination airline and therefore we want to ensure that Malta is reflected onboard Air Malta. Our passangers must feel they are in Malta from the moment they step on one of our aircraft. Our competitors have their own values which are significantly different from the values of Air Malta. PM: Air Malta posted an operational profit in the first half of 2012 despite the very challenging economy and sustained high fuel prices. To what do you attribute this strong performance? PD: The strong performance is down to three main critical areas. We have improved our revenue. We changed and simplified our pricing structure earlier in the

corporate interview of the month

property & life magazine

year to offer a fairer value to our customers. Certainly the reactions we received were very positive. There was a lot of complexity in our pricing which was quite honestly very antiquated and out of date. Secondly, we continued to look at our costs and drive down our costs. We achieved considerable price reductions from our partners including MIA, SITA and other suppliers. Fuel was part of the money-saving exercise. Thirdly, we were supported by the majority of our staff, who have realised that the company needed to change and adapt to move forward. We had some tough negotiations with the Unions and they recognised the efforts we are making as professional airline people. That’s my job and they appreciate that this streamlining had to happen. Our staff have been one of the key factors contributing to these results. PM: Does this mean that the restructuring plan will work? PD: Well, one swallow does not make a summer. If you play rugby, as I did, it is a game of 80 minutes and it’s always great to get three points on the score board with every achievement. Therefore, if we play right for the 80 minutes, we will end up with the right result. We are off to a good start, we got points on the board and we intend to keep that.

“Rather than bury our head in the sand and blame everyone about the problems of low cost, let’s embrace them and take advantage of the growing market” PM: How will emerging markets affect Air Malta’s strategy and are you worried about competition from low cost carriers? PD: I am never worried about competition from low cost airlines provided it’s fair and on a level playing field. On that basis we can compete with all. I think it’s a misnomer when it comes to low cost because of the way they attacked the marketplace. They have increased the size of the market. Rather than bury our head in the sand and blame everyone about the problems of low cost, let’s embrace them and take advantage of the growing market. As far as emerging markets are concerned specifically those from Eastern Europe and Africa, yes we have enhanced our business to Russia and Eastern European countries. We continue to look for these opportunities more.

PM: Finally, how would you characterise your management style?

PM: How is Air Malta investing in customer service improvements to its fleet, facilities and technology, and will this guarantee a good return?

PD: Democratic (laughing). I delegate a lot. I establish the strategy, the focus and the vision. I think it is good to keep in mind that 30% of what we are doing in the company is what I call ‘rewiring and re-plumbing’. It is taking processes and procedures apart and then reconnecting them in a different way which makes them more efficient. The other 70% is a cultural revolution, wherein I create an environment and convince people to embrace change and be comfortable with change. I concentrate and dedicate a lot of my time to create such an environment where people can work to the best of their abilities to reach a common objective. That’s my job.

PD: We have to invest in technology. Our frequent flyer program is not what it should be. Our website is improving, but it is not in sync with the ideals and the benchmarks that I have set, which are much higher than we have at the present moment. In order to prepare ourselves for a significant technological change we have renewed our contract with SITA. We have now more opportunities. The technological advances within the airline business is noteworthy and to date Air Malta has not taken advantage of that.


PM: What role do social media play in your strategy to build the Air Malta brand?

Following his successful stint as Managing Director of Air Southwest in the UK, Peter Davies was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Air Malta in March 2011. Mr. Davies has over 35 years experience in the aviation industry, both in passenger and express cargo operations and has served as CEO at SN Brussels Airlines, which he successfully launched as Sabena’s successor. During his term, Mr. Davies restored the airline’s stability after two years of operation by rationalising the airline’s network and internal processes and focusing on yield management on European and African routes. Peter Davies also oversaw the restructuring of BWIA into Caribbean Airlines. His overall experience covers various aspects of global transportation and express logistics including senior Board positions in DHL based in Europe and the US.

PD: Significant and it will become increasingly so. I can see in matter of two to three years time, if not sooner, a sizeable portion of our business will be conducted through social media. What is interesting is that it is no secret that the age of the people that travel with Air Malta is closer to the higher end. That is a fact. Therefore, in our efforts to attract more younger passengers, social media is very important to us. We want our message to reach all the age groups possible, particularly the younger generation. A year ago, we had a few thousand followers on our Facebook. Today, we have over 43,000 followers. We achieved momentous inroads in social media and we hope to continue achieving more positive results in this area.

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company focus

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OZOSYSTEM – We Simply Clean!

by Mario Muscat

Ozosystem is Malta’s leading provider of A to Z cleaning services, established in 1996, Ozosystem has grown dramatically over the past 12 months and now has a work force of over 400 fully trained personnel.


zosystem takes pride in providing an efficient, professional and consistent service to all clients, whatever the size of the job and always value for money.

OUR Guarantee to you: • All our staff are Fully Trained & Insured • Clean Police Conduct Certificates for all Personnel • Efficient and Professional Cleaners • Constant Supervision OUR Services Chambermaid Service ● Maid Service ● 1st Time Cleaning ● After Hours Office Cleaning ● Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning ● Marble and Tiles Polishing and Restoration ● Aircraft Interior and Exterior Cleaning ● Spring Cleaning of Boats and Ships ● Janitor Services in Shopping Malls ● Public Areas ● Deep Cleaning of Kitchens ● Car & Coaches Valet ● Parquet Waxing ● Chewing Gum Removal ● Road Sweeping (Local Councils) ● Window Cleaning ● Disinfect Sensitive Areas with Ozone (Private Hospitals) ● Scotchgard ● Fire Retardant Treatment for Upholstery, Carpets and Mattresses ● Car Park Cleaning and Maintenance




Please call our offices on: Ozosystem Ltd., No6. Triq l-Iskultur Qormi - QRM 3583 Telephone: +(356) 2147 2552 Website: Email:


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Global warming Solutions G

lobal warming is the concept that has all rights to be regarded a dangerous phenomenon. It is especially true for the planet that is being exposed to the global warming. Humanity contributes to global warming. Under such circumstances mankind should think about the possible solutions. (Sisco P., 2006, p. 43) The Earth is known to be engaged into a long-term warming cycle. Nations are responsible for the negative effects of global warming. To implement an international climate policy, governments have to use quite a big range of voluntary and incentivebased programs. These are used with the aim to reduce emissions. Also, the programs are posed to promote climate technology and science. The same idea has been once expressed by Scientist Richard Somerville who was engaged in the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The scientist believes that there is a way out of the problem. A whole thing is helpful in reducing the emission of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) into the atmosphere. One of the possible approaches to the whole issue is capturing of the CO2. After the gas is emitted it should be sequestered. The other thing to do is to reduce human dependence on fossil fuels. This idea can be regarded as a possible solution to global warming. The measures range from simple to the complex. The most widely discussed solutions involve expanded use of alternative energy technologies. These are characterized by a lesser reliance on fossil fuels. (Sisco P., 2006, p. 48) Greenhouse gases are emitted into the atmosphere as a result of the increased energy consumption. The energy was obtained by driving and using electricity and

through other activities. These activities are used to support the quality of life including such aspects as growing food and raising livestock. Greenhouse gas emissions are the things that can be minimised through simple measures. These include the simple process of changing light bulbs in the house.

researcher Myron Ebell, he once mentioned the following idea: “There will be some negative consequences or impacts, and there will be some positive ones. I don’t think either one, either the negative or the positive will be particularly pronounced or extreme or severe.”

Governments, local councils and businesses are also known to play an important role in meeting the national goal of reducing greenhouse gas intensity. The research proves that the intensity has been decreased by 18 percent by 2012. The objective is reached by people’s participation in a wide range of environment voluntary programs.

The idea once expressed by John Topping is feasible. Being engaged in the work for nonprofit Climate Institute, the researcher says that private industry including governments should come up with the solutions. As a matter of fact people have “to get investment flows going in the direction of emerging clean energy technologies. Part of that is going to happen because we, as consumers, step forward and we are conscious in our buying habits to get more energy-efficient products.” (Sisco P., 2006, p. 38)

“The most widely discussed solutions involve expanded use of alternative energy technologies”

Higher gas prices are also the motivating factor that are known to make fuel-efficient vehicles more attractive to consumers. Just the same thing should be told about building and home constructions. These are known to become more energy efficient.

Michael MacCracken Climate scientist Michael MacCracken mentions the idea that society has to make the commitment to change. MacCracken expresses his ideas in the following way: society has to be committed to taking actions. A whole thing will require society to do certain things. Many of these things are beneficial to the whole process. At the heart of the problem this means that society has to change the path in which it consummate energy. (Sisco P., 2006, p. 41)

References: Sisco P. , Are Global Warming Solutions Possible? Washington, D.C. 15 August 2006. Wolf K. , Professor researches global warming trends in Antarctica: Brook’s ice core research concludes that climate change is linked to human activity. Global Warming Opportunity,” Rachel Massey, Rachel’s Environment & Health News #714, 21 December 2000. ”The Big Heat: How Capitalism is Cooking the Earth,” Workers Power Britain, May 2000. “Political Lies And Global Warming”. Retrieved from http://www.content4reprint. com/environment/politicallies-and-global-warming.htm

The other group of scientists held to the belief that global warming is part of a natural cycle. This natural cycle is supposed to take care of itself. As for the public policy

Compiled & Edited by Martin Vella 


EXCLUSIVE interview

property & life magazine

Photo by Pierre Sammut DOI

Expanding Regional Cooperation by Martin Vella In an interview with the Property & Life Magazine, ex-Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Tonio Borg talks about the need to support for nations responsible for launching the movement to democracy and maintains that the EU must help the nations along the southern shore become stable areas to ensure mutual economic progress. PM: Following the Arab Spring, North African countries such as Libya still face internal turmoil. Don’t you think this is a threat to the stability of the whole Mediterranean region and would such instability create difficulties on the home front? TB: The Arab Spring was not the cause of most of the migration problems which Malta is facing. If you look at the country of nationality of the migrants they rarely come from these countries such as Tunisia and Libya. They use Libya as a country of transit. Most of them come from the sub-Saharan region. Of course, when there was the conflict in Libya they were afraid to cross over to Malta. Once the conflict subsided after some months the threat of migrants trying to enter Europe resurfaced through Libya, but also through other countries. Now this will not be solved because there was a change in government in Libya. The fact that there is a democratic regime one can enter into a healthier dialogue with Libya and migration will be discussed during the 5+5 summit. In fact, the conclusions which are being drafted have been prepared by representatives of these countries weeks before. There is a reference to organised migration, so what is a threat is not the organized migration, rather the disorganised migration. It is a threat not only to Malta, but to 14 


everyone, since it causes political problems, as well as logistical ones. That is to say where do you put all these people arriving together in a short period of time. Different countries have different views. The North wants to protect its shores, the South says you need to help us since this is a problem for us as well and you have to help us control this migration problem in our own territory. If you help us controlling it then you will be helping your own selves.

“It is not just wishy washy ideals but also specifics and objectives” The real borders form the migration North of Europe goes out to the desert borders of Libya. I mention Libya, as regards Malta we do not get illegal migrants from Tunisia, although they are never Libyans. At the same time it is a problem because we cannot absorb all these illegal immigrants, which is why we need a better dialogue with the South. The 5+5 summit will enhance this cooperation and that is why it is positive that these countries are participating at the highest level. This is not a ministerial summit, this is a head of government summit and there is reference to migration on the agenda.

PM: Can you elaborate a bit on the specifics of the 5+5 process and to what extent do you consider achieving success of the summit? TB: Firstly, the success of the summit relates to participation. Every country is being represented by its head of state or its head of government. This is a feather in our cap by organizing the summit, a feather in our cap due to the level of participation and also because it is a prestigious event. The last time it was organised was nine years ago and it is more opportune to meet now, since Tunisia has undergone a revolution, Libya a very laborious process because it was a bloody civil conflict and Morocco is also undergoing changes in spite of not facing a revolution. Egypt is not in the 5+5 and up till now there is no consensus for enlarging the 5+5. All countries want to limit it to the Western Mediterranean. All the subjects will be discussed, even to the specific mention of Syria and the importance of a change in regime. It is not just wishy washy ideals but also specifics and objectives. This is a political summit, not an economic one. I am sure that the question should the European Union help economically these countries will arise. There are already instruments which exist within the EU such as the Neighbourhood Policy which is

EXCLUSIVE interview

property & life magazine

intentioned to help both Northern neighbours and the Eastern neighbours. I have no doubt the EU leaders will discuss the euro crises between themselves during the summit, but the worst thing for Europe would be to become only inward looking, because that would be against the interests of EU. Let’s be fair, let’s be honest. If we increase the projects to the Mediterranean, most these projects will be run by European countries. Economically, we need the support of these countries as well. An increase in economic relations would benefit all parties.

