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

The Times of Malta says a fund for cancelled holidays was never formally set up. It also quotes Valletta Mayor Alexei Dingli saying the city’s CVA system has defects and abuse, but it should not be removed.

The Malta Independent quotes a monitoring body saying an obstacle course leads to unfair treatment of asylum seekers in the EU.

In-Nazzjon reports how 138 Fantasy Tours clients filed a judicial protest demanding their money back from the tour operator.

l-orizzont says there is pressure for the resignation of Vince Farrugia, director-general of the GRTU following a heated argument within the GRTU itself. It also reports comments by the prime minister that he is not satisfied with the situation of out of stock medicines.

The overseas press

Polls have opened in Australia’s general election with conservative challenger Tony Abbott heading for a thumping victory over Labour Prime Minister Kevin Rudd after a campaign dominated by the economy, immigration and the controversial carbon tax. ABC says some 14.7 million electors taking part in a mandatory ballot across the country.

Divisions over Syria remain as wide as ever at the end of the G20 summit in Russia. RIA Novosti quotes President Putin saying most leaders there were opposed to military action against the Syrian government and restated his belief that such intervention would be a breach of international law. He listed India, Indonesia, China, Argentina, Brazil, South Africa and Italy as opponents, along with the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and Pope Francis.

But President Obama said he believed international security would be compromised if no action was taken over the use of chemical weapons in Damascus last month. The Associated News says that beset by divisions at home and abroad, Obama candidly acknowledged deep challenges in pursuing support for a military strike against Syria from international allies and the US Congress. He refused to say whether he might act on his own. The White House laid out an intense week of lobbying, with Obama addressing the nation from the White House on Tuesday night. 

The price of oil closed higher in New York due to the impact of the Syrian crisis and after the release of falling US inventory figures. Bloomberg says WTI light crude gained $2.16 to €110.53 a barrel.

Avvenire says Pope Francis has urged young people around the world to pray for peace with him during today’s fasting for a peaceful solution to the Syrian conflict. "Peace is a good that overcomes all barriers, because it is a good of all humanity," the pope tweeted. "Dear young people, pray with me for world peace".

In other news...

Il Tempo reports MPs belonging to the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement in Italy have staged a protest on the roof of the Lower House against a Constitutional Reform Bill. The bill sets to revamp Italy's public institutions and make the country easier to govern. The MPs hung a large banner that said “The Constitution is everyone's”.

Berliner Zeitung announces the death of Rochus Misch, Adolf Hitler's personal bodyguard, who was the last surviving witness of the Nazi dictator's final days in the bunker towards the end of World War II. He was 96. Misch was among those who joined the Nazi leader in his bunker where Hitler eventually committed suicide days before Germany's surrender.In a 2005 interview with AFP, Misch described how he had seen the Nazi leader and his wife Eva Braun dead in their bunker deep under the shattered city of Berlin.Two days later, Misch, then aged 27, fled the bunker, where he had worked as a telephone operator, on May 2, 1945 as Soviet troops stormed the chancellery in Berlin. He was taken prisoner by Soviet forces and held captive until 1953.

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