The following are the top stories in the Maltese and overseas press:
The Times reports how the prime minister said yesterday that the Budget is a vote of confidence and the government intended to sail the ship to vote. It also says that the government is planning a floating wind turbine.
The Malta Independent leads with yesterday’s political speeches. It quotes the prime minister saying the Budget vote is a moment of truth for everyone. It also quotes Joseph Muscat saying the PL has to be ready to serve.
l-orizzont also reports how the Prime Minister has linked the Budget to a vote of confidence. It also asks if Jesmond Mugliett is to resign from the Public Accounts Committee.
In-Nazzjon quotes the prime minister saying the government’s priority is to present the Budget in the interests of workers and students.
The overseas press
President Hugo Chavez of Venezuelan has won a fourth term in office after defeating opposition leader Henrique Capriles. Globovision reports Chavez gained 54.42 per cent of the vote with Capriles obtaining 44.97 per cent. Turnout was 80 per cent in the hotly contested election and voting was extended beyond the official closing time at some polling stations with long queues. Jubilant supporters gathered outside the Miraflores presidential palace in Caracas to celebrate. At the Capriles' campaign headquarters, some opposition supporters were in tears at the news.
The Libyan parliament has passed a no-confidence vote in the newly-elected prime minister, removing him from his post. The Libya Herald says Mustafa Abushagur, whose initial list of ministers was criticised for not being diverse enough, had until Sunday to form a cabinet. The General National Congress voted 125 to 44 in favour of removing him as prime minister.
According to Bloomberg, European officials will move to prevent Spain from dragging the euro into a new round of convulsions this week as a series of high-level meetings aim to ease the three-year-old European debt crisis. European finance ministers meet in Luxembourg today to discuss Spain’s overhaul effort and closer banking cooperation while next Wednesday, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy travels for talks with French President François Hollande in Paris. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel tomorrow makes her first visit to Greece since the crisis began in 2009.
Meanwhile, El Pais reports thousands of protesters took part in rallies across Spain against government austerity measures. The main rally was held in the capital, Madrid, with up to 60,000 people turning out to express their opposition to the government cuts. The rally attracted protestors from more than 100 organizations, including unions which are threatening a general strike if the government did not hold a referendum on the unpopular spending cuts.
Asia Times says South Korea has announced a deal with the United States to almost triple the range of its missiles from 300 to 800 Kilometres – effectively not only putting the whole of North Korea but also parts of China and Japan within reach of Seoul’s rockets. The US has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea and guarantees a nuclear "umbrella" in case of any atomic attack. In return, Seoul accepts limits on its missile capabilities.
Dawn quotes Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan saying his protest march against US drone strikes was a success, even though he was prevented from reaching his intended destination. The Pakistani authorities blocked a motorcade of some 15,000 of peace activists from entering the semi-autonomous tribal region of South Waziristan, where the activists had planned to hold a rally. Instead, Khan led the protesters to Tank – the last town before the area which is a refuge of Taliban and Al Qaeda militants. The Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which tracks drone strikes, estimates that between 1,232 and 1,366 people have been killed since the strikes began in 2004. Between 474 and 884 of the casualties are civilians,
The Turkish town of Akcakale has again bore the brunt of cross-border Syrian shelling. According to Turkey's NTV news channel, a shell causing damage to a building but no casualties. Meanwhile, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that retaliatory Turkish artillery fire hit near the Syrian town of Tel Abyad. Inside Syria, government forces have launched a renewed push to purge rebel forces from the city of Homs.
Fox News reports a commercial cargo ship has rocketed into orbit in pursuit of the International Space Station, in the first of a dozen supply runs. It was the second launch of a Dragon capsule to the orbiting lab by the California-based SpaceX company. The spacecraft carried key science experiments. other precious gear and chocolate-vanilla swirl ice cream tucked in a freezer for the three station residents.
CNN says the House Intelligence Committee has warned American companies to avoid doing business with China's two leading technology firms because they pose “a national security threat to the United States”. The panel advocated US regulators block mergers and acquisitions by Huawei Technologies Ltd and ZTE Corp, which are among the world's leading suppliers of telecommunications equipment and mobile phones. Reflecting US concern over cyber-attacks traced to China, the report also recommends that US government computer systems not include any components from the two firms because that could pose an espionage risk.
The Irish Independent quotes a new survey which has found that half of the practical jokes carried out today end up being shared online, and about 40 per cent of those polled said they were likely to "prank" a friend with the aid of technology rather than with traditional pranking methods. The survey revealed that although jumping out at someone made number one on the top 10 list, followed by making prank phone calls, Facebook is now used in one of the prominent tricks of today. Men are the main culprits, with 74 per cent admitting to carrying out pranks compared with 61 per cent of women.