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Press digest

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

The Times says a former police constable was jailed for 16 years for drug trafficking. It also reports that a nurse was arraigned and four people were arrested in connection with drug trafficking in the prison.

Both stories are also featured prominently on In-Nazzjon

l-orizzont says Joseph Mizzi did not wish to accompany the officials of BWSC during their meeting with the Auditor-General on Monday. Mr Mizzi is the local representative of the Danish company, which won the contract to extend the power station at Delimara.

The Malta Independent reports that Maltese politicians discussed ways to beat the recession during a conference yesterday. It also carries comments by BWSC that its Malta contract is legitimate.

The Press in Britain...

The Times leads on news that banks are defying the government by paying millions in bonuses: up to 200 banking executives at Lloyds are set to receive one-off payments worth up to 80 per cent of their annual salaries.

Metro says the taxpayer risk of the bank bailout is revealed to be £85 billion as the sector is warned to ‘come back into the real world'.

The Daily Mail spells out the cost to every family of the bank bailout - £40,000.

The bank bonus and bailout story also dominates the front of The Daily Telegraph, which pictures Penelope Cruz at the premiere of the film Nine in London.

The bank bonus story is also carried by The Independent, which, like The Times, also features a picture of Amanda Knox at the Meredith Kercher murder trial.

A big picture of a mohican-wearing David Beckham in South Africa is featured on the front of The Guardian together with the bank bonus story.

The Financial Times runs with a story on the Royal Bank of Scotland sounding a retreat on big bonuses to employees.

As fury mounts over £1.5 billion RBS bonus, the Daily Mirror implores the government to "let the greedy bankers go".

The Daily Express claims foreign students use circus skills and theatre study qualifications to claim a right to live in Britain.

The Daily Star leads on the story of the arrest of Rolling Stone guitarist Ronnie Wood over an alleged assault on his Russian girlfriend Ekaterina Ivanova.

The Sun quotes one of Tiger Woods' lovers rating the international golfer as "horrible in bed".

And elsewhere...

Environmental Daily quotes a new report suggesting ocean warming and human activity have devastated the coastal wildlife of the Galapagos Islands. Scientists say several species of marine plants and animals have become extinct and many others are seriously threatened.

De Standard says Sir Paul McCartney has taken meat-free message to the European Parliament and called for a global effort to change eating habits and help save the planet from global warming. He quoted a UN reports showing how one day's less meat-eating a week could have a major impact on the overall effort to cut CO2 emissions.

London's Asian Lite quotes Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Gilani insisting Osama bin Laden was not in Pakistan and that his security forces had been "extremely successful" in tackling terrorists within its borders.

Afghan Times says President Hamid Karzai has promised he would talk to Taliban heads in an attempt to broker a peace if he gets backing from the West. He said that the target to begin international troop withdrawals would give an "impetus and a boost" for Afghans to work toward taking control of their own nation.

Meanwhile, Corriere della Sera quotes Italian Defence Minister Ignazio La Russa confirming Italy would send around 1,000 extra troops to Afghanistan.

Pravda says Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said he would think about whether to reclaim the presidency, one of the strongest signals yet that he may run again for Russia's top office in 2012. During a question-and-answer radio and television show, Mr Putin also vowed that Russia would step up its efforts against terrorism.

Panapress reports at least 22 people - including three Cabinet ministers, doctors and medical students - have died in a suicide attack in the capital of Somalia. The male suicide bomber attacked a graduation ceremony in the small part of Mogadishu still under government control.

Ohio Post says Anthony Sowell, accused of killing 11 women and leaving their remains in and around his Cleveland home, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. He faces 85 charges including murder, rape, assault and corpse abuse and could get the death penalty if convicted of any of the killings.

Corriere dell'Umbria says the family of murdered British student Meredith Kercher is due to arrive in Perugia to hear the verdict in the murder trial, expected to be delivered either today or tomorrow. American Amanda Knox, 22, and her Italian former lover, Raffaele Sollecito, 25, are on trial for the murder of the Leeds University student who prosecutors claim was stabbed to death after what started as an extreme sex game.

The Irish Times announces that legislation to give legal recognition to gay couples for the first time has been introduced to the Irish Parliament. The Civil Partnership Bill will convey inheritance and other rights on the registered partnerships of cohabiting gay and heterosexual couples. Justice Minister Dermot Ahern told the Dáil that gay couples had been deprived of basic rights for too long.

The Washington Times says America's last surviving World War I veteran, 108-year old Frank Buckles has urged Congress to build a memorial to honour his fellows combatants from "The Great War.''

Ansa says the increase in the divorce rate in Italy during the past 10 years has lead to some falling below the poverty line. The Italian Association of Divorced and Separated Persons notes that of the 160,000 marriage break-ups, 100,000 divorce. Many of the ‘new singles' end up as vagrants. It says that 25 per cent of those using soup kitchens are separated or divorced; many sleep in their car and others go back to their parents.



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