The following are the top stories in the local and international press today.
All Maltese newspapers lead with William Chetcuti's participation in the men's Double Trap competition at the Olympics yesterday and his disappointment at placing ninth in spite of doing his best.
The Times also reports about a court judgement given yesterday which says that a person cannot be kept in detention because of problems the authorities had to monitor who left or entered the country.
l-Orizzont says that Gozo Channel has withdrawn its free tickets to Gozo Football Association, which was considering withdrawing its participation from the Malta Football Association as a result, and also the subsidy to band clubs. In another story it says that a man is alleging he was hit by an ambulance which continued on its way.
The Malta Independent reports a decision by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority approving the fourth radar at Malta International Airport.
In-Nazzjon says that more than 80 per cent of students sitting for the Matsec examination obtained satisfactory results, contradicting figures given by the PL in a news conference. It also reports on meetings, the Prime Minister is having with civil society.
Reuters reports Asian shares and the euro eased early this morning as the European Central Bank, after inaction from the Federal Reserve, disappointed markets looking for an imminent move to deal with the euro zone debt crisis. The euro hit all-time lows against the Australian and New Zealand dollars in early Asia trading. It was the second consecutive day that markets were disappointed by a lack of decisive action from a major central bank. In the US, thoughts of Europe were close at hand as General Motors and Kellogg reported lower quarterly profits and put some of the blame on Europe.
Euronews says EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton has called for a rapid appointment by the UN and the Arab League of a successor to Kofi Annan. Her call came after Annan quit as Syria's peace envoy, complaining that his plan, aimed at bring peace to the war-torn country, had not been upheld by either party caught up in the violence.
Writing in the Financial Times, Annan has called on Russia and the United States to shoulder responsibility for saving Syria from catastrophic civil war. He stressed that Western military intervention would not deliver success on its own and that a political solution which was not comprehensive was doomed to failure. Anan blamed "finger-pointing and name-calling" in the Security Council for the failure to form a coherent international plan to deal with the worsening violence.
AFP reports Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has blamed China and Russia's opposition to sanctions on the Damascus regime for Annan's decision to quit as UN-Arab League envoy for Syria. Calling for Russia and China to “stop shielding”, he also said President Assad's regime had not lived up to pledges to implement Annan's peace plan. Washington was also quick to blame Annan's resignation on the vetoing by Beijing and Moscow of three separate Arab- or Western-drafted resolutions on the Syrian conflict.
US president Barack Obama has reportedly signed a secret order authorising US support for rebels in Syria. The reports come as Syrian government forces and rebel fighters continued their battle over the nation's trade hub, Aleppo. The White House was not commenting on the arrangement, but Reuters says Obama signed the secret order – giving the CIA and other agencies permission to provide support to Syrian rebels – earlier this year.
German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich has told Rheinische Post that Bulgaria and Romania might not be ready to join the Schengen passport-free travel zone this year, even on a restricted basis for only air and sea ports. Germany and France had earlier proposed a two-step plan of opening the countries’ air and sea ports and postponing a decision on overland borders.
A UN assessment of the food situation in North Korea concludes that the country needs immediate food assistance after heavy rains killed scores of people and submerged vast swaths of farmland. The Wall Street Journal says the report by the UN resident co-ordinator’s office in Pyongyang followed visits to flood-stricken areas in North Korea earlier this week. Floods caused by two storm systems last month killed at least 119 people, left tens of thousands homeless, and two-thirds of the country’s 24 million people are coping with chronic food shortages. The flooding, which occurred on the heels of a severe drought, caused severe damage to homes, public buildings, infrastructure and farms, affecting maize, soybean and rice fields.
Meanwhile, The Daily Times reports driving rain and high winds from Typhoon Saola lashed Taiwan on Thursday, killing at least six people and forcing nearly the entire island to shut down. This comes after the storm walloped the Philippines.
Al Ahram says President Mohammed Morsi has sworn in a new 35-member Egyptian cabinet, retaining seven ministers appointed by the military government. New prime minister Hesham Kandil has called on the Egyptian people to rally behind the country's new leaders in the face of "grave challenges". The Egyptian military will retain broad powers including legislative authority.
A popular Somali comedian and playwright, who mocked Islamist militants for brainwashing children and killing civilians, has been shot dead. Punbtland Post reports the 43-year-old TV and radio comedian Abdi Jeylani Malaq, was killed by two young men near his Mogadishu home. Amnesty International has called on the Somali government and the international community to take action to re-establish the rule of law in Somalia.
LeParisien says former French First Lady, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, is suing the weekly tabloid Closer for invasion of privacy. In its June issue, it stated Bruni was expecting the couple’s second child. Bruni said any compensation money would be given to the foundation that bears her nam, to finance projects given access to education.
A Hobart court has heard a man who took explicit photos of his partner's young daughter tried to eat the evidence. ABC reports the 28-year-old, who pleaded guilty to charges of producing child exploitation material, had taken the photos on his mobile phone, when the girl was aged nine and 10. He told police he saw the girl as a daughter, but started to find her attractive and took the photos without her knowledge. The Supreme Court heard the girl's mother found the 45 images on a memory card and confronted her partner. He tried to eat the card and then fled to Queensland. Justice Alan Blow said the man would receive a jail term when he is sentenced next week.