“The abuse of Islam is against human rights”

Dr Tonio Borg listens attentivly during one of the Working Session held at the

PM: What are the government’s main objectives by hosting this summit and what does it hope to achieve? TB: First of all political dialogue. This is the first summit since the Arab Spring. Political dialogue between the EU, and in this case Tunisia and Libya, but also with the other countries. The more ideologically we accept democracy, not necessarily the western type of democracy. It could be their own form of Islamic democracy, provided it is a democracy. So it is better to have a process of dialogue between a democracy and another democracy, rather than a totalitarian state. The changes in the Arab Spring should be positively exploited by both sides. PM: Can Libya have democracy when they have enforced Sharia law onto the people? TB: No, I don’t agree with you. I still feel it is a democracy. It just had its first free elections in 60 years. The result has been the creation of a liberal alliance. Now of course democracy

Verdala Palace, Rabat Photo by Omar Camilleri DOI

We will discuss how to help these fledgling democracies during the summit.

is not about elections. You need to have freedom of speech and those institutions that guarantee democracy. But you don’t expect that to happen in one single day. Not even in Europe. It took years for religious tolerance to happen. So long as democracy in Libya abides by democratic principles, it is irrelevant whether it draws its inspiration from Christianity or from Islam. Islam is not against human rights. The abuse of Islam is against human rights. It would be a really sad day if we were to say in Islamic countries which adopt Islam, you cannot have a democracy. We need to say look at the Turkish model, it is the model of an Islamic democracy. The murder of ambassador Stephens happened on September 11th and on the eve of the establishment of democracy. These minority extremists do not want Libya to become a democracy and the secular forces, which are a majority, have resisted those extremist groups. Let us hope no one hijacks the revolution.

PM: How do you foresee the 5+5 summit in the near future? TB: After Malta I hope that it will be held on a regular basis. I think that ten years is too prolonged for a summit. I am not saying that a summit should be held each year. I think that a five year term is a reasonable period. The consensus till now has been to keep the summit to a sub-regional geographically based criteria, which is the Western Mediterranean.

EDITOR’S NOTE Tonio Borg is a Member of Parliament for the Nationalist Party, and Leader of the House of Representative. Borg, first elected to the House of Representatives in the 1992 general election, was Minister of Home Affairs from April 1995 to October 1996 to September 1998. Following the 1998 election, he returned to his position as Minister of Home Affairs on September 8, 1998. He became Minister of Justice and Home Affairs in April 2003, following that year’s election. Borg was elected as the deputy leader of the Nationalist Party in March 2004, and he became Deputy Prime Minister, while remaining Minister of Justice and Home Affairs, when the previous Deputy Prime Minister, Lawrence Gonzi, succeeded Edward Fenech Adami as Prime Minister, Borg also served as Leader of the House of Representatives at that time. On March 12, 2008, following the Nationalist Party’s victory in the March 2008 parliamentary election, Borg was appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs whilst remaining Deputy Prime Minister.

Dr Tonio Borg discussing

Dr Borg has been nominated as European Commissioner in the wake of John Dalli’s shocking resignation a week after this interview was conducted.

with Foreign Affairs Minister of Algeria Photo DOI

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5+5 Summit

property & life magazine

Rebuilding stability François Hollande AKA François Gérard Georges Hollande Born: 12-Aug-1954 Birthplace: Rouen, France Gender: Male Religion: Roman Catholic Race or Ethnicity: White Occupation: Politician Nationality: France Executive summary: President of France Father: Georges Gustave Hollande (physician) Mother: Nicole Frédérique Marguerite Tribert (social worker, b. 1927, d. 2009) Girlfriend: Ségolène Royal (politician, together 1978-2007, two sons, two daughters) Son: Thomas (b. 1984) Daughter: Clémence (b. 1985) Son: Julien (b. 1987) Daughter: Flora (b. 1992) Girlfriend: Valérie Trierweiler (together from at least 2007) High School: Saint Jean-Baptiste de La Salle University: École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Paris University: École Nationale d’Administration (1980) University: Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris President of France (15-May-2012 to present) French Mayor Tulle (2001-08) French National Assembly for Corrèze’s 1st (1997-) French National Assembly for Corrèze’s 1st (1988-93) Parti Socialiste (France) First Secretary (1997-2008) Parti Socialiste (France) 1979

EDITOR’S NOTE His full name is François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande and is the 24th President of France. He previously served as the First Secretary of the French Socialist Party from and as a Deputy of the National Assembly of France for Corrèze’s 1st Constituency. He also served as the Mayor of Tulle and the President of the General Council of Corrèze. He is the second Socialist President of the Fifth French Republic, after François Mitterrand. François Hollande attended Saint JeanBaptiste de La Salle boarding school, then HEC Paris, the Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Paris Institute of Political Studies), and the École nationale d’administration. He graduated from ENA in 1980 and chose to enter the prestigious Cour des comptes. He also lived in the United States in the summer of 1974 while he was a university student.

The Second Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the Western Mediterranean Forum (the 5+5) ended recently with the approval of a final declaration (the Malta declaration). Attending the 5+5 Dialogue press conference PLM Editor presents an exclusive brief with François Hollande, President of the French Republic, and Italian President Mario Monti.


mong the major points of the Malta Declaration was a common commitment to the democratic development of the region. “We are heads of government, but we represent people, and the human dimension, the human reality was always present in our discussions,” Prime Minister Dr Gonzi said when he addressed a press conference. Commenting about the present crisis dominating the EU agenda during the summit, French President Francois Hollande said it was up to Spain, not the European Union, to determine whether Spain requires financial assistance from Europe to solve its serious financial difficulties. Asked whether the EU is prepared to help Spain, Hollande said it’s up to Spain to decide first what it needs to do. ‘‘Spain must submit a plan to help with conditions that must be cleared, or not do so if they do not need,’’ he said, emphasising the importance of stabilisation and growth within the EU. Hollande was expected to seek support for his call to the U.N. Security Council to endorse a West African-led military intervention in northern Mali, where al-Qaeda-linked Islamists are in control. However, he did not raise the issue at a closing press conference. A spokesman from the French president’s office said that the summit will allow the West to show its determination “to maintain an ambitious Mediterranean cooperation in spite of economic difficulties and the eurozone crisis.” Paris also wants to declare “its renewed confidence in the political process on the south shore of the Mediterranean and Maghreb in particular following the Arab Spring”, and “create productive, confident and varied ties” in the region.

President Mario Monti has proposed the extension of the 5+5 dialogue to also include education, educational training and people to people contract. Speaking during the opening ceremony of the 5+5 summit at Castille, he said that the summit played a key role on the path towards the revitalisation of European and Mediterranean cooperation.

“We are heads of government, but we represent people, and the human dimension” “The dialogue had proven to be effective and led to cooperation in many important fields including home affairs, environment, and transport. But it was now time to extend it to other areas, such as education and youth,” he said. The Italian technocrat said that inspiration had to be taken from Malta’s rich and eventful history. “The main goal was to create a stronger cooperation between the 5+5 members. The summit could also play a decisive role in the reinforcement of cooperation between the EU and the Arab world. Inspiration had to be taken from Malta’s history and the summit could shape the role of the 5+5 as a tangible and sound bridge connecting Maghreb states and Europe,” Mr Monti said. The meeting in Malta attracted a lot of international media attention given that the leaders of France, Italy, Spain and Portugal held bilateral talks focusing on the eurozone crisis.

Mario Monti Born: 19-Mar-1943 Birthplace: Varese, Italy Gender: Male Race or Ethnicity: White Occupation: Government Nationality: Italy Executive summary: Prime Minister of Italy Wife: (married, two children) Prime Minister of Italy (13-Nov-2011 to present)

EDITOR’S NOTE Mario Monti is an Italian economist and academic and now the 54th Prime Minister of Italy, leading a government of technocrats in the wake of the Italian debt crisis. Monti also served as Minister of Economy and Finance from and as a European Commissioner, with responsibility for the Internal Market, Services, Customs and Taxation, and for Competition. Monti has also been Rector and President of Bocconi University in Milan. He began his academic career at the University of Trento and then taught economics at the University of Turin, before moving to Bocconi University in Milan, where he obtained a degree in economics. He also served as president of the SUERF (The European Money and Finance Forum). His research helped to create the Klein-Monti model, aimed at describing the behaviour of banks operating under monopoly circumstances. Monti studied at the Leo XIII private catholic high school. Later he won a scholarship to Yale University, where he studied under James Tobin, a recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Particpants The Heads of Government of the Member States of the Western Mediterranean Forum namely Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia, met on the occasion of the 5+5 Dialogue Summit in Valletta on 5 and 6 October, 2012 at the invitation of the Head of Government of Malta, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. This included the participation of observers of the President of the European Commission, EU President Jose Mnauel Barosso, the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy, the Secretary General of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Secretary General of the Union for the Mediterranean, and the Secretary-General of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Mediterranean, and the representative of the League of Arab States.

History of 5+5 Dialogue

The Western Mediterranean Forum, commonly referred to as 5+5 Dialogue, was officially launched in Rome in 1990 as an informal sub-regional forum of like-minded countries, geographically situated on the western rim of the Euro-Mediterranean littoral and comprising of Algeria, France, Italy, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Portugal, Spain and Tunisia. Malta became a member in 1991. 



property & life magazine

Climate and Identity: Architecture in Malta from Renaissance to Renzo Piano by Konrad Buhagiar

By virtue of their strategic position on the crossroads of the Mediterranean, the Maltese islands have broadly followed the history of the Mediterranean region. However, it is mainly the architectural legacy of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem who arrived in Malta in 1530, that shaped irrevocably the urban landscape of the islands, leaving its indelible mark on the language of the archipelago’s indigenous built environment.




uring this period of two and a half centuries, Malta enjoyed a period of unprecedented economic growth and prosperity which was reflected in the most important structures of the period, from the fortified Renaissance city of Valletta to the many baroque churches that dominate the skyline of the typical Maltese village. All this building is composed uniquely of the honey coloured Maltese limestone, the punctured cubic forms that characterize this building tradition dating back to the first millennium BC. Ramparts, fortifications, vernacular buildings, terraced walls and open fields are juxtaposed harmoniously to form a complex composition where nature and architecture are intertwined. This expressive landscape remained unchanged until the advent of modern construction technology. In his enterprise to tame and inhabit the land, the primitive builder was aided by a largely benevolent Mediterranean climate, which encouraged outdoor living and reduced the need for large internal spaces. On the other hand, the drive to create thermal comfort on the interior became an instinctive yet rigorous discipline, learnt by trial and error, creating systems of passive climate control that guaranteed the continuity of vernacular forms. Typical elements that developed out of these climatic concerns include the central courtyard,

shading devices such as loggias, trellises and vegetation, and timber louvers while perhaps the most well-known architectural element that had its social, cultural but also climatic function is the covered balcony. The building itself uses the building envelope including walls, floors and roofs, together with other exterior elements such as landscaping, vegetation and pools of water to control the heat generated by the sun. These strategies are still kept in mind by

“The drive to create thermal comfort on the interior became an instinctive yet rigorous discipline” architects today, keen to catalyse the creation of a locally valid architecture linked with the vernacular past thus creating contemporary buildings that stand as irrefutable proof of this continuing tradition. Since 1964, in fact, when Malta became independent and tourism emerged as an essential part of the new economy, new architectural trends began to surface that grew out of and created continuity with, the unique historical record of the


island. This movement was spearheaded by Richard England who was the main advocate of a Critical Regionalism approach that, while not denying the lessons of the International Modern style, was driven by a need to respond the local context and the surrounding landscape. This is exemplified by his church at Manikata (1962-74) that projects the surrounding traditional rubble walls and derives inspiration from the forms of the local corbelled stone shelter (called girna), while his hotels, especially the Ramla Bay Hotel (1967) and the Cavalieri Hotel (1967), use screen facades which are derived from abstracted versions of the traditional wells and water cisterns found everywhere in the countryside.

property & life magazine

geometry of the Marks and Spencer bridge (2004) to the sensual qualities of the Dining Pavilion hemp screen (2008) and the timber double helix staircase at St Barbara’s Bastions (2011), from the sculptural integrity of their early stone houses (1997-2000) to the more complex cubic composition of the Kappara mews (1998).

hopefully prove the mutually sympathetic nature of restoration and contemporary design. Vernacular forms, natural materials and traditional elements reinterpreted to satisfy contemporary needs are among the essential components that characterize our projects, from the simple

“We want to protect the genus loci of the Maltese islands at all cost” Today AP is working with Renzo Piano Building Workshop who was entrusted with the redevelopment of the entrance into the capital city Valletta, a rich and multifaceted project that includes the building of a new Parliament House just inside the walls, the construction of a new Gate to the city, the restoration of the original sixteenth century entrance bridge, the rehabilitation of the classical ruins of the nineteenth century opera house into an open air theatre and the planting of an enclosed garden in the Mediterranean tradition in the deep and broad ditch underlying the new Gate. The site, with its complex stratification and historical remains has been the main driver behind the urban vision for the area, the balance of solid and void, open and enclosed, public and private, mineral and vegetal, while the buildings themselves have been conceived as vibrant stone cubes whose surfaces have been etched out, as though by time and the effect of the elements, to create shading devices that protect the openings

Architecture Project (AP) is keen to carry on England’s research. In our work, the lessons of vernacular architecture, especially regarding climate control, are taken on board, and, while keeping abreast with architectural developments in other fellow-European states, we want to protect the genus loci of the Maltese islands at all cost. A development of this undertaking is a deep concern with the sustainability of heritage and our projects

from the assault of the hot sun outside.

