The following are the top stories in the Maltese and overseas press:
The Times, In-Nazzjon and l-orizzont report how, according to Swedish company Swedish Match, a canvasser of John Dalli wanted €60m to arrange a meeting with the then European Commissioner and in order to amend EU tobacco law. It also reports that Air Malta has recorded its first profit since 2008.
The Malta Independent says that the prime minister was unrepentant and angry as he denied that European Commission President Jose’ Barroso Barroso did not want John Dalli in the first place. It also says that Frank Portelli, the owner of St Philip’s Hospital, is willing to cancel the hospital contract if the PL is elected.
l-orizzont also leads features the story, revealed in court, of how a 17-year-old lived on just €2 a day but was dependant on gas sniffing.
The overseas press
Tripoli Post reports that for the third consecutive day, pro-government forces clashed with fighters in Bani Walid, a former stronghold of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi. The spokesman for the Libyan military's chief of staff said , violence has flared up after talks to end the standoff broke down. At least 11 people have been killed and 80 wounded in the three days of fighting. Friday's fighting comes on the eve of the anniversary of Gadhafi's capture and killing last year, which brought an end to an eight-month civil war that killed thousands.
Daily Star announces anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon have blamed the Syrian government for a huge car bomb explosion in Beirut. Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri directly accused President Assad of assassinating the head of Lebanon’s national police and security force, General Wissam al-Hassan, who was among eight people killed in the blast. The general had led the investigation that implicated Syria in the bombing that killed Rafid Hariri in 2005. Up to 80 others were injured in the explosion that ripped through a street in the city's mainly Christian east. The United States and the UN have described the bombing as a terrorist act.
Kabul Post says roadside bomb has killed at least 19 people, mostly women and children, who were on their way to a wedding in northern Afghanistan. Fourteen more people were wounded in the blast in the Dawlat Abad district of Balkh province. A provincial police spokesman says the Taliban were behind the attack.
The Times quotes British doctors saying the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban this month was now able to stand. Malala Yousefzai, an outspoken advocate for the education of girls, was attacked on her school bus in Swat valley more than a week ago. She was transported to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England, for further neurological treatment on Monday.
Le Parisien says France's lower house has voted in favour of taxing the country's highest earners at a rate of 75 per cent. The two-year measure would apply to earnings higher than one million euros, bringing the government an extra €210 million a year.
Ansa reports Italy's former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has denied hosting raunchy parties, having sex with an underage prostitute and abusing his powers by pressuring police. Berlusconi is accused of paying for sex with Moroccan exotic dancer Karima El-Mahroug, better known as Ruby the Heart Stealer, when she was 17. He is also charged with abusing his position as prime minister by telling police to release her when she was arrested for petty theft in May 2010.
According to ABC, Victorian police say the Catholic Church had not referred any allegations of child sexual abuse to them despite more than 300 victims being identified. Speaking to a packed hearing room at Parliament House that included many victims of abuse, Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton accused the church of taking elaborate measures to avoid the criminal justice system. But the church has denied its actions were deliberate and said they resulted from a naivety of paedophilia.
Czech CTK news agency reports that the death toll in a wave of poisoning from methanol-tainted alcohol in the Czech Republic rose to 30 on Friday as a 66-year-old man fell victim to lethal bootleg liquor. Tuzemak-branded bootlegged spirits have been at the centre of methanol poisonings that have seen at least 85 Czechs and four Slovaks hospitalised since September. Two men suspected of masterminding the bootleg operation face up to life in prison if found guilty.
The Guardian reports Andrew Mitchell has quit as government chief whip after weeks of pressure over an argument with police officers in Downing Street. The Tory MP has admitted swearing at officers in the incident but again denied calling police "plebs". He told David Cameron, who has stood by him, that "damaging publicity" meant he could no longer do his job. The prime minister has accepted his resignation.
Sky News reports a 32-year-old mother has been killed and 11 others injured, including seven children, in a series of hit and run crashes in Cardiff. The woman died after she was knocked down outside a fire station in the Welsh capital. Police have arrested a 31-year-old man in the wake of the collisions, which occurred at six different locations. Reports suggested that the driver at the centre of the collisions targeted pedestrians deliberately.