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Press digest

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

The Times reports how jeweller George Tabone was named in court in a case of handling stolen property. He denied all charges and says no stolen gold was found in his possession. The newspaper also reports that a diver has been missing in Gozo for several days.

The Malta Independent quotes Joseph Muscat saying Gozitans should act for change in direction. It also says that the PN is banking on the high number of undecided voters.

MaltaToday quotes Joseph Muscat saying Maltese hunters should be treated like others in Europe. It also says that Helga Ellul has endorsed the PN economic policy, and that the treasury is paying out €7.5m in tax refunds, which the ministry said, is normal procedure.

In-Nazzjon says the newly inaugurated Mosta health centre will be a regional centre for primary healthcare.

l-orizzont says the refurbished Mosta health centre, opened yesterday, is only half finished.

The overseas press

South China Morning Post reports China has set its 2013 economic growth target at 7.5 per cent – unchanged from last year. Outgoing Prime Minister Wen Jiabao told the opening of China's National People's Congress that the economy grew 7.8 per cent in 2012, its worst performance for 13 years, in the face of weakness at home and in key overseas markets. China also set its inflation target for this year at 3.5 per cent – lower than last year's, which was set at 4.0 per cent. The Congress will see Xi Jinping complete a transition to president, taking over from Hu Jintao.

Ansa says the College of Cardinals meet again this morning in another pre-conclave meeting to share ideas about what characteristics the next leader of the Catholic Church should have and establish a date for the conclave to elect Benedict XVI's successor. The Vatican said 107 of the 115 voting-age cardinals attended the first day of pre-conclave meetings, at which cardinals organize the election, discuss the problems of the church and get to know one another before voting. Associated Press reports the cardinals on Monday asked to talk to Vatican managers about allegations of corruption and cronyism within the top levels of the Catholic Church before they elect the next pope.

The conclave could start as early as next week. New York Archbishop Timothy Michael Dolan, who is considered a possible candidate to be the next leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics, told  Corriere della Sera that the conclave to elect a new pope will be brief. However, German Cardinal Walter Kasper told German daily Stuttgarter Zeitung he was opposed to rushing the conclave. “A papal election is not something you should rush," he said.

Global Post says even before cardinals met in the Sistine Chapel to elect the new pope the family-owned Gammarelli tailor shop that has dressed popes for two centuries was ready. It displayed three sets of white vestments – small, medium and large – to be sent to the Vatican for the new pope. A white silk “zucchetto,” or skullcap, lay on a bed of red cloth in the window, as did a white sash with golden fringes and a pair of red leather shoes. Gammarelli, tucked behind the Pantheon in central Rome, has served scores of cardinals and popes since 1798. Pope Pius XII was an exception: he used his family tailor.

The Daily Mail reports an imposter dressed as a cardinal sneaked into the Vatican yesterday to try to take part in the talks to elect the next pope – and was only removed when security guards noticed his robes were too short. Cardinal imposter Ralph Napierski, a child abuse protester calling himself Basilius, told reporters he was there to deliver a message about child sex abuse saying the Catholic Church had made a mistake moving accused priests from parish to parish

Italian politicians of all parties have a duty to ensure the stability of the eurozone, Eurogroup chief Jeroen Dijsselbloemof said on Monday. Gazzetta del Sud  quotes him saying after a meeting Monday at which the Italian elections were discussed, that “each of the parties in Italian politics should contribute to the stability of the eurozone and respect the agreements that we have taken to secure the euro”. M5S leader Beppe Grillo, has said he wants to scrutinise every international treaty that Italy has signed and questioned whether the country should remain in the euro.

Meanwhile, Il Tempo reports Italian Prime Minster Mario Monti has invited Silvio Berlusconi, Pier Luigi Bersani, and Beppe Grillo to Palazzo Chigi for “an exchange of opinions” ahead of the March 14 meeting of the European Council, devoted to the discussion of priorities for the economic policy of the European Union and its member states in 2013. The council would also review the progress made in the course of completion of economic and monetary union and deal with the issue of strategic relations between the EU and Russia.

Al Jazeera reports 48 unarmed Syrian soldiers have been killed in western Iraq. In the attack in Anbar province on Monday, unknown gunmen opened fire on an Iraqi military convoy transporting them towards the Syrian border. The defense ministry said in an online statement that the attack was carried out “by a terrorist group that infiltrated into Iraqi territory coming from Syira” and added that nine Iraqi guards were also killed.

The latest edition of the al Qaeda English-language magazine Inspire contains a list of people who should be murdered. Top of the list is the former editor of the Danish paper Jyllands-Posten Carsten Juste, who published the cartoons insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Islam. The accompanying text says, “A bullet a day keeps the infidels away.” Al Qaeda is a radical Muslim organization with at least 150 million sympathizers.

Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim remains the world’s richest man for the fourth year in a row, according to Forbes magazine. Telecoms owner Carlos Slim’s net worth increased to $73 billion from $69 billion a year earlier. Bill Gates of Microsoft held on to second place with a net worth of $67 billion. Warren Buffett slipped to the fourth spot with a $53.5 billion net worth. He was surpassed by Spanish clothier Amancio Ortega, who jumped two spots from 2012 with $57 billion. There were 138 women on the list, up from 2012’s 104. Liliane Bettencourt – whose family owns a stake in L’Oreal – is the world’s richest woman with a net worth of $30 billion.

Huffington Post reports the baby delivered after his parents were killed in a New York hit-and-run accident has died. The boy had been in serious condition after doctors performed a caesarian section on his mother to deliver him. Police were searching for the driver of a BMW and a passenger who fled on foot after slamming into a cab, killing the young pregnant woman and her husband on the way to a hospital. In the crash, the cab’s engine ended up in the backseat, where Mrs Glauber, who was seven months pregnant, was sitting before she was ejected.

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