EDITOR’S NOTE Konrad Buhagiar is a founding partner of Architecture Project and Senior Visiting Lecturer at the University of Malta. He is co-editor of The Founding Myths of Architecture (Black Dog Publishing/Artifice). All rights reserved; copyright protected 


Construction Industry

property & life magazine

Company Focus

by Alain Frendo BE&A (Hons)


ince 1977 Terracore has been providing a variety of services for the construction industry and has, since then, been involved in major projects around the Maltese Islands including Smart City, Tigne Point, Pender Gardens, Valletta City Gate and the National Flood Relief Project. WHAT DO WE DO?... Geotechnical investigations Unlike manmade building materials, rock and soils are the result of a lengthy natural process of pressure, time, erosion and faults. That is why the material below the ground of any construction may vary from solid and strong to highly fractured and weak. Investigating the ground profile can prevent excessive spending on the foundations of the building which would otherwise be designed assuming the worst case scenario resulting in overdesign and



therefore overspending. The team of experts at Terracore are well equipped to perform tailormade ground assessments to cater for the foundation design queries of any building. Building materials testing There has always been and will always be the need to test building products to prevent inadequacy. The quality of raw building materials such as natural stone, masonry blocks, mortars and concrete products ultimately effects the finished product. The use of inadequate raw materials often results in a deficient final outcome. With the increasing emphasis on quality that today’s market is imposing, finished products need to be certified. Whether testing the slip resistance of a tile or the surface regularity of a stretch of road, at our NAB accredited testing laboratory we undertake the analysis of a wide range of raw materials and finished products to a variety of European and international standards.

Civil works Whether you are looking to find out the capability of your building to take an additional floor, or to tackle a hazardous rock face, we offer a variety of services ranging from rock-bolting and shotcreteing to core drilling, geothermal installations and structural monitoring. Quality assurance At Terracore we make quality our business. The main reason a smart company would hire a quality assurance team is simple, a good quality assurance team guarantees the delivery of a good service and boosts up the client’s confidence. At Terracore, our team will work closely with you to develop and provide quality assurance programs to ensure both material and product consistency and performance to criteria.

Situation Analysis

property & life magazine

Defining Real Estate and Its Economic Effects

by George Carol

The essence of the real estate sector can be defined in many ways. The country will concentrate its activities primarily on private construction activity as well as on flaws that might occur with the GDP accounts.


household’s residence is the largest asset owned by the country. The definition is really hard to understand, since it encompasses construction activity that serves both the business and household sectors. That is the main reason why it is so important to understand the recent trends in the value of household real estate wealth. Real estate comprises many important aspects of economic activity. The property market has both direct and indirect impact upon the economy. Also, the real estate sector has both direct and indirect effect on the level and composition of real Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The home-based “wealth effect” is known to have earned thousands of Euros for home owners. As a result, thousands of euros have been spent on managing the whole issue by local authorities. Maltese have been doing well through the eurozone recession process. In spite of the fact the housing market is down by about 25 per cent, it is lower than during precedent years. Also, there is a 30 per cent decline in the numbers of closed sales. People must be careful which agency they select to value their property. You can place your property on the market at any price here in Malta because agents accept the listing, however it does not make much

good and customers realize this the market is already on its upward trend. One must compare the prices and valuation. What you should do is to look closer at 2012 and compare these figures with the numbers that have been obtained during the past six months.

sense to try amd market a property at above market value because it wont sell. You will have customers visiting and an overpriced property helps make a sale for someone else proving the true market value to the property that is listed correctly. Many agents try to win over owners this way but it is an unjust way of doing so.

Statistics show that the real estate contributes five to six per cent of the total Maltese economy’s output. In the case of decline in sales, the same happens to jobs within the constructions industry. The situation has a potential threat to further market development. The major threat would be the increasing unemployment rate among a segment of the Maltese population.

“The essence of the real estate sector can be defined in many ways. The country will concentrate its activities primarily on private construction activity as well as on flaws that might occur with the GDP accounts”

A decline in real estate sales in future is also projected to have a negative outcome thus leading to a decline in real estate prices. The analysis of the situation can help to reduce the value of everyone’s homes, no matter whether these are sold or not, leading to a reduction in consumer spending. A reduction in consumer spending will contribute to a downward. That downfall is a spiral in the economy. The whole situation is rather aggravating since it leads to a further high unemployment rate. In case the Central Bank doesn’t intervene (by reducing interest rates) the country may experience a terrible recession. As for the lower prices for homes, these can hamper the growth of inflation.

There are agents on the market that fair values with utmost respect. It is these agents that are true marketeers and understand the values with extremely well trained agents and quality controls in place. Those looking to buy at this time should do so now as the market is its worst with property sales now taking a good leap forward. This is always the case when exiting a buyers market. The minutes things start to look 


Building & Construction

property & life magazine

A Spectrum of Efficiency Andrew Vassallo Ltd have become synonymous in the Building industry. They have built a reputation for designing and installing innovative products. Property & Life Magazine discovers more about products which the company is introducing on the local market.


ndrew Vassallo Ltd stocks a wide variety of products for commercial premises and private homes, ranging from fire doors to expansion joints, manhole covers, gutters, gulleys, raised flooring and street furniture. They also provide all types of skylights, staircases and other aluminum and steel

structures that can be customised to fit exact specifications and requirements. Andrew Vassallo Ltd also retains one of the best Decking System used internationally. With a rot-resistant wood, which is very stable and oven dried, it guarantees minimal movement. Smooth anti-slip surface, such as the Merbau, Padauk and Teak have added value benefits, since there is no need for preliminary treatment, making it an exceptionally high quality product and maintenance free. Evenmore, if you want an unobstructive view the company can supply frameless glass systems, such as railings with tempered laminated glass which can take a pull load of 300kg, sliding curtain doors and windows, including tempered clear glass with unlimited width. And for building finishes they supply one of the most requested and reliable products for waterproofing - the Liquid Membrane which comes in pails of 5kg, 10kg and 20kg



in various colours, ideal for roofs and walls. It can also be applied on wood, concrete and plastering. With their membrane accessories the client can obtain an optimum result in waterproofing performance. They also give advice to their customers about the installation and applications of their products. For more information about all their products, please visit the company website: . For further enquiries please contact: Tel.: 00356 21692917; Mobile: 00356 79494438; Email:

Alternative enery resources

property & life magazine

Partnering Brands with Clients

by Robert Formosa Energy Malta is a new company which includes all shareholders of Calleja Formosa Energy Saving and Hilite Hardware Store. In collaboration with Solar Frontier, they are working to introduce in Malta the new CIS technology for PV systems and its greater potential for improvement and innovation.


olar Frontier is the world’s largest and fastest growing manufacturer of CIS thin-¬film photovoltaic (PV) modules. Compared to polycrystalline silicon technology, global field data show consistently higher output ratio (kWh/kWp) for our CIS modules – that is, the panels produce more energy for every kilowatt-peak you install. Another major benefit of the CIS technology is the Payback period. Energy Payback Time is the time required for a module to generate

the same amount of energy spent in its production. CIS modules require 60% less energy to produce than crystalline silicon.

rooftop installations in Japan to utility power plants in countries such as France, Germany, India, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and the USA.

Combining world-record efficiencies, uncompromising engineering standards, and excellent bankability, Energy Malta as the Malta Representatives to Solar Frontier, promise to give to our customers more kilowatt-hours, reliability, and ecological peace of mind. Solar Frontier have supplied CIS modules across a wide range of sectors and geographies, ranging from residential

Solar Frontier is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K. (TYO: 5002), which is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. Showa Shell Sekiyu has over 100 years of experience operating in the energy business and is based in Tokyo. Solar energy is the company’s second core business, along with petroleum products, as part of its mediumterm strategy. 


Company Focus: AX Construction

property & life magazine

Business Based on Trust by Denise Xuereb

Mention the name AX Construction Limited and important construction projects immediately spring to mind – the superstructure of the new Parliament Building, The Valletta Waterfront, and Restoration of Bastion Walls, the Palace Hotel, restoration of the Casino di Venezia and Palazzo Capua and many more.


X Construction Ltd, in effect, designs, builds and operates complex projects of all kinds, ranking highly in major sectors of the construction industry. AX Construction Ltd also maintains an excellent track record for all types of projects, from small domestic jobs to national and industrial undertakings. On account of its extensive resources, professional management support and skilled experienced labour, AX Construction Ltd provides individually tailored services according to the client needs and wants. The Company’s main objective is to ensure that the project moves smoothly, and to assist and guide clients on the various issues involved,

ensuring that the overall project direction and goals adequately meet with the challenges and construction related logistics, time-frames and budgets of their project. With their level of expertise and experience, AX Construction Ltd ensures that all this is done without ever compromising quality. The extent of the company’s combined services is vast and incorporates Preconstruction Consulting, Design, Project Management, Construction Management, Turnkey Contracting, General Construction, Building Maintenance and Building Restoration. AX Construction Ltd’s strong combination of building expertise packaged with additional services is a key component of the company’s ability to provide additional value to clients. Quality and professionalism are two mainstays that AX Construction Ltd take pride in. All this, together with good communication, teamwork and commitment to each and every project, is the company’s secret for success.

Forming part of the AX Group, the Company is the successor of the original business concern, Angelo Xuereb Ltd, which was founded in 1977. It moved on to become one of the largest local construction service providers on the Island. Today the staff complement at AX Construction Ltd exceeds 100. Through the constant and innovative training and education programmes, the company provides employees as well as subcontractors with the tools, knowledge and resources they need to increase safety, to reduce risk and improve loss control on every project they manage, regardless of the type of service provided. Clients are thus assured of the quality and professionalism of AX Construction’s staff and its extensive in-house resources that are unrivalled in the industry.

A leader in the construction, restoration and turnkey sectors


AX Construction has an unparalleled track record in handing over projects to its clients to specifications, on time and within budget. Thanks to the extensive resources, professional management support and skilled experienced labour, AX Construction is geared to handle projects of all sizes and individually tailor its services to fit its clients’ needs. Prices are competitive without ever compromising quality.


Quality, Professionalism and client satisfaction are the foundations on which AXC is built upon, together with good communication, teamwork and commitment to each and every project we are involved in. AX Construction enforces rigorous Health and Safety procedures on its sites to safeguard the interests of its clients, employees and neighbouring properties.

Contact Denise on +356 2331 2345 to find out more about our track record and what our professional skills can bring to your project. AX House, Mosta Road, Lija LJA 9010 Email:

34871_AXC_Advert_225x155_v4.indd 1



18/10/2012 13:58


property & life magazine

New educational videos and Pets weekend at Piscopo Gardens Piscopo Gardens are launching a monthly educational video explaining how to care for specific gardening sections. We will be launching our first educational video over the next couple of days showing you in our first edition, how to plant and take care of Bulbs!


eep a look out for these monthly videos on our website or subscribe to our newsletter to be amongst the first to get a sneak peak on what can happen around your garden/terrace during that specific time of year! Have you just purchased a new home? Does your garden need a revamp? Come and have a look at our wide indoor and outdoor plant section through which we can help you replenish your garden. Indoor pot scaping is also available at our garden center, having a large range of pots such as plastic, terracotta modern ceramic, stone and concrete to

9th, 10th, 11th November between 9:00am – 6:00pm we have our Pet weekend ‘Paws, Fins and Claws’ happening in Burmarrad – so do come round for fun activities together with all your family and pets!!

choose from! Bring us your old pots so we can repot them with fresh plants for your balcony should you wish!! Xmas is already near – decorations have hit our store for you to choose from making it easier to colour up your home for this loved celebration. Live christmas trees will be available very soon to add that touch of smell to your homes so place your orders now to avoid disappointment!

Piscopo Gardens Burmarrad, 21 583 755, www., Come and enjoy the gardening experience!




