The following are the top stories in the national and international press today.
The Times says that the 1997 inquiry into the purchase of the RJs that had been ordered by the Air Malta board was never concluded. In its other front page story, the newspaper quotes Finance Minister Tonio Fenech saying that the last budget before the election will be a responsible budget and not an election one.
It-Torca says that €60,000 have been spent for the permanent secretariat of the IT Ministry to move from Strait Street in Valletta to Millennia in Marsa. In another story, the newspaper quotes a priest saying that the church was still living with regards to IVF.
Illum says that the introduction of the divorce procedure has cost the country seven times more than Justice Minister Chris Said had said. In another story, it quotes new PN candidate Therese Comodini Cachia saying this is the best time to become part of the PN as the party is being renewed.
The Malta Independent says that Mepa failed to take action against Enemalta in the Mercaptan scandal. It also reports on yesterday’s launch of the pre-budget document.
Malta Today says that PL’s Jason Micallef will be contesting the next election, a decision that has shocked the PL leadership. In another story, it quotes Mepa auditor Joseph Falzon saying that people in his position had to be ready to offend people.
Il-Mument also leads with Jason Micallef’s decision to contest the next election. It also reports on yesterday’s launch of the pre-budget document.
Kullhadd reports on the Mepa auditor’s decision about the illegal disposal of Mercaptan and, in another story, wishes former Prime Minister Dom Mintoff, a happy birthday. Mr Mintoff’s birthday is tomorrow.
The international press
al-bawaba reports explosions have rocked the Syrian capital Damascus and the northern city of Aleppo as government forces tried to push rebels from the remaining strongholds. The Assad government said it had regained control of all of the capital. The opposition Syrian Observatory of Human Rights said more than 25 people were killed in government-related violence across the country on Saturday.
In another development, Iran’s state Press TV says 48 Iranians who were on board a bus in Damascus have been kidnapped. Iran says efforts were underway to free the nationals who were described as religious pilgrims.
Abrar quotes Iranian officials saying the country had successfully tested a short-range missile equipped with a new guidance system that it plans to install on all future missiles it builds. Iran's defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi, claimed the newer missile could hit "enemy" targets in neighboring countries, and targets at sea in the Persian Gulf. Iran’s Fars news agency reported that the new version of the Fateh 110 missile could carry a 250 kg warhead.
Al Ayyam says at least 25 people have been killed and many other injured in a suicide bombing in southern Yemen. Military sources said the attack targeted mourners in the town of Jar. Yemen’s military had regained control of the area in June after two months of fighting against al-Qaeda militants.
Fox News reports a Honduran journalist has requested asylum in the US after he said he and his family were repeatedly threatened and attacked. José Chinchilla, who works for a radio station in El Progreso in northern Honduras, said his son was injured when unidentified gunmen opened fire outside the family home. More than 20 journalists have been murdered over the past three years in Honduras. None of the crimes has been solved.
Dawn says a number of police officers in Pakistan have been suspended after being accused of parading a man and a woman naked in public. According to witnesses the police dragged the couple from the man’s home in the Sind town of Gambat and forced them to walk to the police station as a punishment for allegedly trying to have sex outside marriage.
VOA News says President Obama has welcomed a deal between Sudan and South Sudan on oil payments, a crisis that pushed them to the brink of war earlier this year. He said the agreement opened the door to greater prosperity for both countries. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who visited South Sudan’s capital Juba on Friday praised the agreement saying it reflected leadership and a new spirit of compromise.
The Standard quotes Hilary Clinton saying yesterday the US government would support the Kenyan government efforts to hold free and fair elections next year. In remarks before meeting the independent election board in Nairobi, Clinton said she would be listening how the US could support Kenya’s election process. She expressed “absolute confidence” that Kenya had a chance to be a model for other nations, not just in Africa but also in the world. She arrives in Malawi today and wraps up her 11-day tour of Africa next week in South Africa.
Kabul Post reports Afghan lawmakers have fired the country’s minister of defence and interior for being unable to stop cross-border attacks from Pakistan. The two ministers were also accused of corruption. Parliament passed a measure on Saturday to remove Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak by a vote of 146 to 72. In a separate vote of no confidence Interior Minister Bismillah Mohammadi was ousted by a majority of 126 to 90. Both measures needed to 124 to pass.
The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has blistered the United States and other parts of the world in recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made global warming. Associated Press says a new statistical analysis from top NASA scientist James Hansen scientist, often referred to as "godfather of global warming", says that the likelihood of such temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10. Hansen says that statistically what's happening is not random or normal, but pure and simple climate change.
The BBC says that at the Olympic Games in London, the final swim of American Michael Phelps’ amazing career has ended with yet another victory. Phelps swam his signature butterfly stroke to help the US team to victory in the 4x100-meters medley relay, ending his decade-long Olympic dominance with 18 gold medals and 22 medallions overall.