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

The Times says a man has been arrested in connection with the murder in Mosta on Wednesday. It also reports about the arrest of Judge Ray Pace.

The Malta Independent also reports on the arraignment of the judge. In other stories it says that OLAF's chief supervisor has questioned the procedure followed in the Dalli investigation.

In-Nazzon says the Prime Minister is ready to summon Parliament to impeach Judge Ray Pace.

l-orizzont goes into the scenario which led to the arraignment of Judge Ray Pace under the heading: Judge involved in corruption?

The overseas press

VOA News reports Susan Rice, the embattled UN ambassador to the UN, has abruptly withdrawn from consideration to be the next US secretary of state after an ugly stand-off with Republican senators over what happened in Benghazi in September when four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya, were killed in what is now known to have been a terrorist attack. The Republicans had declared they would vigorously oppose her nomination. President Barack Obama accepted Rice's decision with a shot at Republicans, saying he deeply regretted “the unfair and misleading attacks on Susan Rice in recent weeks”.

Al Ayyam says thousands of Palestinians have joined the first mass rally organised by Hamas in the West Bank since 2007. Demonstrators in the city of Nablus celebrated the 25th anniversary of the creation of the Islamist militant group which governs the Gaza Strip.

Samoa Observer quotes loal police saying a number of children were presumed to have drowned after being swept away in a flooded river when Cyclone Evan hit the South Pacific nation. The cyclone caused widespread damage across the country, killing at least two people, cutting power, causing flooding, and ripping trees out of the ground. Locals say it is the worst storm to hit the region in recent years, and a state of disaster has been declared.

Russia has admitted for the first time that President Bashar al-Assad's government may lose the country's bloody civil war. RiaNovosti says the statements by deputy foreign minister Mikhail Bogdanov are the first indications the Kremlin was preparing for Assad's defeat. In recent weeks rebels – including jihadist groups – have captured a series of key army bases, giving them control of large swathes of north and east Syria. Bogdanov, who is also Russia's special envoy for Middle East affairs, said military defeat for Mr Assad's regime could no longer be ruled out.

Börzen Zeitung reports EU finance ministers have agreed on a deal to create a single body to oversee banks across the eurozone. Under the deal, the European Central Bank would directly supervise 200 of the biggest banks and would be able to intervene with smaller lenders and borrowers at the first sign of trouble. The ECB will manage the system in tandem with the eurozone-wide European Banking Authority and national supervisors. Cypriot finance minister Vassos Shiarly said the deal was a "Christmas present for the whole of Europe".

According to the BBC, the European Court of Justice has overruled the European Parliament by telling MEPs to continue holding 12 full sessions each year in Strasbourg. The ruling was seen as a blow to MEPs, many of them British, who want to scrap the monthly shuttle from Brussels to Strasbourg. France took the parliament to court after MEPs voted to cut one of those shuttle trips, both this year and next. The court backed France, citing an EU treaty clause about Strasbourg's role.

ABC reports British police say they might seek to interview Australian witnesses as they investigate the death of London nurse Jacintha Saldanha. A British coroner has opened the inquest into the death of the 46-year-old, who answered a prank call from two Australian radio presenters on Tuesday last week. Her body was later discovered by work colleagues in the nurse's quarters at King Edward VII hospital in London.

Meanwhile, Sydney Morninbg Herald says Australian police are investigating death threats made against the 2Day FM radio hosts Mel Greig and Michael Christian, who made the royal prank phone call. 

Average life expectancy around the world has increased by around a decade since 1970. But they are also more likely to be struggling with chronic disease and disability. The Irish Independent says new estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study show that, worldwide, men's average lifespan rose from 56.4 years in 1970 to 67.5 in 2010 while that of women increased by more than 12 years from 61.2 to 73.3. However, the difference in life expectancy between the richest and poorest countries remains largely unchanged at around 40 years.

France 24 announces Zambia plans to present evidence to FIFA that national football hero Godfrey Chitalu scored more goals in one season than Argentina’s Lionel Messi. 

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