Special feature: Editor’s choice eating out

property & life magazine

Al Molo: Truly Lavish by Martin Vella


o wonder that The Definitely Good Guide to Restaurants in Malta and Gozo awarded Al Molo as the highest rated establishments. The restaurant showcases a minimalistic interior with plenty of light, mimicking the whimsical glow of twilight. The menu offered by The Art of Food features scrumptious dishes, served with sophistication in stylish surroundings. The sterling service is excellent and outdoor seating ensures every table enjoys a premium vantage point over the Portomaso Marina. When one descends the Portomaso Marina staircase to reach Al Molo, while looking out upon the twinkling

lights, it only cements the point that one has, in fact, transcended to a higher dining plane. Award-winning chef Victor Borg’s innovative cooking engages the senses and excites the imagination by exploring traditional Italian cuisine through modern interpretations. Each dish is both familiar yet completely new in the way its presentation pleases the eye and its flavor profile arouses the palate. Specialties like the papardelle with fresh local prawns, chorizo and walnut gremolata to steamed smoky seabass attract seasoned gastronomes, while the restaurant’s renowned

selection of fine local and foreign wines never disappoints. With excellent service, wonderful food, exquisite presentation, it’s consistent sparkle, combined with the an awesome atmosphere, Al Molo exceeds all expectations. If you live in a Malta and a guest comes from abroad asking me what’s a good restaurant in Malta, I ALWAYS say Al Molo. Hands down- the absolute best place. Truly lavish! For further details please call 21 384300 or visit:

A Cut Above the Rest by Martin Vella


have been to this restaurant three times and I always come back because of a great rib eye steak. Even my best friend has tasted one of the best steaks she has had in a long time, and all other bovine hugging friends who visited The Joint have all the texture and flavour of the meat delights available. The Joint has a great ambience with unique interior design, lampshade décor, including unique photo frames and spacious seating to start with. Offering a very central location in the heart of St Julians, the restaurant presents a very reasonably priced and versatile menu. The meat cuts include steaks, T-bones, which come in succulent and massive 300 gram portions. The restaurant also offers some classic fish selections and tempting vegetarian dishes. All in my party during my third visit had a great food



experience with phenomenal steaks, unique and delicious sides, an extensive and very reasonably priced wine list and desserts that are at the absolute top of the indulgence. The atmosphere is complete with the melodies of a female vocalist singer that entertains guests dining at this superb restaurant normally on weekends. Complimentary parking at Portomaso made it easier for us. This is a restaurant dedicated to top quality meat, the very best from Scotland’s Aberdeen Angus, America’s finest USDA, and the sublime Japanese Wagyu Kobe, from pampered hand-massaged bulls. Indeed a cut above the rest! For further details please call 2138 4780 or visit:

Special feature: Editor’s choice eating out

property & life magazine

The Kitchen - very good value for money with no compromise whatsoever The Kitchen, run by Darren Lapira, is a quality restaurant on the Sliema seafront. While being a popular option with the town residents due to its central location away from the hustle and bustle on both sides of Sliema’s borders, it is also a major draw with tourists strolling along the popular promenade.


The desserts are another problem. Where do you start, what do you choose? The Belgian chocolate truffle cake served with vanilla sauce anglaise is an all time favourite but do not discount options such as the crème brulee, tiramisu, home made ice-cream or cassatella. Let’s not forget that all desserts are home made. Another big plus point for the Kitchen is the extra choice and attention given to Vegetarian and Gluten Free dishes. This is a rarity on the Maltese islands.

pen since 2004, The Kitchen has really matured in one of the top restaurants in Malta. The restaurants decor is fresh, contemporary and unfussy. The restaurant seats a maximum of fifty. This ensures a personalised and attentive service. Darren Lapira, the chef patron, has studied in Rome at the Alta Cucina Italiana in Italy whilst carrying on his name three Diploma’s. Darren Lapira’s team manage the restaurant in an efficient and amicable manner whilst somehow also making justice when describing the cuisine on offer to eager patrons. This is no easy feat considering the elaborate nature of the menu. Darren’s creativity is showcased in the innovative food selection. The menu is a delicious balance of fresh and healthy foods mixed with more experimental ingredients. Examples include the duck breast with pear glazing, the red prawn and salmon fillets

With an eye on offering a quality option for repeat customers from the area, The Kitchen does not burn a whole in your pocket and is very good value for money with no compromise whatsoever.

in a homemade pesto of globe artichokes, walnuts, garlic, chilli and grana padano. Chef’s recommendations are clearly marked on the menu and the staff is always delighted to suggest the specialty of the day according to individual tastes.



Address: 210, Tower Road, Sliema

Reservations are recommended. Tel: +356 2131 1112 Mob: +356 77323280

The Kitchen is nestled in the heart of the Sliema promenade, opposite ‘It-Torri’ on Tower Road. The Kitchen is a small and cosy local favourite fine dining restaurant that serves food with a twist. An ideal stop for lunch or dinner, make sure to leave space for the delicious desserts!


Tel: +356 2131 1112


Mob: +356 7732 3280 


Special feature: Editor’s choice eating out

Terrazza Restaurant & Wine Bar

property & life magazine

Ta’ Kris Restaurant A Mediterranean Gastronomical Treat Hidden in a narrow serene alleyway from the hustle and bustle of the Bisazza Street shops, Ta’ Kris restaurant offers an intimate eatery with a friendly culinary service. Set in a former bakery, with the old oven still in place, the atmosphere is warm and homely, and the food is fresh and traditional with superb value for money.

This restaurant’s Mediterranean cuisine is well known. The Linguine GamberiI with zucchini, onions, cherry tomatoes, mint and Sambuca is of particular interest. The Daily Fresh fish, meat dishes and salads suggest that lunch or dinner at Terazza comes with the promise of a genuine experience based on a true passion for food. The savoury surprise desserts which vary daily are exceptionally good. The wine list is varied so choice is not an issue. It’s wonderful to see a selection of newer wineries represented. Bookings are taken efficiently and service is competent. A mixture of Italian and Mediterranean décor, Terrazza’s best feature lies in its prime location right on the water’s edge. Get a table outside and watch the sun go down. Booking a table is highly recommended as it can fill up quickly.

Tel: +356 21384939


102 Spinola Road, St. Julian’s, STJ 1275 Mob: +356 7949 7914 E-mail: 


Specialising in Maltese and Mediterranean cuisine, with fresh fish available daily, Chef Patron Kris Cassar cooks popular traditional dishes like rabbit, bragioli, beef stew, and specials that change every day. Diners may find medallions of pork loin with ġbejna, Maltese sausage and sundried tomatoes one day, and lamb shank with peppermint tea, flaked almonds or fresh melon stuffed with seafood the next. Meat lovers may indulge themselves to the house speciality of prime USDA Rib-Eye or an exquisitely prepared Rump steak. Dessert options include cassatella, banoffee pie and even rich Maltese trifle made by Kris’ own mother (although this must be ordered in advance). With a tantalising mix of Mediterranean and Maltese cuisine, one can only expect to be pleasantly intrigued.

Open: Every day for lunch and dinner 12.30pm till 3.30 pm and 7pm till 11pm. 80, Fawwara Lane, Sliema Tel: 2133 7367 / 9984 7713 Web:

auto review

property & life magazine

Truly Honda by Nature by Fabian Weil

The new Honda Civic

The new Honda Civic is one of the sector’s best performers with regard to low CO₂ emissions with its 2.2 i-DTEC diesel engine model producing just 110 g/km with 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque.

sector’s best in performance against low CO₂ emissions – the diesel model produces just 110g/km with 150 PS and 350 Nm of torque. Testimonials “Unlike the new Volkswagen Jetta, which we believe has slipped in terms of both interior quality and its driving experience, the Civic remains a very good car.“


he Civic team led by Mitsuru Kariya, the ‘Large Project Leader’, were given the task to create and develop the new Civic. With the current Civic being known for its unique exterior styling and interior practicality within the C segment in Europe, Mitsuru Kariya and his team were keen to further understand the needs and desires of the European customers. The current Civic became the benchmark focus for their research to create a car that was even better. With the current increase of fuel prices across Europe and the environmental targets set to achieve low emissions, it was concluded from the European customer survey that the current Civic customer not only considers modern styling and performance to be important but also advanced technologies to create a Civic that was even more cost efficient to run and eco-friendly.

“...when evaluating the requirements of our customers, we recognised that the European customer desires are demanding and unique in many aspects. We have focussed our development on fulfilling these expectations and through this process we have taken our development standards even further to a new level.” Mitsuru Kariya, LPL and the engines for improved performance and reduced CO₂ emissions.

Honda Civic 2012: Specs

Overall the new Civic builds on the core strengths of its predecessor and takes them to an appreciably higher level. It also is one of the

- Bluetooth connectivity - USB and AUX connection - Rear-mounted cameras - CD player - Magic seats

The Property & Life Magazine Score

Honda Civic 2012: Verdict

The development period for the new Civic spanned over four years. Nearly all of components are new to the Civic or have been further developed with areas of focus on the suspension set-up to improve the ride and handling, the interior materials to improve the overall interior quality, the new design styling and aerodynamics for a refreshed image and improved efficiency,

Green but mean, the 2012 Civic makes other hybrid road warriors look whimpy. Whith a competitive price tag, fuel-saving technology ensures you will not be out of pocket in the long run. 


Product placing

property & life magazine

Cleaning Grout by Josef Pisani

Cleaning wall and floor tiles may be a major project at home.. The grout lines are filthy, and you haven’t discovered an easy way to restore the tile. Is there a magic product that will clean floor tile?


altese homes have boatloads of floor tiles, and cleaning them is a nightmare. To make it worse, one may have had white or light colored grout in the kitchen. It is always going to be a challenge to keep them clean.

You only need to leave the solution between 2 to 3 min on surface / grouting To get maximum cleaning results, always follow carefully instructions on label : scrub the grout lightly after applying 1880 Grout Clean and Always pour new solution onto the grout as you scrub and simply rinse with soapy water.

It took me years to discover how to clean tiled floors in a way that was easy and that didn’t harm my family, pets and the colored grout. I finally settled on using Grout Clean 1880. Little did I know that this choice would put me way ahead of the current green movement.

Friends have tried the tile cleaning machines, but they say the Grout Clean 1880 does a much better job. It’s always best to work on stains while they’re fresh, if possible. But tiles that have been dirty for years will come clean in no time if you use our Grout Clean 1880.

Grout Clean 1880 is a new acid based formula and is specific for the cleaning of excess grout residue after the laying of floor and wall tiles. It is also highly recommended for maintaining grouted joints, restoring them to their original state. It removes most of all food and grease stains with no or minimal scrubbing. This is made possible by the oxygen ions that attack the stain molecules, breaking them into pieces that rinse away with little effort.


• • • •


Cleaning excess Grouting, dirt buildup on ceramic surfaces or joints between tiles, Gres tiles, mosaic on walls and floors. Cleaning off residue of cement-based products used as adhesives or for grouting ceramic surfaces. 1880 Enterprise Tel: 9999-1880 (Malta) 9944-4471 (Gozo)



Web: Email:


property & life magazine

Portraying Life by Martin Vella

Having had the honour to attend the final award ceremony of the Malta Short Film Festival at Radisson Blu, St Julians on Saturday 15th September, the Editor has a rare interview with Ms Marina Sereresky and Mr Alvaro Lavin, Producer and Director of ‘The Cortege’, one of the winning films from Spain. PM: As Producer and Director tell us about your winning film “The Cortege”? What inspired it? MS: I was inspired by real life situations. I wanted to convey a story about love, a love that blossoms where nobody expects it to. This is what attracted me, since the story and the film takes place in a cemetery. PM: Could you talk about what you wanted to achieve with the tone of the film and is that something you were trying to get at with this film? MS: Yes, our main message is that everyone has a right to a second opportunity. This film deals with a person who has reached a certain age and who has a second chance to fall in love in the least unexpected quarter at the least unexpected time, in a surrounding that is not the best place to fall in love.

ÁLVARO LAVÍN (Madrid, Spain, 15/07/1964) With a long career as actor and director, Álvaro Lavín has been active in the world of theatre and cinema for more than twenty years. As founder member of Meridional, he has directed about 30 performances. He has received many awards as director and actor, individually or with his company. The Award Ojo Crítico of the National Spanish Radio and the Award of the National Theatre of Portugal awarded by the National Association of Critics are some of them.

PM: Being an actor first and foremost, did you find that a hindrance or an asset to creating your project? MS: Being mostly an actress is definitely an asset when I am directing a film, because I know exactly how an actor feels and my short films are mainly based on interpretation. So the main material for the short film is this unique relationship and synergy with the actors, which is fundamental. I have a fantastic relationship with the actors and this helps in producing quality material.

MARINA SERESESKY (Buenos Aires, Argentina, 12/20/1969) Her career developed from acting to director of cinema and theatre. Throughout her career, her short films have been selected in more than 600 national & international film festivals, receiving more than 200 prizes, and being preselected for the Spanish Academy Goya Awards. Now she combines the performance in Teatro Meridional and the Spanish National Theatre with the preparation of the script of her first film.

PM: What does this award mean to you? MS: It is fantastic to receive this award as this is a very prestigious festival which has been improved considerably and the quality of the films participating is of a very high level. I am also very happy to receive this award as this has given me the opportunity to come to Malta for the very first time and also discover a wonderful Island with a lot of history and culture.

Filmography: • 2009: “L’ultima opportunità”. Short Film (12’) Script and direction. Meridional Producciones. • 2010: “El cortejo”. Short Film(14’) Script and direction. Meridional Producciones. • 2011: “Mothers 15 cents a minute”. Documentary (52’) Script and direction. Meridional Producciones and Telemadrid. • 2012: “The wedding”.Short Film. (13’) Script and direction. Meridional Producciones.

“The film portrays life itself and the audience will identify itself with the film”

MS: After The Cortege I have directed three more films and I wish to come back for the next edition of the festival and to have the opportunity to visit Malta again, as IT has given me great pleasure, satisfaction and happiness to be here honoured with such a distinguished award.

PM: What is it about the film that you think is important for the audience and how does it particularly enhance the visual quality of the festival? MS: I feel that the audience do really appreciate the mixture between drama and comedy, and can perhaps feel the love and passion of the producer’s work in their film. The love and passion portrayed in the film by the producer and by the actors may be compared to the love and passion we feel in real life situations. The film portrays life itself and the audience will identify itself with the film, sometimes it is sad and sometimes it is a wonderful occasion. I hope to bring all these emotions and elevate the visual quality of this high standard festival, which is increasing in its popularity beyond the Maltese Islands.

