The following are the top stories in the Maltese and overseas press.
The Tiimes reports how MPs are to get an ethics watchdog. It also reports comments by a geologist that Malta is drilling ‘in the dark’ for oil.
The Malta Independent leads with a Labour Party conference during which businesses called for space where to operate from, and lower utility costs.
l-orizzont leads with the same story. It also reports comments by hydrologist Marco Cremona that dependence on reverse osmosis plants would mean higher water tariffs.
In-Nazzjon quotes the prime minister saying the health service has been reformed.
The overseas press
ItAl Jazeera reports that the wave of protests against the film “Innocence of Muslims”, that mocks Prophet Mohammed, has spread further across the Islamic world with angry demonstrations in at least 15 countries. The embassies of the United States, and its allies Germany and Britain, came under attack from crowds in Tunisia and Sudan. At least seven people were killed – three in Khartoum, two in Tunis, one in Egypt and one in Lebanon. The continuing unrest has prompted Muslim leaders to call for calm and the US to boost security at its embassies in the region.
President Obama has meanwhile attended a ceremony to mark the repatriation of the remains of the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans killed in Benghazi on Tuesday. Fox News says Obama once again promised to bring to justice those responsible. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the "people of Egypt, Libya, Yemen, and Tunisia did not trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob".
Pope Benedict is in Beirut on his second-day of his three-day visit to Lebanon. An Nahar quotes him saying he went to the region as pilgrim of peace, as a friend of God and as a friend of man. He appealed to religious leaders to do all they could to uproot the threat of fundamentalism. He is scheduled to meet with Lebanese officials and leaders of Christian communities as part of efforts to promote reconciliation between Christians and Moslems.
According to al bawaba, the new UN envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, is set to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad today in Damascus as he continues his first official visit to the war-torn country. Yesterday, Brahimi met with Syrian officials, UN staff, Red Cross officers and envoys from Russia and China. He will also meet with the Syrian opposition groups and EU representatives.
VOA quotes US officials saying two marines have been killed and five other Americans wounded in an attack on Camp Bastion in Afghanistan. Small arms, rockets and mortars were used against the perimeter of the base in Helmand province. Britain’s Prince Harry is stationed at the camp as a helicopter pilot and gunner.
The British Royal family has launched legal action against a French magazine which published topless pictures of Prince William’s wife, Kate Middleton, taken while the couple were on holiday. The Independent says the palace led a chorus of protests, describing the invasion of privacy as "grotesque and totally unjustifiable". But Laurence Pieau, the editor of “Closer”, was unrepentant, defending her decision to publish the pictures during an interview with the French radio station Europe 1, insisting there was "nothing degrading" about the photographs and claiming she could not understand the couple's reaction. Ms Pieau also told AFP: "These photos are not in the least shocking. They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches."
USA Today reports that a man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for plotting to detonate a suicide bomb at the US Capitol building in an undercover sting. Amine El-Khalifi admitted plotting with undercover agents he believed were from al Qaeda and volunteering to run a suicide operation at the home of Congress in Washington DC.
Moscow Times says a former KGB colonel turned opposition MP, who has angered the Kremlin with his criticism and involvement in street protests against President Vladimir Putin, has been stripped of his parliament seat. The 291-150 vote with three abstentions to expel Gennady Gudkov from the State Duma also means he would no longer be protected by immunity from prosecution and could face arrest. He denounced the move as “political revenge and extrajudicial repression”.
Radio Praha reports that the Czech government has banned all spirits and beverages containing more than 20 per cent alcohol can no longer be sold anywhere. The ban came as the authorities struggle to contain an outbreak of alcoholic poisoning that has killed at least 19 people.
Chatham Daily News says the Canadian government has said it would stop opposing global efforts to list asbestos as a hazardous material. Federal Industry Minister Christian Paradis announced up to $50 million would be made available to help Quebec communities transition their economies away from the asbestos industry.
Dominion Post reports a New Zealand man has nearly thrown away a winning lottery ticket worth €17 million after reading the wrong results and thinking it was useless. It was not until the following day, when he heard the lucrative prize had not been claimed, that he searched for the ticket and found he had won. The man in his had bought the ticket on a whim, spending money he had set aside for a haircut after he went to his hairdresser and found the shop closed. The prize consists of €2.06 in cash, a Lamborghini Gallardo, an Audi Q7, a speed boat, a credit card topped up to €40,300 as well as €40,000 worth of travel and €543,500 cash towards a holiday home.