The following are the top stories in the national and international press today:
The Sunday Times leads with a story on construction magnate Charles Polidano saying that he has resumed an illegal development at his Hal Farrug headquarters. In another story the newspaper says that the PN leader is unlikely to be an outsider.
Malta Today says that PN MP Beppe Fenech Adami had suggested an early election after the Libya crisis. In another story it says that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat had been welcomed at Castille with a copy of the Economist featuring Beppe Grillo and Silvio Berlusconi on the front cover under the title ‘Send in the Clowns’.
Illum says that e-mails sent by George Farrugia to a number of officials in major oil companies showed that he knew all the details of former Enemalta chairman Tancred Tabone’s trips and the hotels he stayed in.
Il-Mument quotes the EEAG Report on the European Economy which placed the Maltese economy with the top four of the eurozone. It said that the local elections result was similar to that of the general election.
The Malta Independent on Sunday leads with a report of the PL’s mass meeting yesterday. It says that Labour obtained 56 per cent of the votes cast in local elections and quotes former Health Minister Joe Cassar saying that it was unfair to blame the PN’s electoral defeat on Simon Busuttil.
Kullhadd and it-Torca also lead with a report of the PL’s mass meeting.
Parliament in Cyprus is holding an emergency session today to decide whether savers should bear a levy on their bank deposits as part of the country’s bailout deal with international lenders. Financial Mirror says the deal with the eurozone countries and the IMF has provoked widespread anger in the country and many were queuing to withdraw cash.
Ballot counting is underway in Zimbabwe after a referendum on a new constitution set to curb President Robert Mugabe's powers and usher in crucial elections in the violence-plagued nation. Newsday reports the results from Saturday's landmark referendum are expected to show strong support for the text which would introduce presidential term limits, beef up parliament's powers and set elections to decide whether the 89-year-old Mugabe stays in power.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims are expected to gather in St Peter’s Square in Rome this morning for an address and blessing by the new pope. Euronews says that yesterday, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church should remember that it was there to serve the poor. He told an audience of thousands of journalists in the Vatican he would like the Church itself to be poor.
The People’s Daily reports new Chinese President Xi Jinping has called on the military to be “strong and disciplined” and improve its ability to win battle.
The Pakistani government has made history as the first elected government since the country was founded in 1947 to complete a full five-year term. Asia Times says parliament was dissolved at midnight and an interim government has assumed power until the next election, which is expected to be held in May.
El Universal reports that Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles has held rallies in preparation for next month’s presidential election to replace the layer Hugo Chavez.
Times of India says the police have detained more than 20 people in connection with the alleged gang rape of a Swiss tourist in the state of Madhya Pradesh. The tourist complained that she had been raped by eight men.
The New York Times reports that following two weeks of tense negotiations, Iran, Libya, Sudan and other Muslim states have agreed to a landmark United Nations declaration setting out a code of conduct for combatting violence against women and girls.
British Prime Minister David Cameron said Queen Elizabeth II keeps him on his toes with some sharp questions during their weekly meetings. Cameron said he found the Wednesday evening audiences “therapeutic” as the 86-year-old sovereign puts the country's problems in perspective.
The Journal says landmarks around the world, from ancient wonders to Las Vegas, have turned green for Patrick’s Day as part of a Tourism Ireland initiative to promote Ireland abroad, by literally shining giant emerald-coloured lights on famous buildings and statues to remind everyone about this little country. Almost 70 landmark buildings and sites – from Niagra Falls, Pyramids and Sphinx to the Tower of Pisa – have gone green this weekend before Patrick’s Day officially started.