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

Times of Malta leads with the pension reform proposals announced yesterday and says no drastic changes are needed.

The Malta Independent says the Community Chest Fund is likely to assist a mother who is spending thousands of euro on a cocktail of anti-cancer drugs.

In-Nazzjon highlights that Labour MPs did not comment when asked whether Zonqor should be developed. It also says Parliamentary Secretary Michael Falzon travelled to the UK with Mark Gaffarena. It also reports the PN's call for transparency by the government on the state guarantee for the power station loan.

l-orizzont says global rules prevent 'spying' by civil servants. It was following up a story by its sister paper that civil servants in financial institutions leaked information to Nationalist MP Tonio Fenech when he was shadow minister for finance.

The overseas press

The Greek government and its international creditors are playing down any hopes of a breakthrough towards resolving the country’s massive debt crisis. Ta Nea reports the Bank of Greece has warned that the country could be forced out of the eurozone and even the EU. Meanwhile, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has said Athens has a “political and moral duty” to reach an agreement with its creditors but admitted today’s meeting of eurozone finance ministers was unlikely to bring any immediate solution.

Radio Srbija quotes Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic expressing shock by Hungary’s plan to erect a border fence to keep out migrants. Speaking on TV during a visit to Oslo, Vucic said the four-metre fence was “not the solution” to migrants entering Hungary from Serbia. Hungarian authorities announced the plan yesterday, saying the wall would run the length of the 175km border between the countries. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said Hungary could not wait for the EU to find a solution to immigration.

Italy’s anti-immigrant Northern League Party has reacted angrily at Pope Francis’ remarks that “Catholics must ask God’s forgiveness for all those who push back migrants”. Speaking on the party’s Radio Padania, scornful Lega Nord leader Matteo Salvini asked, “How many refugees are being housed in the Vatican?” During his general audience yesterday, the Pontiff urged nations to  offer refugees “a home where they can live without fear”.

Muslims around the world will mark the start of Ramadan today, a month of intense prayer, dawn-to-dusk fasting and nightly feasts. Asharq Alawsat says religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia and most other parts of the world announced that daily fasting would begin today, based on their sightings of the moon. Authorities in Pakistan have yet to announce the sighting of the moon.

Bloomberg announces AT&T Mobility LLC has been slapped with a record $100 million fine for offering consumers “unlimited” data, but then slowing their Internet speeds after they reached a certain amount. The company says it will fight the charges.

Azaal TV says a series of bombs has ripped through Shia mosques and offices in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, leaving more than 30 people dead. The attacks by Islamic State militants targeted Shia worshipers and Houthi rebels who have taken over the capital and much of the country.

Voice of Nigeria reports a large sack of home-made bombs discovered at an abandoned Boko Haram camp has exploded, killing 63 people. The explosives were found by civilian self-defence fighters who carried the bag filled with metal objects to a nearby town. A curious crowd gathered to inspect the bag when the bombs went off.

Al Wihida says the authorities in Chad have banned the wearing of the full faced veil or burka after suicide attacks on Monday which were blamed on Boko Haram. According to observers, the group is increasingly using female suicide bombers.

CTV News quotes Clinton County District Attorney Andrew Wylie revealing that prison worker Joyce Mitchell – charged with helping the two convicted murderers, Richard Matt and David Sweat, escape from a maximum-security facility – talked to them about the possibility of their killing her husband, Lyle. Both husband and wife work at the Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora.

USA Today reports the balcony collapse that killed six Irish college students appears to have been caused by rotted wooden beams. As the victims’ heartbroken loved ones began arriving in the US from Ireland, Berkeley’s Mayor Tom Bates said investigators believe the wood was not caulked and sealed properly at the time of construction and was damaged by moisture as a result.

La Sicilia says Italian police have arrested 34 suspected Calabrian mafia suspects who allegedly trafficked cocaine from Colombia. Four suspects were also arrested in Spain and a top member of Colombia’s Marxist FARC was implicated by the probe. Police seized over four tonnes of cocaine during yesterday’s operation. US and Spanish investigators cooperated in the probe, as did judicial authorities in Brasil, Argentina, the Dominican Republic, Colombia, Spain and Montenegro, where the Calabrian mafia the drug smuggling network operated.

Il Mattino says a 30-year-old man from Naples fell to his death early yesterday trying to release a Chinese lantern for his girlfriend at a local beauty spot. Benedetto Chiariello was killed instantly when he plummeted 50 metres on to the  asphalt from a highway near Agerola, about 35 kilometres southeast of Naples. Chiariello and his girlfriend pulled off the highway to admire the view and release the Chinese lantern to mark her birthday. But the lantern got caught in a tree and Chiariello lost his balance trying to untangle it.

 

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