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Press digest

The following are the top stories in the Maltese and overseas press.

The Times says the new Delimara plant is expected to be on stream by the end of the year. It also reports how language remains a barrier to integration for foreign pupils. It also says that Austin Gatt has denied reports that he may step down from parliament to make way for Simon Busuttil and lead to a positive vote on the Budget.

The Malta Independent refers to the report of the Auditor General and says there were lessons which were not learnt.

MaltaToday says that €45m were dished out in direct orders, according to the auditor's report. 

l-orizzont says overseas experts have been brought in to monitor the commissioning process at the Delimara power station extension.

In-Nazzjon focuses on the interconnector project and says it will help attract more investment and create jobs. It also shows the prime minister being held shoulder high by graduands.

The overseas press:

Le Soir reports EU finance ministers meeting in Brussels have failed to reach agreement on setting up a single supervisor for eurozone banks – seen as the first step in setting up a Europe- wide banking union. Cypriot Finance Minister Vassos Shiarly, who chaired the meeting, called for another gathering to be held on December 12 in the hope of striking a deal before the end of the year. The plans are seen as central to Europe's response to the eurozone debt crisis and global
financial crisis.

Al Ahram says Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi was forced to leave his palace in Cairo after it was encircled by thousands of protesters angered by his decree granting himself new expanded powers. Up to 10,000 protesters converged on the presidential palace, cutting through barbed wire and reaching the palace walls after police, who fired tear gas into the crowd, were forced to retreat. Large crowds remained outside the palace, in the suburb of Heliopolis, as night fell, while thousands of demonstrators also gathered in Cairo's Tahrir Square. Crowds have also turned out in Egypt's second city Alexandria.

The New York Times reports Nato has approved a request from Turkey for Patriot interceptor missiles to counter any threat from across its border with Syria. The long-expected move emerged from a meeting of Nato foreign ministers in Brussels, and amid growing fears that Syria could use chemical weapons. Meanwhile, Nato has warned Syria against chemical weapons use. The warning came as Syrian forces continued to hit rebel districts near Damascus, while state media reported that rebel forces had hit a school, killing dozens of children.

The People’s Daily says China's newly appointed leader Xi Jinping has pledged to implement the rule of law. In a speech at the Great Hall of the People that marked the 30th anniversary of China's 1982 constitution, Xi spoke of curbing the near-dictatorial powers of the ruling party. His comments appeared to be the strongest yet by a Chinese leader on the need for legal restraints on the party and come amid a series of graft scandals and reports of the unbridled wealth of China's top communist families.

The British national Press announces that the Duchess of Cambridge is improving in hospital as she continues to be treated for severe pregnancy sickness. The Sun quotes a St James's Palace statement saying the former Kate Middleton, was "continuing to feel better" and was "immensely grateful" for all the messages of support she has received. The good news was reflected in the Duke's expression as he left the King Edward VII Hospital in London smiling broadly after spending more than six hours by his wife's bedside.

Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is due in a New York court on December 10 for a settlement hearing with Nafissatou Diallo, the hotel maid who accused him of sexually assaulting her last year. Bronx Supreme Court Justice Douglas McKeon told AFP that if the case was settled, this would be announced in open court on that day. The hearing is set for 2.00 pm (8.00pm Malta Times). McKeon said he expected the maid to be present and for Strauss-Kahn to skip the proceedings.

France 24 says a court in France has ordered casino tycoon Dominique Desseigne to take a paternity test based on claims by former Justice Minister Rachida Dati that he was the father of her three-year-old daughter, Zohra. But the casino tycoon’s lawyers have rejected the claim, adding that they intend to reveal seven other purported love affairs that Dati juggled at around the same time as her fling with Desseigne in 2007-2008. The romantic liaisons allegedly included a television presenter, a government minister, a company chairman, a former Spanish prime minister, one of Sarkozy's brothers and a former attorney general of Qatar.

O Globo reports 60 policemen in Brazil, accused of collaborating with drug gangs, have been arrested. Investigators allege they took bribes to turn a blind eye to drug activities in shanty towns on the outskirts of Rio de Janiero.

Hindustan Times says India's sports officials have slammed the International Olympic Committee's decision to suspend the country's membership, saying it was "wrong and one-sided". The IOC's Executive Board, which met at the governing body's headquarters in Lausanne, suspended India for breaking Olympic rules over political interference in the election of officials.

L’Equipe says the Football Association in the Netherlands has suspended all junior and amateur matches this weekend after the death of a linesman attacked by teenage. Dutch prosecutors have charged two 15-year-olds and one 16-year-old with manslaughter, assault and public violence and have not ruled out further arrests. Their team, from Amsterdam club Nieuw Sloten, had already been warned after players insulted another referee earlier in the season.

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