EDITOR’S NOTE MERIDIONAL PRODUCTIONS Meridional is a company of cinema and theatre founded in 1992. Today it is made up of Alvaro Lavin, Julio Salvatierra and Marina Seresesky. Nowadays, it is placed among the renowned companies in Madrid with an active and creative activity in the same way that other associations belonging to this generation as Yllana or Animalario. Seventeen years after its creation, the company has produced many short films and more than thirty plays, with over 2500 performances and nearly 500.000 audience members. Therefore, Meridional has been nominated to the Awards Max several times.

PM: Is there anything else you would like to add about your achievements and experience?

Special thanks to Joyce Grech, Executive Producer of the Malta Short Film Festival and Spanish Chief of Mission Mr Gabriel Cremades. 


auto review

property & life magazine

The all-new Volvo V40 - model year 2013

Get Up and Go, but Drive Safe by Fabian Weil

The all-new Volvo V40 features a luxury look and feel that emphasises the aura of a compact car with large-car content and characteristics.


he driver-centric approach is enhanced with a new, fully graphic instrument cluster that allows the driver to personalise instrument layout and the information provided.

The engine range spans everything from Volvo Car Corporation’s first diesel with CO2emissions of just 94 g/km to the turbocharged T5 petrol engine with 254 hp and acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 6.1 seconds.

The all-new Volvo V40 also boasts classleading driving dynamics thanks to focused attention to a number of vital areas. The chassis has been designed to offer the agile, connected experience that creates true driving pleasure.

All engine versions have start-stop and braking energy regeneration, no matter whether they are fitted with a manual or automatic gearbox.

Adding several new high-tech features to a full deck of safety and support systems from larger models makes the all-new Volvo V40 the most intelligent and safe car in the segment. The new features include a worldfirst Pedestrian Airbag Technology, Lane Keeping Aid with haptic auto steering, an ingenious Park Assist Pilot, automatic Road Sign Information, Active High Beam and a Cross Traffic Alert radar system at the rear.

“In many ways, the V40 is a normal hatch - five doors, engine in the front, five seats, parcel shelf, optional nodding dog. But Volvo can still

throw a curveball, because it’s persisting with five-cylinder diesel engines in the V40.” Piers Ward, Top Gear, BBC UK. “V40 became the first model based on a fully developed human-centric, strategy-based Designed Around You.” Stefan Jacoby, President & CEO of Volvo Car Corporation.



1984cc, 5cyl, FWD, 148bhp, 258lb ft, 65.7mpg, 114g/km CO2, 0-62 in 9.6secs, 130mph, 1484kg The verdict

The Property & Life Magazine Score

The new Volvo V40 means the Swedish car maker finally has a five-door hatch to rival the Audi A3 Sportback, BMW 1 Series and Volkswagen Golf. Volvo has been sharpened and the compliment of features and characteristics of the Volvo V40 to compete in the premium hatchback class.

The all-new V40 also features the groundbreaking Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake - as well as the City Safety further developed low-speed collision avoidance system which now operates at speeds up to 50 km/h. 



property & life magazine

by Martin Vella

Besides the National Breast Screening Programme, which was launched successfully in 2009, the National Centre for Breast Screening is now gearing up to roll out a national colorectal cancer screening programme, in line with the recommendations of the Ministry of Health’s National Cancer Plan 2011-15. Let’s find out more in this interview with Dr Nadine Delicata who heads the National Cancer Screening Programmes within the Department of Primary Healthcare, Ministry of Health, the Elderly & Community Care. PM: Would you provide an overview of your role at the National Centre for Breast Screening? ND: The emergence of sophisticated tests which cause little or no harm to the human body has now made it possible to carry out health screening and apply this to entire populations as an organised programme. Efforts to preserve a healthy state by prevention are now cost effective to whole communities. Our role is to transform a societal attitude from one of intervening when disease becomes manifest and symptomatic to a preventive culture where checks are undertaken to detect disease change at the earliest possible phase, before it is causing symptoms. My role entails fostering the right conditions for the development and support of well-organised and effective screening services and facilitating collaborative working among the many stakeholders who need to be involved. PM: The National Centre for Breast Screening has a leadership position with so many of your health campaigns within healthcare sector. How do you avoid becoming complacent when you are in a leadership position? ND: Complacency becomes a risk when one is working in an unchallenging environment. We try and take opportunity to foster comment and suggestion on how the service is perceived by the user. It is vital to remind ourselves on a daily basis on our raison d ‘etre - to serve the public who through their taxes pay our salary. The evaluations we 34 


receive from daily feedback questionnaires and from the formal quality assurance tests we periodically undergo help keep us on our toes.

“We greatly value any independence of thought and action which occasionally comes our way” PM: How do you define health care value and how are you focused around that value equation? ND: Value may be defined as outcomes relative to costs, but should revolve around

the customer. In a well-functioning health care system, the creation of value for patients should focus on results, not inputs. Value in health care is measured by the outcomes achieved, not the volume of services delivered, and shifting focus from volume to value remains a central challenge. Attempting to control behaviour without measuring results will limit progress to incremental improvement. There is no substitute for measuring actual outcomes, whose principal purpose is not comparing providers but enabling innovations in care. Quality in cancer screening is based on adherence to European evidence-based guidelines, which focus significantly on auditable outcomes. These address all the steps in the screening process, including not just performance of a test, but also information and invitation,


property & life magazine

Dr. Nadine Delicata with Hon Joe Cassar Minister for Health, the Elderly and Community Care. diagnostic work-up of screen-detected lesions, treatment, surveillance and any other subsequent care. Widespread application of these standardised indicators facilitates quality management and promotes international exchange of information and experience between programmes that is essential for continuous improvement and innovation.

“It is vital to remind ourselves on a daily basis on our raison d ‘etre - to serve the public who through their taxes pay our salary” PM: How critical is innovation and where are the greatest opportunities for innovation in this business? ND: We particularly like use of the term business and are not at all uncomfortable with its application to a health care screening programme. We have to be cost efficient and be accountable to the taxpayer. Innovation is a fundamental need. The development of new customer value through solutions that meet new needs, inarticulate needs, or existing needs in new ways, can only take place through innovation. This may be accomplished through different or more effective work processes, technologies, or ideas that are rendered readily available to us and our society. The use of IT technologies (something we exploit to the maximum) has been described as a disruptive technology since it has enabled profound changes in health care delivery. New working methods are constantly required for our survival. Innovation is not mere improvement, in that innovation refers to the notion of doing something different rather than just doing the same thing better. One of our mottos is ‘if it ain’t broke, break it!’ in other works

term commitment. Prevention remains a key guiding principle. We aim to empower the Maltese public by providing accurate, up to date information and impartial advice, thus enabling individuals to make informed choices about their health. Encouraging maximum uptake remains a priority - and can only be achieved with close collaboration with key partners in the healthcare field.

looking at new ways of working and new ideas. Creating a different work method is difficult and often impossible in some of the environments we work in – so we greatly value any independence of thought and action which occasionally comes our way. Innovation has to come from us as a health provider - not from the customer. PM: What needs to be done to improve the public’s trust of the health care system?

PM: How do you build and lead alliances with public, private, non-governmental and international organisations and civil society to create sustainable actions for health?

ND: Not too surprisingly the public’s confidence in a health care system depends on small every day actions of goodwill which people encounter when they seek help from the services. These thousands of gestures and acts of kindness can have far more effect on the perceived reputation of a health care service than anything that is written in the press or declared in a political forum. Little things do matter! Public opinion is often seen to focus on two distinct views: the macro view of social systems, and a micro view of individual social actors (social psychology). We firmly believe that emphasis on small things in our health delivery is our first target. Customer appreciation is vital – and feed back if there are complaints greatly valued. It is an all too frequent error in our society to take the behavioural approach to trust for granted and not needing attention. We strongly argue that it is time for this approach to be reversed. Indeed the everyday actions of those who deliver health care is measurable, leading to evaluation and will lead to tangible improvements in confidence and trust our users have in the system.

ND: Effective communication and advocacy is increasingly essential to empower individuals to evolve from passive participants into influential partners. We put particular emphasis on involving family doctors as being ideally placed to understand our clients’ particular needs and family environment. We work extremely closely with the Action for Breast Cancer Foundation and the Breast Care Support Group Europadonna to ensure that clients have support at every level, both at a general level, such as in meetings involving stakeholders as well as the individual level where they are available to guide clients in their journey. These groups are patient representatives and have their ear close to the ground, so their suggestions are invaluable in formulating our strategies.


PM: What are your key priorities for investing in sustainable policies, actions, campaigns to address determinants of health as you look to the future?

Dr. Nadine Delicata is a Consultant in Public Health and heads the National Cancer Screening Programmes within the Department of Primary Healthcare, Ministry of Health, the Elderly & Community Care. She is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Malta.

ND: Cancer screening is a public health intervention and tests for disease in people without any symptoms. Reduction in cancer mortality is the principal benefit of screening, and is by definition our long-

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condominium Administration

property & life magazine

Property Management Software Cuts Down on Arduous Tasks by Warren Sammut

Managing your apartment block is not an easy job. Let cut your costs and time in half. Blockmonster. eu is an easy-to-use condominium administration software, that makes it easy for building managers to go about their tasks in a very intuitive fashion.


he application focuses on empowering the administrator, making it very easy to take care of financial matters, keep track of the common areas in the building and keep in touch with the tenants. Blockmonster. eu is also very easily accessible. Running on the web, it is available at all times and from anywhere around the world, making it simple to keep track of updates instantaneously. is not only for administrators though; residents also profit from this application.

be able to monitor his/her personal account, making sure that sums actually add up and that he/she is keeping in line with the payments being requested.

The most important aspect when it comes to administration is cost transparency. With residents have full visibility of a budgeted year and how much it is being requested for specific items. A budget and accounting system was created with residents in mind, to helping them keep track of the overall payments requested in the annual general meeting. The budget gives full visibility (either yearly or monthly) of all expenses and the money requested for these bills. Administrators can keep an eye on who has paid and who has yet to pay, whilst residents can make sure that the amount being requested is relevant to the expenses involved. Furthermore each individual will

The second most prolific feature for residents is the ability to communicate with the administrator as well as with other neighbours in the block. Blockmonster. eu comes equipped with a social home which gives residents the opportunity to communicate with ease at any time of the day. Both residents and the administrator can post notes and discuss issues on this platform. Every individual will have visibility on what is being said as well as being able to contribute to the conversation. Administrators can also post notices with items which are important, pinning them to the top of the screen for everyone’s visibility.



“With residents have full visibility of a budgeted year.”

Finally, was built to ease usability, not just for administrators but for everyone. Using a very clean interface, simple navigation and a smiling monster, was created with the main aim of facilitating ease of use. turns the most mundane tasks into something which is intuitive and interactive, becoming second-nature for the individual. It is easy to carry out any task within and it also comes with a complete set of tutorials to get users started. is live at www.blockmonster. eu. starts from free. Visit the friendly monster now and create your free account today! Call us : 21440080

EDITOR’S NOTE Having graduated in marketing, Warren took up the role as business development executive at ICON. Striving to create new products which improve the way we do daily tasks today he is presenting

Health & Fitness

property & life magazine

What is metabolic syndrome?


etabolic syndrome is not to be taken lightly because it is a condition that can pave the way to both diabetes and heart disease, two of the most common and important chronic diseases today. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of type 2 diabetes (the common type of diabetes) anywhere from 9-30 times over the normal population. That’s a huge increase. As to the risk of heart disease, studies vary, but the metabolic syndrome appears to increase the risk 2-4 times that of the normal population. There are other concerns as well that should be mentioned. Metabolic syndrome is associated with fat accumulation in the liver (fatty liver), resulting in inflammation and the potential for cirrhosis. The kidneys can also be affected, as there is an association with leaking of protein into the urine, a subtle but clear indication of kidney damage. Other problems associated with metabolic syndrome include obstructive sleep apnea, polycystic ovary syndrome, increased risk of dementia with aging, and cognitive decline in the elderly. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines metabolic syndrome as follows: 1. High insulin levels, an elevated fasting blood glucose or an elevated post meal glucose alone with at least 2 of the following criteria: 2. Abdominal obesity as defined by a waist to hip ratio of greater than 0.9, a body mass index of at least 30 kg/m2 or a waist measurement over 37 inches. 3. Cholesterol panel showing a triglyceride level of at least 150 mg/ dl or an HDL cholesterol lower than 35 mg/dl. 4. Blood pressure of 140/90 or above (or on treatment for high blood pressure).

