Press digest

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

The Sunday Times reports that Judge Raymond Pace has resigned and how the impeachment motion against Judge Lino Farrugia Sacco is going ahead.

The Malta Independent on Sunday says a new energy policy will be launched tomorrow. It also gives prominence to the Broadcasting Authority’s statements on Friday’s developments on Xarabank.

MaltaToday says Judge Lino Farrugia Sacco is sticking to his guns and will not resign. It also says that Labour still has an eight-point lead over the PN.

It-Torca says the prime minister has increased his attacks on the GWU and Tony Zarb.

Il-Mument gives prominence to the resignation of Judge Ray Pace but also reports that Labour will not reduce water tariffs.

Illum says that the police are under pressure to arraign John Dalli, despite their uncertainty. It also says that Franco Debono with be a thorn for the government till the end.

KullHadd leads with a commentary on Franco Debono under the heading 'Relevant, and how'.

The overseas press

Police have announced that no one let Adam Lanza, identified by police as the shooter, into the Newtown school. Fox News reports that the authorities further retraced the 20-year-old's steps, saying he shot his mother and then drove to Sandy Hook Elementary School, where killed 20 children, six adults (all women), including the principal and a school psychologist, and himself. All the children killed – 12 girls and eight boys – were six or seven years old. Some of the victims were shot multiple times with the rifle as a primary weapon.

CBS News says President Obama, who will today meet the parents of the victims, has urged Americans to join together in mourning.”We grieve for the families of those we lost,” Obama said. “And we keep in our prayers the parents of those who survived.” Obama also demanded “action to prevent more tragedies like this”. However he went no further than that, stopping short of specifically calling for tighter gun-control laws.

More sympathy messages from world leaders continued to pour into the US. The New York Times quotes UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon saying that “the targeting of children is heinous and unthinkable”. The Pope called the killing a “senseless tragedy” and conveyed his “heartfelt grief”. Expressing sadness, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, “We are once again confronted with a crime that we cannot make sense of.”

Tulsa World reports Oklahoma police arrested a high school student on charges he was plotting to carry out a shooting and bombing massacre at his school. Sammie Eaglebear Chavez, 18, was arrested at his home in Bartlesville, Oklahoma on Friday. Police alleged that Chavez tried to recruit other Bartlesville High School students to help him lure classmates into the school auditorium, where he planned to chain the doors shut and start shooting them.

A knife-wielding man has slashed 22 children and an adult at an elementary school in central China – the latest in a series of attacks on schoolchildren in the country. The country state news agency Xinhua reported the police arrested a 36-year-old man who attacked the children at the gate of a school in Chenpeng village in Henan province. It not give further details of the extent of the injuries.

AFP reports that counting is under way after a first-round referendum on a divisive new constitution pushed through by President Mohamed Morsi and his Islamist allies despite weeks of opposition protests. Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood and main media outlets said that, based on very early unofficial figures, it appeared that the polling was trending towards 70 percent support for the draft charter. But the opposition disputed that, saying its preliminary figures suggested that 66 percent of the voters had rejected the proposed constitution. The second round of the referendum is to be held next Saturday, after which the official result is to be given.

Japan Times says voting is underway in a general election that could return the Liberal Democratic Party after only three years in opposition. Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told voters outside Tokyo he would restore economic growth and restore pride in the country. Observers point out that many voters remain undecided, amid disillusionment in Japan over politics.

The News International reports at least four people have been killed and more than 30 injured in a rocket attack on one of Pakistan’s key regional airports. Rockets struck areas around the city of Peshawar in the northwest. A spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban told the BBC that they carried out the attack.

The Washington Post says US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton is being treated for concussion after fainting. Officials in Washington said she had a stomach virus and had passed out after becoming dehydrated. Clinton fell ill with a stomach virus last weekend and was forced to cancel a planned trip to the Middle East and North Africa.

Al bawaba reports that former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has been treated Cairo's Tora prison for head injuries and a chest bruise after he slipped in the bathroom. Mubarak was convicted of failing to stop killings of protesters during last year’s uprising. There had been conflicting reports about his health.

According to Hurriyet Daily News, Turkish police and special forces have seized 20 tons of marijuana, worth about $22 million (€16.7 million) in a series of raids targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey accuses the PKK of large-scale drug trafficking in order to fund its 30-year-old insurgency.

Europe’s Press on the Newton shooting

Most commentators in Europe agree that stricter gun laws are necessary in the United States... but that such changes are unlikely to happen soon. La Republica (Italy) wrote that “the American God of arms is insatiable” while London’s The Guardian  called the shooting, a “shocking and horrifying” event. Americans, the newspaper wrote, have more guns than any other counry: “roughly, 90 for every 100 people” and regions and states with higher rates of gun ownership have higher rates of homicides.

The London-based Economist drew the conclusion that the only effective gun control is “no guns.” For “having few guns means that few people get shot”. It pointed out that “in 2008-2009, there were 39 fatal injuries from crimes involving firearms in England and America, there were 12,000 gun-related homicides in 2008”.

“In the aftermath of every shooting, the debate (on more restrictive gun laws) reignites, but little will happen,” the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung lamented while pointing to the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA), a “powerful weapons' lobby.” In order to safeguard its economic interests, the NRA “frames the possession of weapons as a cultural singularity, which needs to be saved and defended.” Any kind of reform or criticism of existing laws “is branded by the NRA as attack on civil liberties,” the paper said.

The French newspaper Le Monde pointed out the fact that President Obama is unable to push for stricter laws without the support of Congress: “Up to now, Republican opposition to federal laws regulating the sale of arms has made reforms impossible.”

Spain's El Mundo said that the “inculture of violence” was deeply engrained in American society “and fed by the arms’ lobby which, let us be clear, has bought off three-quarters of the North American Congress, including a good handful of Democrats”. The NRA is investing more money than ever, the newspaper wrote, reaching to the bleak conclusion that “nothing is going to change”.



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