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Press digest

The following are the top stories in the national and international press today.

All national newspapers today welcome the New Year with several pictures and articles.

The Times reports on the double murder on New Year’s Day last year and says that the police have hit a brick wall as relatives yearn to learn the truth.

L-Orizzont leads with the GWU president’s message for the New Year. It also reports on the Consumer Association's proposals to electoral parties for their electoral manifestoes.

In-Nazzjon says that last year was a record one for tourism.

The Independent dedicates its front page to the New Year.

The international press

ABC News reports that millions of people around the globe have been seeing in the New Year 2013 with fireworks, concerts and celebrations with hope for renewal after a year of economic turmoil, searing violence and natural disasters.

NBC News says the White House and Senate Republican have reached an agreement deal to avoid a series of steep tax rises and spending cuts which were due to come in at midnight. There were signs that the Democrats in the Congress had agreed to the deal but there has been no word from the Republicans in the House of Representatives. Officials have already said the House would not convene until Tuesday as representatives would need time to study any proposed deal.

Airang TV reports North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has emphasized the need to mend strained inter-Korean relations, and improve the standard of living of North Korean citizens. In a first live TV New Year's message by a North Korean leader for 19 years, Kim said it isimportant to stick to the two inter-Korean declarations signed back in 2000 and 2007, in order to resolve the hostility between the North and the South and realise the reunification of the two Koreas.
The remarks were seen as an attempt to urge South Korea's President-elect Park Geun-hye to veer away from the hard-line policies of the Lee Myung-bak administration and endorse the joint agreements.

France 24 says French President François Hollande has vowed to reverse the country's rising unemployment levels. In what correspondents saw as “a confident New Year’s address” on Monday, Hollande said France would emerge from the financial crisis “sooner and stronger” than expected.

The New York Times says doctors treating US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said they expected her to make a full recovery after suffering a blood clot. They said the clot occurred under her skull behind her right ear but caused no stroke or other neurological damage. Her doctors said Clinton was in good spirits.

Globovision reports Venezuelan government minister have gathered to pay for the recovery of President Hugo Chavez who is in Cuban where he had undergone his fourth cancer operation. They took part in a mass held at the presidential palace in Caracas.

Dawn quotes Pakistani officials saying they had released another eight senior members of the Afghan Talaban to give an added boost to the reconciliation process in Afghanistan. The Aghan government welcomed the move but said it needed to locate those released to get them involved in the peace process.

Bogota Daily reports that police in Columbia have found the bodies of nine people inside a luxury house in in the city of Envigado, on the outskirts of Medellin. The nine victims are believed to have been shot dead during a party on Sunday.

London’s The Sun says Rapper Kanye West and reality TV star Kim Kardashian are expecting a child. Kardashian, 32, made the official announcement on her blog shortly after West announced the pregnancy to fans at a concert. She said she was looking forward to starting a family. Kardashian began dating West in April, some six months after filing for divorce from basketball player Kris Humphries. The two were married for 72 days following a lavish, made-for-TV wedding. Their divorce has yet to be finalized. According to US media reports, Kardashian is about 12 weeks pregnant.

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