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Press digest

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

The Sunday Times of Malta reports that Transport Malta has called in the police over a case of alleged corruption.

The Malta Independent on Sunday says committee MEPs have agreed to disagree on Borg nomination.

John Dalli was willing to serve as deputy to Lawrence Gonzi, according to MaltaToday.

It-Torca says tomorrow’s Budget will lead to lower bills.

Illum leads with a surprise visit by the prime minister to the Minister of Finance on Friday to discuss final preparations for the Budget.

Former Speaker Miriam Spiteri Debono is the prime minister’s preferred person to become the next President, Il-Mument says. Dr Spiteri Debono is also the former president of Labour’s women section.

Meanwhile, KullHadd says the government will refund car registration tax as promised by the Labour party some four years ago.

The overseas press

Pakistan has accused the United States of “scuttling” efforts towards peace talks with the Taliban by killing the militants' leader in a drone strike. Dawn says the development comes as the Taliban quickly moved to replace Hakimullah Mehsud, who was one of Pakistan's most-wanted men, vowing a wave of revenge suicide bombings. Mehsud's death, which was confirmed by a senior Taliban commander, happened hours before a meeting between a team of religious clerics and Taliban officials in North Waziristan, with a view to start peace talks.

A US businessman says he told federal investigators the location of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan years before his killing and is seeking a US $25 million reward. A letter obtained by The Associated Press from a Chicago-based law firm representing Tom Lee says the 63-year-old gem merchant reported the location of bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad in 2003. The letter says a Pakistani intelligence agent told Lee that he escorted bin Laden and his family from Peshawar to Abbottabad. According to the letter, Lee shared the information with customs and FBI agents.

France 24 says the French Foreign Ministry has confirmed that two French journalists were killed in north-eastern Mali after being kidnapped by four armed men in the town of Kidal. The victims, Ghislaine Dupont and Claude Verlon, worked for Radio France Internationale (RFI). The two had been interviewing a member of the Tuareg separatist group when they were kidnapped by gunmen.  

East African Standard reports Kenya's chief justice has ordered “immediate action” over a case where men accused of brutally gang raping a schoolgirl were ordered to cut grass as punishment. The 16-year-old, known by the pseudonym Liz, was reportedly attacked, beaten and then raped by six men as she returned from her grandfather's funeral in western Kenya in June.

AFP reports Niger has rounded up close to 150 migrants, mostly men and some children, crossing the Sahara to Algeria in the past two days, in a crackdown on illegal migration after 92 people died of thirst trying to make the same desert journey.  

Sky News report up to 180 inmates took part in a revolt in Maidstone prison, in Kent. The protests were against the living conditions in Maidstone prison, which have worsened after a personnel cut.

El Latino reports a tunnel designed to smuggle drugs from Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego in the US, has been discovered along the US-Mexico border. Equipped with lighting, ventilation and an electric rail system, it was one of the most sophisticated secret passages.

A fight between members of two different families while standing in line for bread resulted in a vendetta and nine dead in Assiut, Egypt. Israel's YNet said the family feud began last month, when a member of the Shaibaa tribe was killed during a fight.

The New York Times says a bus driver in the US, who stopped to help a woman who looked like she was about to jump off a bridge, has been given a reward by Donald Trump. The billionaire was so impressed by the actions of Darnell Barton in New York, he handed him a $10,000 dollar gift. On-board CCTV footage shows the driver stopping, giving the woman a hug, and helping her return to the safe side of the barrier.

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