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

Times of Malta quotes a judge saying magistrates presiding over drug cases sometimes end up hoping the punishment they hand down will help the addict as intended because they do not have the tools to help them in their decision. In another story it says Malta could be hit by a tsunami at any time, according to scientists who have found evidence that the northeastern coast was once struck by 20-metre high waves.

In-Nazzjon says three PL councillors in Sannat issued a statement condemning the involvement of the mayor’s mother in Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s film By the Sea, which is being shot in Gozo. They said her appointment as direction secretary amounts to a conflict of interest.

The Malta Independent says cannabis found in Malta today is more potent than what was available some years ago. In another story, it says a number of immigrant families have been transferred out of the Naxxar Counting Hall to the Hal Far Open Centre.

L-Orizzont quotes Chamber of Commerce president David Curmi saying products and services offered by Malta are mediocre.

International news

Business Insider reports the United Nations’ human rights watchdog has agreed to investigate abuses committed by Islamic State militants in Iraq. The international body has said it had evidence of acts inhumanity perpetrated by the jihadists “on an unimaginable scale” that might amount to war crimes.

Deutsche Welle says German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her government’s decision to send arms to Kurdish forces, calling the Islamic State “a threat to Germany and Europe“. Meanwhile fighting has erupted between the Syrian army and rebels on Golan Heights

According to Baltic Times, pro-Russian rebels negotiating with mediators in Belarus have said they were willing to forego full independence from Ukraine in exchange for autonomy. The talks are scheduled to resume later in the week.

Meanwhile, Kyiv Post says Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko accused Russia of “direct and undisguised aggression” which he said had radically changed the battlefield balance as Kiev’s forces suffered a further reverse in their war with pro-Moscow separatists.

The Times quotes British Prime Minister David Cameron telling the House of Commons the presence of Russian troops on Ukrainian soil was “unjustified and unacceptable”.

Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who on Saturday was elected the UN foreign policy chief, no longer considers Russia a strategic partner of Europe, RIA Novosti reported. Mogherini laid emphasis on the fact Ukraine could choose for itself the road to Europe.

AFP reports Libya’s outgoing government admitted from its safe refuge in the east of the country that it has in effect lost control of Tripoli to armed militias. The interim government led by Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani, which resigned last week, said armed groups, mostly Islamist militias, were in control of ministries and blocking access to government workers.

Voice of Nigeria quotes the military saying it has killed some 70 fighters from the Islamist group Boko Haram. Officials said the militants arrived at the northeast town of Bama in early morning but were repelled by government soldiers.

Israel continues to face increasing international pressure after announcing plans to expropriate 400 hectares of Palestinian land in the Bethlehem area in the south of the occupied West Bank. Haaretz says the UN, ally Washington and Egypt all called for an urgent rethink after Sunday’s announcement, which angered the Palestinians and alarmed Israeli peace campaigners. It came just days after a long-term ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians took hold.

Dozens of Turkish police officers were detained for allegedly “seeking to overthrow the government,” according to domestic broadcaster NTV. Arrest warrants were issued for at least 30 police officers in a nationwide sweep. Among the detained was Yakup Saygili, the former head of the police anti-fraud unit.

ABC News reports the FBI is looking into allegations that the online accounts of dozens of celebrities had been hacked leading to their nude photographs being posted on the internet anonymously. It is understood the images were obtained from services such as Apple iCloud that backup content from devices onto the internet.

The BBC says football clubs in Europe’s five biggest leagues have spent at least $2 billion (€1.52 billion) on buying players in the summer transfer window which has just closed. FIFA says teams in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain had spent that figure even before the final deals were made on Monday. Manchester United have confirmed they had signed Colombian striker Radamel Falcao on a one-year loan deal from Monaco while its striker Danny Welbeck is moving to Premier league rivals Arsenal.

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