The good news: Metabolic syndrome can be treated! The major goals are to treat both the underlying cause of the syndrome, and also to treat the cardiovascular risk factors if they persist. The majority of people with metabolic syndrome are overweight and lead a sedentary lifestyle. Therefore it makes sense that lifestyle modification is the preferred treatment of metabolic syndrome. Weight reduction usually requires a specifically tailored programme that includes both diet and exercise. In more severe cases, medication may often be required in the initial stages, which may then be gradually tapered off as the risk factors improve. It should be stressed here that medication is not the solution, and one must treat the underlying causes for improved, long-term health. Long-term lifestyle changes that incorporate dietary and exercise modifications are the best recommendation for curing and eventually preventing relapse of cardiovascular risk factors. Research clearly shows that regular exercise helps to lower blood cholesterol, blood glucose and blood pressure, which makes it highly relevant in treating metabolic syndrome. Take action early if you are diagnosed with one or more cardiovascular risk factors in order to protect your primary asset your health!

EDITOR’S NOTE Richard Geres is an internationally certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist specialising in weight-management and functional fitness. Over the last 18 years he has helped thousands of individuals achieve slimmer, fitter and healthier bodies through lifestyle modifications and personalised exercise programmes. He can be contacted for seminars and individual consultations through his website on 



property & life magazine

Positioning the Brand by Martin Vella


ccessibility, sustainability and growth are the three pillars that shape up Josef Formosa Gauci’s values as CEO of the Malta Tourism Authority. In this interview Mr. Formosa Gauci told us why Malta has scored well in all tourism benchmarks, the efforts to strengthen MTA’s brand position and the importance of boosting its marketing strategy to increase the seat load factor.

PM: Looking back to your past term of office at MTA, can you highlight the main accomplishments and outline the challenges that remain ahead vis-à-vis the eurozone crisis? JFG: Apart from 2009, if we look at the last five years we managed to register a record performance in the tourism sector. We assess the performance of the industry in three areas - total number of arrivals, guest nights and revenue. At the end of the day, one without the other does not subsist, you need a mix of all the three ingredients. Despite the economic downturn we have enjoyed excellent results in all areas in the last years and are doing so again this year. The increase may be attributed to a number of things, the first being accessibility. We are an island and the only way to get here is by air, other than the one per cent arriving by sea from Sicily. So the first thing that we have to do as an authority is to ensure adequate seat capacity to Malta. If there are the seats you then have to market to fill in those seats. Therefore, the first challenge has been to get those seats. I think there we have registered significant success in that in 2006 we were connected to 47 airports. We are this year connected to over 80 airports, with subsequent increase in our seat capacity. This has happened due to the growth of certain airlines, such as Lufthansa, combined with other airlines such as Ryan Air, Easyjet, Vueling, Norwegian, SAS, Air France and other new airlines entering the market. We also had the situation of Airmalta, where the company has decreased the flights on the Malta route as a result of their restructuring process. The marketing side of things comes next. We have positioned an aggressive marketing 38 


strategy in all our core markets and also extended beyond. Our marketing approach has had to change. Whereas in the past you had the tour operator model at its best; you could do all your advertising between Boxing Day and February, with most of our brochures and sales issued and sold during that period. Today the scenario has changed and you have last minute bookings secured for the next week, which means Malta has to be present out there on the market all the time, making our challenge much tougher. Our budgets are relatively lower when compared to countries such as Greece, Turkey or Egypt. Today over 25% of our advertising is done on the internet. We have maintained a presence on TV media whilst balancing our budget, appearing on UK TV and also in other core markets. We bring down 600 journalists a year, with a specific programme, so that when they go back they can write up advertorials, which we feel gives us a much higher return of investment.

“So we are exhorting this type of brand positioning by taking advantage of world heritage sites such as Valletta, thereby promoting our heritage and culture” We have also focused on niche markets, and despite the problems we face, we continuously look for niches which we can develop. For example, conference and events has become an important market for us, being a sector that gives us business in the off-peak months, thereby increasing the seasonality of the shoulder months, which span between eight to nine months, yielding a turnover of

100,000 tourists. We have concentrated on the MICE* sector, putting a fund together with the Ministry of Finance to help attract NGOs, government workers and associations that want to use Malta as a conference and venue. Another factor we are working is to continue positioning a new brand. Apart from the main Malta brand which continues selling, we believe we have a very strong package for the three/four day long weekend city-break type holiday, such as we have in Valletta and Mdina. So we are exhorting this type of brand positioning by taking advantage of world heritage sites such as Valletta, thereby promoting our heritage and culture. PM: True, but isn’t Valletta dead at night? JFG: Valletta is relatively dead at night but picking up slowly and more needs to be done, I agree with you. At the end of the day, when you position Valletta you are promoting its culture and heritage, so that people may go around, shop, dine and use it as a vantage point to other


property & life magazine niche for us, as it generates a certain amount of revenue into the economy, providing a showcase of what Malta has to potentially offer, thereby giving way to a chance of repeat visits. Naturally, the cruise line business this year is facing substantial challenges. You have got two main issues; the price of fuel, which is affecting their itinerary, and then as you know, there were three incidents at the beginning of the year, one which as you recognise is the Concordia tragedy, which instilled a bit of fear and uncertainty in some people’s minds, dampening bookings. Notwithstanding, we still have done well in this area and will carry on working on developing this sector. PM: What are the motivational forces that drive your work and help you overcome challenges? JFG: I think that probably the most important is facing a challenge with determination. That is something which I have always enjoyed relishing in the past. My background was not originally in tourism, since I graduated in Economics and became a Chartered Accountant. I ended up in the tourism industry by chance back in 1997. Events happen and that’s how destiny is shaped out. This is definitely an industry that gives you different challenges all the time, but despite throwing all these tests, this is an industry that gives me plenty of satisfaction.

localities. The major works that will be finished in the next twelve months will add more value and increase the brand power significantly. I agree that we need to make Valletta more lively and a unique niche of entertainment during the evening, such as theatre and concerts.

“On the cruise market segment we get around 550,000 passengers a year, which has contributed to the overall increase of tourist figures” PM: What about the strategic allianceshave any in-roads been made for example with Airmalta and low-cost airlines, and how do you define this relationship between MTA and Airmalta? JFG: The task of most of the airlines at the end of the day is to fly people to and from


destinations. Obviously there is a difference between one airline and another on how they approach that. You have Ryanair on one extreme, who maintain that if there is a market and the price is right they will take you from A to B. Then there are others that will try to put in more effort in positioning the destination that they are flying to.

Mr Josef Formosa Gauci was educated at De La Salle College (Malta) and Stonyhurst College (UK). Having obtained a BA (Hons) Economics Degree from Nottingham University, Mr Formosa Gauci started his career with the renowned firm of PriceWaterHouse in London and then in Malta, in the Audit and Business Services Department. He is a Member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales (ACA), and a Fellow of the Malta Institute of Accountants (FIA). He was employed by the Farsons Group in the capacity of General Manager of Trident Developments Ltd., and acted as a Council President of the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association (MHRA) until his appointment as Chief Executive of the Malta Tourism Authority. He has been a member of the Malta Tourism Authority’s Board of Directors during his tenure as MHRA President, as well as a Member of the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development (MCESD). He assumed the responsibilities of Chief Executive of the Malta Tourism Authority on the 16th June, 2008.

There has been a lot of talk and speculation in the press on the subject of Airmalta over the last year and a half, Airmalta remains our most important partner. We talk to each other. If you tell me whether it can be improved - yes, it can be improved and we are working on it. PM: What are the prospects of the cruise line industry? JFG: On the cruise market segment we get around 550,000 passengers a year, which are not included within the tourism figures. You have certain days, mainly Wednesdays and Fridays, where the harbour is extremely busy and Valletta is booming. This is an important

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EU: Scientific Council

property & life magazine

Statement by the ERC Scientific Council on the Open Letter from 42 Nobel laureates to EU leaders On 23 October, 42 Nobel laureates and 5 Fields medallists warned against cutting the future EU research budget, in an open letter addressed to EU Heads of State or Government and Presidents of EU institutions.


his appeal comes ahead of a special European summit on 22 and 23 November, where leaders will decide the overall EU budget for 2014 till 2020. Researchers from various scientific fields and different parts of Europe immediately responded to the open letter by launching a petition for securing the EU research and innovation budget. The ERC Scientific Council is overwhelmed by the resonance the open letter had in the research community and in the media. The letter was published by over 20 top newspapers across Europe. The online petition has collected over 40,000 signatures in the first day, and the Scientific Council expects that many more researchers will rally to support this call, initiated by the younger generation.

Professor Helga Nowotny, President of the European Research Council, reacted: “This strong message to the leaders of Europe confirms the importance of the ERC Scientific Council’s strategy to find, fund and empower the best researchers. It is therefore vital that the future EU Research Programme ‘Horizon 2020’ - and in particular the European Research Council - will be strengthened to achieve further scientific and technological breakthroughs, leading to greater innovation in the future. We urge political leaders to listen to the unanimous voice of Europe’s researchers, both the most eminent ones and the next generation, and what they have to say to address the current economic crisis.”

EDITOR’S NOTE Set up in 2007 by the European Union, the European Research Council (ERC) aims to stimulate scientific excellence in frontier research by encouraging competition for funding between the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, based in or moving to Europe. Led by the ERC President Professor Helga Nowotny, the ERC consists of a Scientific Council - its governing body setting the scientific strategy - and the Executive Agency, which implements the operations. The initiators of the open letter, Nobel Laureates Sir Tim Hunt and Prof. Christiane NüssleinVolhard, are members of the ERC Scientific Council. The ERC (or ‘Ideas’ programme) is part of the EU’s Seventh Research Framework Programme (FP7) and has a total budget of €7.5 billion from 2007 to 2013. Last year, the European Commission proposed a substantial increase in the ERC’s budget for 2014 to 2020 under the new Framework Programme (‘Horizon 2020’). The ERC is widely acknowledged as a major success story of FP7. Since its launch, the ERC has funded over 3,000 top researchers and their pioneering projects. It has also become a “benchmark” for the competitiveness of national research systems complementing existing funding schemes at national and European levels. The ERC operates according to an “investigator-driven”, or “bottom-up”, approach, allowing researchers to identify new opportunities in all fields of research. ERC website:

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EU: Marie Curie Programme

property & life magazine

European Researchers help Create Smarter Detergents

by Fabian Weil It was exactly 66 years ago, in October 1946, that multinational Procter & Gamble (P&G) unveiled Tide, a brand that even now is synonymous with laundry detergents. Today we take detergents for granted, insisting on the most powerful cleaning agents, but also expecting their washing products to be easy to use, lightweight, low energy users, safe for the environment and reasonably priced. It’s a full menu, but one that P&G recently tried to meet by bringing in expertise from student researchers across Europe.


e wanted to create more sustainable detergents, blending our historical know-how with ideas from young European scientists to really build a new revolutionary product,” says Johan Smets, a P&G research fellow. Smets helped with the start of Bioseal, a project funded by the European Union (EU)’s programme of support for the mobility of researchers known as Marie Curie Actions (MCAs). The project set up fellowships for seven PhD students to design more effective and environmentally friendly detergents. The four year project, which began in November 2005, received €1.04 million in EU funding, and helped link academic and commercial partners from across Europe - including P&G and the universities of Birmingham in the UK, Minho in Portugal, Leuven in Belgium, and Graz in Austria - to design the detergent of the future. “We felt the best way to achieve this was with a Marie Curie programme that combined different centres of excellence with academic expertise to bring the product alive,” says Smets, the project coordinator, P&G’s former principal scientist in charge of developing novel technologies for consumer good products. The research looked at a number of key issues for modern detergents: Compaction: this reduces the environmental footprint by cutting packaging waste and increasing transport efficiency;

Enzymes: these biomolecules act as catalysts inside a washing machine. They are biodegradable, help reduce energy use by enabling lower washing temperatures and shorter washing cycles, and are derived from renewable sources;

researchers found challenging jobs in academia and the chemical industry. They include: working for P&G; working for Danish enzyme supplier Danisco; doing research at the University of Gembloux on biosurfactants; completing a PhD at the University of Birmingham in the UK; working for a pharmaceutical company, Novartis, in Spain; working at an incubation centre at the University of Minho in Portugal, and working at the Austrian Centre of Industrial Biotechnology in Graz.

Surfactants: these keep stains in the water and prevent their return to the fabric. But they are often derived from petroleum, and the research looked at developing naturally-derived surfactants;

“The project gave us new insights into how dirt and stains are encrusted in the fabric, and how chemistry stains faster and better”

Odours: crucial since perfume is often the top consideration for consumers. “The project gave us new insights into how dirt and stains are encrusted in the fabric, and how chemistry stains faster and better,” says Smets. By leveraging new enzyme technologies, a better understanding of cleaning phenomena at the fabric surface, and an improved understanding of the interplay between enzymes and surfactants in the detergent formulation, the Bioseal project delivered a detergent with increased environmental profile. “The result was a detergent prototype that delivered the same cleaning performance with just one third of the volume,” Smets says.

And by forging key relationships, it established a potential life-long network of academics. “Bioseal helped develop innovation at the interface of science and industry,” adds Smets, who says the experience of coaching such a variety of people and ideas was one of the most satisfying moments in his career. “We developed a strong scientific approach: knowledge and capability in Europe to innovate on sustainability combined with better products for our customer.”

