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Good morning,

In the last hours, there were significant changes from the US administration, in their view on the Khashoggi’s murder with President Trump affirming that he believes that Khashoggi was killed while warning Saudi Arabia of very severe consequences. We also learnt that Italy has to re-visit its budget after the EU returned it to its sender. No Brexit breakthrough has been reached in Brussels’s summit.

Your morning briefing brings you the main headlines from around the world and a review of Malta’s newspaper front pages:

The Latest

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  • Brussels has reprimanded Italy’s populist government for breaking EU deficit rules in its first budget, putting the European Commission on course for an unprecedented rejection of a eurozone member’s spending plan. CD / FT

  • President Donald Trump said Thursday he now believes journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead and warned of “very severe” consequences should Saudi Arabia be proven responsible. France 24

  • Mashal Saad al-Bostani of the Saudi Royal Air Forces, who was named by pro-government Turkish media as one of 15 suspects in the alleged murder of Saudi critic Jamal Khashoggi, has reportedly died in a car accident on return to the kingdom. BI

  • Saudi Arabia’s plans for its “Davos in the Desert” summit were in tatters on Thursday after Liam Fox, the international trade secretary, and Steve Mnuchin, the US treasury secretary, both pulled out amid allegations the kingdom murdered Jamal Khashoggi, the missing journalist. The Telegraph

  • Theresa May has seen an EU summit pass with no Brexit breakthrough as she was hit by a growing backlash over plans to lengthen the UK’s transition period. Sky

  • The status of the British overseas territory of Gibraltar, a small isthmus on Spain’s southern coast, after Britain leaves the European Union has been agreed with Britain, Spain’s prime minister said on Thursday. Reuters

  • Libyan tribesmen staged a demonstration at the eastern oil port of Hariga on Thursday in protest against the appointment of a government minister, a leading member of the tribe said. Reuters

  • The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste, the Guardian has learned. The Guardian 

  • Germany’s latest Deutschlandtrend survey showed on Friday that support for the governing coalition has continued to decline to historical lows. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) were each down a point from last week, bringing support for the government down to 39 percent. DW

  • China has arrested a former vice finance minister for suspected corruption, its top prosecutor said on Friday. Reuters

  • Turkey’s Naval Forces have interdicted a Greek warship as it harassed a Turkish seismic vessel off Cyprus, according to local media reports. State-run Anadolu Agency reported Oct. 18 that Turkey’s first seismic vessel Barbaros Hayreddin Paşa was harassed by a Greek frigate during its ongoing probe off Cyprus. Hurriyet Daily

  • Pope Francis on Thursday received an invitation to visit North Korea and the pontiff indicated he would consider making what would be a landmark trip to a nation known for severe restrictions on religious practice, according to South Korean officials. Reuters 

  • High housing prices fuelled in Germany are fuelled by money laundering and terrorism, German intelligence unit reports. The Local 

  • Algerian authorities on Thursday banned women from wearing full-face veils, or niqabs, at work, citing reasons of identification for the decision. Reuters

  • The wife of Interpol’s former president, Meng Hongwei, has said “cruel” China is persecuting him, weeks after he was detained by Chinese authorities. BBC

 

The Review

 

 

  • A network of 79 individuals allegedly illegally selling bluefin tuna caught in Malta was busted in an operation involving enforcement agencies from a number of countries, the Times of Malta has learned

  • There were sufficient grounds for Silvio Zammit, a former canvasser of ex-Nationalist minister John Dalli, to face trial, a magistrate ruled yesterday. Mr Zammit is accused of demanding payment on two occasions, including a €60 million bribe from a Swedish snus tobacco producer, to influence changes to an EU directive when Mr Dalli was European health commissioner. The Times of Malta

  • 95% of child abuse cases are carried by married people and not by priests, the head of the safe-guarding commission Andrew Azzopardi was reported saying on In-Depth by The Malta Independent. 

  • Police officer Simon Schembri is reported saying that he became a better self, after the incident which saw him losing his arm, when he was involved in a hit-and-run case, for which 17 year old Liam Debono stands accused. The Malta Independent

  • L-Orizzont says that, according to the report on the 2018 Budget, the areas that scored the highest implementation rates were justice and finance. The report was published by the Office of the Permanent Secretary.

  • Other stories in L-Orizzont report on a pay rise for home workers in elderly care, which the government said shows its commitment to services in the community; and on a EU target in the number of graduates which the paper says was reached thanks to increased female participation.

  • In-Nazzjon carries a story about a hit-and-run accident in Kirkop, when a 17-year-old drove ‘towards a police officer’ in a stolen car. The officer escaped the hit and the driver fled the scene, only to be stopped and arrested some time later.

  • Another story in In-Nazzjon says that statistics by the European Commission places Malta among the worst countries in the area of Education. PN Secretary General and spokesperson for Education Clyde Puli said this highlights the difference between what the government says and what it does.

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