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

Times of Malta says the Malta Developers Association is resisting efforts by the government to ban trucks from the roads during rush hour traffic, suggesting a number of alternatives. In another story, it reports about the resignation of Nationalist MP Joseph Cassar from party spokesman for culture following reports that a businessman paid for construction works at his family home.

L-Orizzont reports about the General Workers’ Union’s declaration yesterday that it did not know of any valuation of property it rented to ARMS Ltd or that it had expressed an interest in the purchase of full ownership on the basis of that valuation.

In-Nazzjon quotes PN leader Simon Busuttil saying the party would not allow the Prime Minister to stop it from uncovering his scandals.

The Malta Independent says that a new cemetery in Tripoli was ransacked in a new spat between Libya and Italy.

International news

Italy has denied Libyan government claims that its warships violated Libyan territorial waters off Daryanah at the weekend. Libya Herald had quoted the Libyan government saying three Italian naval vessels had been spotted off the coast to the north of Benghazi early on Saturday morning. But Ansa reports that the Defence Ministry in Rome insisted none of its vessels had been close to the Libyan coast. It said all of Italy’s military vessels present in the Mediterranean operate in international waters and respect the limits established by treaties. Italian warships are among 60 naval vessels currently taking part in Operation Trident Juncture, NATO’s largest exercise in more than a decade, which is focused on the Mediterranean.

As the ruling parties in the German coalition struggle to find a joint strategy to manage the unprecedented influx of refugees, Deutsche Welle says assailants wielding baseball bats attacked asylum seekers in Magdeburg, while other migrants were harassed and beaten in the German towns of Wismar and Jena, police say. Refugee homes were also hit in arson attacks.

Turkey’s State television TRT says President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said Turks have ensured “unity and integrity” by restoring parliamentary majority for his Justice and Development Party. The AKP is projected to win 316 seats in the Turkish parliament. The pro-Kurdish party HDP enters Parliament with 10.4 per cent of the votes, or 59 seats.

Meanwhile, there have been clashes between angry Kurdish demonstrators and the police in Diyarbakir. Chumhuryiet talks about fires and barricades in the streets, where police have fired tear gas. A car bomb exploded in Nusaybin, a Kurdish city in southern Turkey near the Syrian border and the Turkish press reports many casualties.

Azerbaijan’s ruling party has won parliamentary elections that were boycotted by the main opposition parties. Zaman quotes the country’s electoral commission saying the ruling New Azerbaijan party had won at least 70 seats in the 125-seat parliament. A host of small parties and candidates loyal to President Ilham Aliyev took almost all the rest. The opposition has accused the government of jailing its opponents.

The St Petersburgh Times reports the bodies of 162 people killed in Saturday’s air crash in Egypt are being flown back to St Petersburg as an investigation into the cause continues.All 224 people on the plane, most of them Russians, died when it came down over the northern Sinai peninsula. Russian Air Transport Agency head Aleksandr Neradko has said the airliner disintegrated at high altitude. But Victor Sorochenko, the head of Russia’s Interstate Aviation Committee, said it was too early to conclude what caused the Airbus A321 to crash. Reuters says European airlines were warned not to fly low over the area where the Russian passenger jet crashed a year ago because of terror fears.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop doesn’t believe the decision to send US troops to Syria is the start of a broader ground campaign by western nations. The US will, for the first time, deploy just under 50 special forces troops on the ground as they ramp up efforts to combat Islamic State militants in the war-ravaged nation. But Australia has no plans to change the nature of its involvement in Syria, principally air strikes, Ms Bishop told ABC radio on Monday.

Asia Tribune reports the leaders of South Korea and Japan resumed formal talks on Monday that were expected to focus on North Korea’s pursuit of nuclear bombs, trade ties and a long-running dispute over Japan’s wartime atrocities. The closely watched meeting between South Korean President Park Geun-hye and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – leaders of democratic US allies with strong cultural, security and economic links – came a day after they held a three-way summit with China’s premier and agreed to improve ties.

Adnkronos reports the Italian Catholic cemetery in Tripoli has once again been desecrated as parts of it were destroyed. Giovanna Ortu, president of Italians repatriated from Libya, said the cemetery contains the remains of 8,000 Italians, adding “The story is all the more painful because things happened on the All Saints’ Day, the eve of All Souls’ Day.”

At least 200 people were poisoned in the Syrian cities of Madaya and Zabadani, near Damascus, due to expired cookies that were distributed by a UN humanitarian convoy. A health source told El Mundo  the cookies were of Italian origin.

Hollywood star George Clooney and his wife Amal are planning to have a baby. The Daily Star reports they have spent more than £50,000 on a designer cot and other furniture at trendy Los Angeles baby boutique Petit Trésor. The couple has reportedly hired top American consultant Naomi Alon to help design a nursery, playroom and nanny quarters at their mansion in the Hollywood hills. Ocean’s Eleven actor George, 54, and British human rights lawyer Amal, 37, celebrated their first wedding anniversary last month.

The Mirror says Manchester United legend George Best’s 39-year-old Adidas Milano football boots will undergo 80 hours of conservation work, aimed at preserving them at a cost of £3,000. Best wore the black and green boots, which have plastic soles, playing for Northern Ireland in 1976.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us