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

The Sunday Times of Malta says legislation in Malta that enables same-sex couples to adopt children had shocked the Pope.

MaltaToday asks if 2013 was really Malta Taghna Lkoll.

The Malta Independent on Sunday says oil trader George Farrugia forged a letter by oil suppliers Total to clinch an oil deal.

It-Torca says Pope Francis was the personality of the year.

Il-Mument highlights the commencement of the laying of the interconnector cable linking Malta to the European power grid. It also says that the Opposition will move a motion in parliament against the sale of citizenship.

KullHadd quotes Transport Minister Joe Mizzi saying the situation found at Arriva was worse than had been expected.

The overseas press

According to Hurriyet, a magnitude-six earthquake has struck in the Mediterranean south of the Turkish province of Antalya. The quake caused panic, but no damage or casualties were reported.  

AFP reports the United Nations has acknowledged Syria was “unlikely” to meet a December 31 deadline to transport its most dangerous chemical arms out of the country. The UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said “important progress” had been made on Syria's banned weapons, but called on President Bashar al-Assad's government to “intensify efforts” to meet internationally set deadlines to eliminate its arsenal.

Al Jazeera says helicopters dropped TNT-packed barrels on a vegetable market and next to a hospital in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 20 civilians including two children

Al Ahram reports student supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood stormed a faculty building at Cairo’s Al-Azhar University where exams were being taken and set it on fire. Security officials said the blaze, which spread through two floors of the commerce faculty building, was later brought under control by firefighters.  

A protest by immigrants sheltered at a tented camp in Messina has gained momentum. La Sicilia reports a group comprising some 50 people began the second day in a hunger strike yesterday, calling for “more respectful and dignified treatment and conditions”.  

All India Radio says a fire engulfed a coach of an express train in southern India, killing at least 26 passengers, many of whom became trapped and suffocated after the doors failed to open, officials said. As the inferno and thick black smoke raced through the car at about 3:45 a.m., panicked passengers broke the windows and many saved themselves by jumping from the train.

El Mundo reports Iberian police have smashed Spain's largest counterfeit clothing ring, arresting 99 people, including two imams, over the sale of 235 tonnes of fake designer clothes and shoes, generating revenues of €5.5 million.  

ABC News says Britney Spears has opened a two-year residency in Sin City with a dazzling performance to a crowd of adoring fans at the city’s Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino. Some 4,600 followers of the Grammy-winning pop songstress were on hand to enjoy her new spectacle, titled “Piece of Me,” in which the 32-year old performed most of the songs that made her famous. Spears belted out more than 20 songs that include many of the hits over her 15-year career from former Disney starlet in the late 1990s to pop diva of the 2000s.

France 24 quotes West Bromwich Albion’s caretaker coach Keith Downing saying striker Nicolas Anelka has denied performing an anti-Semitic goal celebration in Saturday's 3-3 draw at West Ham United.  


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