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Press digest

The devastation of a section of St Sebastian fireworks factory as shown in an aerial picture in The Times today.

The devastation of a section of St Sebastian fireworks factory as shown in an aerial picture in The Times today.

The following are the top stories on the Maltese and overseas press:

The Times reports that one of the victims of the Qormi fireworks explosion was to have set for a government clerks' exam yesterday. It also says a Monti hawker has been accused of the murder of Il-Bona.

The Malta Independent also leads with the arraignment. It also quotes the owner of an Attard villa who insisted the gas stored on the premises is safe.

MaltaToday says that a Briton committed suicide at the prisons. It also reports that the Prime Minister won back the support of backbenchers at a reconciliation meeting of the PN parliamentary group yesterday.

In-Nazzjon quotes the Prime Minister saying jobs were saved through discussion, not protests. In other stories, it says the funeral of the two fireworks factory victims will be held today; and the man accused of the murder of Il-Bona claimed he had been shot at.

l-orizzont says the PN group met after two months yesterday for a hurried debate on the utility tariffs. It also quotes the Archbishop saying everyone should have access to essential wealth.

The overseas press

The UK's Independent reports that Europe is set for a wave of industrial and social unrest as governments and companies freeze wages and raise taxes. They says huge protest rallies took place in cities across Spain last night and today a general strike could paralyse Greece. It also cites industrial unrest at French airports and oil plants, the aborted stoppage at Germany's Lufthansa, the planned strike at British Airways, the two-week suspension of production at Italy's car giant Fiat as well as the Irish trade union movement's warning that it would escalate its action over Budget pay cuts. With unemployment rising and demands for austerity growing, Europe's workers are becoming increasingly restless, they say.

Corriere della Sera says 56 people were being sought in Italy and abroad, suspected of fraud and laundering at hundreds of millions of euros. Among them was Silvio Scaglia, the founder of Italian broadband provider Fastweb, and Senator Nicola Di Girolamo, a member of Silvio Berlusconi's People of Freedom party who represents Italians living abroad.

Ankara's news broadcaster NTV reports Turkish police have been questioning 29 of the 49 former and current high-level military officers arrested in connection with a 2003 plot to overthrow the government. According to the state-run Anatolian news agency, police also brought 10 of the arrested officers to an Istanbul court early on Tuesday.

Ekstra Bladet says Danish Defence Minister Soren Gade has resigned from his post, leading Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen to shuffle his cabinet and name Denmark's first female defence minister - 41-year-old Gitte Lillelund Bech. Lene Espersen is the new foreign minister. The shuffle was the largest change in the minority coalition government since Rasmussen came to power in April 2009.

Gazete Ankara reports 17 miners were killed after a gas explosion at a coal mine in north-west Turkey. The blast caused an underground chamber to collapse. Some 29 workers were rescued.

The Times turns to the Falklands Islands, reporting that the diplomatic rift between Britain and Argentina over oil drilling rights deepened dramatically after Argentina said it would take its protest to the UN. Other Latin American countries are backing Buenos Aires in its fight to stop Britain drilling for oil around the Falklands.

USA Today reports that an American paediatrician is facing nearly 500 charges of child sex abuse in one of the worst cases in the country's history. All 103 of Dr Earl Bradley's alleged victims were documented on 13 hours of video recordings found at his office and home in Lewes, Delaware. Bradley, who is being held with bail set at €2.1 million, had his medical licence permanently revoked last week.

Trouw says a 35-year-old violent criminal fled from the Dutch prison of Breda through a tunnel she had dug with a spoon. A Justice ministry spokesman would not say what sentence the woman was serving or for what specific crime. She is still on the run.

Toronto Star reports a Canadian court will hear a tape recording later today of a former immigration judge who is alleged to have sought sex from a South Korean woman in exchange for granting her asylum.

Le Parisien says Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have freed Frenchman Pierre Camatte almost three months after he was kidnapped in Mauritania.

The Dominion Post reports that a New Zealand man was jailed for seven months for feeding five live kittens to his pet pitbull terrier.

ABC says that a Spanish woman has left €3 million in her will to help protect the Iberian lynx, the world's most endangered feline species.

EU Observer reports MEPs have voted to a restore a European ban on the sale of wonky fruit and vegetables. The ban was lifted by the European Commission last July, ending food waste by cutting red tape surrounding the shape and uniformity of fresh produce. The move also cut retail prices by as much as 40 per cent in some cases. But Spanish MEPs tabled a plan to bring the ban back - and yesterday they won the support of a majority on the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee. The issue now goes to the full Parliament.

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