But Bioseal did more than just produce a new detergent. It also helped train the students, resulting in 15 academic papers and two patents. After the project, the 



property & life magazine

Smart Technologies: Leasing Your Your IT Platform For More Cost-Effectiveness Today, the name of the game is cost-effectiveness. Everyone wants to operate in a more cost-effective manner and yet, no one is willing to compromise on value, quality and a great service. And so it should be.


or any company, an IT platform is indispensable and this could command a high initial investment which could hamper the business from focusing on its medium to long-term goals. One of the main services offered by Smart Technologies Ltd involves IT Leasing – possibly the least expensive approach to obtain the latest IT equipment for any business. Statistics have shown that eight out of ten companies use leasing to finance their equipment acquisitions. “Smart Technologies Ltd is uniquely positioned to provide both capital and business automation solutions to reduce a company’s costs and increase the efficiency of its equipment acquisition and lifecycle management processes,” explains Chris Demicoli, Business Development Manager of Smart Technologies Ltd. Founded in 2008, Smart Technologies Ltd started as an innovative idea by a team of dedicated experts who brought forth their experience and market knowledge to form what today is regarded as the leading IT Equipment Leasing and Outsourcing company in Malta. “Our company is today highly regarded as the single source for any organisation’s IT purchases & financing of equipment, offering the flexibility of creating tailored-made IT packages involving the latest IT equipment available in the market whilst guaranteeing first rate service through highly qualified technical staff,” explains Mr Demicoli. Elaborating more on the leasing business, Mr Demicoli said “Smart Technologies Ltd provides a wide variety of IT leasing

solutions to mid-sized and large enterprises. Leasing programmes are designed to be cost-effective and process-oriented business solutions that deliver compliance control and maximum savings at each stage in the equipment lifecycle. Leasing terms can be based on the company’s future requirements, making it simple to include additional equipment to the lease agreement with minimal paperwork. We also offer management and support for your entire portfolio of corporate IT assets; a company who will design a flexible leasing programme that is customised to your specific needs.” “More and more companies are realizing the benefits that may be enjoyed through leasing. Leasing empowers businesses to easily replace and upgrade without having to worry about initial acquisition costs or how to dispose of obsolete equipment. Above all, leasing is the wisest way to remain on top in the ICT world without capital expenses each time equipment needs upgrading or replacing,” added Mr Demicoli. Through Smart Technologies Limited’s Leasing Services, businesses can choose the equipment required, enjoy 100% financing by quickly acquiring use of the equipment needed without major cash outlay, can deal with budget restrictions easier and do not have to deal with depreciating figures since costs can be projected more accurately. “The success that Smart Technologies is constantly enjoying is owed first and foremost to the integrity with which we operate and which is the basis of all the services we

provide. The energy and drive within our organisation, combined with that of our partners, gives us the necessary confidence to assist you to achieve the best results possible,” added Mr Demicoli. “Our services go beyond providing hardware technology needs. We assist clients and and facilitate their business success by maximising the utilisation of the working capital through innovative equipment financing models. Our highly qualified technical staff ensures that all technical requirements are met whilst our Agreed Service Level Agreements guarantee that our quality of service can be monitored and enhanced at all times.” Further information about Smart Technologies and its growing portfolio of services may be found on

Corporate brief Founded in 2008, Smart Technologies Ltd started as an innovative idea by a team of dedicated experts who brought forth their experience and market knowledge to form what today is regarded as the leading Equipment Leasing and IT Outsourcing company in Malta. Highly regarded as a single source for any organisation’s IT purchases & financing of equipment, Smart Technologies Ltd is ideally postitioned to offer tailored-made IT packages involving the latest IT equipment available in the market whilst guaranteeing first rate service through highly qualified technical staff. Today, the main services offered by Smart Technologies Ltd are Equipment Leasing, IT Outsourcing, PC Renting and eKiosks.

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Nuclear Proliferation and Disarmament

property & life magazine

Major Nuclear Threats by Sanja Bjelica

Joint Conference of Luxembourg Forum and Geneva Centre for Security Policy Discusses On September 11 and 12, 2012, a joint conference of the International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe and Geneva Centre for Security Policy billed as “Perspectives of Nuclear Proliferation and Disarmament” took place in Geneva. Leading nuclear disarmament and proliferation experts discussed essential contemporary international security issues.


he conference brought together international experts, including Luxembourg Forum President Viatcheslav Kantor, former IAEA Director General Hans Blix, Professor at the University of Maryland Roald Sagdeev, Director of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy Fred Tanner, Head of the Task Force on Nuclear Disarmament and Non-Proliferation of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs Benno Laggner, director of the UN Institute for Disarmament Research Theresa Hitchens, Head of the WMD and Disarmament Programme at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy Pal Sidhu, and Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran Mohammad Hassan Daryaei, and other members of the Luxembourg Forum Advisory Council.

“The Russian leadership still views this approach as a threat to the nuclear containment potential, strategic stability and perspectives of nuclear arms control” The conference focused on the state and perspectives of nuclear disarmament, strengthening of WMD non-proliferation regime, cooperation on ballistic missile defense and its importance for the nuclear non-proliferation in future. As usual, close attention was paid to the nuclear crises of Iran and North Korea, as well as the current state and perspectives of six-party talks on the

close to possessing nuclear weapons. “If the negotiations continue, we must not back off to banning 20 percent enrichment of uranium, but must demand full compliance with the UN SC Resolutions about abandonment of uranium enrichment to any grade,” he continued. As the outcome of the meeting the members of the International Advisory Council prepared a final Declaration to be circulated to heads of leading states and main international organizations, including the UN, IAEA, NATO, CSTO and OSCE. Since its inception five years ago, the Luxembourg Forum has convened 15 conferences and workshops in Moscow, Washington D.C., Luxembourg, Rome, Vienne, Geneva and Stockholm. Each conference proposed to the above addressees specific ways to address most acute nuclear security issues. Nearly all addressees have taken note of the recommendations, as supported by their feedbacks.

North Korean nuclear weapons program. Commandant of NATO Defense College in Rome Arne Bård Dalhaug spoke about building partnership in the turbulent world. The experts noted that the implementation of the Start Treaty has been in compliance with the plan and given no cause for concern so far. However, the U.S. and Russia interpret differently the meaning of the preamble paragraph regarding the relation between strategic offensive and defensive systems. The parties still disagree about the scale, nature, possibilities and purpose of the incremental adaptive approach of the U.S./NATO to design and deployment of the ballistic missile defense system in Europe. The Russian leadership still views this approach as a threat to the nuclear containment potential, strategic stability and perspectives of nuclear arms control.

EDITOR’S NOTE The International Luxembourg Forum on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe was established pursuant to a decision of the International Conference on Preventing Nuclear Catastrophe, held in Luxembourg on May 24-25, 2007. The Forum’s Advisory Council includes 57 most reputable and world-renowned experts from 14 countries. The Forum is one of the most representative non-governmental organizations uniting leading world experts on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, arms reduction and limitation. The Forum is headed by its President, Viatcheslav Kantor, PhD. The principal guiding bodies of the Forum are the International Advisory Council (IAC) and the Supervisory Council (SC). The Forum’s priorities are to analyze threats imposed by nuclear arms proliferation and elaborate actual proposals and recommendations on the ways to further reduce nuclear arms, strengthen nuclear and missile non-proliferation regime, counteract acquisition of nuclear weapons and technologies by unstable regimes and terroristic organizations, resolve the Iranian and North Korean nuclear crises. Reduction of nuclear threats is closely connected to conventional arms balance, development of precision weapons and perspectives of cooperation between states on ballistic missile defense.

The conference members expressed concern that for the first time since the end of the Cold War there is a possibility of another arms race. According to the Luxembourg Forum President Viatcheslav Kantor, design and development of the ballistic missile defense system by the U.S. and its allies in the Asia Pacific Region gives rise to concern in China, which is taking offensive and defensive countermeasures. This way, the race of offensive and defensive arms between Russia and NATO can be redoubled and aggravated by the arms race between China and the U.S. allies in the Asia Pacific Region. “There are no indicators of a positive progress in preventing space weapon deployment. Against this background, testing of suborbital and orbital weapon system continues. There is a possibility of a space arms race, which can lead to a complete disruption of the strategic stability and losing arms control,” underscored Kantor. Touching upon Iran’s nuclear program, Kantor noted that there are sufficient grounds to believe that Iran has come very 


Arts & Culture

property & life magazine

When Dreams Come True

Oberon and sleeping fairies

by Martin Vella

I was privileged to enjoy one of the Bard’s best-loved classics A Midsummer Night’s Dream, drawing a curtain over the summer season at San Anton Gardens under the patronage of President George Abela in a Castle Tour 2012 Shakespeare production.


orming part of their ‘Castle Tour 2012 – 56 Castles, 12 Countries’, TNT Theatre Britain gave the Maltese audience an exceptional rendition of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The excellent performance elevated the audience present from the end of summer humdrum. Directed by Paul Stebbings with original music by Thomas Johnson, this unique event has become the most comprehensive summer outdoor tour of any European Theatre Company. This annual extraordinary production of one of Shakespeare’s masterpieces is staged in the castles and palaces of Europe and Scandinavia, keeping with Castle Tour custom they began in 1990, by touring open-air theatres and historic castles and palaces in Europe. This company has performed in Malta previously and last year they performed ‘Oliver’ at the Manoel Theatre and ‘Macbeth’ at the Presidential Palace in Valletta to critical acclaim. Paul Stebbings’ direction crisscrosses a web of theatrical fairy-tale, taking the audience

to the heart of a bewitched forest, the injustice of the Athenian court and the political strife of the fairy kingdom. One of the funniest and wisest plays ever written, the plot focuses on the experiences of two sets of lovers, the Fairy King and Queen, and a group of coarse, stupid actors who attempt to stage a play for the wedding of the Duke of Athens. Adding to the mischief we stumble upon the impish Puck whose magic creates an endless supply of mirth and laughter. TNT Theatre’s actors proved why they are one of the most popular international touring theatre companies in the world with their overthe-top acting so well hammed that it was clearly the mark of a highly talented cast who knew exactly what they were doing. What was particularly interesting was the fact that the actors playing the four young lovers also played others parts. The lively cast gave the audience a truly original interpretation of the Bard’s classic. Courtesy of ADGE, Nexos Lighting, Joyce Grech & Tony Cassar Darien.

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Web Marketing

property & life magazine

What’s your e-Strategy? by Adrian Friggieri

As the internet keeps evolving the dependency on our e-commerce strategies and our online business extension keeps growing. When a company now-a-days develops a great website for their business it is simply starting up a never ending journey and not any destination unlike a lot of SME owners believe.


website can look stunning and can have the best content around but without a strong short term, medium term and even long term e-strategy it’s a fail before it even starts. Web marketing is all about getting the world out there to know that you are open for business. Without proper and strong web marketing and search engine marketing no website can be found at all, let alone generate sales or business growth.

Next goes the market identification, unfortunately the idea to sell to anyone in any country is not possible at all anymore, the internet is more regional then ever has been before. This can tend to be a little more difficult to perceive however you have to create regional strategies to manage an international result.

your project. This concept is valid for any product based business, service based business to even non commercial projects which are online to spread any message to any targeted group. It is sometimes daunting to hear a business owner would not be sure of what to reply when asked, ‘what you would like to achieve thanks to your website?’. One must be very clear and concise about the objectives of your website or online project, without that one cannot create a proper e-strategy and manage to achieve any success out of the project at all.

Web Marketing is a widespread subject which keeps developing as we progress so learning the market rules is essential to anyone who has an interest to make any success from a website, being management, sales, content development to small business owners without any technical backgrounds. With proper guidance web marketing can become the most cost effective marketing platform one adopts inside a business. EBN has been the first company to operate ‘Web Marketing & Search Engine Optimisation’ courses which go in detail on how to achieve results online. Contact us on 21231385 or e-mail to learn more about your e-strategy development.

So from where would you start then? Simple, get a very clear idea of what you want your website to achieve for your business or for

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Ben Estates: Getting the most out of Malta & Gozo by Bernard Mangion

An extensive database of luxury properties, properties for first time buyers and commercial real estates.


en Estates Ltd was founded by Bernard Mangion following eight years of work in various sections of the real estate business. Mr. Mangion has successfully driven the company to be one of the fastest growing real estate organisations on the Islands. The company has been built on around a strong team of a highly experienced management team, as well as a professionally educated sales and property letting associates. Ben Estates’ network of associates are professionally trained on an ongoing basis. Buying Property in Malta The company’s fully computerised network of offices provides customers with an extensive and up-to-date database of residntial property for sale throughout Malta and Gozo. Renting property in Malta Ben Estate’s extensive database caters for all kinds of properties ranging from the basic necessities, to the most luxurious of homes. The team of letting consultants is highly experienced and all associates strive to meet the clients’ requirements as efficiently as possible.

Commercial Property in Malta Ben Estates’ experienced team will assist you in searching for strategic business premises to suit any client, not only with regards to location but also size. Whether your request is for office premises, retail outlets, catering establishments, warehouses or indeed any other type of commercial property Ben Estates’ comprehensive database is sure to offer an idea to suit your needs. Luxury property in Malta For clientele looking for an investment in luxury property Ben Estates has designated associates that specialise in this field. Relocation If you are relocating to Malta as an individual with a company or you are a businessman looking to set up or find out more about the possibilities of setting up business in Malta, Ben Estates can point you in the right direction. Property Management Property Management and maintenance service is provided on request. Ben Estates have a number of foreign clients who have opted to choose this service.

