The following are the top stories in the Maltese and overseas press:
The Times reports that taxi drivers are refusing to use meters for clients. It also says that two are to be arraigned for match-fixing.
The Malta Independent says John Dalli’s resignation may hinge on the WHO Tobacco Convention.
In-Nazzjon quotes the prime minister telling SMEs that success is achieved through broad policy which gives long-term results.
l-orizzont focuses on the GWU proposals for the Budget.
The overseas press:
Under the heading “Nightmare on Downing Street”, the London i newspaper reports Prime Minister David Cameron has suffered a defeat in the House of Commons when members of his Conservative Party voted to cut the EU budget rather than support a push for a budget freeze ahead of negotiations with other member states. The vote is not binding but observers said it was a “humiliating setback” for Cameron.
Diario Digital says thousands of people have protested outside the Portuguese parliament in Lisbon after a draft budget was approved – paving the way for unprecedented tax increases to meet the terms of an international bailout. The tax rises will cost many people as much as a month’s salary.
Ta Nea reports Greece has outlined its new austerity measures for the next two years and unions responded by announcing a 48-hour general strike. It is timed for next week, when the new measures, demanded by Greece's international creditors, would be voted on in parliament. The €13.5 billion cutbacks for 2013-14 include a two-year increase in the retirement age to 67, salary and pension cuts and another round of tax increases.
Euronews says unemployment in the eurozone hit a record high of 11.6 percent in September with more than 18 million people out of work. Eurostat figures showed a rise of 146,000 unemployed over the previous month.
MSNBC quotes President Barack Obama telling New Jersey residents devastated by Superstorm Sandy that the government would support them "for the long haul". He was speaking after touring damage in some of the hardest-hit areas of the New Jersey shoreline. Afterwards, describing the disaster as "heartbreaking for the nation", the president promised to cut through red tape to help storm victims. Across nine states, at least 62 people died and millions are without electricity. The death toll in the Caribbean from Hurricane Sandy has risen to 71, with 54 in Haiti alone.
According to Frontline, a tropical storm has slammed into southern India, bringing heavy rain and a storm surge that could flood low-lying areas and displace more than 100,000 people. State authorities turned 282 schools into relief centres in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu. About 150,000 people were moved to shelters in Nellore district in Andhra Pradesh state.
Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Observer says that thousands have been displaced in Sri Lanka due to heavy rain and strong winds. The nation's Disaster Management Centre some 4,600 people were displaced by flooding which also damaged about 1,000 houses, it said.
Libya's parliament has approved a new cabinet put forward by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan. Libya Herald says a total of 105 members voted in favour, 18 abstained and nine voted against. The approval came after weeks of political wrangling. Yesterday’s session was cut short with the security forces firing into the air to disperse protesters outside the building.
Le Monde reports French President François Hollande has threatened Iran with further sanctions after talks in Paris with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Following a working lunch, Netanyahu reiterated his administration’s hawkish stance on Iran, accused of developing nuclear weapons that Israel believes would be a direct threat.
According to Kuwait Times, riot police used stun grenades and tear gas to disperse thousands of angry demonstrators who marched on the central jail where leading opposition figure Musallam Al-Barrak is detained on charges of insulting the country’s ruler. Al Jazeera says Wednesday's unrest comes amid rising tension caused by changes to the election law, which the opposition had condemned as an attempt to give pro-government candidates an advantage in parliamentary elections on December 1. The opposition are boycotting the poll.
Japan has revealed that billions of dollars reserved for reconstruction after last year's tsunami have been misspent. Asahi Shimbun reports a government audit has found that a quarter of the projects being financed were not related to tsunami rebuilding. Meanwhile, at least 325,000 people remain displaced and living in temporary accommodation.
French tax authorities have made a billion-euro claim against Google to pressure it in a dispute over compensation to media websites. The weekly Canard Enchaine says the tax claim concerns the transfer prices set between Google's Irish holding company and the French unit for four tax years, without disclosing its sources. Google denies the claim.
Trud reports archaeologists in eastern Bulgaria say they have unearthed the oldest prehistoric town ever found in Europe. Excavations at the site near the modern-day town of Provadia have so far uncovered the remains of a settlement of two-storey houses, a series of pits used for rituals as well as parts of a gate, bastion structures and three later fortification walls – all carbon dated between 4,700 and 4,200 BC.
Metro says Border Force officers got a Halloween surprise when they discovered three would-be illegal immigrants trying to enter Britain in a lorry full of coffins from Bulgaria. Sniffer dog Mitzy located the three Eritrean nationals.
Ansa reports Italy's largest supermarket chain Coop has pulled foie gras from its shelves out of respect for animal rights. Foie gras is a pâté made from the liver of a goose or duck that has been force fed. Some European countries have banned production because it is considered cruel, with the exception of countries such as France, Bulgaria and Hungary, where there is a culinary tradition tied to the product.