Press digest

The following are the top stories in the national and international press today

The Sunday Times publishes a telephone conversation between Dom Mintoff and then British Prime Minister James Callaghan in the run-up to the Freedom Day ceremony of 1979. In another story, it speaks to an archivist who sheds fresh doubt on the name of Grand Master Jean de (la?) Valette.

The Malta Independent on Sunday leads with the Broadcasting Authority’s decision to cancel yesterday's PBS programme Dissett. In another story, it quotes Anthony Abela Medici on the Radio Malta programme Ghandi x’Nghid saying he believed there was sufficient evidence to reconstruct what happened during New Year’s Day double murder.

The cancellation of Dissett was also tackled by It-Torca, which said that the BA's decision reflected the PL's request. The newspaper chose volunteer Charles Miceli as personality of 2012.

Il-Mument pays tribute to EU Commissioner Tonio Borg and Maltese tenor Joseph Calleja, two personalities who, it says, made Malta proud this year. In another story it says that a PL survey shows that former party deputy leader Anglu Farrugia was on the forefront in popularity on the 11th district.

Malta Today’s front page shows a big photo of Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (the survivor) and Nationalist MP Franco Debono (the rebel) to review what happened in Parliament during the year.

Illum leads with an article about Franco Debono and 2012.

Kullhadd publishes an interview with the PL’s new deputy leader Louis Grech and comments on a letter by the former deputy editor of The Times Roger Mifsud in which he says that the forthcoming electoral campaign is expected to be a dirty one.

The international press

Hindustan Times reports Indian police have charged six men with murder of a young woman whom they had beaten and gang-raped on a New Delhi bus two weeks ago in a case that shocked the country. The murder charges were laid after the medical student died earlier on Saturday in a Singapore hospital, where she had been flown for treatment. The six face the death penalty if convicted.

The case has triggered protests across India for greater protection for women from sexual violence, and raised questions about lax attitudes by police toward sexual crimes. The Times of India quotes Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh saying he was aware of the emotions the attack has stirred, adding it was up to all Indians to ensure that the young woman's death would not have been in vain. Congress president Sonia Gandhi also offered an emotional tribute, saying the 23-year-old girl had died after an "unspeakably brutal and bestial assault".  In remarks that were televised she appealed for calm and pledged that the victim would get justice.

France 24 says the French government has said it would draw up revised proposals to increase taxes on the country’s richest citizens after the original measure was struck down by the Constitutional Council. The council said the plan for a temporary wealth tax of 75 per cent, would create inequalities between households. It argued that the tax would hit a married couple where one partner earned above a million euros but it would not affect a couple where each earned just under a million euros.

NBC News reports senior members of both parties in the US Senate are meeting in a last-ditch attempt to reach agreement on avoiding automatic budget measures that could return the country to recession. If no deal is struck by Tuesday, sharp spending cuts and tax rises would come into effect.

Dnevnik says several thousand people rallied in front of the headquarters of Macedonia's rightist ruling party on Saturday demanding the immediate resignation of Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski and early elections. The rally was the culmination of days of smaller countrywide protests provoked by an incident last week when the opposition was ejected from parliament after a disagreement and a brawl over the size of next year's budget. Parliamentary elections in Macedonia are tentatively slated for 2015.

Fuji TV reports newly-elected Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the tsunami-wrecked Fukushima power plant on Saturday as his administration is reportedly reviewing plans to restart the country’s controversial nuclear programme. Abe said the clean-up at Fukushima was unlike anything humanity had ever undertaken but was progressing. The disaster at Fukushima was the worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986.

Al Jazeera reports UN-Arab League peace envoy Lakhdar Brahimi has told Russian leaders that Syria would turn into "hell" if a diplomatic solution to the conflict is not found. Brahimi and Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov both said there was still a chance for a negotiated solution to the 21-month conflict, which has killed more some 45,000 people. Meanwhile, government forces, in retreat for much of the past few months, are reported to have pushed rebels from a district in the strategically important central city of Homs after days of fighting.

Pravda says a Russian airliner has crashed after overshooting the runway as it landed at Moscow’s Vnokovo airport, killing four members of the crew. The other four crew members survived.

CNN reports 88-year-old former US President George H. W. Bush has been moved out of the intensive care unit of a Texas hospital after an improvement in his condition. He was first taken to hospital last month with a severe cough and is still receiving treatment for bronchitis.

Dawn quotes officials in Pakistan say that 21 bodies found in the northwest of the country are those of members of a paramilitary force who were kidnapped by heavily-armed militants on Thursday. The bullet-riddle bodies were found within four kilometres of checkpoints outside the city of Peshawar from which the paramilitaries were abducted. Talaban militants have taken responsibility for the kidnapping.

ABC News reports a 31-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in connection with the death of a man who was pushed onto the tracks of an elevated subway station in Queens and crushed by an oncoming train. The New York Times quotes the prosecution saying the woman, Erika Menendez, selected her victim, Sunando Sen, 46, because she believed him to be a Muslim or a Hindu. The victim, born in India and raised Hindu, was allegedly shoved from behind and had no chance to defend himself.



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