The following are the top stories in the Maltese and overseas press:
The Times says that according to the head of OLAF, there is evidence that John Dalli knew what was going on in the trading of influence case which led to his resignation. It also reports on Bank of Valletta’s record profit.
The Malta Independent reports that the European Parliament is seeking additional information on John Dalli’s resignation.
In-Nazzjon says it has been officially confirmed that Tonio Borg’s confirmation hearing before the European Parliament will be on November 17.
l-orizzont speaks to a man who was in one of the buses during the crash two days ago. He said passengers ended up between seats.
The overseas press
The Irish Times reports that the daughter of jailed former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has urged the European Union to take a much tougher line against the country’s president and his allies, ahead of elections tomorrow that she claims are bound to be rigged in favour of the ruling party. Eugenia Tymoshenko has led the campaign for her mother’s freedom since she received a seven-year jail sentence last October, for signing a gas deal with Russia in 2009 that prosecutors claim is ruinously expensive for Ukraine. She says the Regions Party of President Viktor Yanukovich is using a toxic combination of vote-buying, pressure on free media and the judiciary, manipulation of state workers, multiple voting and dubious counting practices to ensure it wins the election.
Lawyers for former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi have told Italia 1 – one of the TV stations he owns – that they are to appeal against his jail sentence for tax fraud next month. The appeal could take several years. Berlusconi and others were convicted of inflating the price of distribution rights bought by his Mediaset group to avoid paying taxes. On Friday a Milan court sentenced him to four years but later cut it to one. The media mogul was also barred from holding office for five years. A furious Berlusconi later went on national television to condemn the sentence as "intolerable judicial harassment".
After killing at least 41 people in the Caribbean, Hurricane Sandy was moving toward the US coast on Friday where forecasters continued to predict it would morph into a historic destructive super storm. New Haven Register says it has weakened slightly and is currently classified as a Category One hurricane – the lowest category. But meteorologists say it could merge next week with other weather systems, unleashing a deadly punch of high wind, heavy rain, extreme tides and several days’ worth of snow. On course to collide with Sandym is a wintry storm moving across the US from the west, and frigid air streaming south from Canada.
Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has urged Egyptians to restart their revolution to press for Islamic law and called on Muslims to kidnap Westerners, the SITE Intelligence Group said Friday. AFP reports that in a video released on jihadist forums, Zawahiri also lashed out at President Barack Obama, calling him a liar and demanding he admit defeat in Iraq, Afghanistan and North Africa. Criticizing the new Egyptian government as corrupt, he said a battle is being waged in Egypt between a secular minority and Muslims seeking implementation of Shariah law.
Al-Quds al-Arabi reports at least eight people were killed and more than 30 were wounded when a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in southern Damascus on Friday, undermining a ceasefire that came into effect at dawn. Another deadly bombing took place farther south in Daraa. Fighting raged earlier in the day near a military base in northern Syria.
Republican nominee Mitt Romney has called for "real change" against President Barack Obama's "status quo", on the final stretch of an election race that is too close to call. NPR says Romney dismissed the Democratic incumbent as a shadow of his former self, in an economic speech in the key battleground state of Iowa. The latest Gallup poll 10 days before the November 6 election showed Romney ahead by five percentage points.
China's foreign ministry has accused the New York Times of smearing the country by reporting that the premier Wen Jiabao's extended family has controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion (€2 billion), with the owners of the assets often concealed by using offshore vehicles or complicated holding structures. The People’s Daily quoted a ministry official saying the report "blackens China's name and has ulterior motives". Authorities have also blocked the news organisation's main and Chinese-language websites and banned searches for "New York Times" in English and Chinese on microblogs. A BBC news report was blacked out in Beijing as it referred to the article.
The European Union's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought was awarded on Friday to two Iranian activists, filmmaker Jafar Panahi and rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. European Voice says the Iranian pair were chosen ahead of the jailed members of Russian all-girl punk band Pussy Riot and Belarus dissident Ales Beliatsky. The prize acknowledges those who promote human rights and democratic values.
Women can add nine years to their lives by quitting smoking before the age of 40 but still face a 20 per cent higher death rate than those who never smoked. Results of a survey of nearly 1.2 million women in Britain, published in this morning edition of The Lancet, showed that smoking throughout adulthood chopped on average 11 years off lifespan. These results echoed the findings of earlier research conducted on men. Among women who kicked the habit before the age of 40, the researchers measured an average lifespan gain of more than nine years compared with those who never stopped. For those who quit before 30 the gains were even bigger – about 10 years.
Elizabeth Taylor has surpassed Michael Jackson as the highest-earning dead celebrity in the past year, with her estate pulling in $210 million, much of it from the auction of her jewels, costumes and artwork. According to Forbes Magazine, Jackson, who died in 2009, dropped into second place with earnings of $145 million, followed by Elvis Presley with $55 million.