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

The Times says a Libyan arms export discrepancy has been blamed on a typing error. It also reported that two US airmen were shot dead at Frankfurt airport.

The Malta Independent says the international court is to open an unprecedented formal probe on Libya. It also quotes the Frontex chief saying countries should prepare for migration, not speculate about it.

In-Nazzjon gives prominence to the speech by Muammar Gaddafi yesterday.

l-orizzont asks if the time has expired for the Mirages to be sent back to Libya by Malta.

The overseas press

Al Jazeera reports that anti-government rebels in Libya have been celebrating victory in a battle in the oil port of Brega after which forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi had to retreat. The town was full of jubilant rebels firing their guns in the air. Better armed Libyan army units had arrived in large numbers and appeared, at one stage, to hold the upper hand.

The Washington Times quotes US Defence Secretary Robert Gates telling a Congressional committee that establishing a no-fly zone in Libya would have to begin with an attack on the country’s territory, designed to destroy its air defense weapons. He said the overall military effort would require more airplanes than were available from a single American aircraft carrier. At a press conference on Tuesday, Gates noted that any military response would have complex consequences and ripple effects for US interests.

AdnKronos quotes Iran's hardline president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warning the West it risked "digging graves" for its soldiers if it intervened to oust Libya's veteran leader Muammar Gaddafi. Noting the presence of various US military based in the oil and gas rich region, Ahmadinejad blamed Washington for the unrest that has shaken Libya, Tunisia and Egypt and other Arab states. He described the US as "the number one criminal in the world".

ABC News says two US warships – USS Kearsarge and USS Ponce – have passed through the Suez Canal on their way to the Mediterranean Sea and closer to Libyan shores. The USS Kearsarge is carrying 42 helicopters. Gates said he ordered two Navy amphibious warships into the Mediterranean, along with an extra 400 Marines, in case they are needed to evacuate civilians or provide humanitarian relief.

La Sicilia reports that boats full of people fleeing the unrest in North African countries have began arriving again on the Italian island of Lampedusa after a week-long lull blamed on high winds. Ansa says Italian navy ships would be ready to sail "within 24-48 hours" to help set up an Italian refugee camp on the Tunisian-Libyan border. Italy, trying to avert a mass exodus across the Mediterranean, seeks to pave the way for other EU countries with its mission. Metro says Britain and France are sending aircraft to Tunisia to repatriate some of the tens of thousands of people who are stranded on the Tunisia-Libya border.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung has extensive coverage of the shooting of two American servicemen on a bus at Frankfurt airport. The men had just flown in from Britain and were about to travel to the US military base at Ramstein, a hub for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The German authorities said it was not clear whether the attack had terrorist motives. It said the gunman was born in Germany to parents from Kosovo.

L’Osservatore Romano says that Pope Benedict, in a new book, has personally exonerated Jews of allegations they were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ. The pope makes his complex theological and biblical evaluation in a section of the second volume of his book "Jesus of Nazareth," which would be published next week. Jewish groups applauded the move.

La Tercera says a Congressional commission in Chile has found the owners of the San Jose mine responsible for the collapse last year which left 33 men trapped underground for 69 days. The owners deny negligence.

The Washington Post reports that the US Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a church tat holds anti-gay protests at funerals of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. He court said the right ro free speech took precedence over military families’ privacy. The church says such deaths are God’s punishment for America’s tolerance of homosexuality.

CBS News reports that the American soldier suspected of passing material to the WikiLeaks website, Private Bradley Manning, has been charged with 22 new offences, including airing the enemy – potentially a capital offence. The prosecution has said it would seek life imprisonment.

Le Jour says electricity and water supplies have been suspended to the north of Ivory Coast. The region generally opposed incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo who was still refusing to quit the presidency despite an international consensus that he lost last November’s election.

Emarat Alyoum reports that a namesake of embattled Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has rushed to change his name in "solidarity" with Libyan people. The 40-year-old Sudanese Muammar Gaddafi who lives in Sharjah in the UAE said his father had named him after Gaddafi, "one year following his (the Libyan leader's) revolt against the king's rule". The daily quoted the namesake saying that after what happened, especially when Gaddafi described his people as 'rats', and started facing peaceful protesters with planes and tanks, the Sudanese felt the name had become a curse and that he should get rid of it.




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