Press digest

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

The Times says a man who was arrested as part of investigations into cat abductions did not work in a food outlet.

The Malta  Independent quotes the prime minister saying that this will not be an election budget.

In-Nazzjon leads with comments by the prime minister that the people would continue to be given top level health-care, free of charge.

l-orizzont gives prominence to Joseph Muscat’s call for an investigation of reports that audit officer Rita Schembri’s e-mails were deleted from government computers.

The overseas press

New Europe leads with the eurozone finance ministers’ third meeting in Brussels time today to resolve a deal over the next bailout instalment for nearly insolvent Greece. Last Monday, the 17 eurozone nations and IMF director Christine Lagarde failed to strike a deal on financing the necessary bailout. Greece requires not only the planned €31 billion as the next bailout loan, but rather €45 billion euros to make ends meet.

Voters in the Spanish region of Catalonia have given their backing to nationalist parties but have punished the regional president who called an early election. Avui reports that with more than 99 per cent of votes counted the governing centre-right CiU remains the largest party, with 50 seats out of 135, down from 62. The left-wing separatist ERC party is in second place with 21 seats. Both parties want to hold a referendum on independence from Spain.

Ansa predicts Pier Luigi Bersani, head of Italy's centre-left Democratic Party, would win the primary vote for the nominee for prime minister in next year's election. With a third of votes counted, Bersani led his main rival, Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi, by 44.6 per cent to 36.9 per cent. If neither reaches a 50 per cent majority, they will face a run-off vote next Sunday.

Al Ahram says Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi will meet senior judges today to try easing a crisis over his recent decree giving him sweeping powers, one that has since been described by the presidential office as “temporary,” as protests in Cairo continue. More than 500 people were injured in clashes between police and protesters. The Supreme Judicial Council has called on striking judges and prosecutors to return to work. Egypt's stock market plunged on Sunday in its first day open since Morsi issued the decree.

France 24 reports the country’s right-wing opposition party UMP was “close to collapse” on Sunday after former Prime Minister Alain Juppé failed to resolve a leadership dispute between Jean-François Copé and François Fillon, the latter saying he would take the battle to the courts. Fillon, 58, and Copé, 48, have traded accusations of fraud and bad faith since last Sunday's party vote ended with Copé ahead by a handful of votes. Copé was declared the winner of the leadership battle by a margin of just 98 votes in a contest in which more than 150,000 party members voted.

At least 112 workers of a garment factory near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka died on Sunday when a blaze spread through their building. The deadly fire was the worst to hit the country’s booming garment industry in years. News from says after the direr alarms went off, authorities of Tazreen Fashions Ltd stopped workers running to safety saying the alarm had gone out of order, locked the factory gate from outside and asked them to return to work.

Voice of Nigeria reports 12 people have been killed and dozens wounded when two suicide bombs exploded outside a church at a military barracks in the northern Nigerian state of Kaduna. There was no claim of responsibility but Islamist sect Boko Haram has frequently attacked the security forces and Christian churches in its fight to create an Islamic state in Nigeria, where the population of 160 million is evenly split between Christians and Muslims.

Sky News says two people have died and hundreds have been forced to evacuate their homes after powerful storms in Britain – and officials are warning there is more rain to come. More than 800 homes have been flooded, with some residents trapped in their houses. The areas hardest hit have been Devon and Cornwall in England's south-west, and towns in Wiltshire and Worcestershire.

Al-Ayyam reports Hamas have announced the setting-up of an inquiry to examine the "unlawful executions" of Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel during the recent conflict. There were at least two incidents during Israel's bombardment of the territory in which seven people accused of "collaborating" with Israel were gunned down. Meanwhile, Hamas announced that Israel's eight-day bombardment of the Gaza Strip has caused more than €960 million in direct and indirect damages.

Assabah says tens of thousands of Moroccans marched in support of the Palestinians in the country's two main cities on Sunday. Protesters in Rabat, who numbered more than 45,000, condemned Israel for "crimes against humanity" during the assault that killed more than 166 Gazans, including 43 were children and 13 women. Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane headed the march. A similar demonstration was held in Casablanca.

Doing exactly what it says on the bottle, Madonna strikes her signature pose by going nude for the advertising campaign for her second fragrance, Truth or Dare Naked. Revealed in the New York Daily News, the fragrance, to be launch only in the US, is named after her 1991 documentary. The singer started off as career as a dancer and moonlighted as a nude model to pay the bills. She later posed for Playboy in 1985 for half a million dollars and her photographic book “Sex”, published in 1992, as the title suggested, stripped the singer right back. And today, striking a pose with literally nothing else to it, these nude shots defy Madonna's 54 years, by about 25 years.

Ageing rockers The Rolling Stones have celebrated 50 years in the industry by performing to a packed London crowd for the first time since 2007. The Sun says the members of the band, all in their 60s and 70s, took to the stage in front of 20,000 screaming fans at the O2 Arena. Lead singer Sir Mick Jagger, 69, was joined by guitarists Keith Richards, 68, Ronnie Wood, 65, and drummer Charlie Watts, 71. It is the first time the band has been joined with former members Bill Wyman and Mick Taylor for more than 20 years.




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