Press digest

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

The Times reports how a ‘gay’ jibe man who ran down a tourist has walked free. It also gives prominence to comments by London Mayor Boris Johnson that London dumped the bendy buses on Malta.

The Malta Independent says an EU Banking Union is unlikely by 2013. It also says that the PL has ruled out tabling a no-confidence motion.

MaltaToday says that Austin Gatt is playing for time in parliament.

l-orizzont says the Mayor of Gharb was allegedly been investigated for usury, along with his brother.

In-Nazzjon reports on ‘abusive and mistaken’ leadership by Safi council. It also reports how a paralysed man is to give evidence at home.

The overseas press

European banks are in the midst of an emergency fire sale of assets worth more than €10,350 for each of Europe's 210 million households– meaning less money available to be lent to consumers, worsening the credit crisis. Bloomberg says the warning, from the International Monetary Fund in its Global Financial Stability Report, came 24 hours after it slashed its growth forecast for the world economy to just over three per cent for this year and the next. It said political leaders, especially those in the eurozone, were running out of time to put right the economic problems weighing them down.

Kathimerini reports that as more than 25,000 people protested in Athens against the German Chancellor’s visit, Angela Merkel has told Greeks their sacrifices toward cutting spending would pay off. She made her remarks after meeting Prime Minister Antonis Samaras during her first visit to the country since the eurozone crisis began. Police briefly clashed with some demonstrators and detained at least 40 people.

Le Parisien says French riot police fired tear gas at hundreds of protesters trying to storm a Paris auto show during nationwide protests as the number of French unemployed topped three million for the first time in 13 years. Thousands of other demonstrators marched in Lyon, while operations the ports of Le Havre and Marseille were disrupted. The unions were also protesting Tuesday's ratification by the French parliament of the European fiscal treaty that stiffens penalties for countries that overspend.

Haaretz reports Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called an early general election. He said in a TV address the new elections for the 120-member Knesset would take place "as soon as possible" – possibly January, nine months earlier than scheduled.  Netanyahu has been unable to agree the annual budget with his coalition partners.

The body of the leader of a Mexican drug cartel, who was killed in a shootout with marines, has been stolen by an armed gang. El Universal says the corpse of Heriberto Lazcano, founder of the Los Zetas gang, was stored by the authorities at a funeral parlour in northern Mexico. It quotes attorney general Homero Ramos saying a group of armed men raided the parlour where the corpse was being kept, and stole it.

Nato has issued a direct warning to Syria, declaring it was ready to defend Turkey after a week of cross-border firing escalated tensions between the two countries. Le Soir reports that the comments by Nato Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen were the strongest show of support to Turkey. Meanwhile, Ankara has sent additional fighter jets to reinforce an air base close to the frontier with Syria.

The Washington Post says China has reacted angrily to a US congressional report that called two of its largest telecom firms threats to US national security. The report warned that Huawei and ZTE could use their positions as major suppliers of telecommunications equipment to help the Chinese government expand its overseas spying operations. Chinese authorities dismissed the charge as “groundless” and suggested it could undermine future cooperation between the world’s two largest economies.

Scotland Yard has revealed that up to 25 young girls were allegedly sexually abused by Sir Jimmy Savile over a period dating back to 1959. The Sun reports 17 allegations of sexual abuse against Sir Jimmy and 21 allegations against other people had been received. Officers said they now had 120 lines of enquiry from alleged victims, witnesses and third parties. The youngest alleged victim was 13 years old at the time. A statement released by Sir Jimmy's family within hours of the revelations said his headstone would be removed from his grave in Scarborough.

Fox News says 68-year-old Jerry Sandusky, the US sports coach at the centre of a child abuse scandal, has been sentenced to at least 30 years in jail. The sentencing came three months after a jury convicted Sandusky on 45 counts of child sexual abuse. He maintains his innocence and plans to appeal.

The Pakistani president and prime minister led politicians and media representatives in condemning an attack by Taliban gunmen that wounded a 14-year-old who campaigned for girls' rights. Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head on her way home from school in Mingora. A Pakistani Taliban spokesman told the BBC they carried out the attack because she was anti-Taliban and secular, adding that she would not be spared.

Ansa says the Italian government has dissolved the local government in Reggio Calabria for mafia connections. Interior Minister Annamaria Cancellieri said the government had “restore lawfulness to the city". The Calabria-based 'Ndrangheta is now the most powerful mafia in Italy thanks to its hold on the European cocaine trade.

The Supreme Court in Brazil has found a top aide of the former Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, guilty of corruption. O Globo reports Jose Dirceu, who was the president's chief of staff from 2003 to 2005, had been accused of setting up a scheme that used public funds to buy support from opposition parties in parliament. He denies the scheme ever existed and said the allegations were political. The former president is not implicated in the scandal.





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