Press digest

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

The Times says Labour won a historic landslide victory. Joseph Muscat promised a government for all.

The Malta Independent says Malta has voted for change.

MaltaToday says this was a wipe out.

In-Nazzjon says Labour won with a 55% majority. It also says that the PN is to go through a period of renewal.

l-orizzont says this was the biggest Labour victory under Joseph Muscat.

The overseas press

Times of India reports that Delhi gang-rape prime accused Ram Singh has committed suicide by hanging himself in Tihar Jail. Ram Singh, one of the six accused in the Delhi gang-rape case, was the driver of the bus in which the 23-year-old paramedical student was raped. The victim died in a Singapore hospital December 29. He was arrested along with his brother and four others, including a minor, hours after the crime. He and his co-accused have also faced fellow inmates' ire after being lodged into jail. The jail authorities had earlier said that all the five accused in the case were under “suicide watch” as they had stopped talking and interacting amongst themselves.

Globovision TV says Venezuelan opposition leader Henrique Capriles has confirmed that he would stand in presidential elections on  April 14. In a televised address, he accused the governing PSUV party of manipulating the recent death of Hugo Chavez, who died after a two-year battle against cancer. Capriles will stand against Acting President Nicolas Maduro, whom Chavez named as his favoured successor.

Associated Press says that on the eve of the conclave due to start tomorrow, Boston Cardinal Sean O' Malley has tweeted that the Catholic world is “united in prayer” and confident “in our faith”. He urged his 13,500 followers to “make more visible the love of the Good Shepherd” and added, “let us pray that the Holy Spirit enables the Church to choose a new Pope who will confirm us in our faith”. The Vatican insists that the cardinals participating in the upcoming conclave will vote their conscience, each influenced only by silent prayers and reflection.

A poll by Corriere della Sera among Vatican experts has found that Cardinal O'Malley topped their list of papal favourites – ahead of both Brazilian Odilo Scherer and Milan archbishop Angelo Scola. Two other Americans – Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York and Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington – also emerged as potential popes in the survey.

Dawn reports hundreds of Christians clashed with police across Pakistan – a after a Muslim mob burned dozens of homes owned by members of the minority religious group in retaliation for alleged insults against Islam's Prophet Muhammad. Observers point out that Christians are often the target of Pakistan's harsh blasphemy laws, which rights activists say are frequently used to persecute religious minorities or settle personal disputes. Politicians have been reluctant to reform the laws for fear of being attacked by religious radicals.

Itar-Tass reports that Libya’s National Congress has suspended work in order to prevent sabotage, similar to the attack on the car of the motorcade of the Parliament Speaker Mohammed Yousef al-Magref. The decision was taken in view of the unsuitability of the premises where sessions of the Legislature are held. Yousef al-Magref said they refuse to hold sessions “amid pressure, terrorism or the threat of weapons” adding that Congress believed that the people of Libya should express their views peacefully, not by force.

FOCUS News Agency quotes Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev saying that “the euro for me is too big achievement to make it fail”. He told a meeting in Vienna on the future of Europe the most important question now should be zzz2not who will leave the eurozne, but who will enter the eurozone”. He said politicians had a responsibility to defend unpopular but important steps among the population. During the discussion, Austrian President Heinz Fischer said Britain was a difficult partner and wished that by 2030, when the Balkan countries join, the UK would not be outside the community.

Fuji TV reports anti-nuclear rallies took place across Japan on Sunday on the eve of the second anniversary of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster, urging Japan's new government to abandon nuclear power. Tens of thousands gathered in Hibiya Park in central Tokyo, where activists and unionists packed a concert hall to voice their opposition. Scholars, business people and volunteers gave anti-nuclear talks as musicians performed, before the crowds marched through the government district of Kasumigaseki to parliament. They handed petitions to anti-nuclear lawmakers, urging the government to stop its nuclear programmes.

Afghan Post says President Hamid Karzai has accused the Taliban and the US of working together to convince Afghans that violence would worsen if most foreign troops leave – an  allegation the top American commander in Afghanistan rejected as “categorically false”. Karzai said two suicide bombings that killed 19 people on Saturday – one outside the Afghan Defence Ministry and the other near a police checkpoint in eastern Khost province - showed the insurgent group was conducting attacks to demonstrate that international forces would still be needed to keep the peace after their current combat mission ends in 2014.

Oscar Pistorius is "on the verge of suicide" as he is forced to sell off his belongings to fight a charge of premeditated murder, a friend of the Paralympic star has told a BBC3 documentary. “Blade Runner” Pistorius, 26, is accused of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp after she was shot dead at his home last month. The Olympian claims he shot her through a bathroom door thinking she was an intruder. Close friend Mike Azzie, who Pistorius refers to as Uncle Mike, said the sportsman was a "broken man" after he was tasked with selling his racehorses to raise money to pay for spiralling legal fees. According to the documentary, police in Johannesburg have requested all records of phone calls and messages exchanged between Pistorius and Steenkamp on the day she was killed.





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