Press digest

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

The Sunday Times says that Enemalta was advised by KPMG to raise power tariffs in 2001 but the government refused. It also carries an interview with former President Eddie Fenech Adami.

The Malta Independent on Sunday reports that Joseph Muscat yesterday outlined his plans for an open government. It also reports how the PN tomorrow will explain the costing of its electoral pledges.

MaltaToday says Labour now has a 14-point lead over the PN, with its biggest gains being among young people and those aged over 55. It also gives more details on the oil procurement commissions scandal.

It-Torca says that the University Rector had threatened to resign after the institution's budget was reduced by the government without consultation.

Il-Mument says the PN will be clear on the costs of its electoral pledges. It also reports reactions to the PN programme.

Illum reports on the application made by the police and the attorney general to delay the OLAF report on John Dalli. It also says that Frank Sammut was allegedly involved in another oil procurement scandal in which people  appearing for a Nationalist politician were also involved.

KullHadd says the PN has not proposed anything to fight political corruption.

The overseas press

The Financial Times reports international financial leaders have wrapped up the Davos World Economic Forum with warnings that much remained to be done to stabilise the global economy. IMF chief Christine Lagarde said the fund’s outlook for a "fragile and timid" recovery depended on leaders in the top economies of Europe, the United States and Japan making "the right decisions". She warned against complacency among the 17 European nations using the euro, while noting that two major European economies, Italy and Spain, have survived the worst of the European crisis. Policy makers still saw great challenges ahead to follow crisis-prevention measures in the eurozone with needed reforms.

Al Ahram reports 30 people were killed and over 300 injured in clashes in the northern Egyptian coastal city of Port Said following a Cairo court's sentencing to death of 21 supporters of the local al-Masry football team for their roles in a major football riot in the city last February. Al-Masry fans and families of the defendants said the case was politically motivated. Saturday's violence follows a day of unrest on the second anniversary of the uprising that ousted Hosni Mubarak. Egypt's national defence council, which is headed by President Mohammed Morsi, has condemned the violence and called for dialogue, saying it would consider declaring a curfew in affected areas if necessary

Radio Praha announces that former Prime Minister Milos Zeman has won the Czech Republic's presidential election – the first to decided by direct popular vote. He won 55 per cent of votes in the second-round poll, compared to Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg's 45 per cent. The 68-year-old, who favours the expansion of the European Union, will replace President Vaclav Klaus, whose term ends in March after 10 years in office.

Le Monde quotes the French defence ministry saying French-led troops in Mali have taken control of the northern city of Gao. The town was previously a stronghold of Islamist fighters after it was seized by an alliance of Tuareg rebels and Islamists last April. The French-led troops moved into Gao itself after earlier securing the airport and a strategic bridge to the south. French officials said troops from neighbouring Niger and Chad would now move into the town to help secure it.

CNN reports thousands of people have rallied in Washington DC calling for stricter gun controls as they marched from the Capitol to the Washington Monument. The crowd included residents of Newtown, Connecticut, where a primary school shooting last month revived a debate over security and gun safety. Speakers urged them to lobby politicians to back gun control reform.

US President Barack Obama heaped praise on outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a rare joint interview set to renew speculation that she will run for president in 2016. In the rare joint interview to be broadcast later today on the CBS programme “60 Minutes”, he called her “one of the finest secretaries of state we’ve had”. Many people were surprised when Obama named Clinton to be his secretary of state, after the two fought a long and bitter battle for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in the 2008 elections. Many observers believe she could well try again to become the nation's first woman president in the 2016 elections.

El Universal says the death toll in the Uribana prison riot in northwest Venezuela has climbed to 61 while the number of injured amounted to 120. Prison Affairs Minister Iris Valera has announced the jail would be evicted totally, with inmates transferred to other prisons in the country. Relatives of inmates described the events as “slaughter” and blamed the violence directly on Varela.The riot occurred during an inspection conducted by authorities on Friday.

Alm Ihsan reports that a fire in a garment factory has killed six female workers and injured another five in the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, just months after more than 100 died in another factory blaze, raising questions about safety standards and treatment of workers. The cause of the blaze is not known.

A Pennsylvania man who died at age 88 was buried yesterday – but not before a stop at Burger King on the way to the cemetery for a Whopper Jr. The York Daily Record reported that David S. Kime Jr. of West York loved those burgers so his family and friends followed the hearse through the drive-through window at the Manchester Burger King. The manager said 40 Whopper Jr. burgers were prepared, including one for Kime. A photo in the paper shows daughter Phiel placing her dad's last burger atop his casket amid a spray of flowers.




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