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

Times of Malta, the Malta Independent and l-orizzont lead with how the campus of the American University of Malta will be split between Marsascala and Cospicua.

Times of Malta also highlights concerns about a government legal notice exempting development in hospital sites from Mepa planning procedures.

In-Nazzjon says the government’s deafening silence on the Joe Sammut fraud case makes the government an accomplice. It also says development is set to continue at Zonqor in Marsascala for the new university.  

The overseas press

ABC reports the United States has formally asked Australia to expand its role in the fight against the Islamic State terrorist group over Syria. Australia is already involved in bombing IS targets in Iraq, but the expanded role could involve the RAAF conducting air strikes in Syria. 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has ordered his frontline troops onto a war-footing, the North’s official KCNA news agency reported this morning, as military tensions with South Korea soar following a rare exchange of artillery shells across their heavily-fortified border. The news followed an exchange of artillery fire by South and North Korea across their heavily militarised border.

Greece is attempting to become an energy centre in Europe in order to make its contribution to cooperation between countries, Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis told Sputnik. He noted Greece has good opportunities of becoming an energy centre in Europe “due to its geographical location and its characteristics”.

Reuters reports Germany and France will press the European Union to move faster and with more unity to deal with the worsening refugee crisis, amid complaints from Germany that it is shouldering too big a burden. Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande will meet in Berlin on Monday to discuss how to speed up relief for thousands of migrants, many of whom risk dangerous sea voyages to reach southern Europe before making their way across the continent.

The Brazilian attorney general has pressed charges of bribery and money laundering against the president of the local Chamber of Deputies, Eduardo Cunha. According to Veja news portal, the speaker was accused of receiving some $5-million worth bribes to secure two drillship contracts between the state-owned oil company Petrobras and the Korean shipbuilder Samsung Heavy Industries.  

Britain will reopen its embassy in Tehran during a visit to Iran by Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond due to start on Sunday, an Iranian foreign ministry official told AFP. Hammond helped negotiate last month’s Iran’s historic nuclear deal with world powers. The embassy has been closed since 2011 after it was stormed by protesters.

France 24 reports Jean-Marie Le Pen, who co-founded France’s far-right National Front, has been excluded from the party following a disciplinary hearing. The decision was announced in a statement hours after the end of a three-hour hearing by the party’s executive bureau, during which the 87-year-old defended himself against a list of 15 complaints.

July was the hottest month on record on Earth. USA Today quotes climate scientist Jake Crouch, from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, saying the average temperature last month was 16.58oC, beating the previous global mark set in 1998 and 2010. Records go back to 1880, but nine of the 10 hottest months on record have happened since 2005. The first seven months of this year were the hottest January-July span on record. Crouch said it was likely that 2015 would be the hottest year on record, beating last year.

Il Tempo says a political row was sparked in Rome when a local mafia boss was given a send-off to remember as rose petals were thrown from a helicopter and an orchestra played the theme tune of the celebrated mobster film “The Godfather”. Vittorio Casamonica, 65, was a prominent member of the Casamonica clan, which has been held responsible for drug trafficking, racketeering and prostitution in the area southeast of Rome. Several lawmakeers demanded to know who authorised the funeral. The local Catholic Church authority, the Vicariate of Rome, voiced “embarrassment” over the case

El Pais reports the Spanish police seized 1,284 hashish capsules hidden in jars of olives in the southern port of Algeciras. The three plastic jars, containing a total of 10 kilos of hashish, were discovered inside a car coming off a ferry from Tangiers. Each hashish capsule was barely bigger than an olive. In recent years, police have found cocaine inside breast implants, a wig, hollowed-out pineapples, a plaster cast encasing a man’s broken leg as well as inside a 42-piece crockery set

Jennifer Lawrence, the protagonist of “The Hunger Games”, is the highest paid actress in the world, grossing $52 million and earning Forbes’ gold crown. Scarlett Johansson is in second place with $35.5 million.

Rome City Council will use tracking and geo-location technology to screen the Italian capital’s pavements for potholes, and its sewers and signage for defects, Ansa reports. A database of problems will then be set up to ensure prompt intervention. The city council has set aside €109 million over the next three years to survey and maintain the most important streets in the capital.   

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