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European Research Council

Professors Serge Haroche

Nobel Prize in Physics 2012 goes to European Research Council grantee

After the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences today announced the news that the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2012 has been awarded to Professors Serge Haroche (France) and David J. Wineland (United States) for “groundbreaking experimental methods that enable measuring and manipulation of individual quantum systems”, the President of the European Research Council (ERC), Professor Helga Nowotny, said: “On behalf of the ERC Scientific Council, I would like to extend warm congratulations to the Nobel Prize laureates announced today.


property & life magazine



e are very proud that Professor Serge Haroche has been funded by the European Research Council through an Advanced Grant. This is the second time that the Nobel Prize in Physics has gone to an ERC grant holder, which is particularly thrilling for the ERC, set up only five years ago. Through a highly competitive selection based on excellence alone, the ERC has supported nearly 3,000 top researchers thus far. Today’s announcement is affirmation of the ERC’s investment in the most talented researchers across Europe, whose contributions are invaluable to science, and in the longer term to society at large.”

David J. Wineland

The Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, said: “I heartily congratulate Professors Serge Haroche and David J. Wineland for their welldeserved Nobel Prize. I am particularly proud that Professor Haroche is the holder of an Advanced Grant, awarded in 2009 by the European Research Council (ERC). The ERC supports the very best researchers to conduct pioneering research across Europe, and has made a real impact since its launch in 2007. This is why the Commission has proposed a significant boost for the ERC budget in our next research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.”


property & life magazine

Vacanze Romane

by George Carol

Rome is one of the most visited destinations in the world. Once the capital of western civilization also known as the “Eternal City”. Rome is endowed with incredible antiquities, gorgeous piazzas, stunning fountains, great food, and an exhilarating ambiance. It is said that Rome is the city with the largest concentration of historical sites, places of interest and architectural sites in Europe. With about 2.8 million population on 1300sq km’s the Italian capital city is sure to be alive every day all year round. A city for all ages and all travel typology, traveling alone, a romantic getaway or a family holiday Rome has incredible things to offer.


ets share a few secrets to get the most out of your holiday in Rome, first of all select a hotel that is really central. A place from which you can easily start and end your daily excursions around the capital. Overall if you select hotels in the main districts around Navona or the Tridente you are sure to be in walking distance to were ever you wish to visit in Rome. Visiting Rome by foot or with a tour it is easy to get around. Rome cannot be visited of course without a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, the centrepiece of the Vatican, is one of the most sights you must see in Rome. The grandeur of its interior is enhanced by statues, art and installations created by such notable artists as Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini and others just put your jaw down to the splendours of these wonders. When you visit ensure you also stop in the Vatican museums and walk inside the marvelous building which will offer also great views of Rome from the inside. It is recorded that the Basilica’s impressive dome is one of the largest and highest in the world. Of course no visit would be complete without spending some minutes inside the stunning Sistine Chapel, Raphael’s rooms and the amazing collection of fine art. The Pantheon is also one of the true glories of ancient Rome and one of the best preserved monuments of the Roman Empire today. Located where Agrippa built an earlier tribute to the

over their left shoulder to guarantee a return visit to Rome, well its definetly worth the try!

Roman Gods in the first century. The Pantheon was constructed by the Emperor Hadrian and his plans included the spectacular rotunda and its marvellous dome that are regarded as architectural marvels.

Piazza di Spagna The area is a fantastic and very popular meeting place in Rome and includes the famous Spanish Steps (la Scalinata della Trinita’ de Monti) which lead from the piazza to the church Trinita dei Monte. The steps are an incredibly popular place for visitors to be photographed and therefore it can get very busy throughout the year. The name “Spanish Steps” derives from the fact that the stairway was originally built to connect the Spanish Embassy to the Vatican and the Embassy of Spain has remained in the square to this day.

The Colosseum It is not just one of the most popular tourist attractions in Italy, but in the world. It is a stunning reminder of Roman history and just a fantastic structure to marvel at. Sitting down inside the colosseum can almost make you hear the Romans exhilaration for the ancient games. It has been featured in a large number of movies, literature and artwork and seeing it is something that everyone should do at least once. Of all the places to visit in Rome, the Colosseum is definitely one of the best.

Driving & Getting Around Driving in Rome is something like super 5 however the odds are really not in your favor! Well if you do venture by car the parking is a serious issue and the large amount of traffic at almost all times in most of the city centre areas. Walking and public transport apart from the number of tourist busses are easy to follow and one can reach all the city main areas within a relative short time. Ironically even taxis are not so expensive if you are getting around in the main central areas of Rome when compared to other European cities.

“It is recorded that the Basilica’s impressive dome is one of the largest and highest in the world” Trevi Fountain Considered by many to be one of the most impressive fountains in Rome, the Trevi Fountain features an impeccable design and beautiful sculptures. One of the most popular activities for people visiting the fountain is to throw a coin

An overall verdict Rome is a must visit city, even more then once to just enjoy the nice Roman ambiance and smell of the ancient Romans. 


Case Study

property & life magazine

The Solar frontier CIS panel installed on this roof more kilowatt hours per kilowatt peak than other crystalline sytems in the area

Backnang Residential Rooftop Prinz Energie- und Umwelttechnik GmbH designs and builds rooftop and groundmounted photovoltaic and solar thermal systems. The company also sells PV modules, inverters and mounting systems.


his residential installation is one of a growing number of gridconnected Solar Frontier installations by Prinz that combined produce more than 400 kW of power. For this particular installation, the client wished to maximize their potential profits from the German feed-in tariff which favors energy that is immediately consumed in the house.

Performance data

The system meets that target with more than 38% of the produced current consumed on site. Over the course of one year, the installed CIS modules will supply the family with over 70% of their electricity needs. To ensure that such a high proportion of electricity was consumed locally, it was essential that the modules offer not only high efficiency but also strong performance in non-optimal light conditions such as during early morning, late evening and cloudy days. Solar Frontier CIS modules were the first choice for having the best efficiency of all thin-film modules, and for the light soaking effect, which enables the panels to provide more power than their rated capacity. Compared to similarly sized crystalline systems installed in the area, the CIS system produces 11.7% more kWh per installed watt of power. About Solar Frontier Solar Frontier is committed to creating the world’s most ecological, economical solar energy solutions, on the world’s largest scale. Our proprietary CIS technology (denoting key ingredients copper, indium, and selenium) has the best overall potential to set the world’s most enduring standard for solar energy. For more information visit



AC Output (kwh/kwp) AC Perfromance Ratio %

Performance ratio %


property & life magazine

Trustworthiness, Stability, and Integrity by George Carol

Ask yourself - does your interior look and feel the same as it did when you first moved into your home? Have you ever been fond of a particular paint colour, piece of furniture, or fabric, but didn’t know where or how to use it? Have you always thought of working with an interior designer, such as on the TV home shows, only to think that it must be too expensive? Well, think again, because now you can. If these questions are making you reflect about your own home, wishing for something more, AGF Turnkey Contractors will provide the opportunity to help you achieve that new idea and style for your interior. “Avoid wasting time and making costly mistakes. Working with us can save you countless hours, money and avoid hassles as we guide you in the right direction to realise the interior you have always dreamed of. From updating a room to decorating an entire house, no project is too big or small. Your home is an investment, so why not be surrounded by beauty?,” surmises Jevon Gatt, Director of AGF Turnkey Contractors . AGF turnkey contractors comprises of a motivated team with only one goal in mind – client satisfaction at all costs. The company is made up of dedicated and experienced workmen – all cooperating to achieve the same goal – Quality. This new and dynamic company, established in 2006, has built its success and reputation on its work force. “We work as one whole team throughout all our projects. The main aim of our company is to provide value for money to all clients, delivering on time and on budget. However we strive to exceed customer expectations and not just meet them. We treat our clients with the high confidentiality and peace of mind that we will supply and furnish everything needed for their project from start to finish,” maintains Mr. Gatt.

have gained a fine reputation and who work hand in hand with clients. It is very important to have a good relationship between architects and clients, and it’s very important to have architects who are realistic and can deliver what’s on paper”.

AGF’s services mainly cater for construction, structural alterations, interior and exterior finishes, interior design and project management. Jevon explains that his principal aim is to exceed customer’s expectations. “We provide a service to each and every client until the client is satisfied completely and respect towards the time frame agreed.”

AGF turnkey contractors believe in the adage ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’, and are known for their meticulous and effective planning. “This is essential and we consider it as a prime priority for the successful scheduling, budgeting, site safety, logistics, inconvenience to the public caused by delays,” concludes Mr. Gatt.

“It’s very important to have architects who are realistic and can deliver what’s on paper”

AGF Main Services: • Construction • Structural Alterations • Interior and exterior finishes • Project management • Interior design

With bespoke service meeting customer specifications, AGF offer full support before, during and after the project has been finalised. This is because Mr. Gatt believes that the final objective behind every service that AGF offers comes down to the people that are involved with their success. “Particularly, we give priority to the quality of works that is very important and people are missing it out, choosing the cheaper products that only last a couple of years. When we see the look on the face of a client after the realisation of a project and transformation of an apartment or villa into a welcoming home, that gives us immense satisfaction,” he enthuses.

Contact: Tel: +356 21 578394, +356 9945 0232 Email:

EDITOR’S NOTE Jevon Gatt hails from a family of building contractors going back three generations. Prior to creating AGF, Gatt spent the last 10 years in the field of construction and turnkey projects, where he served as Chief Operating Officer and Project Manager.

Mr. Gatt maintains that there are many fine architects out there who can give the client an impeccable service. “We work with architects who 


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Valletta 2018 Confirmed


Valletta is officially the European Capital of Culture for 2018. Valletta 2018 is about a date, a place and one eventful year. But that’s just part of the story. Valletta 2018 is a journey that started in October 2011.

World’s Top Luxury 164m of floating luxury.


otor yacht Eclipse, completed at the end of 2010 at the Blohm + Voss Hamburg shipyard, features interiors by Terence Disdale Design and is the world’s largest superyacht. At 164m Eclipse’s unprecedented size had ensured her construction had been shrouded in secrecy, and as such, subject to much rumour and speculation from both the international press and superyacht enthusiasts.


lthough details of the luxury megayacht are being extremely well hidden, it is known that her interiors feature designs by the renowned Londonbased team at Terence Disdale Design. Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich is the owner of this giant yacht which is believed to accommodate 36 guests in 18 cabins and also cater for a staggering 70 crew members. Amongst the armada of lavish extras thought to be onboard are a three-man leisure submarine, two swimming pools, one of which is 16-metres long with an adjustable depth feature that allows it to be converted into a dance floor. Other extras include an exterior fireplace and six tenders as well as accommodation for three helicopters. Source: SuperYachts

Valletta was unanimously named European Capital of Culture (ECoC) for 2018, by a jury of experts, following a presentation by the Valletta 2018 Foundation on Friday 12th October 2012. Next, Valletta will be officially declared title holder by the Council of Ministers in May 2013. The news was announced by the ECoC jury chairman Manfred Gaulhofer, during a live-broadcast press conference in St John’s Co-Cathedral’s oratory. He was flanked by the European Commission representative Ann Branch, as Minister for Culture Mario de Marco presided the Press Conference. Gaulhofer said that the jury was convinced that Valletta had the will, motivation and the required ambition to receive the title.

On the 12th October 2012 Valletta was unanimously named European Capital of Culture (ECoC) for 2018.

Voices Foundation Dream a Little Dream, Voices 2012 Chosen Theme


OICES started out as a choir of 75 singers in 1991 and performed its first concert at St. Aloysius College, B’Kara in aid of the new Sixth Form premises. The members had long been teamed up together, performing at various college activities and social functions. However, this concert was to be the first of a series of public appearances leading to the success VOICES enjoys today. Over the years, the number of choir singers grew to over 200 and concerts are now held every two years. During the first two weeks of October 2008, VOICES presented its latest concert VOICES – TELL ME WHY? at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta, during a run of 10 performances and to a record audience of over 13,000 people.

V The over 200 members of the choir rehersals for Dream a Little Dream.

OICES is a completely non-profit organization and its concerts serve to raise money for charitable and worthy causes. None of the members of the VOICES choir, band or committee receive any form of remuneration for their services. To date, VOICES has contributed over one million Euros to various local and international charities including the Hospice Movement, Eden Foundation, Caritas, JRS, Cash for Cancer, YMCA, Fondazzjioni Suret il-Bniedem, Razzett tal-Hbiberija, Dar tal-Provvidenza, UNICEF, Amnesty International, Red Cross International, UNHCR (Malta) and others. This year’s “Dream a Little Dream” resulted into another great night in aid of a good cause, well done Voices!.

“Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” – C.S. Lewis


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Property & Life Magazine - Nov/Dec 2012  

The ulimate property and investment guide in Malta, issue Nov/Dec 2012.

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